Prepare to Be Jealous of All the Celebrity Sightings From My First Year in LA

As with all things at the ol’ blogging headquarters lately, the “I’ve been living in LA for one year” blog is going to be late, probably by a year or so. June 1st was officially the one-year anniversary of me executing my half-assed scheme of coming to LA, getting hired to write for TV immediately, and then drowning in money for the rest of my life. That flawless-sounding plan hasn’t gone exactly how I expected. But soon enough all the pieces will fall into place. Until then, I guess I’m stuck blogging for free for all you freeloading blog readers.

Since I don’t have time for a full recap of the first 365 glorious days of my new life, I figured you’d at least want to know about all the amazing celebrity sightings my girlfriend and I have experienced over that time.

After all, it seems like you’d have to be a complete loser not to constantly be seeing celebrities all around this area.

Let’s run through this murderer’s row of incredible celebrity sightings:

1). Will Arnett

will arnett

Yes, Will Arnett is the closest thing we’ve seen to an A-list actor since we arrived in LA. Which is to say we haven’t come close to seeing a true A-list actor yet. But for fans of Arrested Development, Blades of Glory and Up All Night (not sure any fans of that show actually exist), this is a big score. We saw Will while hiking with our dog one day. Usually our dog has to stop and play with every other dog she sees on the trails, but for some reason she completely ignored Will’s dog…the one time we wanted her to go after another dog so he would have to stop and talk to us. I was ready to start pitching TV pilots with great characters for him to play, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Apparently Will has a role in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot so his star is certainly on the rise.

2). Ian Gomez

ian gomez

You know it’s a pathetic list when the #2 person on it is someone Julie and I couldn’t even name when we saw him multiple times at our favorite sports bar in Culver City. It took Julie hours of collaboration via text message with a friend of hers for us to finally figure out who the hell we were staring at. He’s this high on the list because he’s a regular on Cougar Town. Just the fact that he’s on a current TV show puts him ahead of most of the others on this list. He’s mainly a TV actor who started out way back in the 90’s on shows like Murphy Brown and Melrose Place. He’s credited with appearing in over 70 shows or films, but Cougar Town seems to be his first extended run of success on a single show.

3). Blake Anderson

blake anderson

My personal favorite on this list. I’m not sure if it counts as a true sighting because I actually met him on the set of Workaholics when a friend of a friend brought me along to watch them tape an episode. So it wasn’t a random spotting around the city or anything. But we’ll count it. Besides, I got to shake his hand and tell him I’m a comedy writer. I missed a huge opportunity though by not making a joke during the 17 seconds we talked. A perfect joke there could have had me set for life as one of his writing partners. If you haven’t watched Workaholics and you’re not adverse to raunchy college stoner humor, you should give it a try on Netflix Instant immediately. The only reason I ranked him below Mr. Gomez is because Blake doesn’t have the longevity in acting that baldy has. But Blake’s star is on the rise big time, as any Arrested Development fans should remember seeing him and his Workaholic co-stars in episode 1 of the new season.

4). Gilles Marini

gilles marini

Oh, you’ve never heard of him either? I would have never spotted this “celebrity” on my own. We were hiking in Runyon Canyon one day, a place known for its celebrity sightings, and Julie is 98% sure we walked right by him. She didn’t know his actual name either, just that he was the hot neighbor from Sex and the City, the Movie. According to IMDB, that really is all he’s known for. It looks like he’s appeared in some  well-known TV shows like Modern Family, Castle and Brothers & Sisters.

5). Kerr Smith

kerr smith

Ten years ago, Mr. Smith might have been #1 on this list because his role as Jack McPhee on Dawson’s Creek would have been relevant back then. Another Julie sighting that might have gone unnoticed by me. We were at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica for Cinco de Mayo when she spotted him with a group of friends. We both decided that he must have given up acting in 2003 when Dawson’s ended, but to my surprise it looks as if he’s appeared in many TV shows and films since then. To me, he’ll always be the gay guy from Dawson’s Creek whose name I never bothered to remember.

