a long time ago i dated a wonderful young woman whos bff was busy philipps’ bff and in 2005 i interviewed her on my short lived podcast and she was a delight.
so needless to say, i have been rooting for her.
her book is really good you guys. she tells it all. perfectly. and if you get the audio book she reads it and it just flows.
i listen to a lot of “books on tape” because im a busy gentleman and im in my car a lot and even with all the channels that Sirius delivers, often i just want to hear someone reading a book to me.
i prefer the ones where the author reads it themselves but sometimes those are bad too because the author isn’t great at reading.
busy being a longtime actress is fantastic at reading and it’s her life and so it should be great. but on top of that she has weirdly interesting tales to tell about her rise to fame and the struggles she had getting there.
for example did you know that she wrote the concept for Blades of Glory, the comedy starring Will Ferrel and Jon Hader? i didnt either. and the reason we dont know about it is a very sad story that she describes perfectly right down to someone telling her that no one cares who the writer is… and how that plays out at the hollywood premiere.
there were some tragic moments, some happy moments, and even if you watch her Instagram story every day like i do, there was one surprise about her relationship with her husband that i for sure didnt see coming. mama mia.
but best of all are her impersonations. when she reads the quotes of her mom, michelle williams, and her other bff Emily BB, they are hilarious and perfect. especially how softly she delivers michelle and Emily’s words.
the release of her book came at the perfect time because she just taped her new talk show for E! yesterday and maybe im not her demographic but i wasnt crazy about the first episode, but i am for sure crazy about the book because it is a very good look at the inside of hollywood from a person who is super honest and has done big things on tv and film and was right there for some really interesting moments.
i wish busy all the luck on the tv show. i will continue to watch it and im sure it will get better. first shows rarely tell you what it will look like in the future. i clearly remember not being gaga over the first shows of Trevor Noah or Colbert’s Late Show and now i cant get enough of them. so maybe it’s me.
anyway, if i ever do a podcast again i would love to interview her because the book had me asking lots of questions that didn’t really seem resolved.
i got a twitter direct message from a young lady who said she wanted to meet me.
that’s nothing new. look how handsome and successful i am!
she said she had been reading the busblog since 2003, was friends with Moxie, and wanted to make an authentic Indian dinner for Amber and I and then tell us a great story.
apparently somewhere i said online that i liked to hear great stories. (which is true)
the problem is all of that could have been lies. anyone can say theyre friends with anyone. who knows.
meanwhile i am meeting more than my fair share of strangers on my secret project and one weird little quirk about me: i don’t like plans, planning, or having to be somewhere at a certain time and place. i would much rather someone be spontaneous with me and say yo tony tomorrow we’re gonna blah blah blah come over.
but truth be told id probably figure out a way to avoid that too because deep down im a very shy person who wants to move to central oregon and live on a farm and raise weed that i can sell and give the profits to orphans and invest in half way houses for drunks and drug addicts.
but somewhere i read someone saying that she was going to start saying yes to things. and i thought that was an interesting approach at life. i know how frustrating it is to have a well of brilliant ideas and have one person after another say no to me for a variety of reasons.
so i said yes to this internet stranger who i had never met and amber said are you crazy, theyre going to kill you and bury your remains in the backyard like they did with that wall street journal guy.
i said, i have never said anything bad about the saudi royal family! she said yes but you regularily berate trump and moxie is a republican which means this young lady is probably republican too which means theyre digging a hole right now for you and they’ll torture you too if you go there.
so she was out. plus she was feeling sick.
i Googled “what wine goes well with Indian food?” i went to the store, bought two bottles and drove to the address. (Google said white!) on the way i called my mom who said “ive raised a fool. text me when this is over so i know youre not dead.”
got to the house and weirdly it was about three blocks from the Academy in beverly hills, on a street that i had walked maybe 100 times on my way to my favorite chinese joint. the house was colorful and beautiful. i was introduced to her soft spoken brother, his beautiful wife, and their youngest son, a teenager attending beverly hills high school. i couldn’t have found a nicer family to be murdered by.
