Wednesday, November 07, 2007

last blog post

I realize I haven't blogged in seven thousand years and I don't even check my statcounter anymore (because I haven't been blogging, so why bother) so I have no idea if anyone ever still comes by these here parts, but I figured I should officially announce that the My Year of New Things blog is dead. I'm not going to post anything new here. It was a fun ride, and it's way over. At least in this incarnation. I might start up a new blog, but if I do, I need to find a new hook. My literal "year" of new things ended nine months ago. This is a dead horse. I'm gonna stop kicking it.

In other news, do what you can to support the WGA. If you're not in the WGA but still sympathetic to our cause (especially if you're in SAG, because we're fighting for you too), come on out to the picket line and march with us! It's kind of exhausting, really, but it can be invigorating too--to feel like you're a part of something bigger than yourself--and the more people who are there, the more it feels like we're making an impact. (And no one wants this strike to last long, so the more impact we make up front, the better the chances of this thing ending sooner.) I'll be posting photos from the line on my flickr account, here:

Also, I'm posting an email below from my friend Sian Heder. You should seriously check out her film. It's a wonderful piece of work and I'm proud to be good friends with someone so talented. Support short films on itunes! Okay, I'll let Sian speak for herself:

"Hello all,

"Just a note to let you know that my short film, MOTHER, is now available for download on iTunes! It's only two bucks...actually $1.99...which is a pretty damn good deal. What else can you buy for 2 bucks? A sponge. Some paper towels. Two packs of gum. Maybe an 8 oz Tecate in a dive bar? (Not including tip.)

"If you haven't seen it, now is your chance! If you have, watch it again! Short films are fairly new to iTunes, so the more support we have, the greater the likelihood of iTunes supporting filmmakers in the future. Dooo it...dooo it...Here is the link:

"Enjoy! And please pass this along to anyone else you think might enjoy the film! Our festival run is coming to a close and it would be great if this little movie could continue to have a life online...

"Thanks and my love to you all,

Sian Heder
Writer/Director – MOTHER


That's all.
Over and out.
It's been real.
And in the immortal words of Angela Chase:
We had a time.

Rock on,

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blessing Andrea Stern

Obviously I haven't posted in, like, 500 years. I've been thinking lately that the blog break might be for good. Or sometimes I think that I need to dump "my year of new things" and start fresh with a new blog. I dunno. I've been super busy, which is great, but the blog suffers. Anyway. That's not why I'm posting. I'm posting to send you AWAY from my blog, to my friend Andrea Stern's blog. Andrea was recently diagonosed with AVM (it's the brain thing that Nate had on Six Feet Under) (what the fuck is up with brains lately?) and if you're reading this, please take a moment to send her some good thoughts, good vibes, love, all of that jazz. If I've learned anything from the last year, it's that positivity and prayers fucking work like a mofo. Andrea's doing really well, and she's scheduled for surgery soon, which is obviously scary, but it needs to be done. So if you've come here to read my blog again and you're like, dammit, Erik hasn't posted anything new, then go over to Andrea's blog instead, because I'm sure Andrea (and her close friends who are helping with the blog) will be updating regularly, and you'll find stuff to read there.

Much love to you, Andrea!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Catherine the Cat

So I got a cat yesterday and I named her Catherine. I didn't even realize that the word "cat" was in her name until after I named her--she got her name because when I first saw her at the rescue shelter, she was sitting on a newspaper advertisement for the movie "No Reservations" starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. I realize it's phenomenally gay to name your cat after Catherine Zeta-Jones, which is another reason why I enjoy the name. Also, I'm not particularly a fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones (I'm not NOT a fan, I'm more indifferent), and I think it's kind of funny to name a cat after an actress that I have absolutely no attachment to whatsoever. I assumed that I'd be calling Catherine "Cat" for short, but then yesterday I discovered myself calling her "Cathy," which I enjoy as a cat name more than all of the other above-mentioned names combined. So I'd like to introduce you to Cathy.

This is her, y'all:

In non-cat news, Eleanor got me hooked on the amazing dating reality program Rock With Love. If you’re watching (and if you aren’t, what’s wrong with you?), I’m rooting for Heather to win Bret’s heart. (Though it would be pretty fantastic reality television to watch her go home after having tattoo’d Bret’s name to her neck.) Jess is actually my favorite girl, but I think she’s too good for Bret and so I want her to get second place and then go on to bigger and better things.

In other non-cat news, my friend Andrea hosts an essay-reading night in Miami, and she just posted a video of her latest essay on youtube, and it’s pretty brilliant. I love Andrea, you should too. Check her out:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Matt & His Feats of Strength

My brother Matt is totally going to be the next YouTube sensation with his series of videos in which he performs moderately difficult feats of strength. I once sat next to LonelyGirl15 at a thai restaurant, so I have my finger on the pulse of these kinds of things.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

All of my poop lately... totally soft serve. What's up with that?

Monday, September 03, 2007

3 of 30

i don't know why i let jesse sucker me into blogging again. it's too hot to blog. i spent the morning in my underwear sitting in front of a fan, and then uma and i went to see The Nanny Diaries (which was pretty terrible, but thank god for the air conditioning), then we went over to my brothers' house to welcome my oldest-younger brother Josh back from Burning Man and look at his photos (he had an amazing time, but I don't think I could handle Burning Man for a week--maybe a weekend, but not a whole week) (i need a real bed), and now I'm back at my apartment sitting in my underwear in front of the fan again.

2nd post of september

Jesse, I know you're thinking that I've already failed the whole "one-post-a-day-for-every-day-in-September" thing, but I haven't gone to bed yet so it's technically still Sunday in my head and this counts as my September 2nd post. The story of why I'm just getting home at 4:44 a.m. is so completely not debaucherous, but omitting all details at least gives it the air of debauchery, so I'm gonna leave this post at that and go to sleep already.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A whole bunch of random quotidian facts

1. Oh, dear dear abused and ignored blog.

2. I’m sorry you haven’t been getting any love from me.

3. Seriously.

4. I’m all jacked up on Starbucks hot chocolate right now, so I thought I’d check in.

5. Even though I’ve been thinking maybe you were dead, dear blog.

6. But then I was talking to Jesse and he was like “let’s vow to write one blog entry every day for the entire month of September.

7. And I was like “no fucking way, the blog is dead.”

8. But then I started drinking all of this fucking aforementioned Starbucks hot chocolate and now it sounds like a good idea.

9. So, like, here I am.

10. I made these two new friends, Corey and Trixze, and I totally have a crush on them.

11. Not an inappropriate crush.

12. A friend crush.

13. It’s just, when you meet someone at a party and you’re like “oh my god we have to hang out” and then you actually do it—it’s a nice thing, when that happens.

14. So my two new friends Corey and Trixze invited me over to their home last Sunday to watch all 22 chapters of the “Trapped in the Closet” saga…

15. …which was amazing.

16. I don’t want to ruin any of Trapped’s myriad surprises if you haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t think I’ll say anything else about it.

17. Which is difficult because I haven’t blogged in so long and all I want to write about is how fucking surreal and weird and wonderful the new chapters are.

18. If you’ve already seen the new chapters, we need to talk about Pimp Lucius and “the package.”

19. I mean, seriously.

20. R. Kelly is stirring shit up.

21. SPOILER ALERT: I think everyone might die in Chapter 23 and then maybe R will continue his saga with an entire new set of characters. How radical would that be? Not that I don’t love all of the current characters, I’m just saying that I hope Kelly continues to shake shit up. Because just when you think he’s only knows one melody (after you’ve heard it five hundred times), he throws in a gospel choir; and just when you think he only knows one way to twist a plot (they’re sleeping together!), he throws in a completely random dream sequence; and just when you think no one else could possibly get trapped in a closet, someone else gets trapped in a closet—and it’s a flashback to boot! Genius.

22. My mustache TOTALLY smells like hot chocolate right now.

23. True story.

24. That’s the thing—and if you don’t have a mustache, maybe you’ve never even thought about this occupational hazard of being a Person With A Mustache—but the thing is, if you don’t wash your ‘stache frequently, stuff gets in there.

25. My friend Fefe was telling me about this massage place she went to where they throw buckets of water on your back in the middle of the massage. At least, I think she told me about a massage place she went to where they throw buckets of water on your back in the middle of the massage, but everyone I’ve mentioned this to has told me it sounds insane and unlike any massage place they’ve ever heard of. And so then I started to wonder if I made it up in my head. And so now I’ve convinced myself that maybe it isn’t true. But the problem is that I had started to think that it sounded like it might be, as Angela Chase would say, “a time.” And I was gonna call Fefe and ask her where to go to get this so-called bucket-drenching massage. But now I guess I should just call her and ask her if I’m insane and I made it all up.

26. Stay tuned.

27. Angela Kang (who just finished her first week of grad school!) (raise the roof for Angela) recently introduced me to Guitar Hero, and if I didn’t have so many other things to keep me busy I think I might move into Angela’s living room and just play Guitar Hero 24/7.

