Friday, September 12, 2014

Plus, There's This Guy!


High there!

Hey, what's a little vertigo between friends, eh? Afraid of heights, by chance? You're ok with heights, but a little sketchy with widths? Or depths?

Here's a test.... start this next video, quickly switch it to 720p and make it full-screen. Let's see how you do...



OK, that's your heights test... now depths...



Fair enough, that's the Depths Test... how did you do? You still ok?

OK, well, I tried to find a Widths Test, but this is all I could come up with...


Well, this running gag has run it's course, I'd say...

Now, what shall we talk about, eh?

Well, some things happening on the Acting Front (if you'll pardon how warlike that sounds)...

First, we had our first day of filming for the web series! Yay! Due to Jeff's hesitance at letting too much info out before we launch the pilot, I'll take a rather minimalist stance on details of the shoot. I can say that you've never seen me dressed like this before (lol), and that the scene I was in was in all Russian dialog, and I smoked about a half-a-pack of Marlboro Reds during all the takes... man... no offense to those of you who smoke, but I will never understand the appeal. Afterwards, I felt like someone had rubbed my soul around in an ash tray. It's just filthy. Anyways, I hope I look convincing-enough as a smoker to warrant at least an A for effort... same goes for the Russian dialog, lol... I tried, hard...

Here's the thing. I rehearsed the heck out of my Russian lines, trying to get the pronunciation correct... but that still left my delivery flat, rather than conversational... when working with Ruslan and Tanya, who were helping me with delivery suggestions (as far as what to stress and how to inflect, etc), I could remember one line... maybe two... but beyond that, I would automatically revert to the way I'd practiced... I couldn't remember the proper way to say all of the lines properly during each run-through... I'd get one or two right, and the rest would flatline...

Bah, first-world acting problems, I get it...

All that to say, I enjoyed the experience IMMENSELY, and am only reassured that I need to be doing this for a living. I can't wait to show you guys the pilot. Hopefully by early November.

Speaking of "doing this for a living".... I'm going to stop taking the San Diego acting classes with my coach Steve.... and start taking classes up in Los Angeles, with this guy (Rob Adler). I went up to the class last Tuesday, and it was terrific. The drive is a killer (especially for a man with little patience, like yours truly), but the class is great. The instructor Rob really knows his stuff (not that Steve doesn't - it's just a different take) and is very engaging.

So, yeah, there's that. I need to get used to driving up to LA anyways, if I'm going to really make a go at this acting/screenwriting thing...


I like that quote... though I can't vouch for how sound it is, doctrinally, lol...

My faith has been going through some interesting morphings this past year. Not sure how open I want to be here -- that might get a bit awkward for you to read! But let's just say, I'm as sure as ever that there is a God, but beyond that, I really don't know what to believe anymore. I'm finding it rather depressing that I can ask five "Christians" the same question(s) and get five different (sets of) answers, often radically different. It's really souring me on the whole "religious" facet of faith... plus, I've sort of fallen off the radar, as far as every single person from the church I attend... I hate to sound "that way" about it, since I realize that everyone has his/her own raft of problems, quirks and other life-related BS to deal with, but man, it would be nice if someone just dropped me a hello every now and then. My friends in the acting class and BTI project have been infinitely more connected/friendly  than my church "family"...

Man, that sounds petty...

So, can I be "real" and petty here, in this blog, eh? Or should I put up a nice, polished mature front? Will you despise me for my pettiness?


I used to wake up every morning with the news on my alarm radio. It was not wise. Starting your day listening to all the awful things happening in the world was not conducive to a good day. Now I have the radio set to the local "Calvary Chapel" christian station, so I wake up to sermons... and that may be worse! Man, such insipidity! Sometimes I wonder, "Can these guys even hear what they're saying?" I'm not just talking about the lame humor (which is bad enough)... but the shallow, void, impotent content... toothless! Dangit, I could use some straight talk... tell me God is there! Shake me up a bit! Don't pat me on the head and tell me everything is going to be perfect and that God loves me just oh-so-much!

Well, the alternative is waking up to music, I guess...

This is, easily, the best album I've heard in a long time...



I have never encountered an album where every single track (barring the instrumental intro/outro tracks) could be considered the best track... every song is outstanding (to me, obviously -- personal tastes being what they are, your results may vary)...

