busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Tuesday, April 2, 2019

    i had a good day, praise God 

    i dont know how much free will we have. but heres my guess.

    when i was a kid they had electric slot cars that you could get from the sears catalogue for like $50-$60

    which was a lot of money in those days. a house cost a nickel.

    the thing about these slot cars were you could go fast but if you took it too hard around the corners they would fly off into the dining room and you had to go get em and put em back

    i think God sees us fly off sometimes and he’ll put us back when he sees fit

    or maybe not at all if he’s tired with your triflin ass.

    for a week i was nervous about today and i thought i was gonna spiral off in a way

    that would have me inconvenienced, lets say, for the rest of the year.

    but that wasnt the case at all.

    my weird little whip around the corner was fun, oddly.

    and afterwards i picked up the pretty girl. drove her home.

    she wanted to work on this thing shes doing. so i went back to burbank

    and watched Dumbo in iMax and it was good.

    so thank you Lord!

  2. Monday, April 1, 2019

    took amber to see “the beach bum” last night 

    she hadn’t seen any of Harmony Korine’s films (Gummo, Spring Breakers, Julien Donkey Boy) but i had and loved him.

    i love how free his characters are, how complicated he makes them. equal parts disgusting and wild, selfish and unconscious. do they have feelings? do feelings limit us? are morals important? should we push tuba players into the sea? should we kill cats and sell them to the grocer? is drinking and driving bad?

    he pushes all the buttons about sex drugs and rock in this one. friendship. marriage. even crossdressing. it’s a wild journey through the vessel of oscar winner matthew mcconaughey who goes through ups and downs, but the low points dont effect them the same way it would you and i. which is inspirational to a point, but unbelievable. this is a man who can be homeless, live among the poorest, and then ride in a giant yacht with snoop dogg and have exactly the same experiences.

    isnt that what we should all aspire for? isn’t that how life should be?

    harmony’s extremes have always included neon colors and boozing and guns and drugs and music (an excellent array here from The Cure to Jimmy Buffet to many sounds of the 70s) and random topless women.

    it can be startling to endure 90 minutes of debauchery from a character who you are trying to determine if you like or not. he is a poet. or at least he thinks he is. his agent, played poorly by the usually talented jonah hill, thinks he’s a great writer. in fact everyone including the judge who is deciding whether or not to send him to jail thinks he’s hugely talented. but is he? (yes) and is that enough to let him get away with acting like a spoiled brat? (maybe)

    when the film was over and people were still in their seats, Amber, who is also a free spirit, said, loudly, THAT WAS THE WORST MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN.

    as we walked out, we passed a group. from it emerged a voice that said THAT SUCKED. I HATED IT. it was a mom with a huge scowl on her face. WE WASTED SO MUCH MONEY AND TIME ON THAT! she marched away from the group. I tried to console her by saying amber agreed with her. but that didn’t turn her frown upside-down. she clomped her way into the ladies room, her wildly dressed daughters trying to catch up behind.

    Well, I liked it. I told them. They said, we did too.

    I said, I couldn’t wait to see it.

    SAME! they said.

    I asked, have you seen Gummo.

    They said OMG YES!

    then amber said, oh so i guess I’m the mom and you relate to the hot young chicks. Nothing has changed.

     

  3. Sunday, March 31, 2019

    i’ll be honest, im nervous 

    any other time ive been unemployed i’ve had the cushion of an unemployment check. i don’t have that safety net right now.

    i’m also no spring chicken on paper. perhaps 2x the age of those who i am competing against who probably will settle for 1/2 the salary that i feel i deserve.

    why do i deserve a good fee? because i produce 5x the miracles of the others.

    blogs existed at the LA Times before i showed up, but they sure seemed to flourish while i was there. luck? was it lucky when i was placed on the politics blog and moved the needle from a half million to a million to two million to three million over a matter of months?

