Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Our Woman in L.A. does The Wheel

The power of thought is truly amazing to me. When I started running for the first time, I became very aware of this. Running, as I was told by others, and then soon realized for myself, is mostly about mental focus. If you can run for a few minutes, you can run a few miles, and, as I learned, finally a half marathon. It is all about believing that you can.

Since the half marathon, I have been laying off the running and focusing on yoga. There’s a very cool yoga studio about a block from our apartment, and I find myself going at least 4 days a week.

I have this very spiritual yoga teacher who is always reminding the class to stay in the moment, be true to our abilities, and to rest when we need to. She reminds us to connect our breath and movements, and to focus our thoughts. She reminds us to not judge our thoughts, but rather just be aware of them.

Today, I had a little yoga breakthrough. There’s a pose called “wheel”, which is basically a backbend (see below photo). I was always a little scared to try it, thinking I did not have the upper arm strength to pull it off. Today, I finally tried it, and I did it.

I have been thinking a lot about that today. Trying things on. Not being afraid to fail, and to fail BIG.

So, in the spirit of allowing myself room to grow, I went and bought some flowers and rosemary and planted them on the back patio.

I got my hands dirty with potting soil. I made a mess. It was great. So, I guess the plants are a reminder for me. They are kind of my everyday metaphor to keep it up. Keep allowing myself room to grow.

Plus, I’ve killed about two sets of patio plants since we moved into this apartment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that round three stays around till the spring.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Our Woman in LA is Home Alone!

BLOGGER'S NOTE: Our Man in LA is far from LA this week, traveling for work to Chicago and the East Coast. In his stead, Our Woman in LA is back as the guest blogger:

Like Macaulay Culkin, I am now home alone. Our Man in L.A. is traveling far and wide for his employer. Before he left, he asked that I keep his blog going while he was gone. Intimidated as I was, I still said yes.

So, last night was my first night alone. It sucked. Don’t get me wrong- I do love alone time. I lived alone in a studio apartment before I moved in with Chris. The studio was super cute, even though Our Man in L.A. would say it was a bit of a slum. I loved it. The broken elevator, the weird smell of cat urine in the stairwell, the black and white checkered tile in the kitchen, the old school radiator heat . . . Winston, one of the building’s tenants, who had keys to the washer and dryer machines and would always give me free laundry, and try to sell me weed, AND try to get me to bake him cookies, AND…OK, so I digress.

The point is that I loved living alone. However, after almost seven years with Our Man in L.A. (YEP, seven years come January), I hate when he is gone. I can’t sleep well. It’s horrible. I even have weird flashbacks to when I saw GREMLINS and get scared that Gremlins are hiding in the apartment, so I must turn on all the lights before I enter a room. I know I’m weird. And my very active imagination does not help.

It also does not help that when Chris is out of town usually, the only movies on television are strange horror films. You would probably say, “ DON’T WATCH THEM!” Right? And I admit, part of me thinks that, too. But then it’s 1 a.m., and I am sitting in the dark watching THE RING. Then, I have the horrible journey from the living room to the bedroom, thinking about that scary girl in the movie, and my heart starts pounding. Usually I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only a movie, and that I have worked on movies, and that they are NOT REAL. This mantra usually gets me to the bedroom. From there I calmly remind myself that, like in the movie THE SIXTH SENSE (usually also on when Chris is gone), those ghosts just want someone to listen to them. And if I see one, just simply relax and listen to what they have to say.

OK, so clearly I have problems. Just try not to judge.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


DAY AFTER ELECTION DAY SPECIAL . . . the Not Quite Tuesday Top Five!

The last couple of days have been pretty hectic for Our Man in LA, and the blogging has suffered, as it will, from time to time. In fact, look for guest writers and artists (I’m looking in your direction, Our Woman in LA) next week, because I’ll be traveling all over God’s Green Earth to raise money for peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution and stuff like that.

But I’m here now, and today’s been pretty good, so I might as well treat y’all to another edition of the day-late, dollar-short Tuesday Top Five.

Blogger’s note: As you all know, Our Man in LA doesn’t normally go for the political in these parts. It’s just not my scene. But it’s the day following a major mid-term election, and though I promise that I’ll give some non-political dish in my list, I’d be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the massive changes afoot across the country.

So if you hate the political, feel free to skip to the non-political, or just grin and bear it, or whatever. You’ve been warned.

On with the list . . .

5) Rick Santorum’s defeat in Pennsylvania. Awwwwww, did you see Santorum looking all misty and his daughter looking all sad during the big, bad concession speech last night. Heh. I liked it, too.

Now, look, folks, I don’t normally celebrate the sadness and defeat of others (except for when I encounter Texas A&M or Oklahoma Sooner fans – then all bets are off). But Santorum’s a special kind of scuzz who never should have made it into the American political landscape, let alone from a state like Pennsylvania, where people are exposed to at least a minimal amount of book-learning.

