Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Stuff of Myth and Legend

"Hey, there's a path that leads down into this cave!" Giblet shined his flashlight down into the dusty, chilly cave, illuminating twenty feet of a swiftly-descending pathway. "This might be it."

Rammycrackle walked up and stood next to him, hands on his hips. "Maybe. After several false leads, I'm hoping this is it. I'm running out of beef jerky, and it's getting dark." He sat down on the ground, and untied a boot to get at a pebble that was annoying him.

Giblet switched off his flashlight, grabbed fresh batteries out of his backpack, swapped them into the flashlight, and then made as if to head in. He stopped short as something in the nearby shrubbery caught his eye. He nudged it with his foot, lifting it up a bit. "Look at this, Ram. Looks like a sign, maybe?"

Rammycrackle knelt and picked it up. Most of the paint had long-since vanished, but the raised lettering in the warped wooden planking was still legible.

It read: "My Little Corner of the World"

Rammycrackle smiled and looked at Giblet. "This is it! Dave's long-lost blog! We've found it!"

They embraced and shared a moment of victory; the long search looked to be over.

"Think of the treasures that lay in here! We're gonna be rich!" Giblet beamed.

"And famous." Rammycrackle stashed the sign back behind the shrub. They could pick it up on the way out.

If they survived.

Legend held that Dave, upon abandoning his blog, rigged the premises with traps of various kinds, to strongly, painfully discourage would-be treasure hunters and amateur internet archaeologists. No one knew exactly what these traps might be -- in all of their preparatory research, they could find no consensus, only wild conjecture and educated ruminations...

They steeled themselves, took several obligatory selfies (for posterity's sake) and began their descent into the long-forgotten unknown.

A long stretch of musty hallway wandered away before them, into the dark...

"Think of it, Gib. Long ago, this place used to be a place of wonder! Many of history's great blog readers would come here frequently. People with names like Abbie and Paula, Beth and Havah, Logan and Bob-O... and the mysteriously-named "Mom"... it was a Who's-Who of legendary minds and commenters, all drawn together by the bizarre, caffeine-addled verbal meanderings of a confessed absurdist, Dave the Goof."

Giblet was only half-listening. He'd heard Rammycrackle wax long-winded before about the glory days of this place and the near-mythical people who haunted it, and the "man behind the curtain" who tried so desperately to keep them entertained. Giblet was simply too excited at the possibility of the wealth and glory to be gleaned here... he would give attention to Rammycrackle later, at the campfire.

"It is said that Dave the Goof consumed insane quantities of beef jerky and caramel macchiatos," Rammy continued.

Giblet stopped and held up a hand. "Shhh! Do you hear that?"

They both stood stock-still for a moment. The soft steady sound of far-away water dripping was all that they heard. Rammycrackle was about to shrug and continue walking, but then they both heard it, echoing through the halls.

The sound of a man's voice.

They looked to each other, suddenly afraid. Without words, they asked each other if they should proceed or retreat. Rammycrackle wanted to leave, Giblet proceed. A quick game of Rock-Paper-Scissors settled the matter. They moved forward, slowly, carefully winding their way through the hallway.

"There looks to be light up ahead." Giblet covered his flashlight with his hand for a moment and confirmed it. Around the next bend, light. He switched the flashlight off. The male voice was getting louder, but they still couldn't understand anything that was being said. They moved forward.

All at once they came to a large open chamber. They peered around the corner and into the room... and froze with fear and wonder.

There, seated on a throne made entirely of Red Bull boxes and spent Starbucks giftcards, surrounded by a mountain of peanut shells and empty beef jerky bags, playing Minecraft on a PC and laughing uproariously at the sound of his own methanic emanations, was the legend himself, Dave the Lumbering White Nerd.

Giblet gasped in spite of himself, covering his mouth (and nose) with his hand at the sheer magnificent horror of it all. Dave slowly turned and faced the entrance to his blog. Rammycrackle began to wet himself in fear.

Dave stood, spread out his arms and spoke...


Hello everyone, welcome to tonight's blast of bloggy hot air! I bet you thought I'd given up on this blog. Nope, I'm still around. And actually, I'm still round, too, but I'm working on rectifying that with my personal trainer.

Lots has happened since last we spoke.

The biggest thing is that I've finished my first substantial script! That steampunk project I mentioned in the last post is finished. And I did it all my own self! Woohoo! 36 pages long! Now, I know many of you might think "Dave, you've been writing plays and skits of various lengths for the past 20 years, what's the big deal?" Well... it's a screenplay... so it's, like, different... and yeah, BTI doesn't count! Cuz I only helped write that one! I mean, I'm certainly proud of it, but this one I did my own self, mommy!

