What my week went to.

• Saturday, February 28, 2009 1 comments
I have never understood why I hallucinate during a fever. I'm told it's atypical. I have always assumed it was some strange combination of my overactive imagination and my tendency towards nightmares when I dream, but no one's ever seemed alarmed by it, and I've always been able to recognize what I was seeing wasn't real. So I figure they're not dangerous.

Couple nights ago, however, I took no comfort in the fact that the brunette sitting at the foot of my bed watching over me wasn't real. Knowing I was just making it all up was actually worse -- like a cruel taunt, one that only made me feel more alone.

Which is just...stupid. When I'm sick, I'd rather be left alone. It's my way.

Anyway, I'm back, I'm not so sick anymore, and whatever the swelling on my neck was, it's almost completely gone, and doesn't hurt. Other than the swelling and my fever, the rest of my symptoms were ordinary, and I made pretty fast improvement by nursing a bottle of NyQuil and taking some loratadine [Re: Claritin]. All this, coupled with the fact that my symptoms improved after I'd gotten a little dehydrated, and taking into account John's advice on my previous post, makes me think the culprit was my usual offender of a deep sinus infection. I get them pretty regularly, mostly because I tend to overlook the minor annoyances of my seasonal allergies. As usual, I'm thinking I should take a little better care of myself.

Maybe a little bit of this is wishful thinking, but it's important to me that it isn't something contagious. I took every precaution possible [one of my scarves got downgraded to a medical mask when I left my room] because the thought of getting my grandmother sick is more than enough reason to quarantine myself for another three days. But I've been told that would be unnecessary and extreme, and the sensible part of me agrees, so...

Here's hoping.

It goes without saying I'm behind on my blog reading, and I'll be trying to catch up in the next couple of days. I have a few people getting me "Trendsetter" notes, likely the last I'll see before doing this next re-write, and I'm hoping to start that soon.

Less pressing, but most likely to get done sooner, I should be meeting with mom to get this land deal finalized in the next week, and hopefully ordering a laptop. The weather's turning around here, and unlikely though it sounds, it would be very tempting to polish off the script in my favorite cafe, or the steps of a church, or maybe in bed or on the couch or toilet like a legitimate writer might do [Ridiculous, of course. There has always been something vaguely sacrilegious to me about taking something I write with into a bathroom. I've lost more than a few pens sticking them behind the "W.C." sign and forgetting].

Probably go out this weekend. Feeling a little stir, and I tend to improve faster if I push myself a little. Honestly, I feel fine now. Little cough, little tired, but that's practically normal.

"Watchmen" is also upcoming, which is something of an event for me, though in what way would take more time to explain. Even I'm not quite sure. I've had plenty of time the past couple of days to read the original comic, and man... this is going to be something else, one way or the other. Yes, early reviews are already in. Have I looked?

Hard to say...

Yes, I'm still alive.

• Friday, February 27, 2009 1 comments
You know you're getting better when the old annoyances flair up. Probably one good night's sleep away from feeling like a million bucks, and even post-half a bottle of NyQuil, my mind is still buzzing.

Short, obvious answers first. Yes I've been sick, yes, I think it had something to do with the previously mentioned neck swelling, and no, I'm not entirely sure what it was. Also, less obvious, but just as important, I've discovered if you nearly pass out while having a piss in my bathroom, the room's small enough you won't fall. I do live the glamorous life, don't I?

I will probably talk more about all this later. Currently cursing the fact that I'm down two days and Blogspot goes and changes things. Also, my inbox is overflowing, because let's face it, I usually have enough free time that I tend to stay pretty well on top of it, so I should probably try and get to all of that first. Hoping it is only the anxiety to catch up that is keeping me awake tonight.

Not quite back to 100% yet....not even back to my usual 87%. But worry not, for even in this Plague Year, I will not abandon the National Affair's desk.

More later.

More head swelling.

• Wednesday, February 25, 2009 1 comments
And this time it's not a mystery black eye.

Around the middle of yesterday evening, the right side of my neck started hurting. I ignored it, as I'd been awake since the previous day and weird, non-existent ailments sometimes pop up in situations like that. I woke up this afternoon with it throbbing, and I wound up laying in bed most of day trying not to move it. There's no bruise, but it's swollen under my right ear, not so much that you notice, but plenty so I notice. I can't tell if it's a gland, or if I've tweaked it doing something. Considering I don't do much, that last one seems unlikely. I have been sort of under the weather with a mild sinus infection [a side-effect of me not staying on top of my allergies], so I guess it could be from that -- but I've never had anything like it crop up before. Who knows? Currently, I'm filing it under my "mystery black eye" category, and just hoping it goes away in the next couple of days.

You know, I didn't think about it until now, but it's posts like this that are going to make it near-impossible to ever have a girlfriend again. "Oh, there's this guy I kind of like, let me check his blog to see if -- neck growth? ... Depressed? ... Rufus Wainwright fan?!" Starting to think all those people who say I sabotage myself might have a point.

Actually, that probably deserves more thought and less flippancy than I gave it just now. More later. Or maybe less? Hard to say.

Some work-related stuff. Justin has put up some of his work on the comic [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name] here, and don't forget to click on the "BIFF!" when you're finished for a little extra. He's been pretty busy lately, but he's still getting work done.

Also, click on this. What you're watching is a deleted scene from the Kevin Smith movie "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and from 1:53 to 1:57, Kyle makes an appearance clapping for the title characters in the left hand part of the screen. Of course, we've known about him working on it for a while, but actually seeing it is another thing all together. Congratulations to our "Trendsetter" director Kyle -- let's hope TS will be joining this on his IMDB page soon.

Shalom.

Trendsetter : The Website

• Saturday, February 21, 2009 0 comments
Check the right hand side of your screen [unless you're reading this on my Facebook mirror blog], you'll see a new addition to the "Trendsetter" links "Trendsetter -- The Official Movie Website."