6). Brian Wilson

brian wilson

Only at #6, and already we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Maybe he should be higher on my list because his ridiculous beard coupled with the San Francisco Giants’ 2010 World Series run made him somewhat famous, but currently he’s not on a baseball team and has disappeared from the limelight entirely. So we’re sticking him at the (near) bottom. Another spotting from a Runyon Canyon hike. He was jogging and still had the long beard. Obviously that made him unmistakable. He was also wearing a lot of spandex at the time, in case that’s the type of detail that interests you.

7). Benjamin Patton

ben patton

Who the fuck is Ben Patton, right? Anyone who doesn’t have their own Wikipedia page can’t possibly be a celebrity, right? Well I present to you the 7th most exciting celebrity we’ve seen in LA: a reality show contestant whose 15 minutes of fame really did last about 15 minutes. Ready For Love, an NBC matchmaking reality show executive produced by Eva Longoria lasted all of a few episodes before it was cancelled. Since we had an actual connection to one of the contestants, we taped the show, and I can promise you it was horrific. Last July we went to a winery in Malibu and were pleasantly surprised to see that they were taping an episode of this show only a few feet away from our table. We were nearly kicked out for stalking all the people involved with the show, but not before we got to see some of the women that were vying for Ben’s affection start fighting with each other because they were so drunk off the unlimited supply of wine (not physically fighting, more like yelling at each other and crying to the producers behind each other’s backs).

So there you have it. Potentially the worst celebrity sightings list in the history of celebrities. At least we get to hear all the time about our luckier friends bumping into a Kardashian or an Oprah around town. Maybe in year two Julie and I will finally graduate from C-list sightings to B-list sightings? Fingers crossed.

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Shedding Some Light On Those Ridiculous Shows Your Wife or Girlfriend is Watching

Sometimes when your only friend is a woman, no matter how hard you try, you’re accidentally exposed to the girly things in life. For example, I never would have even considered the doomed-from-the-start idea of reading and blogging about Fifty Shades of Grey if I wasn’t living with someone who already owned the books.

When we lived in San Francisco, it was easy to ignore all the pointless TV shows my girlfriend watches because  A). we didn’t live together, and B). when she was at my apartment, it was understood that I’d be watching sports on the living room TV and she’d be relegated to the bedroom TV to watch her stuff. But now that we live in a one-TV apartment, the content of these shows has been slowly seeping into my brain. I feel violated by it, but there’s really nothing I can do…800 square feet doesn’t allow for a lot of isolation.

In nine short months of living together, I’ve gone from not knowing whether it was called Sex in the City or Sex and the City to being able to quote lines from about 60% of the SATC episodes. There’s no hope for me at this point.

But even a guy with no exposure to the female world knows that Sex and the City is about four way-past-their-prime women passing around STDs in New York. That one’s easy. But what about all of those mysterious reality shows that your wife is watching? You know, the ones that seem so pointless because they’re reality shows without an actual competition involved (the only kind of reality TV men watch I’m pretty sure). The ones you’d never have to subconsciously pay attention to if your cable provider would just go along with your pleas to eliminate Bravo and E! from their services.

Considering I’ve been exposed to these shows for nine months and still don’t always know what the fuck is going on in each of them, I’m assuming there are plenty of other men out there who are equally stupefied by Say Yes To the Dress Bridesmaids Edition and Kourtney and Kim and Khloe and Kris Take New York.

Well prepare to be confused no longer. I may not know all the nuances of these shows, but I do think I have a basic understanding of the premise/their reason for existing. Here are spot-on descriptions of the four TV shows I’m exposed to most often:

Keeping Up With The Kardashians/Kourtney and Kim Do New York: I know a lot about the Kardashians actually (doesn’t everyone?). Kim did the sex tape, Bruce did the Olympics, the rest of them ride coattails. The three main girls have a store named “Dash” because “dash” is in their last name. I assume Khloe runs the store because she seems to be the only one with a brain. She’s married to Lamar Odom. He’s retired from basketball I think. Khloe and Lamar are the only two who associate with the Black Sheep Brother, Robbie. Every now and then the two younger sisters (twins?), who also have names that begin with “K”, make an appearance, but they’re boring because they’re not old enough to do photo shoots or make sex tapes. I’ve also been noticing more air time for this weird male friend of Kim’s. Don’t know his name, but he’s either gay or secretly wants to bang Kim. But he’s fully in the friend zone so that’ll probably never happen. Then there’s Scott (or “Lord Disick” as his friends call him). He’s the best. He’s a star. If E! did a spinoff just about him, I’d watch every episode. I have no idea if he or his family were rich before he was part of the Klan, but he’s set for life now. No matter how him and Kourtney end up, this guy should be the envy of all men. From what I can tell, he doesn’t have a job, his girl Kourtney doesn’t even expect him to raise their kids, so he spends every waking hour either partying, meeting other famous people or driving race cars. I’m assuming Kourtney and Kim “do New York” because the family wants to be on TV as much as possible, but no network would ever let a single show run 52 weeks a year.

