Sunday, November 06, 2011

Rainy 5K

This morning Jacob and I are running the Santa Clarita 5K race together. Right now, he's nervous about getting separated from me (which I'll never let happen) and not beging able o finish. I have complete faith in him. It's only 3.1 miles.

However, it is currently 45 degrees and drizzling outside. That's what I'm worried about. Going to be a cold one, my friends.

UPDATE- 3:42PM

To say that the run was miserable would be a understatement, but we labored through it and I'm so proud of Jake for completing the race. Sometimes it isn't about running the fastest or posting your personal record; sometimes it's just about getting across the finish line and saying "I did it." That's what today was all about and we have the medals to prove it.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

In Dreams...

Images and scenes of sick or dying children have invaded my dreams. I don't remember most of what goes on in my head when I'm sleeping, but the past couple of weeks have contained some sad, but uplifting moments that obviously tie to my fears for my son and his health.

This morning, my dream began with me losing control of my bladder and having to take refuge in a disgusting, two stall shopping mall bathroom to wait for someone to bring me a fresh pair of clothes. While I wait, the miracle of dreaming dries my shorts and shoes and I decide to leave. However, I run into Julie, carrying some jeans and a T-shirt, and she insists that I go back and change. I return to the crappy bathroom and now it's got a line nearly going out the door. Among the people waiting is a teenage boy, maybe 15, confined to a wheelchair. his leg is in a brace and his head appears to be the only normal sized portion of his body. The rest of him is withered and sickly, barely there.

The boy- a blond, cheerful looking kid- is with his younger brother. He never calls him his brother, but you can tell by the way they interact that there is a bond and an understanding between the two of them. While the rest of te men in the room are doing their best not to look at the sick boy in the wheelchair, the little one talks to him and plays with him as if there is nothing wrong with him. It's like my children getting along. Anyway, I try not to stare at the young man in his wheelchair. However, he is waiting for the bigger stall, so he keeps letting people go before him since he and his chair can't fit in the smaller of the two stalls. I wind up waiting directly behind him. I can't help but to make eye contact since his little sibling keeps running around me. At some point, he apologizes for his brother's behavior and we begin to talk.

Suddenly we're in a bank, waiting to see a teller. I ask simple questions so as to not be rude. In truth, I'm trying not to look at the boy's body, which is as skin and bones as a concentration camp survivor. Somehow we get on the subject of sports and he informs me that he used to play soccer and he used to play track. The sight of this kid makes me wonder how that's possible. Was he a special Olympics kid? The disabled teller window opens up and the boy leaves me. I can't help but feel that I've just met a brave young man. I get to my teller window and she has a pamphlet about the boy. It's fundraiser announcement to try and raise money for some rare disease that strikes 1 and a million kids. In the world there are only 3 people currently living with the disease, and the boy I just met is one of them. Thus, his odds of surviving in the next year or so are slim.

I glance one more time at the boy, laughing with the teller and making a deposit. "He's going to die," I think, "and he must know it."

I leave the bank., carrying the pamphlet, trying to think of some way I can make myself useful.

And then I woke up.

I got out of bed and checked in on Jacob, sleeping soundly under an electric blanket, wondering to myself how I can make myself useful today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I am not a baseball player

Finally got a chance to see MONEYBALL tonight and it was an excellent film. Although it was not as emotionally compelling as I'd hoped, I still found the movie inspiring and Brad Pitt's work exceptional. I sometimes forget how good he can be. I guess when you have so many children to feed, you have to make some glossy Hollywood movies to pay the bills. This leaves room to make dream projects like MONEYBALL.

There was a moment in the film when the story flashed back to Beane, at that time a washed up major league ballplayer, making the decision to become a baseball scout. "I'm not a ballplayer," he says, much to the amazement of some off screen person (I assume his agent).

There are many times that I think about the move out here and the dreams I've pursued and where I now and I think, "I'm not a ball player." But, I did make a movie, which most people can not say, and I've been in the lives of my children since the day they were born instead of being on location on a film set. So, the trade off was worth it. Sure, it's stings sometimes, especially when I look at the credits on upcoming movie posters and the names of the directors are people I've never heard of before, but I'll take the situation I had tonight over any of the glamor that comes with a feature film.

Tonight, for the first time in as along as I can remember, Jake asked me to snuggle him. Me. He never asks for me. It's always his mom. The two of us have had some special bonding in the past couple months, but I never expected this.

