Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tomorrow night continues a New Year's Eve tradition: Marx Bros. Marathon. They're running them roughly in order from early evening to early morning, though I'll be lucky to make it to the MGM pair—Night at the Opera and Day at the Races which straddle midnight. I'm always glad to see another year, just not so much of it that early.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
My book has locked up near the finish line, legs turned to cement by lactic acid. It's shuffling forward slowly, knowing its bounce will return in time. I've had many wee writing projects since September, all paying little, some paying less, but all paying something. My day is quite occupied writing items humorous or not for different blogs and websites. Multiple deadlines make the time zip past. And while a few more bucks wouldn't hurt, I count myself fortunate to be writing as opposed to unloading mail trucks or monitoring burglar alarms or shooting mad dogs for the county—which had its moments.
A most Merry Christmas to all. My the Jolly One bring you all manner of jolly things.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Today's sea is quite storm-tossed. However I only have photos of yesterday's sea, which was more or less Okay. Still, no poet ever won fame writing things such as "my thoughts tossed about like a fairly average sea."
To the left is the Neptune Pool, shot from under my umbrella at Hearst Castle. Quite a place, a bit roomy. But they've still got zebras running around the yard as well as assorted foreign deer. I especially enjoyed the Patty Hearst Room, where our tour was locked in closets, emerging as crazed revolutionary nut cases. Fortunately, the tour had a small bank set up for us to rob. Later, we hijacked the tour bus "for the people," rode it to the gift shop and bought tee-shirts and coffee mugs.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Here in this small town in central California, my wife and I relax as we ponder our future as members of the work force and Californians. Beautiful scenery but strange merchandise in the stores. For instance, there are action figures of zombies, frightened people from B-movie horror films, and paparazzi. Imagine running home from school so you and your chums could dive in and play with papparazzi action figures. We decay as a nation.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
For the sake of charity, Paul Rugg will part with various Freakazoid! cells and memorabilia. Times are tough, but even tougher for some. Paul has even promised to sign each cell in the blood of a Taliban warrior, killed as part of a different charity auction. In any case, stop by his site for a merchandise preview. (Image: Joker.Net)
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Teens write, read, meet and collaborate on fiction over at Figment. I'm pitching the site on a column where an older, experienced writer teaches a new generation how to complain, brood, and properly nurse resentments so they mature into depression. This is vital to the writing experience and a must for young scribes. (Picture: scienceblogs.com)
Friday, December 03, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I hate hearing that some star I like is a real butt-head off camera. Thankfully, that was not the case with the late Leslie Nielsen. As he once said in Police Squad:
"Life is risk. Getting up in the morning, crossing the street, putting your face in a fan." (Photo: Chris Malafronte)
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
One scene had our protagonist and another partisan steal a cow. Leading the placid beast across a field at dusk, they are suddenly caught in the light of a flare. A German machine gun opens fire, tracers zipping through the fading light. Our protagonist hits the dirt, but his friend is killed while the cow goes on munching grass, oblivious to rounds whizzing past.
With night approaching, the cow wanders back toward the barn from which it was stolen. Our teen partisan stops the animal and leads it back across the field. The movement draws another flare and a second, more prolonged machine gun burst. This time the cow is hit. It falls, drags itself on front legs, topples on its side and lows in agony as it tries to rise. Hiding behind the riddled animal, the terrified teen watches the cow's eye rolling in pain, too stupid to know its been shot; too dumb to know its almost finished.
Somehow the slaying of a harmless animal effectively captured the ugliness of war in a way that horrid deaths to characters good and bad failed to do.
Though made in 1985, Come and See presents the cow's last words as "Eat Mor Chikin."
I think someone tampered with the film.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Page Views: 48,359
There are Whales of the Web that log numbers like those in a hour, but I prefer a more pastoral pace in cyberspace.
Thank you all for stopping by.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Several Purple Hearts later, Kurt served in an ultra-secret outfit that probed the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Hacked out of the jungle, the Trail was a highway for the North Vietnamese to funnel men and supplies into South Vietnam and Cambodia. Because of political silliness, Laos was officially off-limits to U.S. ground forces. That meant Kurt and his unofficial team were forced to ditch the bodies of their dead who would be listed as "Missing in Action in South Vietnam." It always bothered him that families of fallen comrades would be denied the closure of burial—or the recognition of bravery from a seemingly indifferent government.
