Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Launch Party: www.assbrellas.com

A joint venture between me and a few Philadelphia and New York based entrepreneurs has resulted in a product that is not only recessionproof, but waterproof as well:


Gallstones and Milestones: 100th Post

Hi, this is the 100th Post of this blog. We've come a long way since the beginning...

I'm looking forward to watching Worst Week, my favorite new show of the year. I think this show has a Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque appeal to it. And it helps that it airs on the heels of Two and a Half Men.

Peace, Love, and Seashells,


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The New York Question...and potentially the New York Answer

During senior year at Penn it became clear to me that the next step, regardless of what trail I wanted to blaze in life, would likely lead to New York as my next place of residence. At the time, to rebel against this notion, I decided that if there was one place I didn't want to be upon graduation, it was New York. My reasons were as follows:

1. Because I grew up in the New York vicinity I wouldn't have the same sense of adventure that so many others have had post-college when coming to New York for the first time.

2. I wanted to be independent of others so I could follow my dreams rather than follow my social calendar.

3. I feared that despite my love of my experiences at Penn, New York would essentially be Penn Volume 2. Locust Walk would be Murray Hill, Smokes and Blarneys would be any number of bars that cater to the just-out-of-college crowd, etc. etc.

4. I know that to have fun in New York it takes money. And I knew that any job in a creative industry I had wouldn't afford me to do much more than pay the rent, eat some decent ethnic food, and occasionally splurge on cab rides when it's raining.

My thoughts on these issues were so strong at the time that I justified them by writing a novel, The Age of Me (from which this blog owes its title) about life in New York post-college-graduation. In my mind, I had experienced New York in my 20s through the characters I created and the experiences they went through. I thought I was done and done with that.

And now, 1.5 years after leaving Philadelphia, New York is back on my radar. With the American entertainment industry, you have two choices: New York or LA. Admittedly, the "industry" in Los Angeles would provide me with a more direct path to acheiving my ultimate entertainment career goals, but at the same time Los Angeles lacks much of what rounds out New York as a better overall place to live. For instance, a love-to-hate intelligencia, literati, and overall sophistication that goes beyond the scholarly cinema studies that are ubiquitous in LA.

In New York, everything may still be "Who do you know?" and "Where do you work?" like it is out here (My current answer to that is "I'm a comedy writer and I sell assbrellas.") but in Los Angeles, when it's all revolving around such a seemingly-large-but-in-reality-small industry, this chatter and quest to befriend people on the most superficial of levels gets old very quickly.

The big thing missing from my Los Angeles experience thus far is fulfillment - and I don't mean career fulfillment. I mean changing the world fulfillment, because though I can admittedly be going to soup kitchens or partaking in any number of volunteer programs to help troubled youth that this city has to offer, I want to make a difference on the macro level. (And come on, would a 12-year-old really want to get advice from me anyway?)

Would these feelings change if I lived in New York? I'm not sure. Probably not. But as they say, "The grass is always greener..."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Announcing the Sidney Morsels East Coast Tour

Since leaving for England on September 2, 2007, I have spent less than 10 full days on the United States East Coast. That's about to change. From November 20 through December 6 I will be in town....Here's my tentative itinerary:

Thursday, November 20-Sunday, November 23: New York & Long Island

Monday, November 24-Wednesday, November 26: New England

Wednesday, November 26-Saturday, November 29: New York & Long Island

Sunday, November 30: New England

Monday, December 1 to Tuesday, December 2: Philadelphia

Wednesday, December 3 to Saturday, December 6: Washington, D.C.*

*If you have any connections at Washington, D.C. Congressional offices, please let me know as I am looking to do research for my sitcom during the days that I am in Washington!

I'd like to Meet Virginia

Having just checked the analytics on this blog, I've noticed a significant following of readers in Northern Virginia...I'm wondering how you came to read the blog or whether this is DC blog traffic being merged with Virginian traffic since DC usually doesn't have any rights anyway...I certainly hope this isn't the CIA, FBI, NSA, or some other clandestine organization spying on me, but if it is I want to give you a hearty hello!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Must-See Cinema for this side of the Atlantic...

