Well, that was different.

• Tuesday, December 30, 2008 0 comments
Conked out at nine o'clock last night, just woke up. Nyquil is a wonderful thing.

Dreams were odd, of course. Some serial killer from Lebanon called me [not collect though, that was nice] to tell me I was next, and then Ryan Dunn and I spent all night reinforcing the house. Ended with a dissertation about how too many video games center around castles or craters.

Woke up trying to figure out how to fit Faye and Brandon into a dinner party with Brandon's parents [Re: The Trendsetter].

Probably post again later. Will admit, not posting because I was sleeping was bugging me a bit.

Shalom.

Happy birthday, Bella.

• Monday, December 29, 2008 0 comments
Fell asleep at the keyboard a couple hours ago, particularly distressing because I was sleeping mostly upright, and after about an hour of it [or so], I awoke feeling as refreshed and ready as I ever do.

This is not odd. After a project like "The Trendsetter," slipping back into a regular sleep pattern is never exactly easy. And being here, at my grandmother's, there's not exactly great opportunities to take a nice 24 hours straight to reset myself. I've honestly gotten so used to keeping up appearances, and making things look as though everything I'm doing is healthy and on the up and up, I'm just too afraid to do something like that. She worries, after all.

So, I figure, "Plan B." Micro-nap aside, I'm going to try and stick this whole day out, and hit the bed around midnight tonight. If nothing else, a couple of nights of 12-to-12 is bound to at least get me back to sleeping [mostly] at night.

Christmas came and went. I'm still processing it -- the funny thing being after the big day, after I'd stopped trying to be cheery and upbeat, it actually got a lot better. Nothing against grandma, and the little bit of family left I've seen/had, but overall the day itself and lead up was pretty depressing. Didn't see Mom. Didn't see Doug. Didn't see Aaron. And they've been Christmas for almost... sixteen years? Maybe more. I'm sort of reinventing the wheel without them.

This year, my friends picked up the pieces. Ally, Hillary, Justin, Dave and Carrie [They're engaged!], and Kyle all met up at Glen's... food, gifts, Christmas specials, it was really like shoving the whole lead-up to the holiday into the day after, and as different as it was, it was wonderful. It was just so great seeing everyone, and feeling like... they saved Christmas for me.

Christmas futures seem bleak. But Christmas present? No complaints from me.

Managed to reach a lot of people on the phone too -- not as many as I'd like, but I still managed to get through, and get a minute with Sam, Ian, and Anna. I miss them, but this was nice. I'd wish I'd reached more -- I tried so many, but...ah, it's a very busy day.

And presents! I didn't expect presents at all, really didn't want anyone to get me anything, but now I've got new headphones from Hillary, a new grocery bag and some awesome [custom] ATB stickers from Glen, a scarf and fingerless gloves and a shirt from Ally, trading cards of my friends [and me as Hunter!] from Justin, and the previously blogged about Thompson book from Ian. And DVD's, Dave got me the Ric Flair Collection [so much NWA wrestling I grew up on], and Carrie got me the old "Mortal Kombat" movie -- a guilty pleasure if ever there was one. Hell, I don't feel that guilty about it -- that flick is better than it has any right to be. As soon as I can get out, I'll be having "The Dark Knight" join them too -- with the combined Christmas cash I've managed to scrape together.

Man. In better [monetary] times, I've got some pretty kick-ass gifts to make up for.

And then, the next day, there was "The Spirit"[good times], and loaded cheese fries on MMA night at "Quaker State and Lube."

Now, to what comes next. I guess Ally's sticking around for the rest of the week, so at least that gives me one friend very nearby for short-notice get togethers, and there are New Years plans in the works, despite the loss of my little house to my familia shit-storms. These are very good things, since post-"Trendsetter," which is actually far from being "post" in any real way, I have the overwhelming urge to find something useless and fun to do to make up for all this time I've spent obsessing. I don't even know what, but I feel like it has to be awful -- like a Degrassi marathon, or something equally stupid. I want an activity that's pure enjoyment, and as far away from this keyboard as possible.

Other notes. Failed miserable at my Joshi-related plans. I'd have to watch near-nonstop between now and New Years to make my quota, and that doesn't even take into account if anything new's been posted. Wrestling in Japan tends to slow down near Christmas, but it never stops.

Today was sort of a downer, but expected. I had a good time the past several days, and a big of a "down period" was expected. Highs balancing out the lows, and all that. Got better later, talked to Ian for a long time this evening. Always good to catch up. We talked a lot about the "sacrifices" of choosing our particular vocations and being young, single, and just a little mad in rural and suburban areas. Things like never getting to date casually, the lack of that "art people" vibe, no one who seems even close to the allure of "Bennington girls" [someone should remind me to send a note to Lex Friedman I think I put a little of her into my "Faye" character in the Trendsetter. I only wish I knew her better]... you know, nothing real, no serious deprivation... not children starving in China or the horrors of Darfur by any stretch. But its sort of cool, a little like-minded bitching. And it was nice to tell someone about all the progress on the script, and he complimented the blog, which... I still don't know entirely what it's for, but its good someone likes it.

