Thursday, October 21, 2010

Museum Photo Dump

By Pauly
New York City

Here are a few pics that I snapped while roaming around the Met the other day...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Lost Vegas e-Book Now Available

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Heya gang, this is good news if you've been waiting for an electronic version of Lost Vegas. However, the bad news is that at the present moment, only a PDF version is available. An ePUB version will be out in a couple of weeks (Halloween the latest due to a snafu beyond my control). These things matter to a small section of uber-geeks, so, if you're someone who has a device that only reads ePUBS, then you'll have to wait a little longer (that includes iPads, iPhones, iTouches, and the Nook).

Click here purchase a PDF of Lost Vegas for $10.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

In the Land of Lost Violinists

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"He said you two were screenwriters."

I smirked at my new neighbors. They knocked on our front door the other day in order to officially introduce themselves. A couple, in their mid-to-late 20s, stood in the doorway with warm wide smiles.

"They're obviously not from around here," Nicky said later on.

And from here, meaning Los Angeles, and probably not even from California. They had the fresh-faced eager-beaver look to them. We wondered if this was their first or second year trying to make it big in the City of Angels. And yes, only good wholesome people from the South or flyover states would introduce themselves to their neighbors. Los Angelenos are too self-involved to care about who's around them, unless you've stolen their parking space, then you won't hear from them. The New Yorker in me is a "live and let live" person when it comes to habitation. To clarify: leave me the fuck alone and I will leave you alone. I gotta be honest, I never made an effort to get to know any of my neighbors mainly because I like living here on the sly. I'd rather not have nosy neighbors getting into my business.

However, the folks who will be living above us is another story. We're sorta forced to interact, if anything, because we're in units stacked on top of each other and the noise issue comes into question. Plus, in the past, we've had internal disasters with the plumbing due to our lazy and cheap slumlord in the slums of Beverly Hills. So it was a good thing that they initiated contact. They seem like nice people, which is good. I just hope they can put up with all of our quirky habits like Nicky singing along with Glee, or me shouting at the TV on NFL Sundays while I'm sweating bets or frantically moaning about how much Joe Buck tilts me during Yankees playoff games.

And then there's the smoke issue, let's face it, we're heavy smokers. The former tenants above us were awesome as far as neighbors go and rank among some of the best that I've ever had in my life. If we could live the rest of our lives with those two guys as our neighbors, I'd be totally cool with that. They were two late 20-somethings (or could have been early thirty-something) guys kept similar hours as us. They were respectful, gave us space, and kept an eye on our apartment whenever we went out of town. They were sorta in the entertainment business, both tokers, one of them (if not both) played guitar, got crazy for football on Sunday mornings (both were Tampa Bay fans -- their region of origin because no one in LA is actually from here, with the one exception being Nicky, who was born and bred in West L.A.), and most importantly they stayed up to 3am playing video games, which meant that we could stay up late and blast the TV and/or stereo way past Midnight without worrying about bothering our neighbors. Those two guys were used to our unusual sleeping habits. They loved the fact that we were burners and jammed music at odd hours, although I do suspect that they might have groaned on occasion when I cranked up Phish on lazy early afternoons when they woke up past noon to the bong-rattling bass of Mike Gordon bouncing off the floorboards below them. Hey, I had my own rule -- I only jammed loud music from noon til 10pm. I either listened to music at a low volume (the early morning jazz was never more than a few notches over a "whisper") or with headphones.

"He said you two were screenwriters."

Our new neighbors thought we were screenwriters because that's what our slumlord told them we did. We complained recently about all of the crazy and loud construction at early hours because we had to work at home, so he assumed we wrote screenplays. I dunno if he had any concept of what a poker writer was, but screenwriters are usually the type of writers that would be living in LA, and he also knew that Nicky worked in Hollywood when she originally rented the apartment from him six plus years ago. He's so fucking old that he referred to the film industry as "the pictures." And yeah, it's hard to think that when I first hooked up with Nicky she was deeply entrenched in the studio system recycling trash for the pop culture masses. That's my snarky comment on what she did, a definite cheap shot and sort of a rip off of Woody Allen's joke: "In Los Angeles, they throw away garbage and turn it into television shows."

