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Thursday, September 30, 2004



And that's all I got. Busy day today. Behind still on all things writing. But Lost was good indeed. And I've nearly cracked this one story I'm developing. Just need to get the outline written, make sure that it actually works.

Exciting times.

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So if, like me, you're going to be watching/listening/cringing at tonight's debate in the company of friends, you might want to print out a few of these.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

An actual IM conversation between me and my brother

Liz: poke
Eric: ow
Eric: stop poking me!
Eric: I SAID stop poking me!
Liz: hee hee!
Liz: POKE!
Liz: and tell me, how is the Richard Clarke book?
Eric: pretty good
Liz: cool

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Oh, but it's lovely outside. Crisp and cool and fall.

Crisp, of course, by my California definitions. Dad introduced me to true East Coast Crisp when we were in Ohio, years ago. I shivered into my coat, my cheeks pinched by the icy fingers of wind.

"This is nothing," Dad said.

Some days, I can't believe I ever want to live in New York.

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Just a little bit Dave Eggers

Today's motto:
"You're not really Hollywood until you've been yelled at for something that actually was your fault." I'm totally Hollywood now, but it was a small thing, and it's all taken care of, and everything is just fine.

Even the leg?
Yeah, I'm totally less gimpy today. Don't think I can run, but certainly not limping as much or at all.

So, a good day?
Well, I've had worse.

How's the writing?
::sigh:: Have fallen behind. Need to catch up tonight. Need peace and quiet and some time spent flopped on my bed with a legal pad.

That gonna happen?
Depends on when I leave here and when I get home and when I have to leave again in order to make it to my friend's rock show.

Doesn't sound so bad.
I also have to resist the temptation that is DS9 reruns and the new episode of Lost.

So what you're saying is that you're screwed.
Pretty much.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A very early blog entry of mine was devoted to the oddness that was Emperor Norton 1, and the adoration I feel for him.

Thus, reading this has brought me more joy than could ever be imagined.

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Wisdom comes through suffering alone.

-Aeschylus, 458 BC


-Liz Miller, 2004 AD

There will be no tales of thrilling softball heroics today, because I have managed to seriously strain my quads, and despite the two ice packs I strapped to my legs and the four episodes of Jeremiah I watched last night, I am still Gimpy McGimp today.

No gym for the next week, I've self-prescribed. Minimal physical activity. Just hot baths, ice packs, Advil until I can start walking like a normal person.

This is exactly the blow that needed to be struck to my Bold New Life Plan.

And I'm having a crab cake sandwich for lunch. Gah. I had to pick a time I can't exercise to start starving for food.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Things I like about the stupid romantic comedy that's kicking my ass today
  • While I haven't fully fleshed out the central conceit, it's a good one, and is actually pretty sellable.
  • So far, haven't written myself into a corner too big to get out of.
  • There are actual subplots, something pretty novel for me.
  • I'm not repeating myself in terms of scene set-ups too much. It's certainly happening, but less than it usually does in a first draft.
  • Main character's name? Nikki Cicci.
  • Main character's hometown? Coast City.. Pre-Hal.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Note to self: Spin Doctors. Jimmy Olsen's Blues. Acquire.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why my job is funner than yours

"Liz? I need you to go on a run for me this afternoon," my boss says from her cell phone. She explains what we need. I nod, firing up the trusty internet.

"Okay, I'll call around, find one somewhere."

A store in North Hollywood has the item in question -- I ask them to put it on hold for me, make a note of the price. When my boss returns to the office, I grab some petty cash and my car keys. Only 2.3 miles to the store, according to Yahoo.

The woman behind the counter looks up when I walk in, clearly bored, the store nearly empty on a weekday afternoon. "Yeah?"

"I called an hour ago -- you put something on hold for me-"

"Oh, sure." She reaches below the counter. "Here's your whoopie cushion."


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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Musically inclined

Hot damn, but I want to go to this concert.

Been listening to a lot of music recently, especially since my car stereo stopped doing whatever it was doing that made the noises I didn't like. And last night at Amoeba, I picked up the best of the Pixies, Jill Sobule's Happy Town, and a Dirty Vegas mix I hadn't acquired yet. Love me some Dirty Vegas. Cannot wait until the new album.

Other recent acquisitions:
The White Album - The Beatles (hey, these guys are pretty good!)
More Adventurous - Rilo Kiley
Product Placement/Brainfreeze - DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist
Greatest Hits - Stevie Wonder

Also good? The Killers. But I got the CD at Target. I don't think it's the new indie hit anymore.

