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People's History of the U.S.


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Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 in Review

There have been a lot of end-of-year survey things recently, but structure is for suckers. I'm just going to ramble and see what happens.

I want to say that this is one of the better years I've had, though, really, every year that takes me further from junior high school is the best year of my life.

I wrote. I wrote more than I really realize. One brand-new feature script, two pretty extensive feature rewrites, an Office spec, incalculable reviews and essays, a short script that I want to direct in the spring, a story bible for a Hit Animated Series, and at least two new short stories. I started a webzine, and the experience has exceeded every expectation I might have had. And I did amazing things in 24 hour chunks: I helped make two fine short films, and got to work with some of the smartest and funniest people in my acquaintance. And I also wrote a sketch in 24 hours that I'm proud of, and that played really well.

I finished up with my old job and then I moved onto a freelance/temping lifestyle that's slowly evolving into something livable. I love having the freedom to move on from jobs, to meet new people and try new things regularly. I feel freer. And being able to focus on the work that matters to me is a benefit almost as awesome as health insurance. Though I hear great things about health insurance.

I fell out of love with my dialogue heroes, and it hurt to realize that, watching Serenity for the first time and knowing that I didn't want to be Joss Whedon anymore, actively rejecting the idea of glib. But then I wrote my little short film script and I found a style that feels like me. No longer a pale imitation, but the sum of many influences. This was the year that I saw actors say words I wrote, more than once, and I can't even describe how much better my writing is as a result. I wrote an one-act play that ran for six weeks, and I made myself sit through every performance I could and I learned something new each time. And I learned something about theater. I learned that I love it. I spent less time with comics this year, though, and I missed them.

And I traveled the nation. Walked through the Soothing Gardens. Gave out a fake number to two different dudes in one Dallas night. I saw several Elvii in Graceland and Dave Chappelle in Ohio. Hiked through the Yellow Springs nature preserve. Saw two plays: one with horses and explosions and flame arrows and one with Liev Schreiber and Alan Alda. Spent two nights in a penthouse and ate a piece of pizza on the roof and drank free sangria at a Soho bar. Ate Dunkin Donuts while watching a girl's softball game. Went to the Strand. Saw a half-dozen friends on their home turf, and made a few new ones. Used a seminary's library to research the Apocalypse and my host's library to read the entirity of Transmetropolitan. Georgia O'Keefe and pale ale in Chicago. Pouring rain in Texas and blue skies in New York. I seemed to see nothing but setting suns.

On my birthday, we whacked a pinata and played freeze tag. In San Diego, we got Little Jeffy's number. I went to two weddings and no funerals. I spent a day in the ICU with my grandmother. I did a full wheel in yoga. I danced with Jon Cryer. I won at poker. I also lost at poker. I read ten thousand books and got paid for some of them. I saw about as many movies, and paid dearly. I learned so much and gained so much and lost so much. And felt happier for it.

I sat under my mother's afghan on a cold New Year's Eve and listened to Dido while the rain came down.

I did not get a lot of sleep.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This post is a reminder to me to check out the bands mentioned in The Best CDs You Didn't Hear This Year more thoroughly.

My world is expanded. My laptop has undergone a life-changing experience (specifically, it's changed).

Been a merry Christmas. I return to Los Angeles, the land of workin' and playing', all too soon tomorrow. Good times.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Tis the season...

For some bad Flash animation? Damn right!

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Question to which I do not want the answer:

Why does my 73-year-old boss here at Unnamed Temp Assignment have a pair of Jockey for Her in an interoffice envelope in her desk?

According to the envelope, the sender was the former manager of the department.

And, god bless it, it's marked "Personal."

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Liz Tells Frank What Happened On This Week's BONES: Week 5

Dear Frank,

Merry Christmas! It feels a little early to be shouting out the big ol' MC, but hey, as Beau says, "nothing brings people together like a Christmas lung fungus."

See, it's December 23rd (we're watching the future, Frank! Isn't that exciting?) and Deschanel doesn't want to go to the Smithphonian Christmas party, which Hot Not Asian, all done up in an elf costume, keeps calling "the company Christmas party." Because the non-profit academic research organization is a corporation now? I don't know. Anyways, Beau pops in just then not to crash the party, but to drop off Bones's Christmas present -- a dead body for her to examine! Lesser Deschanel is, of course, thrilled, mainly because now she has an excuse not to go to the party. And, because Christmas apparently makes LD a Grinch Bitch, she makes the lab techs examine the body with her.

However, that crafty ParaNerd (he's kinda a conspiracy freak, see) brings some eggnog into the examination room, which he's drinking while Virgin Nerd cuts into bones containing Bad Stuff (I hated biology, okay?). The Bad Stuff gets into the air and, possibly, ParaNerd's lungs. Because ParaNerd inhales AND exhales, it's possible that everyone has been infected with the Bad Stuff -- so they're stuck in the lab for the next few days. Clear? Unclear? Who gives a crap. It's the Trapped In A Room episode! They're stuck there! They're not leaving! It might lead to secret revelations and uncomfortable conversations! Merry Christmas!

