Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot From the Steam Room

After a long drive down and back to Riverside County to visit my cousin, I stopped at the pool on the way home. As I finished kickboarding, a hot Russian chick, early twenties, dove in. She wore a pastel mini-bikini bottom and a blue tube top that didn't match. (But who cared?) Sticking close to her was an old guy, mid-60s, whom I thought might be family or determined to make a big fool out of himself.

In the steam room, I had the place to myself and stretched out sore shoulder muscles. Suddenly the old guy and the Russian chick entered. She had on Day-Glo Crocs that cut through the steam like lime-green fog lights. Taking a seat nearby, they started talking as if I weren't around. The old guy had an American accent, but kept his voice low. Meanwhile, she's laying out intimate life details in almost perfect English:

"Then, after school, I moved from Russia to California, Marina Del Rey. My boyfriend came over next. I helped him with his paperwork to get a Green Card. I was totally dedicated to him, then I found out he was cheating on me the whole time. I couldn't believe it."

Was the American with the INS? CIA? An old horn dog trying to pick up a gabby Russian chick in a mismatched bathing suit? Did she confront the boyfriend? Busted vodka bottles, Slavic threats shouted in the language of their motherland? A struggle? A blow struck with a thick, depressing book by Dostoevsky?

Three boisterous guys entered and broke the mood. The Russian chick clammed up. I hung around and did a few more shoulder exercises, but she was done, sweating in silence with her glowing Crocs.

I've marked the time of the incident. Friday, I'll go back. Hopefully, they'll be more. But if there isn't, there will be steam. Yes. Plenty of steam.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back in the Water

Kickboarding so as not to fray my tendon; hadn't done any water exercises since August. I was quickly tired out, able to do half of an old workout. Then I used the health club sauna and steam room to loosen up - hopefully - my right shoulder. If I can get up early, I'll head back to the gym and heat up the right pecs and lats prior to my physical therapy. (Then maybe it won't hurt so stinking much.)

Started working on another short story. This tale pits politically correct educator/scolds against the Great Old Ones. It's a continuation of a style I tried in another short story, "Dagon and Jill." I'm calling the style, PC Lovecraft. The new story is "The Dunwich Diversity Seminar." If nothing else, I'm having a pleasant time and, I hope, you are as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pasadena Marathon Morning

Not for me, but for other, fitter types. Could be rain on the course again this year. Best of luck to all marathon runners and walkers.

Physical therapy yesterday really hurt. I can't swim, row or do certain other exercises until these knots in the lats and pecs are softened up. So I continue my pt homework until the next time I'm kneaded.

Haven't written anything in about three weeks. Zero drive. Looks like Ten-in-Six will end up Eight-in-Six, with one of those a 69 page novelette. I should add up the total number of pages out of sheer bureaucratic curiosity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Funny Zordon Video

If you like Power Rangers, well, this is nothing like it. But Zordon definitely has non-PC 'tude.

Photoshop Website

On Facebook, Takineko struck paydirt, discovering a site that photoshops two images together: here is a vehicle with someone unnamed, here Emmitt Nervend amuses, while here poses the ultimate fan of Manny the Uncanny. Finally, this shows Manny learning all about the undead.

Huntsman Art Link

Sound the Horn of Urgency! Armando caught this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My First Release

A story was released by a magazine after three months. They enjoyed the story but couldn't place it in any of their issues. (The editor was kind enough to include readers' complimentary remarks as they passed my copy up the ladder.) It's somewhat like being told you're perfect for a job, but none of the cubicles fit you.

Shoulder work continues at the rehab as I received an extension on my physical therapy. Movement has improved, but there are still tight, painful areas. Much like writing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chi Walking and the Liquid Creature

"Its the liquid creature." A direct quote from the H-Man, but many of you, no doubt, knew that. Spent the late morning with a chi-walking coach, Steve Mackal. He pointed out that I was inadvertently combining a blend of chi running and walking that wasn't exactly cool. So I corrected my style and will continue walking 3x a week for another month. Then I'll see about some running. Now back to the misadventures of 'the liquid creature."

Pixar Video

The wages of cuteness.

h/t: collegehumor

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Banned Beer Commercials

h/t: leenellmills

Single Awareness Sunday

Unattached Ernesto calls Valentine's Day the above. He's headed to a bar tonight night filled with singles, gathered there by gregarious, romantic bartender C.J., for the express purpose of switching over to couple status. Best wishes to all. And Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

TNT Reunion of Sorts and Chi Walking

Before meeting Ernesto for breakfast over at the Rose Bowl clubhouse, I decided to get in my 2-mile walk. (He was running 10 in preparation for the L.A. Marathon.) A host of Team in Training coaches and mentors and honcho Lindsey were hanging around Lot K, busy awaiting the return of the team from their 3-mile assessment run. Very nostalgic.

