Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tranya, Puka Shells and Bizzarro Production Meetings

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

I will reiterate the warning above for those on search engines. If you read further, do not send me any irritating e-mail. You have been duly cautioned – twice.

That said, this will be a wandering and incongruous blog. There may be some whining. There will definitely be musings on extremely geeky topics. It’s been quite a week with some momentous occasions to be marked. Right now, I’m ignoring the sudden appearance of the Eagles/Redskins game. Fox switched games in the 4th quarter because the Seahwaks were being badly battered by the NY Giants. Thus, I am both wide awake and cold sober when the Eagles appeared and immediately did something silly. Forgive me if my mind wanders more than the norm.

Elvis, Tranya and Studio 54

Ten years ago this past Friday, Jon and I got married at the surprisingly tasteful Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Since we were at such an establishment, we went with the full Elvis wedding package. We weren’t married by an Elvis, that would have been really weird and I think our parents would have keeled over (as it was, we had been very surprised that they went along with any of it). The minister was very nice and it was a sweet ceremony. Jon had an under-aged Gabriel Koerner as his best man, and I had a male and female maid of honor (I really commend my southern born, ex-Marine, ex- cop father for not saying a word about that). And after Elvis finished serenading and gyrating, we gorged ourselves at the Hilton Hotel’s sumptuous buffet, then took a ride on Star Trek: The Experience, in our wedding clothes (I warned you of the geeky). But that wasn’t the weird part. There, at Quark’s Bar, the Borders posse in attendance, Jon’s folks, our set guru, Randy and the wedding party enjoyed amny a glass of Tranya and other Trek themed alcoholic beverages. My father and his lovely wife sensibly bailed at the first mention of Klingons. Speaking of Klingons, we naturally made a great target for these costumed actors. We were serenaded frequently in an alien language and given a lot of odd advice for the wedding night. Some of us downed more Tranya than others, it seemed. By the time we reached Studio 54 to enjoy some dancing, one of our Borders crew, a man we thought was straight, went tonsil diving on a most unsuspecting Phil. Fortunately for all concerned, Craig had left by then. He really wasn’t keen on seeing live Klingons either. Where was I? Oh, yes, while we were dancing and watching well-built, scantily clad men and women undulating on chains above us, Phil and our heretofore straight co-worker were involved in this very torrid encounter. And though Phil was a gentleman in the end and did not succumb to temptation, that night reverberated through our bookstore for months. Happy memories for almost all of us.

Jon and I had planned on celebrating this milestone in France. But the upcoming shoot altered those plans drastically. Thus, I’ve been moping and occasionally whining. It certainly didn’t help that one of Samantha Brown’s new shows featured a trip to Paris on The Travel Channel that spotlighted some fabulous looking neighborhoods we’ve yet to see. I was most whiny this week, indeed. However, this film is a big break for us, and we have a lot of work that we have to be here in L.A. to accomplish. Our backers and our partners would not have reacted well to the sudden disappearance. And ultimately, I’m not in the best of shape for such a trip. I’m too tired physically to do all the walking that we’d typically do. I think we’ll need a vacation before we can think of taking a vacation. We celebrated the anniversary more quietly than we’d thought we would, but it was still fun. I whipped up a meal we used to have a lot while we dated, and we watched the newly released DVD of Speed Racer, the movie (yes, we’re geeks, I thought that was clear). Then, we got back to work on the script. Still, a fun time was had by all.

Re-writes, Pinching Pennies, and Collectible Panties

The re-write of Luv U 4 Ever is chugging along nicely. It’s an even funnier and edgier script than the original. Everyone professes to be happy with the progress. The recent financial craziness has everyone on edge, but we’re proceeding. We should have our cast named by sometime next week (I’m very excited about who’s on board so far. They’ve been a blast to work with before, and we’re pleased they want to work with us again). The only downer is that the unique needs of this pre-production (songs must be written, stage performances must be re-created with a digitally de-aged singer, opening credits for a non existent show must be shot) will likely have us working in east coast winter weather. It can’t be helped, but that will put pressure on our budget if we have cost over-runs caused by delays. Thus, we are looking at creative ways to save money with product placement and donated props (guitars, gold records, etc). Our line producer thinks we’ll be able to attract sponsors easily, because the film is a nice family movie (who’d would have thought that from the pair of us). Meanwhile, we have to give specs on re-creating the insane array of memorabilia that pop stars of the 70s generated around them. There are the t-shirts, lunch boxes and magazine covers. And, of course, puka shell necklaces have to be found (though that seems easy). I swear that I had panties with some of my favorite pop stars on them, but I’m finding no evidence of that. What a strange thing to imagine. We realized that we’ll have to shoot some videos of both Billy Swain’s Band (no name there yet, but Electric Cumquat keeps coming up) and Dave Martin’s Band (currently called Redacted), because each band will be seen on youtube-lie clips played on camera during various scenes. Jon’s always wanted to shoot music videos, so it’s been fun for him to block them. And I’ve been enjoying pouring over youtube.com guilt-free. The only draw-back to the research (aside from realizing how old I am) is that many of those songs get stuck in one’s head. This week, it’s been Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive and Radar Love by Golden Earring. I’ll spare readers the same fate by not putting up the link.

Notable Quotes from Actual Meetings

Things I have said or have been said to me. If you’re a close reader, you’ll know who they are or who they are about.

‘The last staff meeting was about creating a digital dog penis.’

‘Even if I wanted him to have plumber’s crack on screen, I’m not buying him a
merkin for his ass.’

‘This season’s episodes are all about Matty’s bottom.’

‘How do you tell a guy he has to lose the man-boobs?’

‘Acting is only part of the issue. I really have to want to see him naked.’

‘But why would we need a 40 pound rabbit?’

‘It’s a band that dresses like clowns while covering Marilyn Manson songs.’

‘He’s been a
Carny. That’s a perfect reference for location work in New Jersey.’

Advanced Geekiness or Star Wars: Clone Wars

The reviews for Star Wars: Clone Wars have not been very kind. Most take the stance that it’s George Lucas’ way of milking the very last drop of blood from his franchise. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Plot and character-wise, there is a huge gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith that are worth coverage of some kind. I was very curious about Anakin and Obi-wan’s relationship during that span of time, and I was very curious about the interactions with the Clone army – particularly between Commander Cody and Obi-wan. The first two episodes aired this week on Cartoon Network had some wonderful interplay between the clones and the Jedi. And it was way cool to see just how dangerous Yoda could be in a battle against a whole druid army (Episode #1: Ambush). However, I could also see where critics lost patience with the series. The pace is leaden. Clearly, there is not enough script to fill the time allotted for an episode. It was really maddening in the second episode, Rising Malevolence. It was all I could do to not fast forward the DVR to the end just to have it done with. And I have to agree with Jon about the look of the show. I really liked Genndy Tartakovsky’s work on shows such as Saurai Jack, but we really didn’t like the character design in the cartoon version of Clone Wars. It’s clear that the 3D computer models for the 2008 version are based on his work. They look even uglier in 3D. How can you have an ugly Anakin Skywalker, for Pete’s sake? And while I’m far from the animation geek that Jon is, even I noticed that the walk cycles of the characters was lumbering and unnatural. That’s a terrible thing for a graceful warrior and incomprehensible for a Lucsfilms production. I fully understand why the series was panned by critics. However, it does have some compelling relationships that I have been curious about. It’s likely that very geeky me and even more geeky Jon will continue viewing and complaining.

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