he offered me an IPA and i accepted. would it be poisoned?
earlier i had told my mom that if things had worked out differently i would have been a monk or a priest and one of the things youre supposed to do is eat, when invited, at the homes of the parishioners. and they are supposed to invite you over since you are penniless. of course i said this on blue tooth through the most expensive iphone apple has ever made while in a mercedes benz. but still the principal remained: in life we should ask for the things that we want, and if someone asks something of us, we should do our best to say yes.
especially if there’s nothing in it for us.
im not a monk. i can pay for my own meal. i can find plenty of people to break bread with. why do it with strangers? simple: they asked.
her name was Sunana, but because i had never met her i didnt know how to pronounce it. on the way over i practiced: sun-anna? sue-nana? Google was no help. neither was Siri. but fortunately through conversation i heard her sister say it and i was in the clear.
both her brother and sister in law are doctors and the teen wants to be one too. Sunana is a fantastic cook and the only republican of the bunch. but everyone loved her for good reason. she is very sweet and brought me there not for evil, but to see if i could help her brother.
help? thats what a monk loves to do most of all!
because everyone was so smart the conversation went from sports to politics to medicine to education to LA to the midwest (they’re all midwesterners) to my secret project and finally to how i could help.
i heard the fascinating story. i agreed to help. i gave them three names. but later i decided to reach out to a fourth and a fifth. we chatted for maybe four hours. Sunana sent me home with a tupperwear of three of the dishes we had eaten and i have to tell you
i loved every second of it.
it was a warm, beautiful home, inhabited by warm beautiful people who have spent their lives serving strangers via garnering as much education that they could collect. her brother is a cancer researcher, for goodness sake, which i always considered a lost cause because lets get real, how many times have we heard of someone getting cancer and it kills them? but unlike me, bro is no quitter. he sees challenges and accepts them. he is met with a problem and says ok how do we fix this? which is what i am all about too. (sometimes) (rarely)
one of the funniest moments was when he mentioned the bible and Jesus and i said “oh so you are Christians?” and the ladies said. “no we are Hindu, this is the first we’ve heard him mention Jesus!”
when the Cubs won the World Series two Octobers ago a few things happened to me and a few of my friends. one of them was we had to re-evaluate our life goals. little had we known but having the Cubs win was our #1 goal. even though we couldn’t really do anything about it. and once they won, and the immediate euphoria had passed, some of us felt confused and a bit depressed and rudderless.
me, i started not giving a crap about anything else. wanna kill me and bury me in your backyard? who cares, we won the World Series.
but the good news about not giving a crap is you are free.
whatever this new chapter is about, is truly new and truly unique because it is not anchored to anything else.
the more creative you are the less likely you are to be understood
the more ambitious you are, the more likely someone will want to stop you
people will not call back. people will not write back. people will be people.
read the Bible, they even acted this way to the guy who restored sight to the blind.
it’s ok. it’s supposed to be hard.
and you will break through.
and it will be harder
and you will get through that one. and again and again.
when we are kids we fall and bounce back. we do it so much we dont even notice. and when we cry our parents who know better say hush now. shhhhh.
whenever i think about winning the lottery it feels like a lot of work: how do you stop people from begging for some cash, what do you do about All the poor? what do you do about buying every pre-1984 Corvette model they made?
how do you buy the Cubs?
i dont worry about those things, being poor. in fact my worries seem minuscule in comparison.
for example, if one is a billionaire can one just stroll on a beach in a country known for kidnapping rich people? no. if one is a billionaire and one sees an empty sky scrapper, can one just pass it by without thinking “how can i just fill this place up with homeless people and call it a day?”
can a billionaire go to Guitar Center and leave without buying a piano, 10 guitars, 2 drum sets, a gong and a marimba? and then lessons. and then a smoke machine? and then that disco floor from The Jerk?
how many bodyguards should a modern billionaire have? how many guns? how many houses? how many top hats? how many bowling alleys? how many dive bars? how many farms?
the good book says its easier for a rich man to get through the eye of a needle than to get into heaven. how many good books does a rich man read? hopefully more than a working man because a rich man has more time? no?
