Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stuff that Made Me Giggle Today

From Jack Handey:

"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Mankind. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words—’mank’ and ‘ind’. What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind."

"If you’re a cowboy, and you’re dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine. "

"As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way. "

Just makes me laugh,


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sorkin: Unofficial Campaign Consultant

In the category of “ripped from the plot lines…”

Remember the hub-bub a few weeks back about Huckabee creating an attack ad against Romney?

Here’s what happened: Huckabee’s campaign announced that they made an attack ad, but then they realized that it would be morally wrong to run the ad. So they held a press conference, confessed that they made the ad but would not run it.

And then played the ad for the press, giving them permission to use the ad in their stories about how the Huckabee folk would never stoop to showcasing the ad.

Now, for a few of us, this sounded familiar. As it should, since it is a plot line from THE WEST WING, season three (“The Vera Wang Dress”).

In the television version, the Republican candidate makes an attack ad, and leaks it to the opposition.
They then explain to the media outlets that they chose to not run the ad, as it was beneath their dignity – and gave out copies to the press, so it could be played along with the story.

The only thing Huckabee is missing is an indignant Sam Seaborn crying “foul.”

I wonder if he could get Rob Lowe before Super Tuesday…

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heath Remembered

Christopher Nolan, director of the DARK KNIGHT, has written a sweet remembrance of Heath Ledger, available on the PerezHilton site. (Easier to read there then at the DARK KNIGHT blog site.)



Ask a Guy that Knows What "Strike" Means

As y’all know, I have not been impressed with the WGA leadership during the recent contract negotiations, from their rush to strike to their weak ethical example to their naïve understanding on how some of their campaigns are perceived.

Well, I finally figured out what they are doing wrong. They spent their money hiring an outside strike guru, when they should have just…

Asked a Ninja.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, January 25, 2008

Book Learnin'

I have been tagged for a Meme by Barbara.

I am too technologically maladroit to know what Meme is, but I can guess. And as Barbara says, it's an easy one, so I'm going to play along.

But before I do, you might want to take a visit to Barbara’s blog – and while there check out her entries on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA from Sunday the 20th and Monday the 21st.

Note as you read, Barbara is somewhat of an anti-fan of sci-fi; so for her to discover BG and like it is… well, no surprise; she’s a pretty bright woman.

Okay, on to the Meme: Book Meme Rules
1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I lucked out on the first one.

I got the notice while at work; and since I am in the midst of a book archiving project, I have all kinds of titles from the ‘70’s surrounding me that could have reflected, shall we say, “oddly” on me.

In my line of sight:

THE GLOW: About a couple that become supernaturally addicted to jogging.

BLUE MOVIE: Which asks, “Can the world’s greatest director make the world’s raunchiest film?”

And DOLOROSA DEAL, about an African secret agent in Jerusalem labeled as “a wild black card sitting on a mid-East powder keg!”

But instead I get to look smart: not only was I reading Barbara’s blog while at my desk, I was also prepping for book club. (Sshh, don’t tell anyone…)

So the closest book to me: James Joyce’s ULYSSES.

You know, beach reading for the brainy.

Page 123, fifth sentence onward:

J.J. O’Molloy sent a weary sidelong glance towards the statue and held his peace.

-I see, the professor said.”


And now I spread the challenge: here you go, Jennifer, Jeff, Jeff, Janet and anyone else that would like to play.

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Invasion of Three

Wanna see the magic of movies?

On this YouTube video, the storming of Omaha beach is recreated; but instead of using 1,000 extras like in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, these guys do it with three graphic designers and a lot of running.

Worth the look-see.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crimson and Clover

Just saw CLOVERFIELD – and came away with mixed feelings on the film.

This is the JJ Abrams produced take on the Godzilla-on-a-rampage type monster movies; except this time around told from the point of view of the stompees. A regular joe with a camcorder puts the story on tape with a “I don’t know what’s going on I’m just running for my life” zeal.

Love the idea, and it does get at the story in a fresh and interesting way.

In fact, much of the movie is down right thrilling. And they find very interesting ways to get full value out of the camcorder conceit – including showing bits of the tape that is being recorded over, to fill in some character backstory.

And I admit: some of movie is just pretty darn cool.

So what’s to be mixed about?

Well, first there is the spoiling. No, not the spoiler that I will delve into in a moment, but the way the movie spoils the appetite.

If you ever get motion sickness, you can not watch this movie (at least not on the big screen). The jerky camera style does not let up.

The idea behind the hand-held is to make you feel like you are right in the action. So much so, that when one character tossed her cookies, I felt like joining her. Car sickness extreme.

Okay, and now for my spoiler.


Has every one stopped reading that should have stopped reading? Good.

Aside from the herky-jerky (I think the cameraman was doing Elaine’s dance at some points…) I would have given a fairly positive review to the movie, until the finale…

The end of the movie negates the entire experience. There is no value put on the efforts of the characters, even (nay, especially!) the noble efforts.

