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, February 22, 2009

Craig, UST and Galactic Drama

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.

Craig Returns

He returns to this blog, that is. Craig hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, we see more of him since the Archive went to a single shift. Craig enjoys putting Post-it notes on my monitor that say things like ‘work faster’ or serial notes on his great displeasure over being forced to see Hotel for Dogs. He can but a lot on a Post-it. When not decorating my monitor, he’s trying to plan annoying songs in my brain. Last week’s was Der Kommisar, an 80s one hit wonder by After the Fire. This doesn’t really work with me as my mind wanders to weirder things while working. And my revenge can be terrifying. Craig and I have Moms that like old Hollywood musicals. Those songs can be really hard to get out of one’s brain once triggered. I countered Der Kommisar with Too Darned Hot from Kiss Me Kate. I was left alone the rest of that shift. Incidentally, I found it frightening that that song was on Youtube.

Craig is still plagued by all sorts of bizarre problems. Lately, he’s become convinced that Juan Epstein (from Welcome Back, Kotter) is stalking him. I’m not sure, but I believe that he and his girlfriend thought the man was lurking on top of a nearby palm tree. At any rate, I’ve given up on trying to get him to install a webcam in his yard. Ultimately, I had to agree with Craig that if he didn’t witness or have a record of the goings on there, he’d never have to testify about them. My latest campaign with Craig has been to get him to write memoirs, not fiction. Craig is a gifted storyteller. That is why he’s had people interested in hearing about his weekends at every job he’s worked. At our dearly departed Borders, most of the staff would be excited when he showed up for his shift. We knew we’d hear some tale of weird adventures. I was prompted to launch this campaign after Craig complained of several bouts of writers’ block. I have enjoyed his fiction. He wrote the most twisted Christmas story I have ever heard. I’m disturbed and tickled every time I think about it. However, I can’t believe that there are any characters or situations that he could create that are as interesting and compelling as the ones he’s experienced. Craig balked at the suggestion. “There would be guys with Jersey accents coming after me with bats or crow bars saying ‘you said we’d never speak of that again.’ And little Phil would definitely sue me.” I can’t speak about the Jersey guys, but I know that Phil is in an entirely different place now than he was when we worked at Borders. I’m sure he’d find most of those stories funny. I think.

I have not been deterred in my campaign, however. There are plenty of stories that he could tell that wouldn’t result in homicides or legal proceedings. And for those situations that are on the borderline, like the incident with the dye pack a friend was carrying exploding in his car, I’m certain that the statue of limitations has expired. Craig has at least two books in him on idiot hikers he’s met on various trails and on top of mountains. Such titles as “Don’t go to Rattlesnake Canyon wearing shorts. Or Yes, bears really do like avocados. And Sometimes cougars don’t want their picture taken.” come to mind. In the case of Rattlesnake Canyon, it seems that many hikers thought the name was a metaphor, not a literal statement of fact. Oh, the hiking stories Craig has told. He got into a lot of mis-adventures on his own. That’s why his father got him a GPS locator a few Christmases ago. But he’s rescued enough silly people to become a Park Ranger himself. And then there are his animal adventures. There could be titles like ‘How did the sheep get into my dorm hallway? Why was the calf riding in the back of a Cadillac convertible? And Cow bites really bleed a lot.’ In the matter of the cow, that would be friends who failed to tip the cow and were soundly bitten for their antics. In the sheep adventure, Craig learned that his dorm-mates were drunken idiots and that sheep do not like going down stairs. And there are miscellaneous adventures like being kidnapped by MPs in San Diego who mistook him for an AWOL Marine. And the time he thwarted an assault on a woman on the beach in Pacific Palisades with the help of Mr. Whipple. He is a David Sedaris waiting to happen. My campaign continues.

Blood Oath - Baby’s got Backstory

It started as jotting down random notes on essential elements for the budget of the pilot for Blood Oath. Then, it was detailed notes for a treatment. Somehow, that evolved into writing the actual pilot script. It’s best that I do, because the script determines the schedule which impacts the budget. But I wasn’t planning on it right now. I have a lot of sketches to finish for post on the short film. [I will share the sketches soon. They’re almost website ready]. I still have to do the treatment and the list of elements, but this sort of took over all of my focus. What’s most intriguing, is that the pilot for Blood Oath will have no sex between Rik and Vincent. There will be a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension or, in the vernacular of fanfiction, UST. In most UST situations, neither of the party realizes the nature of the problem. In this case, Vincent knows what his problem is. He just can’t do anything about it. Imagine how upset the young man (only 19, at this point) is a being thrown into a situation where he is in pain, confined to Rik’s office where the object of his UST is in various states of undress or asleep nearby. Vincent’s hormones are firing at their hardest, leaving him in a constant state of...consternation. Some yelling occurs. Rik is confused, because he can’t figure out why they’re fighting. Fortunately, for their sanity, there is a big and scary conspiracy involving missing nuclear components to distract them.

I know when I’m onto something with my writing when I resent stopping for anything like eating or sleeping or – especially – working. I spend the day writing in my head. Then, I try very hard to put all of it on paper before I fall over for the night. I really enjoy hanging out with Rik and Vincent, but I’m surprised at how quickly the supporting characters became real in the script. The expanded format allows for a lot more time with each of them. And they have to be defined only by what they say as the audience doesn’t have paragraphs of description for them. Writing them cinematically hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would. I supposed it’s because I’ve been living with them all for years. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll put up frames from the film as Jon replaces the green screen and applies the backgrounds. There are some frames I want because we weren’t able to get the photos we wanted without being in the way of the cameraman. There were some amazing action shots of Rik tossing Vincent or of the two fights that I’d like to share. I won’t give it all away. For the full impact, it’s best to see the finished trailer. But a little teaser never hurts.

Brilliant Writing and Galactic Drama
Warning! Spoilers for Battlestar Galactica. Also, Geekiness and writing talk follows

Before the series ends, I must take a moment to praise the amazing writing on Battlestar Galactica each and every week. I think it’s important to look past the cool ships and big guns and struggles between humans and Cylons and really listen to the incredibly well written dialogue. It is as stripped down and spare as the best in fiction or poetry. Each line means a great deal and has been crafted to provide the biggest impact. There was a four to six sentence exchange between Lee Adama and Saul Tigh during a vicious firefight in The Oath that summed up the entire war and all of the atrocities suffered in the four seasons. It was astonishing in its brevity and clarity. In the following episode, Blood on the Scales the struggle between idealism and pragmatism and the dichotomy between truth and justice is pushed to the breaking point. In a testament to the level of writing, I found myself empathizing with everyone on all sides. I understood their actions and recognized why each felt their decisions were proper. Even Tom Zarek (in a tour de force performance by Richard Hatch) was far more complex than the usual moustache twirling villain. This episode, I felt, was an anti-Trek episode. It even had, what I thought, was a tribute to the Jeffreys tube. But in this case, the tube made sense. The solution to the problem didn’t involve technobabble, anomalies or omniscient beings. It came down to sheer force of will of a few key people. This was drama that transcends genre. The latest episode, Deadlock, reminded me a great deal of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. At the heart of it all, was a toxic marriage that had lasted for millennia. The dialogue was brutal and the couple seemed to not take any heed of the collateral damage until it was too late. I was so relieved that Ellen Tigh, the Cylon, was still a train wreck of a personality. It makes both sides equally imperfect and thus, endlessly fascinating to watch.

I wanted to follow with my rant on CSI: Miami, but I just can’t after thinking about such fine writing. It will have to wait for next week.

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