life is meant to be lived and a lived life isnt easy.
if it was the aliens would vacation here more often.
it’s never the big burly boss at the end of a level that you have to beat that makes you lose all your guys
it’s the minutiae, the little turtles popping up along your journey, the quick spiders that fall on you, the little bits of lava that you don’t pay that much attention to as you run and jump and swing
PAY ATTENTION TO THE LAVA
video games are trying so hard to teach us how life is and we are always trying to stop kids from playing them. it’s crazy.
no, junior, you cannot play this game on the easy level forever. at some point you need to up the ante. you have to learn new tricks, you have to read the book that came with it AND the books that outsiders wrote. and yes, virginia, in order to win at video games, as with life you have to try new things, alllllll the time.
will you die trying them? yes. but you will also die not trying them.
video games teaches us so much about death. way more than war movies or the bible or classic paintings. if you play Donkey Kong, for example, the average game lasts less than 3 minutes. so basically you are dying once every minute.
even when you “win” at Donkey Kong (level 22), you don’t win, you die 7 seconds into the level because of “an integer overflow in its time/bonus. The game takes the level number a user is on, multiplies it by 10 and adds 40. When you reach level 22, the time/bonus number is 260, which is too large for its 8-bit 256 value register, so it resets itself to 0 and gives the remaining 4 as the time/bonus – which too short to finish the level.”
just like Life, when you have accomplished all the things you have been told you have to achieve, they still figure out a way to kill you.
a valuable lesson that life if fleeting. die with your boots on. and life is about the journey not the destination.
it’s never the hard things that are hard. it’s the getting there.
let me drive into the desert after a close Bears game
lets stop off at Trader Joes for everything that’ll fit in a mini fridge.
it’s almost 5pm? maybe we can get into a 5pm mass after we check in.
because amber works where she does and its connected to this resort, we only have to pay a fraction of the downright reasonable $400 a night stay in whats called a Starlight Castilla.
it’s called that because it’s everything a regular room gets you, plus you have your own staircase that leads to a private outdoor deck that includes a cool couch and even cooler outdoor fireplace.
inside the room is plush, a second fireplace is next to the tv. french windows, carpet, flat screen tv, tile bathroom with a separate shower and bath tub.
outside there are 41 pools and 41 hot tubs. some bigger than others. each just a little stroll away, so lets say a beautiful young woman with tattoos and a frosty margarita slides into your late night dip, you can escape to a nearby empty hot tub because it’s Sunday, not Sinday, Becky.
there are many magical things about the desert. the heat is calming, the wind plays with the fronds of the palm trees, the sky is unblemished blue and then black at night. the stars come out one after another to say happy birthday.
even the lobby of the La Quina Resort smells otherworldly yet somehow familiar. we heard bad things about the mexican restaurant and since neither of us were interested in $20 drinks, we drove and drove towards Palm Springs proper looking for dinner.
thai? maybe, but we live in Thai Town, Chinese? maybe. italian? sure. and as we were at one of the super long stop lights i turned to amber and said, i could go for anything, even a Red Lobster.
we laughed. she put Red Lobster into Waze and it was a block away. so we went for it. endless shrimp? endless yes!
amber is like me, down for pretty much whatever. especially if it is cheesy and probably not the things you “should” do on you 199th birthday. we ate four different kinds of shrimp (regular was the best), devoured those biscuits, ordered sides of broccoli and mashed potatoes, drank pop like kids and ducked out before they could surprise me with a desert and a song.
amber: but but
me: xbi can’t have his spot blown up like that
drove home, the hotel had delivered a nice box of chocolate covered pretzels. the hot tubs were used. the deck was used. the fireplace was turned on and janes addiction’s three days oozed from my wireless speaker. we fell asleep to the grateful dead. gratefully.
in the morning we packed and said hi to Coachella, which was surprisingly open, so amber rolled around in the grass and told me the sad tale of when she was last there.
we drove down the freeway back to LA but were starving and i saw these billboards for a vegas style buffet at a nearby casino.