Set up by our ever benevolent director Kyle Quinn, this site houses all the basic information you'll need if you're curious about the film, want to give us money, or check on our up coming plans. There's character info, biography stuff on those thus far involved, and it's only going to get better and more in depth as time goes along, so bookmark it along with your favorite tortured artist's online soap box and the Trendsetter Movie blog.

Grand opening, folks!

Cheers.

You have not been gone long, but you are very missed, my friend.

0 comments
I will admit, I have very little news. Work as of late has been a lot of staring at old notes and blank sheets of legal pad.

Spoke to Kyle for a little while today. Explained to him the problem, and the current bump in the road for me, only fair I present it here too, even though I think I've posted something similar several different times.

I more or less know now what the extra pages in "Trendsetter" are going to contain. In part due to everyone who's gotten back to me, it's become clear that Brandon needs to undertake a task, make a bid to make himself happy, and, ultimately, fail -- partly through no fault of his own, and partly because there are hangups we have as people that we never really overcome. I even decided what Brandon is going to try to do. From this, I expect to get my extra Faye scenes.

I also need more scenes with Tess. It bothers me how negative some reaction towards her has been. Sympathizing with Brandon was never my only intent -- there also has to be some acknowledgment that yes, this girl is really as great as he think she is, and no, she is not being a bitch just by proxy of the relationship being over, and Brandon being the one who's sad about it. Even a year later, I imagine she's sad too, and I'm going to have to figure out some way to show that. I'm also hoping to add some motivation to why she does some of the things she does, particularly for the more forgiving women who think she's being too hard on Brandon.

I will say this. I have a far better understanding of how women can take complete douche bags back after they've been cheated on.

I also want to give Eddie something else to do, because I like Eddie, and I think even the people who find him a little skeazy do too. Besides, I think his subtext will mean more if I give him a little more screen time.

Now for me, this is the truly brilliant part, because upon reading that, it sounds like I know exactly what needs to be done. And in a way, I do. The problem is, I'm not as sure about how to do it, and coupling that with some hardcore indecisiveness on my part makes it difficult to proceed. There are any number of situations and conversations to get all [or most] of that in, but deciding what's best, what sticks closest with the themes in the movie, what's the most interesting... well, that's all a lot harder.

An example I could give is that the "dinner with Brandon's family" idea I had earlier [Re: the thing I was damn sure was going to be the added pages] would actually work to help achieve some of those goals, except for the fact that it would also introduce 3-5 more characters into the story. And when I'm sitting trying to figure out how to expand on existing characters, having more people show up and take screen time feels like a misstep.

I just have to decide if it is or not. Or think up a really great alternative that makes that decision unnecessary.

I feel like I might be on the verge of a breakthrough though. Don't know why. Might be imagining it.

Kyle has also been sending me some possible music for the movie [I'll try and link it here soon], and he's also sent me something to look at that I'll be posting here in the next several days. So, as usual, watch this space.

Cheers.

The Burden of Being a Land Baron.

• Wednesday, February 18, 2009 0 comments
In an effort to better explain my time as a land owner, and why I'm only getting a pittance for selling it, I thought I might go through it all here. I don't know if there are any legal ramifications in talking about these things on the internet, and I'm hoping to never find out.

When my grandmother and grandfather were both still alive, they owned a small farm on Upper Wills Creek Road, which at the time didn't have many of the normal signs of civilization. There was a phone line, but no paved road, and neither Clendenin, Elkview, nor Frame really claimed this over-grown patch of farmland as their own.

"Over-grown" was a good description. The land was hilly, covered in old trees, and waist high grass. About half was swampland, and on the other half were two buildings. One was a "cellar house," or a two story with half underground, where old canned goods were stored amidst snakes and other wildlife, while the top half looked like someplace Butch and Sundance would hide out. There were two beds, a fridge, and a potbellied stove -- and that was all folks. The other building my friends will know about pretty well -- it was the "farm house," a four room, one hundred year old building that my grandmother had grown up in. It was a god awful hole, but it was also the family land, a piece of this world that my family could call their own, even if they chose to pay rent to live some place else with running water and cable.

Fast forward several years to my parents' divorce. My mother, with no place else to go, moved a spare trailer [never ceases to amaze me the way people in WV always have an extra laying around] out to the part of the family plot that wasn't swampland, and there we lived for several years, eventually adding a new husband for her, and a new brother for me. The land itself hadn't gotten much better -- they had tarred and chipped the roads [it isn't paving], and we had cable out there now [12 channels! whoop!], but it was still a hole, with no neighbors, and not a lot going for it. And my mother had dreams [if only I'd known how many and how wide-reaching they'd be], and one of them was to not live in a mobile home for the rest of her life. Her father supported this, and, supposedly, offered my mom and my step-father part of the farm to build their own dream house on.

When he died, however, things didn't turn out quite like everyone expected. The land had not been willed to anyone, so my grandmother became the beneficiary. And she didn't exactly agree with her late husbands assessment that part of the property should go to my parents. Or maybe she did, and as was her way, just wanted them to twist in the wind a little for it. Whichever it was, several years and lots of fights later, my Grandma finally relented, and "gave" the land to my parents as a Christmas gift.

On an unrelated note, entitlement doesn't go anywhere, even after someone has gotten what the wanted.

Anyway, the part of the land my parents got was the swampland part, and they went right to work draining it, and making plans to build their own house, which they eventually did. My grandmother, meanwhile, continued to own the part with the farm house on it, as well as a little more, and that was that. Until the next family funeral.

I mentioned earlier that my grandma liked to screw with my mother. And this was true right up until her final wishes, where instead of doing the simple thing and splitting her monetary assets between her grandchildren, and giving her property to her children [which I'm told is customary], she did the inverse, leaving my mom with a big wad of cash that she requested be used on me and my brother, while Aaron and I split the remainder of her property.

