Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2007
No basement song this week. With the announcement of the Boss touring, I've been listening to "The Rising" and "Darkness" the past several days. If there were 200 or so readers, I would dish out another Springsteen song. Alas, with only twenty people checking out the old thunderbolt, it's just not fair to always talk about his music. So, I'll wait another week. Besides, it was back to school night and I'm dealing with all of the anxiety that comes with the territory. Coupled with the fact that it is one thousand degrees outside (and we didn't melt, go figure), I just don't have the energy. Lame. I know. As is customary in the world of the thunderbolt, I'd like to welcome Stacie, a friend from my NOHS days. Way back in 8th grade, I recall her having a crush on me and me, being Scott, I had no frickin' clue what to do about it and I probably listened to some of my idiot friends and blew her off. Did I call my friends idiots? I was an i
It's been along day in front of computers and my eyes are fried. I having troubling focusing on objects. Still, I found time to watch the "Saturday Night Live" retrospective tat NBC reaired tonight. The show reflected on the first 5 years of SNL, the "classic years". As I watched, I couldn't help but go "Damn, Belushi, you fool." Fucking drugs, man. To this day I remember sitting in my parent's basement the night he died. It was sad and 'MMS played "Imagine" a couple of times. Strange that the death of a comic actor was my first real understanding of mortality. However, I'm not down today. The Tribe is in the playoff hunt. A new Springsteen album drops to earth in early October and the Boss is coming to town right before my birthday. Looks like it could be a true "Rocktober" this year. By the way, Sophie is already planning on going to the show. Aloha
It took us awhile, but Sophie and I finally completed "Charlotte's Web" tonight. Ironically, I leafed through "The Elements of Style" (3rd Edition) by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White (illustrious author of "Charlotte's Web"). In it, I came across a passage in the chapter "An Approach to style" in which it is written: "The volume of writing is enormous, these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it, almost as though the author were in a state of euphoria. 'Spontaneous me,' sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity for genius. "The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that pops into his head is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day." Boy, I wonder what Mr. White would have though of the blogosphere. Still, it did give me pa

Basement Songs - "Stay On" by The BoDeans

Inspiration comes at you from all places. Sometimes it is the actions of another person, sometimes it is the encouraging words from a friend or loved one. And sometimes, inspiration comes in the form of a random discovery like a song on a cd you find in the $2 bin. Thus is the case with this week’s basement song, “Stay On,” by The BoDeans. Just before The BoDeans achieved their most commercial success by supplying the theme song to “Party of Five" back in the mid 90’s, their 1993 album, “Go Slow Down” was released and went nowhere. Luckily for me, Los Angeles had an Adult Alternative radio station that favored the BoDeans and their song “Idaho”. When I discovered “Go Slow Down” in a $2 bin at the once famous (now defunct) Aaron Records in Hollywood, I swooped it up and slapped down my hard earned cash for it and three other cd’s I no longer own. With T Bone Burnett on board as executive producer, the entire album is full of heart, charm and the touching harmonies that are t
The first day of school pretty much signifies the end of summer. Jake went into kindergarten like a champ. No tears, a little nervousness (which I'm proud to say, he was able to tell us about) and off he went. Sophie was pretty much "hi/bye" when Julie dropped her off. The school at the end of our street, Emblem, reopened after two years of shuttling kids across town. Although there is still construction going on (which will continue for several months), it's nice to be back in the neighborhood. All of the students were handed plastic yellow hard hats to signify the return to Emblem. It is a small school, only 200 or so kids, but it is home. Since this is the end of summer, I thought I would post this picture Julie took with the kids last week at the Santa Barbara Zoo. It's a great, great picture, one of my favorite pictures of all time. Aloha
This morning, while waiting for the train, a father and his toddler son sat at the stop with the rest of us commuters. The little boy, with long, curly blond locks, walked around, curious by his surroundings. I sat down to write some notes, caught up in my own worlds. Minutes later, a sickening thud grabbed my attention and my stomach dropped. I knew that sound. A quick look around and I saw that the boy had fallen and smacked his head on the sidewalk. It looked like he'd slipped off one of the waiting platforms, two feet up from the sidewalk. The boy began crying, but I'll tell you, a fall like that could cause any many to bawl his eyes out. The father rushed to his child and hugged him tightly, soothing and rubbing the back of the boy's head. The combination of the boy's head hitting the cement, his tears, and the silence that fell over everyone around me made my eyes well with tears. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much love we provide, there is only so much

