Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't Say His Name Out Loud

One of the episodes we commented on yesterday was "Candle Jack," written by Paul Rugg. Paul really had a feel for using stock footage. Scott Jeralds directed and Kenneth Mars guest-starred.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Freak-a-Commentary

At a sound stage in Hollywood, Tom Ruegger, Paul Rugg and myself provided DVD commentary on several first season episodes of Freakazoid! The DVD is due to be released this summer. I learned things I hadn't known working on the show. For example, composer Richard Stone gave Tom the melody for the main title and Tom then wrote lyrics to match. (Winning an Emmy in the process.)

Paul kept the session moving with leading questions and compliments. Tom filled in with his knowledge of the artwork and what went into the making of each episode. I mostly sharked along, looking for spots to shoehorn in one-liners. In any case, I was reminded that animation can be fun and miss working with Tom and Paul. But I shall always be proud to say that I once wrote for the guy with lightning in his hair.

Fighting Back


Rosina just died from leukemia. While her family mourns, you can join the battle against this disease. On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society'sTeam in Training will commence their summer season. For 20 years, people have signed up with Team in Training in order to fund raise and participate in endurance events. This season particpants may choose between the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Alaska. (There are also cycling and triathalon events at different locales.) The money raised helps smack down blood cancers. The marathon you complete will change you deeply. And, somewhere along the way, the teammates you encounter become friends.

I'll be an assistant run coach for the San Gabriel Valley Marathon Team. If you live anywhere in the LA area, head down to the Culver City Veterans Center, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230. The event begins at 9:00 AM and there are teams located all across the city. Nothing will bring Rosina back, but let her memory motivate us not to be passive in the face of cancer. We can take the initiative in this fight. We can do it as Team.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon Review

While up in Washington, my family and I caught a showing of the above-titled film. The movie followed runners ranging from rookies to Olympian Deena Kastor to Kenyan Daniel Njenga as they trained to run the 2005 Chicago Marathon. There was some marathon history and comments from top runners, including the distance dudes of my youth: Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. Spirit conveyed a sense that the distance measures the runner in many ways and that the experience is transformative. My favorite moment involved a first-timer telling her friends she was training for a marathon. They asked, "Do you think you'll win?" A theater full of runners roared with laughter.

I'm Not Lion

Apparently, the hills are alive with the sound of cougars. Mountain lion sightings are being reported around my running trails in the San Gabriel foothills. Perhaps the recent storms are washing panthers into our midst? Thanks to former TNT teammate Jeff for this interesting tidbit.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Frosty Running in Washington State

Still up near Olympia, Washington visiting family. Daytime temperatures linger in the teens and 20s. I thought the Phoenix Marathon was cold but today I ran 14 miles on chilly backcountry roads. Frost everywhere, horses in the fields standing head down, motionless as marble carvings. Mt. Rainer rose to the east like a huge white triangle. Dogs ran along split-rail fences, barking as I passed. A gray and black cat slunk across a two-lane, asphalt road, ducking under a fence and into a wrecked out-building, watching me warily from behind a board as I loped on.

Though light, traffic was occasionally a hazard. Certain roads are shoulder-free and I zig-zagged from side-to-side seeking the widest shoulder and trying to avoid cruising around a blind corner into a F-150 pick-up pulling a horse trailer.

Running negative splits, I stopped run/walks and picked up the pace for the last two miles. Most of this distance was on a straight away between Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars. A Federal Express panal truck drove past me. The driver waved as Mt. Rainer filled the background behind him.

Afterwards, stretching out in the cold, early afternoon, I realized almost two-and-a-half hours had passed and I had hardly seen a single person. Only folk in pick-ups and SUVs, a gas truck, and a county crew that looked lost.

Still and all, a very nice long run.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Training for Eugene

Yesterday was my first timed run in almost two months. I looped the Rose Bowl in 24:52. That's a 5K distance (3.1 miles). I was very pleased with the results. This marks the official start of my training for the Eugene Marathon. I will shatter the four-hour mark.

My fine wife and I shared pizza last night and planned our next moves. There's much to be done in order to stage the house for sale. I want to nap instead. Nevertheless, off we go into a new stage of life.

Writing lags. I have another project in addition to my book and short story: an original, live-action sit-com script. Changes in the animation industry include the arrival of live-action executives. They have little trust in animation scripts as a barometer of writing ability, preferring formats they are more comfortable with. I suppose I should be greatful they aren't arriving from the cattle insemenation industry.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Adeus Rosina

Rosina ended her struggle today. Keep the good thoughts and prayers flowing to the family. Grief is like a long bitter drink from a glass that seems bottomless. But one day the vessel is emptied and the taste fades. And a new and different life is lived.

Meeting Week Update

Outcomes from this week's meetings.

1. Met with the teen reading group and obtained volunteers to read the first three chapers of my young adult novel. I also scored some great gossip about Brandon and Keira at Jennifer's party.

2. The dentist was impressed with the state of my teeth. I asked him if they were clean enough to eat off of. He laughed and said he'd have to remember that. So if your dentist makes that joke tell him you heard it already — but make sure he's done working on you first.

3. Six people signed up at the information meeting for Team in Training. They will be training for the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

4. Director Tyler filmed my memories of Freakazoid! DVD release date is set for this summer. More soon.

5. My accountant agreed with me on all fronts, recommending that I sell the house, get a condo or a townhouse, and try again to earn a living. Right on, man.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Freakataping

Freakazoid! first season DVD taping was yesterday in Burbank. A whopping bin of fun. I'll have more a bit later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Prayers & Positive Energy for Rosina


Tonight, I returned home from a Team in Training information meeting to learn the wife of a former Warner Brothers chum is nearing the end of her battle with leukemia. She had a bone marrow transplant several months ago that seems to have been the beginning of the end. Her moments are numbered, so please say a prayer and send kind thoughts to her husband as he waits for the curtain to fall.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Meeting Week

Next week I meet with:

1. Teens who will beta test my book's first three chapters.

2. The dentist.

3. People interested in joining Team in Training and running either the San Diego or Anchorage, AK marathons.

4. A nice director who will be filming my interview for the season one DVD release of Freakazoid!

5. My accountant who will probably tell me what I already know: "You're broke. Sell the house. Get a job somewhere."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Animalia, Writing, Running, TNT

A show that helped me pay bills last year airs this Sunday. Animalia started out in 2006 as a funny program for kids 8 to 12 in the spirit of Anamaniacs. Over the years, the vision changed toward a more serious, educational program for a younger demographic. Some of the CGI l've seen looks pretty good. Now the series "belongs to the ages" or PBS, BBC, CBC, etc.

Working on the 3rd draft of Dummy Fever. Six pages a day, come what may. That should take me to Monday, January 14. From there, my darling wife proof reads same, while I arrange with an adult book club, a teen literary group, and volunteers from two high schools to read and comment. Oh, and off to my agent as well. I'm excited. I think this book will go. I really feel the story is picking up momentum.

Ran 5 miles this morning. Heavy rains last night caused a mini-mudslide that dumped muck and roots across one trail. Plus a drowned rat drifted to its resting place in the bike lane surrounding the Rose Bowl. Perhaps someone will give it a Viking funeral, sailing it down a storm drain on flaming cardboard smeared with peanut butter.

First information meeting for the Summer Team in Training season will be next Saturday morning at the Covina Library. However all the coaches will be in Phoenix with the Winter Team for the Rock 'n Roll Marathon. Except me. This will be a splendid time to introduce my own unique theories of running to a captive audience. ("We use a lot of iron when we run. So buy some iron leg weights and an iron knee band. It'll toughen ya up.")