Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Run

For 2010. I haven't posted much about running lately because I've hit a rut: run a few days, overdo it in some subtle way, rest, ice, start again. 2011 goals? Keep trying.

Tomorrow night continues a New Year's Eve tradition: Marx Bros. Marathon. They're running them roughly in order from early evening to early morning, though I'll be lucky to make it to the MGM pair—Night at the Opera and Day at the Races which straddle midnight. I'm always glad to see another year, just not so much of it that early.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Shouldn't Be Alive

Actually, I'm fine. But the above-named show is an Animal Channel favorite, featuring mediocre acting, reused scenes and stock footage blended together into a cheap pleasing time-waster.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jay Maynard Link

Tron legend—and old school Animaniacs fan—Jay Maynard is back in the news.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ha!

Ha, ha! Ha! More writing today and more on the burner for tomorrow. Non-animated, but paying nonetheless. What a plump Christmas bonanza of TV last night. LOR-2 plus Christmas Story plus Wizard of Oz; the channel changer was on fire.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Zombie Holiday

As turkey smells permeate the house, don't forget the undead.

Christmas Eve

Well, here we are. Christmas looms. I'm pleased to be sitting in my sweat clothes blogging away on a sunny morning. If Santa brought me a new writing desk tomorrow—or the means to obtain one—I'd be delighted. My ideal desk would have vertical book shelves built in and an intricate Japanese device that would complete writing projects (in English) so I could devote more time to sloth and sloth-friendly activities.

My book has locked up near the finish line, legs turned to cement by lactic acid. It's shuffling forward slowly, knowing its bounce will return in time. I've had many wee writing projects since September, all paying little, some paying less, but all paying something. My day is quite occupied writing items humorous or not for different blogs and websites. Multiple deadlines make the time zip past. And while a few more bucks wouldn't hurt, I count myself fortunate to be writing as opposed to unloading mail trucks or monitoring burglar alarms or shooting mad dogs for the county—which had its moments.

A most Merry Christmas to all. My the Jolly One bring you all manner of jolly things.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And in the Heavens....




A sign. About five minutes after this, the rainbow split as another storm rolled in. Rain blew sideways like the Vietnam scene from Forrest Gump. But now its quiet.

Man, It's Raining Out

I was talking last night to friend who recently had to give up his house. He's living in an apartment in my neighborhood. We recalled past heavy rains when we were home-owners and how we worried about leaks and tarps and hillsides changing zip codes. Now I can watch the water fall in sheets and say, "Ah, well, that's certainly a crisp downpour." Then I go off to eat chili and wheat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hearst Castle Neptune Pool


Today's sea is quite storm-tossed. However I only have photos of yesterday's sea, which was more or less Okay. Still, no poet ever won fame writing things such as "my thoughts tossed about like a fairly average sea."

To the left is the Neptune Pool, shot from under my umbrella at Hearst Castle. Quite a place, a bit roomy. But they've still got zebras running around the yard as well as assorted foreign deer. I especially enjoyed the Patty Hearst Room, where our tour was locked in closets, emerging as crazed revolutionary nut cases. Fortunately, the tour had a small bank set up for us to rob. Later, we hijacked the tour bus "for the people," rode it to the gift shop and bought tee-shirts and coffee mugs.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photos From Cambria












Here in this small town in central California, my wife and I relax as we ponder our future as members of the work force and Californians. Beautiful scenery but strange merchandise in the stores. For instance, there are action figures of zombies, frightened people from B-movie horror films, and paparazzi. Imagine running home from school so you and your chums could dive in and play with papparazzi action figures. We decay as a nation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yuletide Thoughts

Christmas nears and we're rather broke. But we have our love and steel ball bearings that we fling at the back windshields of cars cruising our street with the bass cranked up to Stun. It's the little things that hold you together.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paul Rugg Auctions Freakazoid Stuff



For the sake of charity, Paul Rugg will part with various Freakazoid! cells and memorabilia. Times are tough, but even tougher for some. Paul has even promised to sign each cell in the blood of a Taliban warrior, killed as part of a different charity auction. In any case, stop by his site for a merchandise preview. (Image: Joker.Net)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tom Sheppard Brings Home the Bling

Scroll down and visit Tom Sheppard's name as a WGA award recipient in animation for an episode of Back at the Barnyard. With a 2010 Emmy for the same show, Tom's walking heavy this year—a man fat with awards.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Advice for New Writers




Teens write, read, meet and collaborate on fiction over at Figment. I'm pitching the site on a column where an older, experienced writer teaches a new generation how to complain, brood, and properly nurse resentments so they mature into depression. This is vital to the writing experience and a must for young scribes. (Picture: scienceblogs.com)

Batman Sobs by Bruce Timm

Via Tom Ruegger @ Cartoonatics: Bruce Timm renders the agony of defeat.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Good On All Sides



I hate hearing that some star I like is a real butt-head off camera. Thankfully, that was not the case with the late Leslie Nielsen. As he once said in Police Squad:

"Life is risk. Getting up in the morning, crossing the street, putting your face in a fan." (Photo: Chris Malafronte)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Road Not Taken by E.T.




