Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fun Uncle Syndrome

I am not good with children. And children adore me.

I could dismiss this if it were an isolated case, but I've experienced this a number of times now in recent years, to varying degrees. Most recently, when I visited some of my buddy's family down in Raleigh, NC for Thanksgiving.

It seemed that minutes into my arrival at the house, I had my friend's niece and nephews crawling all over me as if I were a walking jungle gym. Kids just seem to be instinctively drawn to the suicidal hate machine. Can't they sense the deep psychological problems I'm harboring??

When I'm around other people's kids, I'm never trying to engage with them. I'll introduce myself and I'll try to keep an eye out for them to make sure they don't hurt themselves. I'll humor them if they attempt to interact with me. I had a fucking disastrous childhood, so I guess on some level I'm just trying to make sure that the kids are all right.

But sometimes these kids take to me as if I were their new toy.

During this Raleigh trip, the kids would often try to drag me away from the other adults so that they could have me all to themselves. This was disconcerting to me on several levels. First, obviously, I want to be hanging out with the adults. Second, I'm just some random guy that their uncle dragged in from New York City: I could be strangling these kids in the quiet of their own bedrooms. Don't these people watch DATELINE? Stranger Danger!!! Kids, don't trust random guys who are covered in tattoos, okay? They're not all as nice as me.

That's where I suck at dealing with kids in these situations. I'm not there to help raise them: I'm just a fleeting guest. I can be the fun uncle because I'm not responsible for making sure they eat their meals, or brush their teeth, or go to bed on time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Irvin Kershner Has a Posse

Irvin Kershner
April 29, 1923 – November 29, 2010

Irvin Kershner has a posse.

Known as the director of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the most popular of the Star Wars movies. He also directed ROBOCOP 2, which was good too.

Escape to Raleigh

For years, I've relied on the kindness of strangers to get me through the holidays. I make for a good distraction at most dinner tables: the curious person who clearly does not belong. The orphan with soot on his cheeks and unrefined manners, grateful to be in from the cold with a warm plate of food before him.

This is how I found myself on a 12-hour Greyhound trip down to Raleigh, North Carolina last week. Surrounded by a swarm of coughing, wheezing mouth-breathers. The bus may have been heading directly to a morgue because everyone around me seemed to be suffering from the final stages of the Bubonic Plague. I had over 24 hours worth of "WTF with Marc Maron" and "This American Life" podcasts loaded onto my iPod to help me take my mind off of the hellride... but 12 hours of sub-human conditions is a long way to go without getting your spirit broken a bit.

Early morning at the Raleigh bus station, waiting for my buddy to pick me up, I struck up a conversation with a man who'd just gotten out of prison. (Rather, he struck one with me.) I was at my final destination but he had hours to go before his transfer bus arrived. He muttered something vague about what he was in for, as if to reassure me it wasn't something diabolical. His first and last stint in jail, he promised me. He got to Raleigh expecting to go home to his wife but it turns out that his wife was in prison herself. Seems she got herself addicted to the crack pipe and was "slingin pussy to pay for it—slingin pussy out her arms, her pant legs, any which way she could so she could buy more rock". He could've paid her bail but she didn't write him once when he was in lockup, so he was taking off.

I nodded sympathetically as if I personally related to his predicament.

I thought to myself, This is the last time I'm taking Greyhound if I can help it...

[Two days later, I paid the extra dosh to hop a train back to NYC.]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen Has a Posse

Leslie William Nielsen
February 11, 1926 - November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen has a posse.

Something About Emily Wilska

Who are you, Emily Wilska...?

Lazy Sunday, recovering from a few days of hard living. Fighting what feels like the threat of a cold I probably caught on a dreadful Greyhound bus ride from NYC to North Carolina. Saw you on a marathon of "Hoarding: Buried Alive" on TLC this afternoon. There is something so familiar about you and there is the *slightest* chance that our paths may have crossed...

You make me want to get more organized...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Ran So Far Away

Dreadful visit to the gym on Tuesday. One of those trips where you just can't get going. A non-starter. They say that getting there is half the battle but this one was pretty much worthless and lost.

Right now, I should be on a bus heading for North Carolina. One-way ticket. Hope to be back sometime this weekend. (Or maybe I'll just stay on...)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Escape

It happened again last night. Went to sleep far too early and slept for far too many hours. Maybe my body needs this right now; making up for too many sleepless nights. Maybe it's just an escape.

Thanksgiving looms like a wrecking ball and I still haven't decided what I'm going to do.

I should leave the city.

I have too much unfinished work.

I should have planned this better.

Monday, November 22, 2010

End Game

I'm pretty sure I'm dying.

Not in the passive manner in which we are all, every day, inching closer toward our eventual mortal demise. No, I'm pretty sure I am actively dying. Perhaps even proactively dying. (Because honestly, wouldn't death fix it all?)

Saturday night, I slept forever. I haven't kept a close count of my generally erratic sleep patterns, but I don't tend to sleep well or very long on a day to day basis. Saturday night, my body just gave up entirely before 8pm.

