A glimpse into one actor/writer's life in La-La Land. Part lampoon, part harpoon, all good.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I have a problem. No, not with that! I don't need Sexaholics Anonymous. I need help with this little procrastination thing. I seem to be able to find so many things to do to avoid writing, which I've declared to the gods as the priority in my life. Instead of spending an eight-hour work day at the keyboard I find myself surfing the internet, staring blindly at the bookshelf, or offering to vacuum my neighbor's floor. And while my personal research on "The Benefits Of Afternoon Napping" is going quite well, I have inadvertantly become an expert at avoidance. With this conundrum staring me boldly in the face, I thought I'd better do something about it. And then I thought, "Maybe later." (Oh, God; I really do need help.) So then I thought: Why not get an expert in discipline? Yes, a dominatrix! Who better to help me crack the whip than some leather-bound diva with an anger problem?

Or, maybe I need an ecclesiastical approach. (Religion certainly can't hurt...can it?) Yes, that's it. I need an angel. "Send me an angel...Send me an angel, right now..." Remember that ultra-80's pop hit? Remember the parachute pants that came - and went - with it? That's precisely how I feel at this moment: first, I need someone to bitch-slap me and say, "What the fuck were you thinking?!?" and, second, to - you guessed it - send me an angel. (Right now. Right now.) For, try as I may, I can't seem to be self-disciplined. I don't have a writing schedule, as all the experts so heartily recommend. I only write when I feel the muse or the pressure of a deadline. But I know that I should be more organized and disciplined.

Wait. Maybe it's just Catholic guilt. For even with all of the ridiculous spinning and time-wasting, I have actually managed to be pretty darned productive. In the last year, for example, I did complete two screenplays with my writing partner, Michael (Phobic & Snooze); write and produce the sold-out stage production of Rough Copy in New York with my comedy partner, Kali; bury my Mom; and, move across the country. "Not to shabby," says my very own Inner Adam Sandler with a charming grin and a strum of the ukulele.

Maybe it's a juggling problem; maybe I have to many balls in the air. (True, this would the perfect spot for a lovely picture of a clown. But, as we all know, clowns are evil; and so, they have no place in The Chill.) Yes, maybe I just have unrealistic expectations. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. (See reference to Mr. Little, in "Six Degrees of Sarah Jessica.") Maybe, like Fat Bastard, I just have too much on my plate. My current menu reads something like this: Appetizer~Meditate; Salad~Stretch; Main Course~work on new screenplay with Michael while marketing first two scripts and producing "Rough Copy" for podcast with Kali; Dessert~write blog, learn Final Cut, and launch website. All while working those now infamous 13-hour shifts in the emergency room at County and trying to squeeze out a social life.

Whew - I'm worn out from just typing that list. But, this column (and my life) is not Bitchfest or Whinapalooza. Far from it, because I am actually enjoying myself. I get the shits & giggles every time I post to The Chill and surf for the approriate visual accoutrements. And when people respond? I love it. (I bow to you now, Dear Readers.) And despite the apparent inertia, things really are moving. Just the other day at a networking event at Raleigh Studios on Melrose, I met with a very bright (and personable) producer from New Line Cinema who really seemed to like "Snooze." So maybe this track really is just fine, excessive juggling and over-eating included. That's a nice thought and one that I can certainly live with. But, maybe I could still order the dominatrix. Just for kicks...

Thursday, August 24, 2006


There's a timeless debate among men, well, some men: to go with or without. Underwear, that is. Within this framework lies a subsequent quaffle - whitie tighties versus boxers verus boxer briefs. Aside from just having an excuse to post all of these homoererotic images on The Chill, these pictures serve as metaphor. Because I'm faced with a similar choice and I'm completely baffled. To go with, or without - health insurance. I have been free-balling it since my arrival in Los Angeles and, to be honest, I'm not quite comfortable with all of that wiggle room. What if I get sick? Or hit by a bus? I'm chanelling Edith Bunker right now, I know. But I can't help it; I can actually hear Edith's New York, high-pitched screaching in my mind: "Laaangdon! What if you get a hernia?" Oh, God; make it stop! Take me to the safe place! But I can't stop it. I mean, anything could happen. And me, without protection! (Men, have you ever tried to sit crossed-legged without the support of a lovely pair of briefs? Yeah; that's how I feel right now without the proper health coverage.)