Saw on the news that Nintendo is weaponizing the Wii remote for the Pentagon. Just let that settle in for a minute. Still not entirely sure what it means. If I get some links, I'll throw them up for kicks.

Speaking of links, been listening to my friend Andrew's first LP. I would definitely recommend it... it is the first thing of his I've actually sat down and listened too proper-like, and some of the tracks, particularly "Malodor," has really stuck with me.

Glen has some new shirts up over on his blog. I like both of these a lot, and my "wish list" for splitreason.com gear just keeps getting larger. I dig the Kraken one mostly because it's black, and because the subject matter freaks me out in the best way -- and the Street Fighter one is obvious in its awesomeness, I think. I actually went back on Justin's arcade machine and picked up Alpha after Glen's design reminded me of the coolness of those games -- god, the four button KOF games have really spoiled me. Even as Sakura, I suck.

PBS has been showing "Prime Suspect : The Final Act" on Masterpiece Theatre. Can't recommend it enough -- seems the Brits even know how to do a police procedural better than we do. Especially like how it's shot... that darker, grittier look TV has over there. Plus, I've got a bit of a thing for Helen Mirren, full disclosure.

Today is going to go a bit long, I'm guessing. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Have some notes on "The Trendsetter" for draft #3, but I'm in no hurry to get started. Kyle gave me a couple of weeks to convalesce, and its my intention to try and do just that. Wanted to listen to Regina Spektor for the first time in ages this morning, and to do that, I need to finally get my external hard drive in order so iTunes can work it's magic. And Kaki King... oh, I've got a hankering to hear her music again, and in the first time in awhile, a little pocket change to get her "not-so-new-anymore" new album. Would like to put some time in on a different writing project too, but... Christ, I'm still so burned out.

This is one of those blog entries I wish had a little more style to it. I'm fumbling badly, just because I'm tired. In Hunter's letters, it was still so interesting -- so him. I wish I was like that, and I hate showing myself before I get to that level. Then again, heroes aside, I can only be me. He says, as he ends with...

Shalom.

All these things I left behind.

• Thursday, December 25, 2008
Even after all this time, I’m still not used to the grind of the city. The ferry is nice, but the subway is terrifying, and I know she’s been annoyed with me every time I’ve shoved her in a yellow cab. But she is my wife, dammit, and I’m not going to let her sit next to vagrants and, worse, nine-to-fivers. Especially not while she’s carrying my child.

In its way, it is amazing how beautiful it made her. There’s even more confidence [if that’s possible], and she hasn’t once complained about the weight. No, she weathers it all, like it was her true calling in life, like in one stroke she can make up all the hurt and sadness of life – not replace, but balance the loss she’s felt. And women balancing things shall not be fucked with, especially on Christmas day.

So, she gets me on that screaming metal tube, because she has somewhere to take, and I’m not supposed to know, and none of my kicking or screaming or hickish upbringing will stop her. And yes, I love her for that, too.

It’s Christmas in the city. It looks so funny with the snow. Not cleaner, necessarily, but dressed up… ready to be taken someplace nice, for a change. I reminds me too much of myself, back in my 20’s, with my black coat, putting me in a nicer package than I deserved.

We get off at a ferry. She laughs, because I don’t know which one, and then admits we’re going to see the statue, which had just reopened a few years before. I’d been, once, in high school, but it had already been locked up then, the symbol of freedom off limits to its people. Hilarious, and sad.

She was a little further along than expected, and it was quickly apparent the stairs were a no-go. She almost cried when she realized, and I held her, and reminded her it was just the hormones, and it wasn’t a big deal. I tried to smile to make her feel better, which she laughed at, and we both decided to play it off as something too touristy for us to do. And we’d treat the whole thing as some strange mistake, which we realized was below us right as we’d actually begun to do it. Dodged a bullet, is how we’d tell it.

It was hardly the only reason we were visiting. We had come to see her family for the holidays after all, and though neither of us said so, to start making the plans to move. There was life to be brought-up here, and despite my little discomfort, nothing had felt so right to me in the world. But she was unsure, not because of any doubts in herself – she’d said, prior to us even getting together, that this was the place she wanted to raise her children – but rather because my looks of trepidation still slipped out every time I had to navigate a crowd to cross a street. I tried to reassure her. I imagined, by the baby shower, I’d probably have her convinced.

Merry Christmas.

The Trendsetter - Episode 3, Return of the Dark Side to Revenge Something that May Have Happened with Cowboys and Nazis in the Yet Made Prequels.

• Wednesday, December 24, 2008 0 comments
Kyle got back to me today [Re: The Trendsetter]. I think it really lived up to his expectations. He's really excited about the script [described himself as giddy, hah], seems like he really gets where I'm going with it, and I was glad for that. By the end, I wound up putting a lot of myself into it, mostly just so it would live up to my own standards, and... I don't know. There are no problems with me, it seems. Or none that aren't entertaining. Kyle's also planning [hoping?] to get this guy involved... which is probably bad etiquette to name drop him at this point, but I need to learn these things some way.

Of course, there's still a lot of work to be done. A lot of drafts left. I know I'll need at least 24 pages... if not more. I have a few ideas, but really, I'm still just so spent and empty from what I've done so far. Kyle seemed to pick up on this, told me to take a couple weeks, rest, get my shit in order. I do have more than a few things to work on instead. Plus it would be nice to chill a bit. I wish there was more room between Christmas and New Year's though. May explain that later.