Real Housewives of (fill in the blank): I always assumed the housewives were wives of famous people. I never bothered to verify whether that’s true or not. I assume the show is “a day in the life” of these rich, over-the-hillish women and what uninspiring things they get up to in their city. But I feel like every time my girlfriend’s watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, they’re actually in Paris in that episode. And Real Housewives of Atlanta was taking place in Barbados or some other tropical island the one time I paid attention. So I wonder if the (fill in the blank) part is even relevant since they’re never in that city. The housewives are predominantly blonde, full of plastic surgery and definitely on the wrong side of 40 (except for the Atlanta show…those women are all black). A typical episode goes like this: All of the women except one who isn’t there at the time start gossiping about that missing person. Then they’ll all get together at one of their houses for a party, and someone will spill the beans to the woman who was missing before that everyone’s talking about her because she ruined so-and-so’s marriage. The singled-out girl will start to confront everyone else, and eventually a few of the women’s husbands get involved. The word bitch is tossed around like it’s the last day in history anyone will be able to use that word. And then all of the sudden we’re watching a reunion show where the flamboyant host is showing the women these uncomfortable scenes from the season and all the women claim to be good friends again. There are a ton of reunion shows for the Real Housewives franchise for some reason.

Four Weddings: Four soon-to-be-married women who can’t afford a honeymoon compete to have the best wedding of the group to try to win a honeymoon. The judges are the girls themselves, which seems like the dictionary definition of “conflict of interest.” So it’s like a regular wedding’s happening, with the bride, groom, all their friends and family, and then this random table of three women with a ton of cameras and lights on them. And their whole purpose is to find problems with the wedding they’re at. Sounds like a fun time for everyone. So the girls in the wedding competition do this whole thing where they’re all complimentary around each other and say things like, “Oh I like the way she decorated the banquet hall, such a great use of the natural ambience.” But when they’re talking to the camera one-on-one they say, “I just do not understand having your wedding in a banquet hall. No amount of decorating can make a banquet hall look nice. I’m giving Tammy a three out of 10 for her venue choice.” And then the girls give scores for venue, food, efficiency and dress. And then the winner gets to ride off into the honeymoon-winning sunset with her husband as the other three girls sulk back to their miserable existence.

Say Yes To The Dress: Brides who go to a wedding dress expert looking for the perfect dress. But not perfect in the way you’re thinking. Perfect in that it pleases the bride, her parents, her brothers, all of her bridesmaids, and even her weird male lifelong friend. You can imagine how well that works. And the people who run the dress shop are constantly pissed off at the brides for wanting to find the perfect dress. What, are they supposed to shop for their wedding dress the way I shop for shoes? Walk in store, close eyes, spin in circle, buy the exact pair you’re pointing at when you open your eyes. And then, when the bride still isn’t making a decision, the owner says “It’s time to jack…her…up!!” I always expect something negative to happen when she says she’s gonna jack someone up. Like she’s gonna yell and belittle them, or tell them she doesn’t want them as a customer, something. But it turns out “jack her up” means “spoil this fatso by dressing her up in jewelry, tiaras and other accessories to make her look extra special.” I don’t understand any of this.

Having all of this knowledge in my brain about these shows feels as useless as when you accidentally memorize the lyrics to bad songs. I’m not mad at my girlfriend for any of this because I know I’ll get my payback on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays starting in September.