A good portion of Kurt's post-war years were spent in rage and self-destruction. In time, he made peace with his past and, little by-little, cut a trail over to serenity from which he rarely strayed. His last ten years were good ones.
I was a pallbearer at Kurt's funeral. He received a Marine Corps color guard, taps, and a view of the 2 Freeway stretching below in the distance, flowing past Forest Lawn Cemetery on its way to Eagle Rock. (Transportation arteries played a big role in his life.) I think of Kurt when I drive past and often wish he could call down artillery on erratic delivery vans.
This Veteran's Day Kurt came to mind. And while he's at peace, I send prayers and best wishes to those still struggling with the silent baggage of war. And to the many other servicemen and women who worked and trained hard, giving up years in service to America.
Happy Veteran's Day to all.
(Map: The Adventures of Chester)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
What the article doesn't mention is that the youngsters will then fight the paratroopers' Market-Garden foes: troubled German teens trained as members of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. Simon Cowell hosts the TV version. (British and German Insignia: Wickipedia)
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
|Photo: Peter Hastings|
My first limo ride in NYC back during Peabody Fest '94. Peter Hastings captures me excitedly pointing to a street mugging—smaller than the one I'm doing in the photo— while Tom Minton keeps his cool. Darn Tourists
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
The picture that inspired the song: U.N. Me, that is. And this photo didn't inspire the song, but the United Nations gift shop did. Here are Paul Rugg, myself and Tom Minton outside that august world body during our 1994 Peabody Award trip. This is yet one more photo from the Hastings Archives forwarded to me via Paul Rugg. I can't remember if Peter went with us to the Empire State Building—which was next that day. But if Paul sends me another photo, the answer will be 'yes.'
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Wood You Look At That? The real Norm Abram along with Paul Rugg, Peter Hastings, myself and Jean MacCurdy at some private dining room in Pasadena circa 1996. Norm talked dowels and we talked animation. The result was Normadeus. (Peter Hastings found this in his voluminous photo archives.)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
At the Peabody award luncheon, we sat at a table next to Paul Harvey. Paul Rugg would not stop imitating him and we ended up laughing into our napkins a great deal. There's nothing like a fun, memorable trip paid for by the company.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
(Artwork: Teshkeel Media Group)
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
via Mike M. on Facebook
A breathtaking film, Machete is director Robert Rodriguez homage to beloved children’s tale Charlotte’s Web. Set in the southwest, the film employs the subtle storytelling and layered characterizations that have built Rodriguez’s reputation as the David Lean of Texas. Teen heartthrob Danny Trejo portrays Machete, a blade-packing, Wilbur-like character. Forced to move about like a runt pig in order to remain alive, Machete lives on the allegorical chopping block. In a deft choice, Rodriguez crafts a web of racism and corruption that only Machete can slice. Rotten Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro) is the anti-Charlotte. He is assisted by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a hate-filled businessman who kills illegal immigrants and grinds their bones into bone powder. But Machete has his own Templeton the Rat—Shé (Rebecca Rodriguez). Shé is a taco-truck driving revolutionary who hopes to reclaim Texas for Mexico. Once back in the right hands, Texas will be transformed into a paradise, modeled after the Swiss-like order and civic honesty of Tijuana. Rich with themes of loyalty and undying friendship, Machete, not surprisingly, includes a scene at the Texas State Fair. There, Machete wins a blue ribbon for throwing knives at a spinning target on which is tied a pretty girl in tights (Lindsay Lohan). I believe E.B. White would heartily approve.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Monday, September 06, 2010
I have sold 4 stories—my sidebar tells the tale—out of 21 submissions with one story still out. I expanded a short story into a novella which I'm now expanding into a several hundred page novel.
For the last three years, animation writing has morphed into a maze consisting mostly of dead ends. That could change rapidly, but so far has resisted the impulse.
In any case, nothing gets finished by wishing and wanting, so on I go. Halloween is my deadline for finishing the novel's first draft. I hate and resent the novel. It's like a five-pound bee you can neither kill nor drive from your home.
October 31. Death to the bee!
