Friday, June 29, 2007

Basement Songs- Hanging out at Py's place

This week I offered to create a mix tape, of sorts, for one of my favorite blogs, Py Korry (see link to the right). The sit does some great writing about life and music and the guy who owns the house, Ted, was involved with the Bloggers For A Cure. He also did the interview of me for a radio broadcast a couple months back.

The music I selected for Ted was based on some of the drummers from the '80's that inspired me and made me want to rock out. You may not have heard of these guys, but you’ve heard their music, that's for sure.

I miss being able to walk down into my parents' basement and wail on the drums anytime of the day (and, when my folks were away, certain early morning hours, much to the chagrin of the neighbors). Drumming was more than just a chore for me. Drumming became the first way I felt like I could communicate passionately through art. Although I began trying to imitate Neil Peart (along with every other drummer my age), I soon started listening to the rest of the music, and figuring out how these drummers I admired worked to compliment the other musicians and chose their moments to show off and create snazzy drum fills. By the time I was in college, I had become a bigger fan of guys like Dennis Diken of the Smithereens and Chris Layton of Double Trouble rather than the showy playing of Peart or Bill Bruford. Truth be told, I just didn't have the patience to figure out 7/8 into 11/4 into 6/8 back into 4/4 time signature changes. That was nice when I didn't have a life (like, all the way up to 10th grade) but when I started socializing and dating, I wanted to just play.

Drumming became a way for me to work out my frustrations in a constructive and safe manner. I sometimes think that if I had my drums back up and I would have access to drumming every day, I wouldn't fall into my dark states so often. We have the room in the toy room. Maybe it's time to pull the old Rogers set down from the rafters and set them up again.

Until I figure that one out, and until next week, when I promise to have a new song to write about, check out Py's place ( and the six songs I wrote about (plus, you can download them! Choice)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Knocked Up" review

I've been busy working on a script, which is a good thing. Although it takes me away from the blog, it means I've broken through the crippling writer's block that shut me down for a couple of months. Anyway, I saw "Knocked Up" last Friday and loved it. Immediately after the movie, I wrote this review.

Of all the tings I expected from Judd Apatow’s wonderful movie, “Knocked Up”, the one thing I did not see coming was the emotional honesty at the core of the film. Between all of the dick jokes and the hundreds of times the work “fuck” is used (to comic genius effect), this really is a movie about people connecting and a movie about love. Not just the love between man and woman (and the complexities of love), but also love between friends and love between a parent and their child. In many ways, the film reminded me of Apatow’s classic series, “Freaks and Geeks” (for which he was the producer, writer and occasional director). The humor tempered the pathos in such an organic way; the film did not feel like your run of the mill romantic comedy. Instead, it felt like a slice of reality. There were several moments when I was near tears in laughter, and others when I was near tears because of the emotional depth the characters all had. Apatow has said that Hal Ashby’s movies were models for the type of movie he wants to make. You can clearly see that in “Knocked Up”, which is a far more adult film that his previous gem, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.

There are so many hilarious moments in the movie that to recount them would be a disservice to it. I should point out that Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are sensational as a married couple with two children who are going through a rough time in their marriage. These two obviously love each other; they have just hit a bump in the road and are having a difficult time expressing that love. In addition, Apatow’s daughters (he is married to Mann) play the children of Rudd and Mann. They steal every scene they are in. Seth Rogan has such a lovable quality to him in this movie that you’re rooting for him, even when he’s fucking up. And I am really impressed with Katharine Heigel. She is a very talented actress and once she hangs up the scrubs from “Grey’s Anatomy”, she should have a nice career in films.

I can’t say enough about the script and the direction, though. Apatow has such a smooth touch; you really don’t feel like you’re watching a movie. He has created characters that seem like the guys and girls you hang out with at your house on the weekend. Each scene feels natural and real. He is now in a position, after two excellent and successful films, to do pretty much what he wants. I hope that he continues to make films like this one, character driven comedies that tale a slice out of life and make it accessible to everyone.

At the very end, when the baby is being delivered (and we get a money shot that rivals Ben Stiller’s ball sac in a zipper from “There’s Something About Mary”), I was getting choked up. You never forget what it’s like being in the hospital the day your child is born. It is the most exhilarating and wonderful feeling in the world. I will admit that I felt some sadness watching these characters deliver birth naturally. I wish that Julie would have had that experience. Both of the kid’s deliveries were traumatic and stressful. But what are you going to do. As the film says, “Life doesn’t follow any plans. You have to roll with it.”

