Sunday, September 05, 2010

One of the reasons I've been so reluctant to add new posts is the spam comments I've been receiving on thunderbolt. I haven't figured out how to delete them, so I guess I'm doing a service for any of my ten readers who are into Asian porn. Enjoy!

Yesterday I decided to run 6.5 miles to determine whether I might be able to handle a half marathon in November. I have been thinking about running the Santa Clarita half for a couple of weeks. I need some sort of goal. Lately I've been feeling kind of down about myself and the lack of things happening in my professional career. Suddenly it hit me that maybe what's missing is that physical drive that keeps me motivated to get up every morning to run. Thus, entering a race came to mind.

For over a year, now, I have wanted to challenge myself to run a half marathon, and by run I mean not doing a run/walk method. I mean I want to see if I can run without stopping. That's my goal and yesterday when I finished 6.5, which including two gnarly hills, I felt strong.

So, I'm going to start training for the Santa Clarita half which is happening on November 7th.

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Working on the latest Basement Song and I've now listened to "Baby" by Justin Bieber over 15 times. The song actually gets better, especially Ludacris' rap in the middle.

What have I become?!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Saturday at the beach, yesterday. Not much to report except that I'm getting used to the whole "do nothing and listen to the waves" aspect of what the beach experience is supposed to be. I've been reading Lonesome Dove this summer and even though I picked the book up is spurts yesterday, I managed to get through 50 some pages and still retain what I read. The beach up in Carpinteria was CROWDED. I can't recall the last time I've seen that many families hanging out and enjoying the coolness of the water breeze.

On the way home we blew a tire on the van. Just like last year's experience with Mom and Dad, the spare had to be put on with traffic speeding by in intervals. It was nerve racking, but there was also this rush of adrenalin that made me feel useful for a change. Luckily I had the experience from last summer to get me through last night's excitement rather quickly. Believe it or not, I didn't slip out any obscenities except for once, and it had nothing to do with the tire. I tweaked my foot and had to stand up suddenly. The whole tire changing incident only took about a half hour. Not bad considering I was only wearing a T-shirt, swimming suit and flip-flops. The only drag is having to buy a new tire.

Aloha

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why has it become so much harder to get into the groove after returning from vacation. I swear, I left for Ohio feeling stoked about what's on the horizon, then I enjoyed one of the most relaxing week's in a long time, and now that I'm back, I feel like a ten pound weight has been placed around my neck. It's not just work related, I just can't find the energy or motivation to write a single column or story or script idea.

It's just the weather, right? It's just that this confounded heat is bearing down and making it hard to even think, right?

I hope so.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Beach

I've decided to embrace the beach as best as possible. For years I've been indifferent about going to the beach with the family. The sand. The waves. The undertow. The cold water. It just wasn't me. But this year is different. I'm going to take it all in. I'm going to relax in the sand. At some point I may actually go into the ocean (baby steps, people, baby steps) and I'm going to have fun, enjoy being with the kids, take in their laughter and joy.

We went up to Carpinteria this morning and met some friends and their families. It was overcast, at first, but the clouds soon burned away. The day was fun, lazy and a superb get away.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Why I love Vin Scully...

This afternoon during the Dodgers broadcast, the great (understatement) Vin Scully took ten minutes to explain the significance of June 6, 1944, "D-Day."

I don't know any sports broadcaster who takes time out of the game to give a history lesson, but Sculley is old school. The man has seen the worst in the country and he has certainly seen the best in all of his years as the God of play by play. He's as patriotic as he is poetic and listening to him is one of the best parts of living in Los Angeles.

Anyway, the fact that he pointed out what today means and that when we talk about sacrifice in sports or when we call athletes "warriors," we should take a moment to think about what true sacrifice means and what a true warrior looks like. One need only watch the harrowing opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan to understand.

Thanks, Vin!

Okay, let's get back to the game.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Woke up this morning to the startling sound of Jacob throwing up. My stomach dropped when we saw blood mixed in with the phlegm he threw up. He threw up a couple more times, each with spots of blood in it. Julie took him to the doctor and they put him on antibiotics. Since then he didn't throw up again.

I nearly lost it a couple of times while we got ready for Jules to take Jake to the doctor. Honestly, I expected him to have to go down to Children's and feared he'd be admitted. We've been blessed that he hasn't required hospitalization since he was a baby, but the possibility of that happening is always in the back of my mind somewhere. Julie continues to amaze me with her composure under duress. She seemed calm throughout everything, even when we were both placing our fingers in the phlegm/vomit trying to feel the texture of the red spots. We weren't 100% sure it was blood until then.

Jake and I stayed home all day and missed a pool party with several of our friends. The poor guy took a 3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. I wound up crashing, too. I went to bed really late last night anticipating that I would get to sleep in. Then, when everything was going on this morning my stomach was in knots and the last thing I wanted was a cup of coffee. By 2:00, my body went through caffeine withdrawal and I nearly got sick (red flag, Malchus, cut back on the java). I've been out of it since I woke up around 5:00.

