Monthly Archives: June 2012

oh, the eye-rolling


My Fellow Americans:

Let me begin this diatribe by admitting that I am:

a) a dick

b) a snob

c) occasionally guilty of the things I’m about to accuse you of.

That’s fine; I can take the hypocrisy because I’m a dick, and I can take being a dick because I’m a hypocrite. But that doesn’t stop the fact that you people are icky, and getting ickier by the minute.

Do I lump my friends and family in there? Why of course not. Y’all get a pass. Because I’m not just a dick, I’m also exclusionary. Some people call that loyalty, other call it a cheap way to make broad generalizations without pissing everyone off.

That’s fine too. As my brother Sean likes to tell me, just admitting that you’re a dick/snob doesn’t give you a free pass to being a dick/snob. And so I am paying for this pass with your disapproval; I do not expect it to be free.

But my fellow Americans, you are fat and you smell bad. You dress like shit, and I would say you have no self-respect, but the reality is you may have too much. Why have you stopped caring what the world thinks? It’s as though many of you hit 40 and completely ceased giving a shit.

I’m here to say that I care. I haven’t given up on you yet, so please give up on that Tampa Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. Men, why do you constantly wear clothes that turn your massive bodies into corporate advertisements? The only writing that should ever be on a shirt involves either irony or your favorite sports team. At least a Celtics jersey conjures up an emotional allegiance – being a commercial for Hollister just conjures up the end of creativity.

One more thing, guys: I don’t care how hot it is. I don’t deserve to be subject to your toes.

Look, I’m not perfect. I have bad skin, skate shoes, and god knows my BMI isn’t going to inspire a nation to conquer the fuckin’ triathlon. But for the love of god, if your love handles are going to spill over the armrest and into my airplane seat, I would like you to pay for the part of my seat that I’m unable to use. On this particular flight home from Hawaii, that accounted for about one-fifth.


I’m not saying this because it makes me miserable, which it does. I’m saying it because you look like you’re miserable, a nation of humongous automatons walking around with dreadful haircuts, cutting in line at Burger King, always bothered, always one item shy of what you were supposed to be at for on with.

Stop barking at me. Stop yelling at your kids. Quit pushing me into the fucking tram! I get it, there’s too many of us. My wife and I are doing our part; looks like we’re replacing the two of us with only one.

For the love of god, men, stop looking at their boobs. They know when you’re doing it. Hell, I’m sitting across the room, and I know when you’re doing it. And ladies, if you don’t want them to look at your boobs, stop wearing things that say LOOK AT MY BOOBS. Unless I am missing THE WHOLE POINT.

I’m going to start donning an ascot. I will part my hair squeakily down the middle, and dress for dinner. I will say please and thank you and sip my soup with the spoon sweeping away from me. I will scrub with the finest unscented soaps and take up only my tiny, allotted space in a public place.

I will retire to the country, sit in my drawing room, and with a quill pen, I shall complete the Fourteenth Volume of “Things What Offend My Precious Sensibilities”. Join me for tea?

twixt plated decks


So we’re walking down the beach. Catching a genuine emotion the instant it happens with a child is rare, but I managed to snap this one of Lucy today when she realized a sea turtle was indeed right in front of her:


If you know my daughter, and have had the experience of watching The Discovery Channel or Animal Planet with her, you can understand that we may all go home now, utterly and completely fulfilled. We spent 20 minutes just looking into the turtle’s eyes, as it tried to fall asleep. Truly, these creatures are so cute as to be ridiculous. And it helps that they think us humans are fascinating.

As we started hiking back up the hill, Lucy said, “Can I touch it once on its back? I might not ever have this experience in my life again.” The only thing I could think was, man oh man, I’d move mountains to make sure she would.


just keep going to the mall


I’m going to put some links on this particular blog entry that you should not click on. Seriously. It’s about the most recent conclusions regarding climate change, and the news is so bad as to be truly gobsmacking.

You’ve got the new write-up in Nature (or just read this), the 11-degree horrorshow in the Washington Post, David Roberts’ work over on Grist, even the behavioral science papers on denial. Sure, being on this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has amped up my usually-dormant lava spurts of Planet Worry, but what I really want to know is… is it possible to care?

