Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Academy Gets It Right

No Country For Old Men is easily the best movie I've seen in years. It is so motherfucking good that I use it to judge people. If you don't like this movie then we probably won't get along. In short, ill-speakers of this film are most likely fucking idiots.

"I hated the ending. I didn't get it."

Suck a dick and grow a brain. The Coen Brothers chose theme over convention and turned an edge-of-your-seat thriller into something bigger. Deeper. Resonant. They used their Hollywood clout for good and with this win they almost make the Oscars relevant again.

I'm off to the gettin' place.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

LA Victory

Note to any LA douchebags who read this:

Yes, I'm aware that Bar Marmont is probably considered uncool and easy to get into by you avant-garde party fixtures, but to an out-of-towner like me who doesn't own any Ed Hardy shit, it's not so easy. So don't hate. Let me small fish it.

I never get into Bar Marmont. Of the four times I've tried, I've hit once -- but that was on a Sunday at 9 after our company holiday party and I was with about twenty of my attractive coworkers. The other times, I've been held back by my lack of money, vagina, and status (or the perception thereof) -- always velvet-roped by a scarf-wearing, European-looking black man who says they're at capacity while he takes bribes and lets in overmakeupped girls in slutty black dresses. Last time I tried, the girl I was with (Lauren from the shop) threw a temper tantrum and told me to fuck off so she could get in.

She did. I went to McDonalds.

Last night was different, though. Patrick and I were originally supposed to go to this trendy Hollywood club called Mood for an Armenian birthday function with Aaron and his girlfriend Nooneh, but a zero hour text message put the kibosh on that:

"dont come tried to charge 30 cover"

Thirty dollars. Valet not included. Pussy not guaranteed. There better be a magic portal for that price. One with a majestical, Legend of Zelda fairy pond sound that shoots out Inspector Gadget arms to blow you, finger you, and spray you with expensive cologne as you pass through to enter the club.

By the time we find out we won't be grinding up against big round asses that belong to girls whose last names end in -an, I already have two drinks in me and am working on my third. Yes, the alcohol flowed early, my friends. Like a fourth-grader on her period. Throw some potcorn in the mix and I'm the coolest motherfucker on Earth.

There's a knock at the door. Marcus, the security guard.

"No, dude! We did NOT get another fucking noise complaint."
"Man, I been standing outside your door for a minute and I can't hear shit. I don't know who's trippin' on y'all."

We invite Marcus in for a drink. He's a young, good-looking black guy from South Central. And he's alive. He calls down to the foreigner at the desk and tells him our music isn't even on and everything is cool. I pour him some vodka and throw on some west coast rap and idle conversation rules for the next half hour.

Fun fact about me and black people:

I like to think I'm cool with more black people than the Beverly Center. The truth is I have to work very hard to feel this way. Whenever possible, I steer conversations towards rap or rap-related subjects. If a black person happens to be talking about math, I'll mention the number 24 and start talking about rims. I'll switch up my word choice and use a lot of gerunds. Instead of saying, "She was hot" I'll say something like, "That bitch was straight banging." I can't help it. I need to be validated by the urban element. This behavior probably isn't helping.

Patrick calls up Christian, a trainer from the gym who's anything but. He's at the Libertine on Sunset, the scene of an incredibly fun Asian night a few weeks back. I ended up pole dancing with some J-Pop-looking girl named Noriko, except I kept calling her Norelco. I think I called her Nintendo once, too. She gave me a kiss a on the lips and giggled like a Pokemon.

Off to the Libertine we go.

Patrick parks a mile away because we don't have to pay, and we trek up Crescent Heights. The whole thing takes about thirty seconds in my head because I am sufficiently buzzed and spend the whole walk drunk-dialing and shouting "motherfucker" at anything that moves. We get to the Libertine and, by some miracle, I remember the dreadlocked doorman's name (Conrad). I mention our mutual friend (Berman) and we get in (free).

Unfortunately tonight is not Asian night and it's dead inside.

Christian is posted up at the bar finishing a beer. We stand around and try to look cool while we figure out where the fuck we're going to go. I suggest the Body Shop and then immediately regret it because I don't want to pay a ten dollar cover charge for tits I will never have in my mouth.