Great movie all around. I may have to see it again because I was laughing through so many scenes.

Ironically, after I finished writing this, I checked TCM to see what was on (a Rockstar drink will do that to you). "Harold & Maude" was airing, so of course, I watched it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Basement Songs- "Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders

Each and every time I hear the opening guitar strumming of The Pretenders’ “Back on the Chain Gang”; I am filled with happiness, sorrow, love and regret. Then the acoustic guitar (only truly featured in the beginning of the song) joins in, and finally the lead guitar melody, the drums and a wonderful bass part propel me through my past. When asked what my favorite songs of all time would be, I know that this song would be ranked in the top 5. Initially released as a single in 1982, I remember the song fondly for its bouncy video featuring the members of the band leaping in the air. Since we didn’t have cable television my entire childhood (my parents reluctantly got it in the 90’s), I first saw the video in the basement of a kid named Thom Theiss. Thom and I were in 7th grade together and were pretty tight during that year. By the time The Pretenders album, “Learning to Crawl”, was released in 1983, I had fallen out with Thom and his group of friends. It wasn’t so much we had a fight or anything, they just moved on to the newest cool kid. What did I do? I ran back to Matt. Once again, I had abandoned him for long periods of our 7th grade year in attempt to shed this “brainy” image of the advanced classes I was in and tried to hang with the cool kids. I wish I’d known what a futile effort this was; I wish I’d known that the people in that 7th class with Mrs. Whitwell would turn out to be the friends I kept for a lifetime. People like Jeff Marsick and Cindy Graf. People like Matt.

At that same time in my life, I was getting deeper into my passion for drumming. Oh, how I looked up to Budd and hung on every note he played in the various pickup bands. Since most bands had girl singers, and there were so few women rock stars, The Pretenders got played a lot, along with Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Scandal. When my copy of “Learning to Crawl” arrived in the mail from the Columbia Record Club, I believe Budd played it more than I did. At that time I didn’t have my own drum set, so I had to ask permission to go down into the basement and play Budd’s drums. Since I was minimally talented back then, there was no way in hell I was going to be playing along with Rush anytime soon. I stuck to Journey and some of the easier rock drummers to play along to. And “Back on the Chain Gang” always beckoned me from the turntable. Martin Chambers has been labeled a human metronome by some critics, but I find his playing to very organic and loose. And on this song particular, the spirit he brings to the song is a lesson in modern rock drumming. His playing contains nothing too fancy, the appropriate fills, and enough energy to make the song seem peppier than the subject matter. While I didn’t understand why at the time, I always felt that there was something sad about “Back on the Chain Gang.” The way Chrissie Hynde sings, there is melancholy and reflection that gives the song so much power. It was only years later that I learned that the song was inspired by the death of her friend and band mate, James Honeymoon Scott, who died of a heroin overdose before the song was completed. But in 7th grade, none of that meant anything to me. I was about the drums and the melody. Even today, I marvel at the craftsmanship of this song. Lest I forget, the exceptional bass playing was done by the extraordinary Tony Butler (of Big Country and Pete Townshend fame) and the great Billy Bremmer (formerly of Rockpile) provided the chiming lead guitar song.