28. I rock, but only on the “easy” level.

29. My brothers have Guitar Hero too and I went over to their house to get in a few more guitar licks and I tried the “medium” level and I sucked ass at it.

30. Total ass suckage.

31. Seriously.

32. So for now I’m sticking with “easy.”

33. It only requires three fingers.

34. Do phone numbers have an expiration date? Like, when you meet someone at a bar and you get their phone number, how long is too long to wait to call said person who’s phone number you got? I ask because I got this guy’s phone number at Akbar about a month ago and I haven’t called him yet. Is it too late?

35. Sure, I realize it’s never too late, unless he’s gotten married or died in the last month.

36. That’s a terrible thought, the “died in the last month” one.

37. Maybe he won’t remember who I am, and then we’ll be able to tell people “I waited a month to call him and he didn’t remember who I was and now look at us.”

38. But is it intrinsically weird to wait a month?

39. Not that I really care if it’s weird.

40. I’m just asking.

41. Speaking of waiting too long, I wonder if anyone will ever even read this blog post, or if it’s been so long since I last posted that no one reads anymore because you all got so tired of checking the blog and reading the same damned post about how I was “Too. Busy. To. Blog.”

42. And every time you read that, you were like, “whatever asshole.”

43. Sorry about that.

44. And that last “The Walker Identity” post was a sorry excuse for a post, i.e. not really a post at all.

45. And I’m sorry about that too.

46. Oh my god I’m listening to Ani Difranco on my ipod right now and she’s totally my new music crush. I’ve always loved people who love Ani Difranco, but I’ve never really listened to Ani myself, so I never knew what all the fuss was about, and now I can’t get enough about her and I’m all, holy crap THIS is what all the fuss was about.

47. Current favorite Ani song: “Imperfectly”

48. My current second favorite Ani song: “Untouchable Face”

49. I wasn’t intending to be transitional and all segue-ish here, but speaking of “face,” I got dragged onto Facebook this week and I hate it, but I’m already obsessed with it.

50. I need more hot chocolate.

51. BRB.

52. Okay, back.

53. Theatre of NOTE is producing my play “He Asked For It” in April, so mark yer calendars.

54. I’m excited.

55. It’s been way too freaking long since I’ve had a play in production.

56. I miss being in a rehearsal room, figuring it all out.

57. Okay, stop reading right now if you’ve ever walked barefoot in my kitchen because I have to tell you the most disgusting story.

58. It’s so completely gross and it makes me want to throw up, so I figure it’s perfect fodder for the blog. I’m getting all situated in my new apartment, right? Moving in, spreading out, making the place my own. Loving my space. Even though it’s really hot. Like, abnormally hot, unless you have the fans running in every room at all times. That kinda hot. I mention the heat because it’s important and I totally BLAME the heat for what happened next. I don’t eat at home very much because I don’t really cook. And I had thrown away some meat in the kitchen trash can, but it was at the bottom of the trash, and then it took a week for the trash can to fill up, and I forgot about the meat at the bottom of the trash can, and I forgot about the heat, and these are all things that I should have been really aware of. Because, like, you shouldn’t let trash stay in your trash can that long, especially if that trash includes meat and you’re dealing with sweltering August heat. You just shouldn’t let the trash sit that long. I KNOW THAT NOW. So, like, the trash was finally full and I pulled the bag out of the can and then I felt these little things falling onto my bare feet. Little wet squishy things. And then I looked down at my feet, at the ground, and I saw, with horror, that fucking maggots were freaking raining down from the bottom of my trash bag. And that’s when I started screaming. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I started screaming. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, give or take the time I threw up bad milk and the throw up somehow managed to hit the kitchen ceiling. So at this point I’m still freaking out about the maggots on my kitchen floor and ON TOP OF MY BARE FEET and then I looked inside the trash can and my horror multiplied. The bottom of my trash bin was, like, straight out of Suspiria—that’s how many maggots there were. Like, YOU COULD NOT SEE THE BOTTOM OF THE BIN because there were so many maggots swimming all over each other. And those buggers are fucking fast movers, slithering all over the kitchen floor. So I dumped the maggot-leaking trash bag back into the bin and then I grabbed the only artillery I had in my kitchen—a can of Pledge—and I fucking Pledged those maggots to fucking death. And I was still screaming, but I started channeling my inner Linda-Hamilton-in-Terminator-2, so instead of screaming in disgust, now I was screaming AT the little assholes: “Die you little fuckers, die!” It was intense. And then there were all of these dead maggots everywhere, covered in Pledge. (So, like, shiny as all get out.) All of these dead little white things all over my beautiful wood floor. It was a total massacre of the maggot kind. So then I wiped up all of the dead little maggot bodies and I threw them into the trash can with all of the still living maggots that I’m trying not to think about, and then I lifted the entire trash bin into a huge, hefty Glad trash bag and tied up the bag and then I brought the entire thing down to the dumpster around the corner and threw them away, trash can and all.

59. It was so gross.

60. Like, the story above only scratches the surface of how gross I felt.

61. Maggots are the enemy.

62. And I throw my trash out EVERY SINGLE DAY now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Walker Identity

Okay, I'm still too busy to blog, but I just had to say one thing:

There's an episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" on USA right now and Walker has amnesia and I swear the plot is eerily similar to that of The Bourne Identity. And despite the fact that I have time to watch "Walker, Texas Ranger," I'm technically taking a lunch break and Chuck Norris is part of that.

That's all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Too. Busy. To. Blog.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Sum of All Years: 30

Bonnie posts yearly life updates called The Sum of All Years on her blog on her birthday every year, and ever since I first read through all of the sums of all of her years I've wanted to do my own. I figure 30's a good year to start. (It is a pretty cool fucking birthday, after all.)

What is The Sum Of All Years? I'll let Bonnie explain: "The Sum Of All Years is an autobiography where the word count for each post is limited to the corresponding age for that entry." Pretty simple, pretty cool.

So here's my first entry...


The Sum of All Years: 30

Family craziness. I feel like a “man.”
Uma’s brain explodes, but we make miracles happen: healing, speech, love.
Professional screenwriter, breakdown goes out on my birthday.
New home, new hope(s).


One of these days I'll get around to writing entries for the 29 years that are currently sumless, but for now I'm just gonna say a toast to the end of my twenties and say hello to a decade I'm really looking forward to. Salut!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Heinz Ketchup

A few weeks ago, I posted a high school diary entry where I talked about seeing my eight-year-old brother Josh performing a scene and a song for some class and I pontificated on Josh's future as an actor. (If you don't recall my particularly mortifying pontifications--and I use the word "pontificate" twice because there really ain't no other word for the kind of diary writing I was doing--I pondered: "Is this a beginning? As much as I hope it is, pity he who goes into acting for a living, for I know there isn’t much out there to make a living off of in ratio to the number of actors out there.")

Well, fourteen years down the pike, my brother Josh is now twenty-two and he's not an actor--no, he's pursuing a career that's probably even more difficult to break in to: he's currently going to film school to become a director. And I don't think I'm being biased when I say he's pretty damned good at it. I just think he's just pretty damned good at it.

He has a short little film on youtube right now, a commercial for Heinz Ketchup--Heinz is holding a contest for the best 30-second commercial, and they're giving the winner 57 thou. They have a committee of judges who are narrowing the videos down to 15, then a popular vote chooses the winner. I imagine that the number of times a commercial has been viewed on youtube might affect the judges selections--you never know--so I want to spread the word and get my brother's commercial gets more "views." So if you have 30 seconds (I mean, hello: it's only 30 seconds), please check out my bro's video. It's below. Just click on the "play" triangle.

Today is...

...the second to last day of my twenties!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Check out my brilliant friends!

I'll be at both of these shows/parties, and you should be at both of them too:

(1) Friday night, August 3rd, (that's TONIGHT!):

Christy and the Nonos
will be bringing a whole lotta music-love to the people live on stage
at the Bootleg Theater
(the space formerly known as the Evidence Room)
for one night only
The band will be performing all of the songs from their new album, The Runner.
Chris Wells, Fred Cassidy, Laural Meade, John Ballinger,
Patrice Quinn, Polly Segal, and Darrin Embry
will be making all the love happen for you. TONIGHT, Aug 3rd!

Doors open at 8:30, show at 9:00pm
The Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Blvd., LA, 90057
$15 at the door
reservations are recommended but not required


(2) Saturday afternoon/evening, TOMORROW, Aug 4th!:

at 6011 Fair Ave, North Hollywood 91606

4PM Cookout - Bring Something to Eat
5PM Open Jam - Bring Something to Play
6PM Plugged in Music Starts Outside... - Bring Something to Something- and blankets, chairs, whatever makes you comfortable on the grass.
Rob Thain
co-lab-oTASTIC Ben Thomas
Rock Yoga with Jen Swain!!!