One thing -- Kyle isn't crazy about the title. This was sort of expected, just odd to hear, as I've been using it for so long [well, not that long]. No crisis, as I'm not really attached to "The Trendsetter" as a title, but I'm not able to come up with anything much better either. I'm hoping, in the new pages, something good will work itself out. Speculation on a future post?

You're damn right.

Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and while I'm pretty sure I'll have time, I don't know that I'll post anything, and am sure nothing will get put up on Christmas. I mean, Santa might drop something off, but nothing from me.

Cheers.

"The Trendsetter" -- Second Draft.

• Monday, December 22, 2008 2 comments
Just sent the second draft of "The Trendsetter" off to Kyle.

Not much to say, admittedly. I think I'm more tired now than I was after finishing the thing the first time.

Hope he likes it.

Cheers.

"The Trendsetter" -- First Draft.

• Sunday, December 21, 2008 0 comments
Page count for the first draft of "The Trendsetter" is 66 pages.

Middle ground between the 40 I thought I'd wind up with, and the 80 it was looking like a few days ago. Could have been more, but I cut a little fat today. Made it look presentable.

Are there problems with it? Quite a few. I wouldn't call it so much a movie as a series of conversations in screenplay form. And there are a few things I did in it that were just plain lazy, because I couldn't think of anything else to do in some situations. And don't even get me started on the dialogue.

Rhythm isn't perfect yet. And characters ramble on in big, nigh-unsolicited chunks of text like I wrote this back in my high school-era Kevin Smith ripoff days.

And then there's the ending. I might have to talk at length about the ending.

God I'm tired. The past few days have been too much activity and not enough sleep. Posting this feels like a chore.

But I got it. Now, comes the rest, other drafts, fixing it, etc. Kyle will need to see it. I will likely wait a few days. Let things ruminate. I may think of something. Might get around to tweaking the dialogue.

Wish I could celebrate. I guess I can. It's almost Christmas, after all. Think I'm going to try and get some sleep right now.

Shalom.

I lied. Again.

• Saturday, December 20, 2008 1 comments
Could not sleep for a panic attack. Not even sure what caused it, but the shaking was ungodly distracting and my mind and heart were racing. Knew sleep wasn't happening. Had a bowl of potatoes [you've got me] and some coffee, and opted to put some time into the screenplay [Re: The Trendsetter].

Page count stands at 61 pages. And I've typed the "[THE END]," though I'm going to admit there is probably going to be another 5-10 pages before I call this a draft. Not the 80 I expected it to be [my math is garbage], but still a lot more than the 40 I originally was aiming for.

So, I'm at half-feature length. This makes sweating it back down to a short more likely, but lets wait until I get what I'd consider "first draft" before I make that call. Plus, Kyle still gets a say [he told me a lot about his plans for the script today, still having not seen it, and I may post that in a little bit. We'll see], and I actually have an idea in my head for bringing the protagonist's parents into the film. To do so would take some drastic re-writes, but on the other hand... might be worth. Especially since I begin with a one-off about them, and never revisit it.

The new stuff is good. I mean, I like it, though I'm worried it moves a little fast. We'll see.

I got my first Christmas present in the mail today. I was hoping no one would get me anything, but I can't honestly say I don't like getting presents, and this one was pretty cool.

To understand the significance, you got to understand the sort of story behind the gift. Last year, while I was working at the bookstore, I came across a "Never-find-it-if-you-were-looking" Woody Allen book that was just a big long interview with said famous director. I thought of my friend Ian specifically for it -- he loves Allen, I mean, I do to, but Ian's a huge fan, and at the time he was considering doing this isolation/sleep study, and I figured the man could use something awesome to read while off in dream land. So, even though I really only got to buy for like...half of the people I wanted to last year, Ian got the Woody Allen book by surprise, and not to toot my own horn, but I think he really dug it.

So fast-forward to today, and who should the package in my mailbox be post-marked from other than Ian, and since I was in no way going to wait until Christmas to find out what was inside, I dug in like a six year old on...well, Christmas, and found a book filled with interviews by one of my favorites, and the man this blog is named for -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. It's a miracle of my self-control it didn't all get read in one night, and I am writing this here instead of thanking him write away only because I owe him a longer e-mail, and naturally, with the screenplay, I've just yet to get to it. So thank you, Ian. Expect a more personal gesture of gratitude later, of course, but wow. This book is just fucking cool, and plus, coming from Ian, everything from the package to book itself had in-jokes and nice sentiments on it.

Message to anyone who gives me books. Notes are good. I should post what John wrote on the Amazon package he sent me for my "birthday."

Nothing I just wrote should be encouragement for other people to get me something, though.

I should write more here about Thompson sometime. Can't tell you how much I wish he was still alive. If only I'd have gotten to talk to him once... I know it sounds strange, but I feel like he would know, or understand what's bugging me so much these days. And he could tell me something to set me on the right path. Or something. I swear, I look in the mirror, and wish I was looking at him. Imagine it sounds odd... wishing a drug-addled journalist was around to tell me whats best. Should go into greater detail later, but... I guess the short answer is he's just one of my favorite writers. And kind of my hero.