Now there are a lot of reasons to do this, and I imagine part of it came from her belief that if my mother owned all of the farm, she'd sell it outright and move away, something that even in death my grandmother didn't want her ever to be able to do. She may also have feared that if my mom's current marriage didn't work out, my mom's penchant for leaving everything behind when things go bad might rear it's head, and the family property would wind up in the hands of someone who wasn't family [surprising foresight from a woman who claimed to be a fortune teller -- go Grandma]. If either of those were the case, it was move that was just as brilliant and shrewd as it was dickish, because with my brother still being a minor, and me being in college and needing a place to stay that wasn't my parent's house, that property wasn't going anywhere.

The complications arise from the fact that even though I own half of the land [which is about 55 acres, if my math is correct], I don't actually own 27 and 1/2 acres [nor does my brother], but rather I own an actual half of each acre, or specifically "1/2 of 55 acres." Now, in a more developed area, it might be feasible to sell my share in the property to an interested party, but on a hilly piece of land with no oil, very little lumber rights, and only one livable residence [the cellar is now a billiard room], actually making any sort of profit off of the land would be... difficult. Adding to this difficulty is that the other owner of the property is still a minor, making it impossible for any sort of decision to be made regarding use or development without dealing with the administratrix.

And that's mom.

Now Mom, and despite their differences, my step dad, believe that because part of my college education was paid for with the money that my grandmother left her, that I should do the noble thing and just relinquish my part of the property to my brother, Aaron. And honestly, I think that's fair -- I took the money, he should have the land, especially since in the long run, he might actually do something with it. Me? Don't need it, don't want it, don't even want to be West Virginia any longer than I have to be. Perhaps even more than Aaron, I think my mom also has a pretty strong claim to that property, and despite my grandmothers shocking clairvoyance of the way things have worked out, I think her decision was made mostly out of spite. The farm should have went to mom. Now, maybe because of the way things have played out since her death, Aaron deserves it. Like all of this, it's complicated.

But while Mom was still married to Doug, it didn't matter who I even signed the land over to -- if I waited for Aaron to come of age, I could just give it to him, or I could sign it over to Mom. Either way, it was his, and all turned out fine.

Until my mom and Doug decided to split-up. With my stepfather getting the acreage their house is on, and my kid brother still owning his half of my grandmother's piece, me having my half has suddenly bothersome to everyone. The opinion on how to proceed is...divided. My mom thinks I should sign the land over to her, since it is, after all, part of her birthright, and has been in her family forever. Doug, I imagine, because this is kind of upstanding guy he is, thinks I should hold to my original word and give the land to Aaron.

And he's got a point, and I very much wish I could do that. I'd like to do that. But I'm also very poor, and I need a new computer, a suit, and just some money to go towards "Trendsetter" and "eventually moving out of my grandmother's house" related things. And Mom has offered me meager [perhaps even meager when considering the economy and general uselessness of the land] compensation to sign the property over to her.

Now this is not an easy decision for me. I'd like to make out well on this deal. I'd also like to be a gentleman, and stand by my original word. What I've decided is somewhere between those two. Because in signing my half of the property over to my mom, I at least know that eventually that land will go to my brother, and have even requested a stipulation that she leave it all to him, so no more of this split nonsense will go on. I also figure that by taking the low money instead of trying to work my parents against each other, I retain some moral high ground. Plus, since I was considering just relinquishing my ownership anyway, even if I only make a little bit, I'll have come out ahead.

I'm a championship hair-splitter here. But this championship hair splitter lives in a room half the size of his first dorm room, with stacks of his possessions [clothes included] circling his bed. He's also a writer without a computer, which I'd liken to a fencer without a foil. It takes some work, but I feel justified in selling the land to mom.

It's funny, even after working through all that, I don't feel I've explained it any clearer, nor do I feel a lot better about my decision. Maybe it's the part of mom in me, but the big motivating factor here is that I just want to get what I can out of this, and leave it behind. And yeah, I know, I've glossed over a lot of things here, some I don't understand, and some that I don't think were properly explained to me.

Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day, etc, etc.

• Saturday, February 14, 2009 2 comments
News today. Some good, some bad.

Spent an evening with Mom and her boyfriend, recently. The divorce is finalized, and I have a new dynamic to my life... though nothing has changed all that much, especially not for me. The topic of the land I own came up [Re: 27+ acres], and how we're going to go about handling that.

It's a touchy subject. Part of my Bennington education was paid for with money given to my mother upon my grandmother's death. It was her wish, but as mom constantly has pointed out to me, that money had no earmark on it -- she was free to do with it as she wished, and I she chose to follow my grandmother's wishes.

Meanwhile, my kid brother [Re: Aaron] and I were willed the deed to my grandmother's land. This was a headache for my parent mom and my step-father, as they felt the land should be theirs. Of course, having that property was helpful to me -- it provided me a place to stay in between semesters at school, and nowadays, after my curious eviction, my kid brother uses it for parties.

Not to go too far into it, but things as they stand now lead me to needing some cash, and my mom wanting my half of the land. Admittedly, it was always my plan to sign my half of the deed over to my brother, since I did take the bulk of my grandma's money for college, and I thought he deserved to have it in exchange. Seemed fair to me. However, my mom has offered to give me some money for the land I own, and since I do desperately need that money, and since eventually that land would just be willed to Aaron anyway, I'm going to take the deal, and hopefully use the small influx of cash to get a few things I desperately need -- namely, a laptop, since I remain without a computer of my own, and a suit, for the upcoming "financing meetings" [Re: begging] for "Trendsetter."

So, that's windfall. Or something like it.

I also found out one of my cat's died a couple of months ago. I got her when I was about six or so, and yes, she really hung in there, but I loved that cat. Her name was Dice. Being away from "home," or in this case, it not being home anymore, this was expected, but I still feel down about the whole thing. Dice met all my girlfriends, her hair has been on every coat I've ever owned. She'd always come and lay with me when I was sick, being the only female who ever stayed by my bedside the entirety of any illness. Her belly hung low. She never got sick. She never tore things up. Occasionally, she'd sleep on the TV, and get kitty-static-cling.