I mean, we can’t actually do anything about it besides a bit of paltry recycling, driving a decent car, and giving half a shit. I say this as someone who has spent a lot of money on solar panels (which will pay for themselves on their 10th anniversary, next year) and have humorlessly waxed imperfect about The Environment® since 1991.


Here’s where we are: the news is terrible; the world is getting hotter faster than anyone thought. Short of a radical energy solution invented – and implemented fully – in the next ten years… well, as I said, you don’t want to read those links. Given that our government won’t do anything about it, corporations have the same rights as humans, and half the country thinks climate change is a lie, what do you do?

Blissful nihilism? Not possible with a kid.

Concerned worrywarting? Pointless.

Revolution in the streets? Unsustainable.

Just keep plugging along? I mean, sure, but is there any redemption in that? I need answers. Don’t tell me there are other things to worry about; I have room for that shit too. I just want to know how normal people are supposed to react to something that appears so bizarrely hopeless.

the best boy’s got a grip gaffer



I shan’t bore you with the quotidian issues of filmmaking, so how about some pictures? (click for bigger)


the above picture, partially annotated (click for bigger)


Tessa cheers when Amy Heidt nails a fantastic take


Lucy wonders why the adults are so effusive


is there anything better than getting two brilliant Carolina women together?


what I look like now that I’m 45 (on set)


we take a break in Kailua after the day’s shoot (click for bigger)


the sun sets on our last day martini shot


fireworks over Honolulu a few minutes later

devil can’t find my idle hands



Tessa with our incredible prop master Mathias today

It’s not often you get to see someone in their Absolute Perfect Milieu™, but this week, my wife is in hers. As director of this short film going 12-hour days, she may be tired, sunburned, frantic, harried and constantly polytasking – but she is also the apotheosis of happiness.

Truly, my wife is at her most content when there is too much to do. I’m probably at my most content in the synapse-firing beginning sequence of a Big Idea. How about you? Today’s question… What activity puts you in the most active state of bliss?

Besides orgasm, alcohol, drugs, and sleep, that is.


I caught her while eating, but this says it all

eyelines match perfectly



If you want to learn humility very quickly, try making a movie. There is no other art form in the world so dependent on a wide range of other people, and truly, so little you can actually accomplish yourself. Even universally-accepted geniuses make terrible movies all the time, none of them even knowing it until long after production.

I think of my own life as a succession of scales falling off my eyes, scales made of brittle, calcified ego. One major life lesson was the Pink House movie, which was so amazing in parts, but added up to a jumble we could never rescue. That was eleven years ago – and in a way, this Hawaii movie is something of a redemption, no matter how it turns out.

Alack. Let me back up and say what the hell we’re doing. My dear old friend Stasia moved to Hawaii when her husband Jim got the job as 1st assistant camera on “Hawaii 5-0”. He’d like to move up to the job of Director of Photography at some point, but that requires a “reel” of his work. Thus he put together a list of shots, and when we saw it in February, we said, “why don’t we just write a short film containing all those shots?” Win-win!

What followed was an outpouring of support from his crew on “Hawaii 5-0” (many of whom had worked on “Lost”), and several of them agreed to work on this film for free – and, for some of them, the experience of having their boss’ job. Hawaiian Airlines read the script and jumped aboard as sponsor, flying us (and the actors) to and from the mainland.

After three months of part-time (but intense) pre-production, we all flew to Honolulu over the weekend, and today was the first of four days of filming. To put it mildly, the crew… these cats are good. They work as one, a body of 20-25 folks made flawless by their own muscle memory and trust in each other.

None of you will know any of that, which is a testament to their fluidity. What you’ll experience is the story, simply a comic romp across Oahu that starts when a married couple on a therapist-mandated holiday take the wrong rental car and end up being pursued by a villain having the worst crime day of his life.


in Hawaii, thunder and sudden rain can happen pretty much any second

Today we shot a scene involving a mother and two kids dropping off her car – the mother being Stasia herself, and the two kids being her son Noah and our own Lulubeans. They nailed their big scene in one take (unheard of!) and earned the kudos of the crew.