Everyone seems fine now, but it was quite a scare and a reminder of how quickly life can change when you're dealing with a chronic illness.

I haven't used thunderbolt as a resource to vent my fears and frustrations in quite some time. Through Julie I've become aware of other, better blogs written by people suffering from CF. I figured I didn't have much to add. However, I'm rethinking that. Maybe I won't have a huge audience (I know I won't), but I think I need to return to thunderbolt for me. I need to release what's inside of me and this feels like the best place to do it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's done... again!

I haven't posted on the blog for the past month because I've been devoting my free time to finishing the revision of my book. I completed it last night. Now all I have to do is type the new pages, reread it and make any changes I feel necessary before sending it off to be read.

What I realized last night is that this is kind of a new book altogether. While there are definitely chapters from the original version of Legendary incorporated into the new version, one major storyline was completely excised (along with those characters) and the other storyline has been shoved into the background. The new book is strictly about three characters and the love triangle that forms around them.

I'm excited about the new book. I hope that other people will be, too.

Aloha

Monday, March 29, 2010

Last week was kind of crazy, thus there were no posts. I slipped into facial hair mode for the book and really dedicated myself to getting some chapters done. I haven't grown a beard to write in a while and for a couple of days it was worth it. I know Julie hates it, but I was feeling like an "artist." Besides the long nights writing, we were prepping for the Cure finders walk at the kids school that took place on Friday. Each year this is an emotional day as you stand around and watch 300 kids walk around the school cheering to find a cure for CF, and it's all because of your son. Even writing that sentence gets me a little misty eyed. As the week went on, Julie sent out her CF letter and I finally wrote mine.

I realized this weekend that I didn't write a letter last year. I think Julie wrote it and we sent it out, but I didn't give much thought to it. When I don't write my own letter I somehow don't feel as connected with the fundraising. I'm glad... very glad that I wrote a letter this year and was able to send it out the past couple of days. In addition, Julie put together a wonderful... really, it kicks ass... video montage that we have on youtube and included with each email. We're hoping to raise $3000 by the end of April. I think it can be done.

Why, you ask? Because the students at Emblem school, where Sophie and Jake attend, raised $4660 in one week! And since BJ's restaurant will donate an additional $1000, the kids raised $5660. Incredible!

Friday's Cure Finders Walk was a great time and I managed not to cry. Close, but it didn't happen. Thank you Emblem School.

By the way, I woke up this morning after another late nighyt of writing and was disappointed in myself for putting on 5 lbs. Resorting to the old ways of beard writing kind of made me resort back to laxidazical feelings about what I eat and exercise. I need to run. It makes me feel good about myself. It also opens up my mind to new ideas. I don't want to turn back into the loafing 30-someting Malchus again.

I'm a writer, damn it. I don't need growth on my face to write.

The beard came off this morning.

Aloha

Friday, March 19, 2010

I've been in a funk all day. This morning there was an honor roll assembly and we attended because Sophie, once again, made honor roll. After the awards were handed out some announcements were made, including one about the CF fundraiser next week. For the third year i a row the kids' school will raise money all week for the CF Foundation, concluding with a mini-walk on Friday.

For me it is always makes me very sad when I hear people talking about combating a deadly disease and that "a child at out school has cystic fibrosis" and that child is mine. I sat still, fighting back tears while Julie addressed the parents throughout the room. After that, I couldn't shake the sadness all day. Even now, at 10:25 PM, I can still feel the lingering effects of this morning and all I want to do is sob my eyes out.

I have watched Julie do so much and I feel inadequate in her presence. All I've ever done is run. Perhaps that's why I am toying with the idea of doing a 10K the same weekend as our Great Strides this year. I need to feel like I'm DOING something and not just being an observer.

I hate this feeling. I hate this fear.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Julie has just about completed this year's Team Jacob Great Strides video. She has done a wonderful job editing photos and some short video clips together. Jacob wanted to use Springsteen's "Working on a Dream" as the song plain underneath the video and I think that it makes it very powerful.

This afternoon was rough for Jules and the kids as Sophie started watching the video and lost it. In school today she was asked to talk to her class about CF and even though she was reluctant to stand up in front of her classmates, she did it anyway. Watching the video with Julie made her sad and she began crying after just a couple clips.

Sophie is one of the brightest kids I know. At any time she could look up some info on CF and I am afraid that she will be overwhelmed with the information out there. I know we should talk to her soon, but when is the right time? Additionally, and Julie has pointed this out to me a couple of times, it would be a huge burden for Sophie to carry if she knew how fatal CF could be and Jacob did not.

Alas, the time is coming. I can feel it. And I dread it, oh how I dread it. As Julie said earlier this year, we want the kids to believe in Santa Claus as long as possible.

I'll post the video when it is complete. Again, Julie did a kick ass job. Her filmmaker husband had very little to do with it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I've spent a good portion of my day typing revised pages from the book. Why is it that I think that most of the stuff I write is crap? Do all writers suffer the same lack of self-confidence? Well, not all do. I read an enlightening article about Nicholas Sparks that pretty much said that he's full of himself.