9PM Rachel Kann and friends
Special Guests:
AIMEE BENDER!! The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (NY Times Notable Book)

Guy Hoffman of the violent femmes!!!

Gayle Brandeis, winner of the Belleweather Prize for Social Change for The Book of Dead Birds

Tod Goldberg, winner of the OV Short Story Collection Prize for Simplify

11:30PM Unplugged Music Starts Inside...
Mike Weiss
Eric Bloom



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Michael Cera won’t leave me alone, and (spoiler) Superbad is Fuckinggood

Okay, this blog post was supposed to be about how so fucking good Superbad is. When Eleanor and I walked out of the sneak preview screening we saw tonight, that was the first thing I said to her: “I can’t wait to blog about how amazingly funny that fucking movie was.” I think that’s an exact quote. We weren’t planning on seeing Superbad. It just kinda happened. I was stranded in Burbank earlier this afternoon (that’s a long story and it’s totally boring so I’m not even going to go into it) and so I called Eleanor and begged her to pick me up and drive me home, but of course I wanted to give Eleanor a carrot so I told her I’d take her to see The Simpsons. So we went to the Burbank AMC 16 for a 5:45 showing and as we were running up to the theater (at 5:52), we noticed people lined up for the aforementioned screening of Superbad. We didn’t give it much thought because we were late for the Simpsons movie and I can’t stand to miss the beginning of a movie. (Eleanor was like, “it’s okay if we’re late,” and I told her I was okay with it too, but I was lying, and I think she knew I was lying, but she didn’t say anything about it.)

Um, I’m sitting at the Bourgeois Pig coffee shop right now and I totally have to poop so bad that it’s hard for me to concentrate on writing this blog post, but the barista is really cute and I was flirting with him and when I tried to go poop a few minutes ago, the poop wasn’t coming out as easily as I would have liked, and I didn’t want to be in the bathroom long enough for the barista to know I was pooping because that’s not exactly the first image I want him to have of me in his head, so I gave up on the poop and came back out here to write this, and I’m kinda pissed at my bowels.

Anyway. So we got into the Simpsons movie just as it was beginning, we weren’t late at all, and everyone keeps telling me that it’s like a really long, good episode of the TV show, but I have to admit that I only agree with the “really long” part and not the “good” part. I would say it was about fifty percent good. Which isn’t enough. Sure, the fifty percent that was good was hella good and all, but I need some more bang for my fucking buck. Especially where the Simpsons are concerned. I would say every fifth or sixth joke landed, and I wanted more.

So then we walked out of the theater and the line for the preview screening of Superbad was just being let in and the first person I saw was my cousin Matt. Who I didn’t recognize. Not because he looked any different than he ever looks—but don’t you ever get that thing where you’ll see someone who you know really incredibly well but you’re seeing them out of context and unexpectedly and your brain won’t compute? That’s what happened. Like, the first thought I had when I saw Matt was: “why is that guy waving at me?” And then, oh, say six-and-a-half seconds later, my brain was like: “um, because he’s your favorite cousin, asshole.” (Apologies to all of my other cousins.) Yeah, okay, so we talk to Matt and we’re all jealous that he’s about to see the preview screening of Superbad, but he’s nervous because the movie’s rated “R” and he’s not seventeen yet, so he’s not sure if he’s going to be able to get in. He tells us that he’ll give us his tickets if they turn him away at the door. So we’re like: “awesome, okay.” And I’m sorry Matt, but for a second I was hoping that they were going to check your I.D. because I knew that Superbad was going to be better than The Simpsons and we really wanted to see a good movie after being so disappointed in the Simpsons. And then I felt guilty for hoping my cousin wouldn’t get in to the screening, and now I’m glad that he DID get in to the screening because it was SO superbad of him to get in and be underage and all.

Oh my god, I’m going on and on about so many things that aren’t even important and I haven’t even gotten to the part where we met Michael Cera. Okay, so: flash forward. We got into the movie and the movie fucking rocks and we were laughing so hard we almost broke our faces. Seriously. So hard that sound stopped coming out of our mouths. I don’t even want to say anything else about the movie because it’s too good to spoil even the tiniest jokes. I have a feeling that Superbad’s gonna become my new Wet Hot American Summer, (which is to say I’m going to see it a dozen times this summer). Go see this movie. (Grandma, you might want to skip it.) (Or go see it, just be prepared for a lot of penis jokes.) (Which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.) (Because who doesn’t enjoy penis jokes.) (I can’t believe I’m talking to my grandmother about penis jokes on my blog right now.) (Because the thing is, my grandmother actually DOES read my blog.) (Hi grandma.)

So after the movie, Eleanor and I were famished because we had been planning on getting dinner after The Simpons, but then we were hijacked by the whole Superbad screening, and we weren’t even able to get popcorn because they ushered us into the theater too fast, and so then we headed over to Birds for some eats. And of course we’re going on and on about how much we loved the movie, and we’re walking down the street towards the restaurant, and I see a few people standing in a group up ahead and immediately notice that one of them is Michael Cera. And I whisper to Eleanor, “stop talking about the movie, it’s Michael Cera.” And then she sees him too and we walk by him and we’re totally freaking out. Not because he’s a celebrity or anything—I see “famous” people in Los Angeles all the time and it doesn’t faze me anymore—no, we started freaking out specifically because here’s Michael Cera who we’ve just been watching for the last two hours in Superbad and whose brilliance we’ve just been going on and on about. Like, it felt like we manifested him or something. It was just too weird. Oh, and I should say that I was holding my shoes and walking down the sidewalk in black dress socks. (Which is part of the whole “stranded in Burbank” story, but again I’m not going to bore you with those details.) Oh, and also, one of the other people in the group with Michael Cera was Charlyne Yi, the hilarious stoner girlfriend from Knocked Up, and we recognized her as well, and we definitely thought seeing her was cool, and maybe if we’d literally just walked out of Knocked Up we would have freaked out about “manifesting” her, but we hadn’t manifested her, we’d manifested Michael Cera, and she was just a by-product of that manifestation, so we were freaking out about Michael Cera. Anyway, if I’m obsessing right now, it’s because I still have to poop and the barista is still way too cute, and I still haven’t gotten to the good parts of the Michael Cera story, and how many times have I typed his name in this paragraph? Too many times.

So we walked past Michael Cera and then we got to the end of the block and Eleanor was like, “we should have said something to him—we should have told him how good he was.” Because the movie doesn’t open for a few more weeks and we thought he should know that his movie is about to become a huge fucking hit because it’s brilliant. And Eleanor was like, “we missed our opportunity, we have to go back.” And then I was like, “yes, let’s go back.” And then we both were like, “we’re gonna look so weird.” And then Eleanor was like, “you’re holding your shoes, you already look weird.” And then I was like, “let’s go tell him.” And Eleanor was like, “go, go, now!”

So we walk back down the sidewalk towards Michael Cera’s group, and they’re totally immersed in conversation, and we totally interrupted them, and I was like, “Um, uh…excuse me?” (I don’t think I actually said “excuse me,” but I’d like to sound a little less rude on my blog so I’m gonna say I said “excuse me.”) And then I stammered out a couple more “uh’s” because I was completely acting as un-suave as a human being can act, and by then everyone in the group was looking at me like, “you just interrupted our conversation, say what you’re trying to say,” but in a nice way. So I continued: “We just saw a preview of your movie in Burbank and it was so good.” And then Michael Cera said: “Wait, you saw the preview?” And I said, “yeah, in Burbank, you’re so funny.” (I don’t know why I kept saying it was “in Burbank”—I think I felt like the words “in Burbank” gave me some validity, like he’d know there was a preview screening in Burbank and therefore know exactly what we were talking about.) But then Michael Cera was like, “or, wait, you saw the whole thing?” And then I realized that when I said we’d seen a “preview” of the movie,” he thought we’d come over to him to gush about the trailer before some other movie. Which was kind of embarrassing because we’d actually seen the entire movie. So then I was like, “yeah, we saw the whole thing,” and then I felt the need to overexplain, so I continued: “And then we walked past you and we got to the corner and we couldn’t walk away without telling how good you were, so we came back, and here you are, and you were really good.” And then Michael Cera, sounding exactly like Michael Cera, said: “Well, thanks for coming back!” And then Eleanor and I smiled and thanked him for being so good and continued on our way to Birds. And even though our encounter with Michael Cera was totally awkward, we were happy and ready to go on our way to dinner.

And that should be the end of the story. But it wasn’t quite. Because as we were finishing our meals at Birds, we looked towards the door and noticed that Michael Cera’s group was standing outside, waiting for a table. They were basically standing right in front of the door, which meant the only way for us to get out of the restaurant would have been for us to walk THROUGH their group. And we didn’t want to have another awkward encounter with them, so we were stuck. And we sat there at our table for, like, twenty minutes, waiting for Michael Cera’s group to either get a table or leave. Just so we wouldn’t encounter them again. We’d had our moment. We didn’t want another one. Just. Too. Awkward.