I don't know if I've mentioned it here yet, but at my stepdad's request, I saw Chadwick Boseman portray James Brown in the biopic film Get On Up, and if he doesn't at least get nominated for that performance, I will soil myself in protest. It was an amazing performance. You don't see full commitment to a role like that very often, outside of Daniel Day Lewis... if you get a chance to see the film, please do.

What else? Haven't read anything very noteworthy lately. I read Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" to look for monologues. That was a fast, solid read. And I'm reading a fantasy novel called "Luck in the Shadows" by Lynn Flewelling, which is (sadly) mediocre in nearly every way. Surprising, since it receives a lot of very positive reviews from the masses. But I've been fooled like that before. Currently 44% through it... I'm trying to force myself on, but I really don't care a whit about any of the characters (save one - a wizard named Nysander), and the endless paragraphs of description and ham-fisted info-dumping makes my eyes glaze over. I may be bailing on it soon...

Sorry, ladies, but it just reinforces my feeling that Robin Hobb is the only female Fantasy writer that I've read that can hang with the big boys... I'll keep looking - there must be more Hobb-like authresses out there.

Actually, I remember liking NK Jemisin in the one book of hers I read a few years back... though I recall next to nothing about the book... and I didn't continue the series past book one... which may not be good signs... I'll have to re-read that one again...

OK, enough rambling nonsense. I'm sure everyone is trying to do the best they can in all they do... life is pretty rough. I should cut people more slack. I'm just kind of a grumpus lately...

All that to say, good night!

Dave the Grumpus

Plus, there's this guy...


Monday, September 1, 2014

Focus! Focus!


This was me about 6 seconds ago: "Hmm, lemme see... it's the dregs of Summer, it's hot and sweaty and sticky... what photo should I lead this post with, eh? EH!?"

Yeah, a shot of a frozen waterfall... not a sandy beach with palm trees... not a cool, artsy shot of a beautifully-curving wave... nothing tropical at all... but a climber risking life and limb... for WHAT! So he can tell people at his job the next day that he "climbed a waterfall"?

"Wow... that's great, Jim... you know what I did while you were out climbing a frozen waterfall? I was at home, warm, eating bowls of chili and passing wind on my kids... hey, you have your adventures, I have mine!"

So, yeah, enjoy that photo.

I almost led with this one...


But it scared me... but not too much, since, for some reason, that tiger looks almost cross-eyed to me...

Here, this will cheer you up...


I laughed hard when I first saw that... cuz, you know... fat people are funny... that's me, by the way... I've put on a few pounds... ok, fine, that's not me... but it could be, if I really worked at it...

So, if you haven't figured it out by now, I have nothing to talk about tonight. Winging it, I am! As I type this, it's about 1am, Sunday night. Tomorrow is Labor Day... the day, apparently, that we celebrate women giving birth... for some reason, I want to stay up really, really late tonight. I know I'll be able to sleep in tomorrow (no work!), and I have nothing on the agenda... and besides, I'm depressed again! Surprise!

Funny, maybe it's just the same phenomenon responsible for "noticing pregnant woman everywhere when you're pregnant" or "noticing the car you just bought being everywhere on the road now that you've bought one", but it seems like either everything goes really well in every area of my life, or else everything is swirling down the crapper. Now, the logical part of me knows that, at any given time, chances are some things in my life are great and others crappy, at the same time... but for some reason at times I focus on the good stuff only, and thus think everything is great, while other times I seem to focus on the lousy stuff and thus think everything is going poorly....

Which segues into another thought...

I'm pretty antisocial. My people skills aren't that great. It wears on people to be around me, because things have to make sense, or I go a little crazy. It gets me into trouble (as it did recently with a good friend), since at times, out of sheer objective curiosity, I may rather-tactlessly ask for clarification on something that inadvertently comes across as offensive, and it yields bad fruit, causing friction where none should exist. But dangit, when I can't square things in my head, I need answers or I literally will lose sleep chewing on it.

So, yeah, I have a very strong logical streak in my brainpan.

And yet! I am (what I feel to be) WAY out of the norm, as far as being creative... my brain won't stop. I think of crazy stories, jokes, random goofiness, all manner of creative nonsense (art, music, acting, endless entertainment), without ceasing... which also drives people nuts. Another facet of my socially-retarded nature.