“Learning to Crawl” was a huge success for The Pretenders. It was followed up by the slick album, “Get Close”. While that LP included the pop great, “Don’t Get Me Wrong”, I found the record disappointing, mainly because Chambers had left the band. Without him, the camaraderie of two people who had survived the deaths of their two band members was gone. To me, The Pretenders were no longer a band; they were a one woman show. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it just didn’t feel the same to me, so I moved on to other bands and different music.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Pretenders fell from their huge fame, like most 70’s rock stars did at that time. However, the rise of the classic rock radio format gave them new life. Since Chrissie Hynde hails from Akron, OH, a mere 45 minutes from Cleveland, her music continued to get airplay, especially on classic rock stations. During the summers of my college years, I worked on a paint crew with Steve, spending almost every day outside with my black boom box blasting music. On good days, we brought in our own tapes and introduced each other to new music from our different parts of the country. On lazy, humid days, less inspired that others (or hung over), it was 98.5, WNCX that filled the silence. ‘NCX is the classic rock station in Cleveland, so, yes, we heard plenty of Pretenders. With college graduation on the horizon and impending adulthood, this song reflecting on a friendship past tapped into the emotions I was feeling. These weren’t my minute to minute thoughts of the day. But they would present themselves in isolated moments throughout the course of the summer months. I’d be high on a scaffold, alone, looking down on my friends. They would look so small, so far away. Or there would be times in my folks’ basement, hanging out with a six pack and some tunes. As the music played, Steve and I, or Matt and I, or all three of us on rare occasions, wouldn’t say anything. A simple look and a head nod sufficed. And most definitely, these thoughts would come during those opening chords of “Back on the Chain Gang” and as the song played all the way through. Years later, when I made Steve a nostalgic cd containing songs from our summers in Ohio, I avoided most of the obvious selections. But there was one song I knew had to be included.

In the mid 90’s, The Pretenders became a band again. Hynde brought Chambers back into the fold and hired two young aces for guitar and bass (and they’re still in the band). At the tail end of the “unplugged” phenomenon, The Pretenders recorded an acoustic concert with the Duke String Quartet. That night, “Back on the Chain Gang” was re-imagined with lovely violins and cellos. The harmony of these strings at the beginning of this version of the song can bring tears to your eyes if you’re not prepared for it. Hynde’s vocals are brought front and center. You can really hear the anguish in her voice, mixed the joy in her remembering her fallen friends. I don’t know if she gives her all each time she performs “Brass in Pocket” or “I’ll Stand By You”, but every live performance I have heard of “Back on the Chain Gang” has the same passion; the same love and affection; the same sadness. This is a special song to her and that is obvious.

Two years ago Matt passed away. After working through the grieving process, I could finally look at photos of him without tearing up. A couple of months ago, my sister in law, Karyn, found a picture taken in 1994 when Matt visited us in California. In it, the two of us are young, carefree and smiling for the camera. I look back at that visit as possibly the last time our friendship was good and we were happy in each other’s company. That photo brings to mind Hynde’s lyrics:

“I saw a picture of you/ Those were the happiest days of my life.”

Any photo of Matt feels that way to me.

“Back on the Chain Gang” has transcended mere “favorite song” status. It has become a constant, welcome presence in my musical life. 25 years after hearing the song for the first time, this song has brought so much meaning me. Any song that you can use to pinpoint important emotional moments has to be unique. And the memories continue to come. As is customary, I’ll listen to my basement song several times over to keep it in my head while writing these little essays. It is a real testament to any song that you can hear it ten or twelve times in a row and still enjoy it the next day. Tonight, as I was writing, Sophie and Jake were finishing their bath. Mid way through my entry, the bath ended and I had to help them dry off. The song continued to play as I wiped Jake’s hair. Normally, he stands still for this ritual, but not this night. He began playing an imaginary guitar, strumming along with Chrissie and the band. It was completely spontaneous and he didn’t even realize I was watching him. It is one of those precious moments of childhood we keep with us forever. And I will treasure this one: My son, playing his imaginary guitar and shaking his little butt to one of my favorite basement songs ever.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yesterday was my parents’' 45th wedding anniversary. In this day and age, that number seems monumental. I failed to call them, which is ludicrous because of all the days in the year, this would seem the most important. If they'd never gotten married, you wouldn't be reading this blog because good old' Scott wouldn't exist. Plain and simple.

I know from my few conversations with them about it that my parents had a rough go of it early in their relationship. My grandfather Lamb actually broke them up at one point. But their love was too strong and they found their way back into each other’s lives. After they were engaged, my dad was never in favor with my grandfather. I admire my mom for sticking up for the man she loved, even though her father disapproved.

My father graduated and got his first job in Georgia while my mom completed nursing school at the University of Miami. Each weekend, he would drive back down to Florida to see her. Can you imagine? That took a lot of love... and stamina. Their first year of marriage was tough. They were in Georgia during the 60's. My dad taught black students and was pretty liberal in his beliefs. Every student deserved an education is how he felt. I know they must have experienced some pretty harsh stuff while living in the south. In the 80's, when I was gearing up to paint the car that would become the Whomobile, I first proposed painting the Confederate flag on the room of that beat up Delta 88. My dad flat out refused. When I asked, he simply said, "I lived in the south. We won't have that flag on our car." After my older sister Beth was born, a job opening at my dad’s high school alma mater opened up. He got the job and returned to his hometown of North Olmsted, Ohio in the late 60’s.