Sunday was murky. I can imitate life for only so long.

If the end is near, I do hope it is swift and painless. Like passing out after a long, productive day and just never waking up. That would be nice.

Friday, November 19, 2010

anti THX

he thought, maybe perhaps he'd spend this thanksgiving playing videogames at home, since there was no way he'd be anywhere that would resemble a regular thanksgiving.

my point being.....

... i don't know. i'm doing the best i can. i've no immediate family in the vicinity.

everything. is. aggressively. up. in. the. air.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kiss of Death

Say hello to Aki Higashihara.

If she blogs about you, YOU ARE DOOMED.

Full disclosure here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Entry Where We Pick On Robert Rodriguez For No Good Reason

I was reading some article about some videogame where the designer offered, "We're looking to give this a Robert Rodriguez kind of sensibility..."

And I was thinking, what does that mean?

I like R-Rod.

I also think he makes kids' movies. I'm not just talking about the obvious kids movies (SPY KIDS, SHARK BOY, etc) -- all of his movies feel kinda like kids' movies.

First, they're all homage-heavy. "This is the one we're doing in the style of That." Most of his movies have a wink-wink sensibility that seem to say to the audience, "Remember the way movies used to be like this?"

Even his R-rated movies—filled with profanity, graphic violence and nudity—feel curiously like kiddie movies. Gratuitous nudity is shot with the tone of an adolescent who's trying to make something naughty. There is the superficial artifacts of something adult and dangerous, but it's on the surface. Violence and sexuality are just gags. He shoots naughty cartoons.

Nothing wrong with that. I just think it's indicative of a larger climate in the industry. I miss when movies were more dangerous.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dahlia Creek

This past weekend, I paid a long overdue visit to some friends up north. It was probably the last weekend I could swing it before the onslaught of Thanksgiving.

For my own future reference, I took the Dartmouth Coach up there. A pretty well-kept bus with the two caveats being:

1) You have to buy your ticket at least the day before.
2) There are only 1 or 2 trips you can take each day.

The second point makes sense, I suppose. The round-the-clock convenience of big city living had me thinking there'd be buses leaving to and from this small town every hour on the hour. Both points accounted for me staying on additional night.

Which actually worked out well. I got to do some improvised cooking for the family. A variation on the "three ingredient spaghetti sauce" that Jenny made me hip to. I must say, there's a unique satisfaction in making a meal out of what's available in the pantry, without going on a separate shopping trip.

Georgia and Dahlia are growing up fast. Seems just a moment ago, Georgia was a speechless newborn. Now she's a talker. Not all of it makes sense but I think that must be part of learning language: trying out different sounds, experimenting with your vocal cords. You can see her moving through the world and absorbing everything. Each day is an endless education.

Nicko pointed out that we've known each other for 17 years, which is like horrifying. But really, how can you ever truly know someone...?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kitty v. Gator

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You ain't a beauty but hey you're all right...

Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk...
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk...
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
Tonight we'll be free, all the promises will be broken...

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone on the wind, so Mary climb in...

It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here... to win...

Friday, November 12, 2010

This is the Beginning of the End

If you can't trust your friends... well then who can you trust...?


Till now, I always got by on my own.

Do you know how difficult it is to write a blog entry that's completely honest but infinitely oblique? If I knew that only strangers were going to read this, I'd be more willing to open up.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this.

With all the friends I have, there are times when I feel like I've got no one I can talk to.

I've been having a good time lately... which is why I am trying to move forward very delicately...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The new HAWAII FIVE-0 is *not* the hip, fresh reboot that you would think it would be. The melodrama is thick, accented with an overbearing, Mickey Mousing score that never lets up -- to the point that it's difficult to hear some of the creaky dialogue. The characters and character dynamics are completely stock. The plots are quick and forgettable. It has the feel of a tv show from the mid-/late-80s.

It's not a BAD show. It's just not an entirely needful show. If there were only three channels of primetime programming, it might be an worthwhile alternative. As it is, it's fluff...

... and yet, it's also a high-profile show on a major network that is providing work for a steady stream of Asian-American actors.

It makes sense because it's Hawaii but I'm still impressed by the number of Asian actors that are on the show: in major roles, in guest roles, in recurring guest roles and as "background artists".

I like that. I would've liked this show as a kid. I've got enough Asian-American actor friends for this show to employ so I hope it continues for a while. It's not quite for me and it's not quite for everyone, but I think there's a lot of value in this show's contribution to popular culture.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

1.21 Gigawatts

Ever notice that Hill Valley of 2015 looks a lot like Universal Studios City Walk.

The popularity of the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy is a little surprising to me. I'm into the hype and nostalgia, which is what provoked me to pick up the new bluray box set. But revisiting the movies is a reminder of what they were.

The original movie was a great story. It's a template for an uplifting time-travel movie: if you could improve the way you did things in the past, you could improve your present world.

