There's more to say. But the only note of note is that tonight I set up the email account provided with my webhosting package, and changed the one currently used on the website. The plan is to slowly integrate it into my life, in preparation for losing my USC address in May and someday, somehow, finding a non-crappy DSL provider (Earthlink, I'm sneering in your general direction).
-Finish up Bookslut reviews/column -Rewrite outline of last semester's screenplay -Finish reading Schindler's List -Finish the first act of the new screenplay I'm writing -Host and/or attend a Super Bowl party -Get some sleep -Go grocery shopping -Avoid spending money.
Should be a rather dull weekend - but hopefully a productive one.
I don't think too many spoilers. Just a few thoughts for those who also saw Terra Firma.
I love seeing a lot happen in a short amount of time, and John on the dock was perfect in that sense. I love that this HAPPENED, that it's not a delusion or a figment or something to be reversed. I like its permanence. Its significance.
I'm coming to realize that what I love about Farscape is John, John and his crazy and his choices. And this season has been rankling me, because I admit that Noranti gets on my nerves, that I liked Sikouza a lot more when she was just too damn smart and not a Scorpius fangirl, that I miss D'Argo having something to do, some point.
And Aeryn. I think the bad hair can be explained by this: she has to be wearing a wig. Either that or she's trying for a 1960s beehive look. Teased in the back.
I miss Aeryn's good hair, and other things, and perhaps there is hope that they will come back. And I liked this episode a lot, thought it worked in a lot of ways, and the promise of boxes wrapped in red paper is something I can't resist.
So I'll go write my letters for cofax, and maybe they'll save Farscape after all.
No work, no class, no nothing had to be done, so I woke up late, finished reading the comic book I fell asleep rereading. Frank Miller's Daredevil origin story, if you're curious. I'm in love with Daredevil's hair.
And then, unclean, grumpy, smelly, I made myself sit down and write the first scene of the next screenplay. It was pulling teeth, but it got done, and I liked it. For I like the asthetics of screenwriting, even when the work is hard. I like courier font, and I like using words like golden and slide. I was writing about princesses, and imperfect worlds too, and it was satisfying to do the work. To write.
Finished my scene and found my roommate in a cleaning frenzy, scrubbing the bathroom sink at the exact moment I wanted to take a shower. But I waited, and she finished, and I got myself ready for the day.
But I didn't have much to do - cleaned out and rearranged a cabinet, took down the Christmas stuff and packed it away. I have to take out the recycling and some other stuff tomorrow. But that's tomorrow.
Sat on the couch and rewatched some Sports Night while eating like a pig - pasta, canned corn with salt, a few chocolate malt balls, a glass of milk. I haven't been eating much over the past week - too many cough drops, too much coughing - but I'm back on food. And I'd missed it.
The sun set, and I checked my messages - two from a friend, letting me know about a 7 PM showing of The Hours at a theater I love. Rushed out the door to pick her up.
We got stranded in rush hour traffic, though, and got a bit lost to boot, wandering strange streets in the heart of downtown and going the wrong way on Sunset. We missed the movie by twenty minutes, but bought tickets for the next showing and decided to kill time in Los Feliz until then.
The best way I can think to describe Los Feliz for those who don't know - I just read American Gods (on the way back from New Mexico, mostly). The modern gods of Technology and Automobiles and Media have declared war on the old gods - Odin and Jackal and Anasazi. And it's that sort of clash between the old and the new, and the main character thinks, I'd prefer a roadside attraction to a shopping mall any day.
Los Feliz, the part I love, is head shops and boutiques and diners and the Los Feliz 3 with $4.50 bargain matinees. It's not a shopping mall. It's a neighborhood, a thing built by real people. A thing with depth. It's the one part of LA I've claimed as mine, a place I belong. It's probably different for Robbie and Em and those who know LA. But that's Los Feliz for me.
We roamed the bookstore where a tail-less tabby cat lives, and since it was Friday an author was reading from a book I didn't recognize. We entered mid-story, so I couldn't really pay attention, but I liked the author's voice, its soothing tone.
I found a book I wanted and carried it around for a while before putting it back. The author broke for questions and when they asked about Joyce and the significance of the title to the characters of Mary Ann and Ginger, it became easy to guess what the book was called -Gilligan's Wake. And it became even clearer when an old man, whisps of white hair clinging to his scalp, got up and asked his own questions, and the author recognized him, announcing to us all the presence of Sherwood Schultz, who had come to get his copy signed. I wanted to tell him that The Brady Bunch changed my life. But was afraid that he'd be embarrassed.
Gilligan and Marsha Brady as legacies. It's strange to think of what we all end up leaving behind us.
