Thursday, September 29, 2005

Autumn Leaves

This morning while driving into work there was a commercial on the local rock station asking, one supposes ironically, if I'd rather hear "Garden Party" by Rick Nelson or "Girls Girls Girls" by some metal band I forgot about, and I thought, "I'd kinda like to hear Garden Party, thanks," and thus blinked out the last rays from the twilight of my youth.

It is officially Fall in the Heartland. The first tentative toilet paper attack was cleaned up from the yard yesterday, as the young Hoosier hearts turn to romance and that age-old midwestern courtship dance that begins when the leaves start to turn. I told my daughter if she found out who did it, tell him that your father said he threw like a girl. Don't bring it if you can't clear the basketball goal in the driveway.

Ah, Fall. Basketball a few weeks away. My mother-in-law has already served her first Autumn Stew. My college football team is still on their eternal losing streak, and the groans can be heard in my parents' front yard several blocks away. My former neighbor Junior, he of the perpetual lawn sale, finally puts on a t-shirt, signalling the end of summer. A time for reflection.

Until later, I am at

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I finished the mechanical polish on a script for a producer friend, properly formatting it mostly, and have started getting out from under the coverage I promised some writing pals on some scripts. There's the kind of busy where there's a lot of motion but nothing seems to get done and there's the kind of busy where it doesn't seem like you're getting anything done but all of a sudden you look around and your plate's clean. I can't tell which kind of busy I am right now.

In the meantime, I have updated my sidebar with a lot of interesting links of people that are more talented than me. I am especially still enjoying Josh Friedman's blog, though it's easy to have an indulgent chuckle about all of your screenwriting mishaps after you've sold the million dollar screenplay and had Spielberg direct it; when you're still in the trenches looking for that tiny patch of blue sky, eh, not so funny. I wonder if Spielberg used Friedman's script to shim up any dolly track, as seen here.

I get a lot of hits from the blog Complications Ensue, but I noticed recently that it now lists me as a "moviemaker" living in Flyover Land instead of a "scriptwriter" living in aforementioned place. I wonder if that's an upgrade or a downgrade, or just a reflection of the fact that I haven't posted much about screenwriting since blasting out a rewrite and a brand-new script in about six weeks this spring. I'm pitching a few things right now with some people I'd like to work with, and hope to have more to post soon. It always seems to be feast or famine. I wonder about those LA screenwriters, and what they do in between. I'd probably be living in a cardboard box behind a liquor store at this point. But at least I'd be getting good material for my next script.

In the meantime, give me a shout at

Friday, September 23, 2005

Stuff I Still Wish I Had, Revisited

One more visit to Christmas past. I think I have shown this one before, but here's another angle of the Superadventure Colorforms set, in glorious black and white. Posted by Picasa

More Bad 60s Parenting

Dad and me and period furniture, circa 1966. Damn, no wonder I watched so much TV as a kid. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Safari

I guess we really liked that rhino. Posted by Picasa

Halloween 1971

Archie and Bozo ready for a (spooky) night out on the town. Posted by Picasa

Raging Bull

Cinderella Man, mid-70s style, with complimenting sailor cap. I don't know if they would consider giant inflatable boxing gloves good toys for today's youth. Posted by Picasa

Christmas 1969

I loved that train. Note cardboard fireplace in background. Yes, my brother and I were often dressed alike even though we weren't twins. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ticking Away

I have been crazy busy and all of a sudden it's Wednesday. I had to work last Saturday at the day job but luckily got to shoot HD for the first time. I had a bout of either food poisoning or stomach flu and have spent a lot of time...indisposed. And, though some movie critics might believe this to be related, I have also been doing a spate of writing. I have been pitching a few ideas for some potential scripts and have a few people seemingly eager to do something with me. I have been doing more or less a format polish for a producer on a script and coverage on several other scripts for a few writers that are more talented than me. I just finished two new minicomics, Volunteers #6 and #7, soon to be glue-sticked and photocopied and appearing in the mailboxes and comic shop files of a misfortunate few. Hopefully I can squeeze a few more sparks out of this surge of creative energy and have a new project or two to holler about here soon.