But they just kept standing there. And we kept waiting. And they kept standing there. And we kept waiting.

And then we saw our chance. Charlyne Yi came into the restaurant and walked over to the “to go” counter, so apparently that’s what they were waiting for. "To go" food. And as Charlyne Yi walked up to the “to go” counter, Michael Cera walked away. We were like, “awesome, he’s leaving, this is our moment to get out.” So we paid for our food and we snuck out of the restaurant, and we made our way over to the Bourgeois Pig (where I’m sitting right now, making sexy-sexy eyes at the cute barista and not pooping) and as I reach for the door handle to enter the coffee shop the door suddenly opens and suddenly Michael Cera is standing in the doorway holding some sort of smoothie, and he sees me and Eleanor and immediately recognizes us as the weird people who saw his movie tonight, and we immediately recognize him as Michael Cera who starred in our movie tonight, and then we all kind of step back awkwardly as if to let someone else get out of the doorway first, and the sudden awkward movement causes Michael Cera to jerk his smoothie towards the door and smoothie flies all over the door, which we all look at, again awkwardly, and then he was like, “um, hi,” and we were like, “um, hi,” and then Eleanor and I parted so that Michael Cera could pass through us and then we went into the coffee shop and now we just want Michael Cera to let us enjoy our food and drinks in peace, please.

Oh my god, but you have to see his movie. At least ten times. It fucking rocks cock in the best way.

Now I really have to go poop.

Monday, July 30, 2007

good news, nothing to worry about

We just talked to both of Uma's doctors. John already sent the latest news out to his email list, so I'm going to cut and paste his update:

hi everyone,

dr. shevienk just came out, he's the neurosurgeon
here, and he said the 'neck remnant' of the aneurysm
has actually gotten smaller than it was in the
previous angiogram of feb. 16th. it is actually too
small for more coils and that it is probably too small
to clip as that might easily damage the main artery
the aneurysm protrudes from. so......he is 'without a
doubt' comfortable with waiting another six months for
another look. he said this is 'good news', the fact
that it has not gotten any bigger in the last six

just wanted to let you know - this will be on-going
but we will breathe a bit easier now.

with my whole heart i thank you for your prayers and
thoughts. thank you.

we will probably go home in a few hours!



at the hospital right now

John just sent this out, and I thought I'd post it:

hi everyone,

we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 this morning and it's now
10:20 am. they just took her into the interventional
radiology room. i'm here with erik and marie. we all
met the doctor, dr. alexander. he has done
more aneurysm coiling than anyone in the country and
he talked with us about what some of the options and
risks are.

he said that the fact that she has been previously
coiled makes the clipping surgery more complicated -
it can make it more difficult to attach the clip. he
also pointed out that clipping isn't always permanent
and that they use a polymer coated coil
that speeds up the scarring/healing/clotting process.
we all feel really comfortable with him and with this
whole facility. it's so different than anywhere else
we've been.

there is a five per cent risk factor, statistically,
for complications such as: bleeding, allergic reaction
to the dye used in the angiogram, stroke, bad reaction
to the anesthesia, etc.'s not risk free, but
little in a hospital is. please pray and send love.

it should take between 1.5 and 3 hours and they'll
probably have to keep her over night for observation.

all my prayers, all my love to uma.

more later,


Sunday, July 29, 2007

latest Uma update from John (7/29), and a TASK FOR MONDAY


Hello everyone,

Uma and I are sitting in a doctors office wating for
her pre-op tests. It’s friday.

She was approved for medi-cal earlier this month and I
remembered that, at one point, in NY, we had contacted
Dr. Wouter Shevienk, the director of the Maxine Dunitz
Neurosurgical Institute and he agreed to accept her as
a patient provided she was a qualified medi-cal
person. So....on Wednesday I called and asked if she
could see him. They set up an appointment for
yesterday, Thursday, and decided, after reviewing
films and charts from NY, that she needs another
angiogram to verify the efficacy of the coils clotting
her aneurysm.

Today we are having tests done to make sure she’s ok
physically to have the angiogram and, possibly, more
coiling on Monday. On Monday, there are three
possibilities - 1) that she would not have any
problems and go home 2) that she would have a problem
that can be fixed by coiling and they would do that
then 3) that she would have problem that cannot
permanently be resolved through coiling and would
require “clipping”, which would be done at a later

Coiling is the placement of microscopic platinum coils
in the “dome” of the aneurysm to assist the body in,
usually, a permanent clot. This is done through a
femoral artery catheter and is not considered a
surgical or invasive procedure. This is what they did
for her in NY. The risks of this procedure are that
coils can loosen up, allowing blood to flow again into
the dome of the aneurysm or that the cois can actually
slip out of the dome and into the blood vessel which
can cause an inappropriate clot or stroke. These
things are unlikely but they do happen. Coils are not
always a permanent solution to an aneurysm and require
that she get checked regularly thoughout the year.

Clipping is an invasive surgery. They cut into her
cranium, locate the aneurysm and clip the “neck” of it
with a tiny titanium clip. This is considered a
permanent fix to the aneurysm if done without
complications in the surgery. The risks involved in
clipping are the same with any cranial surgery as well
as problems with the invasive quality of the
procedure. Any time you stick things in the brain you
can have swelling, vasospasm, stroke, memory loss,
speech problems, blurred vision, headaches, infection,
paralysis, etc. These complications are lessened by
the fact that she is not in the middle of her
aneurysm breaking. It’s not an emergency.

She just went in for the chest x-ray. Earlier this
morning she had the other normal tests and she’s ok to

I was up last night, unable to sleep, thinking about
the options here. The idea that we could have a
permanent fix is very attractive. The idea that she
could possibly be set back in her speech or physical
therapy due to complications of clipping is
heartbreaking. She has come so far and I don’t want to
see any of that amazing work compromised.

It’s now sunday morning. I think I was avoiding
finishing this email because there is a part of me
that, honestly, doesn’t want to face more
hospitalization for her. I thought it enough that she
would be in intensive rehab for more than a year. This
latest has brought back a lot of resentment on the
part of the doctors in NY. Why they never bothered to
tell us about this I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow, after
her angiogram, we’ll find out why they never told us
about it. Though it doesn’t always help to look back
on things, I wonder where we would be in our lives now
if hadn’t been looking through her chart and found
this report about the remnant of aneurysm. But as long
as we have to face this, then we might as well face
the whole picture which includes how we’ll view, in
ten years, whatever hardship she’s about to endure. If
surgery, exluding complications, then we have reason
to breathe a bit easier in terms of recurrance. Also,
and I hope I haven’t said this about other situations,
I believe we are in really good hands. Cedars Sinai
and these physicians have an excellent reputation.
That and my informed questions and proper responses to
the answers are what we can do, physically, to help

And now I want to ask all of you to pray for and think
of her tomorrow, Monday morning. We check in at 7:30am
and, at some point later, they take her back. People
are always reminding me to take care of myself. I’ve
found that this is often a spiritual thing, even if
I’m just going for a run to keep my first heart attack
at arms length. I’m thinking that one great prayer is
the one where you take extra good care of yourself (on
Monday morning) in honor of Uma and, of course,
yourself. Do something beautiful for yourself or
because of yourself and send that love past Uma on the
way to its final destination.
For what it’s worth, I
truly believe all the people who helped in this way
saved her life. I believe in it and I believe in you.
Thank you.

Recently Erik sent an email with video links to people
who donated to Uma. I don’t think he’ll mind if I send
the link to everyone. So here they are....

Also, I’ve set up a myspace page for Uma that is
including photos and video of her progress so far. As
often as I can, I will update this.

Thank you for Monday.



uma thanks

I sent out a long email thanking all of the people who made donations to help pay for the air ambulance that brought Uma home in March, and I want to post that email below. Also, Uma has to go in for an angiogram on Monday, and there's a possibility that she might need to have her aneurysm coiled again, or clipped. There's more info about that at the bottom of this post, but please think some good thoughts for Uma on Monday. Say a prayer, light a candle, do what you do. Maybe I'll send out a specific task on Monday morning.

Okay, here's the email:

We're sending this email to all of the incredibly generous people who've made donations to The Uma Fund. (As well as all of the people who have helped in so many other ways—with your prayers, your research, your food, your visits…) All of your support has been so incredible, so inspiring, so awesome--so we want to thank you.

We cannot say those words enough. With all of our hearts: thank you.

This email of thanks is long overdue. I've been meaning to send it out for months, but I guess things happen when they're meant to happen. The other day I asked Uma if she'd like to thank all of you herself—via video—and her eyes lit up. "Yes." She is very aware of all of the love and support you've given her, and she wants to express that. She wants to thank you for all of your prayers, your love, your support. At the end of this email, I've posted five short videos of her expressing these thoughts to you in her own words.

