Monday, June 30, 2008

The Most Horrifying Thing Known to Man

The other day, the Mrs. and I went to see WALL-E (which we loved).

However, there was one terrible thing we endured at the theater - awful awful trailers.

One of them (which I now present with warnings) was for "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." The Disney advertising machine went into overdrive on this one and resorted to some good ol' fashioned Cold War Brainwashing techniques for this trailer.

Basically, they give you a rhythmic beat and the words "chihuahua, chihuahua" repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until there is nothing left in your mind.

When the trailer ended there were children in the theater still chanting "chihuahua, chihuahua, chihuahua, chihuahua."

It freaked me out.

To illustrate, here is the trailer:

And this is how I felt when watching it:

This whole thing reminds me of my rant about The Matrix (although, to be honest, it doesn't take much to get me to rant about The Matrix) and my rant about the Disney Chip.

My rant about the Matrix is this - the entire premise of the film is flawed.

The story goes like this - the robots decided to enslave humanity so they attacked and put humanity in the Matrix. This is preposterous. All they had to do is say, "Hey! We created this totally awesome place called The Matrix! Just sign in and you get to wear leather, do kung fu, and make time with hot women in red dresses" and people would line up in droves faster than you can say "Whoa." There is no need to "forcibly enslave" anyone. Heck, I'd sign up if they thew in an unlimited supply of bacon.

Which leads me to my rant about the Disney chip. One day, in the near future, the Disney company will come up with a chip to implant in your brain. It will be terrible and awful and it will eventually enslave humanity, but every child on the planet will want one and will whine and whine and whine and whine until he or she gets one.

And there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Just like Beverly Hills Chihuahua.



Dell Unboxing #1

So my replacement Dall arrived last week.

There are three general phases to getting a new computer.

1) Unboxing it and doing the manual setup.

2) Installing all of the software and configuring the machine.

3) Restoring the data from the old computer system.

As of this writing, I'm finished with 1 and am in the middle of 2. It looks like 3 is going to take about six hours to do. The good news is that there is SOMEthing on the backup hard drive that I thought was wiped. The bad news is that I am not quite sure what it is. Sunday night, I started the scan and recovery process and went to bed, only to check the machine on Monday morning to find that the whole process "hung up" (the technical term) at 1:10 am. I do not know if this is a Windows issue, a Dell issue, or the data recovery software's issue. All I know is that the entire operating system froze and neither the keyboard or the mouse worked. (My guess it has something to do with the default settings on the powersave/hibernate option.)

But that is neither here nor there. The purpose of this entry is to describe the unboxing of the replacement Dell.

As some of you know, I through a fit here on the blog after the incredibly shoddy technical support I received from Dell and its third party vendor. Brad at Dell responded in my comments and we worked out a deal for me to exchange my old broken Dell for a new working one.

It came in a box.

Covered in Dell logos.

And an image instructing you to lift it out of the box with a buddy.

The box contained instructions.

And even instructions that depict users reading the instructions.

All of the pre-installed software came on CDs (which was very nice).

And I even found some religious pamphlets included in the box. I guess this means the system was blessed.

I cracked open the case to make sure everything was in order.

I set the new next to the old for some side-by-side comparison action.

Wired up all of my 5,099,234,155 peripherals to the machine.

And cranked her up.

Then I set the old machine in the box, preparing it for the inevitable Viking funeral.

To Be Continued....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Lunch with Cyber

One of the advantages of living in the Dallas area is that I am in close proximity to Cyber D. As many of you know, Cyber D, Gyuss Baltaar, and I all went to college together until one fateful night when I left that institute of higher learning, slunk off into the shadows, and began to pursue my sacred destiny of heavy drinking.

Thanks to the power of the internet (specifically Facebook), Cyber D found me and wrote a really nice blog entry about me. A blog entry to which I responded in kind.

Every since these fateful blog entries, we have been talking on and off about meeting for lunch, and after a series of almost-connects, we finally met last week. I showed up early because I told Cyber "look for the man dressed up as a Viking" and I wanted to make sure no other Vikings showed up and forced me to wait outside. (For those of you unaware of this, Dallas has a very strict "one guy dressed up as a Viking per restaurant" city ordinance after it was determined that two or more Vikings eventually led to berserker rages, pillaging, and streets that run red with blood and grog. While cities like Seattle were having a grand ol' time in the 90s with their grunge movement and their flannel, Dallas lived in fear of wild packs of Nordic invaders wielding battle axes. Anyway, I love to dress up as a Viking and listen to Pearl Jam sometimes, just for nostalgia's sake.)