Friday, September 03, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
In general a thoughtful film to be discussed over espresso and macaroons. All I can say is: bring a hankie.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
My wife and I are away this afternoon to a gathering of fellow writers. There we'll each read a few pages from our various works. (I'll present about 5 minutes worth from the recently purchased "Dagon and Jill.") Nice people, good atmosphere, free food—everything a writer needs.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Via Danny Barer
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A few drawings from Sam.
Tom renders Yolko and the life of a Basset Hound.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Also, "Fresh Ideas" clings to the #2 Top Story spot at Every Day Fiction. If deemed appropriate, more nice votes would help stave off the latest stories seeking to topple me from my second place perch.
The novel has been temporarily benched as I crank out a short story for an anthology with a due date of Aug. 31. In addition, I may begin working on a Young Adult novel involving a teenage protagonist and a creepy menace only he can see and no one else wants to acknowledge. Much will depend on how much interest exists for such a work in the Young Adult publishing world.
Today! New tires! Why didn't I lead with this? Ohhh, nuts. Brand new tires for meeeee!!
Monday, August 16, 2010
In addition, I've been selected as an Editor's Pick, which means I'm paid at the professional rate of 5 cents a word. Unfortunately, its too late to "plump up" the story to take advantage of this unexpected bounty.
Thanks to all who've stopped by and read "Death Honk." It's featured front and center on the Journal of Microliterature through Sat. Aug. 21. Now back to all things novel.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Here's remarkable color footage from 1945 Honolulu.
via Ace of Spades
738 words into today's 1K. I'm stacking up the chapters, but the pace is wearying. Perhaps a day off on the Sabbath to read what I've written this week and see if it makes any sense. (Even if it doesn't, I'm pressing on.)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
BTW: Interviews were conducted individually over the course of a week.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver and I pitched a show yesterday over at Comedy Central. Very pleasant experience, though who knows how it'll play out. (Paul Rugg would've gone along but decided to take paying voice work instead. At lunch afterwards, we cursed him and munched our salads with bitter, jealous expressions.)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Not me. Not this year. Some other year, perhaps.
I'm withdrawing a story from a magazine. Not only did they sit on it for 5 months, but their automated replay system promised to investigate and respond in 10 days. It is now 11 days and counting. They must use geologic time.
Time to swing for the fence and send that story off to the toughest fantasy/sci-fi market there is; long response time, but pro-pay (5 cents a word!)
My 1K story for the Journal of Microliterature has arrived at a first draft motel. I've given it a well-merited rest to allow my subconscious to tidy up various rough spots. But I'm confident any tale called "Death Honk," must have an audience somewhere.
No running this week as my knee has been sore since Saturday. Nothing serious, but there is a bit of sensation where, previously, none existed. I'll ice more and try a mile this weekend. Yes, that is what I will do. Then I will eat limes to avoid scurvy.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Meanwhile, I wrote all day, had supper, arose after 7 hours of sleep, ran 3 miles, and had breakfast. But no awards are given for these things. (Though I am pretty darn happy to run 3 miles in whatever time it takes.)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
Story editor Mitch Watson announced the latest incarnation of Scooby-Doo! is headed for the small screen this Monday, July 12 at 7:00 PM PST on Cartoon Network. Paul Rugg wrote several episodes. (I wrote one.) Scares and laughs combine as the gang investigates a small town with more mysteries than the library. Give it a view.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Part of Chi Running involves keeping cadence with a metronome. Running uphill, I shorten my stride; downhill I lengthen it out behind me; and to speed up on the flats, I lean forward from my ankles ala a ski jumper only not so extreme or I would be badly hurt in a different way.
But the cadence is always the same.
I really noticed this going uphill today. My heart rate didn't spike, my breath stayed constant and I steadily passed huffing runners.
My goal was to have a fun, injury-free race, though I did pick it up on the last straightaway to the finish line. An old guy passed me. I am an old guy, but this runner made me look like Justin Beiber. (If Justin's nose was all funny from skin cancer.) I leaned from the ankles, sped up and passed him. The old codger put on the gas and passed me again. Leaning further, I sped up, dropped the codger, passed a teenage girl and finished in an unofficial time of 29:37. (Santa Clarita is old school - tear the tag off your race bib and hand it to the kid at the end of the chute.)
In an interesting decision, the race directors choose not to display mile signs or have anyone calling out splits. I guess they figured its a 5K, not Boston. ("Next thing ya know, they'll want race videos.") However, they made up for it with a nice technical tee-shirt in a color I don't have.
