Sunday, January 27, 2008

Some Rainy Day Reading

So there have been some strange happenings this week in Los Angeles. Anyway, these "events" have opened my eyes and inspired me to write a 750 page novel. It is an epic work, with the foresight of an H. G. Wells or an Aldous Huxley. As this great work is not yet finished, here are some excerpts from this literary masterpiece...


Chapter I, Page 1
Los Angeles-July 11, 2016
William McIntosh, highly lauded documentary filmmaker, briefly looked up from his laptop as he sat in the back of the well-equipped Hummer H1. The rain had picked up, and William tapped his driver and cameraman Lou on the shoulder. "You okay?" Lou responded with a thumbs up and maintained his focus. Conditions were getting worse as Lou attempted to steer the SUV down the slick, deserted 101 freeway. At least 6 inches of standing water covered the asphalt-more than 18 inches and they'd risk getting swept in the current. William peered out the wet, foggy window to just barely make out some of the long-abandoned apartment buildings, "Just think", he said, "this used to be the second largest city in the country." He sighed briefly, then refocused his energy and went back to his laptop- "The story of what happened here must be told."....

Chapter III, Page 67
Los Angeles-Februray 4, 2008
As Jack Hero's plane landed on the runway at LAX, he peered out the window and frowned at what he saw. The overcast skies loomed large, and Jack just shook his head as he dialed his cell. "Figures" he chuckled while he listened to the ringing. Finally, his buddy picked up: "Lonny, dude, what the hell? I finally make the move to LA and I'm greeted with cloudy skies?" Raising his voice to be heard over the chatter at the bar he tended, Lonny responded "I know dude, they say it may even
rain tonight. Trust me though, this like NEVER happens"....

Chapter V, Page 135
Los Angeles-February 9, 2016
As Lou made the final adjustments to the camera, William checked his footing on the muddy ground. Firmly grasping the microphone, he was soaking wet and tired, yet determined. Lou gave the sign and called it out-"Rolling...and action". William looked at the camera and began a difficult walk up the slippery hill-"I'm walking now in the area known as Bel-Air. Perhaps most famous for being the one-time home of Hollywood celebrities, including actor-turned-Senator Will Smith, these mansions are now loosely inhabited by squatters who brave the constant downpours and flash floods." William gestured to a dilapidated mansion, covered in heavy vegetative growth, where a few slack-jawed yokels emerged from their mold-filled dwellings. "Some have agreed to guide us to higher ground, where we should get an excellent view of Lake Fernando, which, as many may recall, was at one time the San Fernando Valley. At the bottom of Lake Fernando, we hope, to find answers to the many, many questions..."

Chapter IX, Page 268
Los Angeles-December 31, 2008
A steady rain fell on the slick streets of West Hollywood as Jack jogged, looking at his watch. He skipped up the steps of an apartment complex and opened a modest metal door to find a room crowded of twentysomethings. "Hey, cutting it a little close there, Mr. Hero!" said a very drunk Lonny, pointing to the TV countdown clock for New Years, two minutes and forty-five seconds. "Yeah, well," Jack said with a smile, "when Dreamworks asks you to work late: you work late." Lonny laughed as he put his arm around Jack and led him to the kitchen "Still raining, huh? Man, it's been wet and crazy year. You want some champagne? Oh dude, this is Angela" Jack turned to see Angela, and his eyes became transfixed. She smiled, shyly, and squeaked "It's nice to meet you". Jack, dumbfounded for a moment, responded with a "Yea". As he tried to introduce himself, the attention of everyone turned to the TV to watch the ball drop. Jack's eyes, however, remained on Angela. "10....9....8...."

