Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The End of the Year Post Full of Randomness and Wonder!

OK, this is my "End of the Year Post Full of Randomness and Wonder". I hope some of it is interesting to you! I'm going to be all over the place!

I suppose I should begin by reflecting upon the year...

Made great strides in furthering my acting career. Added new "deep end of the pool" acting classes up in LA, with the Big Boys, and a high caliber coach (Rob Adler). Extremely challenging and rewarding. Took me a few classes to get my sea legs under me -- a problem exacerbated by my propensity toward social awkwardness.

Got my braces off! So I have straight teeth now. The work isn't over just yet.... I need to get another new fake front tooth, and I need them whitened. Then I'll have that "commercial smile" and make my wife and/or mother proud!

Scattered auditions and jobs, which were fun but yielded little (financially)... which might bother me more if I weren't wrapped up in an amazing web series project (Beyond the Impact), which has a live (and active) Facebook page now -- search "Beyond The Impact" on Facebook to see it. Also, the website is available for the project -- but only the splash page with a count-down timer to the premiere (which is February 7, 2015).

I've spent some serious time in front of the camera this year, and it feels GREAT. I love it, in ways that are hard to express in words (difficult to believe with me, eh? I'm so long-winded)... and if things go according to plans, this next year will be exponentially more awesome.

Here's a quick photo from the farmhouse shoot from this past weekend. This will be featured in the opening sequence...

It was a great location, and Jeff's CGI team will work wonders with the footage. And the music... o the music, wait until you hear it. It will blow you away...

Plus, I worked on a team for the 48-Hour Film Festival back in July, which was a lot of fun. I hope to work with the same team again this year.

OK, what else?

I read 30 novels this year... The Very Best included:
- The Liveship Trilogy by Robin Hobb
- The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Pat Rothfuss
- Blade of Tyshalle, by Matthew Stover
- The Night of Cake and Puppets, by Laini Taylor
Although that last one was a short story, not a novel... but it was wonderfully tasty and beautiful. Definitely among the best of the year. Other Honorable Mentions include titles by: James Moore, Trudy Canavan, Django Wexler and Miles Cameron.

My least favorite was Steelheart, by B. Sanderson. Which surprised me, since I'm such a big Sanderson fan. Normally, I bail on sub-par books (as I did with many titles this year), since why on earth should I keep reading a turd? But I suppose since I have such a positive history with Sanderson, I kept expecting it to get good. It didn't.

I don't track every movie I see like I do with the books I read... maybe I should. I honestly don't remember all the movies I saw this year, but the one that still stands out to me as the Best of the Year was Guardians of the Galaxy, which I absolutely loved. The ending fizzled a bit, keeping it from getting a 10 from me... but I gave it a solid 9, and it was worth seeing in IMAX 3D... which is something I don't recall ever saying for a movie before (maybe Avatar?)

I loved Chadwick Boseman's performance as James Brown, in Get On Up. Great movie, amazing acting performance. Looks like he won't be getting a (well-deserved, I think) Oscar nod for Best Actor this year... competition is too stiff. He's a long-shot.

While I'm on the subject of quality entertainment, you know which TV show I feel has the very best writing? The answer may surprise you... Gilmore Girls. Wifey has been binge watching it again lately, and honestly, I absolutely LOVE the writing. The dialog is so fun and fast and sharp, it seems to me that it would be an actor's dream. Then again, as a writer, that's the type of stuff I enjoy writing. Coming from stage, where it's all about the dialog. In Gilmore Girls, nothing really every seems to happen. It's mostly character development and interaction. A show where all people do is talk, and don't really do anything? And I love it.

I tried watching the latest season of 24, based upon the high recommendation of my classmate, the illustrious Rob Dey. But I limped through the illogical, tedious, predictable, ham-fisted pilot episode and had enough. Sorry, Rob.

AND YET! I'm the same guy that found this video endlessly fascinating... and all it features is a man taking apart a ROLEX watch and then reassembling it...

Why? Why should I find something like that so fascinating? And I yawn at Jack Bauer and his antics? Plus, I dig Gilmore Girls? I think my Man Card is in jeopardy...

Another highlight of the year was getting my Second-Favorite Book of All Time (The Heroes) autographed by its author, the Great and Powerful Joe Abercrombie. Granted, I made a bit of a fool of myself in front of him when we talked, but, hey, remember by social awkwardness? That seems to be a theme for me this year... hey, what's a few harsh life lessons, between friends eh?

What else?

Music? Well, my tastes trended toward harder stuff this year, which includes Breaking Benjamin, Volbeat, Shinedown, Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch. Hey, I'm not ashamed to admit it!