Bravery results only in death. Self-sacrifice results only in death (and in more death than if one chose to be selfish instead). Love results only in death.

The movie seems to be a direct response to 9/11 – and the answer to that tragic day seems to be: don’t bother. We don’t know what is happening, we can’t control what is happening, everything is meaningless, so don’t bother loving or living – it isn’t worth it.

Even the depressing Joe from Ecclesiastes acknowledged that we should eat, drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die). Check out the party in CLOVERFIELD – not a whole lot of merry for our leads.

I could buy that this is supposed to be a tragedy, except that the show doesn’t come with any weight. The characters don’t arc, so the process doesn’t put them through a journey (as, say, Gene Hackman in THE POSEIDEN ADVENTURE).

Sure, the lead doof realizes by the end of act one that he shouldn’t have been a snot to his girlfriend, but that doesn’t constitute an arc.

I am NOT saying that a movie needs a happy or “Hollywood” ending. I would vouch for GODFATHER, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE MISSION, RAN, etc. None of which land in joysville.

But they land somewhere.

In CLOVERFIELD, the characters haven’t gone on a journey as a result of this experience; there are no values that are explored or tested as a result of this movie; and the story itself claims a random indifference (it matters not what you do, so don’t do anything or do what you want – who cares?).

So as an audience member, I have to ask:

Why should I care about CLOVERFIELD?

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drinking Habits

From CS Weekly:

"My works are like water. The works of the great masters are like wine. But everybody drinks water." – Mark Twain

Gotta remember that whenever I feel cheap for being a populist.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, January 18, 2008

Sort Of

I am heading away from computers for the weekend, but didn't want to just ignore y'all.

So I'll leave you with one of my favorite lines from Dimitri Martin's routine:

“‘Sort of’ is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It’s just a filler. Sort of - it doesn’t really mean anything.

But after certain things, sort of means everything.

Like after ‘I love you.’

Or ‘You’re going to live.’

Or ‘It’s a boy.’”



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who's That, You Say?

There are a lot of ways to work in Hollywood. Sometimes you can even sing for your supper.

I’ve already mentioned my friend Karen Whipple (for her bio, check out Releve Studio’s site), who got to sing for superheroes SPIDERMAN, THE X-MEN and SUPERMAN.

Well, she’s singing for another superhero, a guy that saved the world!

Or, to be more precise, saved a world.

HORTON HEARS A WHO is on its way to the big screen.

Initially that news made me shudder, with visions of the ruination of the Grinch and that hat wearing cat dancing in my head.

But then I saw a trailer – this isn’t a live-action-lets-change-the-story-to-fit-Hollywood adaptation; but rather animation that seems to be sticking to the heart and soul of the original.

And it looks purty durn good to me.

So sing out with me now: Yopp!

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quit Clowning Around

Dimitri Martin, comic and occasional DAILY SHOW correspondent, has a bit where he draws a flowchart of clowns.

His conclusions:

Circus – annoying.
Birthday – sad.
Just around – creepy.
Injured – always funny.

We laugh because it is true.

As a new study has shown: despite our firm belief that we know what kids like, turns out they generally don’t like clowns.

Go figure.

I imagine specific clowns do better, you know, clowns that we already have a relationship with.

Like Ronald McDonald.

So, clowns with French Fries, okay.

Clowns just around – as Dimitri says, creepy.

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

School's Out for Winter

Last night was my last class at Biola.

A bittersweet night, as it may be the last university teaching gig I do for a while – since my new job (at a studio) isn’t as flexible as my last one (laying about the house in my pajamas and playing with my cats – a tough job, but someone had to do it).

It was a semester crammed into a week, teaching from 10 am to 9:45 pm.

The topic: Literature and Film. In other words, books and the movies they were made into.

I concentrated this year on short stories, running with the theme, “What Price Justice.”

Ernest Hemmingway’s “The Killers,” made into a noir film of the same title. (Didn’t make the students watch the 1960’s version with Ronald Reagan in his last role, playing a bad guy.)

Woolrich’s “It Had to Be Murder,” which became REAR WINDOW by Hitchcock. Grace Kelly at her best.

“In a Grove,” the basis for Kurosawa’s RASHOMON. At least that’s the way I remember it.

And finishing with Dick’s “Minority Report,” which became the Spielberg movie of the same name.

I capped my week with a visit by writer/director Cory Edwards, who talked about his upcoming project, ANDREW HENRY’S MEADOW. Based on a children’s book in which no one is murdered.

Ah well, no theme is perfect.

Just my thoughts,


Monday, January 14, 2008

Reading While Writer's Won't Write

As y'all know, Hollywood is in the midst of a strike as a result of a dispute between the Writer's Guild and the Producers.

