Saturday, December 31, 2005

LA to Colorado Springs to LA to San Diego to LA

So I'm back from driving 3,000 miles over nine days. Here's the trip report.

We left on Wednesday, Dec 21st to Las Vegas where we stayed with the in laws. Traffic was much worse than normal as we left around 3:30pm and didn't make in to Vegas until nearly 10pm.

Las Vegas to Vail, Thursday, Dec 22nd. Got up and left at 6:30am. It's been at least 15 years since I've been north of Vegas on I-15. We hit the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona which is a breathtaking drive. They canyon is a little more narrow than most passages and can seem a bit claustrophobic.

Stopped for gas in Cedar City and then made the turn on I-70. There's a segment of I-70 between Salina and Green River of about 110 miles where there are no gas stations, restaurants or hotels. There's a 40 mile stretch after you come down out of the mountains east bound that is simply spectacular. It's not on any map but I suspect it's under BLM management. I would suspect this is part of the formation that makes up Capitol Reef National Park to the south. You also pass over Eagle Canyon. It's a great drive.

One thing that made this trip so pleasant was XM Radio. I bought it last March because I drive so much between Vegas and LA and I also wanted to listen to my beloved SF Giants. I listen to CNN most of the time but when Aerin is with me, she's in charge of the music. Cross country trips in the old days were hell because you'd listen to all your CD's and then be at the mercy of AM/FM radio signals. I wasn't sure what the value is of subscribing to satellite radio but I can say now I am a fan and would recommend it to anyone who spends a lot of time in the car.

We stopped in Green River, UT for lunch at Ray's Tavern. Ray's was recommended to me by two people and it's really the only decent place to eat on I-70 in Utah. Green River is not much of a town and in fact I-70 pretty much bypasses it but you have to stop there to get gas. The 1/2 pound burger was excellent. It's on the south side of the main drag as you come into town and it's on a side street. Blink and you'll miss it.

Then it was off to Glenwood Springs for gas and a stop at Gart Sports to buy a new Camelback for Aerin. It was dark by now and we still had another 60 miles to go. With the time change, a couple stops for gas, and an hour for lunch, we rolled into the Vail Cascade resort at 6:30pm. We did about 660 miles around nine hours of driving time.

I had booked the Vail Cascade resort through Hotwire and got a $300 hotel room for about $150 including tax. It's a four star resort but because it was right before Christmas, it wasn't crowded. The customer service was fantastic and it was well worth the value. Aerin hit the gym, I had a few beers and watched the OU basketball team tank it against West Virginia. We went to the village and had dinner at Lancelot's. It was okay. We then hit the outdoor hot tub and heated pool before going to sleep.

Skiing in Vail and then off to Colorado Springs, Friday December 23rd. Six inches of snow fell overnight at the resort with much more at the upper elevations. Morning skiing was fantastic as the conditions were just right. The resort workers said it was the best December in Vail in over 10 years and I have no doubt they were right. We went over to the back side of the mountain and made it over to Blue Sky Basin where it started to get really windy. We came back up to the Two Elks Lodge for lunch and by the time we where through, they had closed off the back part of the mountain and the top of the main mountain because of wind. It took a while to traverse across to the mountain to the Cascade lodge and by then it was the end of the day. We loaded up and headed to Colorado Springs.

Traffic was very bad coming down on I-70 from Frisco until Idaho Springs. My sister said it was because all the college kids were home and they were getting in some skiing before the holidays.

We made it to Colorado Springs in time for dinner with Corinne, Peter, and my niece Meilan and then it was off to bed.

Skiing in Winter Park, Friday December 24th. Yes we skiing on Christmas Eve. After a delay in the morning, we made up to Winter Park. It was pretty clear and making it over Berthoud Pass, we got to Winter Park and got on the mountain. Winter Park is part of the Intrawest family and since we're MVP passholders at Mammoth Mountain, we got 1/2 price lift tickets for Winter Park. I had heard a lot about WP and it was a very good mountain. I got over to Mary Jane which was also good.

Traffic was clear on the way back to Colorado Springs and we had a lovely dinner on Christmas Eve.

Xmas in Colorado Springs. Meilan was up early and was prime for presents. Of course, she got everything she wanted. Lots of Barbies. We took a drive around Colorado Springs to see where Aerin lived when she was very little. Saw lots of deer. Christmas dinner was wonderful and afterwards I watched "Fever Pitch" with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. As a baseball fan, I enjoyed it and this was the first time I really liked Drew Barrymore in a film.