In Ohio, my folks first lived in a trailer park while they saved money for a house. During that time, my brother, Budd, was born and the family basically lived on white bread sandwiches with little to no furniture. The first house they lived in was near the North Olmsted high school. That was the house they were living in when I was born. I have no memories of it. Soon thereafter, they purchased the large plot of land on North Park Drive where they would build their last house in Ohio. This was a great house. And after my sister, Heidi was born; the transition to Ohio was complete. They lived in that same house from the early 70's until they moved to Tucson in the mid- 90's.

I know that life was not easy for them. Raising four kids must have been insane. There have been financial scares. Job scares. Health scares. But many, many good things, too. I have learned how to be confident, when to shut the hell up, when to stand up for myself and I learned how to be loyal to your family no matter how much bullshit comes between you. My parents were tough at times. There are things that they did that I will never do to my own children. I attribute their child raising technique to the time they were born and to the way they were raised. Not everything they did was right. But from their mistakes, we, their children, have learned to be better people and better parents. As I continue to try and raise Sophie and Jacob the best that I can, I know that I'll make mistakes, too. And I know that my kids will grow into better people than I will ever be.

I guess that's the lesson of parenthood. You do your best to raise your kids with your love and hope that they continue to grow into good human beings. I believe that the Malchus kids all turned out fine. And for that, I owe my folks a great big hug and a thank you.

Thanks Mom & Dad. Happy Anniversary.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Basement Songs- "Walk Like A Man" by Bruce Springsteen

My father wasn't an easy man to love growing up. I was an emotional kid and I didn't quite get why he wasn't overly affectionate with all of his children. Making matters worse, for me, was that he always seemed to associate better with complete strangers or his students or his fellow teachers. Why couldn't he take the time to talk to me about what book I was reading? I'm sure he would have loved "The Black Cauldron" or "The Great Brain" if he had given them a try.

When I reached high school, he and I seemed to reach a level of understanding and we started to get along. I'm not sure what happened, perhaps he had mellowed, or perhaps because I wasn't a rebel rouser like my brother and I wasn't angry all of the time like my sister, it was easier for him to communicate with me. I think some of the things I went through in life and imagine that my dad began to see some of his mortality and he began to realize that he couldn't protect us from everything like he wished he could.

Besides pushing my hand through a window and requiring 35 stitches when I was, like, 5, I also needed surgery on a bone spur when I was in 5th grade. What I didn't know at the time was that there was concern that the bone spur might be cancerous. I used to say I couldn’t imagine what my parents must have gone through not being able to control things while I went under the knife. Sadly, I fully understand now what it's like to not be able to control the health of a child. Luckily, it was just a bone spur. My foot is intact.

In 9th grade, I shredded a ligament in my right knee and required reconstructive surgery. My mom told me that my dad was white as a ghost when the rolled me out of surgery. I know that feeling, too. You’re just a body, standing there watching your child roll by. All you can is send love. A feeling. It's not tangible, you know? You're just sending VIBES. For a man who was raised in a fairly conservative household... a household in which expressions of love were rarely given, this must have been excruciatingly frustrating for my dad.

As much as I'd like to say I'm not like my father, I see parts of him in me every single day I walk on this earth. It's not just the emotional things, either. I know I have a short fuse. I realize that I often lack the proper patience with the two people I love more than my life, Sophie and Jacob. But lately I have begun to notice that Dad and I are both dreamers and that without him making the career choice he did, I wouldn't be out here in California making a go at it in the film industry. Instead of going into business like his brother and father did, my dad followed his heart and stuck with music.

My dad is a band director. A great teacher. A musician. And he's a dreamer. He'd never in his life tell you he's a dreamer, but us fellow dreamers can see the characteristics. For as long as I can remember, my dad wrote arrangements to marching band songs for all of the bands he directed. Not just one or two parts, but all of the parts in the entire marching band. Take a moment to think about that. He was hearing all of these notes and variations of music in his head and was able to put them on paper for a bunch of pimply kids to mutilate with their instruments. Is that any different from what I'm doing? In many ways, he was hearing the same voices I hear when I'm trying to write a script or try to piece together the images I've shot.