Characters, storyline, dialog, all of it! Do I like it? Uhh.... heck yeah! Will it go anywhere? We shall see! This initial version of the script is the "if budget was no concern and you could do whatever you wanted" version. So in a week, when we have our first script meeting with the "Important People" of the project, we'll see if it needs to be streamlined/simplified at all. The current working title is "Rocks and Hard Places". I'll keep you informed!

What else? Well, BTI news: We're gearing up for an appearance at Westercon, which is a sci-fi/fantasy conference taking place in early July. Gonna sit on a panel and talk about BTI. I haven't given it much thought yet, but I'm sure as the event draws closer, I'll have plenty of time to freak out about it.

We got our first review, from a website called TGGeeks... it's a good review, too!

The script is moving along steadily for the next three episodes - great things coming. Jeff (our fearless director) has grand plans, which may involve travel and other surprises. I'm not really at liberty to share much that lay ahead, but if it plays out like I've heard from Jeff, it will be awesome indeed...

Makes me wanna dance!

Still helping my friend Rob write his web series Momentum, which is also fun.

Still going to acting classes in LA, though I'm going to take July off and stay local, to focus on BTI and also to save the money and miles on my lease. Love the class, but it's starting to wear me down. Sometimes the traffic is exceptionally brutal (got home at 2:30 am last Thursday - construction). The instructor (the Magnificent Rob Adler) is having a one-day workshop in San Diego next weekend, which should be way cool. Hopefully I'll remember to post some photos of the event.

I have an audition for a local SAG short film on Tuesday. I'm auditioning for the role of a famous French general from history, Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult, and his interactions with Napoleon the night before the big showdown with Duke Wellington at Waterloo. Trying not to get too intimidated by it all -- this guy is well-known and quite accomplished, a career-soldier, and French! So I'm working on a French accent (has never been one of my stronger accents) and trying to learn how to carry myself like an accomplished career bad-ass soldier and tactician would. Hope I can pull it off. I'll let you know.

What else?

Well, here's another legend, Bill Murray, giving a terrifically-rich answer to a deep question during an interview...

Bill Murray is awesome.

What else? I heard yesterday that my pastor -- who is closing in on 90 -- broke his leg again. If you are given to prayer, if you could send a few up on his behalf, I would appreciate it. Recovery at that age is as difficult as you think it would be.

What else? The Steam Summer Sales are winding down. Yes, I bought several new games at crazy discount. Yes, I will try to actually play each of them enough to get my money's worth. "Try" being the operative word.

The family will be at camp all week, so I'll be batching it for a whole week! My good friend Jason C. is in town from Florida... I haven't seen him in a decade or more. We were besties growing up. Hope to spend some time with him.

Currently reading An Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell. Good stuff. It's always refreshing to read something by a highly-competent author. I've had a few "swings-and-a-miss"s lately.

Let me leave you with A Good Ol' Chap, which won the Best Film Award at last year's 48 Hour Film Festival.

A Good Ol' Chap (48 Hour Short Film) from A Focus Group on Vimeo.

I'm participating in the festival again this year, once again on Team Viva. We have a very strong cast, and strong writers. Should be awesome.

That's all for now! Take care, y'all!

Dave the Still Around


"Come on, Gib, let's get out of here." Rammycrackle pulled on Giblet's sleeve.

They turned around, dejected, and shuffled back up the hall. Fame and glory was not to be theirs today...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Steampunk Ironman Approves!

Love that photo. Photographer is Chris Schmidt, for the NatGeo traveler photo contest.

Greetings and salutations to whomever has stumbled across this here particular blog. It is I, Dave the Occasional Blog Updater, feeling the increasingly-rare need to wax random in text form. And you, brave wanderer, get to reap the results, such as they are...

I have felt the update urge a few times between this moment and the last time I updated (three weeks ago!), but usually it's at a time and in a place where updating is impossible... such as, in transit to or from Los Angeles... or as I drift off to sleep in the silent, wee hours of the night... my mind defragging as I slip towards a hopefully-steady slumber... "Ah, I need to mention that on my blog! Hope I remember to do it tomorrow... zzzzzz...."

So here I am.

I have two new screen-writing gigs! Along with my slow progress on the next chunk of Beyond the Impact, my screenwriting services have been secured for a second web series, called Momentum, which I am really not at liberty to discuss at the moment... um... but it is a nice, solid concept, and it's crammed full of action... I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into it in the next few weeks. 12 episodes, about 10 minutes long each. Sweet.

Plus, I'm involved in a blossoming Steampunk heist short film (20 minutes, give or take) that could turn into a series, should the interest and execution be there. In this project I have (at the moment) fairly free reign to create the characters and the story. It is also very fun, in concept and feel. Both of these projects are moving forward simultaneously. I don't know whether either of them will yield any acting roles for myself, but as far as writing, I couldn't ask for a cooler pair of projects.

So all things considered, these are great times, writing-wise.