The post-modern version is "they toss away garbage and turn it into reality TV shows."

Over the weekend, I stumbled upon the film version of Land of the Lost, a semi-erotic-throw back to my youth that started the trend of fawning over blondes, and later led me on the open path that aliens exist. I'll get to that elaboration in a second, but lemme tell you rant about how fucking bad Hollywood is these days. The studio heads are spineless gamblers who are afraid to back original concepts and only place big bets one established brands.

Land of the Lost cost in excess of $100 million for Universal to make the film. They could have made five lower-concept films that would have been more entertaining, but that's how they operate and make financial decisions -- they think that a parody film of a popular 70s TV show would be a way to print money because it's worked in the past. This time, the concept was poorly executed and their $100 million bet was a bust. I knew it was going to be a bombtastic bomb before I even saw a preview. The entire notion of the film should have been an indication for a disaster.

I stumbled upon one of the seventy versions of HBO, but this one was the Spanish language version and showed all films with a dubbed audio. Alas I got sucked into Land of the Lost not because it was funny, but hearing it in dubbed Spanish made it hysterical. Nicky was out running an errand and when she returned, I embarrassingly turned it off, sort of like get caught whacking off to porn, except I kinda wish I got caught rubbing one out to a Sasha Grey fetish video instead of howling over a Spanished dubbed version of a shitty Will Ferrel vehicle.

Land of the Lost had a budget that was "estimated" at $100 million, because in all the places I looked it up, they never specifically mentioned a hard number, which meant it was probably much more and the powers to be were embarrassed by how much they pissed away on the film that barely generated $68 million at the box office. Even DVD or international s ales could save it. Nicky reminded me about advertising and marketing which is another $20-25 million tossed on top. In the end, the film version of Land of the Lost lost millions of dollars. Chaka couldn't save it, neither could the Sid & Morty Kroft branding, nor Will Ferrell's fans, nor the funny fucking dude from Pineapple Express.

I used to watch the original TV show of Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings. It was a simple story about a park ranger and his two kids, a boy and the girl. The girl was named Holly and before I knew what erections were, I felt a pulling in my loins for her blonde braids, as I sat in my tightey whities slurping on cereal in a bowl and wondering why I always felt a little warm whenever Holly was in a scene. I especially got the hot sweats whenever she was tied up. I mean, that's as Saturday morning fetish theatre as you're gonna get.

Anyway, as the story goes, the park ranger and his kids go on a rafting trip and then an earthquake hits and rips apart the earth and the river drains into the center of the earth (or the theory as put forth in the film version -- the earthquake triggered a worm hole). They end up in the "Land of the Lost" where dinosaurs are still alive. There's also an bunch of bad guys named Sleestaks, which are sorta reptilian creatures that walk on their hind legs like humans. But dammit, if Sleestaks were fucking creepy, especially when you are eight years old. Former Detroit Piston bad boy, Bill Laimbeer, worked on the show when he was in high school/college because the studio needed tall extras to play the Sleestaks.

If I was David Foster Wallace, I would insert a two-thousand word long foot note on my unification theory of aliens, but since I can't figure out how to do that on the blog, I'll just use this new paragraph to willingly delve off topic for a minute and explain part of my overall theory of aliens is that the original dwellers of Earth are reptilians, who now live underground, but once ruled the Earth, but many perished during that cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs. The reptilians are often mistaken as aliens, when in fact, we're the aliens who invade their planet. The reptilians are in a cold war with the greys (E.T.s and traditional aliens seen in pop culture like on Stargate), who created humans as a genetic experiment by crossing their DNA with monkeys -- hence no missing link. So there you have it -- one of those wild and wacky theories of life and aliens that I've heard many times before in different incarnations and scenarios.

Land of the Lost went with a standard television show formula and added a sidekick, this time it was a furry creature named Chaka. Derek and my friends have a huge inside joke about Chaka, so we always have a little snicker with any Land of the Lost references that include Chaka. At one point during a Las Vegas trip many years ago, both StB and GMoney told people that they played Chaka on Land of the Lost. It's so fucking random and funny and a total retarded inside joke that only drunks and potheads will find any sort of amusement with it, but at the time, we all couldn't stop laughing.

