Me And Joss: The Legend Continues

26 04 2008

Are you a fan of Joss Whedon? If you are, then you’ll understand why I’m about to tell the non-fans to become fans, and if you’re not a fan, become one.

So, for a very long time (about ten years now), I’ve thought that the man was a genius. If you don’t really know who the heck he is, he created Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, as well as the upcoming Dollhouse, and he wrote and directed Serenity, the spin-off feature film set in the Firefly world. He wrote and directed most of the absolute best episodes of those shows, and really many of the best episodes of television I’ve evr seen. In case you’re wondering, yes, I pretty much have a man crush on the guy. I would have his babies.

Anyway, probably about a year and a half ago, I was walking along the 3rd Street Promenade here in LA, and who should I see but a schlubby guy in sneakers and a loose-fitting shirt. This guy was, you guessed it( you guessed it, right?), Joss Whedon. I couldn’t bring myself to approach him, so I just kind of stalked him up and down the Promenade for about fifteen minutes until he rounded a corner and exited my life.

Cut to a few months ago when, during the writers’ strike, there was an event called Mutant Enemy Day. Mutant Enemy is Joss Whedon’s production company, so I’m sure you can guess what the event was like. Buffy, Angel, and Firefly alum (actors, writers, producers, etc.) were out that day, striking in support of the writers. Now, I had been striking with the Battlestar Galactica writers when I was able since the strike had begun, so the striking wasn’t particularly exhilerating, except that, once again, Joss and I crossed paths. And, once again, I couldn’t bring myself to approach him. It just felt like we were all there for a cause, and to treat it like essentially a convention seemed inappropriate.

Cut to this past Tuesday, three days ago. I’m at work at the bookstore, when who should come up the escalator, but Mr. Whedon himself. I know! I just couldn’t let this go. “Hi. Are you Joss Whedon?” My voice was stuck in my throat, and also was doing octaves I’d never heard it do. “Yes, I am.” “Hi, Joss Whedon. I am a huge fan of yours.” So far, so good. Seriously, what is up with my voice? “Oh. Well, thank you.” “I’m so sorry. I’m all nervous.” Okay. That was okay. Kind of a lame thing to say, but you’ll redeem yourself. Just say something cool right now. Talk about that time on the Promenade. No, he might not appreciate having been stalked. Tell him about how you’re sorta-friends with a former Buffy writer, Jane Espenson. Yeah, that could… no! Tell him about how you supported the writers, and struck with them. Yeah. Or just tell him that he’s your hero, and that he changed your view of television forever. Say something! You’ve been quiet too long. Something cool, something relevant, something now! “Jane Espenson comes in here!” “Oh.” Crap! That’s what you said? You really said that? It’s like that time you met Kevin Sorbo and you told him that last week you had met Lucy Lawless, and then he just politely walked away. Stupid, stupid! “I don’t know if you’d care about that.” No, I care.” He cares! You said something and Joss Whedon cares! “All right. Well, have a nice day.”

And he was gone.

Telling my fiancee about it later, she said that I totally redeemed myself for the Promenade, when I couldn’t even talk to him. I told her, “Yeah, and next time I see him, I’ll redeem myself for this interaction.”

So, here’s what I’ve decided. I don’t know if coincidences exist. But I’m deciding that Joss and I crossing paths so often is not coincidence. I’ve decided that it means we’re fated to work together sometime in the future. I’ve also decided though, that just because fate says “Yes,” doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it. So, I’m writing this script, right? And some days, I don’t want to write, and I think, “What does it matter? It gets done or it doesn’t, what’s the difference?” Well, the difference is this: if I write it, and it gets made, and I’m in it, then I’m one step closer to being somebody who other people recognize. People like Joss. If I don’t write it, who knows? So, I write. And I let fate take its course, but I do my part, too.

— ldi

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Other Worlds

28 03 2008

Today, the Scribble prompts us with “Out Of This World”. Though the clear encouragement is to discuss space and the like, I’ve decided on a slightly different tack. I hope you don’t mind.

***********************

Other worlds exist. I know this to be true. I’ve visited a few myself. The thing about these visits though, is that it’s technically untrue to say that I’ve visited. For you see, when I enter these worlds different from our own, I’m not really myself anymore.

