Friday, January 15, 2010

Naps and Conan

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

What is a nap?

I fell asleep editing Lost Vegas. That's what I get for reading it in a comfortable bed. Now I recall why I don't like to edit things in bed and prefer to sit at a well lit desk. I had heavily re-worked and re-structured some of the first chapter (once again). That was such an intense forty minutes or so that I had to put the rest of the manuscript down and rest my eyes. The next thing I realized... it was dark outside.

The sun disappears around 5pm, but I was out for about three hours. Sometimes I have to listen to my body, something I have been actively doing in the New Year. More sleep. More rest. More downtime. Less time connected, more time unplugged.

I got to thinking, was that mid-afternoon nap just a siesta or not a nap and rather a normal night's sleep? I barely get three hours a night, so you can argue that I had gone to bed and woke up at 5pm. Which would mean that I was not interested in dinner, but starving for breakfast?

I slept about the same amount of time the night before. I crawled into bed closer to five in the morning. Up late. Listening to podcasts. Taking notes. Writing and writing. I was inspired to write a short story that was sloppy and messy, so I had to clean it up when I woke up in the morning. Much tighter and smoother. I'm glad that I started it before I crashed because I probably would have forgotten the story... which is good enough for me to use in a future issue of Truckin'.

It's important to ride whatever wave of creative energy that comes your way. I had one last night and it was essential that I get as much out of it as possible. I fought back fatigue and even though some parts were rambling and coherent (and who's to say anything I write is coherent and structured?), I managed to get the basic ingredients and key elements down before I was nodding off at the keyboard.

The previous two nights I returned to listening to music before I go to bed. It helps me unwind. Both nights I fell asleep sitting in a chair in the living room while I let my mind wander. I woke up 15-20 minutes later, turned off the iPod and shuffled off to the bed room where I had to scavenge whatever covers that Nicky left over for me. At least she remained on her side of the bed. Sometimes I have to give her the lovers shove and make sure she retreats to her territory.

I woke up a few hours later with the short story still on my mind. I knew I had Lost Vegas edits on my schedule, but jumped out of bed to finish off the story before I went to work. I guess that's why I passed out in the afternoon. I didn't have a full battery and still needed to re-charge. The Lost Vegas edits aren't going anywhere -- but those fleeting moments of inspiration are fickle and I learned the hard way that you have to take charge and ride the wave until it crashes.

* * * * *

I watched two episodes of the Jersey Shore with the Friedmans when I was in Vegas. As the Joker said it best, "You only need to see it once because it's the same thing every episode."

Yes, I'd like a full hour of my life back after watching that soiled tampon of reality programming. I needed to watch three full hours of Shakespeare performances on YouTube in order to restore the brain cells lost during the viewing of Jersey Shore.

On the other hand, I'm fascinated (like car wreck morbid curiosity) with the Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien debacle with NBC. Since I'm smack in the middle in the locale of the drama, this is the only thing anyone in LA is talking about. I find myself more interested in the tabloids and what Nicky's friends have to say as this drama unfolds minute-to-minute.

Nicky had a few things to say especially about Jeff Zucker in a post she wrote called Team Conan.

I'm also loving the anti-Leno bandwagon and the outcry of support among Conan's peers for Team Conan. Jimmy Kimmel didn't pull any punches with Leno and Letterman has been having a field day with NBC and his one-time nemesis Leno. Even Howard Stern sounded off and did not hide his disdain for Leno.

I don't think I watched Conan as host Tonight Show one single time mainly because I don't watch late night TV, and when I do it's never the Tonight Show. Heck the last regular late night show I watched was Conan when he hosted Late Night at 12:30. I watched the first few episodes of Jimmy Fallon's version of the show when he took the reigns and haven't seen anything since.

I never watched the Tonight Show when Leno was the host and stopped watching it when Johnny Carson left the show. Back in the 1980s as a kid and teenager, I only watched Carson (I was a Late Night with David Letterman guy) because some nights that was the latest I could stay up and because there was nothing else on. This was in the days pre-internet and cable TV. At that time you either watched reruns of The Honeymooners or Carson. I kinda preferred the summer months when Carson would go on vacation and Joan Rivers (when she was actually funny) would sit in as a guest host. As soon as Arsenio Hall and Morton Downey, Jr. came on the scene, I found myself more drawn to those programs. But I was a die-hard Letterman fan. In my heart, he died when he moved to CBS.

Most of the time I taped Late Night with David Letterman and watched it the first thing when I woke up in the morning before school started. On Friday nights, I got lucky and stayed up all night and got to watch Letterman as it aired which was always a treat because that's when they did viewer mail segments. I dunno how many goofy letters I must have sent NBC over from 1986-89 hoping that they would read something I wrote to Letterman on the air.

My late night pot smoking habit formed in college just at the same time when Conan took control of Late Night. He was weird goofy and his staff wrote jokes that appealed to my slacker/Gen-X sensibility. During my 20s, Conan was often on in the background during those late night bongathons.

And now it seems poor Conan is being pushed out of a job that he's wanted and waited for decades. I definitely can understand the emotional turmoil on what it's like to want a job that only a few people can have that you would almost kill to have (Rolling Stone columnist and a staff writer on SNL). Alas, the stuck up studio assholes are going to win this battle -- but unlike most of the time, they weren't going to let this one happen without getting a little egg on their face and shit on the lapel. Pleased to see Conan fighting his way out of this and I'm rooting for him even though it looks like he's toast.

I'm enjoying all of the biting jokes that Conan's writing staff has generated over the past week. All of those guys uprooted their entire families and left the cool and hip New York City for the culturally bankrupt and ethically clueless streets of Los Angeles... only to soon discover that their dreams of being Tonight Show staff writers have come to a bitter end.

Yeah, Conan is getting all of the sympathy yet hthe sacrifices made by his staff and writers are overlooked. Man bites dog. Suits screw up. More writers fucked by the Hollywood machine.

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