I really wanted to see Mike Leigh's film Happy-Go-Lucky at the 2008 Berlinale in February. However, because of some debaucherous nights and journalistic commitments during the day, I never made it to a single film during this festival. I was really happy to hear that it was playing in LA, and last night, DTC and I made it over to the Landmark, and after paying out a hefty $12, we saw the film. It was amazing. Without sounding like an arrogant prick, I felt like my knowledge of Briticisms definitely heightened my experience with this film, as I seemed to be laughing at parts when the rest of the audience was stone cold silent. Long and short of it: This film is a MUST-SEE.

In other news...

Foods I've been eating: Pesto, Gnocchi, Hummus, Swiss Chard, canned smoked Herring & Sardines, Mahi Mahi

Stuff I've been drinking: Water and my enormous stash of wine

Shows I've tried watching: The Shield, Friday Night Lights, Dirty Sexy Money, Army Wives

Show I am most disappointed with: Entourage

Music I have secretly been obsessed with in the past month: Top 40 Pop

Song I have listened to on repeat 1000 times: Coldplay's Viva La Vida

Some musings from the city of hells angels...

Ryan, my dear friend and former co-slave at Endeavor, always told me that moving near the beach was the only way he could keep his sanity in LA. As I've just made this relocation, I now wholeheartedly agree. For the past week, I've spent most of my time in Santa Monica, appreciating everything that Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, The Valley, Downtown LA, and everywhere else in this mostly terrible city lacks.

Among its many fine attributes, Santa Monica has:

1. A great public transportation system.
2. Ample parking.
3. An unpretentious atmosphere while still keeping it classy.
4. A ton of great shops, eateries and bars within a close distance to one another, preventing the need to step into a vehicle to get from Point A to Point B.
5. An ocean breeze.

I've actually gotten to the point where I dread having to go East of the 405 freeway. I liken the West LA/Santa Monica area to Tel Aviv. In my opinion, this is the most lively and fun part of Israel, and once you go too far East, you're in hell. LA is the same way. Maybe that's why so many Israelis have moved here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I gave myself 24 hours before I quit using CNN and read this article about middle-class Americans shopping in thrift stores. I have always shopped in thrift stores simply because you can find better items at 5% of their retail price. My mother hates this habit because I've brought home loads and loads of junk over the years, but I can't resist irresistible bargains.

Advertisement: An ad came up on Facebook looking for sperm donors. I am considering partaking in this activity because I will be getting paid to masturbate three times a week. It pays nearly as much as Endeavor and is infinitely more pleasurable and infinitely less time consuming. However, there are some moral implications that I may have to deal with...I am contemplating such implications at this time. By donating sperm would I be performing a good deed or will I always wonder who these little Morsels of Morsels are running around LA?

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Decline of the Creative Class: A Generation Lost?

Some time in the past few years it dawned on me that my desired career choice would be in the creative arts: Journalism, writing, comedy - or teaching some or all of the above. I now am fairly certain that I was born at least ten years too late because so many of the opportunities that were abundant as hell during the second half of the twentieth century have seemingly disappeared.

As a member of Generation Y, I was too young to capitalize on the 1990s tech boom. And arriving at a working age in the post-dot-com era meant that while Internet journalism grew, print journalism (one of my passions) has rapidly disintegrated.

And then there's that terrible force known as Reality TV. I need not explain the proliferation of this phenomenon (but first and foremost DAMN THE BRITS for exporting that crap to us), but all who know me know that I can't stand the thought of it, as it has replaced much of the more intelligent scripted fare that I am most passionate about. One needs only to look at the poor ratings of 30 Rock and the tragic fate of Arrested Development to know that America has become a nation of dummies!

Books, books, books. Americans don't read like they used to. They barely read at all. And when Americans do read, it's mostly grocery store/beach read kitsch that raises as many philosophical/life altering questions as one would experience in watching an episode of Flava of Love.* And if it's not fiction nonsense, it's books written by celebrities/pundits giving some type of scandalously selfish views about their lives...

And music. Today musicians must compete with everyone else on MySpace and such because the leaders of this arrogant and greedy sector chose to screw themselves forever (by not lowering CD prices and such) rather than sacrifice small chunks of change. It is a sad truth that many brilliant modern artists will never make it big or have their work shared with the mainstream...I-tunes and the remnants of Napster may be the world's last hope...

As we enter an uncertain age of economic downturn, essentially capitulating to forecasts that the Chinese will surpass us as the next great world power, I wonder if my generation (our generation) will become lost in the throngs of history and contribute next to nothing to the creative world.

*I have never watched Flava of Love. but I can only imagine how mind-numbing it is!