Santorum really had it all as a major apologist for the Bush administration. He tried to slip an amendment promoting the stupid, lame-brained theory of intelligent design into the No Child Left Behind Act. He called it the Santorum Amendment. If it had worked, we could have called the act “No Child Left Behind, Except in Science Education When Compared to Other Westernized Nations.” Sheesh.

By the way, Santorum also argued in favor of a wall separating the States and Mexico; he’s also fought for legislation to push for regime change in other nations, but without keeping out companies like Halliburton; and of course, he’s a big fan of the war in Iraq.

In fact, he’s such a big fan of the Iraq war, that in describing it, he made analogies between the U.S. action in the Middle East and . . . wait for it . . .

Wait . . .

THE LORD OF THE RINGS. That’s the one. With the Hobbits. About the war, he said: “As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Uh, OK. We’re . . . Hobbits in this? Or elves?

Last word on this subject belongs to none other than Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, who worked with Santorum over the years. Santorum, of course, is known for being fiercely partisan, and for alienating, well, just about everyone who doesn’t think the world is 6,000 years old.

Kerrey’s comment? “Santorum - That's Latin for asshole.”

Bye, Rick. Won’t miss you.

4) Catching up on my Movies. See? See, I’m off politics for an item now. No worries for anyone.

Anyhow, here’s the situation. The wife and I had an opportunity to catch up on the burgeoning Oscar season a little over last weekend. When you live in LA, you pretty much owe it to yourself to go to the movies as much as possible. Sorry to say it, but the theaters are mostly just better, and the crowds are mostly more responsive.

So we caught THE PRESTIGE on Saturday night at the Los Feliz 3, just a couple of short blocks from our house. If you don’t know this one, it’s about two rival illusionists (Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale) at the turn of the century, each obsessed with beating out the other at being the best in the world at their particular craft.

Fun movie, good cast with good performances, interesting script, good direction. Probably about a half hour too long, which made it a B+ instead of an A-. But interesting. Definitely interesting. Certainly worth a watch.

Then on Sunday, we ran over to Sunset and Vine and caught LITTLE CHILDREN at the Arclight Cinerama. It’s directed by Todd Field, who also did IN THE BEDROOM, and this is a likewise cheery little tale. It’s about a bored housewife and stay-at-home dad who start an affair over the summer, while a child molester moves into the neighborhood. See what I mean? Cheery.

It’s the better movie of the two, but if I had to watch either of them again, I’d choose THE PRESTIGE. It’s also a little too long, and really, it’s pretty depressing. And pretty adult. So the tool who brought his five-year-old daughter to the flick will rightly have a lot of therapy bills to pay later on in life. Nice move, Einstein.

Still, always good to get out to the movies.

3) My home state of Ohio. No, not just because Ohio State looks pretty good – even after a close game with Illinois last week. And certainly not because of the Bengals, who do not look like they did last year. Nope, sorry, everyone.

I’m back on politics.

See, if you remember, Ohio was the state that knocked our current president into the winner’s column a couple of years back. In my opinion, it was probably because the genius that the Democrats threw into the ring spent nearly all his time visiting depressed inner-city neighborhoods in Cleveland and Cincinnati. In case you haven’t heard of them, Cleveland and Cincinnati are shrinking industrial cities that have suffered through a lot of poverty and crime over the past 20 or 30 years.

In other words, they’re areas that would have voted for Kerry/Edwards anyway. Meanwhile, Columbus, biggest city in the state and getting bigger all the time, stands as home to much of Ohio’s middle class, NASCAR dads, soccer moms, and so on. Kerry/Edwards didn’t spend much time with them, so alas, they lost Ohio.

Today, though, my home state (known as “the Buckeye State,” “Round on the Ends and Hi in the middle,” “The Birthplace of Aviation,” “The Heart of it All,” and of course, “Home of Jerry Springer!”) went blue.

For the first time since the 80s, the Buckeyes voted in a Democrat for governor, for senator, and in bunches of House races. Even in races that should have been nigh impossible, the boys in blue overtook the guys in red.

In the past, as Ohio has gone, so has the nation gone. Let’s hope that they stay blue a little longer. Like till 2008. Maybe a little longer than that.

2) KARUNA YOGA, on Hillhurst, between Franklin and Finley. It’s a small, cool Yoga studio right near the Alcove (one of Our Woman in LA’s fave hangouts), and it’s become a regular haunt for both of us Wielands.

That’ right, folks, Our Woman in LA and I are doing yoga. Not such a big deal for Steph. She’s been doing yoga for years. Part of her regular workout routine. But now, true to his newfound California lifestyle, I’m doing my share of downward-facing dog poses, too.