A "Chaka-like" voice was created among G-Money and myself that we use to talk to our friends when we're super wasted, or in an attempt to annoy them, because the Chaka voice is a high-pitched squeal that is both hypnotic and/or highly annoying, but it's funny as hell when we do it. Iggy told a story once about how he was on tilt driving from Indiana to Wisconsin because we got stuck in Chicago traffic while GMoney and I would not speak in anything but a Chaka voice to each other. In a separate incident, I almost got slugged by Nicky on a drive from Vegas to Los Angeles, because I was singing every song that played on my iPod in a Chaka voice. By the time we reached the El Cajon pass (about three hours into our four-hour return trip to LA), she screamed at me as we sped down the mountain and begged not to hear another sing along with Chaka. The Chaka voice was killed that day, and has appeared only once in a blue moon.

You see, Chaka is funny, and Hollywood should have been able to make money off of one of the halcyon TV shows of my youth, but they failed to replicate those warm memories of Saturday morning freedom and innocence (with a splash of burgeoning sexual sensations). Instead, we were force fed an unpalatable post-modern update of something we held dear to our hearts. In a way, the new version was an indictment on what's wrong with us, what's wrong with society, and what's wrong with Hollywood. If the suits at Universal are going to bank on established brands, then deliver on the things that make those brands amazing in the first place. If you want to put a new twist on it, then go for something totally different. It was sort of like Universal had been sitting on a script about a scientist who has a theory that dinosaurs disappeared in a worm hole that they couldn't get made, but they had a shit ton of dough to do a re-make of Land of the Lost, so they forced a marriage between an unrelated script and the re-make.

As a result, we got that trainwreck of a bomb that is only funny if you're stoned to the bejesus and watching it with an outrageous dubbed version in Spanish.

"He said you two were screenwriters."

My new upstairs neighbor was explaining to me that she knew what we did and wanted to make sure we were not disturbed because she is a musician and needs to practice at home frequently.

"I'm a violinist," she said.

Wow, a violinist in LA? That would make more sense in New York City, but LA? Go figure. This city attracts creative people from across the spectrum. She said that her practice room would be right above the room that Nicky fixed up for my office. So, as I'm finishing off the tail end of this post, I can hear some of her notes penetrate the floorboards, while a few notes echo out the window and down the alley. The barking dogs are silent for the first time in I dunno how long, and the sweet sounds of a violin are... comforting.

At least someone in this town is making beautiful art. It sure as hell ain't me, or those fucktards in the studios up in the Hollyweird hills.

Monday, October 04, 2010

e-Lost Vegas

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

This is the news that all of you uber-geeks have been waiting months for...

For more info, follow @LostVegasBook on twitter, or visit the site at

Click here to buy a regular copy of Lost Vegas.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Good Fences Defense

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

When I lived in Seattle over a decade or so ago, at any given time in a our humongous four story house, we had anywhere from 9 to 13 people there. During my earliest stint, a baker's dozen were among us denizens in the Big Red house a block off of UW fraternity row. Four lived illegally, which meant that they did not pay rent. Of course, the biggest moochers in the house were those fuckers. A guy we had nicknamed Crackhead Stu (for obvious reasons -- he was a legit crackhead and the black sheep of a prominent Chicago family of attorneys) got kicked out of the house for failing to pay rent, so he took up refuge in the basement and moved into a small room that was created as a practice room for former, current, and future musicians -- available to whoever was musically inclined that lived in a house that had a tremendous turnover and was comprised of mostly UW students. Crackhead Stu moved into the practice room and picked up two street kids, a young couple of runaways from Fresno, and charged them a few bucks to sleep on a tiny couch wedged next to a washer and dryer. That's how I cam across them the first time -- when I woke up early to do a load of laundry before work. I had no clean shirts and needed to do a batch. I walked in and saw a girl who barely looked 16-years old, curled up on the couch while a lump inside a sleeping bag slept at the foot of the couch. She said she was Crackhead Stu's friends and that it was OK if I did my laundry. Well fuck me, like I needed permission from a squatter to clean a shirt that I needed for work? Anyway, I felt bad from them. Crackhead Stu kicked them out three days later after they blew through whatever money they had on a bag of couple of bags of Nazi crank. Crackhead Stu promised them it was an awesome investment and that they'd triple their money and be able to afford a place of their own. They were naive and Crackhead Stu transformed into Tweaker Stu for that week he was flying high on their meth.

