Monday, August 21, 2006

I came here to get retarded

This place is deserted. The festival doesn’t start for 2 hours. I park my Z in the structure and blaze like Johnny for the next 40 min’s….this is gonna be awesome.

I was flying higher than an SR-71 spy plane when I got to the lobby. I know I reeked of cush…whatever. I don’t see people complaining about all the Ben-Gay and Icy-Hot and what not I can smell (is this the Grampa section?)

Yoda and Det. Budd won’t be here for another 3 hrs so I need to scope shit out. Yeah well that kind of didn’t happen because I feel asleep when I went back to the Z to get some screeners. So what did I do when I woke up.. I blazed again..I mean they call us Big Hit productions for a reason.

Yoda hits me up on the blackcherry and tells me to meet her at registration.

You look like shit

No, tell me how you really feel.

You need to trim your nose hair

Yeah I’ll get right on that.

I’m serious Cooprdog, you look like some homeless Playstation addict..that’s not going to fly…go clean yourself up.

I decide to listen to Yoda and not argue.. and I make my way to the bathroom… yeah.. I look a little bummy… but I ain’t here for the chicks (ok that’s not entirely true)… I am here to screen. I tidy myself up and make a little small talk in the bathroom with a filmmaker that I hate. I mean he’s a nice guy..but I don’t like his approach.. and I really don’t want to be his friend..but we exchange postcards anyway.

His is monochrome with handwritten screening info on the back. Mine is 4 color process with labels and web addresses. It’s an awkward moment when he says something to the effect of “so I guess you had a little money”. You know what, fuck you dude! You think presentation and marketing don’t matter…you think it’s worth saving $50 and having monochrome cards. How about respecting your cast and your crew and your film….well that’s what I was thinking. I told him that I live to screen and spare no expense. He says he’ll only do that when he know it’s going to be a really good screening. I told him that every screening can be a really good screening….if you give a shit.

I tidy my shit up and rip out the nose hair (man that fuckin’ hurts). I get back to Yoda and Det. Budd. is there.

Wanna kill some trees

Totally dude!

YODA two don’t get too fucked up…this is a screening day

I love Yoda but does she realize that marijuana is the only reason we haven’t become serial killers at these festivals. I mean you have to be faded when your print comes on…it’s a fuckin’ rule! She seems unaware that without the assistance of recreational pharmaceuticals that we’d be making drastically less friends (not that we are trying to make a lot)

We find a staircase to no where and smoke several bowls. Det. Budd asks me if I am good…I request another bowl…. “if you are going to be a bear…be a grizzly” (I have a free screener for anyone who knows what movie that quote is from).

We are pie-eyed..stumbling. Det. Budd is yelling at sexy women telling them to come to our screening…only with the way we are dressed and the way the sound is echoing out here…we seem like crazy people…which is fine with me… ‘cause I am fuckin’ crazy!

We spend the next 4 hours looking at the competition, sizing them up. We are nominated for an award and we want to see what the competition is. The other filmmakers are suspicious of us.. because we are obviously high and aren’t’ participating in the Q&A’s. I mean do you really want us to comment? We aren’t here to rip you apart…but we aren’t here to suck your cock either… we are just observing. But if you want some feedback here goes a few questions I’d like to have answered

“did you suck this bad when you first started…or did you have to practice it”

“are you really an asshole or do you just play one on the set”

“are you as surprised as we are that this film is playing festivals?”

“are you aware that you ideas suck cock on an international level?”

but we were nice… and we threw a few bones to the genuine filmmakers to try and make their Q & A’s go over more smoothly (because we were losing our high and the PSP batteries died).

Det. Budd wants to go see this film that got into the ICG festival since we got rejected. I mean rumor has it that….they wanted 35mm shorts. I mean Jesus I shot on film…now it has to be 35? Tell me this whole industry is not a racquet!

I opt to check out this doc because the director is cute…go ahead and hate..but it’s been slim pickens for two days now…and I have had to modify my selection process.

We reconvene and compare notes. Det. Budd is hatin’ on the ICG film, Yoda wants to get some food.

Let’s get some brews…

But there are a few films I want to see

Oh boo…hoo.. my producing partner is making me drink and have a good time.

Fuck you Budd…

Man you take this shit too seriously. Does anyone one care…it’s like you and somebody’s mom sweatin’ out these screenings. Look the projector might implode and create a black hole and suck us all in to the abyss….do you want to be sober when that happens?….fuck… It’s a festival man..lighten up!

