I be a good righter.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Accidental Affair

It’s day 342 of my captivity. Rations are dwindling. Existence is bleak. Resistance is futile. My captors are ruthless and relentless.

Okay, it’s only been a week. And my captors are actually the hubby’s company. It only feels like 342 days (which makes me wonder if, when we reach day 342, it will feel like day 16,706?). So I’m a tad melodramatic. Sue me. While you’re at the frivolous lawsuits, you might also take into account that I’m also a tad overweight (nice segue there, right?). I don’t mean that I need Richard Simmons/Montel/Oprah to come and forklift me out of bed. I’ve just got some junk in my trunk. Therefore, I shouldn’t, necessarily, need to buy two seats on an airplane. Though, at this point, I’m thinking it would be a good practice, to avoid the following:

I’m currently on a plane. A 35 minute flight from Guernsey to London. There is no Business class. There is no First class. It’s just 200 of my closest seatmates and me. All wedged in like sardines.

I’ve got a guy to the right of me, whom I’m calling Mr. Banker, and he’s quietly drawing my attention to the fact that I’m overweight. See, I’ve got a bulge. A bit of a paunch that overflows unflatteringly over my jeans when I’m seated. Even when I was at my skinniest (read: unmarried, coked out and eternally drunk) I still had that bulge. But, Mr. Banker has decided that not only should he take up his entire seat but, to be the most comfortable that he can be, he’s spilling over into my seat. In fact, at this moment, he’s got his elbow wedged deep into my bulge. Making me hyperaware of its existence.

You see, I’m becoming quite intimate with Mr. Banker (before you scream that I’m some adulterer, I’ve got the hubby to my left, who’s almost as intimate with me (currently) as Mr. Banker – yes, we’ve got a nice little threesome going, thereby ensuring our chairs as co-VPs of the Mile High Club!). So much so that I know he’s a banker, because as we’ve been cuddling, we’ve also been reading his work briefs. They are fascinating. Really. Fortunately, about ten minutes into the flight, he put aside these briefs and busted out his OK! Magazine. Okay, I’m a little in love with Mr. Banker right now, elbow notwithstanding. (OK! Magazine is as trashy as People Magazine. Maybe even a bit more so. Sigh!). So, we’re snuggling, reading his trashy magazine (he lingers on a short article about Pamela Anderson), and the flight’s about to end. I know because a baby’s ears are popping and he’s screaming his head off behind me. Actually, I feel my ears, too. So, a bit of sympathy for the tyke.

Why won’t Mr. Banker turn the goddamned page???

Five minutes till we land. And we’re STILL on Pammy. Am I not good enough for Mr. Banker? Must he insult me, his newfound lover, by jutting his elbow into my fat whilst staring at Pam’s breasts?

While I’m getting my freak on with Mr. Banker, the husband’s blissfully unaware, engrossed in Freakonomics. Which is a book I bought for myself, and would be reading right now, if he hadn’t commandeered it for himself. Which leaves me with no option in this 35 minutes but to employ my new boy toy (sadly, friends, this flight does not end in orgasm – mine, nor Mr. Banker’s, nor the hubby's).

So, I’m stuck on this fucking page with Mr. Banker. Until finally, thankfully, amazingly, Mr. Banker realizes I’m reading, too and he busts out his briefs again (the banking briefs, not his undies, pervs).

With four minutes left on this flight, and my two orgy partners otherwise engaged, I bust out a vomit bag and compose this entry. Somehow it seemed fitting as clearly I need to develop anorexia and/or bulimia to avoid accidental affairs with the Mr. Bankers of this world.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

both of me

When I used to live ‘round these parts, I smugly decided that all Americans should be required to live outside the US for at least a six month period. To get out in the world and experience the wonder and awe that would prove once and for all that the US is not the pinnacle of the world. In fact, sometimes it rarely registers on people’s radars. No one is more guilty of this way of thinking than Angelenos, I’ve found. And, I was guilty of it myself until I moved to London. And, it was there, I found smug satisfaction, realizing that I was way more cosmopolitan than my friends and colleagues from LA.