As far as the acting side of things, the twice-a-week classes up in LA are ALWAYS awesome. I'm so glad I'm going. According to my coach (the Magnificent Rob Adler), I'm starting to come into my own. It's a great feeling. I really look forward to whatever lay ahead, as far as acting. At this point, it looks like the 48 Hour Film Festival in July. Unless I decide to put on a summer play at the church I attend. Oh, and there's a SAG short film that will be shot locally, concerning Napolean the evening before a battle, that I am slated to audition for very soon. Perhaps that will yield a role.

So creatively speaking, these are great days for me.

Steampunk Ironman approves!

What have I been reading lately? I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. Honestly, it was thoroughly "meh"... I tried to read Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, and it's really dull. I may bail on it. I'm trying to find good steampunk novels, as research for the short film I mentioned above. There's plenty of great art online, for inspiration, but I'd really like to get a hang of settings and vernaculars, so I don't embarrass myself by writing something way off-mark.

At the moment, however, I decided to try something a little more substantial from authoress  Laini Taylor (author of the achingly-beautiful "Night of Cake and Puppets" short story), called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Good stuff so far. Just started it today.

This is one of those moments when I wish I had written down all of the awesome, random, non-acting/writing stuff I wanted to tell you. Because, for the life of me, I'm drawing a blank, staring at this half-written post, feeling very sorry for you, for having to read such a boring post. Good grief, is my life getting that mundane? I mean, to me, from Ground Zero (if you will), the stuff I've written here is very important and interesting... but at the same time, I'm painfully aware of how tedious it would be to anyone not me.  So I feel pressure to entertain you!

And there's a very high possibility that no one is even reading this, and that I'm worrying myself for no reason! Still, I find myself lamenting the "good old days" of this blog, when I would routinely wax random in a satisfyingly-entertaining way... what if those days are gone forever? What should I do!?!?!

So I suppose I should pack it in for the night. I should also make another empty promise or two about "updating the blog again very soon! Trust me!" Yeah, that'll happen...

Time for bed. I'll think of cool things to type as I drift off to sleep, I'm sure. Then it will be gone by morning.

Sorry about that.

Dave the Apologetic

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Release the Quacken!

Yes, I wrote my wife a poem for Mother's Day. Hey, I'm sure it is/was as big a surprise to her as it is to you!

It's odd. I fancy myself a writer - I enjoy it and I'm pretty good at it. Plus, I fancy myself an artist. I can draw, and paint, and do graphical things that are visually impressive. Heck, I can even play guitar quite well (thanks, dad!) and write songs. I'm a pretty good singer. You'd think with all of those things at my disposal that I would always be writing and painting and drawing special things for certain loved ones on special occasions...

But I don't. And I'm not sure why.

My wifey and kids are always making homemade cards and little artsy projects for Gramma and others... I know it means a lot to them, and I know it would mean a lot to them to receive such things as well. I mean, part of me knows that. And that part of me is compartmentalized. It never seems to interact with the part of me that decides what to do with my time.

For some reason, at long last, those two parts of me met and shook hands, in time for me to write a poem to my wife for Mother's Day. Surprise surprise!

Now, I know I've occasionally vented in this blog about the rocky road that is my marriage. Hey, nothing new under the sun, right? Every marriage is rocky. I suppose it was poor form on my part to vent such nonsense in such a forum, but my argument has always been that, hey, it's my blog, it's about me and what's on my mind, and hey, people don't have to read it... I don't necessarily write this blog for other people (though it is nice to know people do occasionally visit here), but rather I write it for myself, to help maintain a certain level of sanity that allows me to function socially at acceptable levels.

That having been said, I know I've occasionally waxed honest about certain domestic grievances, but I don't know how often I've balanced it out with the good stuff. It isn't all difficulties and frustrations, there are plenty of moments of fun and joy as well (thank God). As much as it may have been an embarrassment to vent my spleen in here about things that were likely best left in the dark, I'm afraid it has also been an embarrassment to neglect balancing things out with the positives.

So... sorry about that!

I have lots to be thankful for.

All that to say, I wrote a poem! And no, you can't read it! It's personal!

So I recently finished reading the first two books of Brandon Sanderson's Stromlight Archive -- The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. A 2,100 page journey, and I loved every minute of it. I'd write a lengthy review of each for you to skim, but I haven't the strength. So I'll summarize: 5 stars for both titles. Great characters, great action, wonderful dialog, terrific world-building, a robust magic system... top to bottom, a terrific ride, highly recommended. I even pulled a trio of monologues out of the text, to add to my collection.

Oddly enough, Wifey recently started reading Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, at my recommendation. She devoured (and loved) the first book in the series, and quickly moved on to book 2. It's funny... we have something new in common now! I'm not sure we'd ever read the same book before... I'm going to have to re-read the trilogy again, so we can talk about it!

