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





The Wizard Has Jokes And Shiny Money

14 03 2008

I like words. Yeah, I’m coming out in favor of words. In general. In specific, I like playing with words. It’s fun. It’s like you’re goofing off, but the smart-people way. Best of both worlds, I’d call it.

Turns out, other people like playing with words, too. People like Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Did you ever see the movie Swingers? I did. A long time ago. I don’t really remember too much, except that two friends went to Vegas and Vince Vaughn was thin. And, oh yeah, they used the word “money” to mean “cool”. I think that was the first time I really realized that you could do that. I mean, I was already a pro at sarcasm, so I knew you could use words to mean the opposite of what they were, but I never really thought about words actually substituting for different words. “You’re so fuckin’ money, you don’t even know how money you are,” I believe was a line from Swingers. And it meant, simply, “You’re cool. You’re hot! You’re on fire, baby!” And the great thing was, it was never explained. There was never a scene, “Are you calling me currency?” “No, man. I’m calling you badass!” “But you said ‘money’.” “‘Money’ means cool.” “Always?” “No. Just sometimes.” “I see.” It just was. And it told you something about these two guys, that they used “money” to mean not money. “Money,” it turns out, is pretty damn money.

Joss Whedon likes to play with words. If you’ve never seen Firefly or the spinoff movie Serenity, do yourself a favor and go buy them both. I recommend the Collector’s Edition of the latter. Now, watch the entire fifteen odd hours of pure joyous entertainment that you’ve just purchased, and don’t come back until you’re done.

Glad to have you back. Now, one of the — didn’t you just love that? I mean, seriously? Don’t you just kinda hate FOX for cancelling the show prematurely, but then kinda love Joss for bringing it back as a movie? Ahhh… wait, where was I? Oh, right. Okay, so one of the things you may have noticed was the language of the thing. Obviously, there was a good amount of Chinese tossed in the mix, but I’d like to focus on one particular word: shiny. I loved it! I actually use “shiny” in normal conversation. Often. Basically, it means, “I accept that.” It kinda means “cool,” but not nearly as much as “money” does. Like, say you’re haggling down a price. “I’ll give you fifty.” “A hundred.” “Sixty.” “Seventy-five, and that’s as low as I’ll go.” “Shiny.” You just accepted seventy-five. Can you dig it? You can? Shiny.

Diablo Cody is a fan of wordplay. How many of you have seen Juno? Well, even if you haven’t, you probably have heard that the script is filled to the brim with fun words. A character is called “home skillet,” instead of saying, “Shaking that pregnancy test won’t change the result. You can’t become un-pregnant”, the shop clerk says, “That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. That’s one doodle that can’t be un-did.” Awesome. Except, what might another word for “awesome” be. Well, this movie answers that for us: “Wizard”. It’s said only two times, I think, in the movie, but it’s probably my favorite little gem. “You see that hot cheerleader over there?” “Yeah.” “I just asked her out, and she totally said yes.” “Wizard.”

And yes, even nerds plays with words (Heh. Nerds Play With Words is totally the name of my band.). I recently commented on my friend’s vlog and I mentioned another commenter whom I’ve never met. He responded, “You’d like her. She’s pretty jokes.” I replied that I have a feeling he made a typo, and did he mean she’s pretty jokey? That she has pretty jokes? He responded right back to inform me that apparently Nerd Fighters (I’m still not sure exactly what Nerd Fighters are. Please forgive my extreme un-hipness.) use the word “jokes” to mean “cool”. I take it that it’s only the plural that is used. Someone can’t be “joke,” for example. But I think it goes beyond just “cool”. I think it’s like, “exactly how I want it right now”. So, “This satin sheet feels perfect against my skin,” becomes, “This satin sheet is totally jokes.”

So, this brings me to my point. I want to make a cool new meaning for something!! So, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out the common bonds. Firstly, they are all things that people already like. I mean, who doesn’t think wizards are cool? Who couldn’t use more money? Who doesn’t have a favorite joke? Who doesn’t get distracted by shiny things? So, I thought of “cookie,” or “pizza”.

Secondly, it can’t be something that has a specific, single meaning already. So, even though there are many different kinds of cookies and pizza, what they are is always the same. There’s no ambiguity. A cookie is round and has toppings, while a pizza is… round… and has toppings. A wizard though, can do magical things. Oooooh, mysterious. A joke can make you laugh for infinite reasons. Money can get you unlimited things. And lots of different things are shiny. The point is, when you hear one of those words, there’s enough leeway that you can accept them instantly as being stand-ins for other ideas.

So, I’ve been thinking and thinking, and I think I’ve got it. “Ripples”. It means like, “rocks”. As in, “That totally rocks!” “Dude, that totally ripples!” It’s great, you see, because ripples are beautiful, natural, and mysterious. Where do they go when they’re gone? Plus also, there are different kinds of ripples. Water ripples, sonic boom ripples, etc. You can also refer to something as Ripple-y, and it feels good and still hard core because of Ripley from the Alien movies, and also from the Believe it Or Not folks.

So, you tell me: do you like it? Does it ripple? If it does, spread it around. Let’s see if we can get it to catch on.

Shiny.

— ldi