Lucy and Noah remind me of the Chinese gymnasts – too young to fully grasp the stakes of the situation, and therefore utterly at ease. I have decided to adopt their equanimity and spasmodic serenity. I’ve come to the realization there are some things I’m very good at, and as for the rest, I should let the village, each individual member, shine, shine on.


Jim and Tessa set up Lucy and Noah’s shot

pith helmet optional


I will begin my report on shooting a short film in Hawaii tomorrow, for those who are interested in how such things work. Until then, I believe Lucy speaks for us all tonight:


waiting for luggage, Honolulu airport, 10:52pm

5, 10 15, 20, ready or not here i come



For many of you with kids, I’m sure you’re having that “last day of school” experience… but I just need to say that I’m so proud of my little girl here on her last day of 1st grade. I could go on about how all parents try to right all the wrongs suffered by them as kids, or that we relive all our wounds each year our children go through them, but Lucy makes me forget about all that with each passing day.

I’m so proud of you and your spirit, my sweet love!


art project done Mo Willems-style

aloha, mr. hand


Sometimes I feel the need to give a little micro-update on our present circumstances so that later iterations of ourselves look back on these months, they will get a sense of what the hell was going on. So, future selves, here it is:

• On Friday, Tessa will be going to Kailua, Hawaii to work with Stasia and her husband Jim.

• On Sunday, the Lulubeans and I will be following them, bringing along the effervescently awesome Amy Heidt and the consistently soul-divinin’ Seth Shelden.

• Why, you may ask? Because we are shooting a short film – an adventure comedy set in Honolulu and places therewith. I helped write it with Tessa (who is directing); Seth, Amy and a bunch of amazing actors will be performing; and Stasia’s husband Jim will be director of photography. Stasia herself is producing, and much of the crew comes from the smooth-like-butter set of “Hawaii 5-0”.

• Hawaiian Air is one of our sponsors!

• I will be filming a “behind the scenes” movie about the production, and will actually be on camera, which as most of you know, I have avoided for several decades. But this particular idea requires it.

• We’ll be back in 12 days, spend one day in LA, then fly to New York for the summer. We’ve got people staying at our house, so potential burglars FUCK OFF!

• Any questions? I know this is a lot to throw at you, but I thought you could handle it.

• Please. Please don’t say that.

• Of course I care. What makes you think I don’t?

• Look, I realize this brings up some hot-button issues. I wasn’t trying to-

• You’re actually going there, are you? So now we’re allowed to say things like that to each other?

• WHAT?!? Look, when are you gonna get it through your head that NOT EVERYTHING IS ALL ABOUT YOU?



image courtesy of Landsat 7 Science Team

i got the 8:15 shift at “tickle me silly’s”



Does anyone know a good joke? If someone held a crossbow to my head and demanded a joke, I have exactly ONE (1) joke in my arsenal, only because I heard my dad tell it at a dinner party around 1979. Here it is:

Jesus is nailed to the cross, crying out. Mary Magdalene looks up to him and says, “What can we do, my Lord?”

“Peter… Peter…” is all she hears Jesus say. Then John the Evangelist joins Mary Magdalene and asks, “My Lord, what can we do to ease your suffering?”

“Peter! Peter!” Jesus says, so John bids the witnesses to summon Peter, who had already denied Jesus after the Last Supper. With his head bowed and contrite, Peter comes to the crucifix.

“Peter! Peter! Come here!” Jesus says.

“Yes, my Lord,” he responds, and comes to Jesus’ feet.

“Peter-” Jesus says, his voice parched from thirst.

“Yes, my Lord?”

“I can see your house from here.”


You really do have to imagine my dad – the symphony conductor – telling it to a rapt group of orchestra musicians and board members after a half-bottle of Cabernet to get the full effect.

And I just looked, and apparently that joke is 163,000 other places on the internet – oh THANK YOU KNOW-IT-ALL INTERNET. But it remains the only one I can ever recall, and I supposedly write (among other things) comedies for a living.

So I put it to you? Do you know an actual story-based joke? No knock-knocks, or childish puns, mind you. Just a good simple set-up and punchline?