I miss her. Missed her before I knew she was dead. Rest in peace, girl.

Other things. My last post was about friends of mine meeting my hero, Terry Moore. Ally did me one better, and she got me the man's signature in one of the SiP trades. It currently sits atop one of my many piles of possessions. I've opened it at least twenty times today to look at it. Thank you, Ally. It might be the coolest thing, ever.

While I'm thanking people, I'd like to thank my friend Savannah. Despite her busy schedule, she gave "Trendsetter" a look for me, and some her notes were pretty helpful in getting the old mental gears going again. So thank you, Dooley. I appreciate it.

Kyle also shared some Trendsetter notes with me today, but I asked him to shoot me a Facebook message with them all in it. I think I have another idea what to do with the new pages, just trying to get everything on paper to look at.

This was going to be a far longer post, and I may be back later to add another one.

Like Sisyphus, without the balls...

• Thursday, February 12, 2009 0 comments
"I have made mistakes in my life -- admitting that might be the biggest."
-- William Lind Kurdt.

I could really use a friendly voice, a friendly face, or a friendly e-mail today. I just spent the last several hours in bed, staring at the ceiling or attempting to paperback my way into dreamland, neither of which worked all that well. Losing sleep really becomes a negotiation after a while, and I struggle now knowing that though the clock says "8:23" as I start this entry, if I could find it in me to pass out when I'm done, even if I only managed to sleep until noon, I'd get four hours and be able to function pretty well. But instead, I'm just tired, and not "sleepy" [a word that strikes me as juvenile this morning], so, as usual, I bring my grievances here. Fair warning to my regulars -- there's bitching ahead. And a wealth of self-pity.

Yesterday [still today for me] was worthless, or I'm saying it was as I can't recall doing anything productive and there's no ink stains dried to the pinky side of my hand. Full disclosure -- I slept through the majority of the daylight hours. It was pleasant when I went out to get the mail, which only sort of pissed me off since ever single person from WV I've ever met regards snow and cold as the devil's magic, and use any warm day to go sleeveless and frolic around happily, making sure to ostracize anyone who doesn't appreciate springtime in February as much as they do. Well, I still have one hell of trench coat fetish, and miss winters in Vermont and New York and even Connecticut [who choose to do New England weather like we do in the south] like I miss dead relatives, so excuse me for not being ecstatic at the prospect of everything getting sunny again. And the birds... damn chirping birds, starting up again as they did in the summer at 5 a.m. on the dot. And I wonder why I can't sleep.

I take consolation in knowing at least the Lord is on my side, and ended all this unseasonably warm February weather with a torrents of rain and 50-mile per hour winds. If only he'd drop the temperature another forty or fifty degrees and turn it all into a LOTR-style ice storm so I didn't have to put up with neighborhood methheads and roving bands of teenagers as I walked to the store, then I could go out and enjoy the weather we're supposed to be having.

All told, I don't even know why I'm in such a sour mood. Certainly, the lack of sleep is part of it, but I've been this long before, and know I'm no where near the bad stuff that this insomnia, or "insomnia-lite" can bring. Plus I'm not exactly Mr. Cheerful, anyway. Things were actually going pretty well. This previous day, or previous previous day [Re: Tuesday], all went to plan I managed to use my wrapped change to snag a new pair of shoes [a pair of Comancho-style Vans that weren't nearly as cool-looking as my Airwalks, but are suede and black, and not something to be picky about] and even had enough extra to snag a few new pairs of boxer shorts, which, thanks to my active lifestyle [hate that "word"], makes it look like I'm trying to amass the world's biggest collection of male underwear. It is rare for me to go shopping, and actually find everything I want in that trip, and I remember feeling almost high on the way home that things had worked out so well.

Better, in fact. While out I hit a couple of bookstores, hoping to snag a copy of "Welcome to the N.H.K." a manga that is supposed to have a Japanese shut-in as one of the principle characters, and considering my plans for "Assisted Living," as I thought it might be helpful to see if someone had beat me to the punch on my hikikomori story. No luck there, but paperbacks are still dirt cheap, and I picked up a copy of Chris Jericho's biography, and Jane Austen's "Persuasion." Post-Bennington, I decided my embargo on all things Austen was stupid, because I was a literature student, dammit, and I needed to catch up on these things if I had any hope of being a real intellectual. Having read "Emma" [Re: Clueless], I had to admit to being charmed by the endearing characters and the social settings which made them all work so hard to move as little as possible [that's right, I'm likening another classic to something I'm trying to do], and "Sense and Sensibility" was next on my list -- but after watching a gaudy and addictive version on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre a couple of weeks ago I decided I'd get bored too easily going over things again, and opted for "Persuasion" which claims to be "darker" in some way than the rest of her work. Since a lot of people lately have pointed out I'm quite the dark, serious guy, it sounded more up my alley.

Jericho's book only took me a day. No-brainer who's next at bat.

I also ran into Kate and Lana, two of my old co-workers at "Books-a-million" [actually, they were my co-workers at Borders, but at some point everyone who didn't quit to go work on being a full-time writer and a sap on their grandmother's living expenses joined in a mass exodus to work at the other book store in town]. It was nice to see both of them again, and I think they also enjoyed the change of seeing me in a mood that wasn't foul or anxious. Lana actually left Borders before I did, to go off to school to become a person trainer [she's been having some trouble finding work here], but unless we start hanging out on weekends together, I think what I'll always remember was that on the day she left the store she came to work dressed like the hottest version of Billy Joel I've ever seen. She was always exceptionally chill to be around, and managed to keep it together despite the constant rain of shit that was her family life, a song and dance I was only starting to know myself [and even now, not in the same way], and I have a lot of respect for her, for a lot of reasons that probably shouldn't pontificated on here.