Chapter XII, Page 424
Sacramento-March 12, 2009
A clear night fell quietly over California's capitol city as Gov.
Schwarzenegger watched the evening news with his staff. A young reporter spoke from Hollywood Boulevard as rain fell onto her Channel 11 parka: "This now being the 10th straight day of rain, and record totals causing widespread flooding and landslides, top meteorologists are beginning to think that the unusually high rain totals of 2008 were not a fluke, as many were resigned to believe. The crisis now deepening, many have turned to Gov. Schwarzenegger for answers and aid." The Governor turned off the TV in disgust. He put his head down briefly, and then turned to his staff. He had anger in his eyes as he spoke: "I am avare dat dere is strange veather happening in Los Angeles. I know dis. Vhat no one seems able to tell me is VHY?! Vhy is dis happening?" The advisers meekly slunk into their chairs, not a one daring to speak. After a long silence, Prof. Sam Cassandra stood up, and cleared his conscious to the Governor: "This problem is of your own doing, Sir." Schwarzenegger looked at the professor, full of rage and confusion: "Vhat are you talking about? How did I do dis?". Prof. Cassandra grabbed a sip of water from a glass, then headed to the front of the room"You see, Governor, the city of Los Angeles has--since the 1950's--had a distinct environmental phenomenon known as smog. The smog of LA has been a palpable component of Southern California's weather patterns for the latter part of 5 decades. However, some of your recent smog-reduction legislation, brought about by pressure from celebrities and "green" lobbyists, caused a dramatic lowering in smog levels!" The Governor, sitting down now, looked at Prof. Cassandra with tears in his eyes: "But, I thought dat smog vas bad?". The professor quickly shook his head "Oh, it is! But you can't just extricate a major part of the environment in that short of time without any effects! The lessening of smog caused a vacuum over Los Angeles, and nature abhors a vacuum." "But vat can ve do to STOP it?" he yelled. The professor laughed under his breath "Oh, Mr. Governor, the rainy climate is like Kobe Bryant: we can't stop it, we can only hope to contain it"

Chapter XVII, Page 591

Los Angeles-June 23, 2009
Jack hurried around his cubical at Dreamworks, stuffing only vital files into his bag. He kept one eye on the television as a reporter spoke from an emergency tent in Santa Monica, pouring rain could be heard over her head as she spoke: "...the downpours have also caused problems for some of Hollywood's most famous residents. Sean Penn was paralyzed after his mansion in the hills collapsed on him and it took rescue workers almost ten hours to reach him. National Guardsman Rick Dawson said this about the rescue: 'Let me put it this way: we were in no hurry to reach him. We haven't even gotten to Tim Robbins' house yet.' As more of the National Guard comes on Gov.
Schwarzenegger's orders, many Los Angelinos are fleeing the city, as the temporary levees are only expected to-" Jack's cell rang, and he answered quickly "Angela? Are you still in Santa Monica? Good, I'll be right there. I'll meet you at the emergency tent. What? I can't hear you! What's that noise?"Jack pulled the phone away from his ear, his hand trembling as he turned back to the TV screen. The reporter was no longer looking at the camera, but behind her to see a massive wave of water burst through the tent. The screen then went dark, for a second, until the feed from the studio came up to reveal a distressed anchor. His voice quivered "It appears from that shocking video, and eyewitness accounts, that Santa Monica has been hit with 25-foot swells, and that more water is rushing into the valley..." Jack dropped his bag and sprinted out of the office. He flew through the pouring rain until he found an empty police car, the driver directing other studio employees to safety transport vehicles. As Jack jumped into the squad car, the policeman ran over, his gun drawn. "Sir, I have to ask you to step out of the car!" Jack stared at the cop, tears streaming down his face, and yelled "I'm going to Santa Monica to save the woman I love! If you're going to shoot me, do it now!".....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Help A "Brother" Out

So far I've been able to provide you wonderful readers (yes, all 6 of you) with hours of entertainment with asking for little in return but the occasional comment post. But I do need to ask something of you now.

For those who may, or may not, know, I sit on the board of a brand new theater company founded by my longtime friend Derek Dion. The theater company is called "Big Brother Productions" and is built on being a theater that uses media and non conventional techniques to comment on our political and social climate. However, this theater in its infancy needs support.

It is putting on its first show-"Oedipus Rex"-one of my favorite plays-this February. I'm actually hoping to get out to Chicago to see it in early March if my schedule allows. But the theater is in jeopardy of not having enough funds to continue.

So please, even if you just started a new job, or you're in school, or you don't have a job at all. Go to their website, scroll down and click "donate" and give $25, $50, or more if you can. You can use your credit card: how easy is that? Joey uses my mom's credit card all the time.

You'll be doing your good deed for the day, and helping further a great creative cause.

If anyone has any questions about Big Brother, how you can pitch in, get tickets, or just want to speak with the greatest actor I've ever worked with, email Derek at

Monday, January 21, 2008

All right boys, let's take some pictures!

I was able to get my place clean just long enough to snap some pics. Hope you all enjoy this rare glimpse into my new daily life in the City of Angels. Not exactly 1300 State Parkway, but not too shabby either.