Many endings were contemplated for E.T. The one depicted here would have led the character of Elliot down a different path. But director Spielberg chose a less European direction. (Image: Yurock)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Yes, a fine, noble Thanksgiving to all, filled with football and turkey and pleasing condiments that don't irritate either the palate or the conversation. (Image: nitro:licious!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Russian Flick Kills Cow

Saw a Netflix film last night called Come and See. Set in Russia during World War II, the movie follows a peasant teenager who volunteers for the Soviet partisans. Directed by Russian Elem Klimov, we observe the protagonist's journey over several weeks as he transforms from a smiling, eager-to-please young fellow into a hollowed out wreck whose actions often inadvertently lead to the death of others. Sound effects levels were uneven as if certain ones had been hastily added in post. The ending was lame and the director allowed actors to address the camera in such a way that you felt they were talking to a camera and not another character. But the movie had its moments.

One scene had our protagonist and another partisan steal a cow. Leading the placid beast across a field at dusk, they are suddenly caught in the light of a flare. A German machine gun opens fire, tracers zipping through the fading light. Our protagonist hits the dirt, but his friend is killed while the cow goes on munching grass, oblivious to rounds whizzing past.

With night approaching, the cow wanders back toward the barn from which it was stolen. Our teen partisan stops the animal and leads it back across the field. The movement draws another flare and a second, more prolonged machine gun burst. This time the cow is hit. It falls, drags itself on front legs, topples on its side and lows in agony as it tries to rise. Hiding behind the riddled animal, the terrified teen watches the cow's eye rolling in pain, too stupid to know its been shot; too dumb to know its almost finished.

Somehow the slaying of a harmless animal effectively captured the ugliness of war in a way that horrid deaths to characters good and bad failed to do.

Though made in 1985, Come and See presents the cow's last words as "Eat Mor Chikin."

I think someone tampered with the film.
(Photo: Wickipedia)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

'94 Emmy Photo

Mirth in Beverly Hills as we chuckle our way through disappointment at the spring 1994 Emmy Awards. The wrong Animaniacs' episode was submitted to the judges. We lost for Best Show, but Tom and Richard Stone won for the theme song. Another gem from the Hastings Archives. From l. to r.: Tom Ruegger, Peter Hastings, Rogerio Nogueira, Andrea Romano, Randy Rogel, me, Paul Rugg and Nick Hollander.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Board With Life





Acme Comedy Theatre doesn't rate a peep, but former carpenter Adam Carolla manages to nail down the laconic wisdom while lost in Boston. (Photo: Huffington Post)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blog Anniversary

Five years writing this and that. Since 2005, I've stacked up:

Visits: 28,871

Page Views: 48,359

There are Whales of the Web that log numbers like those in a hour, but I prefer a more pastoral pace in cyberspace.

Thank you all for stopping by.

Ape an Artist

Can't think of anything to write? Draw a monkey.(Bearing in mind that if it were a real monkey it would be plotting your death. Extreme? Well, that's how they roll.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kurt and 'Nam

Some veterans die in battle while others return home to perish on the installment plan. My friend Kurt passed away in 2003 from liver cancer, partially brought about by PTSD-inspired drinking coupled with hepatitis from a bad blood transfusion he underwent in Vietnam. Kurt could have skated on that particular war, but extended his enlistment in order to fight. Serving in Marine Recon, he won a Navy Commendation medal for helping his unit fight clear of an ambush.

Several Purple Hearts later, Kurt served in an ultra-secret outfit that probed the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Hacked out of the jungle, the Trail was a highway for the North Vietnamese to funnel men and supplies into South Vietnam and Cambodia. Because of political silliness, Laos was officially off-limits to U.S. ground forces. That meant Kurt and his unofficial team were forced to ditch the bodies of their dead who would be listed as "Missing in Action in South Vietnam." It always bothered him that families of fallen comrades would be denied the closure of burial—or the recognition of bravery from a seemingly indifferent government.

A good portion of Kurt's post-war years were spent in rage and self-destruction. In time, he made peace with his past and, little by-little, cut a trail over to serenity from which he rarely strayed. His last ten years were good ones.

I was a pallbearer at Kurt's funeral. He received a Marine Corps color guard, taps, and a view of the 2 Freeway stretching below in the distance, flowing past Forest Lawn Cemetery on its way to Eagle Rock. (Transportation arteries played a big role in his life.) I think of Kurt when I drive past and often wish he could call down artillery on erratic delivery vans.

This Veteran's Day Kurt came to mind. And while he's at peace, I send prayers and best wishes to those still struggling with the silent baggage of war. And to the many other servicemen and women who worked and trained hard, giving up years in service to America.

Happy Veteran's Day to all.
(Map: The Adventures of Chester)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Link to Tall TV Star Death

Show biz mourns the death of a big celebrity.

Happy B-Day, USMC!


Here's a short article commemorating the Marine Corps on their 235th birthday. Best wishes to all Leathernecks past and present. (Photo: Acclaim Images)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nate Ruegger Report

Another Life slides into the Big Easy Film Festival. Keep stacking 'em up, Nate.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Troubled Youth and Parachutes



What the article doesn't mention is that the youngsters will then fight the paratroopers' Market-Garden foes: troubled German teens trained as members of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. Simon Cowell hosts the TV version. (British and German Insignia: Wickipedia)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Peabody Award Photo

Photo: Peter Hastings


My first limo ride in NYC back during Peabody Fest '94. Peter Hastings captures me excitedly pointing to a street mugging—smaller than the one I'm doing in the photo— while Tom Minton keeps his cool. Darn Tourists

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back in the Day

For more old school Warner animation photos, scroll down Tom Ruegger's site.