God, I feel wasted. Spent physically, mentally, emotionally, for a variety of reasons. I wonder if I'll be able to get some sleep. Feels like there's still way too much to do with the script, still.

More later. And soon.

Rob Liefield German S*** Porn Variant Trading Card

• Friday, December 19, 2008 0 comments
I don't know why I censored that.

I've been up something like 36+ hours. I should really call it quits right now, but I felt compelled to keep at the updates.

To "The Trendsetter" script, even with the Holidays, I have an expectation of getting to restart/finish off my first draft of the project Monday. Yes, it speaks greatly to how little I'm doing for Christmas. But this is what it is, and barring another serious bout with the depression, or Mom and Doug asserting themselves into the Christmas picture abruptly, this is the date I'm working for.

So the hiatus will continue, at least until Sunday. It will be nice, I think, to get out from under it a couple of days, as if anyone is reading, I was getting pretty...weary. Not saying my feelings have changed, just going to try and do something about the stress factor.

No clue if it'll work.

Some linkage, to end us up. Glen's got a new shirt, and some happy feelings about the holidays here. If you're a Moby Dick fan and a video game fan, I think this shirt is a must have. Makes me wish I'd have asked for it for Christmas. Santa doesn't do well with last second changes, I've been told.

Not much else. Most other blogs have been slow -- rightfully so, as my manic updates have only served to show how much of Christmas isn't going as planned. It's a busy time of the year. I will rock some new links soon.

All dorm rooms look the same -- a hiatus.

• Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3 comments
Though I tried, no new pages [Re: The Trendsetter]. Holding at 48.

Will be taking a short break. Justin wants to go out tomorrow. Friday, I have also been told there are plans. Thursday, I have the sneaking suspicion I will have to do laundry.

I am still hoping to have a draft soon. Actually told Kyle it wouldn't take me until Christmas. It seems there is truly no end to my idiocy.

Should be back in a day or so. Hopefully, something will give, and I'll finish up soon.

Christmas is almost here. I apologize to my friends reading this -- there was no miracle this year, and I have screwed the holiday up beyond repair. Sadly, there will be no gifts. I have a feeling that probably disappoints me more than everyone else, but still.

I will try to stay upbeat. Too many hate what is a wonderful holiday. I am a cynic, but not a monster. Or, more appropriately, a "Grinch" or a "Scrooge." Honestly, when I was younger, I never got that -- both of those characters came around in the end.

Cheers.

Still here.

• Tuesday, December 16, 2008 0 comments
I feel like I'm gonna throw up.

Page count update [Re: The Trendsetter] is at 48 in the proper-sized font.

My absence from the blog has been due to a number of things [I know I actually only missed a day or so]. I have been working, but have been tossing out a great deal of what I've been writing. I think as far as this idea and I am concerned, we're finally on the outs. I really am starting to believe I've done a horrible job at translating what is a very natural and possibly even commercial idea and turned it instead into utter garbage.

My idea was simple enough. Take the premise, and apply it to a guy who's lost everything. Show him with his back against the wall, with nowhere to turn -- and then, show him take his one last, great stab at killing the problem. Then, fast forward one year, and show how he's made an indelible mark on the world around him, and yet, his life has not improved. From there, make each scene like a boxer in a boxing match, blow after blow after blow, and with each one, have the audience ask the question not if he'll make it through this, but what will put him down. And in the end, give them hope.

And here I am two [actually three, technically four, but one is just a hallway shot and a callback to something earlier, so three] scenes from being finished, and I can't help but feel I've fucked the whole thing up in the worst possible way. And I'm going to finish, of course, I am 50 pages in, with probably just a little over 20 to go, and I know exactly what are in these last pages, if the execution isn't entirely clear yet, and it will be done.

And it's not the end of the world, because Kyle still gets a stab at a draft or six, and I am sure I'll show it to people who will help, but I just can't begin to explain how utterly discouraged I am with it right now -- as I can't begin to show, even with what I've written here, how many times I've looked at my notes and my outline and thought that this was a story that was whole and needed to be told. I just wanted it to have that spark that a first draft should have. That "this is terrible, but its perfect" feeling, that "this is god awful, but the potential is limitless." And I don't have that with this.

I don't even know if the characters are there. I see them. So much feels so nuanced, I can't imagine anyone can read this and see what I see. God dammit.

The rest of the past several days have went to not sleeping at night, catching naps during the day, and watching "Breaking Bad." Now there is a TV show that knew exactly what I was doing. The problem was, in my script, I didn't want my guy to punch back.

Because isn't that the way it really works? Most people don't take it, and take it, and take it, until they can't take it anymore. Most take it until it devours them, until its too late to strike back. Isn't that interesting?

Or can I just not make it interesting?

This is probably less serious than I'm making it. And I've already got some notes to go back on, to try and put the script upright again.

I think a lot about what others will say. About how nothing in it really happens. Maybe I need the longevity to be a novel writer instead. I can't ever see that, though.

Went back in the blog today. Kyle gave me the proposal idea for "The Trendsetter" roughly four months ago. I had, at the time, assured him I could have it done in roughly a month a half. You notice I say in my post I might have a draft is a couple of days. What the hell was I thinking?

