Thursday, August 14, 2008

For Mojo

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Right now, the keys being typed.

WHAT I'M READING: Right now, this blog as I type it.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Right now, the computer screen as I...okay, lame joke is old already. Actually, I've got the Superclassico betwixt LA Galaxy and Chivas USA ready to go on the DVR.

But first...

PER Mojo's request, since we like to keep the people happy (and Mojo is good people), here is the listing, in order, of the mix CD I burned to facilitate better writing on my little project.

1. World at Large by Modest Mouse
2. Banana Puddin' by Southern Culture on the Skids
3. Comfort Eagle by Cake
4. Tenderness by General Public
5. Country Funk by Southern Culture on the Skids
6. Apple Candy by Ben Lee
7. Cheated Hearts by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
8. Engine Driver by The Decembrists
9. Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Greg Laswell
10. All the Way Down by Glen Hansard
11. Title & Registration by Death Cab for Cutie
12. You Are Loved (Don't Give Up) by Josh Groban
13. Karma Police by Radiohead
14. Swans by Unkle Bob
15. Trouble by Lindsey Buckingham
16. Alone With You by The Outfield (pure 80's trash)
17. Marching Bands of Manhattan by Death Cab for Cutie
18. Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset by Modest Mouse

If you know the tunes, you might be able to piece the story together.

And I'll have to kill you.

Except for Mojo.

(Mojo is good people).

ONE quick thought for the night:
1. Why the hell do smokers think the littering laws do not apply to them? They toss the butts out the windows as they drive, or drop them on the ground mere inches from an ashtray, with wanton disregard for the laws of the land. What the hell is up with that? If I were to toss a receipt out my window, people would have a conniption. So why do we all turn a blind eye when Johnny Tracheotomy decides he's done with his life-shortener and figures he can't be bothered to actually dispose of it properly?

If I was a cop, I'd pull their asses over, then stick my nightstick up their asses until they were spitting splinters out, and write a ticket for littering splinters too.

After that, I figure I'd lose my job and/or get sent to prison.

But sometimes you gots to stand up for things you believe in!

Be Seeing You.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Writer's Block

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Enjoying some "These Things That I've Done" by The Killers. Awesome tune. Plus, I got soul, but I'm no soldier either.

WHAT I'M READING: A book on Buddhism, called "The Big Questions" by Lama Surya Das. It's supposed to help me find my own damn answers to life's essential mysteries, or so the cover tells me.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: STILL working my way through 2007 films. More on that soon. Today it was Rescue Dawn, which is dawn good. Plus, X-Files and English football. So the usual.

THIS past week I finished an outline for a new original screenplay. This is a big deal, because I haven't written a completely new original screenplay since 2004, and before that it was 2001. Sure, I've done some rewrites. But nothing entirely new. And now I've got a outline.

And it's good.

See, I always have ideas kicking around in my head. Always. Right now, if I had no fear of a reader (there is really only one, isn't there) stealing an idea and making it not only better but actually getting it sold, I could toss out four or five original new ideas for scripts that I've got stored in there, always working and reworking them in preparation for writing them.

But that has been my problem. I'm always reworking, but not writing. Recently, the reality of it all hit me in the face like a slimy salami (or sweaty spaghetti if you like the alliteration). Without even realizing it, I had given up (this being the malaise I foreshadowed last blog out). In my head, I gave up the dream of writing a screenplay and actually seeing it make it into a movie on a big screen somewhere (even if it was only somebody's 32 TV). I settled for the fact that I wasn't a writer. That I wasn't any good. That it was all just a...well, a dream. A dream I'd never bring into reality.

It hit me hard. See, I've always had sucky retail jobs because in my mind, I was a writer (a writer of fiction, for you Decembrist fans). So these jobs were just temporary. Something to pay the bills until daddy sold his baby for cold hard sheckles.

Tangent, but could a sheckle be anything else but cold and hard? I can't picture a soft sheckle for the life of me.

But at some point recently, those temporary jobs became my (and I hate to even type the word) career. And writing? That was just a fantasy that would never happen.

It really tore me up. Close to depression. To give up something I've always dreamed about. Well, not always. But since fourth grade when I "wrote" my first book, a fifteen page illustrated tome called "Attack of the Sludge Monster", in which my friends and I defeated (take a guess)...the Sludge Monster.