21 Again

Another from the Hastings Archive via Paul Rugg. More from the 1994 Peabody trip as we stand outside NYC's swank 21 Club, an old speakeasy seen in countless films including Sweet Smell of Success. Myself, Tom Ruegger, Tom Minton, Jean MacCurdy (hailing our limos or small men to carry us—I forget which), Paul Rugg and Nick Hollander. Peter Hastings mans the camera as we look fairly exhausted from a long day of spending the company's money on tourism and fancy dinners.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Link to Broke MGM Story

Troubles at the studio that brought you the Merry Old Land of Oz.

Good as the New Looney Toons?

Superman gets a make-over as a brooding, hoodie-wearing pc fellow, courtesy of more "re-envisoning" in the Time-Warner empire. "Re-envision" is often a euphemism for "new stink."
via Hot Air

Friday, October 29, 2010

U.N. Me Orgins


The picture that inspired the song: U.N. Me, that is. And this photo didn't inspire the song, but the United Nations gift shop did. Here are Paul Rugg, myself and Tom Minton outside that august world body during our 1994 Peabody Award trip. This is yet one more photo from the Hastings Archives forwarded to me via Paul Rugg. I can't remember if Peter went with us to the Empire State Building—which was next that day. But if Paul sends me another photo, the answer will be 'yes.'

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Norm Abram, Paul Rugg and Chums


Wood You Look At That? The real Norm Abram along with Paul Rugg, Peter Hastings, myself and Jean MacCurdy at some private dining room in Pasadena circa 1996. Norm talked dowels and we talked animation. The result was Normadeus. (Peter Hastings found this in his voluminous photo archives.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ruegger and I Smoke Up NYC

Ala Mad Men, there was a time you could actually smoke in the Big Apple. This was taken by Peter Hastings in 1994, when Jean MacCurdy took the Animaniacs writing staff to New York for the Peabody Awards. We got to meet Time-Warner president Gerald Levin, a small man who wore large cushioned shoes and worked in an office hotter than the planet Mercury. This led to speculation that he was from a distant world sent to earth for business reasons.

At the Peabody award luncheon, we sat at a table next to Paul Harvey. Paul Rugg would not stop imitating him and we ended up laughing into our napkins a great deal. There's nothing like a fun, memorable trip paid for by the company.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Secretary of Education

This guy just became available.

99 Muslim Super Heroes on the Wall

Here come the The 99, a group of animated Muslim superheroes bound for TV on the Hub. Working on the show is former Batman writer Stan Berkowitz, who is interviewed in this article. In the first episode, the 99 must deal with one of their own when Samir the Unhinged has a fatwa placed on his teenage daughter for emailing Justin Bieber.
(Artwork: Teshkeel Media Group)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fast Show Video

A sketch from a very odd English comedy show circa 1997 called The Fast Show.

via abbottdirector

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did Paul Rugg Write This?

There is more than a hint of Ruggian sensibility. (Plus Swedish blood courses through Paul's veins like cold water from the Baltic Sea flowing beneath a freighter filled with iron ore and blondes.)

Jaded Haven via RightNetWork

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What is Today?

Today is don't-mess-with-your-35-year-old-drunken-son-when-he-wakes-up-at-noon-with-a-hangover-day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Video: Comedian Jeff Lewis Explores Today's Youth

Former Acme comic Jeff Lewis does what comics do: make their own short films. Very funny.

5minutehour via Scott Kreamer on Facebook

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Life Lives

Nate Ruegger continues to stack up kudos for his film, Another Life.

Simpsons Banksy Opening

The Simpsons featured a new opening by UK graffiti artist Banksy depicting the show's animation and merchandising being created in a squalid, dungeon-like sweat shop. It's already been pulled from EW.com. Is this a case of "I'm guilty over exploiting foreigners, but I'll take the money anyway" or more over-the-top Simpsons humor?

h/t: paxarako!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cracked Link to Silly Ways of Nasty Leaders


We're so hard on our blood-thirsty dictators, judging them for things like killing millions while neglecting the whole person. Learn here about their life-affirming habits.
Via Cracked

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cleese Crushed in Divorce

One of my favs, John Cleese, gets taken to the cleaners, the grocery store, and a small doughnut shop by his ex-wife. In need of funds, he is now available for children's parties and company picnics.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Injury Depression Bloat

Fat suit. That's what I face this Saturday. I have a wedding to attend. I must wear a suit. But I have a big weight problem brought on by depression and overeating. (Starting in mid-August when my knee tanked.) For the last two weeks its been a lot of broccoli and salads. Off to the gym in a half-hour to sweat a bit. I feel like a wrestler trying to cut weight. Or a guy who sits around in sweat pants at a computer all day wondering where the pounds came from.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

Dim-Witted PSA

A ghastly reminder from the UK government to cut your carbon emissions; once again proving you catch more flies with honey than murderous carnage.

mangoswiss via James Delingpole

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading Over Surfing

My friend Bernadette had this up on Facebook, touting a book that examines the importance of reading books in the face of Internet fun.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tom Sheppard in the Paper

Freakazoid!/ P&B writer Tom Sheppard got mentioned in the LA Times for his YouTube work. Tom's a good fellow, deserving of continued success.
Via Julie McNally Cahill on Facebook