So rather than "either/or", like most people (meaning be either logical or creative) I have both pegged. When I say "pegged", I don't mean "dialed in" or "down pat"... I mean "pegged" as in, the needle on the meter is in the red zone in both areas. How is it I can max out both sides at the same time? I don't get it... it's like I'm torn in half and each half pushed as far apart as they can get. I don't think it's a bipolar thing, because I'm pretty mellow at all times... I don't know...

Here's another cool GIF for you - hope it doesn't lag your computer too much.


I won't post anymore GIFs, I promise...

Succinct Reviews:

Blue Blazes, by Chuck Wendig:  It's a good, solid tale of supernatural creepiness, with a larger-than-life protagonist. Got a little tiresome in the final quarter. It was a good story, but I'm not sure how long I'll remember this one. (3 stars)

NPC's by Drew Hayes: Fun premise with interesting characters, but amateurish writing and presentation. Better as a whole than its individual parts. But a fast, fun read which would appeal to gamers and those of you who enjoy a good adventure. (3.75 stars)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: Amazingly beautiful, artistically. Each shot hand-crafted and exquisite. But everything else about the movie was garbage -- and I don't throw that term around lightly. The stories, the acting, the writing, the tenor, everything about it is a waste of time. Except the visuals, which are incredible, especially in 3D. Still, I'd strongly suggest you avoid this film. The first Sin City movie was infinitely better. (1 star)



How odd... my font changed somewhere around the Blue Blazes review...

So it's about 1:15am now... what should I do? Play Skyrim, or read? Ah, decisions! I'm gonna say.... BOTH!

Adios for now,

Dave the Gollywomper

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Drive-By Baptism!


Well, hello fellow time travelers! I bet you thought I'd dropped off the face of the earth and was sucked into some space vortex or somethin', eh? EH?

Nope. I'm fine. Takin' it a Dave at a time, you know... sitting in a corner, softly weeping as the last grains of summer move down to the bottom half of the ol' hour glass... the little hand on the ol' body clock advanced another click forward since last we spoke. I am officially 44 now.

Aging. Sometimes it bothers me, other times I couldn't care less. I feel the same on the inside. Look a little more weathered on the outside. I guess that's the way it works, eh?

One fairly substantial external change has been to my hair...

"I'm shaved! I'm shorn again!"

Feels weird, but I'm getting used to it. It goes well with my extreme farmer tan (haven't been to the pool once all summer! Doh!) and with the two-car garage on my face... ah, well, you know what they say... "big nose, big heart"...

I think they say that...

Hey, did you see this one, eh? Mute the sound, and then watch this...



Yeah, that's nuts... if I'd have seen that in a movie, I would have been, like, "Yeah, right... no way on earth that could happen in real life..."

I think I'm mellowing out as I age... I used to be more of a goof, which made for more interesting blog reading for you, I'm sure... I've been reading and writing and prepping BTI-related stuff... and the days and weeks tick by. Seems like Summer just started... anyways, that's basically been my year thus far. Wish I had some goofiness to unleash upon you tonight... but I'm feeling mellow...


We've got some great ideas for drama plans for Christmas and Easter this year... possibly too ambitious, but we'll see. I'll start writing the scripts and see how it evolves... If all goes as planned, we'll have one large story, with a relatively small cast, that is broken into segments. The two biggest pieces will be the plays - part one for Christmas and part two for Easter - but every week there will also be a skit or a monologue that adds detail, introduces characters, fills in the blanks better, so to speak, and creates one long narrative. Ideally, the plays will each work well alone, as a self-contained stand-alone piece of entertainment... but all the pieces added together will make a much more robust experience. We'll hopefully film each small piece as it is performed and put them all online, so if someone misses a Sunday, he/she can keep up.

It will take a dedicated small group of actors... maybe a half-dozen at the most. We'll see. As I said, it might be too ambitious.


That is a great photo with which to end this post. So cool, the plane parting the clouds like that...

As new things develop, regarding the web series or anything else, I'll post it here.

Adios for now,

Dave the Mellow.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Random Entertainment-Related Nonsense


Iceland, anyone?

Man, I have too many disparate things on my mind... I waited too long to update...

Books I've Read Lately:

 - Fortune's Pawn, by Rachel Bach: Sci-Fi Light. After a rough, limp start, this book acquitted itself well enough. There were some good concepts and action scenes here. The characters didn't have too much depth to them, which is, I suppose, understandable, since the story is locked into first-person perspective, and seems geared toward a more YA audience.  Still, some memorable moments, and it ended up being worth the read. 