I mean between the comfy couches from Dan the Man and the 46 inch HD, I really don't have much incentive to do anything, much less toil away at some dream, right?

WRONG!!!!! I saw a 72 inch beauty at Best Buy, you only get that with movie success money.

This my table/desk, Notice how it seems a little tall. It's called a "pub table" and it's awesome because it makes my place kind of feel like The Lion's Head Pub-minus the $2 beer of the month, table toppers, and tons of DePaul kids.

Here's my bed.

(That sentence, apparently, does not constitute foreplay in California)

But seriously, it's a damn comfy bed, made awesome-er by the heavy influence of a certain NFL franchise.

Here's the ole' MDX. The Blue Comet, as I call her (with respects to Bobby Baccala). Just wanted to let y'all know that she made the trip from CHI to LA safe and sound.

FYI: that isn't my parking space. I took that picture today at Venice Beach, where I went to do my first movie assignment, which was just some observational (ie: voyeuristic) shooting and play with images, focus, f-stops, ect. Venice beach is quite a scene, filled with surfers, families, druggies, and homeless-ish hippie-folk. The beach was relatively uncrowded because the temperature dropped to a "frigid" 59 degrees. I swear, I'm walking around in short sleeves and I see people with scarves on! And not fancy fashion scarves, but like real thick shovel-the-walk scarves. It's ridiculous, this town. Anyway, I will leave you with a picture of our fearless hero , soaking in another California sunset.

That's all for now.....Roger, Roger.

PS: In case you haven't noticed, I now know how to make links to other websites.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

High Five!

5 days since dad flew back to ORD and I've been here on my own, so what the hell's been going on? Well, Friday I met my colleagues (we are all first semester grad students, those who started in fall '07 are 2nd semester, and so on thru 6 semesters). The class of about 50 has an impressive Chicago contingent, like six people. Plus someone from NW Indiana (which, I suppose, counts) and an Iowa guy. Two of the Chicagoans are into the improv scene and have (like myself) enjoyed a beer or two at the venerable Old Town Ale House. The rest of the class is really diverse in age, geography, and film background. There's a bunch of people from the south, some west coasters, some east coasters, and more than a couple of internationals. I'm one of the youngest, with most of the class being in their mid to late 20's.

My first weekend in LA was laid back, with most of my time being spent getting to know the classmates and unpacking my new life here, getting the furniture delivered, cable hooked up (I love HD-it is so choice, especially 46 inches of it in my living room). I've resolved that once I get my place cleaned up I'll take some pictures and post them..... so that may never happen.

Oh, so I buy this tool box at Target to replace the old one I left in Chicago, and I get it home and the case is screwed shut. You needed a TOOL to open the TOOLBOX. Why would I buy the *%#$@! toolbox if I had a phillips head just lying around?!! Who are these people?

Anyway, my only "going out" was catching a sketch show at Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy theater based out of New York. It was OK. Hollywood Boulevard is kind of the center of nightlife but I don't's really strange. It just seems like it's nothing but chubby 20 year-old girls from Newport going to concerts with their boyfriends whose attire would land them squarely in the North Halsted area BUT this is LA so they're straight. And drug dealers and Asian tourists. They're always there, too.

The first couple of classes were a lot of introduction and stuff, but for 507--our big production class--we have to shoot 3 shorts on our own plus a small group short, so, we'll see how all that goes. Everyone in the program seems really eager to learn and help everyone and all hang out and drink milkshakes together. I'll be honest, I was expecting a little bit more competitiveness but so far I've been pleasantly surprised. We'll see what happens once the shooting starts.

Other than all that, I'm really looking forward to a Packers-Patriots Superbowl. It's sure to be an exciting rematch from Superbowl XXXI, kind of like Superbowl XXXI II. Anyway, I am dubbing the game to take place on Feb 3rd "The Duel in the Desert: Butch Casssidy vs. the Sundance Kid", with Brett Favre in Paul Newman's role and pretty-boy Tom Brady filling in for pretty-boy Robert Redford. I am happy to see Brett Favre get to the superbowl in what I'm really hoping is his final year. Of course, he's not going to win it, but I'm happy to see him get there.