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: Devil

High concept: people trapped in an elevator and one of them is the Devil. Now add a game of Spin the Bottle and you have the ingredients for a top-notch horror/thriller, produced by suspense king M. Night Shyamalan. Directed by the Dowdle Brothers, the film's use of Satan in a simple childhood activity undermines innocence and reveals the dark side of humanity. Featuring a cast of little-known actors, the movie unfolds in a Philadelphia office building. Five people stuck in an elevator unmask one of their own as the Devil. Waiting for rescue, they grow bored and spin the Devil around on the floor. Whoever his horns point to when he stops must tell a sin. The Devil promises to reward the biggest sinner with political power, gold and carbon off-sets. However, all the spinning makes the Devil ill. Suffering from motion sickness, the Father of Lies upchucks inside the elevator. The horrified passengers now learn that Satan had tangerines for lunch. Brian Nelson's 75-minute script, with a story credit by suspense king M. Night Shyamalan, keeps you on the edge of your seat and will do to elevators what Psycho did to shower stalls. Rated PG-13 for language and depicting citrus fruit as disgusting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Commence to Read

Ever grown up? Started something? Opened a door for the first time? Check out the writing at Dysfunctional Beginnings and give yourself a fresh start.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Latest Writing Formula

I've finished the next part of the novel's first draft. It comes out to exactly 27,522 words. Throw in my original story and you've got about 150 pages of mostly junk. I'll take a wee break, then write the last section. I've stopped trying to craft coherent sentences and have settled on a method that is part writing, part outline, part stream-of-consciousness, and a lot of notes to myself. In any case, like the erosion of the Rocky Mountains, I'm getting there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cthulhu Con A'Coming

A film festival devoted entirely to all things Lovecraft. This weekend in LA and October 1 - 3 in Portland. Having just sold a Lovecraft-inspired short story to Necrotic Tissue, I'm thinking of heading down there and hobnobbing with my fellow Lovecraftians. The event motto is: "The only festival that understands." Ieeeee to that.

via Mike M. on Facebook
Video: mikeboas

Review: Machete

A breathtaking film, Machete is director Robert Rodriguez homage to beloved children’s tale Charlotte’s Web. Set in the southwest, the film employs the subtle storytelling and layered characterizations that have built Rodriguez’s reputation as the David Lean of Texas. Teen heartthrob Danny Trejo portrays Machete, a blade-packing, Wilbur-like character. Forced to move about like a runt pig in order to remain alive, Machete lives on the allegorical chopping block. In a deft choice, Rodriguez crafts a web of racism and corruption that only Machete can slice. Rotten Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro) is the anti-Charlotte. He is assisted by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a hate-filled businessman who kills illegal immigrants and grinds their bones into bone powder. But Machete has his own Templeton the Rat—Shé (Rebecca Rodriguez). Shé is a taco-truck driving revolutionary who hopes to reclaim Texas for Mexico. Once back in the right hands, Texas will be transformed into a paradise, modeled after the Swiss-like order and civic honesty of Tijuana. Rich with themes of loyalty and undying friendship, Machete, not surprisingly, includes a scene at the Texas State Fair. There, Machete wins a blue ribbon for throwing knives at a spinning target on which is tied a pretty girl in tights (Lindsay Lohan). I believe E.B. White would heartily approve.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Patsy Cline Bio Piece

Patsy Cline would be 78 today. Check out my mini bio of the talented, but doomed, country/pop star.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Circuit Riding

Speaking of buzz, Nate Ruegger does the necessary work to promote his film.

The Year in Fiction

Back in 2009 around this time I wrote a post in which I hoped to sell ten short stories in six months. (Note: the fire I mentioned finally went out and Colin Wells returned safely home from Afghanistan, got married and is completing his Army service.)

I have sold 4 stories—my sidebar tells the tale—out of 21 submissions with one story still out. I expanded a short story into a novella which I'm now expanding into a several hundred page novel.

For the last three years, animation writing has morphed into a maze consisting mostly of dead ends. That could change rapidly, but so far has resisted the impulse.

In any case, nothing gets finished by wishing and wanting, so on I go. Halloween is my deadline for finishing the novel's first draft. I hate and resent the novel. It's like a five-pound bee you can neither kill nor drive from your home.

October 31. Death to the bee!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Review: The Last Exorcism

Teen comedies aren't my first choice, but "The Last Exorcism" had me chuckling like a fat man in a dryer. This light-hearted spoof of religion, dating, and southern mores carried with it the bawdy overtones of American Beauty combined with the serio-comedic stylings of John Hughes' Breakfast Club. Director Daniel Stamm employed a first-person camera ala "Blair Witch" in this often touching tale of 16-year-old Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) who finds she has a demon in her life and must grapple with maturing needs as well as those of an evil being from Hell who desires her degradation and destruction. Patrick Fabian portrays Cotton Marcus, a cynical preacher called upon to exorcise Nell at a remote Louisiana farm. Fabian captures the same hapless frustration as Jeffrey Jones' principal in "Ferris Bueller." Writers Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland weren't afraid to insert a little slapstick as Cotton Marcus and Iris Reisen (Iris Bahr) discover slaughtered cattle, then share a scene straight out of Johnny Puleo and the Harmonica Gang. Unknown Caleb Landry Jones steals the film as Nell's brother Caleb, exhibiting an innocent buffoonery reminiscent of beloved Mexican funny man Cantinflas. "Last Exorcism" hits all the right notes for a late-summer, light-hearted romp to take your mind off the heat and give the funny bone a good workout. (Rated 'R' for scenes of torture and mutilation.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: The Expendables

This classic European mood-piece featured long establishing shots, talky scenes inserted for tone, and searing close ups of tormented characters adrift in a world devoid of action, reduced to lashing out at each other with knives and guns which symbolized the clever, hurtful sarcasm that really wounds. Director Stallone's use of outer violence to mirror inner turmoil was well-intentioned but too subtle to be very effective. Giselle Iti's Sandra was the perfect post-modern, feminist heroine, isolated in a culture that saw her only in terms of gender: general's daughter, revolutionary, nation builder. In a pivotal role, Senyo Amoaku portrayed the Tall Pirate, the Every Man for our own inner tall pirate; that part of us who is always asking, bargaining, threatening hostages with machetes.

