Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hospital Cafe

While it appears I'm in a hospital, this is actually a station at the Hospital Cafe, a Hollywood eatery that aims to simulate a medical dining experience. You lie in bed with an IV pumping you full of drugs, and eat Jello-o and dried chicken while watching Hawaii 5-0 reruns. Ginger ale is served in a short plastic cup. For an additional fee, your waitress-practitioner will speak English, though at the level of a Saigon bar girl. ("You likee pillow, G.I.?") Actual minor surgery is available, but must be booked in advance as the doctors fly up from Trinidad. You leave the Hospital Cafe drained in fluids and cash, but ultimately feeling less than when you entered. The Hospital Cafe. Institutional food at a Five Star price.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell to Bees

Sometimes I think of the house I sold last year, home to us for twelve years - longer than anywhere I'd ever lived. I miss watching the San Gabriel Mountains, especially at dusk, as the sun flung out massive shadows, burning a bright red as it dipped into the Pacific.

But I don't miss the stinking bees. (Or rabbits, or coyotes, but they have their separate tales.)

The bees didn't actually smell as in insects that stung and stunk up the place. But this time of year they'd swarm, and a swarm would descend on my house, and it would cost a hundred bucks to de-bee. Scouts arrived first, whistling, six hands in their pockets, pretending to pollinate a flower, but really casing the place. Next day I'd hear a loud buzzing from under the house or under an eave and once inside a gardening box on the balcony, indicating they'd successfully immigrated. You've heard the expression, "Busy as a bee?"Well they are brutally industrious. First they build a comb for the queen. If unmolested,  that modest little comb cottage will become a bee high-rise. After one of my Southeast Asia journeys, I returned after three weeks to find a massive bee sub-division. The structure they'd built on the underside of my split level was intricate and astounding, and heavy with honey. Even the exterminator was impressed, admitting later he'd used up all the poison in his canister just to whack this one mega colony. Stuck with clean-up, I had to climb a tall ladder and knock down the sub-division with a rake, ducking chunks of honey-filled wax dropping past my head to splat on the dirt.  This new mess had to be policed at once because various animals would be drawn to the scent of honey and die from bee poison. Hollywood is so much like that and it thrives on buzz. 

Anyway, today I finished my animated script, sent it in, invoiced and napped, and didn't have to bee wrangle. That's got me feeling pretty darn good. 

NOTE: I tried explaining all the above to the new owner, but he and his wife laughed merrily. "We love bees. My father wants to put a hive in the backyard." Clearly, this was a man who fancied bees, in a family of bee fanciers. I hope they still do.  

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Ruegger Vulture Pic

Three vulture posts and three dead celebs over the last week: Ed, Farrah, Michael.

Those three in a road picture...

It would've been something.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ruegger Vultures

More vultures from Tom Ruegger, who drew upon extensive meetings with mid-level animation executives.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ruegger and the Scavengers

Vulture art from Tom Ruegger as Paul Rugg, Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver and I gear up to improv voices for vultures such as this one next week. Tom will then take the tracks and see what sort of animated mirth he can rustle up.

Still racing forward with the animation script, but I should make my Friday deadline. Also, thanks to the readers who got material back early. Big darn help seeing things from another perspective, plus good catches on the proofreading. Away with me now!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Confused by Success

Rushing to finish my animated script, and collate short story notes, by Friday. A check arrived for an outline last week. I hadn't seen a check in so long, I grew confused and called the Bomb Squad. Alas, they'd been laid off, but the city sent over a homeless man with a long bamboo pole. He poked the envelope, pronouncing it safe. I tipped him with a jelly glass of wine and a blueberry Nutri-Grain bar. Everyone left happy and how often does that happen dealing with the government?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rock the Vote

Fun in Iran with this round going to the demonstrators. For about the first minute, it's a game of rock toss between demonstrators and Mullah Cops. But the crowd laps forward, then surges big time.

h/t: BBC Farsi Page via Ace of Spades.

Happy Father's Day!

Way to go, Dads! Youth and experience belong to the kids, but fathers possess cunning and hard-earned wisdom. As the philosopher Lao Ming once said, "The wise owl is the owl with a mouth full of mice, while the father with a mouth full of mice is often subdued by authorities."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Death of a Quasi-Famous Grandmother

Back from Pismo Beach (between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.) attending my wife's grandma's funeral service. Virginia reached 98,  once debating Richard Nixon as a sophomore at Whittier High School in, say, 1927? She claimed to have lost a close decision and nursed a grudge against the future president for many decades. Recently declassified White House documents indicate Virginia had, indeed, been robbed as Nixon paid another student to plant evidence with the principal that Virginia was insane. This effected the final tally, throwing the debate Nixon's way and convincing him that winning was more fun than high school.

 In any case, God bless Virginia. She outlived Nixon by fifteen years and certainly got her money's worth from this life. 

Friday, June 19, 2009

As a Matter of Fact...

A few remarks on Froynlaven's post: the films we viewed were ZONTAR The Thing from Venus and a Japanese horror movie with aliens and a city-busting monster that got bombed more than Berlin. (That's Irving Berlin, legendary song-writer and ferocious tippler. But more on that later.)

