Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's a Wonderful Lifé

So, one of the more recent advertising campaigns that has been nearly impossible to not notice around L.A. recently (and the world, I presume) is McDonald's new McCafé line of coffee products. McDonald's has chosen to inform us of their wonderful new products with all the discretion and subtlety of a Micheal Bay movie: there's been bus ads, newspaper ads, magazine ads, bus stop ads, billboards, and a 4 story tall McCafé mocha drink busting out of a building I drive past on the way to my internship.

And of course, the TV and radio spots. The TV ads are my favorite - they usually tell people to "McCafé your Day!", which usually involves them buying one of McD's new McCafé drinks and (surprise, surprise) the product vastly improves the lives of those who purchased it.

I especially like the ads where people are doing lame, boring chores or work and then they buy a drink and McD's adds an accent mark and that makes it fun or classy - commute become commuté, chore becomes choré. Ignoring the grammatical pitfalls of such reckless use of the accent mark, I think McD's is also saying something very insulting to its customers.

Essentially, they are like: "your life sucks, and the only way to add a pitiful amount of joy into it is to suck on one of our caffeine-loaded, sugar-filled, 300+ calorie mocha drinks while you execute the same boring routine you do every day, giving you a moment of happiness while you plod along to an painful death brought on from Diabetes from drinking too many McCafé mocha drinks".

Maybe I'm overreacting a bit about it, but it realy seems strange that McD's shows boring people doing boring things while drinking their new McCafé drinks. What happened to the clasic "i'm lovin' it" campaign that showed snazzy hipsters eating from McD's Dollar Menu because they are too poor to buy better food? Now THAT was an ad campaign I got behind.

This new thing is just lame. Or should I say, it's lamé.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So, earlier this week I did battle with a formidable foe: the Los Angeles court system.

Now, dont freak out. It was a small, incredibly stupid thing - last Dec I got a ticket for driving with a headlamp out. All I had to do was let the City of Los Angeles know that I had gotten it simple....right?

This was such a tour de force in bureaucracy it'd be funny if it wasn't so sad (or it'd be sad if it wasn't so funny).

First step was taking my car to an inspection station of sorts set up by the sheriff's dept. i pull my car in this big empty garage, theres one little office with tinted windows. Nobody, repeat: nobody, was in the garage area. i went into the office and handed my ticket to the most disinterested sheriff in LA County. Our exchange:

sheriff - [glances at ticket] what was the problem?

mk- I had a head lamp out.

sheriff- You fix it?

mk- [motioning to car] yes....

sheriff- [ignoring] .....fifteen dollars.

So I handed him my $15 in cash and he gave me a piece of paper saying that i paid, and i headed to the court building without anyone ever actually confirming that my headlamp had been fixed.

i go inside and the security guard vaguely directs me to the left side of a massive, impersonal room that looks like something out of "The Conformist". Out of the two lines i pick the shorter one. Shorter, but that moves excrutiatingly slower. And then, you get in the one line for so long and you get nervous like its the wrong line but theres no one there to help or ask questions...and then you FINALLY get there and its the wrong line.

So I head from the GC line to the cashier line (even though I already paid my $15). The cashier line was frighteneing. The people at this place...its like someone took all the buses in LA and said "you guys are too weird for the bus" and put them in this line. One guy briefly left the line so that he could go fish a discarded mcdonalds bag from the garbage can....

now, this is the point where i wanted to get out as fast as possible. but sweet lady government had other plans. after waiting in this line for 35 min (total running time is 1:25 now) i get told to go upstairs, to the fourth floor, to departmet 63. defeated and broken i head to the fourth floor.

i got up there and saw a line to my left. walked up and asked what line it was and was told it was the line for department 64. course, me being intelligent, i had elected NOT to write down which department i was supposed to head to, and just ASSUMED that it was department 64.

bad idea. after waiting in the dept 64 line for 20 min, I headed to the line for dept 63.

reaching the 3 hr mark now, waiting in line #4, (oh and having left my lunch in the car, thinking this would take under an hour, hungry as hell) is when a tremor shook the building ever so slightly. it wasnt a big quake at all, just shook the ground a bit, but it made me think "if i get killed waiting in this freaking line, i'm going to punch the first spook i see on the other line"

luckily, i didnt die, and was able to mercily reach the FINAL window and tell the city that i had paid someone fifteen dollars to "check" my headlamp.

hate to dump this litany of unfortunate events on everyone, but who doesnt love insights into our wonderful American bureaucracy?

department 63...department 64......


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Since I've Been Gone

Hello everybody!

Man, am I lame - after all kinds of blustering about writing 40 blog posts in a row I go ahead and take almost a whole month off.

Anyway, I'm able to meekly return to the blogosphere now because ...... (DRUM ROLL PLEASE)....


That's right, last Friday night - May 8th - at 7:30pm, "Round and Round" made its first debut to the film community at USC's Norris Cinema theater in front of roughly 400 students, parents, subjects, faculty, non-fiction enthusiasts and one very lost old man in a Lakers jersey.

Crowd response was very positive for this highly-anticipated expose on the fascinating world of merry-go-rounds (yikes, I've been writing way too much press for this damn thing). Since the I last posted we had just been picture-locking I won't go over everything I've been up to since then, but let's just say I wasn't twiddling my thumbs and whistling "Dixie".

In fact, all that needs to be said is I will do my best to bring a copy of the doc home to Chicago when I come back in early June. Hopefully, I'll be able to organize a screening and everyone can see what the hell I've been up to the last 5 months.

Now, other than a few final producorial duties, I'll be able to turn my attention back to fiction films, tv, sports, eating, drinking, sleeping, and, most importantly, WRITING.

I think its going to be a busy summer, but I'm going to try and keep this thing going from the bright nights of June through the dog days of August. So stay tuned for a wealth of fascinating commentary about life, love, film, food, culture, art, entertainment, politics, people, and places.

Although, let's be honest, it'll probably just degrade into more bitching about the Cubs within a week or so.

Damn, it's already begun.