So I suggest Bar Marmont, which is right across the street.

Christian and Patrick kind of look at each other. They're thinking exactly what I'm thinking: we'll never get in. Eleven-something on a Saturday and people already crowded outside, some of them female. We're three dicks, six balls, and zero clout. Not a fucking chance.

We try anyway.

The Bar Marmont is a wooden-doored tavern tucked in a wall of ivy at the beginning of the Sunset Strip. Steps lead inside so you feel superior and chosen when the doorman finally unclips the velvet rope for you. Tonight, my stubble-having nemesis hangs back smoking a cigarette while a short white model/actor plays point. He has a perfect square for a jaw and looks like a cross between Tom Cruise and the guy who played Chuck on The Wonder Years. He plucks souls for entrance like God's assistant.

Travis, one of the membership guys from my gym, has mentioned before that he has a Bar Marmont hook-up -- a white guy at the door. Could this be him? And if it is, what's the proper way to go about name-dropping? Do I say "I'm friends with Travis" or "I know Travis" or "Do you know Travis?" I don't want to fuck this up. I--

"Is that the dude from Can't Hardly Wait?"

No. But Vinnie Jones comes barreling out with a lady friend that will rim him if he blinks twice and I realize that if we get in tonight, it's a victory. This is the same place I couldn't get into with my girlfriend in July, barely over a month in town. How fucking symbolic and cool and uplifting and awesome would it be if I got in tonight, without the bitch?

I approach the doorman:

"Is Travis in there?"

He looks me over. Patrick. Christian.

"I got you guys. Hold on a sec."

The next eight minutes are suspense. People coming, people going. At one point, when it looks like we're going to get in, a posse of bimbos who reek of cigarettes and perfume slut on up. So we wait some more. A brown-haired girl steps outside and calls down the steps to her blonde friend. She reaches to her, like an angel beckoning from the other side:

"It's everything you've ever dreamed. Overpriced drinks, ugly guys with money, friends of friends of friends."

A minute later, the blonde friend gets in. Two cholos with a visible wad of cash strut up. More girls come. Things are looking bad...

"I've really gotta get these guys in. They've been waiting forever."

And then the doorman unclips the rope for us and it's a sweet fucking moment in my LA life. I'm swept up the steps by a wave of false accomplishment. I don't look back at the people who won't get in. Not because I feel superior, but because my head feels like a Windows 3.1 screensaver and I don't want to swivel it around too much.

I want to tip the doorman, but all I have is a twenty and a couple of ones and I don't want to insult him or ask for change. I have no idea what the standard doorman tip is anyway. Probably way more than I can afford. Christian tells me "never pay at the door". I tell him I could've created a relationship. It's a Pavlovian thing, like training a dog -- treats and praise will get you everywhere:

"Thanks, man. Really appreciate it." Handshake him money.

You do that a few times, learn his name, ask a couple bullshit questions about his life, and then eventually take away the money. I'm speculating of course, but I can't imagine being far off.

It's not that crowded inside. Definitely not at capacity like the lie I've been told so many times. I see Jason Segel from Knocked Up and How I Met Your Mother. He is one 9/11-tall motherfucker. I want to congratulate him on knowing Judd Apatow and having a career because of it (plus he's talented), but he's talking to a short girl and I don't want to cockblock a burgeoning celebrity with my off-kilter, drunken congratulatory-ness:

"Dude, you... hold on..." Throw up on his bitch.

At the bar, Christian asks me what I'm drinking. I know I should get a beer -- switch from missiles to guns -- but when you're drunk you never envision reaching the point where you're too drunk. It may have happened before, but that was before. This time, more vodka will only make you happier and improve your altered state.

"Vodka Cranberry."

It's so good I can't taste the alcohol. We take a seat in a couple of high chairs and revel and bask in our glory. Our victory. LA: a million, Us: one. But that one feels like a million and that's all that matters. What sucks is I'm too drunk to fully appreciate the moment. I can't make this count because I can barely see straight. I have maybe enough sober in me to lie to one girl about who I am and what I do. And even if those lies made her want to blow me, it probably wouldn't matter because I doubt my dick would work -- like an old lady with a broken hip or Brody Jenner.