Timing is everything in this line of work. In school, I finished feature screenplays, each around 100-120 pages, in about four and half months. This was supposed to be a short, and it's taken me almost that amount of time to get the gluttonous 50 I have tonight. Take in to consideration I also had the first draft on "The Familiar" done in about two weeks time. That's makes the time it took to do this deplorable.

On the other hand, Bennington's screenwriting class had us on a break-neck semester-long pacing, and I had two classes a week in which to talk and think about screenplays. A friend in film school tells me it is not unreasonable for it to take nine months to a year to finish a movie. By those standards, it's less terrible the time it's taken me to do this. Add in that, even though it took only four months to finish "Un-filmable," I didn't get what I'd call "Final draft" on it until Anna looked at it less than a couple months ago. "Beatnik Grunge" was so terrible that I abandoned it completely, and "The Familiar" is still in its infancy... I may not get back to it for another couple of years.

But then you look at that, and realize in the time since I learned screenwriting [second year of college], I've only made it to [THE END] of a screenplay three times. That's been over four years. I suck.

Then again, during that time, I also had other classes, and have worked extensively on comic books. I've only produced produced one [working on number two], but still, there's been about twenty scripts there, each about a half a movie long. Plus other things I've started, stopped, might pick up later.

And when I did those other films, I had Sam, Ian, Julia, Casey, and Anna all helping me. All getting me through the manic bits and the fear and loathing. And I had things to do, and I was unhappy, but I wasn't as ungodly miserable as I am now. There were regular distractions. I had more people on hand. Sex was more readily available, as was pizza.

I don't know. Even with all that, it doesn't seem good enough. Why do I have an ego at all?

It's 7:00 o'clock in the a.m. as I'm typing this, or roundabout then. Too late to go to sleep, I think, but I don't know if I have it in me to write more this morning. I think the seven pages I got that I'm keeping [for now] have been a blessing.

Did I mention I missed a whole scene? Skipped, actually, so unlike me. Logistically, it doesn't matter much, I mean, the script moves fine without it, but I really needed one more straw, you know? So when the camel's back breaks, it doesn't seem to come out of nowhere. I should have had the protagonist just not go to sleep. Then it wouldn't seem so terrible for him to start the day more miserably than the night before. I'd change it, but be damned, I just don't think there's any non-schlock way to show such a thing.

I will likely finish without it, and see what others have to suggest. I know what I want there. I just can't put it together.

More later. Hopefully soon.

I am an idiot.

• Friday, December 12, 2008 0 comments
I am an idiot.

I really, really am.

Made a novice mistake today. If you've been following the blog, then you know at my last posting my page count [Re: The Trendsetter] was at 32 -- "fat and healthy 32," I think I said. I knew from my outline I had five scene left to go, and since I was shooting for around forty, after some healthy "scene sweating" [removing unnecessary bits to help lessen the page count -- think like an MMA fighter trying to cut weight], so I figured I'd have roughly 15-20 pages left to go. These parts of the story I have the least amount of work on paper for, but have had in my head for several months now, and since I'd woken up with a pretty strong feeling that I could finish the screenplay's first draft off before Friday came, I decided to dive right in.

Now, the first of the five scenes I was writing only recently made it into the cut, and was inspired by an off-handed remark John had made while helping me through my writer's block earlier in the process. Wanting to make sure I got the spirit of what we'd been talking about, I tried to find the word document that I had stashed the IM log in for reference later. By accident, I opened up an earlier draft of the script I'd done months ago [it sucked, even compared to what I'm doing now], and as I went to close it, I noticed something wasn't... quite... right.

The font was wrong -- or actually, the font was right -- and great big Courier Style 12 point was staring me dead in the face. Now, the reason this looked wrong to me? For various reasons, partly because I don't like looking at sized-12 style retard font and partly because page counts come out better in comic book scripts this way, I tend to write my screenplays in Courier size 10, and at the end of the ordeal, I'll pop it up to 12 and number the pages properly.

Now, I can't fathom why I would forget this -- probably the feeling shitty, lack of sleep, adrenaline, etc, but basically what this means is yesterday's reported 32 pages is actually 41 pages. That's already one page over what I was shooting for, and there are still five scenes, and roughly 20 pages left to do.

In size 10 font. Which means it's closer to 30. Which means first draft on "The Trendsetter" will come out just shy of 80 pages. Which would put it just about 20 pages short of feature length when I'm finished with it.

I'm an idiot.

So, after I'm done, I either have to find a way to flush some 40+ odd pages out to get it back to being an "Untitled Short," or just say the hell with it, and make it an honest-to-god movie.

The upside is, a lot of this is going to be up to Kyle. But I still have to tell him what I'd recommend doing, and right now, I just have no fucking clue. Other than maybe finding a rail spike, and slamming it through my right eye repeatedly.

I understand its hard to understand exactly why this is a problem. More pages, in theory, sounds like a good thing. But just the fact that I made this mistake, is well... it's amateur night, is what it is.

So I didn't get a lot of chance to work on this today. Definitely not 20 [30 in the right font] pages. Spent several hours talking to Sam on AIM. I had my away message up, but she, luckily, tried me anyway, and even though I probably should have been more vigilant in the writing, I don't get to talk to her enough.

