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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tightropes, Autographs and Incompetence


Look, all I'm saying is that some people are crazy, ok? And, yes, that guy on the tightrope is one of them. Yes, he's tethered to the line, but still... nutso. Obviously done for the photo-op, and to impress onlookers... I can't imagine that dude could take even a split second to enjoy the view from up/out there... hyper-focus time, eh? Would I ever have the balls to try such a thing? Absolutely not. I can barely even post it up here without feeling a trifle queasy!

Other than that, I'm all man, baybay! Woohoo!

Like this guy...



Except, of course, I likely couldn't do that either...

Well, what *can* I do, you may ask?

I... um... well, I can write blog posts, the content of which tends to skew heavily toward the juvenile and/or flatulent... this Brit decided to build a giant butt, put it on the shores of Dover, point it towards France and pass wind on France...





That very well may be... the most impressive thing I've ever seen... the rumble was heard over 20 miles of water, in France! Mission accomplished...

Speaking of windy Brits...

I went to that Joe Abercrombie book signing I was threatening to regale you with! Let the regalation begin!

Believe it or not, I have almost no photos to show you. I intended to document the entire event, beginning with a photo of the store front before the legions of Abercrombie fans descended upon the place... but I was inside the store before I knew it... here, let me ruthlessly rip a photo off Google Images and shameless pass it off as my own!


There, that's what the storefront looked like! Pretend I took that, ok? In fact, that shot was take July 12, so the posters in the windows are exactly the same as when I was there, eh! The magic is complete!

I arrived an hour early, to be assured I got a decent seat before the Abercrombie Nation arrived. There was a little corner set up with a podium and about 20 chairs... I thought, "lol, no way... that's WAAYYY too few chairs..." so I grabbed one quick, in the back row. Of course, most of the seats were empty still, but there was still an hour to go. The only other people there were about a half-dozen older people... and when I say older, I mean the youngest might have been mid-sixties. I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place, but no, up by the podium was a huge display of Joe's latest book "Half a King".

So I sat and listened to the older folks chat. Turns out, their hobby is going to Fantasy/Sci-Fi signings and getting lots of books autographed, so they can sell them online. They travel city to city, event to event, throwing out names of authors and books, like a bunch of kids with baseball cards. It was surreal. You really need to experience sitting behind people nearing eighty as they discuss their plans to attend "Bubonicon" next month in Arizona (or wherever)... they were talking like old pros... listing off the books they'd had signed, how long they'd waited in line for certain authors, etc.

It was weird.

More old folks trickled in. They all greeted one another like old friends. Each carried at least a half-dozen different Abercrombie titles to get signed. It just felt.... wrong... like a business instead of a passion. Thankfully, a few younger loners (like me) also gathered, taking seats. I breathed a small sigh of relief.

About 5 minutes before the start time, Joe himself arrived, all smiles. By then all but 2 of the chairs had filled up, and another dozen folks were standing. Yes, the crowd leveled out at about 40 people. Total. The Abercrombie Nation had appeared, and it was shockingly meager. But if it bothered Joe, he never let on. He was all smiles and jokes.

Again, no pictures... apparently, I was worried what all these random strangers would think of me if I inconspicuously snapped off an occasional photo while Joe talked. I'm lame. Here, let me swipe another pic and pass it off as my own...


That's from a different signing... same store. Man, I think I recognize some of the same old autograph hounds though! Lol!... picture me in the back there. That's actually about the size of the crowd, including the standers.

So Joe read a passage from his latest book (very cool, by the way), then took questions for about 30 minutes. I asked him a question - are you proud of me? I asked him if he regularly re-read his older work, or once a book was finished, did he just close the covers and move on. He said he does re-read his stuff, and he enjoys it. He said whatever he is currently writing sucks, and whatever is finished is good. He said other stuff, but I can't recall it all - I was so stoked that I actually got my question out and that he took time to answer it...

After the Q&A, we all lined up to get things signed. I brought a trade paperback copy of The Heroes. I was near the back of the line, so I had a bit of a wait, but not bad. To pass the time, I asked the guy in line behind me what he thought of Brent Weeks, lol... after briefly telling me how much he enjoyed Weeks, and that "if you like Abercrombie, you'll love Brent Weeks", I politely but firmly took him to task... I was actually trying to engage him in a discussion, but once he realized that I begged to differ about Weeks, he shut down like a true introvert and the discussion was over... oh well...

It seemed like everyone in line was having the person behind them take a picture of that person and Joe once the time came. They'd all turn, hand their phones to the person behind him, and that person would take the photo. Well, it seemed I burned that bridge by offending the Weeks fan behind me, so I had to settle for a selfie...


That's it, the only photo I actually took, lol...

When I handed him my book, thanking him for coming, I told him how cool it was that I was now in possession of my three favorite books, all signed by their authors. So he said, "Really? What are the other two books?" A simple question, yes? Well, hey, let's see you answer a simple question when you're laboring under the nerves associated with meeting someone you admire! I looked at him for a few excruciatingly long moments while I tried to get my head to work... I finally said, "Well, Gates of... uh.. Fire..." and Joe said, "Ah, Pressfield! Good company! And the other?" lol.... I said. "Ummm..... "

Inside, during these painful two seconds, I kid you not, what I was thinking was "OMG, this is going to be a funny story to write about on my blog"....

"I'm drawing a blank... oh! Rothfuss! Name of the Wind! That's it."

Wow. I'm 99% sure Joe thought I was a total tool. I never thought I'd ever freeze up like that in front of a "celebrity". It was embarrassing and hilarious (to me) at the same time. So I regrouped, told him how much I loved The Heroes, asked him for a quick pic, which was "for my blog, which you actually left a comment on back in '09, thank you for that..." I snapped the pic, shook his hand, and let him get on with the business of immediately forgetting me, lol...

I went to Starbucks and drove home.

I forgot to mention that he asked me if I wanted him to write anything in particular as he signed it. In my state of brain fart, I said, "Oh, just "to Dave" is fine." Which is what he wrote, lol...


Dangit. I wish I'd had him write, "You have to be practical" or "Those are the times" or "Bremer for President" or something from one of his books. Oh well...

Overall, Joe Ab was very engaging, funny and thoughtful in person. He answered every question, took time to meet everyone, signed everything people put before him, and was a Class Act of the Highest Order. I only wish I'd carried myself with a little more competence. Never thought I was the star-struck type...  I was shocked at the low turnout... 40 people? Really? There should have been an overflow crowd for that guy...


There it is, the Shelf of Honor... I could list off my Top Three in a heartbeat to anyone, anytime... except, apparently, in front of the author of one of them... lol...

Ah well, next time, I'll handle myself better...