Hot Aryan girls walk by and Patrick, a Swede, tells me to ask them if they're Norweigan:

"Are you Norweigous?"

They continue on and I'm left wondering what the point of that was.

In my chair, I invent a dance called the typewriter; I stutter my body from left to right and then slide back to the left and do it all over again. Christian tells me people are going to think I'm a retard. I stop. For about five minutes.

I figure out that if I sit a certain way it feels like my feet are having an orgasm.

And then that moment comes, the one that you thought wouldn't. The moment when it all stops being fun. This is the Tommy Devito in Goodfellas moment, where you're Joe Pesci and you think you're getting motherfucking made when you're really getting motherfucking whacked. It's all over. You're finished like a bowl of rice in Darfur.

"... no more..."

I see the look on Patrick's face. Because he's such a good friend, he knows his night is about to end too. He and Christian send me outside to stumble around against the ivy while they finish their drinks. When I walk it feels like I'm walking in a dream. I'm too fucked up to even smoke a cigarette.

I bow my head in defeat. Most victories are bittersweet anyway.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V Day and some rambling

Valentine's Day exists to remind us how much happy couples suck. Hand-holding, kissy-facing, baby-talking, movie-watching, toothbrush-sharing, fart-in-fronting, inside joke-having, no rubber-wearing, "together forever" motherfuckers who are comfortable with the asshole they lucked into finding.

(Comfort + Having shit in common + a shred of attraction) x Time = Love

I'm sure my ex-girlfriend will spend at least some of her Valentine's Day with Muggsy Bogues' dick in her mouth. I wonder if she gives him the same "my jaw hurts" excuse she gave me. 'Twas bullshit. She just sucked dick at sucking dick. Mine at least. Maybe she would've done a better job if she pretended it was somebody else's.

I'm sorry, but I have this rage/sadness hybrid inside of me that bubbles like the slime in Ghostbusters 2. I don't know why it won't go away. It's like initials carved into a tree. Every time I start to forget I've been replaced and move on, the scab reopens and I have to start all over again. Nights are tough when you know she's not alone. Tonight won't be any easier. Someone suggested I go to one of those oh-so-fucking-clever Valentine's Day "Singles Awareness" functions where mediocre-looking drunk chicks with daddy issues and weight problems hoot and holler and shout edgy shit like, "Love sucks!" while they try to muster the courage to dance on the bar. I'd probably spontaneously combust from attending such a trite little get-together. Then again, this is a trite, anti-Valentine's Day post and I'm still here.

I really hate that fucking show Friends. That has nothing to do with this, by the way.

I wrote something clever the other day:

thinking, feeling
triste at a bar in los feliz
took my insight outside
to hold on to my release

I fear I may work at the gym forever. And yes, I know how crazy I sound, but I'm not writing with my brain right now. I'm writing with that feeling in my stomach.

Time for bed.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Washing a plastic spoon for reuse.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Home alone
like Macaulay Culkin
dick pointy like ears on a Vulcan
with these foolish words spoken
to a brown-haired girl
I could see the fear in her eyes
when I asked for her number
what a blunder
"Alexis has it," she said
you know life sucks when
alcohol can't numb the rejection
the ejection of my heart
I should expect it
protect it
but I put it out there like
a retard in little league
a tourist in Italy
spit on me
I'm pathetic
how I miss her flat face
like a bullet meant for a president
I'm a resident in this lonely world
lifetime lease
I'm a homely squirrel
staring down the barrel
of failure's shotgun
should I run or should I not run?
A life with words
is a life with your hand
you're your own number one fan
And life tends to happen in this whirlwind
around you
it surrounds you
confounds you
pounds you
you're all by yourself
a cheap bottle of whatever

Monday, February 4, 2008


I didn't really expand on my current state in the last blog because the title was Pauly Shore's Birthday Party, not Jeff Grapples With Single Life and His Insecurities. So that's what this entry is going to be about.

