yesterday i had my second job interview. unlike the first, this was in person.
even though i generally feel comfortable talking with people, i don’t like wearing a suit (because I think it’s a lie), and i would feel very awkward being forced to bad mouth any of my previous experiences. everywhere ive worked, people are just trying to make the best decisions given the options in front of them.
so driving over there i was like an hour and a half early. i walked around an old Staples store which had the worst energy. the two dudes working behind the counter were slow and had difficulty keeping eye contact with who they were speaking to. many of the shelves were either empty or lacking.
maybe this happens to everyone, but if i skip breakfast and eat a late lunch i will get super sleepy.
as you know ive been up all night on the project (RIP), id take amber to work at like 5am and then id get home and read the paper, dick around on the computer and go to bed around noon. that would eventually turn into 2pm. it was terrible because amber would get home and i would still be asleep. we werent able to spend any time together because i was the opposite of her.
so i remembered about my weird no breakfast sleepy thing. so what i did yesterday when i woke up at 8pm (!!!!) was i didnt eat right away. i waited until midnight. i ate, got sleepy and immediately jumped in bed — and it worked i fell asleep. little did i know amber would wake up at 4:20am, which would wake me up, but fine. maybe now my body thinks that i should wake at 4:20am now, which i could totally live with.
so now its 7:30am she is back to sleep. she wants to do yoga at 8. i want to walk up to griffith park and be one with the butterflies.
and with that i give you a selfie that Colin Powell took 65 years ago.
was college the best years of my life? in a lot of ways yes.
in part because the entire experience was eye opening and mind blowing. and if i had kids i would want them to learn
all the great lessons i learned through that process.
like these sons and daughters of hollywood stars and ceos, when i was 17 i hadn’t accumulated the greatest grades. which was stupid, in retrospect, because i always knew i was going to go to college. but when it came time to work hard in high school i was unmotivated to say the least.
in part, probably, because if i did well, i got separated from my stoner friends who were in the normal classes, and i got placed in honors classes with people i didn’t want to be associated with.
and if i did poorly everyone would get on my case saying “but you test SO WELL.” i just avoided the whole deal.
the one place i wasn’t punished for doing well was in sports and in marching band and the one year i was in drum line we won best in state. i waited for something terrible to happen but it didnt. and i moved to california.
once here i enrolled in junior college. santa monica college was actually where it all turned around for me scholastically and i wish all of these well-intentioned wealthy parents would have just asked me, because i would have told them: just let your princess go to JC for a few years, fuck what your judgemental friends think (they aint yo friends, gurl!) – what she will learn there she will carry with her her whole life.
the red tape involved in getting classes, dropping classes, applying for financial aid, being rejected from financial aid, attaining residency, fighting for that one extra B because a C+ will keep you from transferring on time, failing at getting that decisive grade changed, the tears in the library only to be comforted by JD Salinger’s nine stories in the library – literally changed my life.
it turned me from a half assed teenager into an adult. and isnt that what we hope happens from 18-20? dont we want our kids to learn things experientially so that it lasts with them forever?
any time i fight for my right to do anything, it is because i learned how to stand up for myself at SMC, in papers, in paperwork, in rental agreements, at work. blink 182 says nobody likes you when youre 23. but try being pimply faced and 19 trying to get your boss to give you a raise from $4 an hour to $5 and being told no. those are the lessons that we need as kids. take us to the river, drop us in the water.
college isnt just about dorm life and cramming for finals, its about getting there, staying there, and falling in love with one new thing after another. and then having those things break your heart.
i was thisclose to getting into ucsb a year before it even happened. all i needed was to get a B- in history and the teacher gave me a C+. she wouldnt budge because she said i was a terrible writer and i would never make it at ucsb until i learned how to put a sentence together.
i asked why havent any of my english teachers told me this? and she said, if you’re on the borderline of being accepted into UCSB as a transfer student maybe they have been – how many As have they given you? none. how many Bs have they given you? very few. so there you have it. learn to write this summer and come back to my class and i will help you next year.