Good exercise, truth be told. I sweat more at Karuna than I do when I run. And, if you ask Our Woman in LA, “You’re just doing the easy classes.”

Maybe, but I’m going to keep with it, once or twice a week. Steph’s up to five or six times per week, and I might never get to that point. Doesn’t matter.

The point is expanding the mind, stretching the body . . . that kind of stuff.

Plus, I saw the dude who played Long Duc Dong in SIXTEEN CANDLES there once. How cool is that?

1) OK, I’m going political again. Sorry about this, but look, I won’t even say much. You don’t have to see much in the way of my ranting. Not at all.

Just pictures.

Go ahead, try and make up your own caption to either of these. As for me, I just keep singing "No Time Left For You" by the Guess Who.

Remember that one? They play it on Oldies stations:

No time left for you
On my way to better things
No time left for you
I found myself some wings
No time left for you
Distant roads are calling me
No time left for you

No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change, and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you

Well, you get the idea.

It’s like Christmas morning around here, isn’t it?

So long, Rummy. Can’t say we’ll miss you.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Tonight's OUR MAN IN LA will shock you!

Well, probably not. But anyway, here's the story.

So Our Woman in LA calls me at work (also known as the home office) this morning when she's on her commute. "Did you hear the news?" she asks.

"What news?" I ask. Because maybe I did hear it. I read about the dolphins they found in the Sea of Japan that have flippers so large that scientists believe they're remnants of rear legs from the time when dolphins WALKED ON THE LAND.

But it's not that news.

"The big news," she said. "About DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES."

I don't watch DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, and I hadn't heard.

"They're talking about it on the radio this morning," she said. "I guess a lot of the characters were held at gunpoint in a supermarket on last night's episode, and one of them got shot and killed."

"Which one?" Because even though I've never seen the show, I've seen all the housewives displayed on the cover of FHM and MAXIM. You know, at the 7-11 counter. Our Man in LA doesn't buy that stuff, he just . . . never mind.

"I don't know which one. Can you look it up for me?"

So I did. It was some character named Nora, played by an actress not frequently on he cover of FHM. The same actress, for what it's worth, also doesn't date Michael Bolton, an NBA star, or Seacrest, Clooney, or any number of other people she's been linked to in the media. She also hasn't been nominated for an Oscar for playing someone transgender.

None of this is the actress' fault. I'm sure she was great, and if you watch the show, you'd know better than I would. Oh, and she got killed by Laurie Metcalf, the Steppenwolf actress who also appeared on the sitcom ROSEANNE. When did she get on that show? I'm not sure. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY reports that she wore pearls during the attack and praises the irony of having the character do that.

Um, OK.

So what's the point, Wieland? Is that what you're asking?

I don't know that I have one. I guess if I did have one it would be, how on Earth did I get so far behind the pop culture curve that this factoid had no resonance for me at all? When did I fall behind? I live in SoCal, for God's sake!

It's the biggest thing since "Who Shot J.R.", the radio said.

This is J.R. Ewing. Pretty cool ascot, huh?

And I did see those "Who Shot J.R." episodes, even living back in Ohio. It was Kristin, who was Sue Ellen's sister, with whom J.R. was having an affair. But then, he had a lot of affairs.

Sooooo . . . I guess I'm not arguing with Seacrest or whomever that it's the biggest thing since Larry Hagman took a couple in the chest, but if it is, then I'm way behind. Pop culture has spun beyond me . . . and before I reached the end of the essential 18 to 49 demographic. The horrors.

So update me, everyone. What else did I miss? Is Paris Hilton still annoying? Are aging baby boomer rock stars still doing expensive reunion tours? Are people still whining about the new James Bond?

Sigh. Does this mean that I have to start watching DANCING WITH THE STARS? I would normally make a LOST joke here. But that's getting a little tired. Back on subject, do I have to watch GREY'S ANATOMY or GHOST WHISPERER (is that still on?)?

Otherwise, how will I ever keep up with these SHOCKING! cliffhangers? How will I know what's going on when there's a VERY SPECIAL anything?

And how will I live with myself if I can't keep up?

Oh, it'll probably be fine. But just in case, I went online and asked J.R. Ewing himself how I could live like this. You can do it too at a site called: It generates quotes from J.R. and other major characters from DALLAS.

J.R.'s response: "Oh, Barnes, you get dumber and dumber every day."

But my name is Chris. And it's . . .

Whatever. Now I know why they shot you, J.R. Probably that Nora girl, too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Wow, that really was devastating . . .

Remember a few months ago, when Paramount Pictures dumped Tom Cruise and his production company like a hot potato? Remember how the entertainment press went out of their way to find ways to work Mr. Cruise's movie titles into articles dissing the huge movie star?

