Today, I received a text from our old pal and former Stargate Executive Producer/Writer, former Bored to Death Supervising Producer/Writer, and former former L.A. Complex Executive Producer/Writer (and occasional Director) Martin Gero who was inquiring about the status of my projects.  As many of you know, I’ve been in a holding pattern since, oh, George Bush Sr. held office.  At first, we were told we’d hear something in January.  Then February.  Then March.  And so on.  And so on.  The last time my agent inquired, he was told that they had passed on everything they didn’t like which meant we were still very much in contention and would hear word sometime in early June.

Which, incidentally, is about when Paul and I plan to be in L.A. looking for work.  Now I’m not saying I’m dubious about the prospect of finally hearing word soon, but let’s just say I can foresee a future blog entry going something like: “Well, still no word but by agent tells me they will absolutely, positively have a decision next week.  It’ll be the best Christmas gift ever!”.  So we’ll be hedging our bets by heading down to scout the L.A. area in advance of our big move.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, it turns out I actually have more friends in Los Angeles than I do here in Vancouver, so that should make the transition a lot easier.  As will the pizza oven Martin built into his backyard.  And then there are all the new friends I’ll be making: co-workers, neighbors, Ricky Gervais.  I really look forward to comparing it to Vancouver which has a bit of a rep for being a tough place to make friends.  It’s not so much that Vancouverites are unfriendly as they are quite satisfied in their existing cliques and not interviewing for openings.   Toronto, on the other hand, I found downright cold, both figuratively and literally. Of course both cities compare unfavorably to my hometown of Montreal, the party capital of Canada.  I’m curious as to how all of you feel your respective hometowns compare.  Should I reconsider and think about writing from San Antonio?  Gainesville?  Kalamazoo?

Anyway, Martin and I texted back and forth until, finally, my phone rang.  “This is ridiculous,”said Martin.  “What are we?  Teenagers?”

True and, to be honest, when I first heard about texting, I wondered what all the fuss was about.  Why take the time to write out a message when you can just phone someone up and tell them what you want to say.  But it wasn’t until much later that I discovered the truly impersonal nature of texting – and fell in love.  I mean, why talk to someone unless you absolutely have to?  Conversations are fraught with pitfalls like awkward lulls and tedious tangents.

“True,”Martin conceded.  “For instance, if I was talking to you on the phone and suddenly hung up, that would be considered rude.  But if I just stopped texting, you’d probably think ‘Damn, he must be busy!”.

It’s all so easy now.  Too easy.  You’d think the quick convenience of getting email on your cell phone would be a good thing but, in truth, all it really achieves is it allows you more free time to obsessively check your cell phone for emails.  And so today, as  little experiment, I’ve decided not to check my email until I’ve racked up (a randomly selected) 21 unread messages in queue.  It’s 7:00 p.m. and I’m at 13. Wonder what I’m missing out on?  Well, I’ll tell you what I’m not missing out on: shopping for olive oil, walking the dogs, and filing!  For one day, I am free of the shackles of modern technology.

Free and intensely curious.


33 thoughts on “May 25, 2013: The Marvels of Modern Technology II!

  1. Personally, I don’t like LA. I hated having to go to visit Mr. Deni’s family but happily, haven’t had to do that for quite a number of years. 🙂 The place is too spread out, too trendy, too, uh, ugh. UGH.

    Whatever you do, don’t reconsider writing from Gainesville. 😉 Two-horse s–thole. We got stuck here when my daughter was an undergrad and we missed her, so we moved from Coral Springs (after we moved there from Homestead/Miami after hurricane Andrew). There’s nothing to do, nowhere to eat, nothing to see. We’re planning on moving to Tampa or St. Pete in the next year or two, depending on the work situation for hubby and daughter.

    If I had to consider anywhere my “hometown” (and it wouldn’t be Guatemala City, I was “only” there until I was 19), it would be Miami. I haven’t lived in MIami since 1992, and it was very different then. Still, if you don’t mind crazy traffic and zombies/crime, it’s a fun place to live. Lots of friendly people, lots of great places to eat, tons of things to see and do, great shopping. I miss the beaches so much.. That said, I don’t know if I’d want my grandson raised there now. I think if you have the money to live well in Miami, you’ll live really well. If not, maybe not so much. Still, I’d pick it over LA any day!