I could speak knowledgably of wars in countries that most Americans had never heard of. I sided (though I’ve forgotten with whom) with the Bosnians and/or the Serbians after having lengthy conversations with cab drivers from these countries. I watched BBC news about a war-torn election happening in some country whose name I’ve forgotten, whilst Al Gore was [not] being elected because of some chad business in Florida (though widely reported on in the states, it marked merely a blip over here – and I loved that).

But, then, I moved back to LA. And, I became guilty of an insular lifestyle once again. Rid of my smugness, I found myself indignant and petulant when people didn’t realize that I, as an Angeleno, was at the epicenter of the universe. Instead of reading the Economist, or bbc.co.uk, I turned straight to the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. I’d read the headlines from Variety. No one was more excited than I when Whole Foods began carrying People Magazine. After scanning that, while waiting in line for my “organic” groceries (“Organic is WAY better than shopping at Ralph’s,” I’d find myself saying at parties, “No pesticides, no artificial ingredients… it’s like I’m helping the earth!”), I’d race home for Entertainment Weekly. I reverted to my blissful ignorance that there was, in fact, a world out there. Yes, I was in full-fledged Angeleno mode.

But, then something happened. My husband’s office made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: move to Dublin and we’ll reward you financially. So, we’re this side of the pond again. Not in Dublin, yet. We’re currently on an Island called Guernsey. I’d never heard of it, except for when the hubby would mention something about a data center here on his many phone calls with his coworkers/bosses/underlings. I didn’t really care what Guernsey was, nor where it was. And now I’m here.

Basically, Guernsey is what I’ve lovingly named THE MOTHERFUCKING ISLAND WITH THE NEVERFUCKINGENDING FUCKING HILL. Seriously. No matter where I walk it’s always uphill. I have no idea how this is even possible (but my calves look fabulous after just a few days of being here – so, you know, bonus!). I’ve found that the hill is much easier once one has imbibed 2.8 Gin and Tonics (I like to tip som out for the homeys) and at least 10 cigarettes (I’m still in Angeleno mode, shut up with your healthy logic).

Speaking of Angeleno mode, while I was at this Pub called The Library Bar, one of the guys sitting at the bar was apparently listening as I ordered my G&T, seeming to hear my odd accent. Well, odd for Guernsey (population either 20 in total or 63,000-ish). He sort of looked at me strangely, like I was a word he couldn’t remember. I did that sort of half-smile. You know the one, where you’re not sure if he’s going to hit on you or slit your throat in an alley (which, presumably here, would be on a hill), so you just kind of give him acknowledgement and AVERT YOUR EYES. He wasn’t to be put off, though. And seriously, he did look fairly harmless, and indeed he was. Most importantly, with two small words, he put me in my place.

GUY AT THE END OF THE BAR: Where ya from?

ME: Los Angeles.

I immediately expect him to besiege me with questions like, have I met Lindsay Lohan? Is Nicole Richie really anorexic? I start prepping my People (magazine) skills…

GATEOTB: Where’s that?

This guy doesn’t care about any of that shit that I’d assumed he’d care about. He didn’t ask the questions that all my cousins, aunts and the odd uncle ask me when I go back to Minnesota. He didn’t even know there was a Los Angeles. So, I bought him a fucking drink. Because it was possibly the best question I’ve been asked in a few years. And, it was a fair question, given that, prior to coming here, I’d never heard of his Island With The Neverfuckingending Hill.

In a way, I’m looking at this move (vacation?) as an opportunity to have experiences a lot of writers in the writers’ room wouldn’t have. Something fresh to bring to the table. I’ll continue reading Variety headlines and getting friends to send me People in my care packages (along with Peet’s coffee, please). But, I hope, sincerely, that I don’t revert to my smug London ways. At the same time, I do hope I lose a bit of the Angeleno in me. And somehow find a common ground between the two mes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Living by The Edge.

Okay. My eyeballs are bleeding from boredom. I could be writing. Or I could whine. I'm choosing whine. Or wine, when it's evening. And when it's my evening, it's your morning.