There is one lasting image I have carried with me throughout my entire marriage and my time as a father. The morning that Julie and I were leaving for California was very emotional. Lots of tears. We were at Julie's parents house in Lakewood and it was bone rattling cold outside. As we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes, I hugged my dad one last time before we were going to head outside and drive away. Suddenly, this man who had stood over me my whole life... looming, fell into a chair and began opening weeping. "This is harder than when my dad died." I'll never forget those words. To me, those words meant more than "I love you".

During my roughest period of high school, the final four months of my senior year, I was a heartbroken mess. I became a version of my father, cramming my feelings deep inside me while I hung out with my friends and attempted to be a normal kid. See, when you're already an emotional guy, having your high school sweetheart move away can rip you up inside. At that time, I would come home and immediately go to the basement. I only had one record I would listen to at that time, Bruce Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love". The sadness all over that record was something I could relate to and it helped me through that difficult time in my life. That LP traveled with me to college and put me to sleep more nights than I can remember. When Julie and I settled in Lose Angeles and I began replacing my Lp's with cd's, one of the first one's I switched out was "Tunnel of Love". That memory of my dad in the Flynn's house was with me a lot back then, and by nature, I returned to my old friend Bruce to help me through the uncertainty and lack of confidence. But I drew strength from the music, in particularly the song "Walk Like A Man".

In the song, Bruce (or a character he says isn't him, but we really know is Bruce Springsteen) has a conversation with his father. In it, the character has a conversation with his father, expressing in no uncertain terms how much his father has inspired him and how he plans to try and be a father like him. When Sophie was born and we dealt with the drama of her birth, and when Jacob was born and diagnosed, I kept coming back to this song. There are few songs in my life that I can point to and say, "That's me and my dad." There are few songs that I could probably play for my dad and not have to explain what I'm feeling (even though I have put myself out there to him on numerous occasions). This song, with its simplicity and hushed production is a basement song in the truest sense of the word. I can listen to it over ad over and over again and it never grows old. And each time I well up, not only thinking about my dad, but also thinking about my kids and the type of father I am trying to be for them. I love this song as much as any Springsteen song, which says a lot. It gets to the core of what I am and what I'm trying to be. And for that reason, it is a great basement song for Father's Day.

To all of you with kids, I say "Happy Father's Day". May you be blessed like I am. And may you be able to spend the entire day reveling in the wonder and joy of your children.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

3:40 pm

I've started reading Michael J. Fox's memoir, "Lucky Man". Long a MJF fan (I even liked "Life With Mikey"), I have been inspired by his battle with Parkinson's disease (and who hasn't) and his will to keep fighting. What I have found refreshing, so far, about his book is that he pulls no punches, about himself or the film industry. It takes a brave man to admit he made some shitty films. Most actors are not willing to do so for fear that they'll never work again. Then again, I guess he is not so concerned about that next acting role anymore.

What also has come through in the book is his love for his wife and children. If I ever did take up Steve's suggestion and decided to write some sort of memoir, I would most definitely use this book as a model.

I have to read it fast, though. I promised Sophie we would both read "Charlotte's Web" this summer. She wants to start this weekend (!). I don't think she understands that her old man is a slow ass reader. I'm pretty sure she'll be done with the book by Sunday night while it will take me the better part of a week to get through the book. It's worth it, though. If we can connect through words, maybe she'll be inspired to continue writing. Sophie is already a budding journalist. I pray she keeps it up. Her imagination and intelligence will take her far.

As I finish this entry, I wonder, "Who is reading this?"
2:32 pm

I was just about to go off on hearing some obscure Georgia Satellites song twice ion the same week. But my iTunes followed it up with a fantastic Petty live cut, which of course only brings to mind my drunken wander through the fields of Blossom Music Center with Steve and Phil and the Petty, Satellites, DEL FUEGOS show in 1987.

The summer gods are smiling on me,

1:00 hour

Just watched the best episode of "Life On Mars" yet. If you haven't seen this BBC produced show, you must check it out. The second season will start sometime this summer on BBC America. Great great show. And this one, episode 5 of the second season, is brilliant!