In general a thoughtful film to be discussed over espresso and macaroons. All I can say is: bring a hankie.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Link to Read Comics in Public Day

Geek O System alerts us to tomorrow: Read Comics in Public Day. I always thought comic book ads were tough to beat. They're an interesting piece to any business model.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Author Reading on a Hot Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Bernadette organized a reading in a private home. About eight authors presented an eclectic mix of poetry and prose. My wife read a short story she's intending to send out. And, despite a five-minute time limit, I got a good response from "Dagon and Jill." (At least the portion I could read in five minutes.) Hot as the surface of Mercury outside, but the air conditioning worked and there were numerous fresh-baked goodies. We stole several small, easily pawnable items from our host but we're caught and asked to return them. This marred the event somewhat, but will make a nice story for the next one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fest Control

Belated congrats to director Nathan Ruegger whose film Another Life was accepted into the Temecula Valley International Film Festival. Follow his Hollywood journey at Another Life in Film.

Well Said, Don Roff

Over at Forces of Geek, author Roff offers sage advice on meeting the daily word count. I've encountered many of his pitfalls enroute to my own 1k a day.

My wife and I are away this afternoon to a gathering of fellow writers. There we'll each read a few pages from our various works. (I'll present about 5 minutes worth from the recently purchased "Dagon and Jill.") Nice people, good atmosphere, free food—everything a writer needs.

Piranha 3D

i09 has this baby's number.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Batman Beyond on DVD

All of it, the complete series. I was fortunate enough to pen two episodes and this nice site mentioned me along with the talented artists and writers who made "Beyond" an interesting, fun iteration of the Batman saga.
Via Danny Barer

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Freak/Cosgrove Tale

Maz' story more directly reached here.

Links to Ruegger Art and a Freak/Cosgrove Adventure

Scroll down as Maz envisions a Freakazoid!/Cosgrove adventure. (My only quibble involved the monkeys' fate. I believe they would be dressed as evil scuba divers first.)

In addition:

A few drawings from Sam.

Tom renders Yolko and the life of a Basset Hound.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Still Playing With Toys

A site for sore eyes. Bad cyber neighbor that I am, Troy Benjamin's site Still Playing With Toys upgraded two months ago into this really neat blog with lots of video and commentary on Troy's work as "value added" director for DVDs such as Johnny Bravo and Freakazoid! Give him a double-eyed peek.

Writing News

"Death Honk" remains front page at the Journal of Microliterature. Stop by and give it your finest read.

Also, "Fresh Ideas" clings to the #2 Top Story spot at Every Day Fiction. If deemed appropriate, more nice votes would help stave off the latest stories seeking to topple me from my second place perch.

The novel has been temporarily benched as I crank out a short story for an anthology with a due date of Aug. 31. In addition, I may begin working on a Young Adult novel involving a teenage protagonist and a creepy menace only he can see and no one else wants to acknowledge. Much will depend on how much interest exists for such a work in the Young Adult publishing world.

Today! New tires! Why didn't I lead with this? Ohhh, nuts. Brand new tires for meeeee!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

In Print This January...

The wise, thoughtful editorial staff at Necrotic Tissue have purchased my short story, "Dagon and Jill" for publication in issue #13 coming out January 2011. "Dagon and Jill" explores the results of mixing multiculturalism with H.P. Lovecraft. (Think of it as PC Lovecraft.)

In addition, I've been selected as an Editor's Pick, which means I'm paid at the professional rate of 5 cents a word. Unfortunately, its too late to "plump up" the story to take advantage of this unexpected bounty.

Thanks to all who've stopped by and read "Death Honk." It's featured front and center on the Journal of Microliterature through Sat. Aug. 21. Now back to all things novel.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Three Beeps for "Death Honk"

"Death Honk" posted at the Journal of Microliterature as the featured story for this week. What would you do for a job? What does Kevin do? Read and know, leave a comment, have some coffee, all in the order you find most pleasing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Amazing WW II Footage

Sixty-five years ago, Japan surrendered ending World War II. My father was stationed on Okinawa with the Army engineers and the end of hostilities kept him from building airfields during Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan. Allied casualties were projected to be heavy, thus my future writing career was saved by good fortune and the atomic bomb.

Here's remarkable color footage from 1945 Honolulu.
via Ace of Spades

"Death Honk" Tomorrow

Flash fiction piece "Death Honk" debuts on the Journal of Microliterature starting Sunday, Aug. 15 for seven of your standard Earth days. Drop by for a flash read, leave a comment or two, then go about your lives refreshed and secure in the knowledge that you now know a death honk from a casual beep.

738 words into today's 1K. I'm stacking up the chapters, but the pace is wearying. Perhaps a day off on the Sabbath to read what I've written this week and see if it makes any sense. (Even if it doesn't, I'm pressing on.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nostalgia Critic Interview Notes

An impressive job by the Nostalgia Critic. The interviews were conducted via Skype with each interviewee responsible for filming their end. Then the film was uploaded to NC who combined five different cameras and sound levels with his own set-up. A very ala carte process that came together in post. Well done, I say.