Right now I'm stuck in that post-relationship period where you begin to realize you're not as appealing as you thought you were, where all the girls you thought you could get turn out to be girls that don't exist. See, when you're in a relationship, every girl that smiles at you, that touches you, that laughs at something you say, is a girl that wants to sleep with you. A could've-had. You tally them up in your head like an invoice and you resent your girlfriend for the ass she's costing you.

When you're free, you realize that a lot of the could've-hads are never-hads. Figments of a well-nourished, pussy-driven imagination. We're all pimps when we're getting laid.

Being in Los Angeles doesn't make things easier. All the money, cars, fame -- they wear you down. After a while you start to feel like Turtle on Entourage. If he wasn't friends with Vinny Chase. The gym is packed with light-eyed, perfect-jawed guys who get paid for being born that way. Yes, most of them are probably gay, but it doesn't matter because women don't default to normal-looking straight guys when faced with handsome gayness. They just lament the gayness.

Some of these guys are straight though, and oh how it hurts when they are.

"Oh, he's beautiful! He is SO beautiful."

Translation: You are not beautiful.

I like to tell myself that these guys have nothing upstairs, no substance, but somehow I think that's a plus in this city. Who needs brains when you can eat sushi and have sex? Possibly without taking your sunglasses off.

Sometimes I catch myself looking in the mirror.

When you're in a relationship it doesn't matter what you look like. Your imperfections are embraced, appreciated. When you're single you feel like your imperfections are holding you back. The same nose that my girlfriend loved is the same nose that may prevent me from meeting the next one.

We're amicable, by the way. Most days we talk. Some days we don't. Some days I'm tempted to delete her number from my phone and never talk to her again. Other days I want to tell her how much I miss her. Sometimes I do.

"I wish you wouldn't say that..."

Me too.

For now I'm the guy at the bar. I aim low for the most part. I hear that I need to be more confident.

"Be like Nathan."
"Nate used to model. His girlfriend is on Nip/Tuck."
"Then be like Nick."
"Nick used to bang his girlfriends' mothers back in high school."

I didn't feel a vagina until 11th grade.

I find myself overanalyzing women. Did she smile to be friendly or did she smile because she's attracted to me and can see herself with me and wants me to engage her in conversation? Did she touch my arm because she likes me or did she touch it because I have a big arm? I'm looking for signals in every look, scratch, blink. She looked at me for a second longer than she needed to. That means she wants sex, right?

I've been told I'm too goofy, too nice. I'm strongly considering not smiling for a week just to see how things go. Maybe I won't say hi to anyone either. Make myself mysterious, you know? Or is that too much? Maybe I'll say hi to every third person. Or just nod at them.

Maybe I should not be myself for awhile.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pauly Shore's Birthday Party

“Are you Kitty?” I ask, double-fisting a Miller Lite and margarita.
“No! I jerked off to one of your scenes the other day!”

I’ve never talked to a pornstar before, so I’m not sure if this compliment is appropriate or out of line. I know I’d be flattered if somebody told me that they jerked off to me:

“Are you Granite Wall?”
“Dude, I totally came to one of your scenes the other day!”
“Thanks, man. That means a lot to me. Want me to sign the napkin you blew in?”

Kitty squeals with laughter and covers her face, embarrassed. I think this is funny considering she routinely takes foot-long black cocks in her ass on camera. She’s about 4’11. Tiny, Asian, and looks like a twelve-year-old girl. If you have a dick and internet access you’ve probably seen her. I tell her that I’m a fan and that she’s one of my favorite actresses, even though I don’t have her page bookmarked. She giggles and blushes and we take a picture together.

Me and Kitty
For the next thirty minutes I tell everyone I met an Asian pornstar.

“Who?” Brian, the PT manager, asks. Brian’s tall and reminds me of a cool math teacher (“Bro, I wanna bisect her vertex”). He and I kind of have a friendly, unspoken Asian-getting competition going on. Not because we objectify Asian women, but because we objectify all women.

I point Kitty out.

“You would break her,” Brian says.
“You wouldn’t say that if you saw her movies.”