Kate I actually knew a little better, mostly because how bold the girl is. On our second or third day at the store together, she was verbally trying to pry me out of my shell [not shyness then, just a damn good way to hide the panic attacks that stupid store put me through], and when I actually took the bait, she playfully started to throw rapid-fire phantom punches into my [too] soft stomach. This was shocking to me because, generally, people don't break my personal space bubble out of what I can only assume is fear -- I don't exactly welcome physical contact from strangers, and some of my closest friends have actually asked before hugging me goodbye, and in totally legitimate hugging situations no less. By the fifth or sixth punch, the girl had pretty much melted me, and now I smile every time I see her. And you can ask around -- I smile less than I hug.

Naturally, while there, I told them about the comic [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name], and the movie [Re: Trendsetter], and Kate mentioned that her brother was in to acting, so I promised to let her know when Kyle and I decided to hold auditions. We traded cell phone numbers, which officially makes them the closest friends I have made during that "Randall Does Retail" outing, and if stars align right maybe I'll get to hang out with them again in a setting that doesn't smell like paper cuts and despair.

Since I've brought up my creative projects, I suppose I should come clean and admit no more work has gone into either on my end since last posting. The one-to-two line rewrite on "Calamity Cash" is still in the back of my mind though, and I'm hoping to knock that out soon, just so I don't have to keep admitting I haven't done it yet. The re-writes for "The Trendsetter" are also kind of stagnant -- I spent a few hours scribbling out possible shenanigans for Eddie and Brandon, coming up with the golden Eddie line of -- "I believe the punishment should fit the crime. It's why I really want to have sex with the chick who cut me in line at the Haunted Mansion when I was 15." -- though when I was finished, I found most of what I had done unusable, since none of it got me any closer to the extra scenes I need with our leading ladies, Tess and Faye.

And I really need to read the damn script again, and give myself notes on it, but thanks to the current printer ink famine, I haven't been able to make myself a hard copy to carry around/mark on/curse at, and I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't part of the reason I haven't gotten much done [doubtful]. And even though I know I shouldn't be relying so much on feedback, I am really hoping for some more to trickle in, or just someone really excited about the script who wants to engage me/talk about it to come along. Kyle does a great job, but he's also really busy, and I already talk to myself too much for any more to be healthy so... I don't know. This is one of those things that is totally my responsibility, and totally in my means to do on my own, but it's just such a pain in the ass to bring myself to it one-on-one, especially as my mood dips around so much.

Then there's this weekend, and it's goddamn "holiday."

Pressure I'm putting on myself also is no good either. My nerves are fried, and I've yet to type up a single scene -- effectively cutting out the productive part of writing all together for the highs and the lows. Punk rock, baby.

Other things. It looks like a Myspace site will soon be in the works for "Trendsetter," and crazier still, it looks like I might wind up the guy who sets it up. While of this may seem a little premature without having the script finished yet, when Kyle and I start begging for money in the coming months, it can only help us to make the film look as legit as humanly possible, and a nice network of internet promotion isn't a bad way to make us look like we know what we're doing. I have been anti-Myspace for most of my online life, preferring Facebook's "you deal with the bullshit you want to deal with" policy much better to the exhorbent loadtimes and garbage coding so prevelant on "the" social networking site. But knowing I'm going to have to deal with the whole process eventually anyway, I've been considering setting up a Myspace for the Mojo Wire, and further self-promotion of... well, myself and "Trendsetter" goodies.

So far, I've thought of plenty of reasons not to do it -- the "exhorbent load times" and "garbage coding" I mentioned above being two strikes, and just general hate for anything that damn trendy. Another big problem, much bigger than my own rallying cry against hipster bullshit, is that my kid brother has one. Which wouldn't be a problem at all, would actually be a check in the "keep up with the members of the family you like" column of why it wouldn't hurt for me to make the damn page, except [and this is the shocker even to me] my mother has a Myspace page too. An already strained relationship will only become more strained if, on the off white chance she shows interest in what her eldest son is doing for a change, she comes here and sees the [limited] airings of my frustrations over the internet. And while I feel completely justified and honest in everything I've said here, I also feel completely justified in saying that the relationship is enough of a mess already and I don't need that kind of fucking heat on me.

I suppose the alternative would be to just not accept her friend request. I wonder if anyone's ever been disowned over that?

For now, I just have a test page I'm playing with, and likely it'll never see the light of day. Nevertheless, I do seem to have an ever-amassing group of friends who stand in the "Myspace" camp instead of the Facebook one, and being able to contact them a little more easily could maybe improve my social life a little. Or at the very least get the Wire some more attention.

It's kind of lame that I'm starting to care about that.

John suggested I do a post about "Death Note," which I recently watched in its entirety on Hulu.com. I wasn't planning on writing it, but that was before I almost walked out of Hot Topic with a Near t-shirt charged to my every shrinking checking balance, so I guess I have to admit I'm a fan now. I'm going to give it a shot in the next couple of days, though don't be surprised if it never appears here -- I'm very particular about reviews I do. As for that t-shirt, well... I only wish I had a Valentine's Day present coming from someone this year. That would be a great one.

Or printer ink.

Ending my bitching on a lighter note I think.














That is my friend Ally at the NY Con with Terry Moore, creator/writer/artist of "Strangers in Paradise," and one of the biggest reasons I do what I do, the way I do it. Growing up, all the comics my friends and I read were superhero comics, as you really couldn't find anything else. I discovered "Strangers" [along with Neil Gaiman's "Death, the High Cost of Living" and Alex Robinson's "Box Office Poison"], and was mesmerized that not only could comics not have guys in spandex punching each other, but that sometimes they were a lot more entertaining that way. From there on, I just knew that those were the kinds of comics I wanted to read more of, and eventually, that turned into to those being the kinds I wanted to write.