On a spiritual note, it was also a year of transition for my faith. My belief and trust in God remains unshaken, but my patience for the religious song-and-dance has all but evaporated. I still attend church and tend to my obligations there, but it's more like a job than a joy. Although the Christmas Play journey was a great joy to me this year, moreso than, perhaps, any other year I can recall. I look forward to the Easter Play...

Games? It was mostly about Minecraft. Though there were a few other titles that got some playtime, including Borderlands 2, Sir You Are Being Hunted, Defense Grid 2, TrackMania Valley, Dead Island and some old school Unreal Tournament. That reminds me... I broke my favorite mouse the other day, banging it on the desk in a fit of frustration, playing UT with some of the old crew from back in the day (they have a server up and running).... had to buy a new mouse, lol...

OK, well, seeing as how it's 2:30 am as I type this sentence, and I need to go to work in the morning, I better pull the plug on this post. Hey, I told you I would be all over the place! I'm amazed that you read this far.

Stick a fork in the year. It's done.

Adios for now,

Dave the Transitional

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just Follow the Recipe and All Will Be Fine!

"Hour number 4. The procedure is moving along as expected, though slightly slower than I had hoped. Progress has been made, but I'm at a bit of an impasse."

The Man in the Lab Coat paused, and then clicked the red button on his digital recorder to stop it, setting it down on the table before him. The table space was mostly occupied by a man, laying out on his back, eyes closed, unconscious and unclothed save for a strategically-placed Hello Kitty beach towel across his hips. Various wires and tubes were coming out of various nooks and crannies on the man's body, which were connected to the machinery that kept him alive during this procedure.

After a deep-breath and an eye-rub, the Man in the Lab Coat picked the digital recorder back up.

"I began as planned, by adding a thin base layer of insecurity before spooning in two ladles-full of scatological humor, three tablespoons of suppressed anger, a dash-and-a-half of resolve, a half-cup of ennui, a full bag of "desire to entertain", and then sprinkled over the top of it all a general ability to think more highly of others than is likely healthy. Somehow, it seems that two or more of these ingredients have reacted to form an addiction to buying games and ebooks -- well beyond normal, healthy levels. Plus, his methane readings are off the charts. Unsure how to proceed."

The Man in the Lab Coat pocketed the recorder, and set his mind to correcting the problem. He crossed the lab and studied the shelves-full of beakers and vials and containers. After agonizing over them for a few long minutes, he shrugged his shoulders and gathered as many as he could carry. Crossing back to the table, he began adding random things:

- A penchant for quoting obscure movies.
- A strong interest in acting in general, and in Hamlet in particular.
- An inability to be separated from his iPad for longer than a few minutes before breaking out in a cold sweat.
- An unsettling Starbucks addiction.
- A strong enjoyment of absurd humor.
- Mild financial retardation.
- A growing interest in that kind of rock music where the singer screams into the microphone, with the volume cranked up, of course.
- An unconquerable love for his children.
- A wildly-vacillating interest in theology.
- A large, raucous invisible audience.
- A certain freedom and adventurousness in writing.
- Swinging moods.
- A reasonable talent for cartooning.
- General goofiness.
- "The Russian Forehead."

The ingredients flew fast and furious, in unmeasured amounts, the Man in the Lab Coat becoming increasingly desperate.When the last of the beakers had been emptied, he wheeled over a couple of 50-gallon drums and pried off the lids. He grabbed a massive scoop and poured in "Social Awkwardness" and "Minecraft," in equal measures.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, he fished the recorder out of his lab coat pocket and clicked the red button.

"Hour six. I've come to the end of both my patience and my well of ideas. I've tried just about everything, but he's become so unpredictable and unstable that I fear further experimentation could risk the both of us. I believe I'll call this one finished, give him his own blog, and turn him loose on the world. Who knows? He may surprise us all someday."

With that, the Man in the Lab Coat grabbed the stapler and the hot glue gun, and set to work sealing Dave up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hamburgers From Heaven!

Bern, Switzerland! Are you kidding me!? THAT is friggin AWESOME! I kinda wish I lived there. Because, come on.... how beautiful is that? I mean, imagine getting a little place there in Bern, and playing Minecraft all day--- I mean, write novels and things all day. Right?

O, forget it, look at this picture...

O... M... G....

There are some amazing places in the world. According to my sources, that is Bergen, Norway. Dangit, what am I doing? There's this amazing world out there!


What about this one?

Prague. In the Czech Republic. The fourteenth-largest city in the European Union.