After that, I opened the damn file, and I just looked at the script for a couple hours. Just looked. Can't even tell you if I read it. But I definitely didn't add any pages.

More later.

Progression.

• Thursday, December 11, 2008 1 comments
Nine more pages [Re: The Trendsetter]. Puts the total at 32. And this isn't a term paper's "32" either. It's nice, fat, and healthy.

There's five scenes left to write, and I will likely go over my intended 40. That said, there's probably a lot that can be taken out. The downside to 50-60 is that it's too long for a short, too short for a feature. I'm sure I'll be able to hash it out -- Kyle hasn't even gotten a shot at it yet.

Rough evening. Think I pissed off a friend. In my defense, I am an absolute mess. Think bottom floor right now for me is that feeling you get in your stomach the first time you watched "Rudy." Still, no excuse for it, I should be nicer, kinder. I will have to think of some way to make it up to her.

John posted this comment on my last blog:

"Some of those glaring holes won't be apparent to the audience. Hitchcock was always furious over problems in his films that no one else noticed.

Here's hoping you're the new Hitchock!"

Jesus God man, no pressure. I thought that was cool to find out though. Had never heard that about Hitchcock before, and I'm not exactly a light weight when it comes to Hitchcock trivia.

I think I might start answering comments to previous blogs here. No one really ever goes back to check comments, I don't think Google alerts anybody or anything, and Glen and John comment too often for me to not want to make them feel special.

Ah, and my eBay items all lapsed again last night. I guess there won't be a Christmas this year. When I stop to think about that, I'm going to feel a lot worse.

I envy my friends who can draw. Writing things for people as a gift just doesn't have style a cool picture does.

Shalom.

Running Tally.

• Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1 comments
Five more pages today [Re : The Trendsetter]. Puts the total at 23 pages. Looking forward to writing the next part quite a bit.

Not much else to say. Having the usual doubts about the work already, some more warranted than usual here. Noticing a lot of problems, not sure if it's my fault, or if the idea can only be stretched so far the way I'm using it. Trying not to think about it. Anxious to get finished... the screenplays flaws strike me as glaring right now, but I've chosen to leave them until the end. Get through the work first, then patch the holes. Plus, once I get some more eyes on it, I'll know what holes really need patched.

Emotionally, I'm a mess, not just from this. Nauseated, sad. Zip from that to the writing high. I guess I'm lucky I can still impress myself. Going to try and get a few hours sleep after this.

Shalom.

Trendsetter Updates

• Tuesday, December 9, 2008 0 comments
Running a bit on autopilot right now. This will be short and sweet.

Current [computer!] page count for "The Trendsetter" is 18 pages.

At the moment, my guess is this "short" will be about 40 pages in all. So roughly half-way. Check back for more updates. Should see a finished draft on this [that's not on legal pad] in the next week or so.

But I have been wrong before.

Shalom.

I couldn't catch a break in some... crazy, nigh-omnipresent catching implement... thing.

• Saturday, December 6, 2008 0 comments
Strange day.

Got my comics today. Merry Christmas. Read Runaways, The Boys, Ex Machina, Green Lantern Corps while waiting on my dad to have an MRI done. He's fine, fine being relative, and allowing for the fact that his rotary cuff is torn all to hell. I feel bad for him, but I'm also glad he's taking steps to get better. Pain is sometimes easier to live with than we let on.

Having trouble with the script [Re: The Trendsetter] the past couple of days, in a way I've been trying to cover up with nonchalance here. Nothing's really changed -- I have the notes, and I've been staring at Word for hours, trying to feed one thing through the other, and just be done. It reminds me a little of when I took C++ coding in high school, as no matter what I do, something in the programming is just off, and makes absolutely nothing come out right.

I should have worked on it more tonight. My heart just wasn't in it. For a couple of different reasons, some of them so lame I can't even call them "excuses."

A lot of it's to do with not having a laptop. What sort of prick am I? But still, this desktop, I can't take it anywhere, I can't change scenery at all with it [though I swear to god, if it belonged to me, I'd have back mounted the hard drive and carried the damn monitor and keyboard into another room by now, Hunter-style]. I feel so tied down to the same spot, and with almost zero privacy. And this desk isn't a writer's desk -- there are no working pens, no place to sit a legal pad. And it's not my desk, so I can't even change shit around. It's stupid that it bothers me this much.

But I just can't seem to sleep enough, can't get de-stressed, can't point my wandering mind in the right direction, can't get enough of a break, can't get in front of a TV playing "Law and Order" or "NCIS" or "Viva La Bam" [the old mediation stations], can't focus, can't shape the scenes and the conversations into their funny, quick-witted, charming, you're-gonna-love-these-characters-even-if-you-hate-them selves.

And yeah, I know it's arrogant as hell to sound so sure that I do that, but I do, I have before. Those are not my deficiencies as a writer. They're my strengths. Where are my strengths?

I know I can do this. I want to. I know part of my hangup is that I put this damn December deadline on myself. This should just come. I can be a goddamn working-schlub of a writer. I can't just be a flash of inspiration and momentum art house writer, who'll do five things in his whole life which will just be labelled "potential."