    LAist was around before i got hired but when i left we were quadrupling the LA Times’ best blog despite the fact that I had a $500 budget a month (and no deadlines).

    the Academy had social for years before i came on board, and magically the increases there were in the thousands of percentages. when the social media giants were invited to the Oscars, somehow i ran circles around them. live. alone. unfettered. the joke was they were gonna steal me away.

    if you bring 4 people to an event and i outperform all of them, aren’t i 4x more valuable? don’t i deserve 2x what they command?

    but not everyone sees it that way. some things, i assume they think, cannot be measured so easily. and often that is indeed the case. but other things have metrics and like shakira’s hips, they seldom lie.

    i am not saying that i haven’t been lucky. i have. in huge ways.

    i was lucky to be available to run LAist when Gothamist was able to finally pay an EIC.

    i was lucky that outgoing EIC carolyn kellogg was so generous to me and handed over the keys professionally and with love. i was lucky that the staff i inherited were not just ready to rock at a higher intensity, but did so FOR FREE for YEARS with enthusiasm and creativity and vigor and style and insight and love and love and love.

    i was lucky that my buddy matt welch was leaving the Times when i wanted to work there and knew who i should write. and i was lucky that i was writing to Meredith Artley, who is one of the secret angels of digital journalism. sent from above. walking amongst us. and who you can expect to see if you make it to the pearly gates. who taught me what class and empathy and professionalism are all about. and i was lucky to work with a staff who was rightfully suspicious about blogs and the emerging digital culture but were also ready to make that tough transition away from the comfort zone of their print-first mentality.

    and yes i was lucky that the academy digital was being run by josh spector who knew me via LAist and i was lucky that during that time at LAist i didn’t reply to one of his emails glibly. i was lucky that the day that my former LA Times colleague Veronique de Turenne told me of the Academy job opening, I applied and Josh dmed me via Twitter and said, is this Tony from LAist? yes. yes! all of that was luck.

    but the results weren’t.

    the results were monster numbers that i have gotten almost everywhere else i’ve been.

    i got those results not because im the smartest guy in the room or the best dressed. but because im intensely competitive. and it comes to being a Cub fan during the 108-year drought. seriously.

    the Cubs were my life and as long as they sucked, my life sucked. ive had the greatest friends, coolest girlfriends, but there was a giant hole in my heart due to the Cubs sucking year after year. and the only way i could fill a little of that was to find a scoreboard in life — any — and spin those numbers like a defective pinball machine.

    a hollow goal, perhaps, but i do admit it was a decent band-aid at times.

    right now it’s Sunday. i am reading John 8-11 and Jesus is being grilled by all these people and he’s trying to defend himself and any time he checkmates them with an answer they look to get rocks to stone him. I am the furthest thing from Jesus, but I love the Bible because how relatable is that?

    who among us doesn’t feel that when we are on the defense and we think we have replied with the Truth, there’s always a few in the crowd who say, kill him for that! what i love about the Good Book is, here’s a book that’s supposed to be about Faith and Love and Possibilities and yet even the Son of Man, the embodiment of God on Earth, had a hard time talking to people so that they understood.

    as the kids say: SAME!

    the bible also says don’t worry, consider the lilies of the field. so i will keep knocking on doors and submitting resumes and hopefully soon someone will say

    wait, is this really LAist Tony? you really want to work with us?

    that is the luck i need right now.

  4. Saturday, March 30, 2019

    theres a lot of bad in the world 

    and if you are on social media as much as i am you can start to think that the good in the world is rare

    but its not.

    good is all around us. so is love.

    the trick is you have to keep turning the dial to tune in to it.

    so often im turning the dial and i stop when something is outrageous or shocking or appalling or sad or tragic or evil or maddening. which is ok.

    but ive gotta keep turing it until i get different stations, ones about hope and happiness and selflessness and inspiration.

    i am a sponge. anything good ive done or any successes ive had are because of the people around me who have influenced me and indirectly trained me to be like them. and i bet im not alone.

    i bet lots of people hear or see things on tv or at the park or in the bar or on the bus and adopt those moments into what they consider to be reality.