Throughout school, and even into college, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be, the answer was a writer. Coupled with my love of film, and screenwriting was the goal. I even wasted four years studying to be a secondary education teacher because I thought having all the time off would allow me to write. I didn't love teaching, but that wouldn't matter because very soon I would be a professional writer.

The dream died. But now it's back. One day I woke up and realized that my plight would fit perfectly into the antagonist of one idea floating in my head. Because he was already a writer (in his head), why not give him my problems. They say you should write what you know. This is what I know, so why not write it?

Now, I've got a completed outline. I've burned a CD of music to inspire me. Most importantly, I'm not only ready to write the damn thing, but confident that it is good enough to make some agent's job easy.

I've even got an opening line. "They say you should write what you know. This is what I know." (is there an echo on this blog? Actually, with so few readers, there might be).

It's good stuff, and I'm excited. The dream is back. So now I just have to write this cinematic masterpiece and sell it. But that's the easy part. Getting here was the hard part.

The title? "Writer, blocked".

Wish me luck.

Be seeing you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Notes from the Thousand Acre Woods

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: A mix CD I burned to help facilitate writing, plus I'm working my way through our Tori Amos collection. When she's on, she's on. When she's not, I have to suffer through five horrible minutes.

WHAT I'M READING: Nothing really, outside of Entertainment Weekly. Need to hit the library soon.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Last film was, I believe Southland Tales, which is one fucked up film; it's a love-it-or-hate-it picture which I think I enjoyed. Definitely out there; curious how it ever got made. Not for the mainstream. Oh, and MLS action of course.

ONCE again I've been gone too long. Seems like every day I tell myself "Today is the day I blog", and then I never get around too it.

But here I am, forcing my hand as it is almost midnight. Some quick tidbits:

1. I discovered it long ago, and have it confirmed at least once or twice weekly. I've married Winnie the Pooh. My wife is Winnie, there can be no doubt. She use to shrug off the comparison at first, but now she accepts the facts. Hard to describe on a blog without spending half the night in the details. To crib a line from the excellent "All the Real Girls" film: "When you see her, you'll know."

She gets into Pooh-like predicaments. No matter how careful she is, somehow something always ends up on her shirts. I can't buy extra large jars o' honey because I'm certain it would wind up stuck on her head. I say it all out of love for her, but she's definitely a Pooh.

2. Anybody watching the travesty that is "America's Got Talent"? We occassionally forget to change the channel at night when it's on. Last week, some old lady and her daughter got up there and whistled a tune. The snide British judge (is there any other kind?) remarked how he couldn't fathom having to listen to people whistle for another minute, much less a whole hour. This is where it got my attention. The old lady proceeded to tell him that she has whistled for up to three hours for people, and they loved it. These people told the old hag they couldn't believe it.

Nor can I.

THREE FRIGGIN' HOURS of whistling! Who the hell could do that? Why would you? Why would you force that bullshit onto other living human beings? Who sits there for three damn hours listening to an old lady pass wind through her lips rather than her asscheeks? Either the old bint is lying, or she has put guests through the misery. But what level of moron would sit there for three hours? After thirty minutes I'd be raising my hand and asking "Is that all there is?" Another five minutes after that, I'd be rushing out the door with some excuse. And even if you could sit there for 180 minutes of whistling (dixie), would you really be happy at the end? I'd be strangling the bitch with the nearest blunt object. I'd put a steel-toed boot between those lips and tell her to whistle some blood. There's no way in hell anybody who just sat through three hours of whistling could be happy about it. I'd rather lose a testicle to an overzealous, underfed gerbil. No way they could have seriously complimented that bullshit.

"Nice whistling, grandma. Now hand me that gun so I can put a bullet in both our heads."

Let us not assume politeness to mean a respect for your talent, old raggedy bitch. Two minutes of that Guns & Roses song with whistling and I'm ready to drive off a cliff. There is nobody, not one single person, who honestly wants more than fifteen good solid minutes of whistling.

