Monday, November 27, 2006

Ode to Eli Manning

I am, it's no secret, a Chargers fan. Die hard. I grew up on Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, and the bolts have never left my system.

It's also no secret that I absolutely fucking hate Eli Manning. It's no secret that EVERY Chargers fan absolutely fucking hates Eli Manning. Eli Manning, to put it simply, is a piece of shit.

Eli, for those that recall (and even those that don't), snubbed the Chargers on draft day in 2004 when he declared that he didn't want to play for San Diego because, more or less, the team wasn't committed to winning.

So what did the Chargers do? They drafted him anyway, then traded him away for Philip Rivers and three draft picks. One of those draft picks wound up being Nate Kaeding, the best Chargers kicker since John Carney. Another became Shawne Merriman, perhaps the best outside linebacker in the NFL. So, in those regards, thanks Eli, you stupid punk.

And now the rub... since the Eli debacle (his real name is "Elisha," mind you), the Chargers have gone 12-4, 9-7, and are currently 9-2. The Giants? Well, they went 6-10, 11-5, and are currently 6-5. That's an overall record of (San Diego) 30-13 to (New York) 23-20.

Who's committed to winning?

Damn sure ain't Eli...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Script Reading

This is a bit of shameless self-promotion...

Are any of you out there screenwriters? Or hoping to be? Well, if you are, you're going to need readers to critique your screenplays and provide you with coverage that will help make your script as good as you can make it. And I, my friends, am just such a qualified reader.

I've written coverage for dozens and dozens of scripts, some of which are currently in preproduction and beyond.

I hold two degrees in English, am well-qualified to critique and edit the readability of your masterpiece, and have studied under Frank Capra, Jr. and Dorothy Rankin as a script reader. I'm also a screenwriter myself, and know what you need to be motivated, as well as what you need to be improved.

And I'm cheap... and bored... so I won't hurt your wallet or your clock. In other words, I'm a low risk venture to see if your script has real potential. In fact, if you're happy with my coverage, I can even help you locate other readers that are "closer to the action" (albeit MUCH more expensive). Those that know screenplays know that screenwriting is long and terrifying journey, and I'm as good a first step to take as any.

Send me scripts. Call or email for pricing. If you'd like to see some of my coverage before hiring me on, let me know and that can be arranged.

I'm so ashamed...

Random Givings of Thanks

Personally, I think that Thanksgiving is a painfully and obviously arbitrary holiday, but whatever...

Some things to give thanks and not-so-much-thanks for this year:

Thanks to my friends who helped me get through a shit time in my life.

Not-so-much-thanks for the person who single-handedly put me there (not that I hold a grudge... anymore).

Thanks to the idiots who are making the "Global War on Terrorism" a de facto screw up.

Thanks to the NFL for putting a third game on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks to Kay and Sagremor, my two cats who have actually stuck around.

Not-so-much-thanks to the asshole "retiree" CEOs who give themselves $400 million pensions while the rest of America struggles to make ends meet.

Thanks to John Kerry for informing me that I was in the Army because I got bad grades in school. I was under the impression that I held a sense of duty that many no longer hold.

Thanks to my muse for putting me back in a writer's mindset.

Thanks to my dogs for putting up with my lack of attention giving... that'll change soon, I promise.

Thanks to my sister for editing my writings for spelling and grammar at no charge.

Thanks to PH for lending me a shitload of money (five figures, seriously) to keep my head above water.

Not-so-much-thanks to Chevrolet for making the third-door latch on S-10s an easily broken piece of shit.

Thanks to the screenwriters of Casino Royale for making James Bond cool again.

Thanks to Martin Scorsese for making back-to-back films that truly inspired me.

Not-so-much-thanks to George Lucas for refusing to remaster the prints of the original Star Wars trilogy for DVD.

Thanks to the paratroopers who have entered my life, but will never be able to enter it again thanks to a really fucked up war. You guys were the best.

Thanks to the filmmakers who brought work my way at the exact moment my career seemed to dead-end.

Not-so-much-thanks to the man who had me arrested because he lost a fight that HE started.

Thanks to the networks for fielding the best television programming on the air since, well, the day I was born.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to the people who are trying to make sure that 2007 will be that "Best Year" that 2006 should have been.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale: A Review

Bad. Ass.

Those words are as good as any to describe the new James Bond film. So good, actually, let me repeat them: Bad. Ass.

Daniel Craig, ladies and gentleman, pulled it off. The "return to basics" worked. The script was excellent. The dialogue? Top notch for a Bond film. The controversial "reboot?" No longer a controversy.

Bad. Ass.

