Lists of Nine with Keyword "personal" (most recent at top)

21st century abs in an 1880s drama

Nine Things That Will Take Me Out of a Movie Or TV Show

The suspension of disbelief is imperative when watching (or reading, or listening to) a work of fiction. This is how we can accept a fantasy about giant blue aliens in outer space but get irked when there's a plot hole. Even though I've directed films and thus I know how the sausage is made, I can still easily lose myself… read more!


Nine Things I Was Once Afraid of, But Got Over

I continue to slack on the List of 9 – as mentioned before, the "trivia space" of my brain has been absorbed with my upcoming website/app L.A. Street Names, while pop culture lists are now so pervasive that it's nearly impossible to think of a theme that hasn't already been done to death – so personal lists are all I… read more!

My new project: L.A. Street Names

Nine Things I Accomplished in 2020

There's no need to reiterate how bad 2020 was. It was arguably harder on me than on your average person, due to a death in my immediate family (not to Covid). But aside from that, as I've put it to friends, I didn't have a good year but I had a good 2020. So in the spirit of optimism, and… read more!

A pair of coyotes at Griffith Park

Nine Animals I’ve Seen in the Wild in 2020

With so much fun stuff shut down in Los Angeles this year, thanks to the pandemic, my wife and I have been trying to make the most of what's available. That means hiking – lots of it – two or three times a week. We're quite fortunate to have so many trails at our disposal: some popular, some hidden, each… read more!

Just a few of our unused mugs

Nine Things I Have Too Much of in My House

My wife and I are not hoarders. We're very good at using up what we have and getting rid of what we don't need. Our house is small – 750 square feet, give or take – which means if we acquire something new, we usually need to eliminate something else to make room for it. Even down to my short… read more!

la muchedumbre, a.k.a. much dumb

Nine of My Favorite Spanish Words

Although I took German in high school, I decided to study Spanish, as an adult, from 2006 until 2008, and again from 2017 until the present day. I am still far from fluent, but I have increased my vocabulary somewhat, and along the way I've found a few irresistible words that I'd like to share with you. Some are handy.… read more!

Smart subtitles

Nine Brilliant Ideas of Mine

Every single manmade thing in the world was once just an idea. It didn't exist until someone put said idea to paper, gathered the necessary raw materials, assembled a prototype, tested it, and deemed it functional: a vehicle, an appliance, a textile pattern, a form of government, a book, a song, a vaccine, and so on. Most of us have… read more!

Disposable flashbulbs

Nine Things I Am Not Nostalgic About

As we wade into a new decade, some people believe, as always, that everything's getting worse and that everything used to be so much better. I disagree. For instance, you can't convince me that any era before the advent of indoor plumbing was better than this one. We romanticize the past because we survived it – we gloss over the… read more!

Mark (second from right) at the Seattle International Film Festival, 2016

Nine Tips for Entering Film Festivals

I'm currently in the thick of submitting Words to Live by to American film festivals near and far. (I'm not pursuing foreign festivals this time, for reasons stated below.) A lot of websites offer dos and don'ts for the festival-bound filmmaker, but these are mine, based on my own experiences and observations. Before you start submitting your film – hell,… read more!

Musso’s neon signage

Nine Celebrities I Have Seen at Musso and Frank

My wife and I have been semi-regulars at Hollywood's Musso & Frank Grill for a decade now. 2019 has been a banner year for the restaurant: the oldest in Hollywood, Musso's turns 100 this year, and it also serves as a key location in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. On a sadder note, Musso's most famous bartender… read more!

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs

Nine Smells I Associate with Los Angeles

Most people don't talk about how a city smells, because most cities smell the same: like diesel, dog crap, and garbage. You'd probably add that LA also smells like "smog", but I don't know what smog smells like – maybe I've been here so long that I've become desensitized to it. In any event, I actually find Los Angeles and… read more!

So many Captain America questions

Nine Questions I Have About Avengers: Endgame

Now that half the universe has seen Avengers: Endgame, I feel comfortable in talking about it without fear of spoiling it. Still, if you haven't yet seen the film, and you still intend to, then leave this page immediately. In any event, while one must suspend tons of disbelief when watching a superhero movie, Endgame did leave me with some… read more!

Proud Mary

Nine 2018 Films That Would Have Been Better If I Had Written and/or Directed Them

Every year brings us films that fizzle. I'm not just talking about the stinkers that should have never been made, but the misfires that had genuine potential. 2018 certainly had its share of the latter. I don't mean to sound arrogant by saying I could do better than the actual filmmakers, but for creative people, I think it's healthy to… read more!

Cricket in all her glory

Nine Things That Made My Cat Special

This list is as personal as it gets: two weeks ago, my wife and I had to put our beloved cat Cricket to sleep, after her brief battle with cancer. She was thirteen years old. Needless to say, we've been devastated by the loss. I know some people think a cat is just a cat, and many more don't even… read more!

Me in November 2017 vs. Andre Agassi in July 2017

Nine Men Who Should Not Be Younger Than Me, But Are

I turn 48 today. I am frequently told that I do not look my age. That's nice, but truthfully, the late 40s look wildly different on men. (Compare 47-year-old Wilford Brimley in 1982's The Thing to 47-year-old Ewan McGregor today.) Lots of guys look, talk, and/or carry themselves more maturely than I do, and yet they are my juniors. Here are nine… read more!

Mantra #4

Nine New Mantras

A mantra is something one repeats to oneself in order to gain tranquility and perspective, or to be reminded to think or act in a certain way. Recently, I've adopted a few words and phrases that do just that. To wit: Physics. We've all had days where everything goes wrong. After struggling to open a jar, you splatter pasta sauce onto… read more!


Nine Films I’ve Seen More Than Once in a Movie Theater (as an Adult)

My generation, Generation X, once maligned as a bunch of slackers, is gaining newfound respect as the last generation of humans to have grown up in – and thus to have an interest in preserving – the pre-digital world. Part of that world involved seeing a movie over and over again in the theater, when ticket prices weren't prohibitively expensive… read more!

The Sword and the Sorcerer

Nine Movies That My Junior High Classmates Couldn’t Stop Talking About

To judge by my niece, my friends' kids, and my wife's former wards from her nannying days, today's teenagers are far more innocent and childlike than those from my generation (except me). To wit: in junior high, when I was 12-13, I routinely heard classmates boast about smoking, drinking, having sex, and of course sneaking into R-rated movies. Take a… read more!

Tijuana’s birthplace of the Caesar salad

Nine Famous Dishes and Cocktails I’ve Consumed at their Point of Origin

I am still struggling to write more relevant, entertainment- or history-related lists that haven't already been done to death elsewhere on the Internet. (There are now so many, many other list makers I have to compete with.) To keep the List of 9 alive and unique in its 20th(!!) year, I often have to resort to more personal and/or arcane material. Still, hopefully… read more!

A bad photo of me and Amy Adams watching a Journey cover band

Nine Celebrities I Have Seen Doing Ordinary Things

I'm not blasé about celebrity sightings. It's one of the fun things about living in Los Angeles; even stars go nuts over seeing each other. And while through the years I have seen many famous people working on movie sets or at premieres, or socializing at bars and restaurants, sometimes I catch them doing the sort of quotidian things you wouldn't expect to see the rich and… read more!