Budd has a point. Why be sober…why be coherent…I mean when I am glass eyed and non-communicative…they think I am really talented (“he’s such a deep thinker”)….we adjourn to the bar.

2 pints later we are getting’ loud. Budd says something to the effect of “I wanna see someone get their ass kicked”. I try to steer him away from this line of thought but he persists. “I mean c’mon…this is a Karate it that much to ask to see I guy get his nose broken…I mean fuck!”

I burst out laughing at his comment as parents look over with disgust. I point out to Budd that we are being disrespectful…and he answers “look what type of a self-respecting parent is drinking in a bar at 11am when there kid is about to compete”. I literally spit my Guinness out with that one. “I mean we are supposed to be here” (getting louder) “I MEAN WHY DO YOU THLINK THE FUCKIN’ BAR IS OPEN IF THEY DON’T WANT US TO DRINK???”

Well we didn’t get cut off after that comment but let’s just say it was really hard to get another pint. Yoda is egging us on and we are beginning to make fun of the people around us (is it any wonder why we don’t make friends at a festivals).

We stumble back into the screening rooms after we roasted another bowl. The three of us stagger up to the screening floor.. and it’s kind of dead.

See..what did we miss…absolutely nothing.

Yoda cracks up and I realize that I really enjoy this lifestyle.. sure I look like I am homeless and I am paying $3 for stale brownies…but at least I am trying to do something with my film (you mean you can screen the film after you shoot it….no way!).

We go to the screening of this guy who has a hot feature because there is supposed to be money people in there. Not that I need to be asking for $2.5MM in my state I mean I’ll probably be too honest. I have an honesty problem. Like when we met with our insurance guy before we shot the film. Now keep in mind that this is not my side of the company…I am in charge of money and actors. Anyway… so we are in this guy’s office and he’s not happy… he don’t like the stunts and he wants to get rid of them.

Though I am feigning to pay attention I am really trying to figure out where I will hide the body after he says no and I leap across the desk and rip out his trachea (“look at me…I’m the one that did this to you!”).

I don’t know guys…this is risky”

We are using working grips who are in the union and know their shit.

Listen, I like you guys. But I don’t know. I mean my concern is what if one of the cameras flies off the car during a stunt. I mean if you were shooting a million dollar film, I wouldn’t care.. cause I’d just take the film till you got me my money. (he said it so matter-of-factly that it was scary)..but this is a short…there is nothing to sell here gentleman. I don’t know if this is worth the underwriting risk.

Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Dude you act like we are trying to jump over snake canyon or some’s two fuckin’ turns and a burnout!

Det. Budd’s celli rings and he exits the room to take the call. That was mistake number one. Now I am alone with this guy who is going to say no…and then I am going to cry. He swivels in his chair and looks directly at me.

Tell me something it going to be cool?

Are you fuckin’ kidding me…man we are gonna be smokin’ tires and brining the ass out all day… it’s going to be totally fuckin’ awesome!

Det. Budd returns from the lobby.

Ok, so then your deductible is more like $7500 and I really want you to lose the slides and just do the burnout.

Det. Budd loses it as soon as we leave the guys office. But I refuse to apologize. He asked me if my film as cool and I said yes. That’s what they pay me for (yeah…like I got paid)

Needlessly to say I am not allowed to be alone with insurance people anymore….but whatever…I’m the director… I am supposed to get excited.

I promised him that I wouldn’t do any shit like that again (till the next movie). And we went to see this guy’s film. This dude is a riot. I mean he’s a producer’s producer. He’s dressed funny, has an inability to speak in complete sentences and is shameless promoting his film and his cast. Jesus it was like a religious moment.

He was stalling his start time because he was expecting more money people. He was completely unconcerned that he personally was completely fuckin’ up the festival screening schedule…..I gotta be more like this guy. He snaps at a few volunteers before allowing them to start the film. He is prepared to go down with the ship….it was nice to meet someone so into their own shit.

We can’t stay though… we are screening in 30 min’s and I have to be in the room.

We enter our screening room and see the other filmmakers in our section. In two days we have developed quite the reputation. I think most are here to see if we are completely full of shit…whatever, all asses in the seats count…including playa-haters.

The volunteer is really nice and gives all the film a nice introduction and the section begins. My heart is racing.. and it always is when I screen…because anything can happen. We sit through some ok.. films. I did kind of like that stuff in our section but I was eager to gauge their reaction to SLZ.