    i am also a victim of ritual. for a while i was a single man. i got used to a certain pattern and a way of life. if i wanted to go on a date i would but for some reason, either by my own doing or because of bad luck it didn’t amount to much. and since i dont believe in luck, im pretty sure either i sabotaged it or picked women who i always knew wouldn’t work out for me.

    one day amber showed up and i did my best to ruin things. i kept her at arms length. i kept my feelings in a lock box and then i rowed a boat out to the horizon and tossed that box into the sea.

    but then i got a knock on the door and there it was. wet. green. seaweed hanging off it. and amber was holding it saying yo busblog i think this is for you.

    this week we had a little getaway. not too long not too short. we drove three hours and stopped. next day four hours. next day back for three hours. then back home for three hours. we talked. listened to the radio, listened to a book on tape. held hands. never fought. ate lots.

    it was healing and enlightening and so very nice. we took detours. we talked to strangers. we soaked in hot tubs and swimming pools.

    we both know im gonna get a gig soon and we wont be able to both get several days off in a row so this was the perfect time. and im so grateful. so grateful.

    be nice to your feelings. dont put it in a box. and know that just cuz you think only this person or that one will know what to do with it, know there are little surprises in life, and go with it.

  5. Friday, March 29, 2019

    RIP Agnès 

    I’m someone who likes to learn. You won’t last long in social media / tech / digital unless you are willing to continue to study trends and new platforms and fresh approaches and things you’ve never seen before.

    While at the Academy I learned so much about filmmakers I had never heard of. One of them was Agnès Varda who died today at 90.

    But I learned about her in such a weird way. She and the artist JR (no periods) were nominated for directing the documentary feature “Faces Places” and at the nominees luncheon he brought a cardboard likeness of her as she could not attend.

    He posed with the likeness, he had other nominees hold it… it was a spectacle but in the sweetest sense because clearly all these filmmakers knew who Agnès was and they loved it and her.

    One day something crazy happened at our building. Like there was a fire alarm that kept malfunctioning or something and they sent us home. But across the street they were showing Faces Places, so I took the opportunity to see the film – and it was so lovely.

    I immediately could see why it was nominated. And I could also see that JR was more than just a freaky dude being weird at the fancy luncheon – he’s a true artist and precisely the type of person you would want to partner with if you are also an artist like Agnès.

    The year before the Academy saluted her with an Honorary Oscar. Angelina Jolie presented it to her and danced with her on the stage. I hope that today she is dancing with all the other film legends who, I am sure, are welcoming her with open arms.

     

  6. Wednesday, March 27, 2019

    xbi said go to spring training, we have some tix there for you 

    but just make sure you pose with your girl at the Sloane Park sign

    and buy some tshirts for us

    and say tip the Mexican guy with the Crazy Chips $3, he has a message for you

    then buy a straw hat, you will be known for the hat.

    then knock on the door of the Cubs poutine truck. it will be “closed.”

    a blonde will approach you, ask to take a picture of her nails

    we will sit you next to a family of Iowa farmers. when the long time pork farmer says “everything was good until those fucking tariffs were imposed on the Chinese” you know you have the right guy.

    step into the open door at the Chicago Dogs stand. your envelope will be there.

    and never forget. all the best have been let go. keep yr heart pure.

  7. Sunday, March 24, 2019

    been eating a lot of baked goods 

    croissants, toast, bagels
    i know i know but hear me out

    then ambers friend needed a couch to crash on for a few days
    so ambers like fuck that, take the whole place

    my.space.bar.isnt.working. ah there it is

    anyways so now we’re gonna go on a little road trip since we have someone to watch the cats

    is this the right time for any of this? no. is there ever a right time for anything?

    all i know is my neighbor of many years backed her stuff and i got a moving van

    and i thought high tailed it to somewhere but tonight shes up there

    with  a man!

    and theyre just laughing and laughing which i hadnt heard in a little while

    so cheers to that and cheers to her

    maybe shes been eating some baked goods too.