Skiing in Copper Mountain and overnight in Grand Junction, December 26th. Made it to Copper and on the mountain by 10am. I heard great things about Copper and it certainly did not disappoint. Copper is part of the Intrawest family so again we got 1/2 price tickets. Afterwards, we drove to Grand Junction where we stayed at the Grand Vista Hotel (exit 31). I booked it for $45.80 on Expedia the night before (the rack rate I heard when we checked in was $59). Grand Vista was probably par for the course in Grand Junction. There was an indoor pool and hot tub along with requisite families and obnoxious kids.

Arches National Park, Moab, and back to Vegas, December 27th. We stopped off at Arches National Park which is about 45 miles south of Exit 214 going westbound on I-70. That takes you down the Colorado River and a breathtaking drive into Moab. During the summer, I can see how it would be so crowded with campers and RV's but in the winter it was wide open. Arches was very beautiful and I recommend it highly. Since we weren't spending too much time there, we did the easy hikes and took a lot of pics. Lunch was at the Moab Diner ("the best green chili in Utah"). I had the ham and cheese omlette which was big and plentiful. After that, we hightailed back to Las Vegas.

Vegas to LA, December 28th. We did a late gift exchange with the in laws and ended up back in LA at 8pm, just in time to stock up the fridge from Trader Joe's. I got "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" from Netflix and watched it. It's a classic but it's been years since I've seen it. Not one of my top films of all time but you can see what a great director that Daivd Lean was. "Lawrence of Arabia" is one of my favorite films of all time.

LA to San Diego and the Holiday Bowl, December 29th. So after a short turnaround, I headed down to San Clemente to meet up with my friend from all the way back in Junior High, Maria (Molina) Hazelquist and her husband Hugh to head down to Qualcomm Stadium to watch OU vs Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. OU has had a disappointing season but we're looking good for 2006 and beyond. Bomar has come into his own and Peterson is still the best back in college football when healthy (yes, better than Reggie Bush). We got to the game about 7 minutes in just in time to see OU kick a field goal. Oregon moved the ball well in the 2nd quarter - big yardage on 1st down and throwing on 2nd and short and took the lead. But OU played very well in the third quarter to take the lead only to try and give it back. But the defense held and we won 17 - 14. After many beers, Maria put me up at her hotel, the Dana Point Marriott which is a very nice resort. I slept in and drove back to LA the next morning.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Last week I had the pleasure of seeing J.O.B. - The Hip Hopera. I had orginally seen it at the 2003 Edmonton Fringe where I had returned with Paper Son as a warm up for my Los Angeles run. J.O.B. was a huge hit on the Canadian circuit and they consistently sold out. I never had a chance to meet with them but when I found out they were coming to LA, I started to e-mail Eli and Jerome about my experiences of producing here in LA.

Now first off, I don't like rap or hip-hop (is there a difference?). It's not my "thang". But J.O.B. was nothing less than an incredibly inventive piece of theatre. It is the story of Job told in hip hop by two jewish guys from Montreal who went to Brown. If it plays anywhere, I highly recommend you see it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Narnia vs Kong

So the CAPE event last Thursday was loud and little networking was done by me. It was held at SUR (I guess the couldn't afford the E) at Robertson & Melrose and was held in a small gallery type room next to the restaurant. Hey, the beer and wine were free. Tamilyn Tomita was there (she had her name tag on) and someone who probably was Garret Wang but his nametag only said "Garrett". I had a nice talk with a Korean guy who's importing Korean comic books into the US. He tells me that native Korean speakers think Daniel Dae Kim is a joke - his Korean is apparently akin to a Southern accent. Boy, Asian American actors can't get a break anywhere.

I caught "The Chronicles of Narnia" and tried not to let the Christian subtext get to me. But there was something disconcerting win Aslan (Jesus) gives a big, huge sword to a 14 year old so he can start killing things. I think I missed that in the New Testament. Also, there was something very Michael Jackson creepy with the Fauns. It was just . . . weird. Sure, it could seem innocent but the site of a hairy, half naked man with chidlike qualities was creepy.