My iTunes has been randomly playing awesomeness all day. I'm afraid to stop it.

Here is a picture of the piñata I made for Jake's birthday this year. For those of you without a clue, that's supposed to be Robin (of Batman and Robin). He is in his anime, Teen Titans form. The piñata was made out of paper mache and took three weeks to complete. Julie thought I was nuts. She liked it, and Jake LOVED it, but all that effort for something that was going to be beat to shit by a bunch of scream 5 year olds seemed a little extreme.

The body was made from a shopping bag. The arms from toilet paper tubes. The hands were small brown bags I cut into the shape of gloves. The legs were construction paper and the feet small boxes. The head was a balloon.

Jake still has the head sitting on his dresser.

Received a stellar email from Steve this morning in response to last night's post. The man is the best friend a person could ask for. What he said encouraged me and knocked me out of the state I was in last night. Gracias, mi amigo.

Right now I'm at work. I'm taking this moment while Billt Bragg sings a cover of "Mansion On the Hill" to take a breath and enjoy how lucky I am to have an awesome wife like Julie and great kids like Sophie and Jake. I'm so looking forward to our vacation to Ohio in July. I really don't care whether I see many people. It's just good to be with her family. That said, I really want to see Elliott and Mrs. Brookshire. I have that videotape of the first movie I tried to shoot (thanks to my pal, Phil) and I believe I shyould only watch it with them. I'd love to see Sally. Need to see Denman. Of course, I'll see Bobby. Maybe we can arrange something with a few of the Blue House guys. Not likely, but worth a shot.

Damn, the week is filled. Maybe we should just have a big party.

As I wrap this up, "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" by the Ikettes is laying its fine groove over my tiny Yamaha computer speakers. Right on!
10:00 am in the big city.

Woke up this morning and went for my daily walk. I'm determined not to have heart surgery some day. Of course, that fear will be with me until the day they wheel me into surgery. So, I guess I should say that I'm determined to have as strong a heart as Dad did when he had his surgery. That, and I would love to shed that jiggling around my waistline. For those of you in the know... it's my gut. I even began lifting weights this morning.

I don't have a weight bench, so I took an old plank of wood, sawed it in half and placed it between two chairs on the patio. It is a total Dave Lamb construction, but it works. I decided I'd take the late train this morning since I was unsure whether I'd make the early one after all of my activities. Turns out I could have made it. Who knew?

With the extra time, I decided to do something fun. I balanced the checkbook. I'm surprised I didn't wake up Julie and Jake with my heavy sighing. My stressed out sighing has become such second nature that I don't even know I'm doing it anymore... or I'm mid way through a sigh and I can't stop myself. Frustrating.

Luckily, Sophie was up and already playing her new "Wheel of Fortune" video game. She loves that show! So, when it came time to get her a present this weekend, she immediately wanted it. Oh, I didn't explain why the kids got gifts, did I. See, Jake just began taking new enzymes. The dosage is higher in these pills, so he has to take fewer of them at meals. We decided to bribe him with a gift if he reached 21 pills. He got a sticker for each pill and when he reached 21, he got to choose a present for himself. Obviously he has to continue taking the pills in the capsule form, but it was a way to get him started.

The kid's a pro, man. I was taking Flintstones chewables until I was 13.

Anyway, Sophie was up playing her video game and she asked me to play a doubles round with her. I'll tell you, it's the inane little things in life that bring you the most pleasure. Just playing a stupid video game with my girl put me in the best spirits.

Thank you Sophie. And thank you Merv Griffin, for inventing Wheel of Fortune.


Monday, June 11, 2007

This is the part where I question what I'm doing. This is the part where I try and find inspiration and wonder if I should be writing this script at all. This is the part where I force myself through the first draft because I don't have anything to show after a god damn year and this was supposed to be an easy assignment. This is the part where I question whether I have any talent at all and cry myself to sleep. This is the part where you tell me to get my act together and finish the fucker because you need to sell a script.

I get through the day and the pit of self doubt sits in my stomach. I'm avoiding sitting down to write because I'm afraid. Instead of writing for myself, I'm trying to write to please someone else and this isn't working. If I could just get to that place of not caring.