We picked a nice little Mexican restaurant known for its great food and family of vampire-slaying waitresses - a nice quiet place for two guys to reminisce and talk. I looked around, wondering what Cyber now looked like. Maybe he had turned evil and grown a goatee? Maybe he joined the hair club for men and now wore a patch of carpet on the top of his head. Or worse! A patch of carpet with the price tag still attached! The mind reeled.

But then I saw the shiny silver dome of his space helmet and knew within seconds that it was the same ol' Cyber. We embraced in that manly way only a Viking and a man in a silver space outfit can and then sat down to our hearty meal of jalapenos and dipping sauce.

"So, how have you been these past... eight, nine, ten... DARN! I will have to take off my shoes to go any higher, so let's just say TEN years."

"I've been great. I started blogging with a group called 'The Quad'. There are four of us." (At this point, Cyber D did a great thing and held up the appropriate number of fingers so I wouldn't get confused. What a helpful guy, that Cyber D.)

"Wow. Four whole people. That must have been your secret to getting smokin' hot women to read and comment on your blogs all the time. I only started blogging with one person." (I held up a single finger so he would know the number.)

"Was that one person you?"

"You are smart as well as good looking! That is why I've always liked you, Cyber D! Yes it was just me, and now I see how I went wrong. I should have started writing the blog with FOUR people at the beginning, and then the smokin' hot women would have started reading. As it stands now, I have had to graciously accept all of the smokin' hot women from your blog traffic."

"I am sure smokin' hot women read your blog before I linked to you and send over some of my spare Quadness."

"Yes, there were a few, but I am related to all of them. I am automatically disqualified from calling women relatives smokin' hot. If I do that too much, I'll get deported to one of those unmentionable states like Alabama, West Virginia, or Louisiana."

"Yes. I suppose that might cause problems."

"But now that we've reconnected, it is all better." I reached across the table and clasped his hand in a rough, manly, Viking way. Maybe I held it a little too long, because he eventually wrested it away, explaining that he needed it for the dipping sauce.

We talked for a long time, sharing stories that were both epic and exciting. He focused on his space and time adventures while I talked mostly about how the people of Dallas kept mistaking me for a mere barbarian when I was obviously a Viking.

We talked about our blogs and who our secret blog crushes are, but the whole purpose of writing blog entries is to keep things short, so I shall end it here. I am sure Cyber D has his own version of our lunch that he might be willing to share on his blog sometime soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cruel New Jersey Stereotypes Perpetuated in This Horrible Horrible Video

For those of you don't follow the blog-a-drama, a Woman with No Regrets took umbrage with some of my more disparaging remarks about the nigh-perfect state of New Jersey.

In this blog post, NoR (as she is wont to be called) took 150 precious words and crafted a near-impenetrable argument about the greatness of the state.

So now that I'm a fan of NJ (or "Jersey" as the locals call it), I feel compelled to bring to light the horrible horrible New Jersey stereotypes perpetuated by our media.

And by "our media," I mean Triumph the Insult Dog.

Watch this film, and FEEL THE PAIN!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


"Can you believe a grown woman can't make iced tea?"
"Excuse me?"
"Betty just asked me how to make a cup of iced tea. She didn't know how to do it."
"Oh dear."
"I know! I just put the hot water in the cup, let it steep, then added ice. I can't believe some people have gotten this point in their lives without knowing how to make iced tea."
"No, I mean 'oh dear' for you."
"What do you mean?"
"You have PGS."
"What's PGS?"
"Pretty Girl Syndrome."
"But I'm not a pretty girl."
"No, but pretty girls can get you to do something for them by pretending to be stupid."
"I don't follow you."
"Say I'm a pretty girl and I want a cup of iced tea. I can either go do it for myself or go to YOU and ask you how to make a cup of iced tea because I'm just so pretty and stupid and helpless that I can't do it for myself."
"Get outta here!"
"PGS afflicts about 98% of the male population. It is a very serious condition."
"How are you so sure I'm the one with PGS? Maybe Betty is just stupid."
"Ok, Mr. Hotshot, answer this question - Who made the cup of iced tea? You or her?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Missed it by this much...

