Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Tomorrow People

My final present for my birthday was a GPS from my wife, so I can try out some geocaching like I've been wanting to do.

Some nice updates from the set of SEX MACHINE over at director Christopher Sharpe's journal.

Started on the brief, tentative threads of a new script over lunch today.

There's a lot going on in the microcinema world all of a sudden, literally all over the planet. I read two articles recently on no-budget movements in Japan and Nigeria. Perhaps we are on the cusp of the next wave. One hopes.

And I'm really fascinated by these guys.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Butcher Birthday

38 years come and gone. I have sort of dropped looking at the last year and deciding whether or not to keep trying this scriptwriting thing (astute readers may remember that I embarked on this journey for real and for true on my 34th birthday in the first year of our new century). It pretty much exists on its own now, whether I want it to or not.

So for my birthday I went to see OPEN WATER, which is good but relentlessly depressing and downbeat and almost as bad a choice as saying "Let's go see the new Michael Douglas movie" during our honeymoon, which turned out to be FATAL ATTRACTION.

I pulled stumps all day Saturday and then drove to Carmel, Indiana to have dinner and drinks with some of my wife's affluent friends, with AMONG US being the after-dinner entertainment, which I was relieved to see went over well, especially after liberal applications of some of my homemade wine.

Sunday I went to dinner with my parents and got some new pants and shirts, and a bit of money, and the DVD of BIG FISH from my daughter, and a copy of the "24 Hour Comics Challenge" comic book anthology from my brother, a subtle hint for next year. Tonight we are having homemade pizza and a diabetic coma-rendering cake my wife scratch-cooked, plus whatever present she got me, as she is a stickler for giving presents on actual birthdays, preferably in the evenings, despite the fact that on her birthday I always wake up and immediately pull her present out from under the bed.

My mom was a bit late this morning in calling and telling me the story about when I was born, and how the hospital window was open and the wind came in and ruffled my hair (she slept in past the 7 a.m. time, which is okay now that she's retired). In recent years she has added the part where she bummed a cigarette off of the doctor and they smoked a cigarette afterwards. Again, this is in the Year of Our Lord 1966, for younger, alarmed readers.

And thus I go into the next year of life.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Gen Con #2

My brother and I enjoying gamer humor at "Bride of the Skinflayer," opening night of Gen Con. Photo provided by The Caveman. Posted by Hello

Gen Con #1

"Bride of the Skinflayer," opening night of GenCon. Me with figure, my brother over my left shoulder, fellow travelers all around. Sent in by The Caveman. Posted by Hello

Phantom Lady

Somebody brought back The Friday Five, one of my favorite memes. Here's a good one:

1) Of everything in your wardrobe what do you feel the most comfortable wearing?

My San Francisco Demons XFL t-shirt and a pair of khakis I have with big pockets.

2) How would you describe your style?

Generic office guy during the day, t-shirt and jeans guy at night. A lady I worked with once said I looked like a grocery bagger.

3) How many pairs of shoes do you own and do you wear them all?

I currently own a pair of black dress shoes, a pair of brown everyday shoes, a pair of tennis shoes, and a pair of really old crappy sneakers to mow in, though my wife may make me throw them out. Wear them all.

4) Where do you buy most of your clothes?

Kohl's, Penney's, Wal Mart. Though there is a very nice men's clothing store in a nearby town called The Country Gentleman that I wish I could go to more often.

5) What was the last piece of clothing you bought?

A skatepunk t-shirt from some kids that work for me trying to start their own clothing line. It is black with a green circle, and you can see me wearing it in some of the Microcinema Fest photos.

Crazy week with the start of the semester. Hope next week is more normal. 'til then, give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

From the Archives 4

Neighbor girl, my brother, me, rake, very early 70s, sent by former neighbor's current husband who is also my coworker. Posted by Hello

Monday, August 23, 2004

A Swell-Looking Babe

Tired after a long four days of gamemastering at Gen Con, but enjoyed it all and I am hopefully ready for a new creative burst of game design and gaming. Put out some feelers for interest in some game module writing with mixed results.

I saw a guy whose short I reviewed favorably on microcinemascene.com a while back at a booth hawking his latest feature. I was reaching for it when I casually asked if he had seen my last review of his work. He said rather frostily "I don't read REVIEWS," at which time my hand inched away from my wallet and I wished him luck.