Adventures in Relocating: Checking in After 1 Quarter of LA Living

After three months of living in LA, you’d probably expect me to have lots of stories from all these new things we’re experiencing. I don’t. Turns out life isn’t that exciting when you’re an unemployed writer trying to get by on the money from your childhood savings bonds, and it’s even less exciting when you have a puppy that demands your attention 18 hours a day.

Rather than end this post right here, I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions that people might have asked me about my first quarter in LA.

FAQs

Question: You mentioned being unemployed. What’s the deal with that? Any jobs on the horizon?

Answer: I’ve learned that it’s tough to get a job when you haven’t started looking for one, and unfortunately, Julie isn’t making quite enough money yet for me to be a stay-at-home boyfriend. The blog is starting to pull in some revenue…I made $0.99 last month off my advertisements, but Word Press doesn’t allow me to claim any funds until I’ve made $100 or more. So in just eight short years, I should be able to cash out that first $100 from the blog. In all honesty, I’ve been waiting for someone to contact me about a job in the entertainment industry. I hear that’s how it works around here, you just wait for people to pursue you. I will have to start searching for a job soon, but football season is just a really busy time for me. Check back in February and I’ll probably have started my job search by then.

Q: What about your writing? Have you finished any major projects yet like TV or movie scripts?

A: Do 2,000-word blog posts count? There’s nothing major finished yet, but before the end of 2012 I’m planning to have at least two television scripts and one movie script finished. The goal is to continue blogging and writing a ton of football content with the hope that a popular blog/website spots my amazing talent and hires me for a seven-figure salary.

Q: Three months in LA…have you made any friends?

A: We do have a couple friends at this point, but there’s a 50% chance they’re just people who feel really bad for us. I do think at times we’re giving off a strong stench of our desperation to make friends (like when we were leaving a BBQ at a friend’s house a few weeks back and I said to the entire crowd, “It was good meeting everyone…we really need friends. When can we all hang out again?” Obviously we haven’t heard from any of them since).

Q: The people in LA have a reputation for being superficial, stuck-up and self-absorbed. Have you noticed any truth to this?

A: There are just as many superficial, stuck-up, self-absorbed assholes in LA as there are in any other major city. I don’t think douchebags are exclusive to Southern California. It’s just that our douchebags are tanner than yours.

Q: You’re living with your girlfriend. How’s that going?

A: Fine.

Q: Have there been any issues, fights or surprises during the first three months of your cohabitation?

A: I’ll be reading a statement that Julie has prepared for me: “Living with my girlfriend has been the most incredible and rewarding experience. There have been no fights or issues stemming from us living together. And every surprise has been a good surprise, like when I’m trying to sleep in sometimes and she’s awake and full of energy at 6:30am. It turns out I didn’t really want to sleep until 9:30 after all.”

Q: It seems like you’re unwilling to admit to any cohabitation problems that have happened in the first three months. Are there any problems looming on the horizon?

A: Possibly the issue of us only having one TV. I’ve tried to gently inform Julie that I plan to watch 12 hours of football on Sundays, three hours on Mondays and three more hours on Thursdays (and eventually three hours on some Saturdays). She actually got a dose of how disruptive football season can be when I taped 10 NFL preseason games on our DVR and it caused all of her Sex & The City’s to be deleted. She should be plenty prepared.

Q: One TV? How has that worked out so far?

A: It feels like my viewing of Sex & The City, Say Yes To the Dress, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Snapped has increased by 5000% since we moved. And yet, if I put the TV on ESPN or the NFL Network for 10 minutes, I get crucified for “always putting it on your stupid sports shows.”

Q: What’s something weird or interesting that will jump out to any visitors of your apartment?

A: Other than the patio being coated in a thick layer of dog piss (there’s a Thompson’s Water Seal joke here, but I don’t feel like writing it)? Probably the fact that nothing we’ve hung on the walls (pictures and shelves mostly) is even close to level. We’re blaming it on the apartment walls and floors not being level, but we wouldn’t even know how to test if that’s true or not.

Q: How about exploring outside of your apartment? Is there good sightseeing in LA? Where have you taken visitors?