Then again, the guy makes a shitload of money selling books and those books get made into successful movies.

My goal in the coming weeks is to complete the latest revision of the book without getting sidetracked. Each time I set aside time to work on it, something comes up and weeks go by before I'm able to jump back in.

Still, the most important thing right now is to complete a new CF fundraising video and start asking for donations for this year's Great Strides. Some families have been at it since February and are already doing so well. I always feel like we're behind and I always feel pressure to raise a lot of money.

The years in which we don't raise a lot of money I feel inadequate, as if we haven't done our part. I hate that feeling.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why is it that my bones creak every time I get off the couch. Ugh.

Sophie and I watched the second Harry Potter movie tonight and it was... okay. Better than the first, but the pacing was still slow and at 2 hours and 40 minutes, there could have been some additional edits that would have erased those awkward pauses when the kids were getting fed a line reading.

Sophie liked, though, which is the most important thing, so I shouldn't whine.

Progress is being made on the book revision. It took me a couple of weeks to write new chapters that will open the novel. Unlike 90% of the original draft, which were based on a screenplay I wrote 15 years ago (man, has it been that long?), these new chapters were entirely new material, so it took a little longer to feel comfortable with the writing and confident in what I wrote. I don't know what I'm so worried about because I know I'm just going to rewrite them again before submitting them to be read. Man, this is a great and crazy process.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Basement Songs: Eddie Vedder with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “The Long Road”

During my first year at BGSU, I saw two motion pictures within a span of nine months that shook me to my core. When I entered college I thought I was in touch with my faith, even considering the possibility of becoming a minister. Movies won out, though.

Click here to read the rest.
Toward the end of last year Sophie and I began a journey into the wonderful world of Harry Potter. I was surprised that she would want to read any of the books in the series as she has always shown an aversion to scary subject matter. However, she quickly fell in love with Harry, Hermione and Ron. Ron is her favorite.

I had never read any of the books, either. When the craze began Sophie was not even born; and by the time the movies started getting made, she was too young to go see them. I am not a big fantasy reader, so my desire was nil and since the first two movies were directed by a director I find rather, er, bland, I never had a desire to see them, either.

When Sophie tore through the first book, I decided we should read them together and then see each movie after the two of us had finished a book. We both completed the first book before Christmas and watched the movie after we returned from Ohio. Soph then sped through the second book and has been waiting patiently while I made my way through book 2. I finally finished this week and we're going to watch the second film, Chamber of Secrets, tomorrow night. Meanwhile, she's just about done with the 3rd book.

I have to say, I love these books. LOVE THEM. The writing flows so wonderfully and each character is so rich, I can't put them down when I'm reading. Yesterday one of my co-workers gave us every single book (but the first) in hard cover. I am so excited because now we will have sturdy copies of the books that will be ready for Jacob when/if (I hope when) he decides to read them.

I never would have thought that I would get caught up in the Harry hysteria, but now I want us to finish all of the books before the final film is released. The last book, Deathly Hallows, has been split into two movies, so I think there is time. Although, I guess I'll have to read a little faster.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I used to love the Academy Awards when I was in college through the early years of our marriage. I dreamed of walking up on that stage someday and having an acceptance speech ready. I imagined what it would be like to thank my friends and family and then be able to look out into the audience and see Julie's huge smile and bright blue eyes that would have stood out in a room full of fake smiles. There would have been tears (because I'm a crybaby); I would have thanked my parents and possibly recounted the VCR story. And then our lives would have changed for the better. We wouldn't have had to worry about anything.

That all changed when we moved up here and Jacob was diagnosed with CF. The priorities changed and being popular wasn't as important as making sure we had health care and that Jacob and Sophie remained healthy. In essence, I compromised.

And I would do it again in a second.

I watched the Academy Awards tonight and I did not feel the pangs of envy or the desire to be sitting in the audience. I was entertained, sure, but I was not invested. Perhaps I'm a little jaded from watching how an Oscar campaign is run. And it is a campaign. Trying to win an award is political. It is about who you know, having the right PR people getting word about your movie to the right people, and often it is about the timing of the release of a movie. If you're missing any of these elements, it doesn't matter how good your film is, or how many people like it despite the flaws, if you're missing one element, your chances of getting awards notice are more difficult.

Maybe turning 40 has given me new perspective after all. I came out here to tell stories. It's what I always wanted to do. It's when I decided that I had to be an artist, that I had to tell stories with meaning that I sort of lost my way. Took me ten years to feel like a writer again. I have the book to thank for that. Whether or not it ever gets published, I am still happy that I wrote it.

As for the Academy Awards, I don't care whether I'm ever even invited. The only awards ceremonies I want to attend anymore are the ones honoring my kids. those are the only awards that matter.


Friday, March 05, 2010

I have a number in mind

and that number is 20,000. I figure that once I have 20,000 songs on my iPod, I will settle in and listen to the device without adding anything new for a good couple of months.

Only 3,000 songs to go.

I need help.

Did you miss me?