The Faint, though, just might be. Thanks to Asa for that one.

I'm liking this, the process of going home, listening to music as I do the things that need doing. It makes me feel cool.

Even though, I know all too well, I'll never be cool. *g*

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Stupid 21-year-olds recruited out of the UCLA writing program to adapt a comic book series to film.

I bet she's horrible. And ugly. And totally stupid.

Stupid 21-year-olds.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

At page 36 in my screenplay (ie -- at some point last week), I ran into a problem. Specifically, that my protagonist was considering whoring herself out in order to solve a problem. I wasn't even thinking of the moral aspects of this particular problem of hers, is the thing -- I just assumed, hey, she wants something, she can use sex to get it, you go girlfriend.

Fortunately, her best friend showed up and reminded my protagonist that most human beings DON'T put out to get what they want. But because the best friend in question also is morally questionable (she downloads music, people! She STEALS) I had to write myself a handy little note in the outline for the next scene (don't look, Grandma):


But once I reached the end of that scene, I discovered that I didn't have the heart to delete my handy little note. So now, it's hovering at the end of my screenplay as I write forward. Tonight, it wishes to remind me that no, no matter how big a whore my protagonist is, she will not be screwing her brother at the end of this scene.

I think around page 50, though, she's gonna start having sex. I'll have to delete my note, and sadness will fall upon the land.

Until, of course, I write Nun Romance.* Then I'll need that note in a big bad way.

*I have no plans to write Nun Romance. But if you do, well, mazel tov, and send me what you got. Just make sure that it's totally hot. And free of intercourse.

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Quiet weekend. The perfect kind of quiet. Friday night I went out, Saturday night I mostly stayed in. Brother and mother in town. We watched Firefly, and drank wine from a box, and it was comfortable, blissful, to sink into the couch cushions and not do anything.

Did a lot of reading -- I'm two-thirds through The Golden Compass and The Pulse 5 was pretty good. It was awesome, to see Jessica Jones actually do stuff again. I love it when she does stuff.

Did some writing, too. Went to the comic book store last night, to buy bags and boards and see what was on sale, and came back with two trade paperbacks and some notions for the Hearttaker minicomic I'm writing. I flopped on my bed and sketched out panels, writing the words within, doodling the images I imagined there, as the light drained out of my room.

And then I knit a little bit and watched White Men Can't Jump. I'm trying to figure out how to write basketball. My expertise lies not in sports.

Except, of course, when it came to last Saturday afternoon. Unnamed Hit Sitcom vs. Unnamed Bad Drama. The battleground? The softball field.

Half-blind from the sun, vision even more obscured by the sunglasses and hat I wore, I strode up to the plate, dragging alongside me the lightest bat available. I had the faintest recollection of P.E. games and X-Files episodes, the resonating visual of Barry Bonds at the plate, tapping it with the bat before bracing those powerful arms for the swing.

I stepped up, bent my knees, tapped the plate twice, waiting for the slow parabola of the underhanded pitch...

At first, I couldn't even see the ball hit the bat, bounce toward third. It took me a moment to realize that it was good, that no one had caught it, and that I had only moments to make it to first.

And after that first base came second, and third, and home. Base hits driving me on. The Unnamed Bad Drama Chargers unable to touch me.

I crossed the plate grinning. I'd never scored a run, even in those playground games.

UHS won 9-8.

I had a great weekend.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Today has been much more bearable than I predicted it would be.

Thus, this is the only thing of substance I have to report.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Going to the Largo is one of those quintessential LA experiences -- it's exclusive, expensive, confusing, and always leads to an unforgettable experience. So it was a quintessential night at the Largo when my friends and I attended the record release party for Jill Sobule's latest album:
  • First there was Jill and her tiny guitar, singing "Underdog Victorious," the title song of the new album, stopping in the middle to encourage everyone to sing along.
  • Then a very tall skinny man in a pinstriped suit came up to cover one of Jill's songs (which, I can't remember) -- he had a high voice that echoed, resonated into the microphone.
  • After him? HARRY SHEARER, small and ape-like, his wife, and his wife's amazing coat performed Heroes as a duet, complete with callbacks (goddamn, I love that song).
  • I'm probably the only one there who went OOOH when Leah Andreone took the mike acapella. But she did, and it was really great. Even if she has the most awkward stage presence I've ever seen.
  • About halfway in, Jill told this story about performing at a Jewish tribute to Simon and Garfunkle last week with Lisa Loeb, and "can Lisa come up?"
  • Lisa Loeb? So freakin' cute. She and Jill duet-ed on "America" and another song, Lisa on the big guitar and Jill on the little one. We plotzed.
  • And in between, there was the quality Sobule lyrics and music and random conga lines and covers. When was the last time you heard "All the Young Dudes" played on an upright bass?
  • Or accompanied a song by tapping together water glasses?