Part II is far more technically complicated and features a lot of iconic cinematic bits. It's got some really cool sequences, yes, but seriously it's a narrative dud. The narrative exists as an excuse for Zemeckis to build some new filmmaking technologies. It riffs on the idea of "repairing" the future without really adding something new; gags are recycled in a way that makes the whole seem increasingly less fresh.

Part III slows down enough to spin something that better resembles a satisfying narrative... but it's still a paler riff on the first movie.

Some really interesting docs on the discs, I must say. And the third disc includes the ENTIRETY of the old BACK THE FUTURE RIDE, which is crazy! Boy, did that ride suck... but you still rode it because you had to.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm Not Here For Your Entertainment

The regularity of posts here... well, it's still better than many personal blogs, but not quite the clockwork pace I've kept for some time now. Blame it on the colder weather. Blame it on the new script I've been wrestling with. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-al-cohol!

Today, Monday, November 8, 2010. Day one.

You know when you're reading a good novel and you reach a point where you're so engrossed in the narrative that you're just tearing through the pages till the end. That's always where I want to get to when I'm writing a script. That aching desire to get back to the keyboard to discover more of the story.

Beginnings and endings are tough. Middles are tough as well. None of it is particularly easy.

But when it's working, it feels pretty good.

(It's not working yet.)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Modern 3D

Super There Will Be Blood

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rachel Maddow Responds To Keith Olbermann Being Suspended

Can't embed the video but this is worth viewing:

Rachel Maddow Responds.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tom Cruise Animated GIF

637px x 323px

375px x 190px

Tom Cruise is always watching.

How to Disappear Completely

Okay, my schedule has been all over the place this week, which is why this blog has been so irregularly updated. My schedule hasn't even been impossible; just fairly out of sorts, enough to throw the machine off its course.

Getting it together immediately.

And now for something completely different:

Science slouches ever closer toward the inevitability of a real live invisibility cloak...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mob Rules

Clearly, democracy doesn't work.

Excerpt from this NEWSWEEK article on the nature of the Tea Party plague:
Nostalgia, resentment, and reality denial are all expressions of the same underlying anxiety about losing one’s place in the country, or of losing control of it to someone else. When you look at the surveys, the Tea Partiers are not primarily the victims of economic transformation, but rather those whose position is threatened by social change. Because racial bias is unacceptable both in American political culture and in an individualist ideology, Tea Partiers don’t say directly what Pat Buchanan used to: that moving from a predominantly white Christian nation to a majority nonwhite one is bad and should be stopped. Instead, their resistance finds sublimated expression through the reality-distortion field: Beck’s claim that Obama “has a deep-seated hatred of white people” or Dinesh D’Souza’s Gingrich-endorsed theory that Obama is a Kenyan Mau Mau in mufti. Of no previous movement has Richard Hofstadter’s depiction of populism as driven by “status anxiety” been so apt.

For the Republican Party, the rise of the Tea Party is the essence of a mixed blessing. The political problem is how to co-opt the movement’s energy and motivational anger without succumbing to its incoherence and being tainted by the wacko voices within it...

As mobs go, Republicans will find this one will be especially hard to lead, pacify, or dispel. The Tea Party is fundamentally about venting anger at change it doesn’t like, not about fixing what’s broken. Turn the movement’s rage into a political program and you’ve already betrayed it.
This is the way of the future.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kiss Today Goodbye

Too many things falling by the wayside. I dislike making excuses for myself. There are no excuses. It is November and I should be further along with so many things by now.

And I'm not.

And there is no excuse for this.

Even the regularity of this silly blog has faltered.

Yesterday was a million years ago. Today we start again, with renewed determination.

I do not like myself today. I can do better. I will do better. Or else.

Here are a bunch of links that I might have fashioned into individual entries once upon a time (when I was more industrious about creating filler entries):
CGI Tin Tin Movie
Quidditch is not a real sport
Mr. Mad Men

Monday, November 01, 2010


Some years my Octobers end quietly. Other years, like this year, October closes out with a sonic boom.

And suddenly we find ourselves dropped into the cold harsh reality of November.

The shift from October to November can be really jarring...

October's a huge build-up to a party. I must know at least half a dozen people with birthdays at the end of October now, which means Halloween can turn into a costume/birthday extravaganza. This year's main event took place Saturday night deep into Sunday morning, partying with a social circle I largely hadn't even met a year ago. There are all these large and small details to work out in the ramp-up to a party like this. Casting, catering, costumes. Some good ideas fall by the wayside because you run out of time, but you get in as much as you can and improvise when necessary.

Party turns out to be a blast. I could be a perfectionist and reimagine the ways I could have contributed better but I think this one was really smooth, all things considered. Just a great party without all the bollocks or fisticuffs.

Then you wake up and it's November.

Holiday season. The big ones. Thanksgiving. Christmas. The ones that remind me that I don't have family to see, like everyone else. Some years I'm not very fond of this season.