As implied, Mr. Craig delivered the goods convincingly and expertly. Sure, he's a departure from the traditional Bond mold, but as I mentioned previously, he's not far off from Sean Connery. One or two missteps in dialogue delivery, and his look is still "not quite Bond," but he delivered. That being said, the "not quite Bond" look might be intentional, given that the franchise is attempting to show the development of the character, rather than a character who has already (quite literally) "been there, done that."

The Bond girl, who hailed from Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, was great, as was the other Bond girl who met an untimely demise early in the film.

M, played by the phenomenal Judi Dench, was once again perfect, although given the "reboot" nature of Casino Royale, I think they should've cast a man, if only to allow Ms. Dench to return once the (re-)development of James Bond catches back up to "present day."

Perhaps the strangest characteristic of note for the new film: it stayed remarkably true to the book. Admittedly, it's been a while since I read the Fleming novels, but the only other Bond films that seemed to even try to stay close to the books were From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and those were all made in the 60s.

Then again, maybe it's not so strange, given the glut of competition from other celluloid spies such as Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer (I'm noticing a strange "initial" coincidence here).

Anyway, go see the damn movie. It's great. The decision to bring in Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) to touch-up the script definitely paid dividends. For the first time in a long time, a Bond film seems aimed at every demographic imaginable, and hits them all. Yes, ladies, there is more in Casino Royale for you to identify with than in any previous Bond film (unless, of course, you're one of the countless women that would prefer to bed Pierce Brosnan than Daniel Craig).

Bond, like Batman and Superman, is back... and looks like he's here to stay.

Bad. Ass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The James Bonds

Tomorrow is the movie event of the year... well, for me anyway.

Casino Royale, the 21st official Bond film, 23rd total Bond film, and the third motion picture (including television) version of Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, opens tomorrow. With it, we are presented Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play Agent 007 in the official series of films. And, with him, we are presented with what is either a bold new era of Bond, or another run of crap.

Daniel Craig is, in my opinion, a much better actor than Pierce Brosnan. However, as an ex-girlfriend pointed out, Pierce Brosnan looks more like James Bond should look (in other words, she'd rather fuck Brosnan than Craig... and yes, that's actually what she said). Basically, we're about to find out if Craig can pull off the role of 007 with his acting ability and physical presence. Then again, I'm also of the opinion that he's closer to Sean Connery than any of the other Bonds have been.

Speaking of the other Bonds, how are those late-night drunk-initiated arguments about who the best Bond is going to go now that there are six candidates to argue about, instead of five. Wow... that was a run-on sentence, wasn't it?

Anyway, the best Bond for me was Pierce Brosnan, believe it or not, although I don't think that any of the others have been particularly bad. In fact, the one I think was the worst (George Lazenby) was in my favorite Bond film. Oh, the irony.

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Oh, yeah... Brosnan was the best Bond, per se, it's just that his scripts were so friggin' monotonous that he didn't get a chance to really shine. Dalton was probably the best actor to have played Bond. Connery originated the role, so you can't discount his contribution to the character. Moore was funny, and in my second favorite Bond film. I've already mentioned Lazenby.

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Bond is back. Go see Casino Royale. The trailer makes it look like the best Bond film ever, but I guess that's what trailers are supposed to do, no?

007.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Whirlwind

Reap the whirlwind... whoa...

GM (yes, that GM) offered me a job... don't really want to take it, but it's good money and might allow me to transfer to Los Angeles.

My little independent film script is generating some interest... crazy. Seems too good to be true, which means it probably is.

One of my scripts, Theorem, was just labeled as "blockbuster material" by a Hollywood reader. Does this bode well for my screenwriting future? Is it a fluke/flash-in-the-pan? Spin me around and... well, never mind...

Just applied to graduate school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The first of two intended Masters degrees... the second I want to get from the University of California, Los Angeles. What can I say? I'm vain and I think the MFA, MFA on my business card would look cool.

More reality TV show jobs are coming my way... maybe... and it's another maybe if I can take them or not... double maybes? Probably not good... as in double not good. Fuck me.

If I move to Vegas, I've got a place to live, but I have to ditch my dogs... that's going to seriously suck. I get to keep my cats, though... provided they don't run away before then.

Have a court date on the 30th. Wish me luck in staying out of jail. No, really... wish me luck in staying out of jail.

Have a physical on the 29th. Wish me luck in increasing my VA disability. I like free money. Don't lie, you do, too. You just won't like my free money as much as I will.

Trying to join an Army Reserve unit in Bell, California. It's in spitting distance from LA (literally... you can spit to Bell from Los Angeles) and involves a $15k bonus. I should probably bite my tongue and sign the fucking contract, shouldn't I?