Not Happy Holidays, by the way, but Merry Christmas. There's no such thing as Judaism, atheism, or Islam on BONES. At least, among our delightful team of regular cast members. More on that in a moment.

(By the way, ParaNerd runs around shirtless after the decontamination shower, and thus he gets an upgrade to Hot ParaNerd. Virgin Nerd also appears shirtless. But his name remains the same. I'm fickle.)

While Lesser Deschanel scurries around trying to solve the murder that will help her not think about her Tragic Past, everyone else hangs out and talks about stuff. Families and loved ones are waved at through thick glass, back stories are exchanged, sleeping bags go unshared. In this mess, we learn the following things:

Beau: has a four-year-old son who he doesn't get to see too much, because the lady he knocked up was apparently so scarred by the experience of sleeping with Beau that she can't even appear on screen and get her SAG voucher. The kid is cute, but you know what's cuter? Beau's reaction to the anti-Bad Stuff drugs, which have him hallucinating and prancing for a solid fifteen minutes of the episode. He sees pretty lights on the ceiling. He leans in REAL CLOSE to Deschanel to tell her to consider "the man upstairs" and given that they're in the atrium at that point, I can only assume he means Jesus. Stoned Beau isn't as fun as Stoned Bones, but it's still a good time.

Hot Not Asian: is the secret love child of one of the members of ZZ Top. Repeat: She is the secret love child of either Mr. ZZ or Mr. Top. He comes by to visit her. He plays himself. I AM DEAD SERIOUS.

ParaNerd: Hot.

Virgin Nerd: Momma's boy.

Deep Bass Black Boss: one octave away from being the most boring man on the planet.

Bones: Kind of a bitch. Oh, also, her probably-dead parents were inconsiderate enough to get themselves missing right before Christmas. Thus, not her favorite holiday.

Lesser Deschanel spends most of the episode repeating Christmas deconstructionist facts that everyone already knows and bitching in general about organized religion. Beau points out that he believes in God, and Lesser Deschanel's all like "Say what?" (This is going to make planning the wedding awkward, I bet.) Meantime, everyone talks about their religious beliefs:

Beau: Catholic
Deep Bass Black Boss: Deacon at his church.
Hot Not Asian: Christmas/Easter Catholic
Virgin Nerd: Church of Momma's Boydom, Lutheran Division.
Hot ParaNerd: Religion is a global conspiracy, believes in God anyway.

This conversation takes place over Chinese food on Christmas Eve. But no one's Jewish!

Bones continues to try and solve crime, while the people whose parents didn't tragically disappear a few days before Christmas exchange Secret Santa gifts, made from supplies in the office:

Virgin Nerd ---> Beau: Awesome home-made voice-activated robot
Hot Not Asian ---> Virgin Nerd: Nice pastel sketch of his family
Hot ParaNerd ---> Hot Not Asian: Enlarged picture of germs at the cellular level
Deep Bass Black Boss ---> Hot ParaNerd: Small hand-sculpted scarab model
Beau ---> Deep Bass Black Boss: Origami

Apparently being a sniper makes you a crappy gift-giver. It's all those people you killed, I suppose. Perhaps their echoing cries of pain are too distracting.

Anyways, Bones solves crime all night and into Christmas morning, when everyone is declared Bad Stuff-free and ready to go. Beau invites Deschanel to come to the Chinese restaurant set for lunch (seriously, though, no one's Jewish), which means that the Lesser Deschanel gets to see how cute Beau is with his very cute son. She also sees the spirit of Christmas in action when Beau REGIFTS the awesome voice-activated robot Virgin Nerd built. Nice, Beau. Real nice.

But the kid digs it, and Lesser Deschanel goes back to the office, where she's apparently been storing the Christmas presents her Tragically Missing Parents had gotten her right before going Tragically Missing. You know, fifteen years ago. And yet she's still got these presents? Right at hand? Just in case she suddenly discovered the meaning of Christmas and needed to open them? Oh, fine. Whatever. It's actually kind of sweet, once you get past the mindboggling idiocy of it. She opens one of them, and apparently it's so unbelievably radical that were it actually to come within range of the camera lens, our poor fragile corneas would explode. So it's a good thing that we fade to black before that happens.

And that's the meaning of Christmas! I feel like we've learned a lot. Don't you?

Reruns for the next few weeks. Coming up next week is the episode where they go to the small mountain town where everyone wants to fuck the Lesser Deschanel. Imagine what would happen if Zooey showed up!

Or, imagine Beau, hallucinating and talking about Jesus.

Perhaps when he's on drugs, he thinks Jesus forgives him.


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If you can't fix it, you just got to stand it

So here is what I've done every day this week:

  • Temp all day
  • Go home and write/work on coverage
  • Go see a movie (or try to see it)
  • Come home
  • Try and sleep

Last night, we saw Brokeback Mountain, after several failed attempts. Every single person in LA wants to see this movie, it seems. They're right to want it, as Brokeback is probably going to be the best movie I see this year, if not for a long long time. I mean, it's beautiful and sad and tragic. It's a marvel of a thing.