My d20 Modern version of AMONG US that I ran at the Con ended a bit differently than the movie. The guy playing Billy D'Amato was a bit more, let's say proactive, and tried to ambush the Bigfoot with a pitchfork during the rock assault on the cabin. Bigfoot is a peaceful creature, but not willing to let himself be impaled on a pitchfork, so he killed Billy with one paw swipe. Luckily his DP Ray caught the whole thing on film, making him a millionaire.

Whether this would have been a better ending to the movie is up for readers to decide.

More tomorrow; until then, I'm at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Bride Wore Black

"Bride of the Skinflayer" seemed to go over well in two gaming sessions at Gen Con yesterday. I got home at 1:30, back up at 6:30, at it again. Today my brother and I are running the Axis and Allies Combined Rules game variant and hopefully hitting the sales floor to see what's new.

I was a little anxious about heading to the Con yesterday because my work and home life is closing in a bit tight right now, but when I saw the herd of guys in their comic book and gaming and hard rock tee shirts, backpacks in tow, marching towards the Indianapolis Convention Center, regaling each other with dungeon crawls gone by, my heart soared, as I was among my people once again.

The first thing I heard when I entered the Con was a woman shouting to her child, "Jean-Luc, don't run so far ahead!" I was in the right place, alright.

I haven't done a Daily Dirt meme in a while, so here's one:

1. What is your favorite kind of candy?

Junior Mints and York Peppermint Patties; any mint candy where I can get the sensation.

2. If you were a jolly rancher, what flavor would you be? WHY?

I really don't know much about these. Is there a "white chocolate?" That's me, smooth but with soul.
Okay, probably I'm a sour apple.

3. Are you big on gum?

I have gotten into the habit of chewing mint gum before meetings and so on which has sort of grown into a general policy of gum chewing, which curiously I had avoided as a teen because of braces. I don't know how to blow a bubble, though.

4. Is there one candy you can't stand?

Things that don't make sense in nature, like those foamy orange "circus peanuts"and those strange burnt-tasting "Boston Baked Beans."

5. Do you like the classic candy better, or the recent kinds?

There are a lot of kooky variants of traditional candy bars out right now, but since I had and enjoyed a Snickers Crunch recently I would say classics with a modern twist.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Big Clock

Off to Gen Con today. Still not quite done with my d20 Modern AMONG US adaptation. Did finish up the Marvel SAGA game I am going to run, "Gold for Innocent Blood," which includes the following intros, for the comic-book readers out there:

Warren Worthington III, the hero known as Archangel, is donating a valuable painting to the San Jose Museum of Art, The Volga Barge Haulers by the Russian artist Ilya Repin. Many glitterati are attending the gala, including Bobby Drake, Warren's sidekick in everything from the X-Men to the New Defenders to the Champions; Natasha Romanova, known as the Black Widow; Laynia Petrovna, the hero known as Darkstar; and the god Hercules, always looking for a cup of ale and some fun.

Archangel is concerned, because he has heard of a rash of superhuman-fueled thefts of artwork across the country. But so far, everything at the party is going as planned.

But all is not well, because Ghost Rider, patrolling nearby, spots the villains Sidewinder, Princess Python, Avalanche, Blizzard, and Whirlwind closing in on the museum. He follows to see what their plans are.

The five villains burst in, shouting "Nobody move!" and "Hand over the pretty picture!" and other threatening announcements, along with the appropriately threatening gestures.

When the costumed villains make themselves known, the attendees scatter, leaving the heroes to do their work.


Hawkeye finally got permission to reopen the West Coast Avengers branch and put out another call to arms. He looks around the room and decides it's a start; Tigra has always been a strong member, but it's a little thinner off the bench with part-timer Living Lightning, Firebird, and his old time-lost pal Two-Gun Kid. Scarlet Witch is going to be one of the big guns, but is late to the meeting. Hawkeye still hopes she's coming.

Suddenly Wanda bursts in, looking upset. "It is my brother, Pietro," she cries. "I fear he is in trouble!"

The others listen attentively. They learn from Wanda that her brother, the hotheaded mutant speedster known as Quicksilver, has seemed more agitated than usual lately, and has been missing for stretches at a time. She covertly secreted a tracking device in Quicksilver's costume to see where he was going. She found he was criss-crossing the United States and sometimes the globe. But now the tracking device has sputtered, and gone out!