Got a new cell phone plan (finally). If you have Sprint PCS, call me... it's free now.

About 20 pages from finishing another script. CIA thriller... I like it. I think it's better than Theorem, which means it probably sucks.

The Departed is the best movie I've seen all year and the second Scorsese movie in a row to really and truly affect me.

Somebody save me (and by somebody, I mean a beautiful, intelligent, talented, and sexy woman who will buy me Chargers season tickets next year... provided she's employed and not in grad school, in which case I'll buy the tickets myself and bring her with me).

Life is a whirlwind... and what a fun ride it's been so far...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Wild and Crazy Idea

I want to make movies; this is no secret. I want to make movies now. This is also no secret. I'm trying to make a movie now. Until just then, that was a secret.

I have a script floating around a bunch of readers and other screenwriters, getting marked up with red pens and the subject of late night phone calls concerning "character development" and "story structure." It's a good script, and with the help of one, two, or more writers, it's going to be a great script.

Now, one of my readers mentioned that this script isn't "commercial" material. I know this, I knew this, and this script was never intended to be pitched to a major studio... from it's inception (and it was borne of real life, I assure you), it was intended to be a so-called independent film.

Of course, until a few days ago, I had no intention of filming this script myself.

Well, technically, I still have no intention of filming this script myself, but as of now I'll be more involved than I original had planned.

To make a getting-longer story stay shorter, a few friends, a few acquantainces, and a few strangers have been talking about fixing this little movie up, raising between $4 and $5 million, becoming guild/union signatory, and filming it for a possible run at Sundance and similar film festivals.

I say, "why not?" Life has a funny way of throwing people and ideas around, and this seems as good a throw as any other.

Let me know if you want in or can help in any way.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Cigarette Musings

Until October 30th of this year, I hadn't had a cigarette since December 24th of last year. In fact, I hadn't had tobacco of any kind since December 24th of last year.

But, on October 30th, I took a drag of a friend's cigarette while sitting in a hotel bar in Elko, Nevada, drinking beer.

Fuck me.

Strangely, I didn't have another cigarette until two days later, when I returned to my real job and suddenly became very depressed. I know, I know... that's not an excuse, but it's what happened, so shut up. Since then, I've had about 40 cigarettes... not a high number, given the usual number of cigarettes smokers light up in a day, but still 40 more than I hoped to have smoked in 2006.

Anyway, I only had four today, after having five yesterday. I'm going to try and keep tomorrow down to three or less. I hate being a smoker, I do. Aw, fuck it.

On the flip side of things, I'm getting real sick of cities, states, what-have-yous passing laws limiting where smokers can smoke. Seriously, at least provide loopholes so businesses can open "smoker only" establishments if they want to.

In California, I had an inkling to open a movie theater that would have one or two screens physically separate from the main cineplex and ventilated separately, and would allow smokers to smoke while watching the movie. But, no... the way the laws are set up this is completely illegal. Pretty stupid, huh? I can't fathom the idiot non-smoker that would complain about a separate building allowing smoking, but I guess they do.

That being said, even I admit that six feet between a smoking section and a non-smoking section in a restaurant doesn't quite cut it... but come on... if a business is willing to invest the money to ventilate and physically segregate the smoking section from the non, why can't they do that?

Ridiculous.

Good thing I'm temporarily broke, because I think I just pissed myself off enough to go buy a pack of smokes.

I'm so pathetic.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I Have Nothing to Say

No, really. I have nothing to say. I'm bored off my ass, the election results are starting to pour in, China is about to take over the world, Britney Spears just filed for divorce... and I have nothing to say.

I think I once told a friend of mine that the more I write "meaningfully" (i.e., things that aren't blogs), the less I blog. That seems to be the case. I just sent a script out to one of my readers last week, I'm about 25 pages and a rewrite away from sending another one, and I'm doodling all sorts of doodles in preparation for the next story I'll attempt to put to paper.

End result = boring, banal, pointless (even more so than usual) blogs.

Ah, well...

But, hey... did I mention that Britney filed for divorce?

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Army Musings

Ah, what an insane week for the military and the war-at-large... So insane, my musings actually sort of have a point today. Well, as much of a point as I give a shit about making.

The Army Times (and its sister publications) is calling for Donald Rumsfeld to step down. It's about fucking time. That dude lost my respect years ago (although he once commanded it), and I'm surprised that it took this long for a Gannett-published periodical to make such a statement. He's the symbol of everything that's wrong with what's going on over there, and yet somehow, the fucker keeps his job. Is it all his fault? No, of course not. But he's the god damned Secretary of Defense, and the captain goes down with his ship, so to speak. Bye-bye, Rummy... I hope.