So, clearly I've made one decision. I just can't go without any longer. That goes for both underwear and health insurance. But now comes the hard part, the real pain in the ass. Which company? Which plan? HMO or PPO? (Hell, it feels like a TKO.) But on I forge through layers of legalistic mumbo-jumbo, restrictions, and prohibitions. There's co-insurance and deductibles. What the fuck is coinsurance??? And why is there a deductible? This isn't my car; it's my friggin' body! And what about mental health services - NOT that I need any; I'm just like, you know, curious... AGH!

Oh, God - I'm turning into Lewis Black! I just spent the last two hours researching health insurance plans and now suicide is looking pretty good.

I need to do something...I think I'll feel better if I just took this pencil and shoved it in my eye.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


There is a well known secret (oxymoron?) that women and, not surprisingly, gay men across the globe often play a game similar to that of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. It doesn't have a name - yet - but operates under one similar, simple premise: girls and girlfriends ask each other which character from HBO's uber-hit, "Sex And The City," they are most like? (Sorry Kevin; the ubiquitious "we" do love you and your super-sensitive, gorgeous wife, Kyra; but, it is these divas of New York that take precendence in matters of such gravity.)

Of course, most women latch on to the semi-delusional idea that they most resemble Sarah Jessica Parker's, Carrie. She is the central character and the highest paid among the flock; so, who wouldn't want to be Carrie? But I have to say, unlike most under-medicated women, I feel that my muse truly is Carrie. I mean, the parallels are uncanny. We're both writers. We both smoke. And we both have multiple, overflowing closets. (In fact, I think I may even have more heels that she does.) Wait; there's more. We both have naturally chestnut colored hair yet look fabulous as blondes. She had the on-again, off-again, penultimate romance with Mr. Big. I, too, had a on-again, off-again, ridiculous affair with a man I thought to be "the one." (Needless to say, he did not come after me when I left New York. There was no sweeping climax in airport, hotel, or toll booth. So, for purposes of clarification, we'll call him Mr. Little. Or Chicken Little.)

Okay, so maybe I'm not Carrie. Well, which, then? I put the question to a few friends, colleagues, and therapists. Each had their own comparisons to draw. For some, I was more like Miranda. Apparently, the fact that I've also been a red-head and, at times, an uptight perfectionist with skin problems, made this one a no-brainer. Others thought maybe I was Charlotte. Charlotte? "Well," they said, "With your day job you often dress conservatively and professional; and, haven't you slept with a lot of doctors?" (For the record, I now wear scrubs - which, by the way, do wonders for my butt - and I have yet to date a physician.) Samantha, then? I do talk about sex a lot, and about having sex a lot. But talk is cheap and the shameful truth is that my dance card is far from full; in fact, I have the strong suspicion that Angela Lansbury has more sex than I do.

So, which woman am I? Oh, wait! I can't be any of them because - I HAVE A PENIS! (I almost forgot.) Well, in light of this new fact, I'd love to be Smith Jerrod, played by the hunka-hunka-burnin' love, Jason Lewis. Hey! Why not? We're both sometimes blondes. And, I happen to have his picture on all of my Calvin Klein underwear packages. Okay; maybe not. Well, as hard as it is to admit, I often feel that I might be most like Stanford. On the bright side of this seemingly suicide-inducing revelation, I do have the comforting fact that he is, after all, a sharp dresser. And hey, he did catch that young stud and fall in love happily ever after (through the series finale, at least).

It appears that I am, indeed, in something of a quandary. Might I then enlist the help of you, Dear Reader? Let's have a contest! We'll call it Celebritology. Yes, I quite like that. The grand prize will be an all expenses paid trip and shopping spree in either Paramis, New Jersey, or Compton (depending on your Coast). Which celebrity, then- from any medium - do I most remind you of? Let me know and we'll make a day of this. On your mark, get set, go...