    Have a good night!

  2. Texting: when I’m supposed to be somewhere, my wife will text me “are you almost there?”, etc. You know, texting me while she expects that I’m driving… 🙁

    BTW, I just happened to be near a comic shop the other day, so I walked in and said that I wanted to buy a copy of “Dark Matter”. The girl behind the counter consulted her computer and then searched the entire store before telling me that I was “out of luck. But, I could order it if you want.” I’m not likely to be anywhere near that shop again so I declined. Which makes me wonder…

    Joe, do you have any SIGNED copies of Dark Matter available? 🙂

  3. San Antonio, of course!
    1. Texas is “The Friendly State” for good reason!
    2. Air travel to YVR, LAX or Vegas is surprisingly easy (usually single connection).
    3. Cost of living is probably lowest of major cities in both USA & CAN.
    4. Support Texas & San Antonio film!
    5. Laid-back atmosphere.
    6. Wide range of cuisine, from food trucks to gourmet.
    7. Very little need for furs, wool, or other winter gear. (Oh, except for the puppies’ natural coats.)
    8. Great fan cons all year all around Texas & SW USA.
    9. Free Spanish lessons in exchange for Japanese tutoring from Akemi.
    10. Multiple book and comic-book stores.
    …and that’s just the first ten reasons.

    Bonus reason: John Picacio!

    Thanks for the leading question. Only took me ten minutes to write the post, including the brainstorming.

  4. You could always consider moving to the midwest – if you’re looking for a drastic change of pace. Here I know most of the people in town, it’s hard not to make friends and know everyone’s business and there are miles and miles of beautiful scenery. Although I live in Indiana, the nearest large city is just five minutes across the Ohio River and is Louisville, Ky. It is great if you want a small city where you can relax and just enjoy a slower pace of life. No major traffic jams, you can get across the city during rush hour traffic in around half an hour, there are cool places to shop, eat and in general just hang out. People are friendly. It is a far cry from big city life and fast paced living.

  5. You could write from Dayton. It’s been done. I’m not sure why you’d want to. I’m sure you could find a friend somewhere around here, a writer guy who lives out in the countryside somewhere and used to consult for a show in Vancouver. If your trade required machine shops, I’d recommend Dayton in a heartbeat.

    I haven’t got the hang of texting fast. I still prefer to type on a keyboard. I am very drawn to the impersonal nature of texting and email. I hate talking on the phone.

    I tried texting a woman the other day that maybe her very young baby who I was babysitting, if it wasn’t my imagination, a warmer breath here a faster breath there, that I hadn’t ruled out her baby was about to get sick. I went from my own comfort zone of being as vague and unsure as I wanted to be to being put on a speaker phone with nurses in a flash. Oh well. They dragged an answer out of me and it was the right one.

  6. @Joe:

    Hopefully, June will bring some definitive answers on one or more of your projects. I should be in LA (actually Irvine) in June or July (I haven’t nailed down the meeting dates yet) so maybe you can pass on some of your foodie finds?

    And I may or may not have sent you an email..just to keep the suspense 😀

    As for places to live, I’m definitely thinking Texas or Georgia (I have family there); Baterista9 makes a good case for San Antonio!

  7. What was that guy floating down in that video AlphaBlu posted? Weird! It highlighted a pet peeve of mine – returning a call at work, leaving a detailed answer/message, I hang up, a minute later they call me back and say “I see you called…” I say, did you listen to my message? They say “no”. Then I have to repeat myself. I’ve learned to not answer their call again for a least a day and give them time to play my message. So irritating! Walking down the hall with someone texting, oblivious to their surroundings, coming straight toward me. So irritating! Stupid zombie! Put down the phone! On the news they showed this girl walking in the mall and texting. She walked right into a water fountain pool and fell in. Justice!