Another wacky "Mark's in SoCal" moment was tonight, we could go watch some open auditions get videotaped for the film students' reference. Halfway through I went outside to have a mini cigar, chatted with some classmates and helped some actress with her lines. When we were done and headed back inside I flicked my lit cigar into the brush. This was the result:

Okay, not really. I quickly realized my error and stomped it out as people looked on with horror. Made me realize that I took the endless puddles, snowbanks, and alleyways for granted in Chicago. Apparently, this area's had some trouble with loose flames in the past. Who knew?

With that, I will leave you with a conversation I had today with a classmate about weather.

Me: I was talking to my dad and later this week it's going to be six in Chicago.
Classmate: Six inches of snow?
Me: No, six degrees.

Stay warm and have an Old Style on me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

2,134 Miles, A Hero's Welcome to Cali, and Greg Kosin Makes a Deal with Dan "the Man"

That's what January 6th-10th pretty much boiled down to for me. Firstly, the cross-country drive was a fantastic experience. From 156 N. Montclair in Glen Ellyn, IL to the Sheraton in downtown Los Angeles, CA, my dad and I covered 2,134 miles, 8 states, 3 time zones, and half a tin of chocolate chip cookies.

Chicago to Omaha was quick and painless, short of the obscene amount of fog that shrouded the highly-touted, yet ultimately disappointing state of Iowa. We ended the day in Omaha, where I spent the night watching the BCS Championship at a friend’s place.

From Omaha we set out to reach Grand Junction, Colorado. Nebraska is a very flat state that smells like Champaign-Urbana on a bad day. Half of Colorado ain’t much better, though, until you get to the mountains. We stopped for lunch in Idaho Springs (just near Vail) and grabbed a couple of buffalo burgers. They were damn good, plus you get the added satisfaction of eating an almost-extinct animal.

From Colorado to L.A. was probably the sexiest driving we had. The mountains of Utah were snowy, icy, and filled with truck-drivers who saw out-of-state SUVs the way I see pigeons on the road: moving targets. Once we made it through the mountains and a small corner of Arizona desert we stopped in Vegas to grab a bite and gas up. (The only gambling I got in was losing a quick 100 pennies at a video poker game at the car wash.)

As we drove from Vegas to L.A., we saw the sun set. And then once we got over the mountains, we saw the sun set again. So, in my journey from Chicago to Cali, I got to literally drive off into the sunset. Twice.

Wednesday night my dad and I had a quick bite and a couple of drinks at the hotel bar and then hit the sack because the next day we had the lofty task of finding me a bed and a sofa and getting it delivered quickly. Thursday we found that lofty task damn near impossible until my dad sniffed out a warehouse clearance place called Al’s run by a guy named Dan. It was Dan’s job to move furniture as quickly as possible, which suited us perfectly, and dad was more than happy to get me a bedroom set, a living room set, and a table and chairs for roughly the amount of money my mother-God Bless her-spends on a coffee table. Add that with free delivery within 48 hours and Dan truly earns the sought-after moniker of “The Man”.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Internet, eh?

In the final weeks leading up to my bittersweet departure from the City of Big Shoulders, I realized that in all probability I would end up feeling really guilty about moving to L.A. and being really busy and not spending much time talking to my friends and family back home. Until my wonderful Aunt Paula gave me the ultimate loophole: a blog!

For those unfamiliar with the wide-world-interweb, "blogg" references an old Anglo-Saxon drink, not unlike mead, that warriors would down after battle and discuss their kills. The modern genisis of the term refers to virtual "blogg-halls" which originated in the mid-nineties by Star Wars fans to spout off about George Lucas' re-release of episodes IV, V, and VI. However, in this modern era, blogs are used by everyone from housewives to NBA celebrities like Mark Cuban and Gilbert Arenas.

My blog will allow my family and friends in the Second City to witness my transformation from good-natured, friendly, whiskey-drinking Chicagoan to strung-out, shallow, sushi-munching, freeway-driving, Valium-addicted Los Angelite.

Just kidding. I'll still drink whiskey in LA.

But this will allow me to let the people I care about in Chicago know what I'm up to at USC without me having to make 10-12 calls a week. In addition to updates about my schoolwork, I might also talk a bit about how LA is different from CHI. Weird phrases are spoken there like "Let's do lunch" or "I'm watching the Clippers". Hopefully I can make the 2,023 miles feel a little bit shorter.


ps: Oh, and I think other people can post things on my blog, kind of like facebook or smack talk on fantasy. So, yeah.....someone try that.