The Slums of Beverly Hills

The apartment building where I live in the slums of Beverly Hills might be similar in square footage as the Big Red House in Seattle, except it's only two stories and broken into seven individual units. From my understanding, Nicky and I live in one of two of the two-bedroom units. Four are single bedroom, and there's one studio.

A female artist in her late 50s lives in the studio, at least that's Nicky's theory. I'm convinced that it's a true studio and that she lives elsewhere and just goes there to paint. I'm up at odd hours and her car is not always parked there and can be vacant for days at a time. With the exception of us, she's been here the longest. The other five have moved in during the last year.

For the longest time, we could not figure out who lived in one of the upstairs units. I suspected a ginger lived there because I saw him walk in the alley a few times. I didn't know for sure if he lived there or was visiting somewhere else. But then I figured out that he was indeed a resident. On my way back from Jack in the Box one early evening while fetching a Big Assed Iced Tea, I noticed that he has parked his car, a slightly queer version of a Jetta, and slung a laptop bag over his shoulder and started walking toward our building. I slowed down my pace and let him gain lots of distance on me. I wanted to see which apartment he went to, and sure enough, he opened up a door to one of the upstairs apartments. We have six parking spaces for five units, and he got the shit end of the stick. My guess is that our landlord doesn't like gingers and made the kid resort to treacherous street parking which blows in the slums of BH. Anyway, I found out his name because the mailman couldn't fit a small box(from, so some lucky fucker won a woot off) into the mail chute, so it was left out underneath the row of mailboxes. His name was so whitebread it was disgusting. He had one of the pretentious WASPy names you'd meet at Connecticut boarding schools, who some Dun Hills, date rape their co-ed classmates with Arcade Fire blasting in the background. Yes, if there's anyone on our watch list -- it's the Ginger.

A 40+ year old woman, who drives a convertible, lives in the apartment below the Ginger. I didn't know much about her. Aside from the artist lady, she's the only other neighbor who says hello to me. She seems polite, but not intrusive, which I dig. She smokes Capris, only because I noticed she sometimes leaves a pack in her car's console. Nicky and I park next to her, so it's hard to not see that distinguishable box. The first thing that I noticed about her when she moved in was that she had a shitload of cookbooks in her kitchen, like five milkcrates stacked on top of each other with cookbooks. Since she kept odd hours, I assumed she was some sort of restaurateur or perhaps a sous chef. One afternoon, I passed by her apartment and she was engrossed in a loud conversation -- but in French. That baffled me even more. I noticed that she spends her nights alone watch cable news programs, in the dark, while chain smoking cigarettes and drinking wine.

The guy who lives in between us, is what we call angry BMW guy. He's a suit, late 20s, and dives a BMW. Nicky is convinced it's leased, and it's this is the exact reason why we joke about living in the slums of BH. Anyway, I have yet to say a word to the guy and we've been neighbors for over six months. Maybe's he's shy or depressed or just a dick. Who knows? I never had a chance to say anything because he blows me off whenever I see him. He wakes up early, out of the apartment by 8am or 8:30am the latest and the returns anywhere from 6:30 to 8pm. He spends his evenings in front of a massive big screen TV, either watching baseball or Sportscenter. I caught him playing video games once. He always orders in food and sits around in shorts and a white beater t-shirt. We presume that's why he's angry all the time -- that he's sitting around at home instead of getting laid.