BTW: Interviews were conducted individually over the course of a week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nostalgia Critic Tonight

Tom Ruegger, Nate Ruegger, Paul Rugg, Sherri Stoner and myself will be web-visible sometime this evening as the Nostalgia Critic interviews us about back-in-the-day on Animaniacs.

Death Honk Week

For seven big days, "Death Honk" will be the featured story at The Journal of Microliterature. What would you do or say to get a job? Find out what one man does beginning Sunday Aug. 15.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Score Again!

The Journal of Microliterature is up and running. My flash fiction piece, "Death Honk," has been accepted and will appear this Sunday, Aug. 15. Stop by and give it a read. Under 1k words, four pages or so, the tale is a time-saver for the busy fiction aficionado.

Bad Russian Sci Fi Flick

Paul Rugg alerted me to this film. Wherever it may be found, find it and watch the whole thing. It is rich in surreal comedy on many levels. This is only a sample, including the main title and end cards. There is oh, so much more in-between.

via UnfilteredNoise

Friday, August 06, 2010

1K a Day + Pitch

That is my current goal: to write a thousand words a day on the novel (around five pages). Since last week, I've been pretty consistent. Nothing will be harder than finishing the first draft, so that's where I'll be.

Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver and I pitched a show yesterday over at Comedy Central. Very pleasant experience, though who knows how it'll play out. (Paul Rugg would've gone along but decided to take paying voice work instead. At lunch afterwards, we cursed him and munched our salads with bitter, jealous expressions.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Death Honk Away

"Death Honk" wings off to possible literary placement. It's been a fun two-weeks working on it, but now back to the labor-intensive novel.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dagon and Jill Makes the Short List

My short story "Dagon and Jill" passes the first cut at a fiction magazine. Hopefully, in under five weeks, I'll know if I've placed. This story has been down the aisle before and I believe its finally ready for full-time commitment.

When Nerds Collide

The pen is mightier than snark down at Comic-Con.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writing & Running Updates

Who is at Comic Con?
Not me. Not this year. Some other year, perhaps.

I'm withdrawing a story from a magazine. Not only did they sit on it for 5 months, but their automated replay system promised to investigate and respond in 10 days. It is now 11 days and counting. They must use geologic time.

Time to swing for the fence and send that story off to the toughest fantasy/sci-fi market there is; long response time, but pro-pay (5 cents a word!)

My 1K story for the Journal of Microliterature has arrived at a first draft motel. I've given it a well-merited rest to allow my subconscious to tidy up various rough spots. But I'm confident any tale called "Death Honk," must have an audience somewhere.

No running this week as my knee has been sore since Saturday. Nothing serious, but there is a bit of sensation where, previously, none existed. I'll ice more and try a mile this weekend. Yes, that is what I will do. Then I will eat limes to avoid scurvy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Write You Are

Friend Bernadette offers a link to 10 Rules For Writers. There should be 11: Don't be afraid to write crap on the first draft. (Currently following that to a T.)

A Different Paul

Other than the jovial Mr. Rugg. My Darling Wife has an essay up on the apostle and his views on women.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jimmy Freeman Pre-Badwater

Observe Jimmy Freeman, briefly, here and there in the official Badwater video, 10 AM (Monday) start. Watch for a tall, smiling fellow in a yellow Coyote runners shirt at :10, 3:53, 7:14, and 8:40. Note: He finished 16th overall and held off two other runners at the finish. Impressive, I think.

via AdventureCORPS

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jimmy Freeman Nails Badwater

And that's that. Congrats to Jimmy Dean Freeman, Badwater finisher.

And more than that: 16th overall and Jimmy held off three other runners at the finish, beating one by 4 seconds and another by 10. A-maze-ing.

Freeman at Badwater

While we slept Jimmy Dean Freeman was running the Badwater Ultra-Marathon, starting from the floor of Death Valley and ending at the portals of Mount Whitney: 135 miles. He's been running since 10:00 AM yesterday. In just under 22 hours, he's covered 90 miles. An outstanding feat from a man who is never dull.

Meanwhile, I wrote all day, had supper, arose after 7 hours of sleep, ran 3 miles, and had breakfast. But no awards are given for these things. (Though I am pretty darn happy to run 3 miles in whatever time it takes.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fighting an Airline Through Song

United screwed an artist who punches back.

via sonsofmaxwell

Fresh Ideas in Second Place at Every Day Fiction

Thank you all who read and voted for my story on Every Day Fiction. I've vaulted into second place over three other tales, and now lead by 7 votes. Well played, say I!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Invited to Submit a Short Story

Goodly folk at the Journal of Microliterature have invited me to submit a short story under 1k words. This invite comes about via the great feedback "Fresh Ideas" has gotten on Every Day Fiction. If you have not read it yet, do stop by and, should the spirit move you, vote generously. I'm currently in a 4-way tie for #2. Push me over the top, I implore you! (And I rarely 'implore.')

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated





Story editor Mitch Watson announced the latest incarnation of Scooby-Doo! is headed for the small screen this Monday, July 12 at 7:00 PM PST on Cartoon Network. Paul Rugg wrote several episodes. (I wrote one.) Scares and laughs combine as the gang investigates a small town with more mysteries than the library. Give it a view.

Tom On Board

Tom Ruegger's new blog is up.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Another July 4 5K

Back in business as I finished the Santa Clarita 5K this morning. Unlike 2007, the day was perfect, cool with cloud cover until well after the finish.

