Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blog Post to Hide the Previous Blog Post

I know my mom reads this blog, so I'm creating this post just to move the post with the cussin' down a level.

Oh, look, a really fun internet video thing!

My New Respect for Profanity

Here's a little secret about me - I'm incredibly classist as far as profanity is concerned. If you use profanity around me, I will associate you with the lower classes. Cuss words got their start on the streets and in the rural communities and I think that is where they should stay - they were rude words for rude functions and rude objects. Yes, there is a rough poetry in them, but it is like making sculpture out of waste material - you do the best you do with the limited qualities of what you have and as soon as you get something better you switch to it.

Educated people, people with more opportunity and a greater propensity for a larger vocabulary have more words for more situations. They don't need to rely on the overused seven or eight four-letter street words from the gutter to get their point across. They have better words.

That is why it always struck me as hilarious when writers (especially screenwriters) would cuss up a storm (I am talking to you, Creative Screenwriting Podcast). They have an unlimited word palate, yet insist on sticking to a limited set of words that barely make up a handful. Are they serious? Are we supposed to respect them for saying fuckity fuck fuck every two sentences? Are we supposed to think this makes them more street? More gangsta? Cooler than anyone else? More working class?

Seriously, can you imagine a CEO of a start-up going to meeting of potential investors and saying, "I got my monkey ass to Harvard and got my fucking MBA from some cockmonkey professors who really had their shit together. Would you mind writing a two million dollar check to invest in my kick ass company so I can start making bitches out of my customers?" Now pretend you are a writer trying to get someone to invest in your film and you selling point is the phrase "Tom-fucking-Cruise and Stephen-fucking-Spielberg." Seriously, writers, you come across looking like idiots, and then you have the gall to wonder why no one takes you seriously.

So that's my bias. When someone cusses around me, I usually think they're not intelligent or cultured enough to find the right word to fit the situation so instead rely on a crutch word of some sort. Plus it shows me that their mommas didn't raise them right.

But then I decided to take on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month - write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

I have just finished and submitted the novel to the word count validator and it approved of my work, bestowing on me this nice little graphic to put in my blog. This was an insane and stupid thing to do. November was a very busy month and squeezing in the time to eek out 50,000 words was almost too much.

My only saving grace was profanity. Thank heavens I have characters who like to cuss! Thank heavens there are these words left when I ran out of the right words! When the appropriate words dried up, when the most exquisite phrase filled with irony and insight wasn't available, there were these fix-alls.

When I was angry or upset, or, better yet, when a character was angry and upset (surprisingly, those two moods aligned themselves with a fierce regularity) there were the old tried and true cluster of four letter words there for me to use. And here's the awesome thing: If a character repeats the same word 100 times in a row just to bulk up your daily word quota (i.e. "Booger! Booger! Booger! Booger! etc.), it is considered shameless and stupid unless, of course, that character is cussing up a storm. In that case, it is called brilliant characterization. Such is the culture we live in.

So that's the big lesson learned from my novel-writing experience:

Sometimes it is fun to cuss.

That, and my mind is now goo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wherein I Use the Blog to Warn Everyone about the Clarion Suites in Augusta, Georgia

Hi. I am writing this from the Clarion Suites in Augusta, Georgia.

Let me describe our stay here.

Our check-in was wonderful - wow, what great customer service. It really made us feel like we were in for something enjoyable. We were all excited and happy about our stay.

But when we got to our room... eh, not so much.

I understand that all hotels aren't created equal, and rooms like these might not be up to snuff. So when my wife complains that the closet door closes only with the aid of a swift kick, I can say, "You know, we don't live here."

I am not even bothered when she points out dirty footprints on the bathmat, dirty bed linens, a little rust, a paint job left over from the 1980s, toilets that tease you if they are actually going to flush or not when you press the handle, and even a few electrical outlets without covers on them. This I can deal with. It is not like we went out of our way to look for a $400 a night establishment.

But what I can't deal with is a housekeeping service that comes into the room, takes all the pillow cases off the pillows, and sort of starts cleaning the room, but then leaves everything unfinished. Because that is exactly what happened. I feel like they thought we were spies and just went through our stuff, looking for the secret microfiche, leaving us to deal with the mess afterwards.

There is a nice little sign in the room. "If you aren't 100% satisfied, the room is free." Next to it is a survey we have to fill out and mail to Clarion. A survey that does not have an address on it, so we can't actually mail it, though.

But that is not the big deal. The end all, be all happened tonight when this little guy came in our room to say, "Hey there! What's happening? Welcome to the Clarion Suites!!!"

Here's a close up, in case you don't realize what is exactly happening here.

Unfortunately, our little friend had an accident involving me trying out some patented ninja moves involving spinning high kicks and steel-toed sneakers.

Hey, don't look at me. I asked him if he wouldn't mind being my sparring partner, and he seemed perfectly ok with it, and that is what I will continue to say to the jury if this ever comes to trial.

Anyway, after much debate that involved the word "Ew," we decided to leave him for the housekeeping service that may or may not ever come.

Here is a photo of the thank you note we left.

Thus ends our stay in the Clarion Suites in Augusta, Georgia.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How Did This Happen?

This is the result of my main blog,

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And this is the result of my can-he-be-serious joke blog of nothing but stupid jokes,

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Status Report on the Writing Thing

So I have passed the 20,000 word mark on the 50,000 word novel I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month, or as it is affectionately called, NaNoWriMo. My novel (working title Personal Myths) is about a reality show that invades a Literature class for a semester. Right now, I have really mixed feelings about the quality of the work (or lack thereof), but I think it might shape into something interesting after four or five dozen major rewrites.

But perfection is not what NaNoWriMo is about. It is about words on the page, even if by words we mean the word "very" repeated several hundred times.

I am currently 2555 words behind schedule, but I haven't done today's writing yet. I'm supposed to average 1667 words a day, so if we assume I hit the required 1667 words today, I'll only be behind 888 words. Which is nothing. I've written blog posts longer than that. (Please don't fact check that last sentence, and just accept it as the truth.) So I think, all things considered, I'm in good shape.

I have a NaNoWriMo page where you can follow my progress, see bar charts, and read an excerpt. It is here.

In other writing news...

The Slamdance Horror Screenplay Contest pushed the due date back from October 12th to November 12th and then again to November 21st. I had one screenplay ready by that first deadline, and I was aiming to have two done by the second one. Now that I have an extra week, I think I can squeeze that third screenplay in. As you can probably guess, these are not examples of my best work. They are low budget horror films written expressly for a low budget horror film contest. I do not plan to use these to get an agent or to drum up independent financing so I can get my personal vision on a screen near you.

Years from now, when people accuse me of forsaking my art and selling out, I will calmly point out that I sold out right at the beginning when I decided to write a screenplay called Zombie Prom Queen. It has zombies in it. It has a prom in it. And then it has a zombie prom in it. That's how good it is.

This blog post was 396 words long.

This Ad Backfired

I hate to say it, but I have been secretly craving a PS3 for some time now.

Then this ad comes out and all it does is reinforce the idea that the PS3 is the console for me. Which probably says more about me than I would care to admit.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Strong Bad Comic Creator

There is this great little Strong Bad Comic Creator over at Homestarrunner.

I made one.

Here it is. Double-click it to make it big.