This morning I snapped out of sleep an hour before my alarm, and laid in bed, covers pulled up tight, thinking and dreaming. Maybe it was all that Wyoming scenery, the news that a friend is leaving town, or just the slow-building travel feeling deep inside. But as soon as I finish recuperating financially from this summer's cross-country jaunt, maybe it'll be time to pack my backpack again, get out there for a little while.

Wind rustling through the trees. I want to go sailing.

Instead, I'll start telling Frank what happened on this week's Bones.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Liz tells Frank what happened on BONES: Week 4

The below is cross-posted from a thread on my friendly local message board, in which I (Liz) tell my friend Frank (Frank) what happens during each new episode of BONES. This is the fourth I've written, and because, perhaps, Frank is not the only one who does not watch this MARVELOUS show, I'll try posting them wider and see what people think. If there's interest, I can even post previous installments. I'm talented like that.

What to know: The show stars Zooey Deschanel's older sister Emily (thus, the Lesser Deschanel) and David Boreanez, who is haunted because, and I quote: "You know, being a sniper, I took a lot of lives. What I'd like to do before I'm done is try and catch at least that many murderers." This bit of backstory is brought up almost every single week.

And like the rest of the show, it is a delight.

Dear Frank,

There's no new BONES tonight, which is part of why I haven't told you what happened last week. But really, it's simple enough. Lesser Deschanel's ex-professor, who is also her LOV-AH, comes to town to interview for a job doing kinda what she does, but for a different fake institution. They bone.


In the afterglow, Deschanel's all, oooh, look how much smarter I am than you and how quickly I've figured out about what happened to this dead girl found in a refrigerator. And Naughty Professor says, well, don't rush to conclusions and she says, dude, that's my job. She shows off her toys, and he's real impressed with the holodeck, but then he's like, dude, those people Beau just arrested for killing Deep Freeze Dudette? Well, their lawyer just hired me to testify against your findings, which I've gained tremendous understanding of due to your post-sex blabby-mouth.


So we get all LAW AND ORDER on this shit and go to court, which seems to be an excuse for EVERYONE to tell Deschanel that she's a robot and no one likes her, unlike hottie Naughty Professor, who plays well to juries, especially when he's makes fun of Deschanel for knowing big words and being a robot.

So Beau tells Hot Prosecutor Guy about Deschanel's Tragic Past, and Hot Prosecutor Guy brings it up on the stand, and being smacked in the face with her Tragic Past in a public setting gets Deschanel to reveal her soft chewy center to the jury. Everyone wins, except Deschanel's vagina (which will be empty of Naughty Professor from now on) and Beau's chance of taking up the slack there, as Deschanel is PISSED at him.

But then Beau takes her on a hot date crime scene examination on what's supposed to be the scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument. And then they pull back to reveal an entirely digitally rendered Washington skyline, and it's seriously the worst CGI I've ever seen, and I saw A SOUND OF THUNDER. It BURNS. But Beau and Bones are talking again, so I guess bad CGI heals all wounds. Except the wounds in my EYES.

"When I Was A Sniper" update: WE GOT NOTHING. I think. Maybe it came up when Beau was on the stand? The jury liked him a lot, though. So I don't think they knew about all those people he killed.

We do, though. We know.


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Friday, December 02, 2005

From The Beat: When Superman and Batman Nearly Went Very Very Very Right.

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Big laughs behind a big desk

Last minute temp gig today, sadly on a day with a too-massive to-do list. But money is good. Yes. Especially since temps/freelance readers can have as many days off as they want for Christmas - they just won't get paid for said days. Plus, I don't know how many different kinds of presents I can make for my family out of recycled newspaper. So any job is good job.

It's worth mentioning that Skating With Celebrities, the cheesy Dancing With the Stars rip-off that has many an Arrested Development fan rending their garments and rubbing their faces in ash, finally has a time slot (AD's, in fact). This is amusing to me because when Emily and I saw tbe first episode taped live, we sat in THE VERY FRONT ROW, which means that there is no way we aren't on camera for large chunks of time.

(Given that I looked like crap that day, this will be part-amusement/part-anguish to watch. Much like Skating With Celebrities in general.)

But despite having a fond place in my heart for this trash, I did giggle discreetly at Adam's suggestion for a future spin-off. Only a matter of time, man. Only a matter of time.

New SMRT-TV next Monday! Exciting stuff. I love how I've managed to arrange life so that the new issue is due after an incredibly busy sleep-deprived weekend. It's a gift, at this point. Should be a fun weekend, though. (Provided I manage not to DIE.)

I'm sorry I haven't been more content-oriented of late. Rambling here for a few minutes usually gets my head back on straight, is the thing, and it's a thing I've been taking too much advantage of lately.

So. Let's be talky. What the hell is up with that alternate Veronica Mars ending? Shit be crazy, yo!

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