Secret Pop

Jul 26, 2006

A play on words involving heat.

"Is it hotter than a breadbox?" That might have been it. But I can't remember. I just know that I was standing in the humid elevator at the Marriott on my last day, and I was thinking about the blog I would eventually write and what the title of that blog might be.

I arrived in San Diego for Comic-Con on Wednesday afternoon. Well, technically, I arrived on Tuesday night and stayed in the air-conditioned luxury of Beulah and Justin's lovely new home in familiar old Carmel Mountain Ranch. But I arrived at the Marriott on Wednesday afternoon, with my bags and my pre-registration paperwork and a lot of love for the anti-perspirant brand I use, which makes me smell like a delicious bowl of pears, especially when I'm sweating.

There were setbacks. My reservation was wrong. My bed situation was wrong. I was flustered and fearful that everything would suck. But Larry, the bellhop who had helped me and Beulah last year, was a savior in full messianic regalia. Well, a little nautical, be-epauletted shorts and tunic get-up which is the uniform at the Marriott, but he was the messiah as far as I was concerned. I remembered him from last year. And when I said Beulah's name, he remembered her, too. I don't know if he remembered me, but he said, "You've grown your hair out." Which is the right thing to say, guys, if you aren't sure if you remember what a girl used to look like. Nine times out of ten, you'll be right, and the girl will touch the bottom of her hair and giggle. Larry called the manager and took care of business. And he even called me the following day -- his day off -- to let me know that all was well. What a prince, right?

Beulah and I had a great time. Had a few cocktails with my pal Jim Sabo. Ate dinner at Trattoria La Strada. Laughed and laughed. When we got back to the hotel, we got in the elevator, and I fawned over Steve Purcell, who was in the elevator with us. He was surprised to be recognized. And probably equally surprised to not be murdered. I was very civilized about it, but you know how Comic-Con can be. Maybe I went there specifically carrying my elaborate rope murder fantasy with me. He has no way of knowing. When Beulah and I got off on the 21st floor, she spotted Glenn Danzig, who is at the Con nearly every year. The sighting prompted her to write this in her secret blog:

glenn danzig is an inky coconut
Posted on 2006.07.20 at 01:46
Tags: danzig-pointment

we are staying at a swanky marriott that's connected to the convention center here for comic con. so it's total dorkfest, but there are also a lot of celebrities milling about. we were in the elevator with one of mary's heroes, steve purcell. she was all, "i can't believe i'm in an elevator with steve purcell" and he was all flattered. so we exited the elevator on our floor, and who do i see? glenn danzig. short, not as buff, and super old. and i swear through this inky black hair i saw a bald spot that looked not unlike a coconut. i wanted to say, "hey! you look like glenn danzig!" or "do you know glenn danzig?" or "i would've liked to have met you like twenty years ago!" or "i love your son glenn danzig, mr. danzig." anyway, he's on our floor. i'm tempted to go a knockin' and start wooing him with my impressive interpretations of early misfits and danzig songs. i'm so ready. he didn't seem to understand the lights and the signals for the elevator. that also led me to believe he may have alzheimers. this depresses me. i want to serenade mr. danzig with the music of last caress, "i've got something to look really old and bald todaaay.." which would obviously be followed by "it doesn't matter much to me as long as you're...not dead and on the same floor as us at this marriott." and that wouldn't be all that great. and he's all senile now so he totally wouldn't even know what the fuck i was talking about.

so i totally ran into glenn danzig. that was the point of writing this.

Eventually, she became convinced that it was him, thankfully. It's a much cooler story when it doesn't end with him not being Danzig. He was wearing a turquoise shirt. So he was clearly trying to not be recognized. But he might have wanted to look into a hat.

I took Beulah to the Convention Center the next day, and she shopped with me and was not miserable. That always makes me happy when I drag my friends to Comic-Con. I bought her a Drinky Crow. That might have helped. I didn't buy her the Turtle Camper we both fell in love with, and when I went back on Sunday to buy it, it was way sold out. But I bought it for her online when I got home. Shh. Don't tell her.