The Big Hit logo comes up and we are off to the races. Oh but wait.. the volume is too low. You motherfuckers….where is the intern/lackey at…hey… this is an emergency. Two minutes later they find someone to turn up the sound. I would have done it myself…but it’s not good to do those things when it’s your piece…you have to let the staff do its job (unless you are prepared to kill every-fucking body in the place).

I want to start the film over… I mean isn’t that a do-over (or did that legislation not pass?) They aren’t laughing at the jokes…they aren’t laughing at the jokes. Laugh you motherfuckers or I kill your hear me! Hey dude stop talkin’ or I’ll cut your fuckin’ tongue out. Why is the image crooked? I need more sound….where is Yoda, who is in charge I want a refund goddamnit!

The film goes over ok (I guess)….and when the lights come up there is complete silence (do you see why I am high all the time?). Now that either means that they were really moved… or so annoyed that they just want to leave. They seem to have a million questions but don’t know how to phrase them. So we get up there and do little song and dance (do a little dance…make a little love) and we get them talking about inverting images and meaning. I tell a few stories about bribing people in principal and how I have no common sense when I am shooting.. and they think we are a riot. Now more questions are coming.

Did you have permits?

…did I have permits. No, we were just fortunate to be able to do donoughts in the same intersection for 9 hours with no cops showing up….except for the ones I was paying $35/hr to eat my craft services….next question!

If you could change one thing about your film what would it be?

..hmm other than more money and hotter women on my set (I’m kidding everyone knows hot chicks don’t like to PA) I’d have made the stunts more amazing and maybe have blown up a few buildings… everyone laughs but I am being serious.

Did it get tense between you two when you were shooting?

…well if you ignore the part where Det. Budd. said me to “why don’t you shut the fuck and let me make your movie”… uh no. They think I am joking and erupt in laughter. Det. Budd and I look at each other…amazed…the truth really does set your free (unless the truth contains child pornography).

How did you get permission to shoot at the newsstand.. .it looks expensive.

..well it was when we kidnapped the owners wife and poisoned his dog…then he was all to happy to work with us.

They erupt in laughter again. Yoda and Det. Budd are crackin’ up at the absurdity of the whole thing. Our Q&A is quickly becoming a stand up routine.

How tough was it to schedule all those locations and characters

About as tough as trying to beat your cock while wearing mittens..

Yoda is egging us on from the back row… the volunteer who is busting a gut is motioning between fits of laughter that we need to end it. People are clapping and want to more about us. It’s turns out to be a fun screening.

From that moment on we are like no-name festival celebrities… why because we said raunchy shit on the mic and spoke from the heart….man I love this shit!

The award show is in a few hours and I am kind of excited…not that I will win…but maybe I’ll get to tell more lies and get some funding in the process.

So what to do till then.. I know…let’s get fucked up.

Me & Det. Budd. and Yoda find another bar (it’s really best to keep moving when you have a substance abuse problem….well not that I have a problem… I can quit anytime…so fuck you!) We’re holed up in another local establishment…trying to figure out exactly when we will lose and to whom and just how fucked up we want to be. Now this comes from a years worth of getting’ snubbed at award shows. I mean I always less upset when I’m barely able to get my face out of the onion soup (mmmm….cheese!)

So we roll into the awards ceremony drunk and high. We are stopped at the door and asked for ID. Det. Budd informs them that as the chair of the Dermatology association that this is completely outrageous and that he has been embarrassed in front of his colleagues. The dude gets confused and starts to stammer when I burst out laughing. We show our film bracelets and they let us in.

Man.. if you can’t keep a straight face I’m not gonna kick it with you any more.

Ok, my bad. But the chair of the dermatology association….that’s classic.

Well if you’d of kept your game face on…we’d be sittin’ in the front row….but noooooo… somebody just has to tell the truth! I wonder if Spike is looking for a new DP. I pretend like I didn’t hear the comment.

Yoda chuckles as we all find three seats together.

It’s a cool set up. All the filmmakers and all the karate mothefuckers are together. Only the karate cats are all dressed up and all the filmmakers are wearing jeans. I guess no one told team-karate chop that there is a fairly good chance that someone is going to puke…or someone is going to get into a fight…or that someone is going to puke on someone and start a fight. I mean c’mon…this is an award ceremony…you gotta make it last.