Monday, August 14, 2006


The sun was barely above the hills, and I was driving along to work to go and save some lives. (I actually transfused two units of blood and platelets the other day; so no, psychiatry is not just, "Tell me about your childhood," and turning your mother into a metaphoric pinata.) I had my cup of Joe and then some kind LA drivers bleerily allowed me to cut in and make a left turn across traffic. I thought, "How sweet; who says LA drivers are..." And - WHAM! I was hit. Me and my new Jetta! My new, cute black Jetta with leather interior and sun roof! I couldn't believe it. I had just woken up. Hell, I had just bought it! Really, this car was so new I can honestly say that Madonna has had orgasms that lasted longer than it has been in my possession.

So I stopped, glared at my dazed assailant and said - of course - "What the fuck is your problem?" (Never mind that I yelled this through my rolled up window.) Before I knew it, I had leapt from my injured companion's side and into the face of this poor kid. I was so tough I wish my agent could have seen me. (Maybe he'd finally send me out to play some heterosexual parts.) In one split instant, I proved that New York was still in my blood (if not my address book). I was fuming mad but gave a valiant effort to remain composed (and a virgin to the judicial system). The young man was originally hostile but calmed down when I started snapping pictures with my cell phone and saying things like, "See these tire tracks? It proves that you saw me and couldn't stop in time." Then we did the proscribed exchange of information and were on our way. (My friend Lisa, the powerhouse prosecutor, will note that we did not wait for the police.) So, I continued on my drive, chainsmoking and trying to be Zen about my morning violation. Then, fantasty kicked in - I imagined that maybe that this seemingly negative event would lead to something good. "All things happen for a reason," you know. I imagined that the man and I would meet to discuss the details about who would pay for the repair bill and then he'd look into my eyes and say, "Langdon, you beautiful man, you must allow me to pay for dinner. And wine. And then, if you have the time, would you like to get married?"

Don't worry; reality soon came a knockin'. I realized that Fabio was really too high maintenance. And that just because I was hit, I didn't have to let it ruin my day. (The hospital would do that soon enough.) Not to mention that "I" was not hit. My car was. (I have often thought that "I" am not "me." "I" am something travelling in the vehicle that is my skin. [My well-moisturized skin.] But I'll save these deeper musings for when I finally find my Golden Pond, or Walden Forest; currently, the only Leaves of Grass I have to write about are the bags of weed I confiscate from patients in the emergency room.) So, for now, I think I'm actually contented with blindly driving forward and seeing what wonders there are to bump into...just like MaGoo.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


"Scary Movie was, indeed, quite funny. But I'm afraid to report that the dating scene in Los Angeles is not." That was the origninal opening for this post; but the topic has changed. My harrowing (yes, I said harrowing - and in the voice of the Movie Phone guy) experiences will have to wait to be catlogued here. Becuase I've since encountered other scary people in this star trek that now take precedence. While brevity is not my forte, what follows is an attempt at providing thumbnails, snapshots, snippets of some of the less than glowing persons I have met thus far in Los Angeles:

My neighbor, the pot head, who never seem to have cigarettes (or thoughts) of his own.
My nieghbor, the crack addict, who has far too many thoughts.
My nieghbor the drug dealer who apparently has quite the rolodex.
My nieghbor the wanna-be thug who was shot in a drive-by on the corner this weekend. (No, I do not live in South Central.)

The slimy shoe salesman in West Hollywood who did everything but stick his tongue in my ear to sell me six hundred dollars worth of Italian leather shoes that I didn't need. And couldn't afford. (We'll call him Alan "K;" we'll say that his torture chamber is at 7380 Melrose Avenue and that the phone number is 323-658-9092. Just because.) I still cannot believe that his slippery tactics worked. When reality later hit and I tried to return them, he morphed into Tammy Faye Baker off of her hormones and called the police. I was mortified and left before our men in blue arrived. The shoes, meanwhile, are still in my trunk and I now have fantasies of tying him up, and doing - in the words of Hannibal Lecter - "things with his skin." (Fava beans, anyone?)