Somehow thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to read Frank Darabont's initial draft for the fourth Indiana Jones move - something he called Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods. And you know what? It is really good. Basically the same story as the final film, but it addresses my complaints about the film - there is no bad dialogue and the movie doesn't lose focus of that fact that Indiana Jones is the main character.

Plus (and this is a big plus for me) it gets the Indiana Jones character right (which the final film only sort of does). Because despite the fact that he gets to make out with beautiful women and crack a whip, deep down, Indiana Jones is a nerd. Seriously, can you imagine Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger growling at a bad guy, "It belongs in a museum!" No. Because only nerdy nerd nerds say stuff like that. Only nerdy nerd nerds care this much. Just like only nerdy nerd nerds download early rejected drafts of a film screenplay and blog about it.

Yes, I am aware that George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg don't want this available to the public. No, I am not quite sure how I got it and, no, it is not on my computer anymore so I can't email you a copy, so all of you lawyers just put down your cease and desist letters and go back to suing each other. I justified this to myself because I already paid my $10 to Spielberg and Lucas and did not think I got anywhere near $10 worth of entertainment. Let me read this script and we'll call it even.

I did not like Indiana Jones 4 for a number of reasons, but mainly because it epitomizes the type of movie I hate more than anything else - the half-assed movie.

I love a lot of movies, including some really bad ones. Much to my wife's chagrin, I own (and occasionally sing along with) Xanadu. One of my favorite movies of all time is Little Shop of Horrors (the musical version). I am also a big big fan/champion of Freaked, the movie once described my dad as, "What's the point of that?"

In case you haven't guessed, none of these are what you would call Academy Award winning material.

One thing about all of those films is that, while some people may call them bad, no one can say they are inconsistent. I will take consistently bad over good in places, sort of good in places, and bad in places.

One of the films I dislike the most for this very reason is Cradle Will Rock. The film suddenly become so busy saying BIG IMPORTANT THINGS about THE POWER OF ART that is shirks the subplot of Bill Murray and Joan Cusak - two frightened and damaged people who find a moment of connection. That is the real story of the film - not the main story about the big musical for the masses and yadda yadda. The fact that the filmmakers could get the moments between these two people so subtle and right and then surround it with bombastic theater people waving their arms and clamoring for attention is unforgivable. I would rather the movie be out-and-out bad than something like that.

If you are going to make a movie - make a consistant movie. Don't give me something namby pamby, make it all good or, if you can't do that, make it all bad and then some. I am sure some day some guy will write a blog entry about it and you can die satisfied.

Ok, enough of the ranty post. Tomorrow, I'll try for the funny again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Follow up on the Dell Thing

Some of you may have read about my situation with Dell tech support.

Brad at Dell posted in my comments, we had a discussion, and arranged an exchange of my old broken Dell for a new one. The new one was from the was same line (XPS) and was an upgrade in terms of processor power and hard drive space (which is very nice and is something Dell didn't have to do). It was supposed to ship on or around June 6th. It hasn't yet. (For those of you counting the days - the computer originally crashed on April 7th.)

Because this is a special deal and because this is circumventing the normal lines of Dell support, I do not think it is appropriate to complain. (And, in case Brad or anyone else at Dell is reading, this post is not a complaint - just a status report for my dozen or so regular blog readers.)

Brad sent me this email yesterday, which was pleasant and proactive.



I have found out the part that is delaying the system is the 8800GTX, and the only card for this system that is currently an option on are 2 8800GT’s. If the 2 8800GT’s are agreeable with you I can get the new order setup tomorrow. As of right now I do not have an accurate time frame of when or if we will offer the 8800GTX again. I apologize for the inconvenience on this but I did not want to keep you waiting much longer. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Here is my response:

Hi Brad -

This is good to know. My main concern about the graphic card is the dual-monitor support. I assume the 2 8800GTs will support dual monitors.

I do not need the HDTV out functionality the 8800GTX offers. That seems like the biggest difference between the two options and it is a non-issue. Simple dual monitor support is all I need.

So, yes. Please change the part and continue with the order. I appreciate your efforts.



