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





I’m Not Old…

16 03 2008

It’s true. I’m not old. Older than some, sure, but relatively young, all things considered. And yet, every now and then, I realize that I’m not a kid anymore. No, that’s not quite right. It’s more that, every now and then, I remember when I was unquestionably a kid, and I realize that I’ve changed, I’ve grown.

A couple of years ago, I had just finished seeing a movie and was walking through the outdoor mall to the parking garage to leave. Approaching the escalators, I made the decision to run down the up. I got about four or five steps down, when I heard, “Hey!” It was the mall security guard. “Turn around,” he said. I did, sheepishly, rode it back up, took the right one down. At the time, I really didn’t see the harm in what I was doing. No one else was coming up, so I wasn’t obstructing their ascent. I wasn’t planning on falling, and if I did, chances are I wouldn’t have sued the place, and if I did, would I have really won? I don’t think I would have.

Anyway, two days ago, I was at work, up on the third floor of the Bookstore, and I noticed a kid, maybe twelve or so, going up the up escalator. Nothin’ special, except he was looking behind him, at the down escalator, huge smile plastered to his face. Then I heard the ruckus. Getting louder. Soon, I saw another kid, maybe twelve or so, running up the down.

And I was angry.

You know better than that! What if you fell? You’re way too old to try something like that! There are people trying to go down, and you’re in their way! What are you, just trying to look cool in front of your friend?

So, when the two boys left, I kind of made eye contact with the kid, and kind of halfway glared at him. I made him feel just as sheepish as that security guard had made me feel. I started right then and there thinking about who I was, who I was turning into. I thought, Surely this was an isolated incident, me judging this kid so harshly. I must have just been tired, and I didn’t think about how he wasn’t really harming anyone.

But then, an hour or so later, two more kids came into the store, maybe thirteen or so. One of them started running down the up. And do you know what I did? “Hey! Turn around.” And, sheepishly, he took the up escalator up, and went down the down.

I had become the security guard.

What I realized was that I’m not a bad person; I’m just a person with a job. Part of my job is to make sure kids don’t go down the up or up the down. I don’t necessarily have to agree with it, and maybe it’s a kind of silly rule, only really intended to keep up appearances, but that has to be enough. It comes with growing up. You have to do things you would have hated other people doing to you when you were a kid. In that instant, I wondered if that security guard went home that night and thought, Man, I remember when I would have loved to have done something like go down the up. I guess I’ve turned into kind of a douche now. For what it’s worth, security guard, no hard feelings. And I hope, some day, those two kids will think back and feel the same.

And so I propose something to whoever might be reading this. One day every week, do something that would make the kid you used to be happy. Maybe you weren’t a very kid-like kid, so do something that would make the kid you always wanted to be happy. Maybe you are a kid, so do something that makes you happy. One day every week. Buy a coloring book and color a picture, play a video game, rent a movie, go to the park, play jumprope, stay in your pajamas all day, eat ice cream for breakfast, finger paint…

I’m not old, but I’m old enough to know that one day, maybe it’s already happened, maybe it will yet, every single one of us will realize we’ve become a grown-up. I’m also old enough to know that the number of years we’ve been alive is ALWAYS going to be a smaller number than the number of years that exist, and because of that, we’ll always be relatively young. Never forget that.

I’ve gotta go now. I’ve got a rousing game of Wii Tanks to play.

 — 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





So Very Kind of You

29 02 2008

YOU: Welcome to WordPress, lifedoesntimitate!

ME: Why, thank you, WordPress community, et al. How very kind of you.

(uncomfortable silence)

YOU: Soooooo… you gonna tell us who you are and what you’re doing here, or…?

ME: Oh! Is that… okay. Uh… well, where do I start?

YOU: How ’bout with who you are and what you’re doing here.

ME: Right! Okay. Well, my name is —

YOU: Stop right there! We don’t need your name.

ME: You don’t.

YOU: Well, not your real name, anyway. We assume you want to maintain some level of anonymity, or else you would’ve just used your real name as your display name, right?

ME: Uh, ye — right, yeah.

YOU: Okay, so that’s cool. You’ll be known as lifedoesntimitate, and we’ll never ask who you really are. (beat) Are you famous? Don’t answer that! Sorry, it’s just —  sometimes curiosity gets the better of us, but we’ll try not to let that happen again.

ME: That’s okay. Okay, so who am I, but not my name, huh? Well, I’m pretty much just a guy —

YOU: (mockingly) “pretty much just a guy…”

ME: Is that — are you… mocking me?

YOU: Look, I’ll be honest. Yes. Yes, we are mocking you.

ME: Well, why?

YOU: It’s just… (sigh) Okay, it’s just that tons of people start up new blogs here every day. And you know what most of them are? “Just a guy.” So, why should we care, you know? We just — we thought you were different. We thought you’d be the guy who was more than just a guy. The guy who would come in here and shake things up… in a relatively controlled, mild kind of way. But I guess we were wrong.

WordPress turns to leave.

ME: Wait!

WordPress turns back, hesitantly.

ME: (cont’d) Okay. You want different? You want more than just a guy? Fine. I’m an actor living in Los Angeles, but nobody here knows me yet. If you’ll stick with me, I’ll take you on my journey to success. Things will be hard, there will be ups and there will be downs, but I’ll be your ever-truthful tour guide. I work at a Bookstore That Shall Not Be Named. Famous people come in often, as well as mind-numbingly stupid customers, and everything in between. If you’ll have me, I will frequently tell you some of those stories. I’m about to be married. If you’ll take me back, I’ll fill you in on every sordid detail of our life together (edit: make that, “every sordid detail of our life together that she approves of me telling you”). On top of that, I tend to be random and vaguely amusing (That’s actually on my business card: “lifedoesntimitate: He’s Random And Vaguely Amusing!” — see what I mean?), so if you’ll give me one more chance, WordPress, I’ll do my damndest to make you love me. What I want is simple. I want to have THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BLOG!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!Or at least to have enough readership to quit my survival job, whatever. Is that too much to ask? I think not. And I can do it, too. With your help. So, whaddaya say, WordPress? You with me?

YOU: Huh? Wha — sorry, I kinda zoned. What were you saying? Something about cookies, or…?

ME: Yeah. Yeah, something about cookies.

YOU: Groovy. Well, anyway. Welcome. See you around.

WordPress vanishes in a flash of flashiness, leaving lifedoesntimitate alone, cold, confused.

— ldi