And if it wasn't enough just having one friend of mine meet him, Lex was also at the Con on Sunday and talked to Moore about me too. While I'm sure the gravity of the situation didn't sink in for him [honestly, even if I told him what I just wrote in the paragraph before, I'd probably just get a "that's great, kid,"], I'm stoked because now I have two different two degrees of separation between me and one of my heroes. Short of meeting him myself, that's pretty damn cool. And a big "thank you" to both of my girls for knowing this would be something I'd totally mark out for, and a sorry to Ally for stealing her picture.

I expect the typos in this are numerous. I couldn't bring myself to proof it.

Shalom.

All ginned up and ready to spend.

• Monday, February 9, 2009 2 comments
Didn't sleep last night. No writing-related reason for it, just felt like shit, really down, so I finished off "Death Note" and took the morning to pick up milk, lettuce, and soda for my grandmother.

At some point in the night, a blood vessel burst in my left eye, likely from not sleeping. Hardly visible at all on the eye itself, but I have an eyeshadow-like bruise jutting out of the corner of my eyelid now. Lucky I wear sunglasses all the time, eh?


Hit the bank today too. Started scrounging loose change in my room yesterday, wound up with forty-some dollars[!], all rolled nice and neat. Going tomorrow to get a new pair of shoes. The Airwalks I had lasted a year, but I finally blew the bottoms out of them. Time to move on, check something off of the "shit Randall needs but doesn't have the money for" list.

Hoping to sleep tonight, get an early start tomorrow. Not looking good so far.

Biggest [Re: not the biggest] disappointment was that being up all night usually kicks something off in me, creativity-wise. No such luck last night.

With shoes out of the way, I should start up a new collection. I need printer ink so I can actually have a hard copy of "Trendsetter" to work from.

Shalom.

Finally found a way to be up at six o'clock in the morning...

• Sunday, February 8, 2009 1 comments
Should be asleep.

Talked to Kyle today. He's doing well, swamped with school work, but that hasn't kept him from starting something up for "Trendsetter" that has the possibility of a being a very big deal. Check back here, and the "Trendsetter" movie blog, for more as it becomes available.

Few other things he mentioned. Looks like video and video chat auditions will be possible, which opens up the field from local people to just about anyone we want to try out for a part. Particularly a relief for me, as Kyle's New York trip now seems to be in doubt.

Kyle also suggested the possibility of a "Trendsetter" reading, just a round table thing with anyone available working off hard copies of the script. He thinks it might break up the sound of things in my head, and help me move closer to a final draft. While I haven't really been feeling any monotony of voice when I go through the scenes myself [I tend to hear them as the people I wrote them as, as odd and unexplainable as that is], it is an exciting prospect to get a table reading of something I've been working on, just to see how other react to it. I've never really done anything like this outside of my "Intro to Playwriting" class [unless you count Steven Bach loudly repeating my dialogue in the Barn], so I'm pretty jazzed to hear it.

A suggestion I made to Kyle was that he read the part of Brandon when we do it, and furthermore actually try out for the role of our protagonist when auditions come around. While I don't want the movie to become an auteur sort of flick, with Kyle acting and directing in it, I know Kyle's been on camera before, and I've felt like he's wanted to do this since the beginning -- and as much as I'm curious to see what an actor unattached to the part would bring, I know Kyle gets the character, and more importantly, gets how the character looks at, and moves in, the world of the "Trendsetter." I'm really interested in that aspect more than any apprehensions I have about my director taking on multiple roles in what looks to be a massive project.

Of course, Kyle says if he's going to do that, even just the audition, he's going to need an Assistant Director, which, hey, could wind up being me before all this over. I mean, maybe not, I never took a single directing course at Bennington, and don't know much about the technical side of movie-making [barring Friedkin-esque priest-slapping], but at this point I'd consider it if Kyle suggested it to me. Likely he has someone better or more experienced in mind, and I should really only be focused on this damn script right now, but my want to facilitate TS getting made is high.

Kyle also told me our producer Robert Pralgo would probably be our casting director. Pralgo has some experience in that area, and it's encouraging that no matter what the film's hierarchy will look like, that role will be well-filled. Casting remains the part I look forward to the most, and am most nervous about. How in the hell are we going to find real people to match up to the insanity in my mind?

Not as cool as you'd think.

• Saturday, February 7, 2009 0 comments
I want to write something, but I don't really have anything useful to write about, so I figure I'll just use this space like I usually do -- as a brain dump. So fair warning, a lot of what comes next isn't going to be terribly interesting.

What's on my mind mostly is -- surprise, surprise -- "The Trendsetter." So I guess I'll ramble about that a bit.

I'm a big Nirvana fan. I have been one for awhile, long enough that I remember arguing the band's merit to my first girlfriend's mom [which actually comes across as a lot ballsier if you've ever met Laura's mother]. And really, I'm not that cool, and like a lot of teenage girls in my day I've got a pretty serious fascination/fetish with Cobain, enough so that when I chopped my pony tail off I took his picture in so I didn't end up with a preacher's mullet [regional thing] and had something that would match with the five o'clock shadow I call a "beard." And like my hero-worship with Thompson, a lot of the appeal in Cobain is the parallels between us. He didn't want to take a "real" job, he didn't always enjoy his process, and he constantly butchered old work to finish off new things he was doing -- and I wonder if he even rationalized all those things in the same way I do.


None of this has much to do with anything, just intro, really. The important part is, while talking to a friend about another famous death, Cobain's suicide came up, and like when you see someone else playing with one of your favorite toys, I cued up iTunes and spent a few hours listening to the "Unplugged" album and scanning the band's Wikipedia entries. Looking up the "Death of Kurt Cobain" article is sort of odd, since for me it's like looking up the entries for "bananas" or "forks" or something equally common knowledge and banal. But much to my surprise, under the Nick Broomfield heading, I found something I'd never heard before.