Suddenly Slayer

When we got back to the hotel, I got a text message from my pal Eric Wareheim asking if I wanted to go see Slayer. So I did. They were playing at the Sports Arena, which has become such a sad place to see a concert, but a perfect place to see a Slayer concert, with openers starting at 5:30 P.M. Ridiculous. Eric and I found the box office, and two barefooted beach teens ran up right before us and may have been stunned by the ticket price or something. But they ran away immediately. I can't imagine seeing a general admission death metal show in bare feet. Unless I really wanted smashed feet.

Inside, we found Tommy Blacha and his lovely girlfriend and Brendon Small and his lovely girlfriend, and a sweaty mess of rockers of all ages. Because I travel with them, Eric and I arrived equipped with earplugs. This was very smart. With the protection of earplugs, I could zone out and just watch the whorls of the various mosh pits. The mosh pit nearest us was fairly unchaotic. So much so that it became apparent that moshing is really just skipping in a circle. Skipping. Like when children in grade school entertained themselves by learning variations on walking and running. Skipping in a circle with sweatbands on one's wrists. That is what the dictionary should say when someone asks it what moshing is.

At one point, a drunk guy was being escorted out by Staff Pro, and they were leading him up the risers where I was standing, and for some reason he grabbed onto the strap of my handbag and pulled me backwards down onto the walkway, where I was slightly trampled. I said, "Oh, fuck!" And then I heard the Staff Pro guys saying, "Let go of her! Let go of her!" And Eric reached down and helped me up, and I was fine. I don't mind a little scary drama. As long as it doesn't end in me bleeding or losing my camera. I am a good sport.

After the concert, we called cabs and went back Downtown to meet friends at Star Bar. I stayed there for a while. Eric and I went next door and ordered Mexican food. I introduced Brendon to carne asada fries, which he later called "the best worst thing ever." I can't believe people have not had carne asada fries. Nor can I believe that Mexican food in other cities is so disappointing. Especially in Los Angeles. Whenever I'm in San Diego and have the chance, I glory in burritos and shake my fist at the northward sky.

Kristen Herman and Mark Rivers were at Maloney's so I headed over there. But when I got there, they were gone. I was in the door long enough for the door guy to say, "Have fun." But then I got Kristen's text, and I turned right around and left. I met them at their hotel and hung out and chatted with Kristen for a spell. Then I walked back to my hotel in the wee hours where I slept like a freezing baby.

Wet Wet Wet

Friday morning, Kristen and Mark and Scott Adsit came over to the hotel pool to join me and Mindy, who had just arrived that morning. I drank a number of bloody marys and got plenty more freckles. Then Sarah's Paul arrived, and I showed him around the Con for the afternoon. After which, he and I had dinner with Sarah at Rama, my new favorite Thai restaurant in San Diego. While there, a story happened which -- in the retelling -- causes others to label Paul the best boyfriend ever. Afterwards, we went to a wine cellar, where I bought a fancy bottle of Icelandic vodka and a few bottles of Jameson. Then we went to a "convenience store" to buy club soda, but the line was ridiculous. I waited in it for easily 30 minutes. Probably more like 45. It was just Comic-Con people ordering sandwiches. And there was no register where you could just buy something you were holding in your hand. I don't need them to put provolone on this club soda. Can't I just go to the front? Answer: no.

I am now fatigued from all this reminiscing, and my lap is hot and sweaty from having a computer on it. If you've been wondering why I haven't been blogging, that's why. It's too hot. And I don't like to sweat. Ever. So there's much more to tell, but the condensed version involves illicit late-night swimming in the hotel pool two of the remaining two nights, getting Dino Stamatopolous and Jay Johnston in trouble by giving them my fancy Icelandic vodka and my Jameson right before the Adult Swim panel, finding the Saturday weather too hot for me to wear my favorite boots, drinking Pellegrino from a weird horn-like glass at Dussini, standing still in the air-conditioned Convention Center and still feeling sweat dripping down my legs, indulging in multiple showers, and finally on Sunday seeing Lou Ferrigno in a booth again and again making eye contact with him just as he reached down and juggled his nuts. This isn't the first time this has happened to me at Comic-Con. Which has caused me to wonder if Lou Ferrigno -- being deaf -- thinks that if he can't hear me, I can't see him.

