Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No, Seriously: Is Mark Still Alive?

Yes, I'm fine. Just experienced the first California earthquake. It was a 5.8 (I don't know what that means) and my souvenir baseballs didn't even fall off the shelf. The bobbleheads definitely got a workout though.

Funny thing is, there's some guys doing work on the patio area, so for a minute, I wasn't even sure it was an earthquake. I kind of poked my head out the window and was like" Was that you guys....or..?" and they assured me that no, their sledgehammer had not caused the entire building to shake. What do I know? Chicago doesn't have earthqu-, oh yeah.

Of course today's events are nothing compare to the seismic activity that could go down in Milwaukee the next 3 days. Let's go Cubs! (unless of course anyone was hurt or killed in the quake. That'd suck)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is Mark Still Alive?

Well, we haven't done this in a while, have we? Have I been on the DL with Kerry Wood cuz of a "blister"? Or, thought that since I'd moved to Venice I'd "gone soft": started sitting on the beach all day.... smoking maryjane...... cruisin' the waves.... drawing caricatures of tourists for $15 a pop..... no direction, no ambition, just......whatever: it's sunny today.

That's actually exactly what I've been doing. Lot of money in that caricature job. Spent some time as a living statue, too.

Naw, I'm screwing with you. I've just been writing. Not the blog, obviously. But scripts and stuff. A little comedy material. Some other musings. That's what's great about characterizing yourself as a "writer" - you can pretty much B.S. how much actual time you spent on something and no one is the wiser.

"Mark, what'd you do all summer?"

"Spent my time writing."

"Oh, cool. Can I see-?"

"Nope. Not quite done yet."


Yeah. Now I just need to get paid for that.

But I have admittedly been taking it easy, but with one whirlwind of a fall on the horizon, I've decided there's nothing wrong with cruising in neutral for a few miles (especially considering today's gas prices).

Of course, I have spent some time getting settled into my new place which took longer than I thought. It's a pretty old unit so things (like getting a washer/dryer) took a little while, plus there's, like, this beach that's not too far. So that's been something. But I've got some pictures of the new pad.

The kitchen. If the stove looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen it in the 1960 kitchen of Donald Draper from AMC's hit show MAD MEN. Yes, that is my actual stove, and yes, it's been around since before the Nixon era. But it works like a charm! (so I'm told. Haven't 'cooked' anything yet)

The other half of the kitchen, which I have tried like hell to make it look more like a Chicago sports bar than anything else.

Couches. As you would assume, they face the TV. I like this room.

My bedroom's kind of funny. It's pretty damn big, and it's got that crazy alcove area where I stuck my bed. The whole place is kind of funny and quirky like that, I think it might be haunted, too.

And finally, tough to tell from this nite-time pic, but I've got a cool little yard area. Chairs, a table, and a grill will soon be out there. Perfect for smoking cigars.

And before I wrap up, there's another little issue that we need to talk about. Last time I posted and described my desire to hear from everyone who reads this thing about their personal favorite music tastes. Not anything crucial, but I thought it'd be cool to know what everyone listens to.

Little did I realize that pretty much NOBODY who reads the blog has ever enjoyed listening to music. Ever. At least, that's what I have to assume since the responses I got to that post were less than overwhelming.

Listen y'all, this blog has got to be a kind of two-way street if I'm going to keep pumping it out during my next semester. I love writing it, but I'd like to know that people are reading it. And I'd like to know what people are up to outside of what their facebook status says. To those who have left comments: you already know that you're cool and can ignore the rest of this. Thanks and peace out. Others, have been less willing to talk.

In fact, the only time this thing gets peppered with comments is when I happen to mention a certain senator from Illinois who is running for a certain office of some prestige.

So here's the deal: if you read a post, drop a comment every now and then. Doesn't have to be anything special, it can even be anonymous. Just write "Cubs in '08!" or say "hi" or anything.

And if all you cool people don't leave me a comment or two each week, I won't quit writing this, but I'll turn it into a Barack Obama fan site.

All Obama. All the time.

I know a lot of you wouldn't like that too much. (((cough, John, Bill, dad)))

I'm going to get back to writing this on a once or twice a week basis in August, and I'd like to open the lines of communication a bit more. I'm not saying a comment every week. But just let me know you're out there. If you don't, you'll have to deal with THIS:


(plus, didja hear he might be Muslim?)

That's my 'shot across the bow'. Just lemme know you're out there and everything will be fine.

I'll be back in CHI July 30. Hopefully see ya.

CUBS IN '08!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

From Sea to Shining Sea

Happy belated 4th of July to all. Here's a photo from one of this country's shining seas.

But that pic's not of just any beach, because that particular stretch of sand is just a short walk away from my new apartment.

He shoots....... he scores!!!!

Yeah, I've had a long and annoying time trying to land a new address. It's been especially frustrating b/c its kept me from focusing on other things like summer internships or working on next semester's scripts. But, at long last, signed the lease just a few days from my move-out date of June 30th. And boy, was this worth the wait.

No pics yet b/c I'm still cleaning stuff up and moving in. But it's pretty great. And it follows the three rules of real estate. 1. LOCATION (walking distance to the beach) 2. LOCATION (walking distance to bars and restaurants) a-a-a-a-a-a-a-and: 3. LOCATION (close to the freeway to go to USC).

The commute to USC isn't too bad. About 20 mins most of the time, significantly more during rush hours. I don't mind too much, especially since some other classmates live out this way and some sort of pooling of cars may be in the works if gas stays in the stratosphere.

(BTW: Great clip from the Daily Show about gas prices, about 2:50 in)

Besides, I got used to driving to school back at the Academy. Benet, that is.

I'm thinking it'd be a good time to expand my music-type knowledge. When it comes to really knowing music, I'm about as lost as the characters on LOST.

(BTW again, Am I the only one who totally thought that the bloodthirsty mercenary Keamy looked like a juiced up Derek Jeter?)

Wow, that's getting off track. Anyway, the point is that I'm going to be buying some new CDs over the next couple of weeks but I don't know what to buy. This is time for a little audience participation.

If y'all could be so kind, please post any music recommendations. A great band, a great album. A great album from a great band, whatever. The whole gammut here to, from Beethoven to Bono, Gershwin to Green Day, Elvis Presley to Lupe Fiasco. Lay it all down.

Unless, of course, you have terrible taste in music. Then don't post anything, you'll just embarrass yourself.

Wish I could write more but I've got an apartment to clean and a coastline to jog up. More later. Also, one thing I did miss out on on the 4th of July was watching one of my personal favorite films of all time: Independence Day. Joey txtd me about a ID4 marathon on Fox Movie Channel, which my cable package sadly does not have. Anyway, Will Smith said it best:

"Elvis has left the building!"