First, for reference, Broomfield is a talented English filmmaker, who did a documentary [Re: exploitation film] on Cobain's death, a movie entitled "Kurt and Courtney," which is both interesting and repulsive in its own special ways. Watching sort of feels like being cornered at a party for 98 minutes by some pot head who has that burning need to explain "what really happened to Bruce Lee." But if the topic interests you, the film's not a worthless experience by any means, and despite its flaws it is an improvement on some local work of the same subject.

Anyway, I guess Broomfield had done some press junkets for the film, which I had never read, and during one of them [quoted here, referenced from here] he says, sort of right out of the box, that:

"I think that he committed suicide. I don't think that there's a smoking gun. And I think there's only one way you can explain a lot of things around his death. Not that he was murdered, but that there was just a lack of caring for him. I just think that Courtney had moved on, and he was expendable."

Now, to those who've not read it, my screenplay is not about Kurt Cobain and his death, nor is the subject even mentioned [strange for me, as my other stuff is littered with pop culture references meant to drive the theme home]. But when I saw that quote, particularly the portion I italicized, I just felt moved. I couldn't believe that something so unrelated to what I was working on could so succinctly describe the world I'd built in the screenplay. I mean, that's exactly what's plaguing my protagonist Brandon throughout the film -- that the world is just done with him, and that those who should care about him aren't anymore. Abandonment, but also benign cruelty, especially the way Broomfield puts it, as if maybe that is just as shameful as having actually murdered the person. It encapsulates it perfectly, and sometimes I wonder if that is why I revisit Cobain's death in other things I work on [Re: Walks with Angels].

More importantly, I wonder if that comes across in "Trendsetter." I certainly wrote it that way -- just knowing better what to call it now doesn't change the fact that it's what I put into the script. But how successful was I? Are other people seeing that when they get done reading it? Will others take that away when it's finally up on the big screen? And is it important enough that they do?

Questions, questions. I am inclined, in my moment of discovery, to believe the answer to that last question is "yes," but I am worried the script itself doesn't do enough to illustrate that to others. Perhaps in learning the monster's name I've figured out a way to get another thirty pages out of it. Or maybe not. This is all new, and has set my mind turning on things related to, but not useful yet for, the "Trendsetter."

A lot of it is my own fault. I start with Brandon too late -- all but one person has given up on him by the time we meet him, whether knowingly[his parents], regrettably [Tess], or ignorantly [Eddie], but I think I took for granted that people would just assume there used to be more people in his life. That these were just the last people to leave the room, before the lights were finally turned out. And I don't know if I can fix that, but I'm thinking about it now.

It is liberating to just be able to say: "What gets Brandon is the lack of people in his life who care." And the questions that statement raises... is someone even in your life if you don't care? can just anyone be the right person to care? ... so much to work from.

I must be excited, I'm butchering metaphors left and right.

Other things. I consider today having Eddie's nameless fiancee make an appearance, but turned against the idea quickly. Call it delusions of grandeur, but I just help thinking of the reviews that will come by leaving her out : "... something strangely chilling about his best friend's bride-to-be going nameless..." or inversely " ... who like some bad literary device never makes an appearance, and never seems to matter any longer than to make the token shallow character a momentary mess."

Either would be fine. At least both show they got the point.

And Faye. I always wanted to end one tragically, and I don't know that anyone has a sadder send-off than the girl who might wind up being the most memorable character in the whole thing. I read her scenes again this evening, and while I'm not sure if it's clear, I doubt Brandon ever sees her again, even after she sacrifices so much for him.

The writing I've been doing up until now has been sort of a mess and and all over the place. Hoping some of this helps me point the re-writes and the add-ons in a better direction, and that what I'm scribbling at now fits better with the rest.

I will also admit this is the weekend I expected the last of the feedback to come in, but unlike previous weekends where I caught one or two, no one has sent me any notes today. Perhaps by Sunday. Or perhaps I was just too optimistic, others don't have the wealth of free time that I do.

Hopefully more soon. Finished pages? Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Shalom.

Let your dim light shine...

• Thursday, February 5, 2009 0 comments
Strange dreams this morning, the most vivid of which had me in a warm hotel room, joined by a beautiful young lady in bathtub, who washed my back amidst the steam. There was a vent which must have went all the way down to the lobby or the conference room, and I could hear David Pirner reading bingo numbers in his "Misery" voice. "B...15. G... 34. I...19." And on and on.

I went out last night with friends, but couldn't get out of my head enough to be as attentive as I'd like. Went from Quaker Steak fries to coffee and cheesecake at IHOP, and listening to Justin talk about "Magic: The Gathering" during most of our time in that last destination. Earlier, during dinner, I found myself more prone to laugh out loud -- the sort of uncontrollable, annoying cackle I have when movies are being bad but think they're being cool. Which I'm sure was more than slightly annoying, but I don't know that it could be helped. That was the first time I was with friends since New Years and I may be a little out of practice when it comes to being with people, and yet, I had a wonderful time.

Winter dinners. They're one of my favorite things.

Justin has put a few new panels up here [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. After last night, he assured me I have time to make my changes to the later part of the script.

I'm guess I'm sticking around.

• Tuesday, February 3, 2009 1 comments
This marks one of the bigger lulls in posting I've had.

The past few days are fuzzy. By the blog, I posted here on Thursday, but that was likely Thursday morning. Though I don't remember perfectly, somewhere around Thursday evening, from some combination of insomnia and general malaise, I hit a pretty deep blue funk, and fought what I affectionately call "rolling panic attacks" until sometime around four or five Friday morning. I vaguely remember feeling more than a little unnaturally high Friday night after about ten hours plus sleep that day. From there, I think I mellowed a little bit, but with the exception of those few hours of feeling really chatty, the entire weekend and well into this week I've felt quite like crap about... most things. Spent the majority of the past several days watching "Death Note" on Hulu, thinking, and feeling like I should crawl into a hole somewhere for an extended stay.