Oddly enough, the 2007 event was my first race back after tearing a calf muscle that spring. Santa Clarita appears to be my rehab 5K of choice.
An enjoyable run that showed me the potential of chi running. More importantly, no pain or soreness in my knee.
Happy July 4th to all! Cook! Blow something up! Sleep in! The Founding Fathers would've done all those things, but John Adams yelled at them so they declared Independence instead.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Meanwhile I will be running a 5k in Santa Clarita. All things are relative and this is a big deal for a guy who wasn't supposed to run anymore. I'm still trying to master this Chi running stuff and have advanced to the point where I can pass people tying their shoes or eating a snack. My Sunday goal is a fun run without injury, plus a technical tee-shirt in my goodie bag. I think free Smoothies afterward, but that may be wishful thinking.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I've officially begun the other two sections of my novel. Rather than a detailed outline, which has killed two other book attempts, this time I'm filling chapters with stream-of-consciousness notes, thoughts, scenes. That way, I'm more open to the sudden, unexpected changes that will arise. I'm quite excited after avoiding the start for months. Halloween remains my deadline for a first draft.
Went a'hiking with Paul Rugg the other day. Paul's not afraid of a vertical trail. However, coming down those vertical trails pounded my knee into soreness. Ran two miles and walked one on Thursday with lingering knee tenderness. Iced on Thu. and Fri; did yoga yesterday, then walked two/ran two today over at Griffith Park. Much improved knee and I finished the run relaxed and pain-free. This Chi running style is quite different and will take a long time to master, but it eliminates the jarring heel strike I practiced successfully for 40 years (give or take a few years off for drunkenness or sloth).
Sunday, June 06, 2010
BTW: An interesting footnote I probably learned from the History Channel, ie. numerous 16 mm reels of great D-Day battle footage lie at the bottom of the English Channel. A U.S. Army cameraman reported his film, and that of other combat cameramen, were collected by a colonel who stuffed the canisters in a duffel bag, then accidentally dropped the bag into the sea. I feel something similar happens to most of my tax dollars.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Unless work intervenes. Then I'll be forced to give up work.
I had an idea for a fast, fun science fiction story that I would write in a week. It's turned into two weeks. Unlike the curt "Fresh Ideas," this one seems to be growing into another 8K-word honker ala "Bane Fish." As I've never written a sci-fi story, I find myself spending a lot of time crafting backstory that won't see the page but ends up informing my story choices. I need to complete a draft before I totally bail out for something easier.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Growing up in Chicago, veterans from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars would be out on street corners (and in taverns) every Memorial Day selling red paper poppies to aid our injured servicemen. Los Angeles is so diffused, I can't recall the last time I saw anyone selling them. Here's a brief history of how the poppy was selected (and how to make your own.) All the best to our nation's best this Memorial Day. (Photo: LA Times)
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Plus I linger at the Number Two spot on Every Day Fiction.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
My novel has not progressed beyond more 3x5 cards. (I now remember setting Halloween as a first draft completion deadline. My, how time passes when you procrastinate.) Sent the first 70 pages out as a novelette to an English publication. The editor's reaction was similar to his American counterparts: "Where's the rest of it?" In my head, alas.
However, I do have enough material to try and get a literary agent. Plus, there's already interest from a small publisher who'd like to see the finished product. (The publisher's business model is small. He may be small personally, but I have no information on that. Nor would his stature effect any of my monetary decisions unless he did creepy things with his height, like hide in baskets then jump out and hit people with a TV tray.)
Rare paying work has inserted itself into my schedule. I need to attend to that at once before the novelty evaporates.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tonight, I'm going to watch a documentary by Werner Herzog on the late Rev. Gene Scott. He was big here in Southern California during the 1980s and 90s. Quite a character; no other TV preacher quite like him. Herzog never has trouble locating fascinating subjects.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Artist Frank Frazetta died following a stroke. He was 82. I loved his work, particularly the evocative covers he drew for Warren Publications Creepy and Eerie back in the mid-60s. When paperback Conan the Barbarian tales appeared around the same time, Frazetta's work graced the front. The old National Lampoon hired him once to draw a cover. Inside that issue, Frazetta also drew the cover for a satiric comic on a gay Dracula. Ah, well, adieu, Frank. Best wishes and prayers for the family.