So… I see that they have a bar on each side of the room (two lines no waiting – must be their first award show) and wait it gets better… the bar stays open during the award show. Well that was about all the incentive we needed (“hey man it’s free beer – drink up!) to get loaded.

So they have gone out of their way to give us a nice presentation. And to play clips of the nominated films.. and there are karate demonstrations between each category. And all of this probably seemed like a good idea when they planned it.

Of course they didn’t realize that people like us were coming. First it starts with the loud comments. Det. Budd is saying things like “I heard you can kill a guy if you hit him right here in his palm”. People look over..some smiling, some are not (they must know that it’s only gonna get worse).

Yoda is having a good old time. She is content to watch us get drunk and make asses our of ourselves.

25 min’s later

You need another

Uh.. I’m OK

Hey why don’t you take the fuckin’ apron off and match me beer for beer and stop being such a fag!

The section we are sitting in becomes totally silent before Det. Budd adds this comment

I mean if you want to….I don’t want to pressure you. I mean there got to be two of three men near us with a real set of balls that’s down for some drinkin’ (he looks around)…c’mon guys what do you say.

There is a mixture of fear and envy coming from the men around us (the men with dates). We make another two trips to the bar and come back with two beers each on each trip. Yoda shoots Det. Budd a look.

What….it’s a buy one get one free promotion.. I’m just trying to help out.

So now we’re double fisted and watching the kiddies go at it on the stage. I mean you really could make a killing if this was on pay-per-view. I mean a 5 year old throwing a round house to take out a 4 yr old…somebody has to film that shit. All was going well till Det. Budd started to cheer

“Put him in a body bag!” – the infamous Karate Kid quote that no one but me is getting.

The crowd is uneasy as we have an ever-increasing collection of empty Corona bottles under our chairs. I personally don’t care.. I mean I lookin’ for a little excitement and the house security is the largest group of men I’ve ever seen.

We tone it down a little except for the comments that we have to make because we are filmmakers who are getting drunk. Now if you are unfamiliar with these comments I have created a little guide for your understanding:

Phrases that filmmakers are likely to utter when intoxicated:

“How much for the women! much for the little girl!”

“Czechoslovakia… it’s like Wisconsin. We Zip in, we zip out”

“Nothing is fucked man”

“And good day to you too Mr. Motherfucker”

“We’re puttin’ the band back together”

“I’ll turn cartwheels all day for that type of money”

“I said no hookers”

“I’m not sayin’ that all women are ball-busters…just that a vast majority have the potential”

“How would you like a big steaming cup of shut-the-fuck-up”

“Dickey Mo!....Dickey Mo!!!”

ok.. so it’s like midnight. I’ve got a good 6-8 beers in me. We have two categories left and we are the last one… well.. now you see why we have been drinking. I mean if I’m going to drive across the country to see if I got the job…I definitely gonna enjoy the trip.

“ and the winner for best actor…is not you drunk motherfuckers in the back”

….ok maybe that isn’t exactly what he said… but that’s what it sounded like. We stumble to our feet, and high five several people who were laying money that neither one of us would be able to stand.. and we walked out under our own power.

So in closing, I guess it was a fun festival.. I mean I have been this continually fucked up since I thought I got some chick pregnant last summer. I met a few cool peeps and had a nice screening. I mean I can admit that I wasn’t exactly the poster child for this fest when it began. But I did see like 30 films and I was there for the whole thing (minus trips to the stairwell to smoke weed).

So what’s the moral of the story….get loaded because pretty soon we won’t be able to raise production funding and then you’ll wished you partied a little (when your back at Costco – stacking bottles of water and getting’ written up for going 2 min’s over on your 10 min break.


Making a name for myself

I enter the I-10 already passing traffic, this is my favorite move. I move over just one lane, because I need to set up my approach to the 405S and I’ve got less than 2 min’s before that entrance ramp. Glancing in the rearview I see that I have company, an Audi A4. What is it with these guys? I mean your wife might have a tasty pussy, but that don’t mean you are ready to tangle with real sports car.

