Thursday, October 26


Our plane had some issues to work out, so they tried to return it to the hanger. But apparently it didn't even want to leave the gate, so they moved us. Then we were waiting for a plane. I finally decided to bite the bullet and pay $8 for internet access... which of course worked wonders! The moment I signed on, I watched the replacement plane pull up. Like magic.

So this is going to be an $8 blog entry. Sadly, I don't have all that much to say.

A guy tried to get through security with a 20 oz plastic Coke bottle filled with something that was clearly not Coke. May have been apple juice. Maybe urine. He was very confused when they told him that he couldn't pass through security with it.

Oh, and I am still flagged so I can't use automated check-in. So far this has only been on American. Who knows.

And why doesn't Blogger's spell checker know the word "internet"?

Off to Mexico

I leave in a few minutes to Mexico via L.A.. (Well, first I get to play JFK Roulette - will it take 20 minutes? Will it take and hour? And then Airport Security Roullette - Will I walk right through? Will I be cavity searched? Add in that last year my name was on a watch list... not me mind you, but still always fun...)

So no blogging for a bit. Missing both class tonight and practice Sunday (sad). However I get Sun & Fun & Drinks & Family & Turtles Laying Eggs. I think I have a decent deal here.

Other bad side is that my messed up sleep from last weekend gave me a horrible cold which is just now clearing up. Sun U& Snot! Great.

Wednesday, October 25

48 Hour Film Challenge - More Films!

Still more films are creeping their way onto the Tube of You.

The Running Woman by Castparty Productions.
It Happened In Your Neighborhood, Weary Films. Same elements as us, but silent film.
Missing Maria, Team S Fest.
Not In The Running, Xian Studios. (Has a the words "Trial Version" throughout the whole thing. I assume that was not how they submitted it.)
5. Bobbie Soxer, Digital roduction Corps from Ball State University.
Christmas Cheer, Instant Noodles. No idea what the elements were, seems to be a new set.
And, from GoogleVideo, Autumn of Sam, supposedly action adventure, but it appears to be a silent movie... although he does try to attack a squirrel and ducks... He does get points for the fact that it was created by just one guy.

Pre-NaNo Inspiration

I'm in the Tea Lounge trying to finish writing my sketch for class. Meanwhile, I've been trying to find a "best friend" for my novel's main character. And I am listening to a Kurt Corbain-look-alike play guitar and play Wheels on the Bus for a gaggle of under 4 year olds and their West Indian nannies. He seems to be enjoying himself, but what if he was more like ol' Kurt? What would have Kurt been like if he had never formed Nirvana and became a coffeehouse children's music performer? But still shot herorin?

I have my best friend.

Back to the sketch. Jane is about to start nursing her dog.

Fantasy Congress

First, it is sad that when the words "fantasy" and "Congress" are put together, it just sounds dirty?

Anyway, I am not a football fan. Heck, most sports beyond roller derby bores me to tears. So the idea of fantasy football has never interested me. But I can get behind Fantasy Congress. Just like fanatasy sports, you draft 16 Memembers of Congress (MCs). They get points based on pushing legistration. I can't say I fully understand the point system (see the above chart), but can't say I undersatnd Congress in general.
(via GamePolitics)

48 Hour Film Challenge - The Plutonian Revenge

Here it is (again). Yes, that is me in there. You ALMOST get to see me naked. And you have to admit that the purple goo turned out really well. I wish I had known about it the night before because I had lots of ideas on cool ways to use it. Well, next time...

Also go visit the directors blog to check some of his other flicks - The Terrors of the Day.

Tuesday, October 24

48 Hour Film Challenge - films via Google Video

Choice Words by Fighting Chance Media. Cute.

Eco Spy
from Team QuickNet.

Decision 2006, Team Midas.

48 Hour Film Challenge - the films

The films are starting to dripple on to YouTube.

Here is Release from Jolly Productions in St. Louis. Same elements we had but western genre.

Here's Quiet Quiet from Shooting Star. (I think this was for this challenge).

The Water, TRIDENT Films. Sci-Fi, but different elements.

The Pandora Project, Black Flash Films. Same elements from the last film. The genre may have been Spy.

Monday, October 23

Broken Angel Needs Help

One of the most lovely people I have ever known introduced my to the Broken Angel building. it is tucked away in corner of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. Now I have read that it will demolished in 3 weeks if it is not brought up to code.