at the time i was selling tvs on commission at a crazy electronic store that also changed my life. one thing it taught me is if you want something, work hard, and if you’re on commission you’ll get it faster than if youre just working for a few bucks an hour. learn how to sell that big tv or that expensive stereo system and you’ll make more in a day than you could in a week.
so i told myself i was going to be in the top 5 of salesmen that month and the next, (each time you were in the top 5 youd get a $500 bonus). and with that $1k id buy a ticket to europe, drink where hemingway drank, kiss pretty girls and never stop reading and writing.
im still not the greatest writer, but it doesnt matter. i improved. which is the point. these are the experiences that make a person.
their own experiences. the ups and the downs.
especially the downs.
there is nothing i like better than throwing money at problems, dont get me wrong.
but getting into college and being in college and living that life
Shadows are falling and I been here all day It’s too hot to sleep and time is running away Feel like my soul has turned into steel I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t let me heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
Well my sense of humanity is going down the drain Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind She put down in writin’ what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
Well I been to London and I been to gay Paree I followed the river and I got to the sea I’ve been down to the bottom of a whirlpool of lies I ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
I was born here and I’ll die here, against my will I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m standin’ still Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
ive been staying up, driving amber to work, driving home, reading the internet, reading the bible, listening to michelle obamas reading her book to me, petting the cats, eating oatmeal, not watching tv (!), talking to my mom
thanks to daylight savings time its 130am right now and i wanna take a walk. but my neighborhood isn’t really the kind that you just stroll in on a crisp night. you can. you could. i could. i have. but if something went down, lets just say no one would be surprised. havent we had enough surprises?
when i saw this picture of david bowie i realized i would have to dust off my business suit. it means business! it’s hilarious the dance we do to get a girlfriend a job entrance into a college a car loan an apartment. we wear clothes we know we wont wear in the office, we answer questions they probably will never ask again. i may even have to bring a briefcase of my work because who knows how difficult it will be to hook up your mac to their system? paper it is.
and dance it is. we dance when we dont want to all the time. 8th grade dance. prom. weddings when youre a kid. night clubs. of all the times ive danced id say only a few of the times i really wanted to. the end of the 8th grade dance (i was the dj), a few of my friends’ weddings, a handful of concerts, the kitchen with amber, vegas with amber, waiting for tacos with amber.
when i worked at mcdonalds this kid broke down the large cups cardboard boxes and laid them out in the parking lot. he started breakdancing. i think about that a lot. i should have learned from him.
doing the project i was up all night and i havent been able to revert to a normal schedule which is not good because theres a long legged girl in my bed right now at 257am who wants me in there but im wide awake wishing there was a ball game on.
a friend of mine who works at this fancy place said she would put my resume on the right persons desk. she suggests i go on unemployment.
but i was a contractor at the end.
she said, youre over 40 and black. thats two protected classes.
i said did you not hear me i stepped down to do this project. i knew the risk i was taking. i wanted to do this thing. all my life i tell people to ask for what they want and dont freak out when they get it. i got it. why should i break any rules?
she said, you have nothing to lose, they might approve it
i said, i dont want to be on unemployment. i wanna do cool shit. life is short. i was on unemployment for way too long before i got picked up by the academy. it was never fun for me. i could never relax. i was always feeling depressed. a loser. i know the economy was bad, but i felt totally useless. the fact that i got The Best job out of that is great, but getting there was arduous. never again good friend. #bars
then she said disability then. and she texted me a link to all the things you can file for disability for. theres a disability for everything she typed.
i said, do you know the cubs won the world series? they won it after a rain delay in game 7 on the road in extra innings. and im not saying that the good people of cleveland arent deserving, but i have Always tried to be an honest, hardworking, genuine person. someone you could trust. they say look at someones friends to see who they are. all my friends are trustworthy. why would i want to be the friend who is on fake disability. at the college paper where we became friends it was like a competition to see who could write the better story poem song news article rock opera. not who could be the dirtiest liar. why use our energies on such a small game? if im gonna tell a lie i want to do it in a novel that sells for a ton more than a damn disability check.
she said, you should also stop blogging and stay off social media.
i said WE ARE TALKING ON FACEBOOK MESSENGER RIGHT NOW!