The mordidly obese lady - also down the block - who apparently does not fully appreciate the nuances of the word oxymoron as demonstrated by her donning a sports bra to do the morning shopping.
The medical doctors at my job who somehow think they are equipped to treat psychiatric patients.
The adminstrators at my hospital who, in their blunted wisdom, agreed with them.
And, the secretary on my unit who also has trouble with various words and concepts; among them: professionalism, maturity, intelligence, and sanity.

Whew. That wore me out. There are more, surely, but I'll resist my impulse to continue; otherwise, I'd have to change the title of this post to "Bitch Fest." And that just wouldn't fit, because during this circus I was recently contacted by two old friends. It was a blast from the past, as they say. It was also perfectly timed (chalk one up for serendipity) and warmly welcomed. The first was Don, my roommate from college. Actually, he was more like a psychic soul-sister and we spent hours the other day on the phone catching up. An e-mail followed from Betsy, a former neighbor also from my college days. (She, unlike my present compadres, does not sell drugs nor belong to a gang.) The three of us, along with friends Carol, Julius, and Lisa lived in a fabulous u-shaped apartment complex in a colorful neighborhood of Gainesville, Florida, known as The Student Ghetto. And we had a wonderful time together. (We used to say that the producers and writers for the primetime soap, "Melrose Place," had been flies on the walls of our bohemian dwellings.) So, despite the current potpourri of characters in my life, I am reminded of the cornucopia, the panoply, of friends (both new and old) that are also there to round out my table.

I'll close, then, with the memorable words of Auntie Mame (the character I'm sure I'll one day play):

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

Saturday, August 05, 2006


"Summer lovin’ had me a blast ~ summer lovin’ happened so fast

I met a girl crazy for me ~ I met a boy, cute as can be

Summer days driftin’ away, to uh-oh those summer nights

(wella, wella, wella – oom) Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far?

Tell me more, tell me more, like, does he have a car?"

Last week I fainted; today, I'm swooning. You guessed it, I have a new love! In truth, it's not so new; we've been seeing each other in secret for some time now. Actually, every Friday night for the past couple of months. It was sort of casual in New York City, and at times very difficult because of the long-distance. You see, he's an Angelino. But now that I've relocated to Tinsel Town it's been much easier for us to see one another. We've really spent some quality time together and have even had some adventures. And I have to say, he's an incredible boyfriend. He's smart (I'd go so far as to suspect that he might be a genius); he's funny; and, he's classically handsome. True, he's a litltle neruotic; but hey - who isn't these days? And in this town? Besides, he's very clean (meticulous, even ) and always does the dishes after dinner. I know, I know - you want me to cut to the chase; you just wanna know who in the hell this new man in my life IS.

Yes, he is none other than Tony Shaloub. Now, I know what you're thinking...It'll never work. He's a celebrity (actually a two-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner) and I'm just a lowly dilettante, a struggling actor/writer. Mixed marriages never work. But, idealistic or not, I have hope. I know what we've shared. It's been so real. And consistent - every Friday he's there for me, like clock work. He's talked so openly; he's listened attentively; he's never let me down. And, he's even cleaned the grout between the tiles in my kitchen. (And bathroom.)

Hey - if some people can have imaginary friends; why can't I have an imaginary boyfriend? And why not Tony Shaloub? (We'll just forget about stalking charges and potential restraining orders for now; okay?) All right, all right; the ruse is up. But on a serious note, the character of Mr. Adrien Monk has kept me great company during this transition to a new city, a new life. I have been, at times, very much alone. Not quite lonely, but definitely alone. Much of this has been good; it's kept me at the keyboard. And it is the fertile ground from which new (self) growth will occur. But it is difficult to leave behind community, the friends that became family. So I find that I am truly fond of this fictional "defective detective."