See? I can be a grown up about these things.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Promotional Feedback

In my profession, the work is either feast or famine. There are weeks on end where I put in 60 to 80 hours and develop amusing little facial tics, and there are weeks where I show up for 32 to 35 hours and act as a security blanket for my managers.

The last couple of weeks were a time of feast and now we are hitting a week-to-two time of famine. This is my opportunity to catch up on sleep and maybe write something on the ol' blog.

The first thing I feel compelled to do is follow up on all of the shameless self promotion I did here last week.

The scene reading went even better than expected. The actors really sank teeth into their parts and knocked it out of the park (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). It is one thing to have voices in your head to tell you what to write; it is quite another to hear people lend their voices to the ones in your head, and do a better job than your brain does.

Afterwards, I had several people tell me that I needed to bring the next ten pages to the July 8th scene reading because everyone wants to know what happens next. It made me feel all warm and gooey inside. Expect me at the scene readings for the next nine months (approx) so I can finish this screenplay.

I attended two sessions of the writer's workshop at the Trinity Arts Conference and presented two films (which you can read about here and here). I did not realize that there was a three-page limit for the writer's workshop and brought an eight-page short film screenplay for the workshop attendees to scrutinize. Fortunately, this blog entry from a few months ago counted as less than three pages. The other workshop attendees seemed to get a kick out of it and for the rest of the conference people kindly reminded me that meat is murder.

The film presentations went well, too. I wound up giving out this blog's URL to someone so he could read my introduction for one of the films, which was a little surprising and humbling. (I had to write it out, because, let's be honest, the blog's URL is an alphabet soup that is hard to remember.) PLUS someone was kind enough to ask me if I would be willing to speak to his screenwriting class in Houston sometime. That blew me away because most of my life people have been trying to keep me AWAY from impressionable young minds.

We had interesting discussions after the films, too. Some people were taken aback by the 1940sness of Sullivan's Travels - let's just say there is some racial humor in that film that is way uncool. (I forgive it because I believe the film it a relic of its time and we should accept it as such. Some people didn't share my opinion and that is perfectly fine.)

Afterwards I spoke to someone about how people from our grandparents' generation had no problems with cruel racial stereotypes but had issues with an occasional f-bomb, and how now the situation is reversed. "I wonder what people will hate about our generation years from now?" the person asked.

"Bet you anything it will involve Jim Carrey."

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Day The Earth Tilted Slightly To One Side

Some time in the past, something happened.

The world tilted slightly to one side. No one understood why it happened, and many historians have decided to gloss over this event.

But one website seeks out to uncover the truth!

The Day The Earth Tilted Slightly To One Side

I am always the last to do thest things.

So I've seen these by Alex, Crumpet, Heather, NoR and Tera. I figure that the fad has come and gone and used some mathematical calculations to determine that right now is the most uncoolest time to post this.

So here we go:

1. Using the questions below, type your answer to each of the questions one at a time into Flickr Search

2. Using the result, select an image from the first page

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. Choose the 4 x 3 or 3 x 4 option. There are 12 questions, so you’ll need 12 images.

4. Save your mosaic and upload it to your post.

The questions:

1. What is your first name? M.

2. What is your favorite food? shrimp

3. The name of your high school? Garland High School

4. What is your favorite color? deep purple

5. Who is your celebrity crush? my wife if she becomes a celebrity

6. Favorite drink? coffee or latte

7. Dream vacation? New Zealand

8. Favorite dessert? chocolate strawberries and cherries

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? profitable writer

10. What do you love most in life? input, knowledge, and understanding

11. One word to describe you? ugh

12. Your flickr name? gamookie (I searched for "mookie" because I didn't like the "gamookie" results - curse you, Lil' brother!)

1. I'm lost again, 2. spicy tomato garlic shrimp : home, 3. Monishita Ray -- Shiva Tandava -- Odissi Ranga Pooja, 4. Deep Purple, 5. Chess Players in Dupont Circle, 6. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 7. Don't Tell Me The Sky Is The Limit, There Are Footprints On The Moon!, 8. ginza berry dessert, 9. VIDEO KILLED THE RADO STAR?, 10. Rubbish, 11. The Cubes (corporate zombies)!, 12. 38 Weeks

Even MORE Shameless Self Promotion

This Saturday at 3pm, I am speaking at the Trinity Arts Conference, a conference for Christianity and the Arts.