The Chewbacca I posed with looked and sounded dead on. And I also noticed that I didn't buy all that much this year, mostly because I have it all already. Which says something about me I might not entirely be proud of. It also says that Jordan Crane needs to make some more books. If only to give me something to spend money on.

And on the last day, in the last moments, Jeff Small was waiting for his friend Ratna, and I was drinking the most refreshing Diet Pepsi I have ever had in the Marriott North Tower bar, and I could have fallen asleep right there. He and I looked through some of our purchases. Jeff, his Winsor McCay book. Me, my 1930s issues of Popular Mechanics. When Ratna arrived, she showed me her amazing sketchbooks and shamed me with them. Then we all made our way to the bell desk and then to the valet. A cute bell hop helped us. And when I said goodbye to Jeff and Ratna, he started helping me to my car, and he said, "So that's not your boyfriend?" And I said, "No, we're friends." And then he opened my trunk and saw the many bottles of Jameson there in various stages of emptiness, and apparently he fell in love with me right then and there. "It's a shame you're leaving," he said. And if he hadn't been so sweaty and I hadn't been so sleepy and there had been a plane there and World War II going on, it might have been a Casablanca moment. He was very cute. I should check back with Larry and see if I can get his number. At the very least, I will always have a place to keep my luggage.

The Axe Effect: Sexy Olfactory Sensation or Grotesque Answer to Ball Stink?

Have you noticed that all the various Axe product spots show dudes spraying Axe products on their crotches? They spray their armpits and sometimes just the generic torso region, but there is a noticeable amount of attention being paid to laying the scent on the boys themselves. I'm not saying guys shouldn't make their balls smell good, but I never realized that guys knew this, too. Of course, it's also possible that Axe body sprays are just being considerately and astutely marketed by gay men and/or former prostitutes.

I only know of one person who uses an Axe product. And I have never wanted to climb on him in any way. For the record.

Lowered Expectations Watch: Still Lowering

According to a recent commercial, critics are raving about Clerks II. "It's the funniest movie since Wedding Crashers," raves one critic.

Jul 16, 2006


I have been keeping my insides inside. I go through these spells. When I only talk about some gross thing I just saw or some television thing I don't approve of. Half of the time, I think this makes me less, half the time more. The push and pull in me is the desire to indulge my brooding sentiment without making anyone think I'm a downer. This is always my problem. The attempt at being all things. Maybe it's folly. It's why I don't like to type a smiley face after a sentence. I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm smiling. Because by the time they read it, I probably won't be.

You're violating the laws of the universe.

I was cleaning house today, and I watched a movie I've seen many times before. There are things in it that make it hard for me to avoid going round in familiar circles. Music and memories. Familiar, familiar. Full of the tendrils of a former complacency. Flecked with the wry wisdom of the years since. Sublimated by the latest twists and turns. Churned. I felt tearful. And called myself ridiculous.

My father said that Claire Forlani's face went through more expressions in a moment than most faces do in a lifetime. I don't think he meant it as a compliment. My high school friends were frightened of my father. They used to call him "The Equalizer." He wore handsome suits and carried an umbrella in the fall and winter months, and they thought he looked like Edward Woodward, and they figured he would be mean. He isn't. He is the opposite of mean. The anti-mean. He is the sweet center of me. And I wish I was holding his hand right now.

I cleaned my windows. Now I can see everything.

It's about redefining your life because another exists. You breathe because they do.