Hawkeye smells a first mission, and rallies the newly-reformed team to find the Scarlet Witch's missing brother. Wanda uses her hex power to enhance the tracking device's power, and the group sets out in hot pursuit.

The West Coasters find themselves in Venice Beach, closing in on a row of used book stores, tattoo parlors, and grungy coffee shops, with apartments above almost all of the storefronts.

When they burst into the right one, they find it is a big, open studio space with a skylight, largely bare, except for three figures looming over a third hanging from a rope swinging from a steel hook in the ceiling. Absorbing Man, his skin gleaming steel, and his love Titania, along with the Scorpion, have worked over a battered, bleeding, and unconscious Quicksilver.

Absorbing Man turns, grinning, his teeth flashing chrome. "He was a smart-mouth, but in the end I can always get them to talk. They all break to Crusher Creel. And with you guys, we don't even want to talk."

Later we learn that Quicksilver has been stealing artwork, and fesses up with the following:

"Perhaps you know that during World War Two, the Nazis looted artwork all across Europe. Many great pieces were stolen from Jewish families, and others. In the years since the art world has turned a blind eye to this travesty and rarely follow up on the lines of ownership for paintings being displayed all around the world. There are those that are working to restore these pieces to their rightful owners, through normal channels. But as you all well know I do not have a vast reservoir of patience. Thus I am taking these paintings myself and working to repatriate them to their owners. Obviously there are those who deal in the shadow world of art that do not want to see this happen. Unfortunately these cretins were able to extract from me the location where I have been storing these pieces until the can be returned. Whether you stand for me, or against me, you must go with me to Avalon, California, and guard these treasures from my foes!"

Lots more fightin' ensues, and ends with a moral dilemma; do the heroes let Quicksilver off scot free or not? Players get to vote, and I'll post the results here.

Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Blind Man With A Pistol

I've got to play the tighten up and get ready for Gen Con the day after tomorrow. Here's the opening salvo to "Bride of the Skinflayer," a hack-and-slash dungeon crawl my brother and I are running at 4 p.m. Thursday:

Blood runs the streets in the cursed port city of Shaddalyn, where the cold shadow of chaotic evil lies overhead like a shroud. But no place reeks of dark misdeeds like The Flayed Goblin, a scabarous tavern choked with the backwash of human debris. For servitors of blackest night who hunger to scour the world of shining good, it is the ideal place for elbow-lifting and throat-slitting…

I've got a five-page all-chrome version (add your own dungeon or run it with a random dungeon) and a twenty-page full-bore version (still a few things to polish up though, probably post-Gen Con) that I would be glad to email anyone who would like to read it or run it.

Still working on my d20 Modern "Among Us" and my Marvel SAGA Centurions/West Coast Avengers Team-Up.

Also working up some coverage on the second draft of a script for a pal I made at Microcinema Fest. Lots in the hopper.

More tomorrow; until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Dragon's Eye

I have offline since last week camping in some rather crisp August weather at the lovely Whitewater State Park in eastern Indiana, a last blast before everything revs back up again. We canoed and hiked and had a hayride and rode horses and ate s'mores and hobo pies and fought raccoons and enjoyed all of the usual camping pasttimes. Including a fresh case of poison ivy.

For those keeping track, the mighty Marching Bears went to the Indiana State Fair and won second in small bands and sixth overall in the State Fair Band Day with a stirring version of "The Planets" not hindered at all by the fact that an icy wind almost blew the props off the field. I did break my vow to live a healthy lifestyle by eating a pork sandwich from the pig tent and slurping a milkshake from the dairy tent, as tradition demanded. But what happens at the State Fair, stays at the State Fair.

All of a sudden there are a lot of projects percolating in the pot that I hope to weigh in on soon.

My blog, and Microcinemascene.com, are both about a year old now. Time marches on.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Boxer's Blow

Unfortunately I need to be brief today as I am still feeling the aftershocks of what appears to be a case of food poisoning from my wife's cousin's wedding Saturday night, which seemed to have gone through about a third of the attendees as reported in an informal poll conducted by my mother-in-law, which I ensured that I would get by having both the fried chicken and the pork chop. I was so sick I actually watched a Dolph Lundgren movie on TV. I also promised to start leading a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise if I would live to see another day So far I have not broken this promise.