This building is so unique, but that is not why I want it saved. It is important to me because it is about memory and dreams and magical "Ah Ha!" momenets. It is discovery and hope.

So I pass on the info in hope that someone out there can help.
(via Laughing Squid and photo by JimmyLegs)

My adopted newbie & my arch-nemesis

One of the fun things about NaNoWriMo is the community of folks attempting it. With the Film Challenge, all the groups are working independently without much communication between them (mainly because time is so short). But film is a joint effort. You are already joined in a group. Novel writing is usually a lone activity. NaNoWriMo, through write-isn and the forums, let's you share your joys and pains, victories and failures. You feel supported.

There are a bunch of ways this happens directly in a few ways. One is that alumni can "adopt" a new NaNo-ite. Just be there for them. Be there for questions, for support, for urging them on. I have one. So I posted in the adoption thread that I was available. Anne PMed me. She got her undergrad degree in theater and appreciated that I used to stagemanage. Nothing like having to tell a cast of actors when to go pee with out upsetting their pre-show rituals to learn careful prodding skills.

On the other side of the spectrum is picking an enemy. Someone to taunt and taunt you. To challenge you. To battle word counts against. Since I am thinking more and more that I will be shooting for 100,000 words this time (the novel as been forming more and more in my brain), I really need someone to push me. So I found the one person that seemed to also be shooting for big numbers. After I challenged her in the Enemies thread, this is how TrenchcoatPixie responded:

"Ash, you don't know what you're asking for. You've just set your eyes on playing chicken with a force of nature. You can't scare a tornado. Much less a tornado of words.

Oh yeah. Metaphors like that will riddle my NaNovel like machine gun rounds in a haystack. That machine gun? Mounted on the front of the car. That car? It has a gas pedal. That gas pedal? Pressed all the way down. That tornado? I forgot about it last paragraph. My verbositymobile caresses more dangerous curves per hour than any noir 50s gumshoe flick you care to name.

6,000 word nights? Don't make me laugh! My first year I did twenty thousand words in a day and a half to skate across the finish line in time. 6,000 words is when I start to warm up.

My soul is flintier than a Capsian-era quarry. It's on."
Oh, it is on!

Rockstar's Bully swings both ways

If you aren't familiar with the video game Bully, then you obviously don't care about video games. But perhaps you should.

Rockstar is the studio that makes of the the Grand Theft Auto games. Yes, the car stealin', people killin', prostitute beatin' games. They have long been the target of attorney Jack Thompson of Florida who believes that video games are a great corrupter of our children. Now something to consider is that the GTA games are rated M (Mature). There may be an issue of retail locations selling the games to minors, but that is the same issue as theaters letting kids into R rated movies.

Personally I think that Thompson's crusade against Rockstar is actually a good thing. Because their games are good. They are innovative and are pushing the boundaries of what sort of stories video games can tell and how they can tell them. I believe that video games are at the same point comics were at in the '50s. Rockstar is the EC (Entertaining Comics). EC and the controversy surrounding them had a lot to do with bringing comics into the realm of "Art." Creative folks are often drawn to those things that are considered taboo. Kids growing up with EC were drawn to them in part because they were hated by 'adults.' In the late '50s and the '60s and the '70s, underground comics became and experimental arena for exploring what the art form could do, allowing it to mature. By the '80s all of that began to blossom. In the '90s, comics began to really come out of the shadows, suddenly exploding with the seminal work Maus: A Survivor's Tale. Now books like Persepolis are looked at not so much as a comic but a valid for of storytelling.

Hopefully it won't take 40 years for video games to get to same place.

But back to Bully. In Bully you play Jimmy Hopkins, a teenage boy who finds himself at a new boarding school, Bullworth Academy. To quote Rockstar's description:
"Jimmy has a whole year at Bullworth ahead of him, working his way up the social ladder of this demented institution of supposed learning, standing up for what he thinks is right and taking on the liars, cheats and snobs who are the most popular members of the student body and faculty. If Jimmy can survive the school year and outsmart his rivals, he could rule the school."
Jack Thompson is on an anti-Bully crusade, which is somewhat entertaining since Bully is an anti-bully game. And the game had to change its name in the U.K. to "Canis Canem Edit" and some stores have refused to stock it there. It was still a gutsy move on Rockstar's part making the game in the first place. In a world where the word "Columbine" immediately conjures images of video game related school shootings, shooting were the killers were picked on and outcasted, any game were you play a kid reeking revenge (even if the character never picks up a gun... well, he does use a baseball bat) is bold.