Jul 15, 2006

An exercise

A long time ago, Adam and I had a conversation in which he asserted that Sandra Bullock is the poor man's Julia Roberts. The mention of this to Beulah in a later conversation led to a series of such comparisons, eventually leading us to conclude that Angelina Jolie is the poor man's Jon Voight, and Tom Cruise is the poor man's Tom Cruise. In addition, I think that Laurence Fishburne is the poor man's Denzel Washington, John Goodman is the poor man's Brian Dennehy, and Whitney Houston is the poor man's Robert Downey, Jr. Ethan Hawke used to be the poor man's Johnny Depp, but now he has become the poor man's Matt Damon. Russell Crowe used to be the poor man's Mel Gibson. But now Mel Gibson is the poor man's this guy. Emilio Estevez is the poor man's Charlie Sheen. Meatloaf is the poor man's Air Supply. And church is the poor man's eHarmony. I am going to begin erecting a caste system based on these data. I hope you're rich enough to bathe in the same dirty river as me and my precious cows.

It was so hot today.

Eighty-five degrees in my apartment with all the windows open and both fans on. I am on my third shower.

And for those of you who were expecting something more along the lines of, "How hot was it?":

It was so hot, my dog exhibited considerable lethargy.
It was so hot, I had to mop my brow several times.
It was so hot, I almost turned my computer off and played very little Super Text Twist.

No, really, I've got a few. Real ones.

It was so hot, a cigarette extinguished on one's thigh felt like an ice cube down the pants.
It was so hot, ice cream trucks were all playing The Mexican Hat Dance.
It was so hot, Greek women waxed their bikini lines with candles.

It's snowing on the television right now, and that is making me want to put my hands on something small and defenseless and squeeze until it stops struggling. Fortunately for Audrey, I can't reach her from where I'm sitting.

Jul 13, 2006


I had a problem with the premise of this show, when I first heard it. The lottery winnings were not large enough to justify the extravagance being alluded to in the commercial. A jackpot split twenty ways. When that one dude says, "I'm off to buy a football team," I balked. In an IM conversation with Kevin Tavolaro, I think Kevin said, "Maybe it's a Pop Warner team." And if that's true, then I guess it's okay. But anything else misrepresents the buying power of money. And being someone who buys gas regularly and occasionally thinks about how much old timers say a loaf of bread used to cost, it irks me to watch actors and show-runners make lots of money on a flimsy premise.

So, I'm actually watching an episode of the show, and I was totallly wrong. It was not the premise of the show that sucked. It's the show. The characters mention the lottery in nearly every sentence. It's ridiculous. And I'm not kidding.

Here is my spec script for Windfall, bearing in mind that I don't know the names of any of the characters and that my laziness prevents me from properly formatting the text:

INTERIOR. EVENING. A tacky Italian restaurant.


Thanks for dinner. Is this just because I won the lottery?


Don't be silly. Winning the lottery doesn't have to change anything between us.


EXTERIOR. DAY. Driveway in front of a suburban home.


I'm sorry you didn't like camping.


I did like camping. It's just that since I won the lottery, I want to do expensive things.


But that emasculates me.


So? Don't you want to pretend you won the lottery, too? I'll let you.


INTERIOR. Hospital room. BRECK is stroking the hair of CASS, who is in a hospital bed.


Thank God I won the lottery and can pay for this.


Don't you mean WE won the lottery?


Of course that's what I meant. Wait. Which one of us is a guy? I can't tell from our names.


Anyway, I don't recommend the show. It's uninteresting and unchallenging, and Luke Perry's forehead is beginning to make him look like a shar pei. Unless, of course, they want to hire me to write for it. In which case, it is the best show in the world, and Luke Perry's forehead is beginning to make him look like an expensive Italian briefcase.

Jul 6, 2006

Candy Bar Anthem
That new Snickers commercial with the guy playing a guitar ballad to the dude working in a carpet store, while the dude grooves to it with an expression on his face that makes me really uncomfortable, is made all the more unappealing by the fact that the guitar balladeer is also in a Valtrex commercial, talking about his herpes. I don't really like Snickers all that much to begin with, but I'm surprised the casting people don't require that you not be in a commercial for your venereal disease medication before signing up to sell food products. But then again, these days, who knows if food preparers even wash their hands anymore. I know my immune system is iron-clad, but I hate that it has to be.
Also, that candy bar song sucks.