Kong was everything it's been built up to be. Although I think from now on, it's mandatory for Andy Serkis to be killed in every Peter Jackson movie. (Twice in Kong). I thought the first act missed on some character arc points but once you get to the island, watch out! Naomi Watts is once again in fine form and a very gutsy Ann Darrow who's very good at running away and climbing the Empire State Building spire. I declare Adrien Brody out of his post Oscar slump although it was a very unrealistic Hollywood movie plot point when the writer gets the girl.

I'm looking for a WiFi place to hang out at in Santa Monica. I guess I can always go to the new Santa Monica library when it opens in early 2006. I tried Panera Bread on 5th & Wilshire but they turn off their WiFi at lunch. The Office Online is closing to the general public on March 1st (which means me).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ha. Ha.

I'm headed to the CAPE party tonight - a networking event for Asians in Entertainment where we all sit around a bitch about how there are no Asians in front of the camera so everyone's now behind the camera. All the TV roles go to the same five actors.

Anyway, Manhola Dargis of the NY Times just posted a scathing review of "Memoirs of (three Chinese actresses playing) a Geisha". The last paragraph made me laugh (which is hard to do with me being the hardened comedian that I am).

"Ms. Gong's hauteur and soaring cheekbones work better for her character, a woman of acid resolve. Although there are moments when Hatsumomo comes perilously close to Dragon Lady caricature ("I will destroy you!"), the actress's talent and dignity keep the performance from sliding into full-blown camp. But even the formidable Ms. Gong cannot surmount the ruinous decision to have her and Ms. Zhang, along with the poorly used Mr. Yakusho, deliver their lines in vaguely British-sounding English that imparts an unnatural halting quality to much of their dialogue. The. Result. Is. That. Each. Word. Of. Dialogue. Sounds. As. If. It. Were. Punctuated. By. A. Full. Stop. Which. Robs. The. Language. Of. Its. Watery. Flow. And. Breath. Of. Real. Life. Even. As. It. Also. Gives. New. Meaning. To. The. Definition. Of. The. Period. Movie. "

I. Need. To. Try. This. In. My. Next. Audition.

The Falling Girl

My friend Lary, aka "Poker Girl", always forwards me stuff she finds amusing. I found the falling girl mind numbingly amusing. If she gets stuck then click on her and move your mouse. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Revenge Poems

So I've never really done any analytics on my website, Paper Son, but I recently added Google Analytics to it and I've gotten some interesting results.

Apparently I'm #1 in a Google Serp for revenge poems. The poem on my site is from Angel Island and it's about revenge but I get at least one or two visitors a day who's looking for a revenge poem.

Are there that many people out there looking for poems about revenge?

So I'm bringing this blog back - not that it went away but the fact is, I don't think I've got what it takes to be a blogger. But, what the hell, let's give it the good ole college try.

The whole "Situation: Comedy" which preceded this is a long drunken rehab memory ago. The show itself was a miserable failure and I stopped watching it after I was cut in the first half hour. I had to ask someone else what eventually happened since the ratings were so abysmal that Bravo eventually buried it on their Friday night schedule after it couldn't hack it on Tuesdays.

I'll probably tell an anecdote or two about my experience but overall it stopped "Strings" for about a year since NBC Universal held the option which I just got back.

My celebrity sighting of the week was going into the bathroom of the AMC 6 in Santa Monica after seeing "Syriana". Coming out was Dustin Hoffman. It happened so quick, I couldn't even say "plastics".

Last night, thanks to FIND and a three month free Netflix membership (all so I can see "nominated" Independent Spirit Award Films - yeah, right), I did see a nominated film, "Me and You and Everybody We Know". I must say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. In particular, my friend Bobby Slayton's daughter, Natasha Slayton was in it. She makes out with a girl and blows a guy. I'm sure Bobby's never been prouder.

I had lunch today at the newly renovated food court at Westfield Century City. They had tents up for the upcoming "The Producers" opening. Nicer and more expensive. I usually have the Gyro plate at Gulen's and what was under $9 (gyro plate with fries instead of rice and ranch dressing on my salad with a diet coke) now comes in at $10 and some change. The plate is bigger so that means the portions are bigger.

Tonight is our "filming" night in my acting class where we videotape our scenes for playback next week. I'm doing a scene from "You've Got Mail" which I've never seen and I had to have the backstory explained to me. We'll see how it goes.