Meanwhile, the minutes tick away.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"King's Highway" update

I have some great news. After only a week posted on the iklipz website, "King's Highway" was chosen as the "Film of the Week". Above is a screen capture of the banner as it appears when you first log on to the iklipz website. I have also posted production pictures from the film and the first page of the press kit. That page really gives you an idea of the craziness we went through trying to get the movie done.

If you haven't already, check it out. You can click on the link to the right, or go to this web address:


Monday, June 04, 2007

That's my girl!

Okay, so I have this killer headache and the thought of pounding away on my keyboard is not too thrilling (and believe me, it sounds like I'm typing on the old Royal typewriter Julie's Mom gave me). If you read my last post, you know that I'm not too inspired. Really, Malchus? That's the best you could come up with to describe the CF Walk this year?

Still, I had to tell this story. Tonight, as I was snuggling Sophie at bedtime, I was biting my tongue, literally counting the minutes because of the throbbing in my head. I hate to admit it, but it's true. We talked about her day, like we usually do at bedtime. This is her last week of school, for the year and it's basically a week of playing (games, etc). I can barely remember wasting away those last few days of elementary school before the summer began. Anyway, Sophie begins to tell me that there was a baseball game today. I could hear some disappointment in her voice. I knew she wishes she could have played. Let me tell you, Sophie can smack the ball. I have the bruises in my groin to prove it. My friends, I am scared shitless when I have to pitch to this girl because I know the ball is either going to nail me in the face, chest or the balls. And of course, when I am hit in the privates, Julie is generally close by and laughing out loud.

I digress. Sophie begins talking about the baseball game. Seems it was between the teachers and the 6th graders. "That doesn't seem fair,” I said. "Well, that's the way it was." Sophie replied. "I bet you could have hit the ball a lot better than some of those 6th graders, Soph", I told her, truly believing this. Then, she said the best thing any father could ask for. Sophie began her next sentence with such exasperation, I was proud of her:

"Dad, there was a girl that swung at a pitch that was totally a ball. I mean, it was way on the other side. She could have gotten a walk! What was she thinking?"

In the dark of her room, as Olivia Newton John played on her Barbie radio, I was beaming. Sophie's dad had the biggest damn smile on his face, it made that headache go away and taught me the lesson that I should always treasure these quiet, alone times with Sophie. She always surprises me with the greatest observations and smarts.


Great Strides 2007

The walk on Saturday was a great success. Team Jacob raised $20,000 this year. That's pretty damn incredible. Our friend, Pam Adlon, went out and raised over $8000 on her own, and those good folks from the Bloggers For A Cure contributed close to $2000. The Valencia walk had recorded $94000 the day of the walk, but more money will taper in over the course of the weeks. Hopefully that figure will rise up to $100K by the end of the month.

That's a lot of money, my friends, and that money will be well spent. Thank you to all of you who were able to make a donation and to those of you who wanted to but couldn't this year. Don't worry, you're all still on our list. Expect a letter next year.

The walk itself was fun. The weather was really pleasant this year, so it wasn't too hot. And with over 200 walkers, there was a lot of exposure for the walk.

I wasn't too emotional. I kind of stuck with our family and watched out for Jake and Sophie. It was so nice having mom and dad out here to join us on the walk. When I tell them I know they don't have to be out here, they just look at me. "Yes we do." I don't know how to answer something like that, so I just smile and nod.

The kids did great. But the person I'm most proud of this year is Julie. She worked her tail off helping organize this thing and it stressed her out to no end. I could see the relief in her shoulders after the walk was over and it had gone off without a hitch. I am so proud to call her my wife. And then, after all of that, she helped prepare a killer cook out meal for all of our friends and family. It's becoming a tradition that we have a cookout celebration after the walk each year. Of course, the Malchus' were here, as were the Cruz family. Julie brother Seann came up the night before and celebrated with us, as well. Finally, there were our neighbors, the Wills, who also participated in the walk. At the end of the night, a lot of food was eaten, a lot of beer and wine was drunk, and everyone was exhausted from a long, good day.

Like I said, Julie was the real hero on Saturday. But I know that she would never take any credit. She would say that Jacob is the hero. And that all the people living with CF are the heroes. I would agree. But she deserves recognition for all of the hard work she did. Nice job, hon. I love you.