I am a lucky man.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Wendover" in NYC again


My writing partner, Jeff Marsick, is once again at the New York Comic Con and this year he has set up a wonderful looking display for our comic book, Wendover. As we continue work on completing issue #2, Jeff is selling copies of issue #1.

Here is a picture of the display. The artwork for it was taken from the comic by, drawn by Jonathan Burkhardt, and finessed by my close friend, Villamor Cruz. Vill has kind of been the 4th man in the Wendover project. He also directed and edited the Wendover motion comic for issue 1, which will be online by Christmas.

For those of you keeping track, Vill also photographed and edited King's Highway.

Anyone who's interested in purchasing a copy of issue 1 (if you don't happen to be in New York) can do so by going to our website or by contacting yours truly!

http://www.wendoverproject.com/

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Now approaching 12,000 on the King's Highway

Thought I'd mention that the little movie I wrote and directed 10 years ago(!!) is close to 12,000 views on Netflix. Obviously not as many as many, many other films. But considering we've only had i up on Netflix since May and King's Highway is a microbudget movie, I'm pretty proud of the fact.

Once we reach 12,000, maybe I'll have a contest and giveaway some copies of the movie.

Thirty Minutes or Less: F'n social networking

Each time I stop by Facebook or happen to check in with my Link'd In (or however the hell it's spelled) page, I feel like the world is passing me by. Where do people get the time to continuously update their status and inform the world about their lives? I used to do that with thunderbolt and the time got away from me. I like the idea of Facebook and other social networks as a place for people to stay in touch. But damn, it's so much more than that and I constantly eel like I'm not doing enough.

And Twitter, too? Son of bitch! It's too much. If I could just figure out a way to link everything from this site, my life would be so simple.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

30 Minutes of Less: Steve Jobs died today

Steve Jobs died today. The man was, perhaps, the greatest innovator of my generation. Although I'm writing on a PC at this very moment, I would give anything to be using a Macintosh, instead.

The first computer I ever wroekd on was a Mac. My college roommate, Dan, owned a Mac and he was the luckiest man we all knew. This was the early 90's, when everyone owning a personal computer was the stuff of science fiction writing. In the basement of the blue house, people would come over and type their research papers on Dan's Mac and then print out the documents on his dot matrix printer. It was the coolest fucking machine in the world.

True story: I once put off writing a paper for an English/film class until the very last minute and couldn't find the energy or will power to spew out my amateurish opinions. I never completed it! The next morning, when it was due, I approached the professor and explained to her that I'd been writing my paper on my roommate's computer and we lost power. Everything was lost! Since this was the age before anyone really understood what a computer could do, the prof bought my load of crap. She even gave me a week extension. That was one of just two times in college when I skimped out of my work and was a lousy student (the other time had to do with The Last of the Mohicans--- another story for another time).

I loved that computer of Dan's. It was compact, did the job and worked like a champ.

After Jules and I moved to Los Angeles, our first computer was a hand-me-down Mac that the Gardners gave me. The machine had been collecting dust in the loft of the old Alterian shop and I inquired about what they were going to do with it. I asked to borrow it and Cindy flat out gave it to me. I wrote the first version of Finding the Way on that computer, as well every early version of The Mind's Eye. I really loved that computer. When we finally bought our own tower (a PC), I gave that Mac to one of Vill's friends who worked at Alterian as a P.A. I wonder if he still has it.

I resisted the idea of an iPod for years. I didn't want some high priced music player when I could get a tiny little mp3 player that store, you know, 75 of my songs. I was an idiot. When I bought my 8 gig Nano, it changed my life. So much music at my fingertips. It was like the 90's all over again when I carried around a CD case in the car and listened to whatever I wanted while driving. Then, Julie and the kids got me the silver bullet for my 40th. 160 gigs! I placed every CD I own, plus whatever else I could get my hands on into that iPod classic. Suddenly, I was in college again, uploading albums I'd never heard but wanting them in my collection in the off chance that I might listen to them someday. I was discovering new music, rediscovering old stuff, and reliving my youth with some of the crap I enjoyed in my teens. I was a fool to resist the iPod. It may be the greatest invention of the early part of the 21st Century.

Steve Jobs died today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. They say that pancreatic cancer is one of the toughest to beat. The man held on for a very long time. Jobs really did change the world and make it a better place. If he'd just been the man who helped shepherd Pixar, he would have been a great man, but he was so much more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Easter weekend and it still isn't getting any easier with our issues of breather anxiety. There has been so much resistance and anger recently. Julie takes the brunt of it, which I'm sure accounts for the tension she's feeling in her neck and shoulders. I've tried reasoning and keeping my anger in check. I hate when she gets yelled at. But what is J to do? He's nine. He's acting out and voicing his feelings in the only way he knows how to. Afterward he feels so guilty and there are so many tears.