  8. My hometown before Los Angeles became “home” was Detroit. Actual City of, not that suburban crap. Drives me crazy when someone (usually a whitey) tells me they’re from Detroit, when what they really mean is they’re from some far-flung ‘burb and wouldn’t venture into Detroit unless their life depended on it –or unless they were going to a Wings game.

    Not a lot going for Detroit these days. Truth be told, not a lot has been going for Detroit since the 1960s, before my time. But what it does have is friendly, “real” people. My mom’s got long-time friends she made waiting in line at the bank in Detroit. That would NEVER happen in Vancouver, the city where people look at me as if I’ve got tentacles sticking out of my forehead if I dare make a stray comment to them on the city bus we both ride every single day to UBC. If I hadn’t been studying at UBC the past several years, I’d have barely any friends at all. Thank god for geology classmates!

    Los Angeles, too, was a friendly place. You can talk to a stranger there and not get weird looks. I was sort of shocked at the coldness of Vancouver when I moved from LA. You always hear the stereotype that “Canadians are so FRIENDLY!” Uh, no. Not British Columbians, anyway. I don’t know where that stereotype comes from, but wherever that place is, those Canadians are singlehandedly upholding the stereotype so that the whole rest of Canada doesn’t have to.

  9. On places to live, I should have been more complete in my answer. Chicago has a lot going for it (good restaurants, theater, airports), but it also has a few negatives (high taxes, congestion, flat landscapes, political corruption). It is pretty well located for covering both east and west coast via air travel for my line of work, and living almost 50 miles out from Chicago I avoid most of the negatives.

    Among all of the places I’ve lived, Chicagoland, Jessup, Laurel, Silver Spring, and Columbia (in Maryland mostly between Baltimore and Washington), Boyton Beach, Florida (between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach), Dallas (for three months), San Jose (for another three months), and Bristol, UK (for 3 years), I enjoyed Bristol the most. It had great access to London, good food, and a mild climate (at least compared to Chicago).

    Nowadays, I’m thinking someplace down south (warm), with good access to air transportation (including General Aviation airports), so Texas is looking pretty good. For now, I have to go where the work is, and I expect that your situation is much the same if your considering moving to L.A.. So maybe my next move will be in retirement? Time will tell.

  10. bahahahahaha. Many years ago (by many I mean many, as in probably 30 to 35 yrs) a humor columnist wrote that she was visiting a friend and the phone rang. She asked her friend if she was going to answer and her friend said no, if it was important they would call back. (see.. 30 yrs at least, before answering machines were common) She said that it was the coolest thing ever, so she decided to try it. So when the phone rang, she kept doing what she was doing and let it ring. All well and good, except she then spent the next 3 days calling everyone she had ever known trying to find out who called. (See? Really at least 30 yrs, before caller ID).

    Cities… hm, I have lived in the US Virgin Islands, near Dallas, Philadelphia and a few close by town, a couple of towns in NJ, Knoxville and other TN places, S. Carolina, NCarolina, GA… Places as far as friendliness goes often depend on you. I can and will talk to a tree stump, so I find friendly people. But finding FRIENDS a little harder. If you live somewhere that is predominately bigoted, uneducated and right wing, tree-hugging liberal (or vice versa) might have a problem. I really think you can live anywhere though and find your niche of friends. You just may have to work at it.

  11. my brother and i were in los angeles once for 6 days for anime expo in 2009 (so not much help there) the one thing that stands out in my mind (besides the heat, the sunburns we got & my eyes getting very irritated the first day, probably from pollution) was that there seemed be a jamba juice on ever other block.

    but i think you’re right about having friends there already will help things. people that can tell you the best places to eat (& where to avoid) and who might actually go with you to those places now and then. as well as coming over for one you those nice dinners you put together once in a while.

  12. I’ve also found different degrees of friendliness throughout my travels. The people of San Francisco and Hawaii are very much like the Scots – we talk to everyone! In fact, lifetime friendships have been struck up waiting in bus queues!

    While I wouldn’t say people in cities like London and New York are unfriendly, they just don’t have time to talk. I put it down to being engrossed with the day to day.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to LA, but even there I think it depends where you go, so maybe its a big city thing? Either way Joe you’re the type of guy who will make friends anywhere. Good luck!