There are a whole lot of people being put out of work over this -- people who are neither writers nor producers, who have no say or vote in the dispute, and who will not benefit from any results of the dispute.

My workplace has been in the news of late for a large number of layoffs that are in process. My job as yet remains somewhat unaffected -- thanks again for all who have called or written in asking.

Movie professionals -- grips, assistants, make-up folk, etc, have been laid off as their projects ran out. The folk getting laid off at this point are the facilities folk, the janitors, groundskeepers etc who keep the lot running -- since much of the lot isn't running anymore, there is no longer the same level of work.

Those from my lot apparently were given severance packages, but that certainly won't tide them over for long.

My friend Sabrina (well, technically she is the daughter of my friends, but this young girl did a show with Catherine, so...) has a heart for all those innocent bystanders of the strike, and decided to do something about it.

She is holding a read-athon, collecting pennies per page for some of the industry funds supporting those non writer/producers who are in need of emergency help.

Follow this link and check it out.

Just my thoughts,


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Christmas Letter ... Finally

Hello blogging friends. Here's the scoop from the past year ...

CATH was busy this year as a Caterer—though it’s not a profession she’s done before… she pretended well enough to play one on a daytime soap (where she not only balanced a crate of Styrofoam cups …but was also able to deliver 4 lines correctly in one take). We’re so proud of her. (though apparently not proud enough to name the soap in this letter). Thankfully this small job enabled her to join the Screen Actors Guild. A big accomplishment in this town allowing her to Audition more all the time. This auditioning streak has been helped by the addition of commercial and voice over agents which she acquired in 2007. She was able to act in a staged one-act, a short film and church Advent musical (all written by husband Sean), and appeared in a USC graduate film project, and multiple videos for BADD (Bel Air Drama Department).

In between catering and auditioning, Catherine and Sean made a number of Travels around the west coast this year. The first trip was full of mixed emotions as they attended Cath’s grandfather’s memorial. Otto lived a full and adventurous life. We will miss his feisty spirit here on earth, but know he’s cancer-free and truly at home with his Heavenly Father now.

The most amazing time was spent on a road trip to South Dakota for niece Nicole’s wedding. We traveled up through Utah and across Wyoming on the way there, were able to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and had a fabulous time with the many, many Gaffneys. On the way home, we traveled south, visiting brother Matt in Colorado, then across Utah, stopping at Arches National Park and Zion National Park. It was a trip we’ll remember for a life-time.

Returning from the road, we were happy to get Home, where our sweet cats now hold our hearts in their little paws. We also welcomed many friends and family into our home this year to get some kitty love and restful futon sleep. You are always welcome to our abode when you are travelin’ through the Southland.

SEAN was busy this year writing Scripts. It’s true, he’s not just posting rambling thoughts on the blog, but he also re-wrote a one-act about comic book characters called “The Fantastical Adventures of Mr. Destroyer vs. the Code”, and he began writing short (really short – like 5 minute) films for a number of places including Billy Graham’s organization, a medical company who needed fun-yet-topical videos for a conference, and more.

Meanwhile, he finished writing a prequel to “The Dracula Files” a new original piece meant for many short web-episodes. Drac was filmed this summer and is in final post-production. And because this, in addition to writing for BADD, wasn’t keeping him busy enough, he wrote an hour long children’s television pilot for a Seattle producer.

When his fingers could break free from the keyboard (or the cats) he was Educating many – including students at Biola University, Act One, the Castro Valley Christian Writers Conference, and Rocky Mountain College in Calgary, Alberta; as well as coaching trips to Florida, Utah and Atlanta with Art Within. He also co-taught a class with Cath for their church drama retreat.

Then while waiting to see what teaching or writing job God was going to send him next, he began to do more temp work with Warner Bros. which led to full time employment. Sean is now the Story Administrator for Warner Bros. Feature films with 3 main areas of responsibility: organizing temps, interns and tracking all payroll; updating the archive records; and doing the credit determinations for all features and direct-to-DVD (he looks at the contracts and scripts and makes recommendations for who gets “written by” or “story by” or “created by” credits). It’s a great department, and a sweet commute (only 1 mile down the road from our apartment).
Which leads us to what’s Next … As if God were orchestrating all of this, just in the last few months, Catherine was asked to work
for a new performing arts studio. After much prayer, she is leaving her ticket office job at Caltech (after 5 years) at the end of January and going to be the Manager of Relevé Studios where dance, fitness, acting, voice, and piano classes are offered for all ages.

So…we’ve been busy doing all that.

We pray you had a meaningful holiday season, and offer our best wishes for much joy and rest in 2008.

May God Allow our Family and Friends to be Nearer Every Year.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Frakkin' With Barbara's Brain

Clearly I have been delinquent in blogging this new year. That will continue for a bit. Sorry.

In the meantime, check out friend Barbara's blog and her new found discovery of the best show on television.

Just my thoughts,