Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Odds and Ends

In a recent post, I chronicled a glancing encounter with a very free-spirited bicycle rider who was making the most of gridlocked rush hour traffic. As it turns out, there’s been something of an underground bicycle rebellion going on for some time now in the midst of our modern urban dystopias. I was familiar with the infamous “Critical Mass” gatherings that began every month in San Francisco during the early 90’s (and continue to this day) but didn’t realize pedal-bikers were doing their own aggressively confrontational thing all around the country, much less here in LA.

The Anonymous Production Assistant sent me the following UTube links to demonstrate what’s been happening on the crowded SoCal freeways when most of us aren’t looking. Neither displays quite the same level of giddy gonzo-insanity of the fellow I witnessed doing that no-room-for-error wheelie on a very thin strip of pavement between two lines of stalled cars, but they’re still breathtaking -- and being UTube, these are just a small sample of bikers-gone-mad videos available on-line:

Bikes on the Freeway

Bike Protest


My adventures on Facebook continue, leaving me astonished at how many of you are letting it all hang out in the public cyber-square. I suppose I’ve joined the madness too, albeit in a rather tentative manner, but have noticed a distinct uptick in Facebook referrals to this blog since I began posting a link on my homepage.

So I guess it’s not all bad, although something about the whole thing still feels slightly unsavory – which makes this, sent to me by an old friend and occasional blog-reader, deliciously appropriate.

Maybe I’m seeing a some limited value to this Facebook thing – but if I ever start to twitter and tweet, please, somebody come smother me with a pillow in my sleep so I won’t have to wake up...


While back on the home planet I stumbled across a terrific interview on NPR with Mike Judge, creator of “King of the Hill” (a wonderful if under-appreciated animated show) and the very funny (hopefully not prescient...) movie ”Idiocracy”, among other films. At 40 minutes or so, this is not a short interview, but it’s really good (especially if you ever watched/enjoyed “King of the Hill”), and includes Judge’s low-key but priceless story of how the idea for “Idiocracy” hit him in the first place.

It should come as no surprise this seminal moment occurred during a long wait in line at Disneyland, where existential despair comes with the price of the ticket.

And if you too happen to be unemployed, then you’ve certainly got the time, so check it out.


Anonymous said...

I listen to Fresh Air because they have the best guests, but I think Terry Gross is the worst interviewer ever. Have you ever heard her first interview with Jon Stewart? She clearly had no idea who he was, or why he was on the show.

john said...

1. i agree with anon. re terry gross. she often comes off like a high school features reporter. hated her prying into woody allen's personal life re: daughter/wife. among other stupid questions. great guests for sure.
2. yes, mike. facebook is a little unsavory. i enjoy it for posting links to articles, random commentary on things going on in politics, entertainment, etc. but i cringe at the posts about people's personal life. most of it is just plane banal and boring. some of it falls under the TMI heading. and some falls under the category of creepy narcissism. there is sure to be more yucky categories.

Anonymous said...

Mike Judge is another Albuquerque guy. My kids will be going to Highland High school, which is the basis for the Highland High School of Beavis and Butthead. Not sure if that is a good thing...

nahiyan said...

Facebook = really bad, generally drunken photos.

Why anyone really thinks it's a good idea to share images of them wasted I'm not entirely sure. Plus all the oddly pouty expressions women seem to put on, like they've just sucked a lemon.

Michael Taylor said...

I've been listening to Terry Gross for a long time now, and have heard hundreds of fascinating interviews. You have to give her credit for creating a show able to attract such stellar guests, but yeah, she can be embarrassingly bad at times. I missed the Jon Stewart interview, but the recent show with Woody Allen was just awful -- some of her questions just made me cringe.

Terry is anything but even-handed, absolutely gushing over certain guests, then turning a cold shoulder to others with whom she doesn't fully agree.

I've come to look forward to those Fresh Air shows featuring her understudy (can't remember his name, but he's a reporter for a newspaper in Philadelphia), who does an infinitely more professional job of interviewing.

As for Facebook -- part of being young is doing stupid, hey-look-at-me! things (I sure as hell did my share), which might explain all those drunken photos of pouty, lemon-sucking women. Few of us are at our best when in the grip of powerful mood enhancers, which leads to things being said and done that really shouldn't really see the light of day, much less end up plastered across the cosmic billboards of cyberspace.

Life allows us all to make our own mistakes, and learn the hard lessons that follow. I suspect Facebook will end up as the tool for teaching some of those lessons.