  13. Come and live in my hometown! Melbourne, Australia. Most livable city in the world.

    With all your Mafia research you could work on Underbelly.

  14. Baterista is correct about San Antonio except for one teeny detail – the summer heat will kill you if you’re not used to it. I adore winters here, one would be hard-pressed to find a milder one. However, come summer I melt. Air conditioning is your friend.

  15. I’ve never really understand the whole texting vs. phone thing, either. The only time I use texting is when I think that the recipient is either too busy or away from the phone, and it allows them to respond at their leisure. It boggles me when I see people texting back and forth in an ongoing silent conversation that would be so much more efficiently handled by a voice call.

    I guess it’s part of the ongoing depersonalization in society, which is not a healthy thing, in my opinion. I get similar issues at work, where someone will email me an important question, I haven’t read it, and they actually CALL wondering why I didn’t respond to their email. They SHOULD have called first if it was that important! Ugh.

    Anyway, LA strikes me as a place that is great to visit, but I’m not sure I would want to live there. Especially if I had to commute any distance on a daily basis. Just WAY too busy and WAY too many people. I actually found making friends in Vancouver quite agreeable! 🙂 Granted, not too much experience with that in either place. Generally though, I think that wonderful, friendly people exist everywhere, you just have to find them.

    Here in the Maritimes, life if easy, inexpensive (housing especially) and laid back. Not a lot of options for dining and entertainment though (Halifax being a bit of an exception), but if you can get past that, it’s a great place to live.

  16. Deni: Too bad about the Mucinex but I’m glad you are getting better. Anakin is looking pretty cute. I love his dark eyes.

    So is Vancouver where you want to retire? Sadly, you have to go where the jobs are for now. I hope you get to stay in Vancouver but L.A. maybe the place you live next. At least, the climate will allow you to grow more herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers. The warmer climate would be good for Jelly.

    A pizza oven in the back yard would be grand! Does Mr. Gero have one of those outdoor living areas? That would be very nice!!! It would be like a vacation spot at your house.

    How does the Vancouver housing market compare to L. A. ? If you sale your house, will you be in the hole?

    I live in the Memphis/Mississippi area. Beale Street is the party area of Memphis. If you like bars and the blues, it’s a nice time. This area is very racial and politically divided. The South is stereotypically categorized as Republican but that’s not true for this area. We have a lot of economically disadvantaged people. Although, they may be on the conservative side (don’t touch our guns), the people here like the democrats for their social programs. If you go to a BBQ, don’t bring up gun control or politics.

    I have all my cheesecake ingredients warming up to room temp. If you are out there JeffW (Barb prob has you grilling 😉 ), should I put the raspberries in the cheesecake or use them as a sauce? I’m leaning towards sauce…

  17. @Tam Dixon:

    In the sauce, definitely. I haven’t tried baking fruit inside the cheesecake. I suspect the acids in the fruit would affect the way the cheesecake sets up, but again, I haven’t tried it.

    For a raspberry sauce, go here (about 2/3rds down the page):

    By the way, I’m putting the picnic butt in the smoker at midnight tonight (it’s got a 12- hour smoking cycle and we eat between 1- 2pm tomorrow…so midnight it is!) The cheesecake is chilling in the ‘fridge and I only have to make the cherry topping this afternoon. Memorial Day is looking good!

  18. Lol, surprised you spent so long on your wireless printer Joe, that being said it was nice of Cas to get it for you.

    That being said, I would imagine if it wasn’t a gift you would of just packed it up and taken it back to the store.

    Anyway texting is better if you’re a situation where you’re traveling and can’t talk on the phone for whatever reason, or are simply bored and need something to pass the time.

    But with the bluetooth headsets you can get for phones, talking is always better 😛

  19. Hey, Joe!

    You should move to Bucksnort, Tennessee ..just so when people ask where u are from you can yell back, “Bucksnort!”
    They won’t know if you are telling them to do something or are actually giving the name of where u live.