Alison and I left then, the randomness reaching its peak. Killed time at the coffee shop down the street before returning to the bookstore so I could stop regretting putting the book back. Then, we walked back to the car, passing Kiefer Sutherland (dining at an outside cafe with a cell phone to his ear) on the way.
I only caught a backwards glimpse of him - Alison was the one who spotted him first. Standard operating procedure. I never recognize the people from my television. I always expect them to be much much larger.
The Hours is supposed to be depressing. I was uplifted by it, by the characters struggling with depression and fighting to choose life despite the calling of voices, the temptation of ceasing. It was standard and good in many ways, and great in some. Some days, that's all I ask for.
Dropped off Alison and took the 101 north towards home. But it was midnight and there were only a few cars in my way, and the road was smooth and curving. With a full tank of gas, then, I just kept on going north, past my exit, past Hollywood, towards Ventura. A pretty name for a place I've never been.
I kept driving until the 405, letting thoughts of what I'd write about for my poor neglected blog flow over me, ideas for poems springing for, ideas occuring. Ed Harris has this speech in The Hours about the reasons he became a writer - to capture everything, every moment, every emotion.
I'd forgotten about that. I'd forgotten about the trivial, and how not-very-trivial it can all be. My eyes too much on the prize. My concentration shot to all hell.
When you drive fast on a dark freeway, it's like flying, like sledding down a perfect snowy hill. The street lights glow orange and sweep past with the even rhythm of wheels turning, of hearts beating, of music pounding. Red lights go one way, white lights go another. And there's no end in sight.
I'm wearing the pajamas I got for Christmas, all soft cottony love, there's a taped episode of Farscape, ready to be watched, and a weekend of possibilities is before me.
To paraphrase The Hours, yet again: This moment isn't the beginning of happiness. It is happiness. And it's not perfect, but that's what makes it so.
Today was a good sort of day. A day unremarkable, a day uneventful, but a day worth remembering. If only for that.
There are so many good ones, I have to pick at random:
I was sitting by the fire, puffing on a pipe, still nursing a hangover from the ale-fest the night before, when HE walked in.
He had a long white beard, a magical staff, and legs that youd like to eat on toast.
"Are you Frodo Baggins," he intoned.
"I might be," I said. "Who's asking?"
"My name is Gandalf, Mr. Baggins. And I need your help."
I looked him over. "Lots of people need my help. What makes YOU special?"
"Well, Mr. Baggins... there is a certain piece of jewelry. If it fell into the wrong hands, it could prove... troublesome. I need someone to take this ring to Mount Doom, where it can be destroyed."
I stuck some more weed in my pipe, and said, "Look, doll, let's get one thing straight- you can't come into my hole, tell me a fairy-tale about a magic ring, bat those pretty eyelids, and have me fall at your feet. I stick my neck out for nobody."
"But I saw Professor Sauron with that Balrog, he was talking about removing those prying eyes"
"Yes, Sauron was one of the first suspect something about Smeagol, it was all those potions full of rotten fish that gave it away he said. He knew he couldn't tackle Smeagol alone so he enlisted the help of Saruman. He was the one who found you unconcious"
"You mean... Sauron is innocent?" stammered Frodo
"Yes you fool of a Took! I've been trying to tell you that for the last 4 years" snapped Gandalf rather angrily "Now get some rest so we can send you home to your awful Uncle Bilbo"
-- Frodo Baggins and the One Ring by JK Rowling ("Frodo Baggins and the Knarliest Ring" in the USA)
It's quiet and dark here, and I don't mind, it suits my mood. Wish I could stay here while, at the same time, going onto achieve international fame and fortune. But I guess I can only do one at a time.
Got call from manager guy today. Have to go into office and pick over first draft of latest screenplay. Freaked out by this for unknown reasons. Unsurprised by random freakout-age. It is the way of things.
I'm wearing silky fuzzy socks and a green sweater. I only have clothes to pack now.
Driving back to L.A. tomorrow, with a new blender and a yoga mat and three weeks of good memories.
Following the stabbing death of his brother, a young man living in South Central Los Angeles, Flip (Jamaal), is forced by his father to make a choice: get a job with a steady paycheck, or pursue his dream of becoming a hip-hop rapper, and live on the street. The choice comes alive on the screen as we see Flip following parallel and simultaneous paths, one in which he becomes a police officer like his father, and another where pursues a career as a rapper.
I watch too much TV, and everyone seems to know it except me.
Granted, I have it all justified pretty well. The way it was working this past fall:
Sunday Had to watch: Boomtown, despite the sinking quality, and Angel. Watched occasionally: Alias, because Vartan is pretty and I could practice the guitar while it was on. If I was really trying to procrastinate: AMC's The Essentials - five minutes of Rob Reiner and two hours of quality cinema goodness.