Paul was laid off from a dating show writing gig at CBS. I was working for a company called Mac Temps. They sent me out on day jobs to companies with Mac computers because they were so different. (Being a Mac Temp is a little like saying I used to dress in a bowler hat and spats like the cats on Mighty Mouse.) All this happened in December. The scripts we'd turned in looked like money for Christmas and more powdered donuts. But we were soon awash in real donuts, plus eclairs, bear claws, chocolate bars and fresh coffee so hot it made your teeth glow a fiery red. (Then again, we may have been drinking isotope water. I haven't felt well lately.) Tom Ruegger's assistant, the admirable Kathy Page, called later to set up a meeting with Tom and Sherri Stoner. Paul and I had made it! We were employed in TV animation - the back porch of show biz (according to certain ham-headed animation executives.)

That same day, Monday, December 16, Acme director M.D. Sweeney leased a store front in North Hollywood that would become the new home of Acme Comedy Theatre.

Low overhead and big checks - that was a fine, crackling time.

h/t: flixvendor

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Short and Shorter

Three intense writing days have ended. I finally have a readable draft that I will clean up and submit to fine readers on the morrow.

Tonight I will celebrate with YouTube and watch World at War and The Larry Saunders Show.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two-Story Building

My animated project still waits. I'm trying to power through this short story. Ha. That's rich. The thing is a tome. I could drop it on a cat and cause pain. It's gonna be around 8k words, roughly 30 pages. I had to lose a pair of characters and change the lead from a Bill Mahr type to someone less caustic whom the reader might like. The upside is that all elements have been laid. The table is set. All I have to do is eat. Then get back to writing the story.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three-Wolf Confirmation

I sent my friend Ernesto the Three-Wolf post. I'm delighted to learn one of his co-workers knows a man with such a shirt. Amazon sales of the newly fabled garment shot up 2300% thanks to a facetious review. Now, if it only glowed in the dark....

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Spy Jerks and Animated Scripts

Big squabble between spy chiefs over who gets to pick the top U.S. spy in each country. I guess it's like the swim suit competition. Good thing the intelligence services "reorganized" several years back, increasing efficiency by adding more bureaucrats. You want our guys to do well, but the big dogs arguing in public over turf doesn't inspire confidence.

Back to animation. I finally got the green light on my script - the one where the contract is half as long as the script itself. I'm looking to have fun and maybe get it done by next Monday. I've got that short-story due to go out on June 27 and still need to re-write extensively.

I haven't posted a bad horror movie trailer in days. My hands tremble.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Spies of Tomorrow

On Internet radio, the CIA is running an ad campaign asking for adventurous, patriotic, curious citizens to serve as intelligence agents. Applicants skilled in bureaucratic in-fighting, dodging blame, and document-leaking will be fast-tracked to a supervisory position. Jobs are also available for old school spies, but applicants must provide their own newspaper with cut-out eye holes. Or simply join the State Department, become disgruntled and spy for Cuba. It'll help if you're a zealot with a sweet tooth, because the Cubans only pay in sugar cane.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


When will it end? Who can say? Who will be the one to end it? Watch if you dare for the unbelievable, astounding conclusion!

Japanese Monster Trailer

This trailer keeps coming at you. See if you can guess the monster's name?

h/t: KeSci

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day Salute


My mother was a British Army nurse in England during World War II. She told me once of hearing hundreds and hundreds of aircraft flying overhead as Allied airborne troops headed across the Channel for the drop behind the invasion beaches. That was the night of June 5 with landings starting the next morning: June 6, 1944. Sixty-five years later, I thank those who made the effort to free France so they could snub us and drop out of NATO, write depressing literature, and otherwise be a pain-in-the-ass.

Harlan Ellison Lets It Rip

A big fan of Pinky and the Brain, author Harlan Ellison zings Warner Bros. over working for free. Alas, I'm guilty of said crime (Freak DVDs), but have ceased on writing gigs. Recently, I've passed on several opportunities to contribute time and effort to some project for a murky future payoff. It's a miserable scam. The interview is from a documentary on Ellison called Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

h/t: factualfactory

Pop Music and Gargantuas

What are words for? Why, to get stuck in my throat! What else? War of the Gargantuas is a delightful nostalgic offering and a fine Russ Tamblyn vehicle, as well as a cautionary tale on the hazards of working in Japan.

ht/: Jandro Meza

Friday, June 05, 2009

Cyber Boon

Generous takineko points me toward junk trailer nirvana.

New From 21st Century Distribution!!

Based on my selection of Creatures from the Abyss, YouTube recommended this trailer. Scary how spot-on they can be.

Post-Surgery Knee News

Knee size is down considerably, but I have an odd rash all over my left leg. I think it may be from  goop the surgery team smeared on. Since it doesn't itch, I'm not sweating it. Intense pain whenever I accidentally torque the knee, but otherwise it's holding up fine.

General immobility has helped writing as I knocked out a thirty-page draft on a short story this week. I'm 1,500 words over the submission limit for this anthology I'm gunning for. But I'll take a machete to the story on Monday.

My TNT friend Ernesto is coming by tomorrow so I can get out of this place, eat breakfast and enjoy the June rains.  

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Left Knee Ouch

Much post-op discomfort. The knee has needs that include painful movement to prevent locking up. I'm already sick of crutches. But there's no way out but straight ahead. On to July!

In the world of TV animation, things are tough. An old artist friend told me that a big studio required animation-testing before hire. He was asked to board several pages of script for free. (Then not hired.) This is a guy with years of experience, doing everything from roughs to directing. But the Man gets to make the rules.

Darn that Man.