A quick health update: Uma's doing really well. On March 12, she was transferred via air ambulance (thanks to your donations) from St. Vincent's in NYC to Rancho Los Amigos in California, to begin her rehabilitation and therapy. At that time, she wasn't able to speak at all and she had very little movement in the right side of her body. On April 17, she was discharged from Rancho to go home with her fiance, John. At that time, she was able to walk with a cane and speak some words (mostly just "yes" and "no," and a few other phrases). Since coming home, she's been on a rigorous therapy schedule—she has speech and physical therapy for several hours every day. Again, this would not have been possible without the donations you made. The out-of-pocket bills for therapy are about $600 a week—Uma and John have been able to pay these bills with the extra money that was raised for the air ambulance. So thank you for that.

Uma still has a long road of therapy ahead of her, but she is determined to continue working until she gets all of her speech and movement back. You can see for yourself how well she's doing in the videos below. (We filmed five videos and I think Uma's a little bit embarrassed by them—she sees herself struggling for the right words and she wishes that she could say EVERYTHING she wants to say RIGHT NOW—but she's making steady progress in the right direction and I think you will see in these videos how far she's come.)

Okay, enough of my blabbing. These videos are from Uma, to you.

Video #1 (56 seconds long)

Video #2 (7 seconds long)

Video #3 (37 seconds long)

Video #4 (44 seconds long)

Video #5 (1 minute, 42 seconds long)

With thanks and love,

Uma, John, and Erik

P.S. – Uma is scheduled to have another angiogram on Monday. It turns out, when they coiled her original aneurysm in February, a portion of the aneurysm that should have been contained within the coil basically broke through and has been bulging out ever since. The doctors in New York failed to mention this incredibly important piece of information to the doctors in California, but thankfully John was looking over her medical charts and he saw this for himself. On Monday, Uma's new doctor is going to look at this portion of the aneurysm and decide to treat it in one of three ways: (1) if it's really small, nothing will need to be done; or (2) if it's slightly bigger, it might need to be coiled, which is the same procedure that was done in New York—it's not incredibly uncommon, but it IS an invasive procedure--they would do this on Monday during the angiogram; or (3) if it's really bulging out, this portion of the aneurysm might need to be "clipped," which is a fairly big procedure and would be scheduled for another date. ("Clipping" the aneurysm would require shaving Uma's head again and making an incision into her skull to get directly at the aneurysm--something that's not required in the coil procedure.) In all of the above three scenarios, Uma is going to have to spend a few days in the hospital. She's kind of nervous because this is the first time she's had to go in for a procedure since she's been conscious of what's been going on with her brain. So please send her good thoughts and keep her in your prayers. Thank you...

p.p.s. If you know anyone who might not have been able to donate in March, but would still like to make a donation, we are still trying to raise money for Uma's therapy. Our funds will last for several more months, but we expect that Uma will need therapy for at least a full year. Donations can be made via paypal HERE.

p.p.p.s. THANK YOU!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July 19, 1994

I skipped a page of my diary because it was a poem and this poem is so hideously bad, but it's not hideously bad in a fun-to-share way. It's just bad in a boring way. The title of the poem was "Dreams from the Sky Fall Down" and if anyone wants to read it, I'll post it, but seriously: it's, like, so lame it hurts. And like I said, not in a good way.

So, anyway. Skipping ahead. This next diary entry is a list of goals. I'm just going to post the list without any comments and then afterwards I'll let you know how I did on achieving said goals. It's a short list.

July 19, 1994


(1) To have my headshot taken by July 19, 1995

(2) To do all that I can and make a differance (sic) at NHHS with my job as ASB Recognition Commisioner (sic).

(3) To become a candystriper and help out as much as possible.

(4) To continue to exercise and work out for my health and looks.

(5) To keep in touch with Lane and Jesse and Gina while they're at college.

(6) To fulfill these goals!


(1) I did not achieve this goal. I didn't have my first set of headshots taken until my sophomore year of college. Then I had another set of headshots taken my senior year of college. Then I gave up acting. Lotta good the headshots did. Speaking of which, I still have a box filled with about three thousand copies of my last headshot. I'm not joking. This box of headshots is in the storage unit above my parking space in my garage. I would love to get rid of them. So if you, like, want an autographed headshot, just hit me up with your mailing address via email and I'll totally send it to you. It'll be your own little "My Year Of New Things" keepsake.

(2) I have so many things to say about this one. First of all, "ASB Recognition Commisioner" is such a random position. It sounds like the pity job they gave to the kid with the least votes for some other more prestigious ASB position. (Which might have been the case.) Also, vowing to "do all that I can" is kind of aiming the bar low. It's not like I wanted to do "my best." No, this goal is begging to be left incomplete so that I can say, "oh well, that was all I could do." Thirdly, I don't remember being on ASB at all; the only thing I remember about this entire position was posing for the Yearbook photo--which was probably the most important ASB-related moment of the entire year anyway because the only reason I joined ASB was so that I could put it on my college applications. Lastly, what the fuck is a "recognition commisioner"???

(3) I totally completed this goal. I was a candystriper for six months. And I think I was pretty helpful during my candystriping days. (Jesse, didn't we candystripe together for a little while before you went off to college? Was I any good?)

(4) My favorite part about this goal is the whole "to continue to" part because it implies that I've been exercising and I want to keep at it, when in reality this goal should have read "to start to exercise." Needless to say, I never started. My other favorite part about this goal is that I admitted that I wanted to exercise to look good. This goal was a bust.

(5) I totally ROCKED this goal and am still friends with Lane, Jesse, and Gina, so this goal makes me happy.

(6) Two out of five ain't bad!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 18, 1994

Okay, here's another entry from my recently unearthed high school diary. This entry is fairly short and almost completely ridiculous, so I'm not going to make any comments about it. I think its ridiculousness speaks for itself pretty loudly. (Um, the fact that I quoted Arrested Development a couple of entries after quoting the movie Cliffhanger? And my last cryptic line about virginity? Classic future biographer material.)

July 18, 1994

My cousin Jessica might skip 6th grade and go on to 7th. Wow. She really is very mature for her age and she must be very intelligent also. I hope that the move proves to be challenging and fulfilling for her. I believe that she can do it. I'm a proud cousin.

The Arrested Development song (which I can't think of the title right now) says "It takes two to make a life and also to take one." I am pro-choice, but if I ever got a girl pregnant and she was considering abortion, I would hope that she would talk to me about it and let me be there for her. I would respect her choice. This, of course, depends on the situation, but if she made this decision, I hope that I would be there for her.

No need worrying about this right now. I am, after all, still a virgin. That doesn't mean I haven't experienced anything...

Friday, July 20, 2007

uma july 18th

JOHN'S LATEST UPDATE, from the 18th:

hi everyone,

i’m sitting in the speech therapy office with uma and
her therapist. they’re looking at flashcards of
various objeccts and people and uma’s job is to name
them. sometimes she needs a bit of cue-ing, sometimes
a lot, sometimes none.

yesterday we went to ucla to pick up the cd roms of
her angiogram films and afterwards went to will rogers
park in the palisades to do speech work and take a
hike. we came home after a side trip to starbucks and
did arm and hand exercises and then sat in our little

some really nice things happened yesterday regarding
her speech. when we were walking back to the car after
the hike, she said, “what time is it?”, where usually
she would do an end run clear around the needed words.
and then, post-pool, she looked in the refrigerator
and said, “what are we doing tonight?” asking about
dinner. this morning, at the time we normally put in
her contact lenses she said, in an accent stright
from the ‘hood, “come awone!” (come on!) and smiled. i
said, “what?” and she said, “t-contax” and i replied,
in a broad english accent, “well said my friend” and
she says, in an equally broad english accent, “thank
you”. we both laugh.

the other day i was on our front porch looking through
the 2 inch thick medical chart from new york and found
something. it’s a report from the radiologist during
her second angiogram. this was when they were checking
on the coil and this caused her vasospasm/stroke for
which they administered angioplasty to re-open the
blood vessels. upon looking at the original aneurysm
they found a “neck” portion of it that was still
bulging. the original aneurysm was 1.5 mm, which they
coiled. this “neck” is 1.2 mm. they did not proceed
with coiling this because “of the swelling and
vasospasm” they felt it was unwise to proceed with
this. i understand why they wouldn’t have done
another coiling at that time. uma was in pretty
fragile condition at the time. what i don’t understand
is that no one in new york ever told us about this. i
was left with a familiar feeling - that they just sort
of gave up on her and wanted her gone from there. it
reminded me of the hour before we put her on a
stretched on the way to the air ambulance and dr.
hirschfeld said, “by the way, you’ll probably want to
revise that shunt.” so i’ve benn thinking about this
for the last two weeks. we have a neurosurgical
consult at usc the first week in august and i’ll bring
this to the attention of the doctor. also, she has
just been approved for medi-cal and the head
neurosugeon at cedars sinai had, at one point, agreed
to take her as a patient provided she was medi-cal
approved. i’m going to contact him, too, and see if we
can get her in there. i want a more direct and
personal relationship with a neurosurgeon for her.

this almost always brings me around to realizing that
there is only this one single moment in time.....ever.
the curse of knowing that there is a possible future
so easily leads to wanting to change that future. the
best i can do is try to prepare for it as best i can,
try to make sure she gets the best help, assist her
in her recovery and then have a long series of good
moments that we string together to make a past worth
remembering. i never want to look back at any of this
and wish i had done something more (or less). staying
in the present is the best help for that.

anyway - if you felt good praying for or thinking
about her, if it brought you a good feeling or a deep
one, or even if it made you cry and feel worried (!),
if it made you feel more human or part of the real
things in it again. she needs you. i
really believe all have helped to bring
her here.

and thank you for that. ( i can’t figure out how to
put all the feeling i have into those two words).

more soon.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 17, 1994

Gina, you get your first diary mention today! I’m trying to remember when we dated—I think it was in the middle of my sophomore year? I feel like we broke up on Valentine’s Day, but maybe I’m making that up. Anyway, let’s pretend that we DID in fact break up on Valentine’s day, which would mean I wrote this five months after we broke up. And, apparently, you really broke my big straight heart—I was still trying to get over you.