Monday Had to watch: Nothing Watched occasionally: CSI reruns on TNN, as I could curl up in bed with my remote and fall asleep before they caught the bad guys. If I was really trying to procrastinate: Nothing, really. I was forced to channel surf HBO and find a movie there or something. Monday was a dead night for me.
Tuesday Had to watch: Buffy Watched occasionally: 24 - only the premiere and the latest episode. If I was really trying to procrastinate: God help me, everyone's so pretty on Smallville
Wednesday Had to watch: Ed and West Wing Watched occasionally: I made an occasional effort to catch Birds of Prey, because it's my kind of show. But my kind of show turns out to be easily canceled. If I was really trying to procrastinate: I'll be honest and admit it - I saw more than one episode of The Bachelor. Even though it inspired near-homicidial rage in me.
Thursday Had to watch: Nothing Watched occasionally: CSI, when I remembered to tape it (I had a late class) If I was really trying to procrastinate: I didn't have anything due on Fridays, so there really wasn't a need.
Friday Had to watch: Firefly Watched occasionally: Oh, who am I kidding? I watched John Doe all the friggin' time. If I was really trying to procrastinate: If I wasn't going to be at home, I would TAPE John Doe. Even though I really don't like it that much.
That was six hours of must-see stuff, six hours of occasional viewing, and five hours of procrastination viewing. EVERY WEEK. And this doesn't even cover hours of movies on HBO, Simpsons and Friends reruns, The Daily Show...
I know this isn't a horrible amount of TV. But the one thing I really agreed with in Stephen King's On Writing was this: you have to push TV aside. And I don't like the sway TV has on me right now. I don't like how much of my time it takes. And there's a lot I'd rather do - work on this website (catch up with my reviews!), exercise, practice guitar, WRITE...
So, I'm going to have to give up some stuff, especially since there is new stuff coming that I want to see. That's the major concern. I want to make time for Farscape and American Idol and Miracles... And even with Firefly sadly off the air, I still have some choices to make.
Here is an attempt at a revised schedule. With NO MORE procrastination television:
Sunday: Have to see: We'll give Boomtown one more episode to shape up. Then I have to say goodbye. In one of the stupidest programming decisions ever, Angel is moving to Wednesdays for a while, so that frees up my night. Occasionally watch: Alias - just so long as I'm doing something else while it's on. My guitar skills need a lot of work. Otherwise, aim for an entire night of freedom from the idiot box.
Monday: Have to see: David Greenwalt left Angel, in part, because he fell in love with the pilot script for Miracles. It deserves a shot, at least. Occasionally watch: Nothing. I have to resist Joe Millionaire (even though he is kinda cute) and I'm going on a CSI diet. I like the show, but too much of it just makes the flaws in its writing stand out more clearly.
Tuesday: Have to see: Buffy, absolutely. But I'm going to see what's happening with my American Idol friends. If I can work out a way to watch both, I will. But if I can't, then I'll remain true to the Buff. Occasionally watch: I might still pop in on 24. Watching it with a friend was fun.
Wednesday: Have to see: Ed, West WingandAngel. This means that I'll either always have to be home at 9 PM Wednesdays, or my roommate will have to get her VCR fixed. I'm aiming for option 2. Occasionally watch: Screw you, Bachelorette. I have enough to watch.
Thursday: Have to see: Nothing. Hahahah! I'm FREE! Occasionally watch: Maybe CSI. But not too much. Don't want to be a glutton.
Friday: Have to see: Farscape. I've come this far, I'll see it through as far as it goes. Occasionally watch: Well, Stella finally got around to asking out John Doe. And I was rooting for her, and so I'm happy about that.
That comes to eight hours of must-see programming (seven if I give up on Boomtown, six if American Idol doesn't work out, and five if Miracles doesn't hold up to its promise) and only three once-in-a-while shows. That's good. That's managable. That's certainly better than what I was doing before.
Of course, The Essentials still lurks on the horizon. There are episodes of The Simpsons that I can't turn off. And if I watch Jon Stewart enough, maybe one day he'll love me back.
But this is progress. And that's all I really wanted.
So, I've been more quiet recently (three page short story or no three page short story). It's busy here, mainly because I'm trying to cram in bunches of family time, mainly because I've been watching my Sports Night DVDs (also known as CRACK), mainly because I've been researching and plotting a screenplay idea that I want to finish writing before the end of February.
Thanks to familial brainstorming, I've managed to crack a bunch of the plot problems I was having, and so today I'm going to write a synopsis. If I'm very good and I actually write said synopsis, I get to go see Chicago. If I'm very very good and catch up with my reviews and write my synopsis, then I get to eat popcorn when I see Chicago.