Or maybe I am. But dammit. This needs to step up and be one of the five.

Still just so damn upset that Christmas has went all tits up. And that I'm still working on this, when so much of the work has already been done. And Dad being hurt, and Mom being... well, Mom.

Taking steps to try and kick myself in gear. Can dig up "Juno," "Clerks," I downloaded "Haggard," and my external still has the "Breaking Bad" Justin gave me. It's a strange collection, but if it could get that rhythm going in my head again... And if any one's out there, I could really use someone to chat me up, not about this, but just something to make me feel better, get me talking, remembering what conversation's like again.

I hate that I can't run on cruise control. Hate.

Be back tomorrow. Hopefully, things change. Or not.

Christ.


P.S.

Justin has put up a whole layout for a page [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. His post on it's here. It's probably my favorite he's done yet, just really great stuff on a page I thought would be too crowded. He really pulled it off, though.

On a personal note, stuff like this is great for me, because it really gives me a better idea what can and can't fit on a page in a comic, which makes layouts while writing it a lot easier, and cuts down my nervousness when I'm trying to fit everything in.

My Christmas list.

• Thursday, December 4, 2008 2 comments
Cheryl called today -- for those who don't know, Cheryl is the wonderful woman who owns the local comic shop, and she keeps my meager pull-list of comics for me, and doesn't mind that I only really make it in to pick them up every two months.

On one hand, her timing couldn't be worse, but it couldn't really be better either. I am absolutely broke, but my grandmother asked the day before what I wanted for Christmas, and well, the last two months worth of my comics doesn't seem like such a bad deal. On one hand, I feel like I'm just delaying the inevitable, as with no work on the horizon, I doubt I'll be able to afford these comics too long into the New Year, but on the other hand... I like getting "Runaways," "Ex Machina," and "The Boys" too much month to month, and as poor as I am, I'd like to keep getting them until there is absolutely no way to anymore.

Ah. Only bill I have left, and the only thing I have left to look forward too. As much as I hate feeling sorry for myself, man, that thought makes me blue.

Other things. I re-posted all my eBay stuff again, slashed prices like crazy, hoping to hope that this time they'll sell, and that some Christmas, while not the "ideal Christmas" would be better than none. Click here to see the full listing. For what we'll call "shits and giggles" I'm also going to list each individual item here, and if any of the three people who read this knows someone who might be interested in any of these items, they'll have some links.

1. Extensive Collection of DC Comic's "Swamp Thing" [a great deal of which is from Alan Moore's run on the title]
2. Less-extensive, but still large Marvel Comics "Doctor Strange" Collection
3. DC/Vertigo "The Dreaming" Series -- based on the characters of Neil Gaiman
4. DC Direct "Superman as Shazam" Toyfare Exclusive Action Figure
5. DC Direct "Jack Knight Starman" Action Figure
6. Marvel Comics Presents #72 Wolverine : Weapon X
7. Ultimate Spider-Man #79 [Wizard World Sketch Variant cover, 2005]
8. Spider-Man 30th Anniversary Comics - Amazing Spider-Man #365, Web of Spider-Man #90, Spectacular Spider-Man #189, and Spider-Man #26
9. X-Men Alpha and X-Men Omega [1994]
10. Valiant Comics "Turok, Dinosaur Hunter" #1
11. Kinda Scenester/Hipster/Punker Jacket

So that's my wares. All prices are well under list prices for the comics. Important to note, this isn't some plea to get my friends to buy this stuff... would defeat the purpose if I got my Christmas money from someone I was trying to buy a Christmas gift for. But if you know someone who might be interested in this stuff, and just hasn't seen it on eBay, because let's face it, my search results suck, then let them know.

I don't expect this second posting to sell much better than the first, but I figured it was worth a shot. Can't do anything with the nine extra bucks, anyway.

I suppose coming to this blog it always looks like I'm a little fixated on the shopping/money part of Christmas, and in a way, I suppose I am. Though there's a nice, long list of reasons why I love this holiday, the rampant, and ultimately forgivable materialism is pretty high on the list. While I've certainly heard people damn this time of year for that, I always found it charming. I like giving gifts, and like showing the people I love a special affection around this time of the year. It is regrettable that I can't also have dinner with these people, have a Christmas party with them, spend Christmas Eve or day with them, etc, but distance and other commitments tend to keep these things from happening . And since I'm not what most would consider particularly affectionate, taking the time to get something for someone that I think they'd enjoy... well, that just means a lot to me, even though in someways it feels like the very least I can do.

It's funny. If the world was a little more Dickensian, I could see myself on Christmas day in a top hat and tails with a big sack on my back going door to door and sharing good cheer. Admittedly, in a "Christmas Carol" things come across as simpler -- a wreath, some whisky, new music for the piano, or coal for the fire. I guess Tiny Tim would be a bit easier to buy for. But still, it's that feeling, that "spirit of giving" as I'm sure the greeting cards have already started to sing, that just has always seemed like something I'd like to have, or be a part of.

This, sadly, is not my Christmas, and likely won't ever be. But sometimes, getting as close as we can means something. I hope.

Try to cheer myself up a little now.