They are turbocharged but have small displacement (2.0 liters). The Z is 2.8 liters. He’s encroaching my rear bumper which is most definitely a violation. Time to show him what torque is. I run her up to 95 and he is still there. I hear his turbo whistle as he passes me. I am amused as we enter the ramp. It’s a long winding right hander on a nice lean to the left and very high in the air. If you lose your concentration and look around to see how high you are…you’ll panic. Luckily for me I have a tach to watch…so it’s not really an issue. I roll in behind this guy with more torque than a new stripper on an old pole…on the long winding turn he hesitates even though he sits in the pole position. I swing to the outside and set up my pass (one Mississippi, two Mississippi). We are sailing around this tightening on ramp at about 70mph. He seems amazed that I can hold this turn in the outside lane, motherfucker you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I chuckle to myself and put on a display. The Z squats and hugs the turn as I accelerate away from him and I beat him to the merge by 10 yards. He seems perplexed as we merge onto the 405S.

Here he comes again, turbo and all…too bad I saw him coming. His turbo is hampered by the fact that he is heavier than me (by nearly 2500lbs) and his smaller displacement and that he is trying to catch me. But the real issue is gearing. My Z is a 4spd; that means no overdrive. At 80 mph I’m dealing with 4200 rpms and the bitch is starting to pull. He is making his move, fading left and accelerating…I run her hard in the right lane. We come side by side about 200 yards later…but the Z is pulling away from him. He protests by punching it a little but I am sure he has no heart . We crack 120 mph and my exhaust is really starting to get loud..he’s backing off as I feel the Z begin to wobble (see, he is a Pussy!). At 1800lbs it begins to float when the speeds get high…I see him fading back..and I’m not sure if it’s his fear of a speeding ticket or the realization that he’s not going to overtake me if I see him coming. That makes the running score 3-6 in my long running beef with Audi Nation (and fuck a TT while I’m on the topic!).

I have my typical road trip food with me. Arizona ginseng tea (in the bottle motherfucker), red licorice and beef jerky. I put the flaps up on my jungle/outback/cowboy hat and let the Z run. I love LA in the morning, no traffic and no Chippers…you can’t beat it. And now I am chewing and setting up my moves. I am telling you that I am a professional speeder. I got that shit down. I take most of you SUV’s on the uphill because you are never paying attention and have to really get on the gas to get that behemoth to climb. I am a master of the two lane pass…meaning that I don’t hop from lane to lane…that just fucks up the harmony. You got to be pretty with your shit. Make it look effortless (and if you drove a real car it would be). I chew my licorice and patiently wait for gaps to open. I’m small, light, nimble and I have a better power to weight ratio than most of the stock shit out here.

I rip past the entrance to the 90 (fuck Marina Del Rey!) and I see a Porsche Cayenne moving closer to me. What is the deal with you SUV people…you can’t hang at 80mph it burns way to much gas and your shit floats more than a rent check on the 5th of the month (in the hood…endorsed by Suki); just acknowledge your vehicular obesity and listen to your Boston Greatest Hits CD and keep the fuck out of my way? Yeah I know that thing has a ton of ponies, but c’mon…I can almost fit my car under yours. Anyway he wants to play but he has bad instincts and he is changing lanes entirely too much (not to mention the top heavy blonde that he keeps lookin’ over at in the passenger seat (FYI you white guys got to get smoother with your shit!). The size of his vehicle causes him to have to constantly check his mirrors to drive so aggressively. I am making one move to his every three and he can’t put any distance between him and my Z. He makes the fateful mistake of gambling on the left lane when I stay in the middle. He zooms up on what has to be an old couple chillin in the left lane because they like the view (or they feel safer…why do people do that shit?)…he spots them and is attempting to slide into my lane….(motherfucker please!) I read that shit two exits ago and have been in the guys blind spot for the last 500 meters. I drop the hammer and fuck him behind Fred & Ginger’s Prius (yes you are doing a lot for the environment…now get your alternative fuel burning ass in the slow lane with the rest of the cattle) and take my rightful place in the head of the pack.

This guy is better than your average bear because he doesn’t challenge me after that…though he does follow each move that I make to get through traffic (you need to stop bitin’ my style)…I guess that’s a compliment…but I still hate SUV’s so fuck him, his Bluetooth shit and the chica with the big titties (unless of course she wants a ride in the Z).