The end of summer

Arrived home last night and the kids were ecstatically watching the end of "High School Musical 2". When they finished, we made milkshakes and began rewatching the movie so I could get the full experience. It has been blazing hot this past week, 110 at one point(of course, not the day we went to the beach). A quarter of the way back into the movie, Jake and Sophie wanted to go for a swim. The sun was down and the only light came from our patio. They jumped in and splashed around. "Not so bad," Jake said, amazed at the water's temperature. Sophie practiced her turns in the pool and Jake did cannonballs. Ten minutes later, I joined them. "Not so bad," I thought. The three of us swam around under the trees and the stars, splashing and laughing, while Julie looked on with an expression of sadness. Sophie and Jake begin school on Tuesday. The summer is drawing to a close. Aloha

Basement Songs - "Riviera Paradise" by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

To date, I have lived in two houses with basements. Budd and Eleanor’s nig house on North Park was the original basement. I grew up there, spent my college summers there, and for a brief period after Bowling Green, I spent time charting the next step to adulthood. The other basement was the room I lived in during my junior and senior years of college. In a blue house on Ridge Street, right next to the railroad tracks, my friends and I moved into the lower half of a duplex and called it home. The blue house was two floors, a living room and a basement area, with fours rooms divided between those two levels. Each room became progressively smaller as you descended into the dank underbelly of the house. I immediately chose one of the basement rooms, an unglamorous, cold space with exposed cinder block walls. My thinking was that by volunteering for a one-bedroom shithole in the basement, I wouldn’t have to fight over the bigger, upstairs bedrooms. By doing so, I got the larger of t
It's 7:15 am and I'm half awake. Normally, I'm up and just about ready to leave for the train. However, we're off to the beach today (I have to use up those vacation hours sometime, don't I?) for what is unofficially our "last day of summer". The kids go back to school on Tuesday. So, I should be sleeping except that I have a living, breathing alarm clock that meows incessantly each morning until someone (generally yours truly) climbs out of bed, cursing her, and plops down a dish of her expensive, special cat food that (most of the time) keeps her from shitting all over our house. Sorry. A little cranky out here. I haven't had my coffee. I can't believe the summer is drawing to a close. Sophie will be entering the 3rd grade and Jake will be in kindergarten. Each time I turn away, they grow a few more inches and mature. 3rd grade. Damn. The way time whizzes by, she's going to be in Middle School before you know it. This is both exc

Van Halen follow up

Seems the people at VH management caught wind of some growing resentment by fans over the whole album cover alteration. Today, they covers have been restored to their original look and Michael Anthony is back in place.


My response to this latest Van Halen reunion is "who cares." David Lee Roth should have rejoined the band ten years ago, as was originally planned, and I would have paid good money to see that show. But Eddie's ego is too huge and he had to go and hire Gary Cherone as the "last" Van Halen singer ever. They were, like, brothers, man; you know what I mean? And the way they connected was, like, too difficult to describe. They were brothers until everyone called Van Halen a joke and their new music made them sound like a lame Vegas metal band. Then there was the "reunion" a couple years ago with Sammy Hagar and, once again, they all claimed that "we're like brothers man. This is a new beginning". The new beginning came to a quick end when Sam and Ed couldn't get along and Ed became a screaming drunk. Now we get this current attempt to make more money for Eddie Van Halen. He has kicked out originally bassist, Michael Anthony, and

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"

I completed reading Michael Chabon's brilliant "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" this afternoon. I found myself so attached to the characters of Josef Kavalier, Sam (Sammy) Clay and Rosa Saks that I was saddened to let them go when the last words of the last paragraph slipped past my lips and into my gray matter. Chabon, author of another one of my favorites, "Wonder Boys", wrote a beautiful/literate tale about love, friendship, family, escapism, art, comic books, sexual identity, and most of all, hope. The last book to draw me in this way and sweep me into another world was Steinbeck's "East of Eden", which I worked through a couple of summers ago. It's not just the story, though; it is Chabon's writing that is so rich with description and language. This man loves to write. But his tone is never condescending. He's not trying to throw words at you to show off. Each sentence was carefully crafted. The novel weaves the
Driving through the Verdugo Mountains, I couldn’t help but grin and crack up. This was the kind of event Matt would have loved to attend, wasted out of his gourd and giggling the entire night. I was on my way to meet my friend, Hurley, at the DCI Championship at the Rose Bowl. DCI stands for Drum Corp International. Each year, 22 international marching bands (consisting of drums, all brass, and a percussion section along the sideline) compete to become the DCI champion. This is not your typical marching band you see at the halftime of football games or in the local Memorial Day parade. These are hard core dancing/technical marching units that play the same show night after night for two months straight in stadiums across the country. And when I say dance, I mean, guys and girls, all college age, leaping through the air while holding trumpets or mellophones, and flag guards performing modern dance movements on the field. Hurley is a huge fan. Fanatic is a better term. Since I’v

Happy Birthday, my dear friend...