Some of these worlds are vastly different from the one you and I spend most of our time. Some are eerily similar, with one or two things different. Some seem to exist in this world, but in a different time. Often times, I kid you not, they pay me to visit.

The first time I was paid for visiting, I found myself propositioning a seventeenth century whore in France. As she and I walked across the dirt road to my shabby home, four vampires in human form walked by. One of those vampires would become pregnant, and then sacrifice herself for the sake of her child. Another of those vampires would be the father of that child, and would evntually find his soul again and become a champion. That was a fun world to visit.

Less fun was the world in which I was one of a group of Mexican travellers, filthy and sweaty, journeying through the sweltering canyons in search of the Virgin Mary’s image upon the stones. Hundreds of us, some family, most strangers, walked for miles and miles to glimpse the side of the rocky wall. I can’t honestly say whether or not I saw what I sought, but I did see a shimmering light, a reflection, maybe, and I knew intuitively that everyone else saw it, too. We all looked on, hopefully, eagerly.

Then there was the time that I was mostly myself. I was at the Food Court in one of the malls of this world. We were in Los Angeles. I was enjoying my day, almost ready to resume shopping, when suddenly there was an announcement: “Attention, attention! Please evacuate the mall immediately! Repeat: please evacuate the mall immediately!” We later learned that foreign terrorists had released a deadly gas through the ventillation system of the mall. As we ran toward the exits, I spotted many who were not as fortunate as I was. Frothing at the mouth, bleeding at the eyes, dying. The horror of the situation remains with me to this day. Were it not for a hero named Jack, and the rest of his unit, who knows how many more would have suffered the same fate?

On a lighter note, there was the time I was in what appeared to be our world, but in the 1970’s. I was at a dance club, when two men — one short and with curly hair, the other tall and blonde with a long-ago-broken nose — entered. The short one was clearly hopped up on some kind of drug, so he barely noticed when he bumped into another man. Oh, but he noticed when the other man challenged him to a Dance Off. And oh, what fun it was to watch and cheer for the two competitors.

There exists a world where I am a high school student in a town called Arcadia, where Joan, a fellow student, believes she can see and have conversations with God. There’s a world in which I’m at a club that Big Momma barrels through to catch the bad guy. There’s a world where I’m a student at a fictional college where everyone is Accepted.

I’ve been spared by the evil vampire Angelus, saved by Jack Baur, and I’ve seen both Starsky and Hutch. Because between “Action!” and “Cut!”, these worlds truly do exists. They aren’t actors playing parts, they are realities unfolding.

People ask me sometimes why I want to be an actor. I say, why wouldn’t you want to live a life where everyday the impossible becomes not only possible, but probable? I wouldn’t want anything else.

— ldi





STOP HOUNDING ME!!!!!

11 03 2008

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in a while. And while I appreciate all the thousands upon thousands of you caring so deeply about reading whatever random thoughts happen to pop into my head, I must humbly request that you stop berating me about it. Look, I’m a busy guy. My days are full of busy… ness? Sometimes I can’t accomodate all the piles and piles of requests to continue writing. I have my limits, you know? I mean, I’ll try to do better, but your constant bellyaching and threats of violence are ridiculous.

Moving on.

It has been suggested that I talk a bit about work. Specifically, my work. I kind of thought that I would only really talk about The Bookstore That Shall Not Be Named whenever I had a really good story to tell, but I realized recently that along the way to finding those really good stories, there are nice little stories. So, what I’ve decided to do is to list out some of those nice little stories and if I feel so inclined, I may one day expand one or more of them into really good stories. So, here goes.

– A woman recently came in, and was pretty personable, and since I was on the 3rd floor (also known as “Where the Books Go to Retire”), we started talking a bit. She started chastising our pitifully small music section. I politely chuckled (“Heh, heh. Yeah, wow. We really do have a small music section. Huh. I never really noticed that before you just right now mentioned it. You’re super observant. Are you like, a detective?”). Then she points to a copy of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. For those who don’t know, this is a trilogy of books, the first of which was recently turned into the movie The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman. This woman says, “What is that, His Dark Materials? Is that written by a man?” I pointed to the prominently displayed name, Philip Pullman, on the cover. “I think so, yeah.” “Mmmm-hmmmm,” she replies. Then she adds, “You know, most fantasy books with little girls and bears, like that one has on the cover, are written by women. That’s a fact. My book club was talking about it last week.” Which, okay? How do you respond to that? So, I said, “Oh? Neat. Um, which books did you talk about? Which other books involve girls and bears that are written by women,” to which she replied, like a wise old sage, “Oh, you don’t even wanna know.” And that was that.

