Great Advice For Writers

Not from me. I’ve got nothing. But Shane Black does.

I’m so old that when I was coming up, there weren’t podcasts. We had to listen to the radio! Can you even imagine?

Anyway, I wish we had them, because the podcast I just linked to is incredible. Shane Black is one of the more famous screenwriters. And most successful. He became high profile when he sold spec scripts for millions in the ’90’s. But to me, he’s always been a man of mystery. I’ve never seen him. I’ve never heard him. They don’t put screenwriters on talk shows. Luckily, they do put them on podcasts.

In this one, he speaks for an hour and a half about writing. And it’s highly illuminating. Enjoy!

I Am the News

E! News is garbage. I mean, straight up, unwatchable trash. But occasionally, it is playing on my television. And I see it, and I hear it, and I am enthralled by it. How is this a show? How is this news?! They call it news! News is in the damn title of the show! Every “story” is inane. Most of it just comes from looking at celebrities’ Instagrams. We can all just follow their Instagrams! That’s what Instagrams are for. For following.

I was pondering this recently, and I tweeted “I wonder if E! News has a “Spotlight” team”.

Two days later, on Friday the 8th, I had a meeting. I was wandering around, looking for the people I was supposed to meet, and I accidentally went into this weird back room of the restaurant. A tall, tall woman was walking towards me, and because of my girlfriend’s prediliction for all things “Dash”, I immediately recognized it was Kendall Jenner.

“Heh”, I thought, that’s a darn good sighting. Can’t wait to boast about this when I get home (my usual boasts are usually about ping pong).

Right behind Kendall was a dirty looking guy. Looked like he hadn’t showered in days. With long hair and oddly, overly buff. Like, the kind of guy that shouldn’t be buff, but for some reason is. And because of the proximity to Kendall, I knew it was that bloke from “One Direction” (been watching a lot of British shows lately. Still figuring out how to work “me Granny” in a sentence).

So I’m standing there, trying to find my meeting, and just hanging next to Kendall and Harry Styles for about ten seconds. I realized I was in the wrong place, and possibly a groupie and it was time to go back to the other room. But they were leaving too. So they start walking, then I start walking, and I start imagining scenarios where my girlfriend doesn’t believe this sighting. So I did what any good paparazzi/weirdo/stalker would do, I pretended to text while taking a couple pictures of them.

I had my meeting. Then I headed home. Then I looked at the pictures and realized I am naturally talented at so many things! It’s not just ping pong, folks. No sir. I could go pro in paparrazo. Cause in one of the shots Kendall sorta turned around and there’s a mirror, it’s just gorgeous imagery. I’m Irwin Leibovitz. Since you could actually tell who it was, and because normally the only cool photos I have are of Mr. Peach, I put the picture on Instagram.

Ugh! These fuckers crashed my lunch again #kendalljenner #harrystyles #Hendallstein

A photo posted by @irwinhandleman on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:57pm PDT


About ten minutes later, my attention starved self wondered, “I wonder if anyone has liked it yet?!” I went back on Instagram and… nothing. BUT, there was something, it was just delayed, because over a hundred people had already liked it! Keep in mind, my most liked photo before this was three for a filtered shot of a delicious pork loin I once cooked. So this was big!

And the flood just kept coming. Likes and comments. I had forgotten that Kendall was supposedly seeing Jordan Clarkson now. Or that there was any question about who was dating who. In short, I had no idea that I had stumbled upon E! News’ wet dream. And that my tweet had become prophecy.  Because…

I AM the E! News Spotlight Team!

I also didn’t realize another thing: people can just steal your shit! My picture started popping up everywhere, with others taking credit for it! It was on People under someone else’s Instagram. And about a thousand other places, including Perez and whatever the fuck Celebuzz and Popsugar are.

US Weekly contacted me. A bunch of British sites/magazines contacted me. And guess who else did?

E! Motherfucking News.

But I gave them nothing. Because I have a responsibility to you guys. My long suffering fans. Everyone wanted this story, and you got it. An exclusive! I’m your Cronkite.


I’ll Take a Cord, Please

I recently moved. That’s right, Handleman Headquarters is no longer in Hermosa Beach. I have no idea how Zane’s, Fritto Misto, or Vons will stay in business. But I can’t worry about them. They have to make their own way. And let me tell you something, I’m not gonna miss Lev the angry Vons checkout guy at all.

In moving, I attempted to transfer my Direct TV from my old place to my new place. Seems like that would be easy enough. Well, nothing is easy when you’re dealing with Jamal in the Movers Division of Direct TV.

Let’s just say, this turned into a complete cluster fuck, in which I spent approximately 17 hours listening to their hold music. I had to wait days, weeks even, before it was setup. But I tried to console myself with this thought:

This is actually a good thing because now I can see what this whole “cord cutters” thing is all about.

I see you hipsters. With your VCR’s and vinyl and annoying dogs and coffee and shit. You seem stupid to me, but maybe there’s something I’m missing. I heard not having cable is actually pretty awesome. You just stream stuff! Everything is online now so why pay outrageous sums to have it bundled with a bunch of crap you don’t want?

When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Here’s the problem: I want all that crap!

My experiment in cord cutting has been an unmitigated disaster. I hate it. I hate it more than I hate Lev the angry Vons checkout guy. And I really didn’t like that dude – I’d go in a longer line behind old ladies who don’t know how to work the ATM thingy just to avoid him!

The thing about my TV viewing is that I’m not an active participant in it. I come home, I turn on the TV, and then I look at the internet. Did you notice what was missing there? It was the part between “turn on the TV” and the next part. What I don’t do is specifically think about watching something. I’m not trying to binge watch every God Damn show every time I watch TV. I just want the noise. I just want the company. I just want the news! I just want to feel like I’m connected with the outside world. I’m a shut in with an eye still on the idiots outside my walls.

Having the cord cut makes me feel isolated. It’s way too much work. It’s like another job. “Oh, let me go to the Hulu app, and let me look through the ‘based on what you recently watched’ list…FUCK THAT. You turn on the TV and IT IS ON. There’s nothing more that needs to be done. It’s on and it’s existing and it pleases me. And then guess what? Other stuff is on at the very same time! And I hit a button and I see all of it and if it seems interesting I go to it and if it doesn’t, I don’t. I don’t want to choose which Friends episode I watch, I want TBS to do it for me.

Maybe this works for people who just want to come home with a good book and then intentionally watch every episode of Breaking Bad. That’s fine. Enjoy your quiet, dumb life with all of your outside interests. But I don’t intentionally watch anything. I love the accident of it all. Holy shit, Dawson’s Creek is now on the Pop Channel!!! What the hell is the Pop Channel? Who fucking cares Pacey’s about to kiss Joey!

I would never intentionally watch that, but stumbling upon it just makes the day a little better. And that little bit of sunshine was delivered by a cord. Thanks, cord. And fuck you, Jamal.

For Friends-Heads Only

I both love and hate that term – “head”, meaning a big fan of something. “I’m a total Potterhead, bro. Ron Weasley’s my dude”. It gives me the willies but also makes me smile because of its awfulness.

Anyway, you know I’m the biggest Friends-head on the block. And I just played the greatest Friends related Sporcle quiz ever created. I completed it on my third try, and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of myself. Seriously, this accomplishment goes right below that time I hit 2 three pointers while playing with only 1 contact lens, and right above completing Goldeneye on N64.

Challenge extended…