But first, I decided to finish telling my New York Stories:

July 17, 1994:

New York. New Years. 4:00 a.m. All of us kids, about 12 of us, were in one room, celebrating. A couple of people, I’m not sure who, thought it would be fun to dump cups of water on the strangers walking by, through the hotel window. (This doesn’t sound like something I would have done, so I don’t think I was trying to pass the blame onto someone else—but I think the whole “I’m not sure who” thing was a lie, I think I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble. After all, what if the people on the sidewalk sued the 12 of us and my diary was seized as evidence? I’m just saying I was savvy. My future biographers did not need to know the names of the guilty water throwers.) They got this man on the head and he looked up and pointed at us, angry. Everyone got away from the window, their nerves shaken from his glare. (I was soooooo dramatic!) About 10 minutes later, maybe even sooner, there was a knock on our door. Hotel security! They told us a man was standing outside with a gun claiming that we had dumped water on him. We deinied and the man gave us a warning and left. Five minutes later, we all left that room to sleep in other rooms, shooken (sic) with the idea of a man pointing a gun towards our window. (The funny thing is, I remember this night vividly. I remember the security guard yelling at us to settle down. I remember leaving that room, afraid that the wet man was going to start sniping us through the window. We were in New York City and we felt like we were LIVING for the first time, and our lives were so important and OF COURSE men were waving guns at us from down below. Because we were sixteen and we felt like everything we did was done in Capital Letters, you know? Just. So. Dramatic.) It was a thrilling experience, which I can say only after the fact, now that I am home, safe and sound. (See, biographers! Some hapless wet man allegedly pointed a gun at all of us kids from several stories below, AND I WAS THRILLED. That’s how cool I was, biographers.) But despite this, New York was really a passage for me. It was the first time that I had ever somewhat fended for myself—paying for all of my meals, working out my schedule and transportation, and taking care of myself. The chaperons really didn’t do much, if I had been missing it might have taken them a few days to realize, so I was really on my own. (I felt SO ADULT it’s killing me.) (Mostly it’s killing me because I’m about to turn 30, and my inner about-to-turn 30 monologue sounds SO SIMILAR.) I love New York and I vow to live there for at least one year of my life.

(Gina, get ready, I’m about to start talking about you.)

I want to date someone who isn’t interested in committment (sic). I want no committment (sic) right now. I just want to be able to date and not worry about anything. If something special happens, then that’s great. But my last two relationships were too intense. I let myself fall too deep with Gina that I was blind. I knew that we weren’t made for each other and I never wanted a “forever” thing, but when she broke up with me I was caught completely off guard. I wasn’t ready for it. Now I want to date around, see more than one person, and not let things get too serious for awhile. (I love that I thought we were SOOOOO serious, Gina. Um, if I remember correctly, I don’t think we ever had a “serious” “relationship” conversation ever! All we did was hang out with our friends and occasionally make out in the back of Rayline’s truck.)

(And here’s my favorite out-of-nowhere topic transition, the gayest of them all.)

I want to learn how to disco! Night fever, night fever…

(Okay, this next paragraph is weird. And I think it gives a really clear picture of what kind of kid I was, just the fact that THIS is something I would write in my DIARY.)

I’m going to play a game of free word association: Disco – dance – lights – dark – death – life – sex – babies – youth – kids – innocent – free – virgin – sex – love – strength – weakness – fall – crush – death – rise – set – sun – yellow – flower – bee – honey – food – water – rain – wet – clean – shower – morning – sleep – live – die – heaven – hell – Devil – God – clouds – mystic – power – awesome – wonder – dream – reality – movies – actors – people – consume – mass – population – control – need – sick – help – heal – live.

(I don’t know what this string of words says about sixteen-year-old Erik, but it makes me feel incredibly boring, and I wish that sixteen-year-old Erik would just come out of the closet and get laid already.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 16, 1994

I just realized how great it was that the internet was invented because now I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to share my high school diaries with the world. My future biographers can start their biographing NOW.

In today’s installment of Erik Patterson Thought He Was Really Profound When He Was Sixteen, I share my thoughts on capital punishment, the movie Heart and Souls, and the first time I ever got drunk.

July 16, 1994

“You kill a few men and you’re a murderer. You kill a million and you’re a conquerer. Go figure.” – John Lithgow in the movie Cliffhanger.

This is an interesting summation of how our society views killing. In my mind, either way you are a murderer. (Wow, Erik, you were brilliant. Way to go with the hard-hitting analysis. Oh, but wait, you continue.)

Capital punishment? I am against it. I feel that if we feel the need to murder someone to punish them for murder, we are only stooping down to their level. The “eye for an eye” belief is bullshit. Besides, what kind of a punishment is death. A lifeliess life that is forever spent in jail is a much better punishment. Also, I don’t believe in Hell. (Hello, topic shift. I really just went from one random topic to the next in my diary, didn’t I? I think I was just trying to log as much data as possible, to help those future biographers.) Wherever souls go when someone dies – they all go to the same place. If someone killed a loved one of mine, I sure as hell wouldn’t want them to join my loved one in Heaven, or wherever souls go. (Okay, but Erik, if you don’t believe in Hell, then being as “sure as hell” isn’t really very sure, is it?)

“Heart and Souls” was a really great movie. (I’m trying to understand the logic of this particular topic shift, and I think it’s a stream-of-conscious thing; like, I was just talking about souls and so now I’ll talk about the movie “Heart and Souls.” I was a weird kid.) It just touched me where I needed to be touched (no comment) and I guess I saw it numerous times. The idea of walking down a public street singing “Walk Like A Man” is so freeing and fulfilling. Since seeing the movie, Lindsay and I break into this song often. It is always a great release. (I kind of find this “Heart and Souls” paragraph more embarrassing and humiliating than any of the other diary bits and pieces so far. I don’t know why I find this paragraph so particularly embarrassing, but I do.)

I suppose that I should tell my New York story while it is still sort of fresh in my head. (And also because I apparently have ADD in my diary and can’t seem to focus on any one topic for more than a paragraph.)