almost went to in n out but amber loves salad and the good thing about buffets are their salad bars.
first we stopped off at the dinosaurs from Pee Wees Big Adventure and went into the brontosaurus gift shop and got some gifts.
then at the casino we met a woman with a tiara that said “it’s my birthday!” i approached her and her daughters (?) and said it’s MY birthday! they said, “she’s 90 today!” i said but IM 90 today!
we took a picture. she was so tiny it was awesome and she did not look 90 at all. so full of life. such a good sign. proof that one should hang out more in casinos. i mean in the desert. i mean with loved ones.
she taught me early on not to be afraid of strangers.
when i was little she used to say, “say thank you to that man.” or “i better hear you say ‘Excuse me’ to that lady you just bumped in to.”
these last few weeks i have been talking to strangers which might be my favorite thing of all. i am completely fascinated with people’s stories, how they became who they are.
but i also love to hear them talk. like what words they use. what details they find interesting in a story. and best of all, what they try to hide from me.
i am always surprised. i try to be honest with them. my car license plate says XBI, which most people know means that we can read your mind or know when you’re lying. even if youre wearing sunglasses. even if youre french. naturally everyone lies, but sometimes you’re sitting there and you wonder, why are they bullshitting me on this? no one cares about this. why this?
i once had a supervisor, when i was young and asked this. he said the best thing. “when you listen to hard rock, particularily a guitar solo, theres all this distortion all around the notes. thats what these little lies are. atmosphere. flourish. a frame. don’t let it throw you.”
i know people are scared. i know trust is a bitch for a lot of people. im sure i would be freaked out by the world a lot more if i didnt have super powers. but isnt that what religion is supposed to do for people? isn’t that what experience is supposed to bring you: trust that a + b = c?
and yet the people who exhibit trust the most when i talk to them are kids. the ones who have zero experience, zero power, zero reason to believe. yet they do. with me at least.
this week i have talked with a lot of interesting people. yesterday for four hours on venice beach as pretty girls and freaks paraded past us. i will be forever grateful of the experiences that i have had and i will continue to use that to fight evil and reflect goodness.
and the best way i can do that is to never bullshit you. ever. even when the going gets tough.
the good book does not promise that it will get better
ive been reading Job, who was truly blameless and still he got warts all over his body and face, his family died, his crops withered and his animals were stolen and when he asked his friends wtf is happening why does God hate me
what have i done?
his friends answered with maybe you fucked up, maybe you are whining too much right now, maybe you shouldnt question things
when all along Job had every right to question and fret and be sad with his boils on his face and back and nose and balls and trust me, everywhere
maybe in the whole wide world Job was the one person who had the right to say, i used to be God’s favorite and now im enemy number one, yet i was exactly the same Job as before.
i love the bible because it confirms that life is the craziest bowl of WTF of all.
you will run into people who do not always keep it real.
and the assumption is you are at a disadvantage.
because say you’re playing poker and they are holding some extra cards in their lap
arent you going to “lose” if you play by the rules, honestly?
yes, but life is not poker. and people who do not keep it real should be respected right alongside people like you who are doing your best to be open and honest and transparent and idealistic and creative and brave.
eventually what will happen is you will help them out of their defensive stance of occasional bullshit. but it can only happen if you do not fall for bad practices or get distracted.
i once dated a girl who lied all the time and i was like baby what? and she was all what do you mean what. and i said im gonna tell you what, i know that this is the game people play most of the time, but that game is old and dumb and it leads to half of marriages ending in divorce and everyone cheating and kids growing up screwed up. this is just you and me. lets do it the right way. lets trust each other and talk to each other and if you feel the urge to fucking lie like a little kid then fight that urge and just omg talk to me about it and see what happens.
and she instantly cheated on me and i cheated on her right back and we both felt terrible about it and broke up.
but then years later she said i dont lie any more. because of you. i dont cheat on anyone. because of you. no one else taught me these things and i am so much better for it now.
if it is a game, the game is long and the ones who “win” are the brave who excel at the fundamentals: trust, honest communication, and the desire for all of the parties to collect as many points as possible.