So, tell me. Bern, Bergen or Prague? You decide. Maybe it's just the snow that makes them seem awesome. Maybe beneath the surface, there's seediness, political corruption, machinations, intrigues, various connivances and chicaneries...

Or maybe it really is, plain and simple, awesome.

OK, enough of that glorious nonsense...

So, what has happened since last we spoke, lo, these many moons ago?

Wifey and I had our 24th Anniversary. 24 years! On Facebook, I referenced dressing up as Jack Bauer in connection with my anniversary... I was actually going to be more risque with my comment, but I toned it down, since people's opinions of me matter oh so very much, apparently. I did rattle off another pretty good zinger though, when I said "I remember the day I got married... seems like a wifetime ago..." I patted myself on the back for that one...

See? How sad is it when you need to blog Facebook highlights? How little content does a person need to have before he/she resorts to rehashing Facebook quips?

So on my Anniv. I worked half a day, then took Wifey and Youngest out to dinner (couldn't get a sitter) at a great burger place here in San Diego, called Slater's 50/50. Now, I normally despise people that take photos of their food... well, maybe not despise the people themselves, but more the act of photographing food... I mean, toward what end, right?

But I built the most amazing burger, and when they brought it to our table, I was so in awe that I just looked at it, stunned. Yes, I took a photo of it -- likely the only time in my life I will do such a thing...

2/3 lb patty, smoked gouda cheese, thick-cut bacon, grilled onions, tomatoes and bacon-ketchup, on a bacon-pretzel bun... O... M... G.... I'm getting flashback-induced chills just remembering it. It was gigantic. It was like holding a bowling ball. I took bite after glorious bite, and it never felt like it was getting any smaller. Like magic! You know what? I ate the whole dang thing. Plus, a few onion rings, some sweet potato fries, a wonderful glass of beer, and part of a bacon-topped brownie w/ice cream for dessert. We ate early -- about 5pm... and I didn't eat again until lunch the next day.

I don't know whether to be ashamed or proud.

The only thing more awesome than that epic burger is the new trailer for the Mad Max movie (with Tom Hardy) that is coming out next year. By all means, you must watch this, full screen, as high-res as your system can handle...

Wow, like, times ten.

So, the Big Day of Shooting that we had scheduled for Dec 20/21 for the web series, which was going to take priority over the church Christmas play for the first time since 1996, has been postponed to the first weekend in January. This means I'll be able to be at the play performance at church after all! Mixed blessing, in a way... I really wanted to get this particular shoot done, and looked forward to it... but I also was a bit bummed to have to miss the play -- especially since my cast is doing SO WELL! You should see them! Maybe you will be get to! We're going to video tape it. As usual, the audio is the biggest concern. If it records well, I'll post it here.

Anyway, I'll be able to be there.

Not sure how moving the Big Day of Shooting will affect the Premiere date for BTI, if at all. It was set for January 24, and then there was talk of moving it to February. We'll see. I do know that we are committed now to appearing at Wondercon in Anaheim in early April, which will be quite an experience, I'm sure. Then there's Comicon in San Diego in July. We should have the entire series done by then.

What else? Hmm...

Currently Reading: The City Stained Red, by Sam Sykes
Currently Playing: Minecraft, and Sir You Are Being Hunted.
Currently Listening To: Beatles, Volbeat, random 80's music, and, when the mood hits me, Adele.
Currently Feeling: Optimistic
Currently Planning on Seeing: Interstellar and (if I can still find it) Birdman

I think that will sum it up for now. These are good, busy times for me. Check back soon, and I'll heap more upon thee!

Adios for now,

Dave the Good and Busy

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Well, Waddaya Know?! "Time" for a New Blog Post!

Look at the time! Time to update my bloggy blog! Always a trip down the rabbit hole, eh?

I steadfastly refuse to apologize for the length of time I allowed to pass between updates! I won't do it! I'm far too proud to apologize! We straight-toothed, braces-less people can't kowtow to the unseemly demands of lesser, possibly-crooked-toothed rabble who tend to frequent the more interesting blogs on the net...

Yes, I've become more unbearably arrogant since getting my braces off this morning.

Ouch! Getting them off hurt! What the heck! The technician came at me with a pair of (what appeared to be) medieval tin snips, and said "the brackets themselves are pretty brittle, so what we do is snap them off with these! MUAHAHAHA!!! Hold still... you might feel and hear the sound of things breaking on your face... but fear not, it only will feel like I'm ruthlessly snapping off your teeth, one by one, but it's not so! Gunther! Hans! Hold him down! Grab his legs! GRAB HIS LEGS!!!!"