Everything changes when we hit the 710; the entry ramp is hella tight and I kind of wasn’t ready when I entered (you try paying attention when the chorus for “I come from the water” comes around and you are in the wrong lane). Mr. Porsche was all over the lane behind me (get your hands of her tits and pay attention before you kill us all). He moves closer to me not to intimidate but I think he was accelerating his was out of a near slide (but are they real is the question?)…but I’m not feelin’ it either way. So I’m getting’ on the throttle. The 710 is truck city as we attempt to merge. He’s trying to ride my ass so he can get in when I get in….(yeah…ok.. let’s see if you can keep up). I drop her into 3rd and the twice pipes crack loudly and the torque gets crazy high….I open up a 15- 20 yard gap.. and then I dodged the Z between to tractor trailers and found daylight…and you ain’t doin’ that in a truck based SUV (I see him shoot me a look like the kid that doesn’t get picked to play football)… but since I was often that kid I telepathically tell him that this will make him a better person and that the chances of his getting a chance to put his salsa on that taco are only going to increase if he slows down.

35 min’s later I was at the convention center. With a belly full of jerky and 4 racing in traffic titles. I kind of don’t care what happens now….I had an awesome drive.


Uncensored Thoughts

The stale and putrid taste in my mouth makes my first exhale of the day hard and profane. The night’s confusion and frustration that had settled on the tongue now left my mouth like it was venom as my exhale carried the essence away from me. Thoughts unclear, cock hard and unrelenting, I stumble into the bathroom and attempt to give it the old college try. The soap and toothpaste stained mirror in front of me reveals the sad shape I am in, the physical toll all of this is taking on me. I am sure that greater men, wiser me have met their destiny head-on without much hesitation. I guess that would make me the lesser of them. The perennial younger brother that has more ambition than true understanding and thus thinks he can feign to know what his mind can not possibly possess. I have traveled far but still have further to go.

It’s 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, it’s brisk and a bit overcast in Los Angeles..not a good omen for my screening. I never sleep the night before…and I don’t assume any real director does. I mean maybe at one point I assume that you do get jaded and not give a fuck…but for me…for now…there is relatively little else that matters. All details must be mentally checked again and again. I know that we think that filmmaking is a collective effort of artists coming together to create art….nothing could be farther from the truth! There is one person, with one vision…and that’s how films get made. That one person is so emotionally involved in the project that it distorts his reality….and that person is me.

I lay in my cluttered room and pine over everything from will the tape play backwards and invoke the devil incarnate to appear and damn for eternity all those who wished to see my film…to, will they not be able to find the Digibeta copy of my film, or even know who the fuck I am …and simply give me a half-ass apology and send me packing? Is my vision of the cinema….dead? Is my creative drive? Is my relationship? I have learned that it is not wise to ponder questions that you really don’t want the answer to before you screen. Emotions beget emotions beget emotions…at this rate I’ll be lucky if I’m not completely fucking hysterical by the time they actually screen the goddamn thing.

I turn the ignition key and the Z comes alive. She coughs and the twice pipes crackle as the cold engine tries to prepare itself. She hates to be cold and she hates to sit still. Unlike the stock L-28 she does not idle at a higher RPM due to her temp. The cold air induction and the big throat throttle body are all making demands…even at idle. The tuned power plant struggles with each cycle. The entire car shakes and rattles as she hovers at 800rpm. I see now why I like this car so much. Why I have ended numerous relationships with countless women because of her…why I have sunk nearly a third of my income for the last 6 years into her. She is designed for a very particular purpose and that makes it impractical for most situations, and most people. But none of that ever matters, not once you have driven a classic Z. Once you turn the key and instantly become a boisterous youth who sits impatiently waiting for the light to change. Feathering your throttle and planning how you will steal the lane of the car next to you. We are partners in crime in this way…at times I think only this hunk of metal and hoss-powa really understands me. My fragile world of gummy colas and Speed Racer and pot smoking is anchored by this manifestation of my manhood.

I see them in traffic with miserable looks on their faces. Unhappy with their car payments and insurance rates they look most uninspired as they shuffle from point A to point whereeverthefucktheyaregoing. Driving is such a burden to them, the steering, the braking… they want to know when they will release the computer driven car…so they can just watch TV and eat in their journeys. And then there is me; with my classic Z. With my 195/60/14’s with raised white lettering and a short throw shifter. Everyday I look for confrontation, for opportunities to take a win for Datsun, for people who drive stick. We are all that is seemingly left of the sports car legacy…and we ain’t goin’ down without a fight.

This day will begin with a drive to Long Beach. My CD player plays a song that I really don’t want to hear, trying to take me to a place that I don’t want to go. And it all becomes clear then…why there is the chaos…why maintaining a job, and understanding, and a promise is so hard for the filmmaker. Because nothing moves you like the images in the frame. And everyone knows this. The fact that it is so important to you…means that everything else is less important…that’s not exactly an endearing though for those who are close to us.