It ended awkwardly and rather abruptly, without resolving anything. More so than, perhaps, any book I can recall. It just decided to stop. Weird.  Summary: 3 out of 5. Ultimately, a fast, fun read, with minimal annoyance after the rough first chapter or two.

Currently Reading: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

Movies I've Seen Lately:


- Xmen: Days of Future Past: Good film. Some great scenes - the scene with Quicksilver, when they're breaking Magneto out of prison, was perhaps the coolest scene in any of the X-man movies. And the way the film ended was intriguing in the extreme, as far as making future movies in the series possible. Not too crazy about the nerfing of Magneto - I like him better as a straight-up villain. Summary: 8 out of 10. I'll buy this one on DVD when the time is right.

- Guardians of the Galaxy: LOVED this movie. Visually, it maybe the best I've ever seen. The scenes, the structure, the characters, the dialog... at about the halfway point, I found myself thinking, "They've done it! Someone has made a PERFECT MOVIE." But alas, it couldn't last. I had a few issues with the climax that left me feeling a bit confused and crestfallen. Still, it was hard to take the edge off my enjoyment level. I left the theater trying to decide where it falls on my List of Favorite Superhero Movies... I settled on slotting it at #2, just behind Batman Begins. The previous #2 (IronMan 3) moved down a slot. Summary: 9.5 out of 10 See this movie. Love this movie.

- Lucy: Had some good ideas, added some unique movie-making elements, had some good things going for it. I tracked with it until about the 60% mark, at which time the movie radically spiraled into retardation, ending with a truly insipid climax. Ultimately, as much as I enjoy Scarlet Johanssen, she wasn't enough to prevent the serious eyerolls which precede a dismal rating. Summary: 3.5 out of 10 This movie took itself way too seriously. Had some great moments early on, though...

Music I've Been Loving Lately:

- Shinedown: Fly From the Inside



- Sleepwave: Through the Looking Glass



- Gemini Syndrome: Stardust



The "Best Of" Screening for the San Diego 48 Hour Film Festival

On Saturday, August 2nd, I attended the Best Of screening for the 48 Hour Film Festival. It was a rainy, steamy, muggy evening, and WOW, I haven't been downtown in San Diego on a Saturday night ever... if I had, I would have approached diving into that madness much more strategically. Man, what a madhouse. For sanity's sake (both yours and mine) I won't recap all of the nonsense I went through getting to and from the event - I will limit myself to the event itself.

13 Films were shown, almost all of them worthy (I felt) of being Best Of quality. Conspicuous in its' absence was "3:28 am", by Groovy Productions, which I felt should have been easily included. I won't name names, but I could think of at least three titles that might have been bumped to make place for it. But what do I know? I'm a little fish with a little voice.

They would show 2 or 3 titles, then give away 2 or 3 awards, then show 2 or 3 more, etc. The highlight of the (4 hour!) event for me was when my "Desert Rose" co-star Lisa Winans was announced winner of the Best Actress, which was pretty cool.

I really enjoyed the film that won the top prize - it was a silent film called Good Ol' Chap and it was an homage to Charlie Chaplin. It was so good, I'm glad it won. If/When it's available online somewhere, I'll embed it or link to it. It beat out some really good competition, including The Affair (which I posted in a previous post), The Wish (also posted previously), as well as these three...

The Finnisher



MISSING



and The Big Talkie



Keep in mind, these were all conceived, written, cast, filmed, edited and scored all within 48 hours... So, yeah, there are some talented folks in the San Diego area - some of whom I'm beginning to become acquainted with. And a handful of whom either are already involved in the BTI web series, or will soon be.

Speaking of BTI, we will begin filming (knock on wood!) this upcoming weekend, and hopefully have the pilot in the can by late September/early October. As far as when y'all will be able to see anything, well, expect a trailer first, and then who knows? Tentative release of the pilot episode will be the beginning of November, with filming to pick up again after the holidays. But this whole project has been fluid, as far as getting the pieces to all come together. I'll keep you updated as I'm allowed to...

I buzzed my hair super-short... Ahhh! I'm feeling more Russian already!

Well, I'm not sure what else to share tonight... I covered a lot, and it's late! Sheesh! What do you expect of me? Backflips!

[Dave does a backflip, lands on his head]

Adios for now,

Dave the Near-Bald