3. Went to the fair last week, and had us some fun. But aren't carnies the most miserable looking folks on the planet? Have you ever seen a carnie with a smile on his face? Or even faking a half-hearted grin? The guys taking our tickets last week for the rides appeared to have cattle rods up the keister. I haven't seen faces that grim at funerals. I know it probably gets tiresome after awhile, but at least fake like you are enjoying some aspect of your job once in a great while.

4. This should make any baseball fan out there want to punch me in the throat. This coming Wednesday, my company is taking us to a Cubs game as a reward for a lot of hard work this past month. Not just to a Cubs game, mind you, but to a Cubs game on the famed rooftop.

Now, I couldn't care less for baseball unless an old woman wasted three hours during the seventh inning stretch whistling "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", but I've agreed to go. For one simple reason.

The food.

I'm told by others that the rooftop is the only place to watch a game because the food is magnificent. Now, even if it's merely good, I'm okay with it. Because it's free. I never complain about free food. I may not partake of it, but I won't complain about it. You could serve me raw roadkill with a turd halfway squeezed out and I wouldn't utter a word of complaint.

So I'm wasting my day off to see the Cubs play, just for the food.

5. My wife hurt her back somehow this weekend. We're not sure yet. Might be that she dreamed her grandmother was serenading her with THREE FUCKING HOURS of whistling and tried to strangle the demon of her dreams. Anywho, the back is in pain. So yesterday I took her to the local place of healing to see what is the problem (much better than the date we had lined up of seeing The Dark Knight). Now, the most important thing after her getting some pills to help with the pain is that her doctor's name was, and this is 100% true, Dr. Doctor.

If your last name is Doctor, do you feel obligated to go into the field? Would you be a bit embarrassed if you turned out to be a janitor at the local porn shop? "Hey, Jizzmopper Doctor, get over here and clean out booth three. Can't you see the line forming?"

"My name is Doctor, and I'll be your waiter tonight."

"Hey Doctor! Throw some more fries in the vat. The dinner rush is on."

You name a character in a book that, and every reviewer in America will mock you for the childish humor.

6. Speaking of The Dark Knight, we still want to see it. I'm a big Batman fan, and love what Nolan did with Batman Begins. But I fear the hype is in overdrive now, too much so. What follows are actual comments I've been told, word for bloody word, from people who've seen it.

"It's the greatest movie ever." (Really? The Dark Knight? Everybody gets an opinion, but if this is the greatest movie ever, cinema is in trouble)

"Heath Ledger gives the greatest acting performance ever." (Again, really? I'm not doubting he's good, but greatest ever? Better than Denzel in Malcolm X? Kinglsey in Gandhi? Welles in Citizen Kane? Peck in "Mockingbird"?)

"If Ledger doesn't win the Oscar, I'll hurt somebody." (He may, he may not. But does somebody deserve to be hurt over that? And who exactly will you hurt?)

"If he (Ledger) doesn't get the Academy Award, it'll be the biggest ripoff ever."(Maybe so,maybe history will show that Heath not getting the award is a bigger ripoff than those scams targeted at the elderly, or the whole Amway pyramid scheme-but I got doubts)

"It's the most intense experience of my life." (Try driving on the highways outside of Atlanta, when you've got to cross five lanes of morning rush hour traffic in less than a quarter mile to hit your exit as my Pooh-esque wife did)

"I'd let two dudes have a dick swordfight in my mouth to see it again." (Nice, Uncle Ron, real nice. Okay, I made this one up)

"I saw it twice already. Probably see it another four times on the big screen." (If you like it, whatever, but surely there is some other movie you can invest it and whittle it down to just four or five viewings on the big screen; this quote was told to me THREE DAYS after it opened)

It does look awesome, and I have high hopes. But there is part of me thinking that people would not be all that quick to label Ledger's performance the best of all time had he not died.

Personally, I can't imagine he's better here than in Brokeback Mountain (which I saw with Uncle Ron, oddly enough), but anything is possible.

I'll let you know my own thoughts when we see it.

7. That's all I got for now. But I plan to be back sooner next time. I hope to blog on my recent period of writing malaise. Plus, the English football season is about to kick off. The lower leagues start this coming weekend, than next weekend the Premiership begins.

I don't know about y'all, but that's got my balls a-sweating.

Be Seeing You.