Lost a of tears, lately.

I feel the tension, too. Last night I felt like I'd been hit by a f'n truck and was ready for bed by 10:30. Maybe I'm just getting old. Still, it's been a long time since I've gone to bed before 12:00 on a Saturday night when I didn't have a run the next morning.

We went to church this morning and I felt a sense of relief during the service. I can't say that I'm a religious man, but I am spiritual and this morning I was feeling the spirit.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mind Freeze

I've had a difficult time writing these past few weeks. It seems that every time I click on Facebook or check out one of hte posts my colleagues have written for Popdose I find myself sinking. So much of what I read sounds so much more interesting that what I have to say. All of these friends of mine on Facebook. I check in on their little blurbs of life and feel like I have nothing to contribute.

It doesn't help that my body is fighting me and I can't get up and run in the morning. Without that extra jolt of adrenaline in the a.m., I feel thinks slipping away into a haze.

I'm working on it, thought. I just have to push through this malaise. I've been in this situation before and it became a very dark time in my life. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

BBC and vampires

So far its been a pretty good week in Malchusville. First of, an interview I did with the BBC has gone live on their website for a week. The link is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008mj7p
Last winter, after I wrote a Basement Songs column for Popdose about Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, (the link: http://popdose.com/basement-songs-aaron-copland-appalachian-spring/) I was contacted by Rosie Burton, a producer for BBC Radio, who was doing a piece on the tune, "Simple Gifts." Having read my column, she asked for my participation in her project and in January I was interviewed. I don't know how I wound up on a program featuring Woody Guthrie's daughter reflecting on how her parents met, but it was quite an honor. I hope people check it out. I listened to it this afternoon and I thought I sounded awkward and stilted. You be the judge.

Other news down the pipeline is that Wendover, the comic I co-wrote with Jeff Marsick (the link: http://www.wendoverproject.com/) has been selling well in the Manhattan comic shop that Jeff solicited. In fact, they want more issues! How f''n cool is that? Considering that this has been purely a passion project for the two of us (I can't leave out our artist, Jonathan Burkhardt), I'd say we've done okay, wouldn't you?

All in all, the week has started off pretty damn good. Now, if I could just shed a couple of pounds.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Best Pictures

It wasn't my intention to watch the last two Best Pictures within a span of three days, but it happened. The King's Speech, which I saw on Saturday night, is a superb film that has two wonderful messages of perseverance and hope. Colin Firth well deserved his awards. Geoffrey Rush was also deserving of his accolades. His role was less flashy, but it was essential to the film and essentially a second lead part. Unfortunately, awards this time of year are rarely handed out to performances that are just good acting. There has to be flash or starvation or wigs and heavy makeup. I like Rush and shouldn't complain, though. Would he have even been in this role if he hadn't won his own Academy Award? And what did he win the award for? Well, for playing a mentally ill piano player which was all... flash.

I haven't seen The Social Network, so I can't be a judge as to which film is the "best" picture. But I've reached a point that I don't care. Any movie that gets made is an accomplishment. To be considered one of the best of the year really should be good enough for the filmmakers and other artists involved with a movie. How can you really compare 127 Hours to Toy Story 3? Yet, they were both competing for "Best Picture" at this year's Academy Awards.

Speaking of Toy Story 3, I have a huge issue with it being nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay." Apparently the logic is that it's based on the previous two films. Well, actually, I agree with that assessment. Overlooked in all of the well deserved praise for the quality of Toy Story 3 was the fact that the movie borrowed HEAVILY from the second in the series. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, but I was only surprised once or twice (that ending at the trash dump where they all almost die... whew!). The animated film that really surprised me this year was How to Train Your Dragon. That film really moved me and I was blown away by the cinematography of the film. There was so much depth and composition to Dragon. The music was some of the best I'd heard in ages, and the story really got to me. Maybe it's because I'm a father and I could relate, but that was one of my favorite movies of the year. I wish we'd seen it in 3-D.