Over Christmas vacation, I went to New York with Drama--Jesse, Lindsay, Justin, Nicky, Keri, Jamie, Lolita, Julia, etc. It was a thrilling experience to finally experience Broadway plays. The first night, I saw Blood Brothers with Gwen. The theatre was small, comfortable. Before the curtain rose, my stomach was turning, I was so excited. Anyway, I saw eleven shows in one week. One highlight was New Years Even Night. I went to see Les Miserables and after the show, the whole cast came out and sang “Auld Lang Sine.” It was neat. One major 1st that happened in New York, though, was the first time I ever got drunk. It was the first--and to this day, the last--time I ever drank, also. Tuesday night, a few days before New Years Eve, we were all going to see a show, I can’t remember which one—no, wait. It was Laughter on the 23rd Floor, by Neil Simon. After the show, we waited at the stage door and met Nathan Lane and John Slattery. Anyway, before the show, I saw Paul. He came with us too, he was my director for our production Noises Off. Well, Paul and I were waiting to go to the show and he was going to the hotel bar—I went with him. Since I was in there, I thought I’d try to order a drink—I got a Gin and Tonic. We were sitting at the bar drinking and eating pretzels and the bartender didn’t say anything! Mind you—I’m 16-years-old, but I guess I look old for my age. Everyone always tells me that and it was proving to be true. Well, I had never drank before and it gave me a little bit of a headache that I had throughout the entire show. After the show, the whole group of us went to this Piano Bar called “Don’t Tell Mama’s.” It is a great place where the waitresses sing to you during the evening and anyone who wants to can go and sing too. That’s why we went there, for the singing. Most of the kids were getting things like Coke to drink and the chaperones didn’t notice what some of us others were getting. Since it worked at the hotel bar, I thought that I would try getting drinks here, too. I don’t remember what I was ordering, but by around 2:00 a.m. I had had about 5 different drinks and the only people left in the bar from our group was me, Nicky, Keri, and Paul. I had about 2 more drinks with them until the waitress told us it was closing time at a little bit past 3:00 a.m. It was time to pay and I paid with a travellors (sic) check! Well, she needed to see I.D. to use a travellors (sic) check so I got out the $20 fake I.D. card that I had bought that afternoon and everything was fine. Either she didn’t notice or she didn’t care that there was a differant (sic) name on the I.D. than the check! Anyway, even though I had had quite a few drinks, I only felt a buzz. I thought that if I had gone this far, then I wanted to get completely drunk—this wasn’t enough. So we asked where the nearest bar was that might still be open. The bartender said that there was another one around the corner, so we walked over there. Well, we got there and outside the door, Keri and Nicky said that they wanted to go back to the hotel and they left. Paul and I went into the bar and sat at the bar. We ordered drinks and not until I was on my second one--there--did I realize that it was a gay bar! There were only two other people in there. Luckily, when one of them tried to come on to me, Paul started talking to him and saved me. (!!!) Well, the bar was closing. It was now about 4:30 a.m. and we were told we had to go. I paid and when I got up, it all hit me, I could barely stand up straight (maybe it’s because you were in a gay bar! Thank god Paul saved you!) and I wobbled out of the bar. I was drunk. Paul and I were about 8 blocks away from the hotel and we are very lucky that we made it back alive. I can’t believe how stupid we were. Two drunks, walking 8 blocks to a hotel, alone, at 4:30 a.m. in New York City. Outside the hotel lobby, Paul almost got into a fight with a bum. Once I got to my room, I could not stop giggling. I noticed that someone was sleeping in my bed—rules weren’t strict and we could sleep in any room we wanted to, so I went next door and Jamie let me sleep in her room. After I stopped giggling, I passed out. The next day, I was thoroughly embarrassed. I had a headache, and I haven’t had a drink since. Well, that’s my drinking story. New York was a great learning experience. Maybe I’ll write more about it later.

July 15, 1994

I figure it’s time for another installment of my recently unearthed (and insanely profound) high school diary. In today’s episode, I wax rhapsodic about my brother Josh’s first foray into acting (if I’m doing the math right, he was eight when I wrote this) and I pontificate about O.J. Simpson’s fate.

July 15, 1994

Today I saw Josh perform a scene and a song for a class. Is this a beginning? As much as I hope it is, pity he who goes into acting for a living, for I know there isn’t much out there to make a living off of in ratio to the number of actors out there.

(Holy crap, I cannot believe what a tool I was. Um, “pity he”????)

Today was long and exhausting and I am going to curse myself tomorrow for not going to be early.

(And that’s all I said about that. I have no idea what was so long and exhausting about that July day in 1994—apparently I had much more important matters to discuss in my diary. Read on.)

I saw someone selling t-shirts that had O.J. Simpson’s face and in bold letters said “NOT GUILTY.” This supports my conviction that it will be impossible to find an impartial jury. Who is to blame but the media? They have made the O.J. case into a media frenzi (sic) that resembles more circus than integrity. Because of the media, no one in the U.S. has been left without an opinion on whether O.J. is guilty or innocent. And unless O.J. makes a confession, we never will know. (I think I was trying to sound really smart by inverting the “never” and the “will” in that sentence.) But everyone has made up in their mind a decision about his guilt/innocence. I would not call someone who wore an “O.J. NOT GUILTY” shirt impartial and I do not see how O.J could possibly have a fair trial. I am afraid that the media has made a mockery of this case and because of this I fear that O.J. will go free, whether he is guilty or not. No—I am not impartial either. I believe O.J. to be guilty. (Why am I talking like that??? “I believe O.J. to be guilty”???? Seriously, I was such a tool.) Could the media frenzi (sic) surrounding this case elimanate (sic) all form of justice from our legal system? Maybe I’m so upset by this because I feel the media drawing me in, too.

(Now get ready for a quick topic shift. What I find most absurd about these diary entries is that you can just smell how important I thought they were. It’s so obvious that I wasn’t writing for myself, but for a future biographer. I am genuinely mortified by the next paragraph and for a moment I considered skipping it altogether, but whatever, pushing on.)

Whore. Usually such a derogative word, but when used towards a good friend it is the most freeing and exhilarating word to use. It connotates a sense of teasing and trust in the other person for it is used in the most friendly context. I discovered this when I went out with my friends and we discovered that if we were ever frustrated our frustration was gone if we only called each other “fucking whores.” We all knew that we were joking and these words are actually very fun to say. Fucking whore. (Maybe Isaiah Washington had a similar attitude towards the word faggot and that’s why he didn’t really get the whole brouhaha?) It’s such a release. Our society puts such harsh criticism against such “dirty” words. And isn’t forbidden fruit the sweetest. (Oh my god.) In my circle of friends, “fucking whore” has become a term of affection. (Jesse? Lane? Gina? Do you remember this at all? Or was I writing COMPLETELY out of my ass here?)

(And now for another complete tonal shift.)

The Drovers is an excellent band. Try to find their CD, they must have one. (Who the fucking whore am I talking to??? Am I telling my biographers to buy the CD??? Because I know that I already had it and that whole “they must have one” thing was just me feigning ignorance.) I heard them play for the first time with my Grandpa and Joanne at the Golen Globe Awards—at the after-party, no less! (Who talks like this?) A kind man gave us his tickets after we were through ogling stars. (“A kind man”—I sound like I’m a peasant boy in 18th century London.) They were like no band I’ve ever heard before, they have their own distinctive sound, very Irish. Well, they were in the movie Blink, too. Their music was the only good thing about the movie. I’m determined to find their CD. (I swear, I already had it. I know I did. I was such a diary liar.) I am also determined to hear Violent Femmes live in concert. They are so amazing. Most likely my favorite group. (Notice how I wasn’t willing to fully commit to them as my favorite group? Just a feeble most likely. I was a doof.)


I'm too tired to transcribe the next entry tonight, but it's a good one and I'll post it soon--it's all about the first time I got drunk, when I was 15. Good stuff.

(I just noticed the date of this entry and realized that it's basically from EXACTLY thirteen years ago. Thank God for age.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

latest Uma update from John (7/12/07)

FROM JOHN (7/12/07):

hello again everyone,

i've been busy! but i've been thinking about how all
of you prayed and thought and meditated and walked and
vandalized and wrote and donated and called and
visited and cooked and cleaned and walked and
tried.....and i feel like i really need to tell you
all what's going on with uma on a regular basis.

life is very strange compared with what i've been lead
to believe it 'should' be. it is what it is i guess
and you react as best you can to what is in front of
you. for a long time i thought the adjustments to our
new life together would be more difficult for me than
for her but the more aware uma becomes of her
situation and the more she can actually do the more
she is prone to being depressed or resigned to her
current abilities. getting her to do things for her
own therapy on a self-motivated basis is not so easy.
the great thing about her is that, if you do give her
a task, she will do it all the way and won't stop
until she can do it right. when i said this was going
to be a long, long recovery i truly meant every word.

today was the last day for a while that our home-based
physical therapist (robbin, the associate professor at
usc) will come over. she is due to deliver her second
child on july 20th know....time for a
break. i've recorded a lot of video to use as
reference for our home program. i feel confident now,
after 2 months, that i can duplicate the exercises.
part of this confidence comes from the fact that uma
doing so well and can respond to commands and
understand the reasoning behind subtle changes in,
say, position or muscle/movement emphasis.
we continue to go to a hospital-based speech and
physical therapist each three times a week.

a typical day is - get up about 8. uma dresses herself
while i make breakfast. we eat, usually while watching
a tv show she likes (dawson's creek or something like
that). i put in her contact lenses for her (but she
has to say, "contacts" before i do it and this is a
very hard word for her right now) and tie her shoes.
she gathers up her purse and we go to glendale for
therapy. there she spends a couple of hours back to
back with speech and physical therapy. both therapists
are very happy with her progress.

much of the speech therapy revolves around reading and
comprehension. there are flash cards with pictures to
name-many of which she can name already without any
cue-ing- and very short stories to read and answer
questions about. she can't actually read aloud nor can
she yet say any of the words individually that she
sees on paper but she somehow gathers the meaning of a
sentence and can refer back to it when answering
written questions about the content of the story. she
'says' she feels like it's cheating because she gets
to look at the story text while answering the
questions but, in the end, it's all reading and
understanding and that's what we want. but that shows
her spirit - she wants to do it right.

physical therapy usually begins with the stairstepper
- up to 85 pounds the other day - for ten minutes. the
last time she did the stair stepper she held on to the
railing with both (yes, both) hands. no tape, no
cloth, no assisting. this happened on a day when she
also made a lot of headway in the 'weight-bearing'
positions they want her right arm to be in. the more
weight her arm/hand can bear, the more it will wake
the brain up in that area......then she will walk
sideways, backwards, up and down a small staircase, hamstring lifts with ankle weights or
repeatedly lift her right leg out and balance - lots
of different leg excercises. then there is right arm
stuff including massage and movement. (i'm hoping to
get together a myspace page detailing a lot of this
activity and uploading videos of her progress - she
said that would be ok with her). last evening in our
tiny little pool she was sitting on a lawn chair and
raised her right arm up on it's own to land on the
armrest, and, with help from her left hand, spread her
right fingers out and over the edge of the armrest.
this is the first time she's done anything like this
herself. that she'd be interested in it, think of it,
and be able to do it is a great sign and is also a way
to bear weight.

