Saturday, May 30, 2009

Went to the circus tonight, man was that a strange experience. I can't say the I was totally enthused or even entertained, but I came away with an appreciation of what circuses are and the hard work that goes into putting on the show. This particular circus, Circus Vargas, has been around for 40 years. As I watched the show I thought to myself how strange that no one has made a contemporary film about circus life. I had a couple ideas for kids films and maybe a farce, but I also kept coming back to a star studded Altman-esque idea, something I will never write.

It seemed that everyone had a couple of jobs at the circus. The death defying motorcycle rider whose display of skill closed the show was also the guy taking photos of audience members and trying to get them to buy the picture before the end of the show. Seems that everyone who performed also worked on the crew in some capacity. Trapeze artists also rolled out the carpet, the women who performed magic also sold concessions before the show. In a way, Circus Vargas was like the Boy Scouts.

I may not have been entertained (although there were some unintentionally funny moments) I am glad we went. Julie and the kids leave town in a week and even thinking about it now is getting me misty eyed. At least I'll have the cat... and the mouse that has taken up residency somewhere in our house. I hope it's mouse. I saw it last night scurry behind the dishwasher, then I heard its claws skitter across the kitchen floor while I watched Saint Ralph, one of my favorite movies. If you have not seen Saint Ralph you must rent it the next time you are choosing a movie (unless you're thinking about renting King's Highway, in which case Saint Ralph should be the second film you rent).

This week has been hectic as far as writing goes. I am close to completing some of the reviews I need to do for Popdose. Unfortunately I have not been able to work on the book as much. Yet, I do not feel anxious like I do when I'm not working on a screenplay. Perhaps because the words just seem to flow better when I'm writing the book and I'm not analyzing every single word I write for fear it will be misinterpreted by some future director. I don't know. I believe I am half way through my handwritten rough draft. I dread typing it.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

I don't want to be negative, but I'm afraid that the Indians season is slipping away. There would be nothing I'd like more than to be proven wrong on this one. But with one of their starters, albeit an ineffective one, and one of their best relievers (who was one of their best starters before he got switched to the bullpen) both getting injured last night, I'm getting that sinking feeling in my stomach.

There is so much talent on this team, yet they don't seem to have any fire under them. While I'm sure that Eric Wedge is a good manager and I've supported him in the past, I wonder if there needs to be a shakeup and if the blame shouldn't fall on his shoulders. It's not just about inspiring, it's about managing. The great manager, when his guys are slumping, he yanks 'em to place a more effective hitter in the lineup. Torre does it. LaRussa does it. And to use an excuse like, "we're a young team" is crap. Martinez, Sizemore and Peralta are seasoned vets.

Instead of any sort of consistency, every night is a different lineup and no one is able to get into a rhythm. That's the way I see it from my end out here in California. I listen to just about every game and follow the gamecast on the Indians web site. Even the radio announcers sound defeated when they call the play by play.

Who is leading this clubhouse? That's what I really wonder. Who is the player in the trenches that acts as the captain? Who do thy draw inspiration from?

Last year I went on a similar rant and the Indians suddenly turned it around. I hope that happens this year. Alas, I just don't see the same spark and at 9 1/2 games back time may be running out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I was so disheartened that I had left the room. But something told me to go back and watch the last second of this game. Something inside me said that I wouldn't want to miss a miracle if it actually happened. So back to the bedroom I went, where Sophie and Julie were laying in the bed and the TV was on. The Cavs had 1 second. ONE SECOND! They would have one chance to throw the ball in bounds and take a shot and there was only one person who should be handling the ball.

I'm still smiling. It was the most amazing feat I've seen in a very long time and the fact that it was happening for a Cleveland team and not against it was the kicker. Yeah, they blew another huge lead, but this kind of win can create momentum. Let's hope.

Gotta love Marv Albert's call at the buzzer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am nearly out from under the pile of DVD reviews I committed to reviewing for Popdose. One of them came out in April... zoinks. Basically I should be cranking these things out but I always want to go back and proof the reviews and revise what I've written. It's not like I'm writing some dumb blog or anything.

The thing is, we're trying to make Popdose something unique, which means doing my best as a writer. I know PR firms have to tell their clients how many reviews they've received, but since I'm not getting paid, I feel like they can cut me some slack. The worst thing that could happen is I don't get nay more DVD's to review and I have to spend all of my time working on the book. Actually, that would be a great thing.

I just want to get done with these reviews so I can focus on the book. I feel like I've hit a wall and I really need a kick in the ass to get back writing. I'm pretty frustrated with myself for slacking off after having such a good long run of consistent writing. It's my mindset that needs to be tweaked.

Anyway, it's late, our cat won't come in for the night so she gets to sleep outside again. I'm off to bed.


PS- I can't get the Keith Urban/Kris Allen version of Urban's "Kiss a Girl" from American Idol out of my head. Good song.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Julie has returned and we now go back to routine of normalcy until school lets out. Then , I don't know. I'm not going to lie and say that this summer is going to be easy. Without Julie working get regularly things are going to be T-I-G-H-T, tight. Man it would really help if something could get sold, but even if someone bought one of my scripts, the reality is that the money wouldn't be in the bank for months. So, we bite the bullet. We shall make ends meet as best as possible and hope that the fall brings better fortunes.

But hey, let's not all get down about this. We're not the only ones going through this, so I take some limited comfort in that. For some insane reason I am not gnawing off my fingernails over this. What is this feeling? Hope? Blind faith? Or perhaps I have just lost it.