A: The sightseeing in LA blows. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the sightseeing in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (which I wrote about in THIS) is better than the sightseeing in LA. I’m about done bringing people to Hollywood Blvd just to see them underwhelmed by all the “stars” on the ground. And sure, there’s the famous Chinese Theater and Kodak  Dolby Theater, but there’s not much to look at from the outside. The entire Hollywood Blvd area takes about 11 minutes to thoroughly see, and there’s a decent chance you’re gonna want those 11 minutes back when you’re finished. Other than the Hollywood sign, there are no other relevant landmarks worth seeing in LA. Oh, and if you’re like me and had this awesome image of the La Brea Tarpits in your head because of the movie Volcano (starring Tommy Lee Jones where the tar pits are literally erupting and spewing out tar throughout the movie), you’re going to be severely disappointed when you see the real thing:

Q: Any final thoughts on living with your girlfriend?

A: Yes, I’d like to address the one topic that every other couple brought up to us when we told them we were moving in together: pooping. Strange as it sounds, every couple we talked to said having to share a bathroom, particularly when one of us had to take a shit, was going to be the biggest adjustment. I’d just like to say that it hasn’t been a tough adjustment at all. I poop whenever I want, wherever I want in the apartment. And Julie has learned to simply go around the corner to the McDonald’s or Starbucks whenever she has to go number two. I don’t understand why this is such an awkward thing for other couples.

The Best Sightseeing Fitchburg has to Offer (aka Allow Me to Demonstrate How Bored I Am)

Every time I’m back in Fitchburg visiting my family, I tend to fall into the same routine: catch up with people over dinner and drinks every night, but during the day when they’re at work, sit on a couch and be BORED OUT OF MY GODDAMNED MIND.

Want some proof?  I just got excited because on the Today Show they had a larger-than-normal rabbit on the set…and he was eating a piece of the carpet!  And yesterday afternoon, I watched three episodes of Sex and the City, bringing my lifetime total of episodes watched to three (fine, I’m lying it was five episodes yesterday.  And by the way, no one ever told me that show was essentially softcore porn, right down to the cheesy porn music that gets played throughout entire episodes).  I also read a People magazine cover to cover for the first time.

What always happens is my days in the ‘Burg end up totally revolving around food.  Even though my parents always stock the fridge plenty for my arrival, I still get take-out several times a day because driving somewhere to get food will at least waste an extra 15 minutes.

So I started thinking…what would a tourist do with his time in Fitchburg? Trick question, I know.  A tourist would never come to Fitchburg unless he was in Boston or Worcester and needed to score some “suburban heroin.”  I actually googled “Fitchburg tourist attractions” earlier today, and one of the top results was the local Dairy Queen…

But as it turns out, when I was leaving Massachusetts seven years ago to move to San Francisco, a friend gave me a Fitchburg T-shirt as a going away gift.  This particular shirt had seven Fitchburg landmarks on it, apparently representing the main tourist attractions of this great city.  So what I thought I’d do today is try to go see these landmarks…assuming, of course, that the lines to see them aren’t super long.  Could I waste a few hours today sightseeing in Fitchburg?  Let’s see.

Curious what the T-shirt looks like and what the landmarks are?  Here you go:

OK, I just returned from seeing almost all those landmarks on the shirt. And even after trying to spend as much time at each place as possible, I was away from my house for exactly 17 minutes.  It’s overcast and threatening rain today so maybe that’s what’s keeping all the tourists away from these amazing sights.

I know the different things on that shirt are a bit unclear, so let me explain.  Of course there are the typical landmarks that any city would put on their t-shirts: City Hall, the Public Library, a monument honoring local people who died in wars.  But here are some pictures of the more obscure landmarks:

1). A statue of two naked boys in the middle of a fountain:

There was no explanation for the significance of this fountain, no plaque, nothing.  All I can tell you is that a very crazy man named “Mickey” used to spend a lot of time near this fountain screaming at these two boys.  He was always wearing a ton of sunscreen on his nose, and rumor has it he used to be a millionaire, lost all his money, and then went nuts.  He may even be Fitchburg’s most famous resident.

2). A church:

I actually don’t know for sure that the church on the t-shirt is this exact church, but either way, there is no historical significance to any of the churches nearby that I can figure out.  I think they just needed to fill out the shirt with more items.