I try not to ask for things for Christmas. Generally speaking, giving gifts means more to me than getting them, and getting people things usually consumes me pretty well, and I don't think too much about what I want. But considering my current situation of not being able to shop for my loved-ones, and the immense amount of time I have for self-reflection these days, I thought I'd make another list [as seems to be theme of the day], of some of things that I'd like. Not a long list, really, and nothing I actually expect to get. But it's fun to hope.

"Dear Santa -- It's been a bit. Don't need much this year. A new scarf would be cool, but I certainly don't need one. I wouldn't mind a pair of gloves, a fingerless pair, like the hobos and the hipsters have, that aren't mittens, which I'm sure would make them impossible to find. But that's what elves are for, hah. I need a new hoodie, a pull-over, my old one is gone now, and happily serving it's new owner as warmly as it did me, I hope. I could also use some new headphones -- the earbuds from my shuffle are the old types, and have rubbed my ears raw on the inside, so a more comfortable pair with a little more cord would be nice.

And the last thing is a little esoteric, but I'm sure it wouldn't take up too much room in your sack. I'd like some new canvas shopping bags, without a logo of a particular store on them, since as odd as it sounds I don't like using "Kroger's" bags in Smith, and vice-versa, and having two kinds just seems ridiculous. If you could find something awesome for the decal on the side, that would be great [non-seasonal though! I know how you like to stick holly on things], but not necessary at all.

Thanks, and if you can't make it this year, I certainly understand. I've moved around a lot, and there are a lot of kids who need you more. Sorry it's been so long. Give your wife my love.

Merry Christmas,
Randall"

Shalom.

On the backs of giants.

• Wednesday, December 3, 2008 0 comments
I don't have much to post today. I haven't talked to anyone, or done anything, and none of my eBay stuff sold, which puts my Christmas very high in doubt, which just makes me feel... shitty. But instead of my usual lamenting here, I thought I'd just toss up some links of my friends, who have far happier/funnier things going on.

First up is what I'm calling "The Triumph of Justin" -- as last night, apparently, Justin built a flash player without using flash. He explains it better than I ever could, but the journal entry is just... keenly interesting. Real conflict/protagonist/antagonist kind of stuff going on. Check it out.

Then, Sam has put up a neat little bit of animation about her beau and their kitty... gotta get this girl back doing comics again, so I can be involved in something this awesome.

One of my favorite shirt designs by Glen has finally went up for sale, and if not for the money woes, I'd have one on it's way to the house now. Glen celebrates and provides a link to get it here. I seriously love the picture more every time I see it.

And finally [last but not least!], a couple of Bathroom Monologues deserve sharing. Here and here. Which is not to say all of John's stuff doesn't usually deserve sharing, but I can't stump for him every time he does something awesome, or I'd be stumping all the time.

On some other news -- last night I started my "joshi puroresu" [Re: Japanese Women's Wrestling] trek, or really started it, as most of what I'd partaken in was just Youtube matches I'd gotten over at http://joshipuro.blogspot.com/. So, last night, I watched a battle royal from NEO which was [sorry] god-awful, and two single matches from Sendai's Jaja Uma Tournament -- DASH Chisako v. Kana and Tyrannasaurus Okuda v. Hanako Kobayashi -- which were excellent. So now I've gotten a start, and am hoping to finish out the year in Joshi well before January. And then, I'll be all caught up.

Also, I've got a new resolution of something to start reading/trying out. Andrew is one of my fellow Bennington alums who's got a little blogspot blog he calls "The Solo Project" and it's my intention now to make some time, grab my headphones, and catch up on all the music he's put up over there. Since finding the blog over Facebook, I've been meaning to give it a listen, I just...suck at this.

And I plan on hunting down/trying out some of the other stuff my fellow art school alums are doing too, as I think I'm just now getting comfortable with old friends' success when considering my own lack of success. Which is a whole other post, when I finally get comfortable talking about it.

And that's probably going to mean getting on Myspace.

Shalom.

Not the problem it was supposed to be.

• Tuesday, December 2, 2008 1 comments
Finally slept , conked out from like 6 am to 4 pm. Still tired today, but it was real sleep, and that means the insomnia wasn't here to stay.

Well, what are you doing still up at 6 am writing in your blog then?

Mind your business, that's what.

The past couple days have actually been more productive than I thought when it comes to "The Trendsetter." While I'm no closer to committing the work to the script on a keyboard, the sporadic notes from my "barely-awake-can't-sleep-feel-like-shit" scribbling have given me a lot to work with that I just wasn't aware I was doing, and I think the final product is going to look a little Kevin Smith/Clerks-esque, which while not odd for my work, hasn't been so brazen in it's execution in the past few years. But in a good way, I think. Outline's done, I've got great background on the characters, and with the exception of the final two fight scenes [not what you're thinking], I've more or less got things laid out in a way I haven't since I wrote "The Familiar" a year+ ago.

Thinking realistically about the timetables, I'm not sure when I'll be able to top the script off though. Tuesday is completely shot -- I'm going to bed after this, will likely sleep late, and I think my grandmother wants to put the Christmas tree up. House is on, and my eBay sales wind up late tomorrow night, so... I'm having trouble believing I'll get anything constructive done tomorrow. But who knows?

Shalom.