Part of Chi Running involves keeping cadence with a metronome. Running uphill, I shorten my stride; downhill I lengthen it out behind me; and to speed up on the flats, I lean forward from my ankles ala a ski jumper only not so extreme or I would be badly hurt in a different way.

But the cadence is always the same.

I really noticed this going uphill today. My heart rate didn't spike, my breath stayed constant and I steadily passed huffing runners.

My goal was to have a fun, injury-free race, though I did pick it up on the last straightaway to the finish line. An old guy passed me. I am an old guy, but this runner made me look like Justin Beiber. (If Justin's nose was all funny from skin cancer.) I leaned from the ankles, sped up and passed him. The old codger put on the gas and passed me again. Leaning further, I sped up, dropped the codger, passed a teenage girl and finished in an unofficial time of 29:37. (Santa Clarita is old school - tear the tag off your race bib and hand it to the kid at the end of the chute.)

In an interesting decision, the race directors choose not to display mile signs or have anyone calling out splits. I guess they figured its a 5K, not Boston. ("Next thing ya know, they'll want race videos.") However, they made up for it with a nice technical tee-shirt in a color I don't have.

Oddly enough, the 2007 event was my first race back after tearing a calf muscle that spring. Santa Clarita appears to be my rehab 5K of choice.

An enjoyable run that showed me the potential of chi running. More importantly, no pain or soreness in my knee.

Happy July 4th to all! Cook! Blow something up! Sleep in! The Founding Fathers would've done all those things, but John Adams yelled at them so they declared Independence instead.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My Own Private Badwater

Jimmy Freeman prepares to run the real thing July 12 to 14 - 135 miles from the floor of Death Valley to Mount Whitney across terrain the temperature and contour of the planet Mercury.

Meanwhile I will be running a 5k in Santa Clarita. All things are relative and this is a big deal for a guy who wasn't supposed to run anymore. I'm still trying to master this Chi running stuff and have advanced to the point where I can pass people tying their shoes or eating a snack. My Sunday goal is a fun run without injury, plus a technical tee-shirt in my goodie bag. I think free Smoothies afterward, but that may be wishful thinking.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paper Wave; Writing/Running Update

A mound of unread books and magazines has drawn me away from the Web along with a desire to reestablish myself as a guy who can focus with single-minded intent on the printed word, as Internet use has gradually eroded my ability to do so.

I've officially begun the other two sections of my novel. Rather than a detailed outline, which has killed two other book attempts, this time I'm filling chapters with stream-of-consciousness notes, thoughts, scenes. That way, I'm more open to the sudden, unexpected changes that will arise. I'm quite excited after avoiding the start for months. Halloween remains my deadline for a first draft.

Went a'hiking with Paul Rugg the other day. Paul's not afraid of a vertical trail. However, coming down those vertical trails pounded my knee into soreness. Ran two miles and walked one on Thursday with lingering knee tenderness. Iced on Thu. and Fri; did yoga yesterday, then walked two/ran two today over at Griffith Park. Much improved knee and I finished the run relaxed and pain-free. This Chi running style is quite different and will take a long time to master, but it eliminates the jarring heel strike I practiced successfully for 40 years (give or take a few years off for drunkenness or sloth).

Sunday, June 06, 2010

D-Day Kudos

Sixty-six years ago they went ashore on beaches called Gold, Sword (British), Juno (Canadians), Utah and Omaha (Americans). Thanks to the men who invaded Normandy and ended Nazi rule of France, ensuring the world's supply of depressing literature would continue on into a new century. Freedom must include poor usage or it isn't really freedom. Observe college students. Anyway, the Allies rocked big time that far-off day. Their memory lives on.

stage
BTW: An interesting footnote I probably learned from the History Channel, ie. numerous 16 mm reels of great D-Day battle footage lie at the bottom of the English Channel. A U.S. Army cameraman reported his film, and that of other combat cameramen, were collected by a colonel who stuffed the canisters in a duffel bag, then accidentally dropped the bag into the sea. I feel something similar happens to most of my tax dollars.

SD Marathoners Run Away!

That's what they're doing right now: Ernesto, Emil, Rouman, C.J., Mindy, Caroline, Lindsey, aided by coaches Dave, Karla, Chris, Elizabeth and walk coach extraordinaire Kim Possible. They're running away at the new and improved San Diego Marathon. Adding a half-marathon (for the general public) and changing the course to end at Sea World has pumped up race attendance by thousands. Best of luck to all and here's hoping the marine layer lasts 'till afternoon.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Run/Write Report

Another 3 miles yesterday, walking fast for two minutes then running for 1 and repeating as necessary to cover the distance in 36:53 which comes out to 12:17 a mile. Despite the fact that I'm fat as a bean bag sofa, I was pleased to finish minus knee soreness, a state that continues into today. Hopefully, I'll keep up this routine for the next month, 3x a week.

Unless work intervenes. Then I'll be forced to give up work.