'til later, give me a shout at

Friday, September 16, 2005

Go Big Blue!

Putting up all of these crazy 70s photos this week reminded me about this movie from Patrick Read Johnson dealing with Star Wars fandom back in 1977. I saw Johnson speak at Microcinema Fest 2005 and he showed about a thirty minute teaser of this movie. I was there in '77, and I'd say he got it right. One thing I remember was that the magic number to go see Star Wars was thirteen times. If you saw it thirteen times, you had something to brag about while playing The Keep at the Borderlands.

Former Colt QB Gary Hogeboom on Survivor? Yeah, everybody talks about him being a Cowboy, but he had a couple of years as a Colt after that. One might recall him putting up Johnny Unitas numbers during the 1987 strike, when he crossed the picket line and played for the Colts against a bunch of replacements. If I was to drop a former Colt off on a deserted island, though, it would probably be Eric Dickerson or Jack Trudeau.

Movies for Guys liked Razorteeth! Read it all here.

Give me a shout at

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Saturday Night Toy Fever

I have received a lot, A LOT, of emails about my walk down memory lane and the toys of the 70s and early 80s that I have been posting photos of over the last few days. I will see if I can come up with a few more photos for my loyal readers from the basket in my parent's spare bedroom.

It only took about an hour after posting yesterday for Mark Polonia to email me and identify that semi-nude action figure as "Big Jim," sort of an outdoorsy GI Joe thing. When Mark wrote that he had the RV, a bolt from my brain shocked me into realizing that I once had it too. Google "Big Jim RV" and see if you remember it as well.

Joe Sherlock rightfully identified the "Starroid Raiders" by the Falcon there, some cheap action figure knockoffs that I believe are still in a box in my attic. More info when the weather cools enough that I can go back into my attic.

While I'm looking for toys, here is my latest BOOK BEAT column for "Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence," the quarterly magazine of the Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference.

WOLVES EAT DOGS by Martin Cruz Smith
Arkady Renko has been featured in five novels from Martin Cruz Smith, though I hesitate to call them a series as each outing has been so different. We have seen the Cold War era in GORKY PARK and RED SQUARE, Russian exiles in POLAR STAR, the Cuban perspective in HAVANA BAY, and finally the “New Russia” in the latest, WOLVES EAT DOGS. Our morose but dedicated Russian police detective follows a trail of murder and suicide to the most deadly location of all—Chernobyl, the site of Russia’s nuclear disaster some years past. This fascinating world of radioactive animals and “black villages” add much to the police procedural presented. An interesting read throughout.

CAPTAIN ALATRISTE by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Clever swashbuckling thriller owes a great deal to the tales of Dumas and others as a down-on-his-luck swordsman inadvertently gets involved in international politics and the Spanish Inquisition, with nothing but cold steel, his tarnished honor, and an adoring orphan boy to fend off his enemies. Arturo Perez-Reverte clearly enjoys every clanging sword-clash of the genre, and is obviously paying homage to Dumas’ Musketeers most specifically (he also penned THE CLUB DUMAS which was similarly themed, and made into a less-successful film called THE NINTH GATE). It is written like a classic page-turner of old, with modern sensibilities and pointed use of real-life people and events.

Philip Pullman’s second Victorian-era mystery in his series brings back plucky heroine Sally Lockhart and her diverse band of London friends and acquaintances in another fun entry with dark undertones. In this adventure, several years after the events in THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE, Sally matches wits with a cold-hearted industrialist who has a byzantine moneymaking scheme built, as it turns out, on no small measure of human suffering. To square a friend’s debt, Sally embarks on unraveling her antagonist’s massive empire, leading to a surprisingly downbeat conclusion. Although skewed towards the Young Adult market, I find this series to be quite enjoyable—and perhaps better suited, based on some themes—to adults.

