Monday, February 26, 2007

51 and Counting


In eight days I've written 51 pages of animated television. One half-hour and one short for different shows. I still have a five-page outline due by Wednesday morning.

I'm a bit tired.

But fat with invoices.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Guest and Shyamalan Reviewed

Back in the 90s when the Oscars aired on week nights, Warner Bros. would let us go home early to watch. Now they're on Sunday nights and I'm already home. Nevertheless, I think I'll pass. I haven't seen any of this year's big films. Other than "Casino Royale," I haven't been to the movies in months.

That said, you can tell when I have a ton of actual writing to do. I seek ways to avoid it. I shall now demonstrate by reviewing two movies my wife and I rented this weekend.


"For Your Consideration" was Christopher Guest's spoof of award-mania. Departing from the mockumentary style of "Guffman" and "Mighty Wind," this movie employed a conventional narrative. The film portrays hapless actors in an independent film called "Home For Purim" who believe they will be nominated for Academy Awards. Dramatic tension is thin at best. The characters are self-absorbed and shallow. Then they get nominated. Then they are self-absorbed and shallow.

That said, there are laughs o'plenty. The dialogue is improvised and carries a wonderful sense of expectation and surprise. A Guest film that doesn't rock on all levels still has enough fun, quirky mometns to make it worthwhile.

We also watched M. Night Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water." The film presents us with a fantasy world intruding on a Philadelphia apartment building. The building super (Paul Giamatta) discovers a water nymph living in the pool. He elects to help the nymph achieve her mission and return home. To do this he must outwit a fierce creature determined to slay her. A man broken by his past, the super engages other tenants to help. In so doing he begins to rediscover himself. I liked the personal redemption aspect but found the fantasy overwhelming. There were so many story points. In order to service them all, the tenants must buy outright the super's tale of a nymph, her wolf-like enemy, and their own pre-destined roles. Despite Giamatta's fine acting, the film wears down, becoming a logic puzzle that keeps the viewer at arm's length.

And that's that. Now back to real work.

Purple and White Blues

Ran eight miles yesterday. My long run pace feels too fast. My run/walk ratio is too low. I ran slower than my final eight-mile run before Phoenix. But I have months to increase pace.

But will I have the motivation?

I hadn't realized how much Team in Training changed me. Other than a vague goal of running a marathon "one day" I never had any destinations. Now I've set prs in the 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. I want to break four hours in Chicago, then qualify for Boston. I'm a man fat with goals.

But it's harder on your own.

Heading toward the last mile I topped a small hill and found myself engulfed by Team in Training. Both Spring and Summer teams had started their runs at the same time. They filled the street and for a few seconds I was surrounded by purple and white jerseys. I spotted familiar faces, but with the sun to my back only a few recognized me. Then they were gone. As I reached the final mile marker, I was running solo again.

At the finish line, I bumped into former team mates Ryan, Jay and Michelle. They're back with TNT, training for the Wildflower Triathalon in May. We chatted, but they had planned a 20-mile bike ride and needed to wheel.

I stretched out, then walked to my car, forgetting my brand new water bottle with the neat padded, hand strap and a compartment for key and cell phone. A wino may have it now.

Gains and losses.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dale and Cancer

In early January, my friend Dale was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Stage 4 means you're on the adios track. I saw him in the hospital just before I left for Phoenix. Dale was in shock. (Or as much shock as possible while basted with morphine and Dilautin.) Suddenly all the mad scrambling for money seemed pointless. He only wanted more time with his wife and kids.

And he got it.

The doctors operated twice and removed a huge tumor from his colon. No chemo necessary. Off you go. But Dale did get a colostomy bag for the next seven months. (He told me you have to spray the inside with Pam so that poop doesn't clot the opening. There are other elements involved that don't need mentioning.)

All things considered, he thought the colostomy a fair trade. Cancer had picked up his life and tossed it off a bridge. As he reassembled the pieces, Dale found himself reordering everything: priorities, diet, attitude.

I pray his cancer doesn't return. (My cousin Mary Ann faces her third go-around with liver cancer in four years.)

But often there is hidden good in the most turbulent events.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

4K Unique Visits

4,000 hits!

A wee amount in the grand world of the Web, but they're all mine!

Bwahahhahaha!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Alumni Hill

I've been visiting a site called Cool Running. They have a log that lets you keep track of your runs and cross training. There are also forums where runners share race reports and ask training questions. Most participants seem decent enough but you can always count on at least one curmudgeon. ("So your IT band popped at Mile 16. People without legs never run at all. BTW, your training sucked!")

Ran six miles this morning and bumped into Chad. We stopped on a big hill and caught up. Chad was my mentor for Spring 2006. He dropped out of Spring 2007, briefly joined the Pasadena Pacers, but left to practice solo on the trails he knows best. And if you run north or south of the Rose Bowl on Saturday morning you're never really solo. There are other alumni (like me) plus two seperate teams zipping all over the place. In fact, the key is to get up and down the hills before Team in Training clogs them up. Chad's tapering for the LA Marathon. I'm thinking of going just to cheer people on. I'll know a ton of folk. Writing continues to be hectic, with contract disputes and sudden deadlines. Plus real money starting to trickle in! How very chic.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Writing and Pacific Shoreline Half Marathon

Gobs o' writing this last week: development, paid scripts, book outline. I'm juggling several projects and about to add one more next week. Can't complain and won't.

Pac Shoreline Half Marathon was a festive family/TNT event. I ran a modest 2:15. My northern cousins-in-law dropped in, with Janet completing her first half.

Former SGV Coach Amber cheered us on at Mile 11.

Katie McCollum ran the exact same time she ran last year. A new pr was in her grasp, but she stopped to assist Kate Martini who had run out of gas and stood exhausted 20 feet from the finish line. Katie got her walking, urged her in, then learned that Kate officially finished two seconds ahead, thus pring while Katie only "reaffirmed" her old record.

And the Bears played a marvelous first quarter.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Man, It's Early.

3:30 AM. I'm leaving for Pacific Shoreline Half-Marathon. This race is turning into quite the event.

1. Coaches Katie and Kate will be running for prs.

2. It's the half-marathon event for Spring Team SGV, which means a big TNT turnout.

3. Former Coach Amber lives down there and should be stopping around to say 'hi.'

4. Bay area relatives of my wife are running their first half-marathon.

5. This will be my longest run since Phoenix.

Pacific Shoreline also marks the anniversary of my first 2006 injury. Also, last year was a huge fiasco in turns of parking, hence my early start.

BTW, Go Bears!