3). A bank:

The bank is my favorite part.  On the shirt, it’s a picture of Fitchburg Savings Bank…because banks are always on the top of the list for city landmarks and tourist attractions.  Except now, in 2012, Fitchburg Savings Bank is gone and this new bank, RBT, has replaced it.  How could they do that to such a meaningful landmark?  Was there a heated City Council meeting where the Historical Society argued that they can’t replace Fitchburg Savings due to its historical significance?  What will they do with the new Fitchburg t-shirts?  Pretend FSB is still there?  Replace the picture of the bank with a picture of one of the many broken-down bridges in this town?  If I knew where my friend got the original Fitchburg shirt, you can bet your ass I’d be there right now seeing if there is an updated Fitchburg shirt (at least that would help waste another 10 minutes of my day).

If you don’t think I’m coming back later today or early tomorrow with another Fitchburg post, then you really don’t understand just how bored I am.

Perfectly good excuses for leaving work early (Supplement to my previous post)

So by now you’ve read my blog post titled, “How to avoid working while giving off the impression that you’re working.”  If you haven’t, I suggest you check it out here.

But you might be saying to yourself, “Well that’s some great advice if I actually want to sit through a full day of work at the office, but what if I just can’t stand being at work?  How do I leave early without having to take paid time off or sick time?”

I’m glad you asked because I’ve got that covered too.  I’ve used all of these throughout my career.  Just don’t be an idiot and overuse them.  The best situation is when you’re constantly getting a new boss so you can reuse these plays without fear of being caught.  I’ve now had four different bosses in 22 months at my current job.

1). You left your car in a parking spot that turns into a tow zone at 4pm: During my second week at this current job, I was sitting at my desk around 3:30 waiting for the day to end when all of the sudden panic set in.  I never moved my car off a street that turns into a tow zone at 4pm (due to traffic coming into the city for the Giants games).  If I didn’t make it home in 30 minutes, I’d be looking at a minimum of $350 in towing fees.  I ran over to my boss, told him what was up, and he said, “Go take care of it.  See you tomorrow.”  Forty-five seconds later as I was in the elevator, I realized I had actually moved my car earlier that morning.  It didn’t matter…I had inadvertently created a great excuse to leave work.  I’ve used that two more times since that day.

2). The maintenance guy is doing some work in your apartment and things have gone missing before when he was there: As soon as you tell your boss that your maintenance guy is a potential criminal, you’ll be immediately excused from work so you can go protect your possessions while he fixes up your apartment.  No questions asked.  And this is one you can reuse sparingly even with the same boss.  Washer/dryer isn’t working…roof is leaking…rat infestation…plenty of different reasons your maintenance guy could be making multiple calls to your apartment.

3). There’s an important package being delivered to your apartment that you have to sign for: This one is weaker than the first two, but in a pinch it can work.  If you can get your boss to understand exactly why it’s so important, even better.  I’ve tried this one before, but I don’t suggest using it: “My mom sent an Easter package and if I don’t get the Cadbury Mini-Eggs in the fridge right away, they won’t be the perfect amount of cold when I try to eat them later.”

4). You have to pick up your brother/girlfriend/cousin at the airport: For some reason, picking someone up from the airport works well, even though everyone knows that person is perfectly capable of taking a cab or public transportation up to the city.  When I first moved to San Francisco, I used this one every other week, and my boss just assumed that all of my relatives were coming to visit me in my new city.  Just don’t say you have to go pick up your friend.  Family members and significant others work; friends for some reason do not.

5). Find out your boss’s interests and work off of them: I’ve had a boss who was a big time skier.  All I ever had to do during the winter is tell him on a Friday morning that I was leaving early that afternoon to drive up to Tahoe.  He was perfectly fine with it because he understands how awful it is to leave for Tahoe after a full day of work.  He was even a little jealous and would tell me fun skiing stories whenever I told him I was taking off early.  I’ve also had bosses who were huge Boston sports fans.  Sometimes before I could even ask, he’d beat me to the punch by asking if I was heading home early to catch the Celtics playoff game or the Patriots Monday night game.  Absolutely I’m planning to leave early for that.  I’ve never had a woman boss, but I bet I would have gone with, “I’m leaving early to see the new Sex And the City Movie,” if it would have gotten me out early.