THE BEST REVENGE by Steven White
Steven White’s long-running Alan Gregory series deals with a psychologist who gets mixed up in a diverse number of criminal cases; casting a wider net than Jonathan Kellerman’s popular Alex Delaware character, who deals with child psychology, but more or less treading the same clinical ground. This interesting case puts Gregory between two patients; one, an FBI media hero with a secret life, and the other a Death-Row inmate who gets released when information arises that he was innocent after all. How these two people’s lives are related, and how they interact with Gregory, is at the crux of this engrossing mystery. Though I felt the change from Gregory’s first person narrative to an omniscient narrator to tell certain portions of the story was a bit uneven, the overall storytelling kept me reading

Until later, give me a shout at

Monday, September 12, 2005

Things I Wish I Still Had Pt. 4

I got such a good response from posting old photos, with lots of people emailing me memories, I thought I would post a few more. Here is my brother, micronaut in hand, visiting Micronaut City. Posted by Picasa

Things I Wish I Still Had Pt. 5

Bonus points for identifying these action figures from the early 70s. I think they are either GI Joe or an alarmingly disrobed Six Million Dollar Man and lumberjack friend. Posted by Picasa

Things I Wish I Still Had Pt. 6

Christmas 1974: My brother and I honing our artistic skills. Many a reader of my minicomics probably wished I had stopped right there. Posted by Picasa

Things I Wish I Still Had Pt. 7

Christmas 1973: Unfortunately the only person I ever got to play doctor with was Ernie, at this Puppet Theater. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 09, 2005

Stuff I Wish I Still Had, Part 1

Me and my plaid pants and my Superfriends ColorForms Set. Who could ask for more? Posted by Picasa

Super-8 Scrapbook

Christmas 1980: My brother and I unwrap a Super-8 camera, then an edit block, then a projector. Soon we are shooting our first epic, "Garage Wars." Posted by Picasa

Stuff I Wish I Still Had, Part 2

Christmas Day, late 70s. If you don't know what this is, don't read this blog any more. Posted by Picasa

Stuff I Wish I Still Had, Part 3

My brother and Cornelius, another 1970s Christmas Day. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Happy Linking

I shipped out a spec script yesterday and have a few nibbles on some other projects, but until those pan out or flame out, here are some new (to me) blogs that I am really enjoying right now, soon to appear in my sidebar:

Writer Josh Friedman

The Absorbacon

Writer Joel Haber

Dial B for Blog

Writer/Director Christopher Sharpe (his new site)

Until later, give me a shout at

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Party Like It's 1975

We celebrated my birthday with my parents this weekend, cause enough to dredge out old pictures. Here we see my brother's birthday party on April 16, 1975. There is something so 1970s about this photo--clothes, hair, plastic cups, and so on--that it actually looks like a fake picture of the 1970s for some retro-cool company like Old Navy. Kind of mesmerizing. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 02, 2005

Good News for the Long Weekend

My wife and I have been watching hours of CNN every night, and we have had a TV monitor on at work all week, watching the astounding events unfold in New Orleans, one of our favorite places. Last night we finally learned that my wife's friend and her husband were alive and heading north to, as she put it, "start their new life."

We decided today to donate to the Red Cross. I hope others reading will follow suit.

Enjoy the long weekend. Until later, give me a shout at

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Schlock

You can read more of my interview with Tim at "Mondo Schlocko" here and here. Part four is tomorrow. Man, I didn't realize I was that long-winded.

Jesse Cowell, who is documenting his whole life on his website, was at Microcinema Fest 2005 in Palatine and has posted some video logs about it here. Cowell directed Shades of Gray, which won Best Comedy at the Fest. You can see some 'behind the scenes' stuff in Episodes 27-29, and a special split-second guest appearance by me and my brother in #28.

All kinds of stuff going on; more later at