Hatred of CNN reaching all-time highs...

My hatred of CNN has reached astronomic proportions...so often do I click on this "mainstream news" web site to find polls that are idiotic, irrelevant, and using scare tactics to create hysteria. Today's headline about a poll prognosticating from the American public that a "depression" is epitomizes my concerns about the validity of CNN's data. I certainly wonder who the individuals are who answer CNN polls...Are these individuals employed? Retirees? Students? Race? Religion? Or are they simply invented by the pollsters...

I remember hearing some time ago that telemarketers and pollsters have a very difficult time reaching out to young Americans because mobile phone numbers are not generally used to gather survey information. CNN's goal of creating mass hysteria and to perpetuate the current financial crisis seems to be working well because the human race is generally gullible and uneducated.

Putting my own political affiliations aside, I found CNN's post-presidential debate poll to be utterly idiotic in its wording and results...Surprise Surprise: Obama was declared a winner...but the polling data itself is sketchy.

All too often CNN will feature a poll that says "An alarming 40% of college professors feel that XYZ...." However, it never mentions that 60% of college professors disagree with the statement...

And the final dagger in my news-loving heart is that I cringe when I read that CNN has written stories about CNN....Yes, this narcissistic beast of a news agency regular features sycophantic stories about its own reporters, charitable accomplishments, or controversies...

CNN, you've lost me. When you start providing relevant media, maybe you'll get me back.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to not get a major ticket from a state trooper and other worldly advice...

With enough wine knowledge to write a guidebook about the Yakima Valley & Columbia Valley, I departed from my beloved Tri-Cities on Wednesday morning. I dropped El Glinerifico off at work and said my final goodbyes. Upon my departure, I was blessed with a bottle of our finest high end single vineyard Reisling. Perhaps I will save this gift for my wedding or funeral, whichever comes first.

Along the drive I encountered many wonderful radio stations that made me further my appreciation for this wonderful medium...A special thanks to 98.3 The Key FM (Tri-Cities Washington), 89.9 Classical (Portland, Oregon), and the unnamed Southern Oregon classic rock station and the Bay Area oldies station that Ashley Steinberg insisted I turn off because it was "annoying"...


The I-5 is not a fun road to drive on because of the plethora of 18-wheelers that populate this two-lane inland route that runs from Canada to Mexico. As a non-truck driver, one needs to stay in the left lane because every five seconds another slow truck crawls along in the right lane...As it was completely dark by 8:48PM, the roads were becoming more and more treacherous at 75 miles per hour. This is due to sharp curves through the mountains and a seemingly endless amount of on-again off-again highway repairs. At one point, I made a brief appearance in the right lane (I was being tailgated) just as a huge truck entered the highway and seemed like he was going to enter right into my car, so I quickly maneuvered (read: swerved) into the left lane. Two seconds after unleashing my inner Andretti I was pulled over by an Oregon State Trooper. Certainly my out of state plates weren't going to be of much help in this situation...

Trooper Man came over to my window and asked me if I knew what I did wrong. Though Gliner has trained me well to answer "I didn't do anything wrong," Trooper Man said that I swerved. I quickly explained to him the multitude of factors that led to my potential swerve: "Sir, the glare is terrible from the lights in the surrounding town so I just removed my glasses. (At this point I reached to my passenger seat and picked up my glasses.) There was also a large truck that recklessly entered the highway. These roads are particularly dark and windy, and I am unfamiliar with them as I am returning to California from Washington and took the coastal route on my drive North. And last but not least, these construction signs that turn the I-5 into a one-lane road at a moments notice are poorly placed and create extremely dangerous traffic patterns."

He ran my plates and license number, and tacitly agreed with my explaination...and within a few minutes I was back on the road...case closed.

Back in LA, back to reality. Unemployment (for the most part) is facilitating tons of vegetation and contemplation...Besides an obligatory trip to Trader Joes and a visit to a dive bar to say hey to a friend who was in town, I haven't left the house. I'm trying to figure out my life, ASAP.

It rained yesterday, which for LA is rare, and I found it extremely pleasant.

I've done an interest inventory:

Likes: Adventure, food, writing, reading, sleeping, sex, smart television, indy movies, and the Internet.

Dislikes: More of the same, monotony, lack of adventure, "day in day out" mentalities, repetition, terrible people, wannabes, ostentatious individuals, insecurity, bullshit artists.