We'll see how all that goes.
Meanwhile, I'm looking for suggestions about what to do with the short story. I like it, too. It should find a home somewhere. But where?
Just 'cause I love y'all - I present to you a happy little New Year's story. Because nothing says Happy New Year like the kind of stuff I write. *g*
Comments welcome. This is rough but strange, a crazy little b-side that's found a place here, at least.
Year After Year
The more things change, the more things stay the same. That's been his experience so far, at least.
When they proposed the procedure, someone was at war with someone else. The young men and women who had danced on his bandstand were now dying on national television; bombs exploded, the President lied, and there were no answers. Only confusion.
"You're an icon," they told him. "You're going to live forever, in the hearts and minds of the American public. But this way, you'll be around to see it."
He'd asked questions, wondered out loud about what could possibly go wrong. But they smiled and explained, with clipboards and lab coats and smiles that shone with idealism.
"Imagine the possibilities," they said. "Imagine."
But there was no need - they'd already imagined everything. They weren't even surprised when he said yes.
It was so simple, really. He just went to sleep, and they woke him when needed. The whoosh of the cryo-chamber's hatch replaced his clock radio, and he'd rub the sleep from his eyes, crack his knuckles, start smiling like he meant it.
At first, it was once a month, maybe even twice. He'd defrost, stretch out, eat breakfast, handle some business, do a radio show or a television appearance, answer some fan mail, then curl up in the cryo-chamber after a long hard day. For a while, he thought that he might miss the simple things - laundry, sex, newspapers, mattresses - but all he missed was his dog. And when he mentioned it to a lab tech as she prepared the chamber for another long night, she smiled and jotted something down on her clipboard. The next morning - at least, that was how it felt - his dog's sweet face was the first thing he saw.
He learned not to ask too many questions, learned not to notice his attendants' increasing grayness, the wrinkles creeping around their eyes. And in turn, they made sure that he got his half-grapefruit right after the final frostbite check, that he always got a chance to walk his dog. Even when his dog stopped recognizing him. Even when his dog started looking just a little bit different than it had the day before.
Time passed by, and it didn't take him long to realize that they were waking him up less and less. When he asked, the attendants - some of them worn dull with age, some of them shiny as new pennies - told him that they'd discussed it, and what would he think about limiting his appearances to once a year? "The most important day of the year, of course," they said.
"Is there something wrong? Something wrong with me?" he asked.
"Of course not. You'll live a long and happy life. We just want to make sure that it lasts as long as possible," one of the new people - a bit younger, a bit brasher than he was used to - said.
In the end, he shrugged. He had no reason to argue.
One day to wake up, stretch his legs, play with his dog, and do his show. More than enough.
He hadn't been such a good man, once upon a time. But every day was a party now. Every day was a fresh start, a second chance.
How much life does a man really need, anyway?
He was aware of the years as they stretched by. How could he not be? But the numbers stopped mattering after a while - one after another after another. He started feeling like a five-year-old, trying to count as high as he could, straining to make it a little further.
One after another after another.
The faces were definitely changing - after a while he started needing the teleprompter and half an hour with an attendant and flash cards. There were other ways to do it, things they told him were just like computers, but the teleprompter worked just fine. After ten shows or so, they stopped asking him to introduce the artists performing, which suited him just fine. The names were getting harder and harder to pronounce.
He knew that they were doing things during the year he slept - smoothing wrinkles out, whitening his teeth. Keeping him fresh. He'd fought over it, but in the end it wasn't a hard choice. His forehead was cool to the touch, smooth as a plastic bag - but the new attendant had cried that morning. She had been so thrilled to meet him. She'd grown up with him.
The project had originally been a secret. But he didn't think it was such a secret anymore. People didn't really seem to mind.
New music, new buildings. New fashions, new hair colors. New slang, new beliefs. New people.
He stopped asking about current events - what's really current, one day a year? Instead, he would feel the vibe in the room, guess in under a minute whether this was a good year or a bad one. He knew how to read an audience. He knew how to read a nation. He knew how to smile, how to comfort, how to spread good cheer.
He was good at what he did.
The more things change, the more things stay the same. One year after another, and he's still there, still smiling and laughing, still playing with his dog every morning, because the beat will never really die. Not as long as he's around.
Every day is the same. Every day is great. And every night, near the break of dawn, he lies in the cryo-chamber, waiting for slumber to find him. He has one song stuck in his head, the one song that never changes.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne!
How many people get to do what they love to do? How many people get to do it forever?
The last thing he sees is the sunrise peeking through the windows, a yawning attendant sealing his chamber.