    …Now would you go check our emails… I’ve written you like 13 times!!!! 🙂

  20. I was going to rant about how much I hate technology and especially texting – mostly for how it just sucks up way too much time and stuff. HOWEVER…I just learned something VERY important, Joey…

    :Laurence Fox (a.k.a. DS Hathaway of Inspector Lewis fame) is supposedly moving to LA with his young family (he’s married to Billie Piper, a.k.a. Rose of Dr. Who fame) to give Hollywood a try before the kiddies reach school age. So, regardless of what your other plans where, I INSIST that you pack your bags right now, move to LA, sell a show – quick! – and hire Laurence in a leading roll…even if you have to sell your soul (a.k.a. your supervillain collection) to do so.

    Come on…Do it. Doitdoitdoitdoitdoit!!

    I’m only begging because I was just telling Mr. Das that – with the exception of Psych – which is wrapping up soon – and NCIS, there’s really nothing I want to watch anymore. Defiance is okay, but I’m getting tired of the weekly booty calls. Castle just isn’t as charming as it used to be. Golden Boy, a new show, was actually pretty good, but I don’t *need* to watch it. White Collar, is good for killing an hour, but it’s nothing I can’t live without. I’d toss the tv if it wasn’t for rugby and local news; I must admit to still preferring a newscaster to tell me the news than to read it off of a screen.

    Okay – I suddenly want to take a nap, so not going to finish my thought…the nap is more important!! Woo!! 🙂 *takes phone off the hook and grabs a kitty for ‘seepybyes’* 😀


  21. @ JeffW – I’m going to tackle your cheesecake today too…! Got most of my ingredients all layed out just like you do and I’m about ready to roll! 🙂

  22. JeffW: Thanks for the directions/recipe. You have some great tips in there. I just mixed up the batter (White Chocolate) and it is so yummy. I could eat the whole bowl of raw batter but managed to save enough to bake.

    Unfortunately, I only have one oven. I’ll have to take it out tonight and bake the pizzas. An outdoor pizza oven would come in handy!

  23. @Tam Dixon:

    Unfortunately, I only have one oven. I’ll have to take it out tonight and bake the pizzas. An outdoor pizza oven would come in handy!

    When I read that Martin Gero has an outdoor pizza oven, the gears started turning…maybe a project for next year? But then I though I would only use it about 3 or 4 months here in the Midwest. The concept is probably better suited to California weather.

  24. Hey Joe, looks like Japan is getting in on the kickstarter thing too.

    Basically a company is bringing over an anime movie called Time of Eve. They’ve already far exceeded their $18,000 goal, and are on $62,279 in a few days, with 26/27 days left to go. Pretty impressive actually.

    This is the first instance that I know of that anime has been put on Kickstarter, at least the first I’ve seen, and it’s been successful so quickly lol

  25. Well, if you don’t mind humidity in buckets full, or inverted atmospheric conditions that leave the pollution close to the ground and breathable, com to New Jersey! Actually, the shore is a bit fresher, but doesn’t escape the humidity, alas.

    Hey! I just saw the new Star Trek film! I tried to keep myself away from trailers and only saw 2 commercials for it, so it would be a fresh look. Great special effects! I wonder how of the budget went into the models of ships and buildings that got blown up? The plot twists were pretty good too, kept me guessing mostly, but sometimes I saw what was coming too. I recommend it if you have yet to see it. A true Trekker will appreciate the call backs to other ST films and even some touches from the original series.

    I assume they plan on making more films? Can you get involved with that Joe? I mean, if your current agent can’t move you into a project, try another agent.

    G’night all,

  26. Joe – Tried to email you but fear I have an old address. Happy to help in any way in LA, though I know you’ve got tons of friends down here. Email me if you get a chance… Katherine N

  27. Hometown: Brooklyn, NY: Very hipster. Very expensive.

    Now town: The Woodlands, TX. You could get a mansion for a very inexpensive price with a huge yard for the dogs and a built-in pet sitter — ME. Revolution is about to start filming in Austin, which is not too far from here. Downside: The heat and humidity. Between Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, there are some great food places. Houston is not too far from the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s no ocean and it’s not that clean. Another downside: Hurricane season that runs from June 1 until Nov 30.

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