The second film I will be screening is Sullivan's Travels. This is one of my favorite films ever, so if you don't like it, tough boogers, it is brilliant.

This is the speech I will give before the screening of the film. I am particularly proud of the fact I find a way to talk about pornography at a Christian Arts Conference in a way that shouldn't offend the attendees while at the same time slamming Thomas Kinkade.


I want to talk about pornography for a few minutes. I don’t want to talk about the genre of art, I want to talk about the word “pornography”. Because, like so many words in the English language, the meaning has changed over the years.

Traditionally, the word has been used for material with no artistic merit aside from the purpose of sexual arousal. But more and more often the word is now being used to describe anything that rouses an emotion without any real personal connection or engagement. The viewer may respond, but doesn’t really interact.

For example, when visiting a Mac store I overheard someone describing it as a “home for design porn.” The trendiest club in the trendiest part of town can be dismissed as “hipster porn.” Thomas Kinkade exemplifies “Impressionistic landscape porn.”

I’m talking about this because one of the more interesting film criticism essays I read this past year came from film critic Karina Longworth describing her addiction to, as she put it, Katrina porn.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was and still is a dark point in American history. It is also a very well-documented point in American history. In her essay, Ms. Longworth talks about being glued to the television for days watching the people on rooftops waving for help, the pleas written on bridges and roads, and the bodies floating in the water. She watched and rewatched these images, crying each time. She felt a rush of sentiment and emotion, but yet she did not perform any action except to keep watching. She did not donate blood. She did not volunteer her time or money. She did not help anyone. She just watched.

Once she realized what she was doing, and once she started recognizing what “Katrina porn” was, she decided to go cold turkey and avoid any media having to do with Katrina and its aftermath, lest she fall back into a zone of sentiment, tears, and inaction.

We live in a golden age of documentaries. The cost of gathering up a film crew and going someplace is a fraction of what it once was. All it really takes is determination and work to capture enough video or film footage to coast on a popular subject. And, in a post-Katrina world, film crews descended on a ruined New Orleans en masse.

This posed a bit of a problem for Ms. Longworth. Her job as a film critic was to review and discuss new independent films, but coming down the pike were several Katrina documentaries, some of which followed the documentary tradition of Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock – a tradition that involves the filmmakers getting in front of the camera and acting like narrators and guides through the scenes of desolation. Which led some of us to ask this question – “Do we really need over-privileged filmmakers from New York explaining to us how the New Orleans poor suffered?”

Setting the cynicism aside for a second, I don’t really question the high-mindedness of these documentary projects. I believe the filmmakers started their projects with the best of intentions. However, there is a fine line between raising awareness of an issue and exploiting the issue, especially when you take your film to Sundance in hopes of making a big sale.


What does all of this have to do with a screwball comedy from 1941? Nothing and everything all at once.

The title character, Sullivan, starts out as high-minded and sincere as any of the Katrina documentarians. Early on in the film he talks about his next project - a film that acts as a commentary on the condition and dignity of the common man. He then seeks out the horrors of the Great Depression in an attempt to magically transform them into entertainment.

When I heard that “Change” was the theme of this year’s conference, this movie immediately leapt to mind. Like the collection of short films that comprise Paris, je t'aime, this film changes constantly. One second it is a fast-talking, dialogue-driven comedy and in the next it veers into silly slapstick or bedroom farce. But no matter how much the film changes, even when it gets dark, it remains completely true to itself and to the artistic vision of the writer/director, Preston Sturges.

And that is what is so fascinating about the film – no matter how much things change, the truth is always constant.

More Shameless Self Promotion

This Friday and Saturday, I am speaking at the Trinity Arts Conference, a conference about Christianity and the Arts.

I am the conference's go-to guy as far as film is concerned. What I am doing this year, and what I have done in the past, is give a five-to-ten minute speech about a film, show the film, and moderate a brief discussion afterwards. I'm only allowed two hours and most of the films I want to show fill up all that time and more.

This year's films are Paris, Je T'Aime (which will screen on Friday at 3pm) and Sullivan's Travels (which will screen on Saturday at 3pm - that speech will be in the next blog post).

And this is a portion of the speech I will give before screening Paris, Je T'Aime.


