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Month: August 2005

no internet

no internet

So now I’m in the dark ages with no internet access at home and my site (for some reason) is blocked by the firewall at work. So, for the time being, all updates will take place on the weekend when I’m at Amy’s place (like now).

belated post

belated post

Friday night three power surges hit my apartment while Amy and I were getting ready to watch a DVD. Each time the power snapped off and back on. After the third time half the outlets in the apartment and everything upstairs was dead (including the air conditioning, fridge outlet, and my entire bathroom). There were people from the Power Company and cable companies everywhere in the neighborhood. The next morning we got a personal visit from LADWP who informed us that someone had had a birthday party Friday night with metallic balloons. Ordinarily this would have been a pretty understandable thing. When you live under a main power line and decide to have the party outside that is when it goes into “what were you thinking?!” territory.

Evidently these people weren’t, and decided to release some balloons into the electric wires. Explosions and a blackout of north Hollywood followed.

Aaron wasn’t affected of course because he is in Hawaii at the moment. Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention that? Aaron is in the middle of a two-week Hawaiian adventure with his family. I’m not jealous or anything, oh no of course not.

By the way, the movie we watched was Million-Dollar Baby, which Roger Ebert called “the best film of the year.” It was a terrible film. Heavy on cliché and weak on plot. As I watched Clint and Morgan argue about why one would have holes in their socks I couldn’t help but think of a Saturday Night Live skit from years back in which Norm Macdonald hosted a game show called “Who’s More Grizzled.” Contestants Garth Brooks and Robert Duval (in redneck garb) exchanged painful scratchy voiced answers to questions like: “”The category is Dead Wives”. The question is: “Life’s hard, isn’t it?” “ Clint Eastwood has always had a scruffy voice, but listening to Morgan Freeman pretend to have lost his smooth narrator’s deep tone was hilarious at certain spots and (unintentionally) sad in others. Watching the movie was like “scriptwriting 101.” How to introduce an emotional character. How to give that character a sad back-story (he has lost contact with his daughter). How to connect the characters (Frankie believes he is responsible for Scrap losing his eye). In that sense it IS the “perfect” film because Eastwood follows all these film conventions to a tee, making obvious characters, obvious foreshadowing, and dividing the film into three distinct acts. However, it is this perfection that also leads to major flaws. To achieve perfection you have to cheat… just ask any major league baseball player. In order to make Eastwood and Swank’s characters so close by the end of the film we must believe that Swank has great respect for “Frankie” and he feels the same. The reasons for him to feel that way are obvious – she is a replacement daughter for him. The reasons for her are few and far between. In a teeming metropolis like Los Angeles, surely she could have gone to another gym to find a trainer after Frankie berates and turns her down three times. But wait, maybe she knows Frankie was a great boxer – nope…he was just a good cut man. So wait, maybe she knows he is a good manager- nope…in the first act he screws up his managing duties with his star boxer that eventually goes on to win the heavyweight title after leaving him. We can make up excuses for this in our own heads as we watch the film, but the departure from reality in the third act is just too much for me. Without spoiling it for anyone I’ll just say this, according to Eastwood and the writer of this film
#1 Hospitals turn off all the hallway lights after dark
#2 Hospitals neither post guards after visiting hours nor lock the doors
#3 life support machines can be A) turned off and/or B) shown to have a patient flat lining and nobody will know about it for a good long time. There are several explanations for this here but I can’t believe that a machine that is responsible for monitoring wether a patient is alive or not can be turned off as easy as my computer monitor. Mom (masters degree in nursing, nurse practitioner, and has decades of hospital experience), make your first comment ever on this blog and help me out (or correct me)!
#4 when a patient in a hospital dies there is A) no autopsy (regardless of the age of the patient) and B) no criminal investigation if foul play is suspected (like say if a person paralyzed from the chin down has their breathing tube disconnected).
#5 a 70 something year old owner of a boxing gym has easy access to liters of pure adrenalin
#6 a priest wouldn’t tell the police about a “certain” conversation with someone about killing people after said person is suspected of actually carrying it out…oh wait…according to #4b nobody would investigate the death …damn! I guess I shouldn’t mention the fact that the “killer” didn’t bother wear gloves or a mask either.

We also watched Sideways and Hostage this past weekend. Both were measurably better than Million Dollar Baby.

Unbeknownst I think to everyone in my life but Amy, Aaron and I began a scriptwriting adventure about a month ago. At this point we’ve got about 80% of the film written. The plan is to finish the script and meet with a screenwriter Aaron has connections with through a coworker. This screenwriter has written a few movies and has written for a few sitcoms including My Wife and Kids and is apparently a personal friend of the Wayans brothers. For those who don’t understand my motivation here let me explain something…. Do/did you watch Reno 911 or The State (when it was on)? Did you know two of the comedians from those shows wrote The Pacifier and Herbie Fully Loaded? No, you didn’t. Even Aaron – a self admitted film freak didn’t even notice this fact. While both of those movies were terrible – they made money. Lots of money. The film industry is just that- an industry. While Star Wars III might make 450 million dollars by the time it comes out on DVD and (for all I know) The Pacifier will be lucky to break $60 million; one percent of 60 million is $600,000. How much does it cost to write a script – nothing (assuming somebody already has a copy of Final Draft).