The Comedy Store is a quiet black building in the heart of the Sunset Strip. It stands out by not trying to stand out. You want to see Dane Cook dance around and shout overly-enunciated words? Go down the street to the Laugh Factory. This place is for people who tell jokes. An indie theater. Not a multiplex.

Pauly Shore’s party is in the main room. The crowd is composed mostly of comedian-looking schlubs (“Hey, have you heard the one about the guy who didn’t get laid…”) and plastic-surgeried bimbos who can barely see over their cartoonish chests. Your standard party songs from your standard rappers boom from tall speakers while overmakeupped barely-legals in slutty black dresses crank and shake and dip onstage like they’re auditioning for “America’s Next Rape Victim”.

Needless to say, I’m digging the motherfucking scene.

I spend most of the night drinking free beer and trying to dance. I feel inadequate in the shadow of Aaron, my light-skinned black friend with a poofy firework ‘fro. Unlike me, he’s able to dance without attaching himself to a girl’s ass. All I can do when I’m alone is hold my drink up, bob my head, and say “Yeah!” I also do something with my fists and shoulders, but I’m not quite sure what the fuck that is.

After I scare off a couple of girls that are feeling Aaron’s infinitely feelable moves, he tells Patrick that I need to work on my game, which is very very true. But Aaron is black. Game-spitting is in his blood. Him telling me I need to work on my skills is like Superman criticizing Joe Public for not being able to burn shit with his eyes.

One of the things that sucks about getting out of a long term relationship is your inability to talk to girls. Once I get past “What’s your name?” and “What do you do?” I’m pretty much fucked. I’m not used to the bullshit-for-pussy barter system. I’ve been getting a free ride for the past five years. And suddenly I’m expected to pay? What the fuck? Where’s the manager?

My friend Annarose tells me the trick is to act like you don’t care, but how are you supposed to do that when your dick is leading the way?

This is something Clarissa never explained.

As the night presses on, I gawk at more girls. Some smile. Some don’t. I overanalyze everything and my insecurities eventually consume me. Living/working/partying in the vapid part of LA doesn’t help things when you’re a semi-attractive gym employee with no money who drives a ’92 Subaru with close to 230,000 miles on it. How can that compete with an ‘08 Bentley? How can my unpartitioned nook in a tiny one bedroom compete with a house in the hills?

You can charm your way into lives out here, but you won’t be taken seriously until there’s something in your wallet.

I see Pauly making the requisite birthday rounds, getting kisses, shaking hands. I hang around his general area until he sees me.

“But Jeff, how the fuck do you know Pauly Shore?”

Well I don’t, really. He’s in and out of the gym all the time and I say hi. The only conversation we’ve ever had was about Wes Craven suing him for water runoff or something (they’re neighbors). I think I called Wes Craven a prick, although I’m sure if I was having the conversation with Wes Craven I would’ve called Pauly Shore a prick. That’s the thing about me: as much as I try not to kiss a celebrity’s ass I always end up doing it.

Pauly recognizes me and gives me an extended, reach-over-a-couple-of-people high-five and a bro-ish hug. I wish him a happy birthday and the party photographers snap a couple pictures of us. Then I get my own picture:

Kiki, a trainer from Northern VA, has a friend that I actually went to high school with. Kiki’s friend tells me that she hears Pauly’s an asshole. I nod and shrug – one of those I-respect-your-opinion-and-semi-agree-with-it gestures that you do when you don’t respect somebody’s opinion or agree with it. But she’s cute and I feel like I have a chance working the nostalgia angle (“Hey, remember when…”). What bothers me about her, other than her sour demeanor and constantly-judging-everything-you-say personality, is her lips. They don’t exist. I have this fear that I’ll fall in love with a girl who doesn’t know how to kiss, who doesn’t have the equipment to kiss. I’m fucking packing in the lip department and don’t want to feel like I’m making out with my palm.

But it ends up not mattering like I thought it wouldn’t because I’m drunk and say this to her:

“You’re my nigga.”
“You’re my nig-ga!”

She gets this disgusted look on her face like I just said her breath smelled like a thousand Mexican farts and backs away from me.

“No I’m not.”
“Don’t get mad. I listen to enough rap music where I can say that.”