Today would have been Matt's 37th birthday. Funny how I could always remember his birthday. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was so close to my dad's. We never really "celebrated" our birthdays. We would usually get each other a book and sign some corny inscription inside it. One year, Matt bought me Stephen King's "IT" and wrote a simple inscription, something like "To my best friend Scott. Someday you're going to be as good a writer as this guy. Your friend, Matt". Several years ago I was cleaning out the bookshelves and I donated that book to Goodwill. I had never gotten past that inscription. I wasn't really into King anymore, but I held on to that massive tome for a long time. I am sure it was during the last years when the two of us weren't speaking that I gave away the book. I wish I had it now. Back when we were freshmen in college, Matt wrote me this letter. Sept. 14, 1988 Dear
Today is an overcast, gray morning and the summer heat has cooled to an autumn-like temperature. My back is acting up again, the first time in over a year. The stress of our financial burdens is pressing down on me once again. I should have predicted this back pain coming. My limbs have ached at nighttime for over a month now. Of course, at that time of the night I'm not thinking that it is stress and fear attacking my body. At that time of the night I'm usually thinking that I've been afflicted with early rheumatoid arthritis or some other debilitating disease. It's not that we're any worse off than I thought we would be at this point in the year. I just thought we would be able to make the dollar stretch a little better. Not anyone's fault, just the way of the world really. And yet, I still dream that I'll be able to raise a million dollars to fund a low budget movie and place our woes at bay for a while. These are the days when I feel so blessed
Our date last night was fantastic. We dropped the kids off and a friend's house and then it was off to glamorous TGI Friday's. Although it's not some fancy restaurant, in a way, it was appropriate since our first date was ended up in a couple of dive bars. So when you look at it that way, it was a step up! Truth be told, Julie and I don't need some high brow place to enjoy ourselves. We sat and had some beers, appetizers, a burger and good conversation. That's all I want out of a date: the opportunity to actually talk to my wife without the interruptions and expectations of everyday life. I need to retract a statement I made the other day about this script I've been working on. First of all, the Jason Bourne movies with Matt Damon have been nothing short of spectacular. I would be a luck man to be working on smart, entertaining movies like those ones. Second, being a graduate with a Pop Culture degree, I should be the first person to know that the best genre fil
It's Saturday morning, late, and the coffee has just begun brewing in the kitchen. Sophie and Jake are watching "Hannah Montana" or Scooby Doo" or some other mindless kids entertainment show and Julie has been at work for a couple hours. I slept late today which is unusual for me. Generally, I'm the first one up when that damn cat begins "meowing" at 6:30 in the morning. *** I'm back after starting Jake on his breather, feeding the other cat (we really have to bring her food in at night, I'm sick of feeding those damn raccoons), and brushing Sophie's hair. The coffee’s done and I still have to eat breakfast. I am now considering the option of skipping my shower so I can get to the lawns before the temperatures get too hot this afternoon. Last night I went to the Dodgers game with a couple co-workers. It was a last minute invite and I enjoyed the game and all, but I felt lonely, believe it or not, sitting among the 51,000 (supposedly) i
Well, I heard from the manager about the script last night and the news wasn't all bad. Honestly, I was expecting him to shred the thing to pieces. However, he thought it was "pretty good" and liked the direction. I probably shouldn't be telling you he thought it was "pretty good" because it makes me sound like a lame writer. I don't know folks; I think I write okay. It's just that this beast (and it really is a beast at this point) is in that genre of the "thriller". No, even better, it's a "political thriller". Thus, besides having to keep you on the edge of your pants, I need top make sure it makes sense... politically. This is NOT what I thought I would be doing ten years ago. Christ, 1997 was a golden year, wasn't it? I'd just finished "Southern Cross" and was about to work on some sci-fi script with Tony. For those of you who don't know (and I know you're out there... I've seen yo

Basement Songs - "Book of Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen

It was supposed to be like any other first date: Go to a movie, get to know each other, maybe have a couple of drinks, and, if lucky enough, share a kiss goodnight. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. This was only going to be a fun night out with the pretty co-worker whose smile had a way of warming the dark corners of the store we worked in and whose laugh was infectious and full of life. The summer of 1992 was full of pivotal moments in my life. College graduation. The wedding of my brother and his wife. More significantly that the precious two examples was the quintuple bypass surgery that saved my father’s heart and his life. By the end of July, the plan I had set in motion was going the way I wanted. With my college degree in hand, I was building a savings account for a move to Los Angeles that fall. As I said, I was not looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn’t looking for love. With no agenda, on August 1, 1992, I went on my first date with Julie Flynn. At that