Creativity is about limitations. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. This is why painters have a canvas – anything can happen on the canvas, but the canvas itself acts as a restrictive space. When looking at paintings, it is always breathtaking to see how much power is concentrated in such a small space. By limiting art, we give it potency.

We have reached a point where anything can and does appear in motion pictures. Special effects and computers have made it so practically anything that can be imagined can be made into an image. Super heroes can swing from skyscraper to skyscraper. The armies of Middle Earth can slam into each other with a tangible impact. And teenage wizards can do anything within the bounds of imagination, except maybe act.

The myth of technology is that it is automatically better than what has gone on before. All one has to do is compare the films of the past decade to the ones in the 1940s and early 50s to know this is not true. Despite our technological advancements, we have not achieved something as visually stunning as The Red Shoes, as sharp and witty as All About Eve or something as timeless as Vertigo.

We have an unlimited canvas. We can do whatever we want. But without limiting our canvas, without making choices, we are merely stuck with… whatever.

Artists make choices. The sculptor chooses the type of stone. The potter chooses the type of clay. The singer chooses the vocal inflection. Each choice moves the work of art from the abstract nothingness that accompanies a blank unlimited canvas to the specifics of the piece work.

The movie Paris, je t'aime is an example of such a movement from the abstract to the particular. The title, translated as Paris, I Love You tells you on a high-level what the filmmaking project is – all of the filmmakers were asked to make a film about both Paris and Love.

There were other limitations. The film could be no longer than five minutes. The filming time should not take more than two days. Each director and film crew would be assigned to a specific arrondissements, or municipal region, of Paris. The 20 arrondissements of Paris eventually yielded 18 short films, all weaved together into a feature length collage that acts both as map and a love letter to the city.

Because it is a collection of short films, one of the great aspects of the film is the way it constantly changes. If you are bored or uninterested in the movie, just wait five minutes. The film moves to a new arrondissement and a new story begins.

The idea of a five-minute film about one specific region is a simple enough creative challenge – but like the simplest of ideas it opens up a world of possibility. The ‘Making of’ features that accompany the DVD of the film are more often than not a series of montages of various people describing what an exciting creative challenge their particular short film is.

The Coen Brothers talk about how they’ve never made a short film and wanted to challenge themselves .Natalie Portman talks about how she has always wanted an opportunity to work with Tom Tykwer. Elijah Wood talks about how he’s always wanted to be in a silent film.

This passion for art and experimentation shines through the entire project. The passion for the creative challenge and the joy of filmmaking saturate this film.

Two things stand out when watching a film like this. One is how established directors with distinctive artistic voices quickly and firmly let themselves be known within such a short time. Anyone familiar with Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run will recognize his contribution to this film. Just like anyone who has seen an Alexander Payne film will recognize his style immediately. Within such confined artistic restrictions, their artistic voices shine through brighter than ever.

The other thing that stands out in this film is the exposure to new talent. Personally speaking, I have not paid any attention to the work of Isabel Coixet or Oliver Schmitz, but after spending five minutes with each of them, I felt compelled to seek out the rest of their work. That is what I hope you get out of the film today. Five minutes of pure joy that will cause you to seek out more.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

So I am a board member of the Dallas Screenwriter's Association. One of the benefits of being a member is that you get to participate in the monthly scene readings.

Scene readings are exactly what they sound like - A group of brave and wonderful actors and actresses show up and voluntarily read 10 pages of several work-in-progress scripts out loud for the whole world to hear.

I have attended several of the scene readings but have not actively participated until now. Next Tuesday, June 10th, I will succumb to the overwhelming DSA peer pressure and actually share 10 pages of my very own personal screenplay goodness.

And, for those of you who would like to read the ten pages before they are performed publicly, here is a pdf.

Those of you who have been reading the blog since December 2006 (hi Mom!), you will recognize the story from this post.

I really wanted to somehow work this group of local actors into one of my many existing creative projects detailed in an earlier blog post, but this group of talented people just didn't seem like a good fit for any of those projects. So I decided to expand on an old idea and try to get certain roles associated to certain actors in the group.

Anyway, if you are in Dallas and want to come by the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway around 7ish on the 10th and hear some people read this script out loud, you are more than welcome to do so.