That's right, good people, I'm on the other side of the pond. I'm searching for flats near where Bono and The Edge live. Not because they live there, but because it's close to the hubby's office and close to the ocean. Basically, I'm going with Plan A. Which, depends on a variety of factors, like if one of the network diversity programs chooses to "hire" me. If not, I'll go with Plan B. Or, if that fails, there's Plan C. I've actually worked out a number of "If X happens and is added to Y then that will equal P..." type equations. I'm bored.

A subtle transition...

Here's the thing. I hate reading scripts. I don't know why. And it's not hate hate, it's just work work. And I hate hate work work. Even if it's fun work work. So, you know, it takes an extraordinary script for me to read it all in one sitting. Usually, with great scripts, I'll interrupt my reading to check my email, check to see if eyebrow hairs have sprouted where they shouldn't (like my toes) then I'll go back to reading. It's nothing against the writer of the script. It just feels like a chore.

To date there have only been two times where I've not interrupted my reading. One was the pilot "Prison Break." See, I'd been sent a number of pilots from my old hip-pocket agent. I looked through all the titles, and knowing that reading all of them was going to suck for me, I chose what I thought might be the worst of the bunch to read first. To get it out of the way. That was PB. I mean, come on, a show about some guys breaking out of prison? Bohooooooring. Except, you know, it wasn't. In fact, I loved it so much that I read it twice. In. One. Sitting. I loved it so much that I called hip-pocket agent and had him courier over Scheuring's other pilot (Briar & Graves) even though it hadn't been picked up. Though extremely well-written, I was able to put down Briar & Graves a couple of times. Prison Break it was not.

The second script that caught me unawares was Studio 60. I'd been prepping for a meeting (guess which network, oh yeah, I'm cagey) and reading a bunch of scripts. Seriously, I was in hell. Don't get me wrong (I just hate homework) the scripts were great. However, Studio 60 (and we're going to get a bit graphic here, folks, so lock the kids in the closet) was sitting there, staring at me. I thought, "I'll just read a couple of pages and then go pee." Because, as you can logically surmise, I needed to pee. Well, an hour later I finished the script. Then I gushed about the script in my notes for my pending meeting. So, basically, about 75 minutes later, I finally peed.

Note that both of these scripts that enraptured me were produced scripts written by fairly veteran writers. Or, at least, produced writers.

I know a lot of unproduced writers. I know a lot of assistants. I know a lot of unproduced writers who are assistants. I've read most everything that any of my friends have written. Even though I hate reading scripts, for some reason I don't mind it as much as reading scripts by people I don't know. Even though the latter is usually because I'm trying to get a job. Maybe it's the whole pressure to read versus choosing to read. Who knows.


Before I left LA, I tried to see as many people as possible (apologies to those I couldn't -- I'll be back soon!). However, there was this one gentleman I wasn't able to get together with, because he had a meeting meeting scheduled the next day and he's an assistant, so time's valuable. I told him to send me some of his recent work, since I'd not read him in years, back when he was an assistant on a show I was trying to be an assistant on... so, he sends me his scripts. And, they sit in my inbox for a while. Until my eyes started bleeding from the boredom. So, I opened up the script that got him his meeting meeting. And holy fucking jesus christ on a saltine, Batman. This fucker can write. I read the whole fucking thing in one sitting. I can't stop thinking about it. I want him to get this pilot made so that I can clean his toilets, just to be near his genius.

Thing is, it's sort of split me into two halves. One half is insanely jealous of his brain, so much so that the jealousy is making me doubt my writing ability and every time I open Final Draft, I end up closing it up within minutes. The other half is completely competitive. Not in a "I can write better than he can" way. But, in a "I could write as well as he does if I put in the time." And, when I recognized this half, that's when I realized that I've become completely complacent in my writing. I've been skating along. Not writing the greatest scripts I could, but not the worst either. I've lost my edge. Apparently, my friend found it. Now, I just have to ask him nicely if I can have it back...

Maybe living near The Edge will help?