All at this tiny club no bigger than your average garage. I was maybe five feet away from the stage.

Nights like those make the traffic and smog worth it. Nights like those, I wouldn't trade for anything.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The idea of taking the week off blogging is a vaguely tempting one, mainly because I don't have a lot to say at the moment. Maybe I just wnat to be on vacation. Mmmm. Vacation.

Last night, I was so damn productive. I even did laundry! I hate doing laundry. But tonight, instead of working on one of the hundred writing projects pending, I'm going to see Jill Sobule perform at Largo.

That's a different kind of productive. A productive of the soul.

So I keep telling myself.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Gone fishin'

Not a lot to report here. Dodgers won on Saturday, I got an Icee on Sunday, and there were good times with friends in the interim.

So maybe tomorrow, I'll write about Jack and Bobby and the new items added to my to-do list.

Today, I'll work on writing and hope to get out early.

I want to buy some pants.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Today, I'm immersed in baseball. Literally. I have a softball game at noon, and then tonight the Cardinals are taking on the Dodgers and I plan to wear red and cheer for the visitors. I always cheer for the visitors at Dodgers Stadium. Angelenos come from everywhere else, mostly, and I come from the Bay Area. I have my loyalties still.

It's a beautiful, bright sunny morning, and I'm gonna eat a bagel, make some tea, and watch The Batman before finding a clean sports bra.

It's a beautiful day, and no one's forgotten why it's the most horrible of anniversaries. We'll mourn tonight, I'm sure, a stadium full of people with hats off, singing the national anthem and looking up at the sky, the flag waving yet.

And then the game will start.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

The Fridays we shoot are slowly developing a pattern -- much busyness throughout the day, followed by a two hour period of quiet. Literally. I put up signs and everything. Let sleeping producers lie, everyone knows. The phones are always silent.

So I'm here for another hour and then down to the stage to watch the show tape. And that'll be fun, and then it'll be the weekend.

Busy weekend ahead. Tomorrow got booked up super-quick, and then Sunday will be spent doing the things I didn't have time for Saturday.

But in the meantime, I will sit here and think about the Garden State soundtrack that refuses to leave my car stereo, the bubble bath in my cabinet and the bed with clean sheets.

Tomorrow morning, you see, is BOOKED.

Sleep is a demanding bitch.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Nostalgia Threshold, and related media

As I mentioned last week, lately I've been kinda bored with adolescent angst, especially as seen on TV. Didn't know why, exactly, except that I find it hard to care about the petty fashion feuds and that dreamy boy in algebra class and all the other drama that has no impact whatsoever in the long run.

So I was trying to figure out why this is, when insight came to me from an unexpected source: Fametracker's Fame Audit of Zach Braff. I enjoy Fametracker as a rule, and the Braff audit was entertaining. But this line stood out:

Perhaps that's why we weren't so crazy about Garden State -- not just because we find tales of mid-twenties angst kind of tiresome (just quit smoking pot, get a decent job, and tell your crappy parents to fuck off already).

Why does that stand out? It stands out because I know two things: one, that the writers of Fametraker are in their late twenties, and two, that it's exactly the same way I feel about the teenagers.

I am beginning to suspect, therefore, that there's a Nostalgia Threshold, an invisible line of aging that, once crossed, catapults oneself into the next ascension of age group, their personal identity shifting to find empathy with the various conundrums this age group is faced with.

So Fametracker is annoyed with the mid-twenty-somethings, I'm annoyed with the teenagers, all of us have our favorite melancholy age-specific media. And I still like Garden State.

Not because I think it's brilliant. It's definitely a flawed film, with overly self-conscious, exposition-heavy dialogue and the sort of bad cuts that result from poor coverage. But it made me feel things, made me conscious of the ironic detachment that I've used to face this time in my life. It made this epoch, this age, seem important. And that made it easy to descend into Zach Braff's stare, to wish for an abyss where my scream would echo.

In a couple of years, I'm sure I'll be bored with this sort of thing, putting aside The Graduate and escaping into that great classic of early-aughts television, The O.C.. Because part of the Nostalgia Threshold, I suspect, is the ability to look back at the era before last, remember the good times. Regain one's hindsight, and the ability to care.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

So I embarked on a Bold New Life Plan yesterday -- I'm not quite sure what brought it on (aside from an insane, stress-filled morning), but now that it's here I plan on keeping it around. A three-prong attack on the things that could improve my life, it involves not oversleeping and being late for work, eating sensibly (as opposed to my starving fugitive approach), getting more exercise, and writing and reading on a daily, consistant basis.