....then we would come home, i'd make lunch, we eat,
usually i do the dishes and then we begin a routine
that takes up about 25 minutes an hour each hour until
dinner. this routine varys from hour to hour but
includes speech therapy from her work book - reading,
alphabet flash cards (she can do A, B and C
consistently so far), pointing to objects in the room,
mimicing me while i say, "poe, toe, boe, woe, no, low,
so, zoe, koe" etc. - some of these are easier than
others for her. it also includes upper and lower
extremity stretching and range-of-motion, standing and
seated calf and toe raises, isolated quadricep and
hamstring exercises using the wall and a basketball (
look for the video.....soon i hope), exercises for
external rotation of her arm, wrist movement, pushing
and pulling with various devices (arm stuff), etc.
then, every other day we drive down to the fern dell
at the bottom of griffith park and walk up to the
observatory and back - takes about an hour....come
home, hop in the little pool and talk.....she takes a
shower, i cook dinner, we eat and, pretty soon, she's
asleep. and the days go on like this. i'm taking a
lot of time off work the next few months so we can
intesify her regimen. she's ready, i can feel it. the
catch is that, the more she can do, the more she
realizes what she can't do. but, also, the more she
can do, the more she wants to work.

with days and evenings like this ( add in work,
cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry) and
you can see why it's been so long since i've written.
i'm sorry about that but i just get so tired at night
which is about the only time i can do it.

she can answer the phone now and have a bit of
conversation, too so, those of you who have her
number, give her a call and maybe ask her when you can
see her if you want. that would be great.

all my love,


Friday, July 13, 2007

12 of 12, July 2007

I should have posted this yesterday, but I didn't have internet access yesterday. I haven't participated in Chad's 12 of 12 project in many, many months, and I finally decided to get back in the game. Here goes.

#1: Highland Park, 8:46 a.m.

I just woke up. The night before, I'd had a fever of 101. I was all loopy and shit. (I'm still trying to get over a cold, but at least the fever's gone, thank the lord.) Anyway, taking the above photo was the first thing I did when I woke up and I wasn't happy about it. I am not a morning person. And 8:46 a.m. is early for me.

#2: L.A.X., 11:36 a.m.

Despite the fact that I woke up at the crack of dawn (I'm telling you, 8:46 is really early), I was still late to meet my mom for our planned carpool to the airport, so she was really paranoid about whether or not we were going to catch our plane or not (she'll scoff at the notion that she was "really paraniod," but it's true). In the above photo, we're about to go through security. The woman standing in front of my mom was, like, 4 feet and not an inch taller. I wanted to stow her in my suitcase and take her home with me.

#3: L.A.X., 11:38 a.m.

It only took two minutes to get through security, so now we have plenty of time to kill. I am fairly certain that my mom took extra time putting her shoes back on (above photo) so that it wouldn't seem like we had so much time to kill.

Bonus photo, "hotness," L.A.X., 11:52 a.m.

I was wandering, aimlessly, looking for something to eat before getting on the plane, when suddenly, I see a man enter the corridor and I freeze. I'm not even exaggerating for effect, I literally froze in my tracks. I think my jaw might have dropped, but I won't say that it did because I can't tell for sure because I pretty much lost all control of my body. Hell, I might have been floating and I wouldn't have even known it because the man who entered the corridor was Leland Palmer. Now, okay, yes, now that I'm at the home of my cousins Sue and Alan, I realize that Leland Palmer is a fictional character from the television show Twin Peaks and that he was portrayed by an actor named Ray Wise. Yes, I know that with every logical fiber in my body. But if I was stuck on a desert island and God told me he'd give me a TV set with one condition, that I'm only allowed to watch one television series and I can watch it as much as I want but seriously I'm never gonna get to watch another series so I'd better choose wisely, I would choose Twin Peaks. And my love for the show is really unabated, i.e. I get so annoyed when people say "Oh, yeah, that show was great in it's first season, but the second season sucked," because, okay, sure, some of the second season sucked--okay, maybe chunks of it did--but if the only thing you see in the second season is suckage, well, I'm sorry, but you're really missing out, because the second season has at least twenty brilliant moments. What am I saying??? MORE than twenty brilliant moments. (Every scene with David Lynch as Agent Gordon Cole, Piper Laurie's big reveal moment in the prison, the "Don't go back to Missoula, Montana" scene, that diner scene between Major Briggs and Bobby when Major Briggs tells Bobby about the dream he had and Bobby realizes that his dad loves him and he breaks down and cries...I could go on, but I won't.) The only storyline that's completely bad, IMHO, is the one with James and that blondie who tried to set him up for the murder of her husband, and that storyline isn't bad because of James Marshall's terrible acting (which actually WORKS most of the time BECAUSE of its badness, and I could go on and on about why, but I won't), no, that storyline's bad because it's the only storyline in the entire series that takes place OUTSIDE of Twin Peaks and suddenly melodramatic soapyness that's essential to the show started to feel out of place. And one of the best peices of the Twin Peaks puzzle is Ray Wise. I know that the actors have said that they didn't know the answer to the question "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" until the killer was finally revealed on the show, but if you go back and watch the show again from the beginning, Ray Wise knew. He had to have known! Watch the dream sequence in episode three, and then watch every single scene that Ray Wise is in, because it all points to him, but it's so subtle and Ray Wise is so brilliant and sad that you don't see it coming at all. With each episode, he builds to madness. But it takes, like, 14 episodes for him to get there, so it's a looooong build. And he teeters on the brink of absurdity without ever for one second losing the core emotional truth that he is a father who just lost his daughter in the most horrible way. It's such a good acting job that he is completely and utterly real in my head, and when I saw Ray Wise walking towards me, I swear to you: I held my breath. (On a side note, he's extremely handsome in person, and he looks completely un-crazy. I, on the other hand, probably looked bonkers, standing there, frozen, holding my breath, trying not to look like I'd noticed him while simultaneously STARING.) I didn't want to freak him out, and also I wanted to respect the fact that he's just trying to be a normal dude at the airport, so I didn't take my camera out of my pocket until he'd already walked upstairs on his way to the private airport bar. That small speck of a head you see in the above photo is him, walking away. Seeing Ray Wise was thrilling, and starstriking, and completely hot.

#4: Mid-air, 4:38 p.m.

How beautiful is that sky? I was enjoying the view. Until...

#5: Mid-air, 4:59 p.m.

...we started experiencing turbulance. And when I say "turbulance," I mean it felt like the airplane had been plucked out of the sky by the hand of God and he was shaking it to see if anyone was inside. I've never been scared in the air before, but for a few minutes there: I was scared. My mom was scared too, and she said that she was scared, and I didn't think it would do the two of us any good for BOTH of us to be scared, so I pretended like I wasn't scared and I took this photo to be like, "ha, ha, look at us, we're having fun on an airplane," but now that I'm safe and sound and on the ground, I can admit that I was out of my wits.

When the plane landed, all of the passengers erupted into applause--that's how scary the turbulance was. True story.

#6: Ronald Reagon Washington National Airport, Washington D.C., 8:29 p.m.

Never have I been so glad to see a non-descript airport tunnel. We're in Washington D.C. now, so I've added three hours to my camera's timestamps to account for East Coast time.

#7: Washington D.C., 9:03 p.m.

My cousins Sue and Ellie picked us up at the airport. I tried to get a good photo of the Washinton Monument as we drove past it, but this was the best one I got.

#8: Washington D.C., 9:04 p.m.

And then I tried to get a good photo of the Lincoln Memorial as we were driving towards it, but this is the best one I got. Despite the shoddy photos (we were driving, after all), it was beautiful.

#9: Chevy Chase, Maryland, 9:27 p.m.

Arriving at the home of Sue, Alan, Ellie, and Scott. Family reunion time.

#10: Sue and Alan's living room, 9:56 p.m.

That's my mom, my step-grandma, and my great-aunt Muriel.

#11: Sue and Alan's kitchen, 10:46 p.m.

That's Granny Joanny teaching Uncle Bobby and cousins Steffani and Taylor how to do that twisting-your-middle-fingers-through-your-hands trick. You know the one.

#12: Basement make-shift bedroom, 12:10 a.m.

The end of a long day. I was about to collapse. My cousin Taylor snapped this photo in the mirror, just before her mom yelled for her to go brush her teeth.