My bitterness and cynicism boils to a fever pitch before I light the last half of a blunt that I have smuggled out of my apartment. With a flick of a bic lighter stolen from Johnny Sabado…I light the remnant of ancient knowledge, of cultures that have proceeded ours, of truth and of wisdom. With the first inhale my wig is blown. Gone is the fear, the concern, the questions. Love songs are segued out, and dope beats are now in rotation. I do not want to remember who I am or where I have been….my only concern are the parts of my life that have not been written. I increase the bass and now I’m banging in the back of my building. I am sure my neighbors hate my Z, since it’s constantly setting of car alarms as I drive by. Her ignition cycle breaks the peace that is the ‘hood in the early morning…and it’s always followed by a little MF DOOM or Planet Asia cranked loud enough to be heard over my exhaust (IE..really fuckin’ loud motherfuckers).

I creep out of my spot and basically let the Z idle as it creeps up the alley en route to the cross street. This is the calm before the storm, my last attempt to be agreeable, sociable with the rest of society. I navigate the ever increasing series of potholes that feel to me like land mines as they rock the European 240Z springs and my Tokico 2 in 1 shocks.

I exit the alley at nearly .5 MPH. My Z has a custom suspension so the bitch sits low. Way lower than your sport tuner – I’m dealing with a classic here people. Finally reaching asphalt under all four tires I pop the clutch and hear the chirp of cold tires and a lazy street. I don’t run through the gears, but gradually bring them up. I let the Z coast and idle with subtle feathering of the throttle as I make my way to the entranced to the 10.

There are few persons on the street at 7-ish in the AM in west LA. Just a few scampering crack heads and homeless beginning to search the dumpsters before the heat of the day arrives. I am like a shark in this traffic. Noting tire size and engine displacement of the cars I drive near. At the first opportunity, at the first sign of a gap I will be gone; I will become a distant memory of a tuned exhaust as they wonder why I need such things, why my car needs to be so…uncompromising.

As I approach the right hander on to La Cienega I am the third car in line. I can feel the adrenaline building in my veins. I give the inanimate shift knob a nice squeeze as I mentally prepare myself. I check the temp gage…it’s hanging at about 10 o’clock… not completely warm…but willing to talk about it. I know that I want a clean entry to the ramp to the I-10; an unencumbered line where I can put the 4sp tranny to work. I loathe these casual drivers with their lipstick and their cell phones…I am in a race…and you are in the way.

I check the mirrors and switch to the 2nd to right lane. It’s also a turning lane, but put’s you in the outside lane for the I-10 entrance. I have little concern about this because as soon as that Christmas tree changes (stop light) I will show them why this car won 10 consecutive C-production class racing titles and the meaning of power-to-weight ratio.

The green light comes and I lurch off the line. The minivan next to me hasn’t even realized that the light is green and I am through the turn. I see him trying to compensate and defend his lane, but it’s too late…I am already making the move. But he has heart and apparently more horsepower as indicated by the rate at which he is gaining on me.

I drop the Z back into 1st and crank the steering wheel right; he is sure that I am going to collide with him; and then I feel the sensation that all Z owners live for….the ass breaks loose on the Z. It is at times like this that you see the racing heritage in it’s design, because although she is sliding and burning rubber and making noise, she is still under control and adamantly asking you what you’d like to do. If you want to burn a set of rear tires – she is down. If you just want to bring it out and tuck it back in just to show that it’s do-able with style – she’s down. And if you want to create large clouds of white smoke as you run through your three remaining gears and launch yourself to triple digit speeds – she’s down with that too. As he brakes so as not to overshoot the turn due to his rapid acceleration, I have already slide to the center of the onramp and begin my correction. He is looking right at me probably thinking that I am about to crash, because he has begun to steer away from me – sucker!

I slide her onto the on ramp, I am in 2nd gear and in the sweet part of the power band. I straighten the Z without even coming close to the outside curb and it’s obvious to him that I have done this before. I drop the hammer and feel my Z fighting gravity as I accelerate up the ramp. I rip her into 3rd with a hard lunge of the rear and crack 70 mph. By the end of the ramp I am doing 80 passing traffic as I begin my merge. I always get strange looks when I do this…but if I liked waiting in line I’d have bought a minivan (Nice Aerostar!)

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