So today I was ten minutes early, ate soup and bread for lunch, with a healthy snack of an orange, mixed roasted nuts, and a small bit of cheese this afternoon. Dinner will be a leftover salad eaten later, and dinner will be followed by four pages of screenplay and yet more of The Golden Compass.

(Yes, note updated sidebar to reflect completion of Heartbreaking Work, which did not break my heart, but was just as good as all the people say.)

Usually when I embark on a New Life Plan, I set up a reward structure. But I haven't this time. It should be its own reward, yes?


If not, there's always comics. Comics: The Great Motivator.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Only in L.A.

Normally, people use the phrase above as a kick-off or a footnote for some outrageous story involving at least two minor celebrities, somebody else's car, a kilo of coke, and a dead hooker. "Only in L.A., man," the captive audience will say as they shake their heads in disbelief. "Only in L.A."

I never have any of those stories, though, so when I think, "Only in L.A." the moments in question tend to be much more mundane. I think it's because I'm realizing that my time in Los Angeles is finite, that I won't be twenty-three forever, and that there are things worth remembering from this time.


Driving up the PCH on a hot Sunday afternoon until the beach traffic is far behind me -- parking on the side of the road at a random coastal access point, stretching out on my ancient green beach towel and reading a trashy novel in the sun and my bikini. Going into the water after a while, moving forward and rushing back with the tide, trying to avoid getting in over my head. Failing eventually, swept up by the surf, falling to my knees, trying like hell to figure out which way is up, trying like hell to hold onto my top. Trying it one more time, hoping to get past the break and failing, falling once more, lost in the ocean again.

I decided it was time to leave after that. Time for a shower and civilization.

So I drove down along the coastline, peeking in the rearview mirror every few minutes to see the ocean behind me, the waves glinting silver as the sun descended towards them.

The Garden State soundtrack, downloaded from iTunes and burned to CD, played just loud enough to cover that annoying whispy sound I keep thinking I hear coming from the car stereo. And I combed the sand from my hair and followed the curves of the road, and as Chris Martin crooned about our beautiful world I realized that in two years I might be living somewhere thousands of miles away from that spot, in some glittering metropolis with public transportation and no beach to escape to. And I thought about being that 25-year-old of the future, looking back to this Sunday afternoon and marveling at that person I used to be. That person who had a car and went to the beach, who glid through the rolling hills with the sun and the surf to her back.

I felt like she was watching. I wanted to wave to her. Hi there. Where are you? What are you doing that I want to do? What do you miss about the things that I can do now?

Last night, the barbecue I went to felt like a party, but I was exhausted by the notion of meeting new people, so I laid on the front lawn of the house and looked up at the sky while those around me smoked and ate, beer bottles clinking around me and indie rock echoing from outside.

The day's scorching heat was slowly disappating, and the grass was dewy, raising goosebumps through the thin sheet I lay on. I could see at least eight stars. In the sky, that is. No celebrities at the party.

Yet all the same, I thought to myself: Only in L.A.

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New Bookslut up, including my column, a review, and the interview I did with Poppy Z. Brite a few months ago.

My favorite part of the review? Well, the book in question, Going to the Sun, is kicked off by the boyfriend of the main character being mauled by a grizzly bear.

Read the Google Ads accompanying it.

EDIT: Okay, damn, apparently the ads have changed. But when they were Google text ads, they were very interested in informing you of the many Alaskan grizzly bear expeditions booking now.

Fun for the whole family!

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Friday, September 03, 2004

It's been One of Those Days, down to the letter -- bad phone calls and blocked driveways and drive-on passes not working (two of them! two of them! despite the confirmations!) and no time for a shower and two different trips to the golf supply store in North Hollywood for $50 a box golf balls.

Here are the bright spots of late:
  • PC Petri Dish has started up a sister blog to discuss next year's awards, and The Oscar Grouch is already off to a fine start, covering all the films that you haven't gotten sick of hearing about yet.
  • My coworkers are awesome folks.
  • I'm just gonna READ tomorrow. I'm gonna read books. BOOKS.
  • Garden State, in all its flawed sleepiness, makes me happy.
  • "Hugh Jackman? But he's Wolverine!"
  • Hugh Jackman

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I really need to remember to go to The Museum Of Jurassic Technology at some point.

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