Shortly after, another woman came in, asking if the new Eckhart Tolle book right there was the one recommended by Oprah. Pointing casually to the prominently displayed “Oprah’s Book Club Recommends” sticker, I said, “Yeah, I think so.” The woman hungrily bought the book and left. Then the first woman, the girls and bears woman, came back up to me. “You think she’s even gonna read it, or you think she just bought it because Oprah said to?” “Uh, well…” “Why do you think Oprah is so popular now?,” she interrupted. We then engaged each other in about a ten or fifteen minute conversation about Oprah, covering topics ranging from The Secret to how Oprah started out as nothing more or less than Ricki Lake, Jerry Springer, or Phil Donahue, to, I kid you not, whether or not I feel that Oprah’s fame and standing was divinely handed to her by God. Yeah. So, that was that woman.

– Another time, sometime last week, I think, a girl came up to my register and said, “Can I ask you? Do people actually watch porn?” I sincerely thought that I had mis-heard her. But she was absolutely serious. Now, in fairness, I truly believe that she overheard a conversation or something that she assumed I had also overheard and she was referencing something from that overheard conversation, and when she realized I had no idea what she was referencing, she got kind of embarrassed, and so decided to go with it instead of supplying context, but even so. So, I reply, “Uh… yeah. Yes, it is my understanding that people watch porn.” “Oh, okay. Like, a lot of people?” “Um, well, yes. Again, it’s just my understanding, but I do believe that the pronography industry is one of the most financially lucrative. So it would stand to reason that yes, many people watch porn.” And then she says, “Okay. That’s just weird. So, I guess what you’re saying is that people really will just have sex for money.” Now, I can’t remember exactly what I said next, but I believe it was something like, “Well, you know, there is a difference between watching porn and being in porn.” Her expression indicated that in fact she did not know this. It was around this time that I asked her why she was asking what she was asking. he said that she was just curious. I said that people don’t usually ask this just out of curiosity, so I reckon there must be a context. She said it would take too long to explain, to which I replied that if she didn’t tell me the context, I’d probably end up blogging about this and I’d create a context. She seemed to understand. And so…

PORN GIRL: Hey, Russian Mafia. Why have you kidnapped me?

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: No kidnap. Ask you to come, politely.

PORN GIRL: My bad. I thought I was being kidnapped. That’s why I came with you so easily.

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: Da. Happens often. Bad reputation, you know? We say, “Please come,” you hear, “I kill you if you no come.” Is our curse: always misunderstood.

PORN GIRL: Okay. Well, if it’s all the same to y’all, I think I’ll just go back home now.

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: Wait! Wait!

PORN GIRL: “Wait! Wait” like you’re kidnapping me, or “Wait! Wait!” like, “Please wait”?

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: We no kidnap! How many time I say!? I just — we have question.

PORN GIRL: Shoot.

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: People, do they watch the porno?

PORN GIRL: What? Yeah, it’s like, one of the most lucrative industries in the world.

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: Oh… okay.

PORN GIRL: What?

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: What?

PORN GIRL: No, it’s just. You seem disappointed is all.

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: No, is not that.

PORN GIRL: Well then, what?

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: Is just… I think I fall in love with you, and love confuses what I think. I want believe you that people watch the porno, but maybe I just believe because of love. I think maybe you ask someone I no love. But someone smart. Works in smart place. That boy in that bookstore there. You ask him. I listen. Then I believe. Because I no love him.

PORN GIRL: You… you love me?

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: I… you ask him?

PORN GIRL: Sure. Sure, I’ll ask him. And then maybe, afterwards, we could…

RUSSIAN MAFIA LEADER: Go on…

PORN GIRL: A…

BOTH TOGETHER: Date?

Both smiling, PORN GIRL enters the store, and walks up to the register.

I figure I pretty much got that verbatim.

— ldi