The 20-something young woman who lives above the angry-BMW guy is a recent college grad (I noticed her student parking sticker right away), and like most recent grads, she's humping a shitty service job somewhere. Whenever I see her, she's wearing black pants, comfortable black shoes, and a pristine white dress shirt. Yep, standard waiter/caterer attire. Sometimes she's gone very early in the mornings. Most of the time, she leaves around 10am and returns in the early afternoon, only to bail again for the dinner rush. She goes out the most out of any of our neighbors and I'll hear her creeping up the stairs at 3am. She's given me the tepid head nod when we've seen each other.

The new neighbors above us are a twenty-something couple. I have yet to meet the guy, but he's seems a bit unfriendly during the one time I walked by him. In his defense, he was in the middle of moving in and obviously pre-occupied. I've said hello to his girlfriend a couple of times. Don't know much about them other than one set of their parents moved them in, and I wonder of they are helping these young kids pay rent while either of them chance the Hollyweird dream? Just in the apartment building next door to us (with the barking dogs), the actress/singer/waitress who is always singing in the shower (and who used to come over with her boyfriend to get shitty with us before she kicked him out) had a roommate who went deep on this season of American Idol. Who knows what their deal is -- all I know is that they got only one car, and may or may not have scratched the SUV in the driveway next door, that is owned by the guy with the loud fucking dog, who knocked on our door on Saturday morning and told me what happened. He looked pissed. I should have said something about the dogs, but then I thought he might he thought that I was the culprit and keyed his car, which I considered before I bought a dog barking zapper which shuts those fucking howling pooches up and reduces them to whining pussies.

I wonder what our neighbors think of us? "OH, THOSE DAM POTHEADS WHO PLAY THAT DAMN MUSIC AT ALL HOURS!"

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Alley Cat Wars, Vol. 1

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Diablo is an adorable pain in the ass. It's no coincidence that his name is Diablo. You see, Diablo likes taking a shit underneath our window on a patch of dirt in between two bushes. I never noticed the pile of turds until Adam (former upstairs neighbor) pointed it out. After watching all of these Hoarding shows, especially ones with tons of cats shitting all over houses leaving mountains of cat shit behind them, I sorta freaked out and took it as my personal mission to make sure Diablo found a different spot for daily deification. I cleaned up as much old cat shit as possible and hit up the internet in search of homemade recipes to prevent stray cats from shitting on your property. I found dozens of ideas from different gardening sites detailing what you can do to prevent cats from shitting in your flowerbeds.Supposedly cats dislike citrus and Cinnamon. During a late-night speed freakout, I sliced up the remnants of a couple lemon peels and grabbed a small bottle of Cinnamon. I walked outside, spread the lemon peels around the dirt patch and then sprinkled Cinnamon. Well, my intentions were to sprinkle the Cinnamon, what actually happened was that 80% of the bottle sort of rushed out and created a small reddish-brown mountain. I had to spread that around. The next morning, as soon as the SoCal sun began baking everything on the ground, I noticed the not-so fun pungent aroma of decomposing Cinnamon. It smelled just as bad as the cat shit. The next evening, during an internet search, I found some sort of pellet mixture that kept cats away. These pellets were made up of coyote and fox urine, which I learned are natural enemies to cats. Instinctually, if cats smell a hint of coyote urine, they will stay away, far away. So I dropped $20 on a can and a few days later, it arrived in the mail. It looked like a can of supermarket brand Parmesan cheese, and smelled very similar. I sprinkled it outside on the dirt patch and it looked like someone dropped a bag of cocaine. So now, this dirt patch, which formerly contained Diablo's cat feces (and who knows what other feral alley cats were also using that bit of dirt for their morning dumps), was covered in lemon rinds, Cinnamon, and now a flaky white substance that supposed contained coyote urine. I was not about to lose this war and escalated the ground attack. As a form of protest, I found Diablo sitting on top of Nicky's hood. You could see his little paw prints trekking up the semi-dusty window shield (the lack of rain in SoCal often creates a thin layer of dust that is more visible on black cars than you would think) and he plopped his fat ass on the top of the roof. I caught him hanging out there many times in the past, but when Nicky was in Argentina, he had been making that his nightly ritual. I feared that he was gonna piss all over the roof to retaliate the fact that I had taken away his favorite shitting grounds. But fuck man, I as not going to let a fucking black alley cat get the best of me.