Remember? His firing was a "Day of Thunder," he was no longer Hollywood's "Top Gun," hiring him was "Risky Business," and you'd have to have your "Eyes Wide Shut" to not think he was "Far and Away" from being the big star he'd once been.

I could go on, but honestly, the fewer MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE references anywhere, the better. See? I'm mad at myself for that one.

Well, apparently people highly exaggerated those reports of Mr. Cruise's stardom demise. Because today, he and his production partner Paula Wagner took control of United Artists, a film studio owned by MGM and originally started by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks.

Yup. Mr. Cruise will appear in UA's pics, but he can also be in those produced by other studios. Ms. Wagner will be CEO of UA. The two of them will control the production slate, which will be four movies a year. They also have a financial stake in the company, which means they'll continue to make a lot of money. Look, Suri and Katie have got to eat.

This action today gives us all - and upcoming movie stars in particular - one major lesson. One thing to grow on. One major, major takeaway.

This is it:

Movie stars, when you're interviewed by Matt Lauer, pick on him. Just do it. It can't help but hit again.

By the way, Our Man in LA has done some serious research, and I present to you here a list of the next several years' worth of United Artists features. These are just film titles, you understand, but how can't you help but get excited about these titles? They're so . . . clear. Chaplin would be proud.

Here they are:

Mission Earth: Black Genesis
The Enemy Within
To the Stars
The Invaders Plan
The Kingslayer: Seven Steps to the Arbiter
Typewriter in the Sky
Buckskin Brigades

Want to know more about any of these titles? Well, they're all based on books that you can purchase on

OK, yeah, I'm joking. They're all books by L. Ron Hubbard.

So maybe I'm actually right. Would you bet against Cruise taking aim at Hubbard novel? You know, after the success of Battlefield Earth?

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Our Man in LA rarely goes political, just like he rarely reads the New York Times, rarely brings up the differences between a Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and an Oregon one, and rarely mentions anything to do with stock quotes.

It's not that I don't understand any of that stuff. It's not that it's so above me, subject matter wise. It's just that I'm more comfortable with stupid, trivial minutiae. Comic books, college football, movies, and good weather. See, that's my best stuff. Pretty much, those four subjects (and bitching about LOST, which no, I'm not watching anymore) take up most of the space in my head.

That's just how it works.

But today, I'm going for the political. Because my Wednesday Bottom One belongs to . . .

Yup. 2004 Presidential hopeful John Kerry.

Now don't get me wrong. I voted for this guy in '04, and I'd do it again four or five hundred times over. I'm a Democrat and a liberal, and even though I didn't think Kerry was the best choice for the job, he was my guy. And when I say he wasn't the best choice for the job, it's because I think that in our deeply divided nation, red America probably will not be quick to embrace a Massachusetts Democrat (which is code for "Kill 'em, Stewie!" in the southeast) who can't speak in simple sound bytes.

It's too bad, but that's the reality. He's not the kind of guy who moves NASCAR dads in Columbus, OH, or Raleigh, NC. Neither would I. But I'm not running.

I'm also not rehashing this because Kerry should have slaughtered Bush in the '04 election, nor because it looks like he's going to try and throw his hat in the ring again.

I'm also not on Kerry's case because I think he should apologize to our troops in Iraq. That's ridiculous. But that's related to my issue.

If you don't know about this situation, here's an updated CNN report where you can read all about it:

Basically, at Pasadena City College on Monday, Kerry said the following:

"You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.

"If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

And the Republicans celebrated! Oh, how they danced! "Kerry should be ashamed of himself," blah, blah, blah. "He insulted our brave men and women!" Blah, blah, blah. "He's a monster and a traitor who would probably like to see Saddam Hussein blow up New York like on September 11!"

OK, I made the last quote up. It was more implied. Anyhow, the Red America found themselves incensed at the idea that our military forces are not highly educated.

And yeah, I know Saddam didn't have anything to do with 9/11. It's just - it was hyperbole, and half the country thinks he did. And no, not the half that believes that online movie about the Pentagon being hit by missiles . . . it's the other half, and . . .

Sorry. Got way off course there. Back to the Bottom One.

Kerry's response? "But that's not what I meant. Of course those soldiers are smart men and women. What I meant to say was:

"I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

See that?! Whoa, get it!?! It's a dis on Bush! Holy Guacamole! See, Bush is intellectually lazy and . . .

And he got us . . . stuck . . .

In Iraq . . . in a war.

Not funny, is it? No. Not really. It's kind of obvious, actually. And it's really poorly phrased, even the way it was intended.

It's kind of . . . lame. I mean, doesn't he have better ammo to heave at Bush than this? Really? And how much do you want to bet that half of America doesn't get it either way? Yeah, I wouldn't take that bet, either.

Sorry, John. For what it's worth, I still wish you were president. Sigh.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?