After all the snapping and crushing, they ground off all the cement, had me rinse all the dust and blood out of my mouth, polished my teeth up a bit, and then instructed me in The Way of the Retainer. Gads, if I have to hear one more person tell me not to "wrap my retainers in a napkin and then accidentally throw them away" I think I'll break something... and, no, I don't mean wind. I don't need to be annoyed to break wind. I don't need a reason at all, actually...

Christmas is coming!!!!

Actually, my wedding anniversary is coming first... 24 years! Man, that's a long run. Wifey and I are in a good stretch at the moment. Now that I have straight teeth, she loves me more. Now, she says her love for me has nothing to do with how organized my teeth are, but I have my doubts... her love for me rises and falls, like angry storm waves at sea... I just haven't figured out what it hinges on... I figure it might be the teeth. Or my huge nose. Hey, I'm ok with having a big nose! It doubles as available storage space. I keep winter clothes stored in my nose during the warm months. Plus, if I need to hide a surprise Anniversary gift for my wife, I put it in my nose... she'll NEVER look there! MUAHAHAHA!!!!

Not sure what we'll do for our anniversary. I'm running out of time. I'm not exactly known for thoughtful, well-planned, meaningful gifts and celebrations. My approach usually involves waiting until the day itself, and then frantically running through the mall, looking briefly for a cool gift before quickly grabbing a gift card. It's not that I don't like buying/giving gifts to people... I just usually do it year-round, without reference to a specific date. I guess I feel like occasions themselves are manipulative. I want to buy people gifts on my own time- and price-table! Don't force me! Sheesh!

Anyway, Christmas is coming.

Meh, I'll handle it on December 24th...

Those are some awesome friggin cats...

So, I'm taking a break from my Hollywood acting class for December. For a variety of reasons. I absolutely love the class. But the friend that I drive up there with is not going for December, so that means I'd have to go up solo (read: goodbye carpool lane!), during the extra-thick holiday traffic, putting a bunch of miles on my car (read: lease!) that will definitely put me "over" when the time comes to turn the car back in. So I'm taking my San Diego acting class this month, and I'll go back up to The Great and Powerful Rob Adler's class after the New Year begins.

In fact, I went to the San Diego class tonight. It was great to be back. The Hollywood class is 4 hours of pure scene study, allowing us to go really deep and detailed into scenes and choices, and exploring lots of different things, playing. PLAYING. Which is awesome, and I love it. The San Diego class is mostly Audition Technique, cold reads, a little improv, learning basics, with occasional scene study work done. And I love that class as well! Both instructors are great at what they do. I can't say one is better -- or even preferable -- over the other. BUT I did notice, after having taken the class up in Hollywood for almost three months, that going back into the San Diego class with a different mindset helped me get even more out of the class than I used to. I think I was stuck, after 18 months in the San Diego class... the Hollywood class gave me a real kick in the butt, and "un-stuck" me... now I can see the San Diego class with new eyes. I'm looking forward to taking it for this month.

Had another great day of filming this past weekend, for the web series. Check out these cool photos L Winans took from her driver's seat as Travis and I sauntered by...

That's a smudge on the mirror... I'm not blowing smoke. The cigarette is unlit. 

There really needs to be an explosion behind us. 

The premiere is set for January 24th, but seating will be limited. The theater holds only about 250 people. So I won't be able to invite too many of you! You'll just have to wait until it is released online. Dang, you should see the project website... it is incredibly impressive.

Don't worry... when I become famous, I'm taking you all with me!

So the new Star Wars trailer was released! The more I watch it, the more I love it. Can't wait -- JJ Abrams is The Man. Well, the new Terminator trailer was also released... what a stark contrast. That movie looks like it will be a Turd of the First Order. My stomach cramped and I lost partial control of my bowels while watching that trailer. Never a good sign...

Hey, if you grew out your facial hair for Movember, it's time to shave it off again! Time to go from scruff to buff again! Like this guy!

Or this guy...

That dude is funny... yeah, I just said that! DEAL WITH IT!

My retainers taste like Plexiglas. Just sayin'. For now, I need them in all the time, except when I eat. In six weeks, at my next check-up, if all looks good, I'll only wear them in my sleep.

Wow, I was all over the place tonight. If you waded through all of this pablum, you have my appreciation. I'll so buy you a gift. Just not for Christmas...

OK, I'm done for now. Although, as I drift off to sleep, I'll likely think of other stuff I wanted to talk about.

Ah well, such is life.

Adios for now!

Dave the Goober