she said do you know how many rich guys i know and hang out and work with and work for. how do you think they got what they got?
i typed, right now im looking at my living room tv. under it are some old dvds an old broken desktop computer. a weird lamp. a broken Roku, a PS2. some autographed balls from people i know. i can look at all of those things and know i earned the money fair and square to buy them. i didnt cheat anyone. i didnt lie. i did the work earned the money bought the crap.
i could never enjoy looking at a tv that i had to lie to buy. i dont know how these politicians who take money from wicked sources actually walk into their mcmansions and sleep right. it would give me nightmares. in free solo that climber got an mri and it showed that he has no fear in his head. these dudes must have no conscious in there. mine is enlarged. and im glad. midwest represent.
she didnt reply. it was late and either she passed out or was bored.
then she came back on. what did any of that have to do with the cubs and game 7?
i said, oh. they barely won because of karma. we had slightly more than the other guys. i would never want to fuck up the karma for the cubs or my friends by doing shady shit. lets make good magic. lets lead by example. lets be the cool story people tell each other not oh that fool yeah he sucks.
my favorite movies are rock documentaries and either its someone doing something fucked up to the band or the band doing fucked up things to themselves. just be cool.
then she sent me the thumbs up sticker and i went straight to twitter against her advice. sorry.
some people are so paranoid about days like today that they do things that theyd never do. some dont care. and some are like me: they feel every emotion across the scale, up down and sideways.
but since nothing in here is true heres what i will say. the xbi knew before i did. they messaged me on FB on like saturday. pretty much hey u up?
which is unusual because usually they ESP, but i guess they wanted to make it formal. i can’t believe they even find me of any interest. im so out of shape. is there a new project they want me for? also they know im not super desperate right now, what gives? so that was mildly creepy that they knew, but good for them. they’re supposed to know the future. thats their job. me, i was in denial.
but i was also working. day and night. id watch movies for work all night. id sleep late but as soon as i woke i was on the phone or writing or editing or doing something. my head wasnt right. i was feeling a disturbance in the force early. it threw me off. i need cheerleaders in my life to balance the demons in the old noggin. cuz if you think im a creative SOB you oughtta hear the voices in my head, and their accents! so its always good to have a radio on or a tv or a window cracked or a girl dancing on the table, anything other than turning on to FM YOURE GONNA DIE.
the worst part is telling your mom. cuz she worries. and shes retired. and she has enough problems with my sister and her family and the weather and so you tell her its gonna be ok but she wants Answers and whats the answer. the answer is springsteens atlantic city: everything dies, baby thats a fact, and maybe everything that dies, some day comes back, put your make up on, fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in atlantic city.
thats the only song im gonna let play in my head. not everyone elses dooms day serenade. not beautiful lies or anger or hurt or sorry. im gonna just look around and see what there is to see. if i am too old for this thing, then i need to look in a different place for a new thing. if no one likes my brilliant ideas then maybe i can drive that benz 17 hours a day.
i live in the coolest, second biggest city in the us of a. if i cant make it here im not trying. and not only do i gotta try but i got a pretty girl whose nervous, i got two cats that gotta eat, and i made this bed ive gotta turn it into a water bed now.
and heres the thing. ive been in far far far worse situations than this, and what i just did for the last 5 years is some of the best things ive done ever. except for npr i have a perfect record. sparkling. did everyone love me? did everyone love prince? did everyone love sinatra? i heard tell that when mr pilate asked the crowd if they should kill jesus or kill an actual criminal the entire crowd said kill jesus, the guy who fed them and cured all their sick homies. so aint no way any of us is gonna get a perfect rotten tomato score in life.
but i say try to be good everyone. from the guy who delivers the mail to the guy who protects you on the first floor to the people on every floor and inbetween and in the garage and on the red carpet and in the comments. love them. you have reason to love them too. love them. love them all. love them the way you would want to be loved. love them forever and always. if you cant find a place to start loving, start with the eyes and work your way to the heart. know that people celebrated when they were born and cleaned them and fed them and drove em to school. and now youre trying to continue that love.
and if you dont get this or that or the other, good. we get what we are ready for. i was ready for this. i was ready for that. and thats why i did well. so the question is, am i ready for atlantic city?