But all of that is a pretty standard. There are other ways that Rockstar continues to push the envelope. For example, as points out, there are at least four boys that you can make out with.

These aren't played as a joke, just as a part of the game. It is presented no different from how it is with making out with girls. And Bully isn't the first game to do this. The Sims and Fable also come to mind. But Bully having it is special in part because the Rockstar's games reach an audience that might not come into contact with positive (or let's say neutral) portrayals of homosexuality (well, in this case, bi-sexuality). It will be interesting when games tackle the issue of homosexuality in a more realistic way, but I still find it heartening that Rockstar included this. Open ended games are now allowing folks to play games the way they want to. If a gay 15 year old boy plays Bully now, in 5 years he may design a game with a gay storyline, using video games to tell his story. Bully might just make him (or her) think of video games as a possible medium to tell whatever story that he feels is important to him.

One small step for video games toward "Art."

48 Film Challenge - In the Can-Can

Received email from at 6:23am that the film is complete. To quote him:
"We we able to write, shoot, cut, color correct, foley (yes, foley), title and sound design a 5+minute film with some rather innovated lighting and special effect techniques since Friday evening. So as far as I'm concerned, we're all winners---horray."
Pretty cool. I haven't seen it yet of course, but I am sure it is awesomelicious.

Tonight I am heading to the Ace of Clubs (9 Great Jones St. btw Broadway and Lafayette) to see my friend Matt Little work his standup magic. Starts at 8pm, costs $5Also on the line-up are
  • Reggie Watts
  • Jackie Monahan
  • Vince Averill
  • Brad Steuernagel
  • Greg Barris
Now, to be honest, I am not a mad stand-up fan. I like it, sure, who the hell doesn't ike to laugh, except for some on who has like a stomach wound and laughter splits the stitches, causing more bleeding and blood loss, they don't like laughing, my point being that, sure, I like stand-up, but I have no desire to do it myself, and I haven't seen it in eons, except for School Night at UCB, but that stand-up tends to be real real testing work, I have yet to see something that has blown me away at School Night, but this isn't School Night, and Matt makes me laugh on a regular basis, so you should all go tonight.

Sunday, October 22

Weekend Update

Just some wrap-up thoughts before I head to sleep.

The film challenge was a great experience. It has been a long time since I have acted, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. Since this was the first film anything I have realy done, I found it interesting how much I enjoyed it. Taking apart a performance done to tiny pieces actually appeals to me. I also got to meet some cool folks. It was just a very nice crew.

It has also made me hyped for NaNoWriMo. I am itching to write. I was planning on not going in with any idea, but while reading an article in the Village Voice recently I was suddenly inspired. I knew where it was going to start, I knew a bit about my main character and his immediate goals were. I have a working title (Job Wanted) and I have a decent grip on the tone (dark comedy) and themes (morality, faith, empathy). It is just a jumping off point. I'm not sure where it is going to go from there. It will be fun to find out.

was of course a hoot. It is hard to be doing comedy and watch SNL and think "Mmmm, that could be me."

Practice today was rough for me. We all started a bit off (okay, very off) and Ben had to work his ass off to get us not in our heads. But even then I was just struggling. I was feeling blocked. I am trying to 'write' less while improv-ing. Sometimes I did okay, but I would often slip right back into it. I was terrible at "Yes...Anding" today. Sigh. I still had fun. I had some moments I was proud of. But it was still a struggle. Maybe it was just the tiredness level. I don't know. Now improv for me until next week.

Celeb Hangover

SNL was a good good time. I am in a rush (again), so my reflections will have to wait for later today. The Smirking Valet is a great person to go to SNL with. She is a enjoys "celebrity" in a way that I just haven't had much contact with but is contagious. If not contagious... at least a lot of fun to share.

My living room is still filled with film equipment because of a misplaced set of rental car keys. No biggie on my part. I kind of like it. Makes me feel all guerilla-movie-making-like. Like I could go out and shoot a film right this second.... if I wanted to.

Which I don't because I have a huge headache. Lack of sleep yesterday, lots of coffee, slow intake of wine, beer before SNL, general craziness... all piled to create a special kind of cutting pain. It is going away slowly. But I need to go to UCB for a practice/rehearsal thing.

I need to get clothes for Mexico. Tropical-casual-dress gear is not so easy to find in NYC. I am really hoping that I can causally have cocktails with the Robot Chicken/Shadow Machine crew. The Valet is contagious.