The band isn’t working (yet) and I haven’t started painting or anything of that nature again (yet). Aaron and I agreed this was the perfect time to work on a few of these film projects we’d been tossing around since we were living in the Towers.

ihop to the ranch

ihop to the ranch

Last weekend Amy and I went to Rancho Santa Fe to visit with her Aunt and Uncle and her cousins Wayne and Jennifer. I’d been to their (Howard Chang and his wife’s) home three times. They are the folks that live in the most expensive gated community in the country (or one of them anyway) a few miles fro Del Mar. It took us the better part of five hours to get there (about 110 miles) thanks to all the people heading to the beach on the five and an exploded and flaming with firemen putting out the fire izuzu trooper just south of Camp Pendleton. We went with Amy’s cousin Jennifer, her husband, and their baby to Del Mar Beach and then Souplantation for dinner. Afterwards Amy and I went to the tennis courts (seen at the bottom left on that graphic on the Fairbanks page) at the country club to play tennis with her uncle and his friend. As we were warming up the power went out, so that was the end of that. We walked around the lake instead and then went back for a swim in her Uncle’s pool. The next morning Amy and I returned to the courts. In the parking lot I had a choice of parking next to a pristine Bentley Continental GT or a new Ferrari 550 Maranello. I chose the Ferrari. After tennis we went to lunch at Ihop with Jennifer, her husband, their baby, Amy’s cousin Wayne, his wife, and his two children. This Ihop experience was better than our last one, but I still left unimpressed on the whole.

I’m going to get an estimate on the rear-ender damage on my car tomorrow. Turns out the place I’m going was used as the “work” location for Adam Sandler’s business in Punch Drunk Love. Maybe I’ll find some furniture free for the taking.

the four horsemen of the apocalypse (flash, photoshop, illustrator, and dreamweaver)

the four horsemen of the apocalypse (flash, photoshop, illustrator, and dreamweaver)

oh my god, IT has finally happened! Maybe now we’ll get imageready splices that ACTUALLY WORK well in dreamweaver… and more image editing capabilities in dreamweaver…(zoom tool I’m looking in your direction). More integration between illustrator, photoshop, and flash would I’m sure be a HUGE bonus for actionscripters. Ah, and finally- the holy grail of buying one suite with Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, Flash, and Dreamweaver. I don’t see Fireworks or Golive sticking around, seems like a good trade-off, don’t you think?

Episode 6: “God Hates Mazdas” in The Neverending Saga of the Most Beat Up 18 Month Old Car in the World

Episode 6: “God Hates Mazdas” in The Neverending Saga of the Most Beat Up 18 Month Old Car in the World

I’ve been noticing a weird creaking noise in my brakes lately. This has been going on for more than a few weeks. Also for about the same amount of time my car has stayed on after I turn it off. Not the whole car, but a fan or something. I suspect this has something to do with my flogging the AC for all it is worth on the recent 110+ degree and 60% humidity days. Also there are little floppy things of Styrofoam on my dash from where Mazda didn’t reinstall my dash properly when they removed it to check out a rattle a while back. I’ve been debating about when to get these fixed lately. At first I thought I’d get my car (the body and paint work) fixed in June …then July…. then August… I wanted to wait until the car’s body was done before taking it to the dealership so I wouldn’t have to face any warranty voiding issues.

As you know, two weeks ago I hit a freaking lobster cage on the 10 west and I’ve had several other problems with this car.

After work yesterday I decided I needed to get these brakes and stuff checked out. If only for the fact that Amy and I were planning to drive out of town this weekend. I called Glendale Mazda and they said they’d take a look at my brakes that night if I could bring it in immediately. I was on the 118 east getting ready to get on the 5 south (which goes all the way to Glendale) when I heard a weird noise behind me. I looked up and BAM a van behind me slammed into my bumper. We pulled off onto the birm. The car behind the van was a Mercedes and it was totaled. Nobody appeared to be injured. The CHP came and got my information, gave me an accident ticket and told me to go home and call my insurance. Less than a mile down the road two more cars (trucks) had pulled off after apparently doing the same thing. That part of the highway is notoriously bad because one popular freeway (the 405) comes into the 118 less than a mile from where people exit to get on the 5, so you have people trying to go over two lanes left and people trying to go over two lanes right at the same time. It can get very congested (as it was yesterday) and I’ve been involved in close calls before. The collision repair companies should take turns sponsoring this strip of highway as I’m sure every body shop from here to Orange County has had someone in their shop that got hit there.

At this point the whole situation with my car is comical. I might as well treat it like an old college kid’s Volvo or something and put stickers all over it and let my friends paint stick figures. At this point only the passenger side in profile is blemish-free (except for a ¼ inch scratch by the back door from my guitar case – D’OH!), every other part of the car looks beat to hell, mangled, or vandalized.

I’ll have an interesting conversation with my adjustor when he calls today or tomorrow for sure. I’ve also been advised to contact lawyers. It helps having a friend that works for a lawfirm. We’ll see what happens.