And, if you would like to submit a script of your own, a good member of the DSA board will be happy to take your membership fees.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Looks like I won't be getting Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

So Ars Technica posted the songlist for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

For $60, you get these songs (plus, if you believe some internet postings, 16 more songs that you can unlock later):

Nipmuc High School
1. Mott the Hoople - "All the Young Dudes"*
2. Cheap Trick - "Dream Police"
3. Aerosmith - "Make It"
4. Aerosmith - "Uncle Salty"
5. Aerosmith - "Draw the Line"

Max's Kansas City
6. Joan Jett - "I Hate Myself for Loving You"
7. The Kinks - "All Day and All of the Night"*
8. Aerosmith - "Movin' Out"
9. Aerosmith - "No Surprize"
10. Aerosmith - "Sweet Emotion"

The Orpheum Theater
11. The Clash - "Complete Control"
12. New York Dolls - "Personality Crisis"*
13. Aerosmith - "Livin' on the Edge"
14. Aersomith - "Ragdoll"
15. Aerosmith - "Love in an Elevator"

Half Time Show
16. Lenny Kravitz - "Always on the Run
17. Black Crowes - "Hard to Handle"*
18. Aerosmith - "Back in the Saddle"
19. Aerosmith - "Beyond Beautiful"
20. Aerosmith - "Dream On"

21. The Cult - "She Sells Sanctuary"
22. Run DMC - "King of Rock"
23. Aerosmith - "Bright Light Fright"
24. Aerosmith - "Nobody's Fault"
25. Run DMC featuring Aerosmith - "Walk This Way"

I have bolded the songs I would like to play. Dream On was made available as a free download months ago, so I already have that one. Plus no Dude Looks Like a Lady? What gives?

Anyway, that is a total of eight songs for $60.00 (or about $7.50 a song - and the only one that come close to being worth it is the Run DMC/Aerosmith Walk This Way song at the very end). When for $60.00 on Rock Band, I can download The Pixies album Doolittle ($15.00), The Who album Who's Next ($15.00), and the following songs (at $2.00 each).
  • Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffet
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise - Jimmy Buffet
  • Good Times Roll - The Cars
  • Just What I Needed - The Cars
  • Call Me - Blondie
  • Message in a Bottle - The Police
  • More Than a Feeling - Boston (which technically I already have on Guitar Hero)
  • Roam - The B-52s
  • We Care a Lot - Faith No More
  • Wonderwall - Oasis
  • Last Train to Clarksville - The Monkees
  • Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes (which also happens to be on this Guitar Hero game)
  • Buddy Holly - Weezer
  • I Fought The Law - The Clash
  • My Sharona - The Knack

So here is my plan:

1) Cancel my Amazon pre-order for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

2) Wait until I get Rock Band.

3) Buy all of the extra songs listed here.

4) When my wife complains about the $60 bill, point her to this blog entry and explain that I really SAVED her $60 by cancelling my Amazon pre-order. So in a sense, I'm not really spending ANY MONEY AT ALL.

5) Use this logic to get a job as an economist.

Public Radio Gives Me Bad Ideas

So I heard this story about Japanese Media Immersion Pods and kind of want one as a home entertainment center. My poor wife does her best to keep me social, but then NPR goes and does one of their investigative reports.

Monday, June 02, 2008

What I Deal With on a Daily Basis

The other day, an email appeared in my inbox. I will not say whom it was from or what it referred to, but it contained some brilliant examples of management double-speak. I have been less than impressed with the behavior of the intended audience and, having seen this piece of corporate communication, I understand why the employees act the way they do. I now share some choice bits, with translations.


“To deliver significant business value to large, complex organizations through innovative implementation of technologies”


"innovative implementation" means "we make this stuff up as we go along"


Passion – it’s contagious and energizing


When one person updates a resume, we all update our resumes.

Success – Strive for it in al we do, personally and professionally


I totally meant to include that typo.

Accountability – be empowered and deliver on your commitments


Don't commit to anything.

Innovation – has always been a core value


We've always made it up as we go along.

Professionalism – go that extra mile to rise above the competition


You don't need to outrun the bear; you just need to outrun the person next to you.

Integrity – with a Capitol “I” in every situation


I focus solely on what is good for myself when it comes to ethical issues.

Citizenship – In partnership, a new foundation to give back to the community around us.


Our clients give us money, we take it, and spread it around.