I had an idea for a fast, fun science fiction story that I would write in a week. It's turned into two weeks. Unlike the curt "Fresh Ideas," this one seems to be growing into another 8K-word honker ala "Bane Fish." As I've never written a sci-fi story, I find myself spending a lot of time crafting backstory that won't see the page but ends up informing my story choices. I need to complete a draft before I totally bail out for something easier.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Paul and Jillian Rugg Challenge Themselves

Paul and Jillian Rugg throw themselves into the Froynlaven Challenge. (To the soundtrack from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad no less.)
via takineko on Facebook.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brief and to the Pointless

Least I forget, Alex responds to the Froynlaven Challenge.

via MrWarners14

So long, Dennis Hopper

Wigging out while Marlon reads T.S. Elliot.

w6257 via Ace of Spades

Veteran Poppies


Growing up in Chicago, veterans from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars would be out on street corners (and in taverns) every Memorial Day selling red paper poppies to aid our injured servicemen. Los Angeles is so diffused, I can't recall the last time I saw anyone selling them. Here's a brief history of how the poppy was selected (and how to make your own.) All the best to our nation's best this Memorial Day. (Photo: LA Times)

Yet Another Paul Rugg Challenger

Steph answers the Froynlaven call.

via SassiTheKitty

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Number 1 on Every Day Story

As you can see, I'm atop the Every Day Story heap (at least for a time) thanks to everyone who read and voted on "Fresh Ideas." Sterling work, I say. Keep it up!

Link to Cartoon Series Blog

Kaleb and Luke are developing a cartoon series, posting on the process as they go. Follow along behind the curtain, as it were.

Monday, May 24, 2010

If You Please...

...kindly drop by Every Day Fiction and read my short story, "Fresh Ideas." It's short, I tell you. If so moved, leave a nice comment and a swell rating. Thank you for your support. I will imagine presents and gold appearing on the front seat of your car.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Java with Madeleine

Met Madeleine from Vasteras, Sweden for the second time. We had coffee in Sherman Oaks and discussed animation, travel and the Kroner. At first, our talk was pleasant, but I made a serious social blunder by mentioning the 1709 Battle of Poltava and the rout of Swedish forces by the Russians under Peter the I. Madeleine took offense at my comments on Swedish sovereign Charles XII. With growing passion, she argued that Charles' heavily outnumbered army pressed the action for most of the fight, finally drowning in a sea of Russian infantry. Delicately, I mentioned that Peter had trained up his army and they were no longer an ill-organized rabble, though some problems persisted. (Peter had difficulty getting the Russians to fire their muskets at the Swedes and not at the clouds which his peasant troops mistook for billowy fiends sent by the Devil to eat them. This was a problem common to northern European armies of the day.) In any case, Madeline slammed down her latte and stormed off after I mentioned the five-year exile of Charles XII in Moldavia following his defeat. So matters between us ended sharply. I hope Madeleine has a safe trip home. If anyone else is meeting her in Southern California, please let sleeping dogs - or exiled Swedish kings - lie. That would be best, I should think, for all concerned.

New Looney Toons?

Coming soon, another attempt to revive the Looney Toons. I recall the last animated TV series, Loonatics Unleashed, as being especially feckless. Still, one hopes for the best. Even a blind hen occasionally pecks some corn.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Numbers Game

The producer yesterday liked several of my ideas, but now the ideas must be approved by the execs. A very subjective process. What the producers favor the execs may reject for various whimsical criteria. ("Too many notes.") Fortunately, I brought many ideas, improving my chances of going to script. Hopefully, I'll find out by week's end.

via prestoagitato2

Cracked Link to Lobe Sighting

An old friend appears in this article on brain fails.
Via Tom Ruegger.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Score!

Congrats to Steve and Julie Bernstein and Rob Paulsen for a great performance in Cincinnati.
via Steve Bernstein on Facebook.

Sore Knee and Novel Progress

Walking too fast on too hard a surface. Plenty 'o ice the last few days. Plus I've been cutting down on my Internet time. Excessive on-line use makes it difficult for me to concentrate on things like reading and writing. Fast instant gratification erodes discipline, especially since they've added video to my favorite hot coed sites.

My novel has not progressed beyond more 3x5 cards. (I now remember setting Halloween as a first draft completion deadline. My, how time passes when you procrastinate.) Sent the first 70 pages out as a novelette to an English publication. The editor's reaction was similar to his American counterparts: "Where's the rest of it?" In my head, alas.

However, I do have enough material to try and get a literary agent. Plus, there's already interest from a small publisher who'd like to see the finished product. (The publisher's business model is small. He may be small personally, but I have no information on that. Nor would his stature effect any of my monetary decisions unless he did creepy things with his height, like hide in baskets then jump out and hit people with a TV tray.)

Rare paying work has inserted itself into my schedule. I need to attend to that at once before the novelty evaporates.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walking Fast

Stopped by a local high school track last night and walked 3 miles as fast as I could. That turned out to be 41:35, a 13:51 pace. Too much, too soon I think, since I'm tired today. But my final mile was 11:28, which is minutes faster than the running pace for my first marathon. The goal is to let the running happen naturally, but I'm close now.

Tonight, I'm going to watch a documentary by Werner Herzog on the late Rev. Gene Scott. He was big here in Southern California during the 1980s and 90s. Quite a character; no other TV preacher quite like him. Herzog never has trouble locating fascinating subjects.

Monday, May 10, 2010

So Long, Frank Frazetta


Artist Frank Frazetta died following a stroke. He was 82. I loved his work, particularly the evocative covers he drew for Warren Publications Creepy and Eerie back in the mid-60s. When paperback Conan the Barbarian tales appeared around the same time, Frazetta's work graced the front. The old National Lampoon hired him once to draw a cover. Inside that issue, Frazetta also drew the cover for a satiric comic on a gay Dracula. Ah, well, adieu, Frank. Best wishes and prayers for the family.