I'm still pretty much there right now. But spending so much time on self-loathing tends to also mean that some self-reflection is had, and I feel it's important to scrawl a little of that down here. Also, a lot of my friends have done internet things, and I really needed to do a link dump post while it was all present in my mind.

Links first; principally, work links first. Justin is doing something a little bit different with his blog. I'd also like to point out that if you click on the picture of the word "BIFF!" [M. R. C. R. W.] on the right-hand toolbar on his blog, you can see sketches of the pages he's working on for "Calamity Cash." It isn't always the same page, and he's not archiving them, so check early and check often. The work he's doing remains as exceptional as ever, with each page getting better and better as he goes. He's been under the weather for some time, but still manages to bang out pages. Now that he's feeling better, I can only imagine how things are going to turn out.

Kyle has posted a few times on the "Trendsetter" blog, but he's keeping busy with school and with the intermittent snow storms we've been having, so there isn't much in the way of new information right now. My hope is this has given him some time to decide what tag lines and movie synopsis he likes the best -- as I've put a little more work in on them, but gotten nothing new that was as good as what I posted earlier.

Other links of interest. My friend John, who hates arbitrary constraints on literature and would never demean his work by limiting the exact number of words he could use, say to 55, has a really funny 55-word piece of micro fiction up here. And this other one I liked enough to read to my dad on his birthday this past Sunday [Dad turned 51, by the way].

Sam's returned to her blog. She's been working on paper a lot lately, so updates are less frequent, but what she recently put up is just amazing.

And finally, one of my friends from college, Zoe, recently got a half-sleeve tattoo, and posted it up on her livejournal. I don't really think a blog's a blog until you've linked to someone's ink.

Something I have to get to soon, other than meeting and seducing Cote de Pablo, are blog related; it's shameful I don't have a perma-link to the movie's blog yet, and something temporary will be going up soon. That will be the short-term. In the long-term, I think I'm going to start bugging my artist friends to produce some logos for me, something in the comic book "bullet" style, like Sam's old Creepy Bean logo was. I don't really know exactly what I want for them yet -- but my plan is to have one for comic projects, which will feature this blog's address along the bottom, and will be bordered with "W. A. S. P. - U. L. M. C." around the top. Center design, I still don't have a clue. The film one will be similar, but ringed in movie film, and with the Trendsetter blog address in the place of mine. I'm thinking like "presidential seals of the Mojo Wire" meets the old DC Bullet kind of stuff, but beyond that, haven't got a clue.

Next thing is "Calamity Cash" related. I annoyed the holy hell out of a dear friend to figure out I needed a two-to-three line re-write on something that comes late in the book's script. I still haven't tackled that yet, likely because it is both a big job, and a little job, and I was hoping just sitting on it for a bit would bring me some burst of inspiration. No such luck. Bigger problem is, Justin is really coming along on the book, and he'll be on those pages soon, which means I really need to get my ass in gear and fix them. It is always the small stuff I put off to the very last minute. Every time.

"Trendsetter" news. Much like from Kyle's end, there isn't much. I need to get started soon on the new pages, but as I've stressed here before, I am no longer as sure of what those pages will contain. It is my hope that by the end of this week, a little more feedback will have come my way. I also just need to start thinking about the script more, talking about it more, engaging with the material again. It is difficult to find people willing to put up with my process though, and I'm not exactly... pleasant, while working, but I might just wind up annoying the piss out of more than a few people before this is done.

At least on some level, I'm pretty much thinking about "Trendsetter" all the time now. The pacing is what I've been stuck on lately, though not in a way you might expect. Not to tip my hand, but so little actually happens over the course of the film, which is something of a hobby-horse of mine. I tend to like movies where not much happens, because in life not much tends to happen, especially when those really important things are going on. And I think a lot of the doubts I've had, as far as how to proceed with those extra pages, come from the fact that all the ideas I've had have rested on some gimmicky event -- an anniversary party, a bachelor party, etc. And on some level, I feel that yes, that would work -- it makes sense for something to happen that draws the characters away from the incessant talking. But it also feels like I'm betraying what most people like about the script as is, that the nothing that happens, and the scene after scene of these people... dealing, as it were, is the good stuff.

It's a hard call. Admittedly, all the things I like the best have as little happening as possible. My favorite Shakespeare plays usually happen after what most would consider "the good stuff." The best of the Smith movies have almost nothing going on. And the comics, both Japanese and American, that I've liked the most tend to have a nice, slow pacing, and lots of conversations, with very little big adventures. They're all character pieces. Anything else in them is mostly setting, and setting is usually incidental.

And since I wanted to write comics like that, I tend to have about the same pacing that my favorite things do, and would write or outline single issues of things revolving around one incident [that we may not have even seen], and one point, usually voiced by the character. "Trendsetter" also follows this formula -- if it were a comic, I guess it would be about six issues long. Maybe twice that with some clever, but not largely important, filler. And since I don't want the extra 30 or so pages to just be clever filler, I've got to make whatever I add good. And pertinent. Strengthen the story, not just lengthen it.

I also come back to the fact that number of characters as of right now is not huge - Brandon, Tess, Faye, and Eddie, with a couple of little parts here and there. Brandon's in the whole damn thing, but when I look at it, the other three seem like they could do for some extra time. Which makes me wonder if just more with them is all I need.

Ian said something to me about it recently -- that the script was really only one big scene away from being finished. And that's actually struck me more than anything else I've been told about it thus far, but it was also a little maddening to hear, because I still have no idea what that once scene is. It'll probably have Faye though. I think she's set to be our star.

On the upside, I did have time this weekend to read through TS again, and I don't think it'll be as hard to open it up from two days to the three or more I think I'll need. Looks like it might not be much more than a dialogue fix.

Ah. And the dialogue I have to fix. But more on that later, I'm sure.

Cheers.