Every once in a while I like to draw rather poorly-rendered comics, more so when I was a kid before I realized that the word balloons were getting bigger than the comics panels and I switched over to pretty much only writing. I still think it's therapeutic from time to time. So I sent a little 'zine comic I did to Broken Frontier to try to win some comic books they were giving away (and since the drawing was at random and not based on artistic merit I figured I had a great chance), and surprisingly they wrote about my 'zine here. They also, in my opinion, scanned the worst page I drew. Oh well.

Until later I'm at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Carnival of Souls

Cult Cuts Magazine have posted reviews of both AMONG US and PETER ROTTENTAIL, one of which they liked and one of which they didn't, so today I'm batting fifty percent.

Jon Solita, Illinois filmmaker and one of my roommates at Microcinema Fest, has started posting his thoughts on MCF over at his own blog, where you can read about here to see what somebody else thought about all of it.

Here's today Friday Four meme:

1. What was the first movie you remember seeing?

The Barefoot Executive (1971) at the Sky-Hi drive in. Regular movie theater, maybe Mr. Superinvisible (1973) (as mentioned in Among Us). First R-rated movie, The Blues Brothers (1980).

2. What's the last movie you saw in a theatre?

Fahrenheit 9/11, alternatingly horrifying, hilarious, frustrating.

3. What's the first movie you saw on DVD?

I believe it was Jesus Christ Superstar, which I enjoy watching a couple of times a year. Love Judas' white suit. The first movie I ever saw on HBO was The Last Remake of Beau Geste. The first movie I ever saw on VHS was (I think) MASH.

4. What's the last movie you rented?

I watched the harrowing family drama Thirteen last night bia Netflix and then felt thankful that my daughter plays sports and does well in school.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Zorro's Black Whip

I'm feeling kinda linky today, so here's an interesting article about guerilla drive-ins, which I snitched from Cinema Minima. Great idea.

Check out First Look Rentals, sort of a Netflix for independents, who have been sending me some good screeners to review at Microcinema Scene. The other night I saw a Twilight Zone-flavored drama called "Ghosts of Hamilton Street" that was well-shot, and well-plotted enough that it might have brought a smile to Rod Serling's lips. Then I started watching a doc called "2000 Miles to Maine" about hiking the Appalcahian Trail that's pretty good, too, lots of little character studies about the many, many people trying to fulfill their dreams, with most washing out. I wish First Look luck, it's a neat service.

Until tomorrow; give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bomba on Panther Island

For those checking in, there are some new stills from the set of Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE on line here.

I've been working up some material for a guy that I hope to work with that I met at Microcinema Fest, so we'll see how that goes. With three weeks to the start of the school year, and a return to full-barrel working and teaching dawn to dusk, I'm really not thinking on picking up a new project right now, just doing some coverage for some people and maybe punching up a few things I promised to some others. Getting back into teaching and the college school year always takes a few weeks of catching up. Then, hopefully, something new will be on the horizon.

I have been a bit disingenuous about posting reviews of AMONG US and PETER ROTTENTAIL. Of couse some have been bad, like the review of PETER which had as a sum total of its opening paragraph the word "Ugh." You'll have to find those yourself. The good really outweighs the bad so far, always a good sign. There are a lot of unjuried reviews out there at sites like Amazon and IMDB and so on, and at least they're always interesting to read. I liked how one AMONG US review, upon finding out I also wrote PETER, added "God Help Us!" The truth is, everyone has their own opinion, and you can't please everyone, and no matter how good you think you are in life (teacher, boss, friend, neighbor, etc.) there is always somebody who thinks you suck. So it goes.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Terror Squad

I started my blog a year ago this month. I originally thought I would have been sick of it before Christmas. Some loyal readers may wish my first thought had come true.

A year ago, according to my blog, I was working on a rewrite of an urban action script, THE PAYBACK MAN, for director Ivan Rogers (in development); had just finished the polish on the Polonia Brothers' RAZORTEETH (in post now); and was just starting on a solo writing project for the Bros, DEMON ON A DEAD END STREET (status up in the air).

I also felt old for the first time when the barber shaved my earlobes. Now I'm a year older than that.

This weekend I played the newly-released RISK: GODSTORM variant with my son, brother, and loyal companion The Caveman. Nice variant, for people that wore their RISK game out in the 80s like I did, with some historic interest and context. I was the Babylonians, a close second until war in the Underworld went against me.

This weekend I worked up some coverage on a script for a filmmaker I met at Microcinema Fest. He has a pretty good start on something with a lot of potential. I hope to report more on this project later.

Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.