  8. Thursday, March 21, 2019

    poor junebug 

    saw alita: battle angel today, not bad, was expecting it to be disappointing but

    james cameron is a technical wizard and his ability to make live action actors interact with CGI is worth the price of admission alone.

    and then robert rodriguez, who is no slouch, directed it beautifully.

    people give disney and pixar a hard time but when you see other studios try, you notice what they get wrong.

    if this was disney there would have been a deeper theme to the tale, a true moral.

    here it seemed like it was trying to tell a story but there really wasnt anything there. i think thats why no ones talking about it.

    mahershala ali, who at first you think how’d you end up here, has to do some insane acting and pulls it off wonderfully.

    i would have loved to seen what other actors did while auditioning for that role.

     

  9. my feelings cannot be hurt, sweet girlfriend 

    my girlfriend is the best but you would think by now that she would know me but she doesn’t which is weird.

    today is her only day off this week. i said what are we gonna do, this is great, what are we gonna do? its the middle of the week we can do anything: the beach the museums a long drive a short drive the stupid bloom JUST IMAGINE ALL THE FLOWERS WE CAN INSTAGRAM

    she looked at me, put on her yoga pants and went on a walk, alone. i sniffed under my arms. my cats yawned. i got a phone call from someone who maybe wants to give me money, who knows.

    when she got back i was all, how was yoga, she said i didnt go. i just needed to walk. i said i need to walk too why —

    she said i needed to walk alone, and now i need the house for like 3 hours by myself but i didnt want to hurt your feelings.

    i said baby im xbi, they tried to rip “feelings” from me on day 1 but they couldn’t find any. she looked at me like i was crazy. i said listen

    i was the only black kid in school, pretty much from kindergarten through high school. i was also a cub fan in the middle of the longest losing streak in sports history. i also went bald. i also got a homer simpson dad bod.

    i also chose the field of writing to plant my flag. and worse, i focused on poetry in college (a college that at the time had 2% black student enrollment)

    if i had feelings, i would have turned into a puddle of tears by now.

    but look at me, im fine. i have you. i have a great car. i have the last blog on earth. and the comments are open. if i had a thin skin do you think id have had open comments since 2001?

    it’s not the things that you say to me that “hurt,” it’s not trusting me enough to say them that disappoint me.

    my blood is enriched by Truth, girl, be honest with me and i am yours forever. not only can i handle it, but in this or in any relationship, if you honestly communicate with me i can make something good from that. there is nothing to fear by saying i need to be alone for a few hours. nothing. i can get my parking permit, i can go to the movies, i can get some soul food. i can solve a crime. the options are endless and maybe i should go out in the world alone for a few hours on a nice day in LA.

    but you need to start trusting that your needs are valuable and if i can make them come true i will, happily. so off i will go.

    how much of that will she truly take to heart? who knows. but i try.

     

  10. Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    amber is working six days this week 

    i think she is worried im not ever gonna get another job again.

    i tell her, baby dont worry, if things really go to crap, i’ll get a gofundme and people will buy us a tent and we can move to venice.

    that didnt settle her stomach.

    so i said this is what id do if it all falls apart. maybe its something i should do anyways. i would start a church. you know i love the lord. you know the bible is my favorite book, you know i look at it differently than a lot of others do.

    you know i would be able to get a time in one of the other existing churches around here, like Saturday Nights at 7:16pm.

    she goes why then?

    because i could say, tune in as we live stream at 6:66pm as homeless tony preaches from the good book live from hollywood, the center of the beginning of the end!

    and i would have a little prayer at the beginning. people would shake hands. or hug.

    then id say now that we’re warmed up, let’s hear some music, for it is written in Psalm 100, deliver unto the Lord a joyful noise. so ladies and gentlemen: Green Day!

    of course Green Day wouldn’t be there. it would be some kids from the neighborhood who would sing something good from the Staples Singers songbook

    something like Sit Down, Servant

    and then i would read a little from the good book and bring it home as to how it applies today.

    then id introduce Green Day again

    we dance around

    and id say give to caesar whats caesar’s but if you wanna support the rock n roll church, give till it hurts

    and the band would play again and that’s church!

    she said, we’re gonna die. please get a job.

    i said i just got to heaven and i cant sit down

    next week i bet she works seven days.