Tonight I watched The Hurt Locker. It's been sitting on our DVR since January (free Showtime, oh yeah!). I'm not a war movie buff, but this movie immediately sucked me in and I couldn't stop watching. I've been thinking a lot about Apocalypse Now the past couple of weeks for a script I'm developing (Charlie Sheen constantly being in the news also helps) and I felt like The Hurt Locker was a cousin of Francis Ford Coppola's '79 classic. Jeremy Renner's character, Will, is just a couple years away from becoming Martin Sheen's Willard. I'm starting to get tired of the hand held/documentary camera work of so many films (which may account for why I loved The King's Speech so much), however, I thought it was essential to The Hurt Locker's success. I can't recall what other films were even nominated last year...

I just reviewed the list. Again, how do you compare a film like Up in the Air (a modern classic, as far as I'm concerned) with a gripping war film like The Hurt Locker. You can't.

It's taken me a long time to really not care so much about the Academy Awards. It's not that I don't love movies anymore. On the contrary, I've kind of fallen back in love with them after several years of not caring. Maybe it's because I'm over the need to win one of the statues. My friends, I'd be happy to make another movie again someday (anyone got some $$ they want to invest in a film project?). It's that my priorities have changed.

By the way, here's a piece of trivia: Guy Pearce was in back to back Best Picture films. He starred in neither.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's that time of the year again. Please donate!


Hello again,

It’s that time of the year when we once again reach out to our friends and family to help support us in our quest to find an end to cystic fibrosis. Each year, our family walks in Great Strides, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 5K Walk-A Thon, in support of our son, Jacob, now nine-years-old, and all people who suffer from this life threatening illness.

As you may know, Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Because of the illness Jacob, must sit through at least two daily breathing treatments and take an assortment of oral medications, including enzyme pills with each meal.

We’ve been blessed that Jacob continues to do well. However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges. Over the past nine months Jacob has had a pretty significant drop in his lung function. Through a change in some of his medications and a lot of hard work he’s gained back some ground, but he’s still at about a 12% loss. Although it has been difficult at times, we’re so hopeful about what the future holds.

As we speak, some very exciting new drugs that are coming through the pipeline. One in particular, VX-770, just finished phase 3 clinical trials with extremely positive results. This drug is for a certain mutation of CF that Jacob unfortunately doesn’t have but it opens the possibilities for other medications. Another, VX-890, is in phase 2 trials and also looks very promising. (Jacob thinks these drugs sound like secret agent names!) Using these two drugs in combination could benefit almost 90% of those with cystic fibrosis, including Jacob. They don’t just treat the symptoms; they actually correct the basic defect of the CF gene!

As you can imagine, news of these medications has ignited a new sense of urgency through the CF community. An even deeper determination has set in to do whatever it takes to get these medications to our loved ones affected by this terrible disease.

Now, more than ever, it’s absolutely vital that we continue our fundraising efforts. It takes a great deal of money to get a medication through clinical trials and FDA approval. To see this type of treatment on the horizon and not be able to reach it because there isn’t enough funding would be devastating.

This year’s Great Strides will take place on April 9th in our hometown of Valencia. We would love for you to join us if you’re able. You can also support us by going to our webpage and donating to this amazing cause. Simply click to donate! You may also Please know that ANY AMOUNT is appreciated more than we can fully express.

Thank you for continuing to support Team Jacob and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

Sincerely,
Scott, Julie, Sophie and Jacob

Hope

It's been quite some time since I've written a blog entry here at thunderbolt, I fear that I've questioned what worth I have in adding my voice to the blogosphere. Anything I wanted to get out of me usually wound up in the Basement Songs posts over at Popdose, so what else could I really say?

Today I have wonderful news I want to share. This week the Cf Foundation made a reamrkable announcement that has spiked the hope of every CF parent. I'd rather give you a link to the NY Times article than to try and explain it myself. So here it is:

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/vertex-says-cystic-fibrosis-drug-helped-patients-breathe-easier/

Pretty exciting!

Another reason I haven't written much has been my efforts to get my first novel complete. After two years of writing, though, I sent it off to NY in hopes that it will get read by a publishing company and stir up some interest in my skills as writer. With the manuscript out in the world, it seems like a good time to pull the old blog out of the garage and see if she still runs. I suppose I'll try to cross promote any entry I make by using Facebook and Twitter. I'd be foolish not to.

In the meantime, I hope the ten of you reading this right now will be patient as I try to gt back in the swing of things here at thunderbolt.

It's 1:44 AM in Saugus, CA and the rain is pouring outside. There's talk of snow and the one thought that keeps going through my mind is, the Indians are in Arizona and the baseball season is a little over a month away. Nice.

Aloha.