I then tell her to chill out and not get like the movie Crash on me. I emphasized the “uh” sound. I was friendly when I said it. I may as well have been singing a Tupac lyric. Show me the fucking cross I burned, you know? Later, Patrick makes a good point and says that maybe she’s upset because she thought I was calling her black. Maybe she’s the racist. This is why Patrick is my best friend.

Kitty is on the dance floor with a couple of her friends. I approach her again now that I’m running on fewer inhibitions:

“Come dance on stage with me!”

Louder giggles. She covers her face and shakes her head. Keep in mind this is someone who has been videotaped swapping cum. So I pick her up with one arm (about 80 lbs) instead and we take another picture.

I should do porn
I feel powerful holding her, like King Kong. It’s nice when you feel like you can manhandle someone you’d like to fuck.

I think I recognize one of her equally small friends:

“Are you Tia Tanaka?”
“No no no no.” Head shakes.
“Yes she is!” Kitty squeals.

Since I’m kind of fucked up, I don’t know who to believe. On one hand, this girl looks a lot like hot Asian porn starlet Tia Tanaka and she’s hanging out with Kitty fucking Jung, one of my go-to creamers (along with Evelyn Lin). On the other hand, lots of other hot Asian girls look like Tia Tanaka, even a few at the party. She’s off the assembly line, a prototype: beautiful but unremarkable. No flaws, nothing that stands out. I’m sure I could dip inside any given Hollywood club on aZn night and point out twenty Tia Tanakas. I want to call her a liar in a jocular, drunken fashion, but I decide against it because lately I haven’t been watching as much Asian porn as I should. My ex-girlfriend is SoKo and I still get kind of sad when I see petite brown lips being impaled by dicks that don’t belong to me. For all I know, this girl could just be a Fast and the Furious extra. (note: after much early afternoon “research”, I have since discovered it was Tia Tanaka.)

I finish my beer and head outside to shoot the shit with Chris, a trainer (and former Wall Street powerhouse) and Dawn, a membership advisor. She tells me they just saw Dave Chappelle and I immediately head back into Pauly’s party to look for him. Pathetic, right? By no means am I a star-chaser. I’m pretty desensitized, actually. I don’t hound celebrities or ask for autographs or harbor delusions that we will one day be BFFs. I just want to get my picture taken with them so all of my friends back home think I’m the man. I want to be a celebrity by proxy – that guy that gets talked about when a bunch of people are sitting around smoking weed:

“Yeah, my boy Jeff is living out in Cali doing his writing thing. Motherfucker was chillin’ with Jeremy Piven the other night.”
“Dude on Entourage that’s the agent and shit.”
“Ohhh… that’s so cool!”
“I know, right?”
“Let’s go in your room.”

A celebrity-by-proxy proxy hook up. Those probably only happen if Brad Pitt is the lead off.

But I do chill with Piven. Well, not chill. He just comes into the gym sometimes when I’m working and I scan his card and validate his parking and ask the occasional question about Entourage and whatever movie he’s working on.

I see him at the party and wrap my arm around him:

A “who the fuck are you?” look.
“I’m the front desk guy at your gym!”

After a moment, recognition registers. I’m not sure if it’s real recognition or polite, fake recognition, but as long as I can pretend it’s the former I’m cool.

“Oh… Hey.”

I tell him it’s good to see him and let him get back to the girls who want to take celebrity-by-proxy to the next step and fellate his fame staff. I run into him outside half an hour later and he’s nice enough to indulge me and snap a couple pictures. He’s looking away in the first one because my camera is old and takes forever.

Hugging it out
Ibid, bitch
I strike up a conversation with the prettiest Piven hanger-on while he chats with comedian Dom Irrera and the good-looking guy from Mad TV.

“Watch out for this guy. He’s an Emmy Award winner.”
“That’s what I hear.”
“What’s your name?”
“(I don’t remember what she said)”.
“I’m Jeff.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise. What do you do?”
“I’m an entertainment reporter for KTLA. Channel 5.”
“Cool… Are you gonna get a ‘scoop’?”

Thank you. I’ll be here all week.