Oh, and let me as this: I downloaded UB40's version of "Red Red Wine" from their greatest hits album ad it's the single version, sans the ska rap at the end. Who does that? Who puts out a greatest hits album and only included a truncated version of their most popular song? Frustrating. Almost makes me want to listen to Foreigner.


Altogether now...

"Red red wine!"


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our neighbors, Dee and Larry, recently sold their house and will be moving a 1 1/2 acre home by the end of the summer. The reality of them leaving didn't begin to sink in until today when their daughter moved out of the house. Seeing the U Haul and boxes stacked up on the driveway made me a little sad. Dee and Larry have been in their house since we moved into our house. I'm not sure how close they are to any of the other neighbors, but I've always felt like our two families bonded nicely. I used to watch their dogs when they went on long vacations and one of their other daughters used to watch our cats.

You know the old cliche of the one neighbor always borrowing the guy across the street's tools? That was me always hitting up Larry for a weed whacker or some obscure tool. And Larry was always eager to give me what I needed and to lend a hand when I asked.

They're not gone yet, but it will be sad when they finally do pull away in their moving van.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Julie is now in Atlanta having left yesterday afternoon. It was quite a traumatic day for both of the kids. When you consider that Sophie has never been away from her mom for 10 years and Jacob for 7 years, there is bound to be some separation anxiety. However, they have been doing great today. I'm very proud of them. Today was also a minimum day at school, so I stayed home, too. The family picnic at the school took place at 11:45, so I had a couple of hours alone in the morning to do some writing, which I didn't do because I'm obsessed with my iPod.

My poor little iPod hates me. At least once a day I have the small device hooked up, trying to manipulate as much as I can out of the 8 gig drive. Just yesterday I realized that the jpegs I atach to each song actually suck up memory space. The iPod has been angry and shutting down. I must be nice to the iPod. I can not let the iPod crash on me.

Soon I will explain my obssesive compulive set list that I compiled to write the book. 500 songs, people. 500 songs! Who needs that much music? And why must each individual song contain the correct album artwork... from the original albums. Oh no, no "Greatest Hits" or "Best of" album coners for my iPod, I have to track down the original artwork.

I have finally put the thing to rest. I need to move on or I will go deeper into the wormhole.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the kids are doing great. Everyone is doing great.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A sudden cold knocked me on my ass last week. All day Friday I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone and then I was slapped in the head with one "bad mother fu--m 'Shut your mouth!' Just talking 'bout" cold all day Saturday. At one point Saturday night, while trying to get to sleep, I coughed so hard it felt like someone took a knife, magnetized it, then picked up a hundred pins and shoved the deadly pin knife into my throat. Needless to say Mothers Day was a little disappointing. Oh, it wasn't disappointing for Jules; I believe she had a very nice day. It was disappointing because I was low on energy and couldn't do as much for as I had hoped.

Nevertheless, we did have some fun this weekend, taking in a Lancaster Jethawks minor league baseball game Saturday night and spending the afternoon Sunday with Budd and Karyn's family.

I haven't run since last Thursday and I'm not sure if I'll be up and jogging until after this weekend. Julie is leaving town to visit with her sisters in Atlanta for a long weekend (it's sister Michelle's birthday) and the last thing I want to do is be sick again while I'm being Mr. Mom. This trip of Julie's is a little nerve wracking. She has never been away from the kids... ever. While I have always left them to return home during vacations of fly back east for weddings or funerals, Julie has always been with Sophie and Jacob. I believe that the kids and Julie will do fines, but there will be a little adjusting that needs to happen. As for me, I'm kind of excited.

Work has been very busy as of late and I've fallen behind on my reviews for Popdose. I have a stack of DVD's to my right that are staring at me, demanding they get watched. Slowly I will get to them.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Man, the Indians are just KILLING me. 9 and 16? Their horrid defense and inability to hit with men in scoring position is crushing my heart.

I know, I know, it's early.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Last week I attended a couple panels at the LA Times Book Festival. The Festival itself was nice, but I'm not into the whole "walking from booth to booth and getting free stuff" thing. I've decided that I'm going to try and write a book and I wanted to hear from some authors writing in the same genre I'm trying.

The two panels were interesting, although I enjoyed the 1st panel much more. The authors on that panel were Robin Benway, Deb Caletti, Lauren Myracle and Lisa Yee. This particular panel was moderated by Cecil Castelluci, an author herself. The five women were quite animated and it was very interesting seeing their different personalities on stage. I came away from the panel with a couple nuggets of motivation that have kept me moving forward with my writing.

The second panel was fine, though a little stuffy. The moderator for that panel ran it much more traditionally by asking questions on down the row of authors. I liked the free form conversational style of the first. Much more relaxed.

As for my own book, I won't divulge the plot. If you dig around on the Internet, you know what genre I'm shooting for. I read once that when you are writing a book you shouldn't announce it to anyone until it's completed. I can understand this thinking but I tend to disagree. I'd rather make a proclamation that I'm doing this thing and have my friends and family hold me accountable. There's nothing more motivating than having someone ask "how's the book coming along?" I hate bullshitting people and to lie would make me feel like a loser. The only thing worse would be to say I haven't been working on it and offer some lame excuse like I've been too busy with Popdose.

Speaking of the Dose, one of the reasons I drew back from writing my weekly television column was because I wanted to focus on writing this book. I feel it was a good decision because I don't feel the pressure to come up with something every week (nor do I feel guilty when I miss a week). I realize I'm not getting paid, but I take the Popdose stuff pretty serious. In addition, it is still my goal to writ a new basement song for every week of the year this year. I still think I can do it.

It's funny, since I went to the festival, I've been motivated to keep my thoughts on Thunderbolt again. I hope that I've finally found the balance between what I'm writing at Popdose and what I want to share here.