Army recruiters were caught on videotape lying to potential recruits. AWESOME! While I'm against the grain on this one and believe that this is the exception and not the norm, I'm glad this shit has been exposed irrevocably. Seriously, telling a kid his or her chances of going to war are "slim to none?" The bastard who said that should be demoted and permanently assigned to Baghdad.

There's long been a myth floating around that Hollywood gets uniforms wrong "on purpose" in order to prevent actors from "impersonating military personnel." Um, yeah... anyone who believes this is an idiot. There are no such laws, Federal or State, dealing with Hollywood movies. The laws that do exist specifically restrict the impersonation of with intent to deceive. Films, inherently, are granted that exception. Sorry, servicemembers who believe this one... you're all wrong.

The Army is doing away with the sort-of-ugly-yet-full-of-history Dress Green uniforms and is going with Dress Blues for all. While I like the idea of eliminating some of the decorum from the closets of our soldiers, I'm not sure I agree with it completely. Eh, I'm on the fence... I'll address this later.

And I still think the Marine Corps should be absorbed into the Army. The opposing arguments I still get from the members of the fleet simply convince me more of this with each passing day. I'd post some of their statements, but I don't feel like insulting our boys in green today by revealing how stupid many of them are.

This war, to date, is a failure. And that's all I have to say about that.

Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen are still heroes. And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Things I've Noticed About Battlestar Galactica

Due to some (rather surprising) popular demand, I'm going to bitch about Battlestar Galactica again.

First bitch: it's a definite... the political alignment of the show has gone from interpretive moderation to a clearly left-wing slant. Hmm... could the upcoming elections possibly have anything to do with plethora of Bush-jabs found in the show? Not that I mind Bush-jabs, but come on... BSG was much better when everyone could argue about everything. TRIALS WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!??? Where the fuck did they get that idea? Hmm...

Second bitch: can we please get some character consistency? And how about some intelligence? As if any idiot couldn't have figured out Gaeta wasn't pulling some sort of strings. Oh, and how about some memory? "Trauma" or not, there's no way Tyrol's moronic wife is going to forget that somebody helped her get away. In fact, I'm pretty fucking sure she'd have mentioned it right after it happened. Which leads me to...

Third bitch: the show's writing this year is even worse than last. So far, we've had a horrible premiere, a good second episode, an okay third episode (with some inconsistent physics... BSG? Inconsistent? No...), and a crappy fourth episode. Even season two was 50-50. Oh, the good ol' days.

Fourth bitch: I finally started liking Starbuck last season, and now I hate her even more than I did before. And she's actually worse-looking with long hair. For an actress, I think that's a historical first.

Pointless Musings

Studies are now linking cell phone use to male impotence. Right on. Fuck global warning, Samsung and Nokia are killing the world one ejaculation at a time. Gross concept, isn't it? But true...

Scions have got to be the ugliest cars on the road since the old Saabs.

The new Saabs rock.

Madonna may have discovered that her name in Chichewa/Bantu means "distinguished white lady," but around me it means "arrogant, self-righteous moron." Do you feel like Angelina yet, you wannabe-Brit lunatic?

Shawne Merriman needs to just admit that he screwed up so he can quit making himself look like a jackass.

The NFL having regular season games "overseas" is pretty stupid from a fan's point of view. It's also pretty fucking smart from a businessman's point of view. Ah, how money makes the world go round.

I'm still pissed that Anaheim took the "Mighty" out of their hockey team. Bastards.

Even though he's, well, (fill in a degrading adjective here), Tom Cruise seems a rather appropriate choice to run United Artists. Quaint, somehow. But he's still a (degrading adjective).

Watch Bullrun on SpikeTV next year.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Leaving

For the second time this year, I left a job in the film industry. Yeah, this time was just a little PA work, but it was still on a set, was still an awesome time, and is still what I want to do on a permanent basis. But, I left. Not because I wanted to, mind you, but because I couldn't stay on the production for whatever reasons.

Anyway, as I was driving back to the drudgery of the so-called real world, I was hit with sort of an epiphany... leaving, and by that I mean leaving anything, really sucks. Even when where you're at is a really bad spot or who you're with is a really shitty person, leaving still sucks... well, fundamentally anyway. Why? Shit, I don't know... maybe it has something to do with a subliminal recognition of "touch and go." Maybe it's something more, something less... I don't fucking know. I just know that leaving sucks.

It's a good thing that arriving really kicks ass, or we'd be one pathetic species.

But leaving still sucks.

Irreview, Book Review: The Story of Earth

I've been a science nerd for a long, long time.  Physics was probably my favorite science subject in high school (perhaps other than oce...