I remember leaving the safety of home for the first time. I packed up my Go-Go's posters and my parachute pants, said goodbye to South Florida and to adolescence, and landed at the University of Florida. Looking back, I made friends relatively easily; I usually do. But I also recall lonely times in the dormitory; the nights spent pining for good times with good friends. On Halloween that first fall, when my roommates - and seemingly the entire campus - had gone out drinking 'till they dropped. I stayed home to watch bad horror movies, having bought a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a six-pack of bad beer. Very soon after that gastronomical nightmare I discovered David Letterman, my first fictional boyfriend. (I still dream of kissing him on the forehead on live television one day...) I know this borders on psychosis, but I really looked forward to his late night visits. He made me laugh. And that laughter stayed with me, long after the station stopped broadcasting. I used to say David Letterman saved my life. Not that I was every suicidal; but he nourished me through some tough times, and helped me to keep my humor and my hold on myself as I struggled to build a life.

Now that I find myself once again starting over, I am again turning to television for succor. (In moderation, like a nice glass of red wine, of course. And in balance with treasured phone calls and e-mails from the East Coast.) An odd perspective, I know; but I consider myself a lucky dog to have both real and imaginary friends.

Thanks for being there every Friday night, Tony - and for all of the laughs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The herculean hero didn't shrug; he heaved. He ate some bad take-out, or warm sushi; or he drank the water in Mexico. It's obvious; take a look at my world: I'm perplexed and plagued by alarmist predictions that we've begun World War III; I'm governed by an action-hero (literally); and I've been in L.A. for two months, and I'm still twirling in my tiny studio amongst a bazillion boxes. I have so much to unpack and no where to put it. What was I thinking when I packed up my other tiny apartment? I have literally unearthed love letters from high school, ten year old magazines (no, not National Geographic - I gave that up years ago; okay?), a baker's dozen of unmatched socks, and a swatch of an ex-boyfriend's underwear. Is my Prozac not working? Do I need Ritalin?

No, I refuse to believe that I might need pharmaceuticals. (I may need another cigarette, but that's different. Really, it is.) I think the chaos is due to the world being out of balance, and me right there along with it. So why aren't I doing more Yoga? Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables? Having my colon cleansed? I do strive for balance and wellness, but there's so much on my plate I find that now I can barely meditate for ten minutes. My to-do list ends up intruding, or I hear the lyrics to some Jessica Simpson drivel, or I just quit because I think, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to watch the dust bunnies grow?" What's a new Angelino to do?

The other morning, instead of sitting to write (this blog, or my new screenplay Wish List, or the novel, etc., etc., etc, ad infinitum) I decided to get out there and do something about it. I decided to go shopping. So, I grabbed a coffee, a fresh pack of Marlboro's, and took off in search of some fiduciary healing. (Marvin Gaye would be my guide...) Now, any kind of shopping in this city is absolutely insane. Even if you go to "the mall" there are questions, so many questions, to answer: which mall? Which side of town? And the dreaded, Where to park? But furniture shopping? Furniture shopping in Los Angels when you're broke? Might as well put my social security number right up on the internet. But I opted to be positive and optimistic; somewhere I knew that I'd find a thrift shop or a lovely design boutique that was having a sale. In reality, I found both. Only the thrift stores were actually more like homeless shelters; and even with the boutique's fifty per cent off, the fabulous mid-century bookshelf I wanted was two thousand dollars. I almost fainted, right there on a handy 1930's fainting couch. Instead, I plopped myself gently down and almost cried. Okay; actually, I did cry. But, immediately after being escorted out by security, I decided to pull up my boot straps (and my pants - I had tried to sleep my way out of a ticket) and continued on my heroic journey. If Oedipus could do it; so could I.

I used an entire tank of gas, and killed at least a dozen species of plant and animal alike, driving around town. But, the gods were with me; and Atlas clearly took a break from praying at the porcelain one, because I did finally lay my hands on an affordable and stylish bookcase. I also snatched up a handy little guide to local yoga and wellness centers. One-stop shopping. And I didn't break the bank. Not bad. Now, if only Atlas can do so well with the spinning discus we call home...