And now, the Most Interesting Man in the World...

So cool. What a great acting story...

Perhaps some day, I'll have a great acting story of m'own!

BTI Update: Currently laboring away on the next script. And there's talk of a convention and an appearance on a radio program in the near future... stay tuned, eh!

I'm loving the acting classes up in LA more and more. Believe it or not, it's worth the trip, though it's putting crazy miles on my car. I'm leasing it. Man, I'm going to take it in the shorts when it comes time to turn it in... anyways, yeah, 110 miles up, 110 miles back, twice a week... and it's worth it.

I'm thinking it's time to resurrect my Wagnervana website and make it my professional actor site... I think I have enough to make a good demo reel now, between BTI and the two 48-Hour films I did last year, and the Lazarus film we made at Mt. Zion a couple Easters ago... I should be able to pull together a good 2 minutes... You know, I wonder if it would be too unprofessional to simply add a page to this blog instead? Going to have to think about that some more. Anyways, time to kick things up a notch, as far as my acting presence, etc.

Going to turn in for the night. Hey, it's 1:33am! I need my beauty sleep!

Adios for now. More soon, I promise...

Dave the Goof

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Can I Say? This Is Me.

Howdy, y'all... yup, I said "howdy".... why does that surprise you? Didn't you see me wearing the boots and cowboy hat? And that I'm chewing tobacco? Sorry about your shoes, by the way... don't normally chew this stuff...

It was a dreary day in San Diego today... yucky and rainy and miserable... do you pity me/us? The one day of the year that the weather isn't perfect! Come on, send some pity my way! Don't be so stingy! Or stringy, for that matter. How about springy? Ay, springes to catch woodcocks! I do know! When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul lends the tongue vows!

A little Shakespeare for you there. Just to keep things fresh. Nothin' fresher than Shakespeare, eh!? EH!!?!??!

So the BTI train rolls forward! Many people in my acquaintance have seen the whole thing (all 3 episodes), and many more have seen the 2 episodes that have been officially released. And many people haven't seen any of it yet, in spite of my sending them a link directly! I'm trying to analyze it, and the best I can come up with is that when a person discovers something (to watch or read, etc) on his or her own, they will make immediate time to consume it. But if someone says, "Hey, would you watch/read this and tell me what you think, please?" then it becomes like homework or some such, and thus easy to put off indefinitely.

Several folks told me they'd gladly watch it and share their thoughts with me, and still haven't, after a couple weeks now! Part of me is bummed, and part of me understands.

The part of me that has labored over this thing for 18+ months and knows all that went into getting it up on the screen to share with the world, that part of me loves the series. All of it, warts and all. I'm so proud of what we've done, I could burst. I want everyone that means something to me to see it and see what we've done...

But the part of me that watches it fresh, as though I knew nothing about it ahead of time? That part of me can see the "flaws." But the flaws don't bum me out -- they are few and minimal, in my estimation. There is far more positive about the product so far than negative. Yet there are a few folks I know who seem to enjoy pointing out all of the flaws and niggling little aspects of the acting, the story telling, the craft... there are nits that need to be picked, apparently! Everyone's a critic, right? That's ok, I'm good with it. It's just another lesson I'm learning, about life and storytelling and friendships.

I don't fault anyone for either not watching it, or for picking it apart.

That having been said, my excitement level for the future of this project (and beyond) is sky high. We're working on more scripts as we speak.

I survived Tax Day. In case you were wondering.

Let's see, what else?

Let's face it... if you're familiar with this blog at all, you already know what else... Still reading books (currently Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson), still watching movies and comedy (November Man (meh), Daredevil (meh), and Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan (Yay to both!)), still listening to music (80's music, plus contemporary rock), and still going to acting class up in Hollywood twice a week (currently working a cool scene from Nightcrawler). Still playing Minecraft. Still drinking Caramel Macchiatos.

The days are sliding by. My hair is growing out. My beard itches. The carpets need cleaning. I need new tires on my car. Gas prices are climbing. I bought Interstellar weeks ago and still haven't watched it. I'm sore from my last workout. I have more lemons than I know what to do with. I want GTAV but don't want to pay $60 for it.

You know... same old thing.

Here's my latest favorite song... Failure, by Breaking Benjamin...

One more thing about Beyond the Impact... the main website is not up yet, and I'm not sure when it will be live... so in the interim, I've made a page here on this blog, and this is where I'm going to post embeds of the episodes, as well as photos and notes on the story lines and characters, as long as Jeff approves. The link is up there below the banner.

Here's the latest trailer for the series. It's awesome. You should watch it.

BTi Season Finale Teaser from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

What can I say? This is me. This is my world at the moment.

I hope you're doing well, whomever and wherever you are.

Adios for now,

Dave the Small