For a guy who used to go to the corner of Hollywood & Highland on Oscar Sunday to try to snap a glimpse of the red carpet, you can imagine the thrill of ending up getting an All Access pass for several years to document it on Instagram and Snapchat.
The rest of the year I covered our events; interviewed members; shone a light on the incredible archive, library, and forthcoming museum. And of course posted content on all our social channels.
But best of all I got to work with some of the smartest and talented people you could meet. Seriously. I learned so much from them from so many aspects of the history of cinema to what works (and doesn’t work) when building online communities.
Shout out to Josh Spector who hired me and gave me the freedom to post 3-4 times a day pretty much anything I wanted. He also set up a department that had creative graphic designers, an amazing video team led by the super cool Ryan Velásquez, and an IT dev team.
So when you see on my resume that our Instagram followers increased by over 4,000% during my 5 years it wasn’t just because I was posting pics of McLovin. It was a team effort in every way.
For a while I sat next to Nathaniel Thompson. At a place like AMPAS there are movie buffs, true geniuses of film. Nate not only knew his movies but also music, tv, and how to write about it quickly and cleanly. When I posted the Genie you’re free, it was after brainstorming a little with Nate and following the general instruction of Josh to try to start using movie quotes with a still from the film. It ended up reaching over 68 million people. My mom saw it on Good Morning America. I got emails of congratulations from the executive floor but it was a team effort – like all hits are.
Speaking of my mom, taking her to the Oscars was one of the best things in my whole life and I’m so grateful to the Academy for being generous to their employees with tickets. Pretty much the best perk a job could give.
The last year i was in the office I sat next to Rosalyn Hummel, another freaking brainiac and bookworm who just happens to know everything about the history of US presidents and presidential libraries (!?).
I’m grateful that I got to work with Matt Severson, and Anne Coco and everyone at the library. And I’ll never forget setting nitrate film on fire with May Hong Haduong.
This job was the longest one I’ve ever had. My third day George Lucas said hi to me. And as cool as that was it was just as cool talking with Joe Rendon and watching Lauren C Selman create magic.
I have no idea what’s next for me, but this one will be hard to top.
for the last five months ive been grinding. barely a day off. barely a night where amber doesnt fall asleep and i stay up all night in the living room working on the project.
even on sundays which is against the bible but i had little choice. i promise you, i didnt
and now the first part, the hard part, the big part is over.
i feel like how contractors must feel after theyve dug the foundation and put up the bones of a building and now its gotta get this and that and the other thing on it before the paint and the shrubbery shows up.
is it good all by itself right now? no. is it bigger and better than i expected it to be? yes. people cooperated. i was allowed space. and time. and resources. and for all of that i am eternally grateful.
there were hard parts for sure. i didnt know a lot going into it. i didnt know who could help me, if they would help me, or what they were talking about at first. i didnt ask the best questions in the beginning. i fancy myself a good interviewer. i was not good until the end. i am good now.
so many have said i should have a podcast. now i believe them. but only now. only now do i know how to get the other person to the root of the issue. all the jibber jabber is fine but the root is where its at questlove.
yesterday i was so excited that i didnt go to sleep until 10am, and i woke up at 6 when amber came home. she has not enjoyed this period of my life. i have snapped at her. i was emotional. i was not myself. i apologize. she wants me to take a walk around the block, and by block she means arizona. why dont you got to spring training for a few days she asks. shake the cobwebs out of your head.
and i would love to but i dont know when the next step is going to happen and when i am needed. theres other things i could do but i have not heard. and thats ok. but here it is 119pm and i havent gone to bed yet. last night i went to bed at 1030pm but im like a baby i cant sleep through the night. the night time is when my head is ready to rock, i woke up at 2am and i havent gone back to sleep yet.
i want to. i may. if there was wine in this house i would drink a glass. but this is a straight edge home. its warm outside but i have a headache from lack of sleep. ive been doing laundry a lot. watching so much youtube. learning and learning. i miss the outside. i love the outside.