My knee hurt a bit at first, then settled down quietly. This is now the first week I've completed 3 walks since I've been cleared to walk for exercise - unofficially - back in October. Because of the excitement of running into old friends, I probably started too fast but settled down and did my pace.

I need to be around people walking Chi style, preferably experienced ones who can correct me and guide my progress. Alas, the only group I know of is way down in Long Beach - a heck of a drive even on a Saturday morning. But strange things happen, often good things and, perhaps, a cadre will form around the Rose Bowl in time. Until then, it's watch the chi running DVD and practice every time I get up and walk to the refrigerator, which should give me plenty of practice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cavalcade of Therapy

My excellent Motion Picture Industry health benefits run out in March. Thus I'm on a health binge to use up certain services. I had physical therapy this morning for my shoulder, then rushed over to the chiro's for a tune-up. I've had the same chiro for 15 years. Eric's a good guy, former marathon runner like me, but getting tired of cracking backs. Possessing an undergrad degree in chemistry, he's been putting it to use studying nights to be a crime scene technician. It sounds like a Discovery Channel show: Forensic Chiropractor. In any case, we swapped tales of mayhem. I told Eric about my recent exposure to bridge jumpers, mentioning a SF Chronicle story on how physically unpleasant it is to jump 250 feet into the sea. He countered with a description of a body found recently on the 5 Freeway, so flattened by truck traffic cops couldn't identify it. After our pleasant exchange, we agreed to meet again next week. I left, my back refreshed, glad to be alive and unmangled.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walking and Writing Fiction

And I'll have walked 3x this week, slightly over 2 miles per outing. So far, no soreness. I'm slowly losing weight and hope to intro a little running into my walks next month.

Another story politely rejected. The editor made a few reserved comments, one of which I thought had merit. So I tweaked the story slightly, cut a few sentences, and sent it out again. Eventually, I'll wear these editors down like water on stone. Of course, that can take thousands of years, but I'm hoping for less.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thoughts on The Bridge

A filmmaker spent 2004 with cameras trained on the Golden Gate Bridge, recording a goodly number of the 24 people who leaped to their deaths that year.

Falling from the bridge takes around 4 seconds.

The Bridge wove those grim scenes into a documentary film, surrounding them with witness interviews and talks with the jumpers' family and friends. Mental illness, a diet of drugs, or overwhelmed by life seemed the most common reasons for taking the literal plunge.

The body reaches a velocity of 75 mph before hitting the water.

Most suicides weren't a surprise to those nearest the deceased, but shock and grief were a parting gift that kept on giving.

One person survived the jump. Others have lived through similar or worse falls, but the odds favor a terminal outcome.

A most disturbing film.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Bowl

is over. Physical therapy for my shoulder continues tomorrow with more pulling and prodding and kneading. Can't seem to get untracked and write anything as I chew on sunflower seeds ala Fox Mulder and wait for a spacecraft to come collect me. If one does, I'll be upset and want to go back to my favorite chair. And the whole probing thing...without even dinner and a show!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Link to Morose Author Facts

My friend (and fellow writer) Bernadette sent me this dour essay on writing that tells me little that I didn't already know, but tells it well.

Stormy Weather

Or the aftermath. A view yesterday evening from our church parking lot as mud slides have already done their damage and the storm departs to the east.

Congrats to Bruce Timm

Winner of the Annie's Winsor McCay Award in recognition of career contributions in animation. (Jeffrey Katzenberg and Tim Burton also received McCays.) Complete 37th Annie winners list here. I'm more amazed that Timm lasted over two decades at Warner Bros. (Along with Alan Burnett.) There should be an award for that. In a way, I guess there is. It's called a 'paycheck.'

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Good Short Story Advice

Though the author favors sci-fi, his tips contain a wealth of practical info.
h/t: American Digest

TV Animation Gig and Physical Therapy

An animated job may loom on the horizon. Such a novelty these days, though my agent reported more cartoon shows are surfacing than over the last three years. A studio exec. wanted to see old school Warners stuff. I sent along an Animaniacs script that never got produced, but has been well-received as a writing sample. Called "The Big Nap," the Chandleresque parody featured the Warner Bros. as private eyes and Hello Nurse, naturally, as the femme fatale. Hi jinx, as they saying goes, ensued.

On the body front, my shoulder really aches from yesterday's physical therapy. The therapist massaged, kneaded and stretched various cuffs, muscles, and joints to loosen the pinched tendon. Clearly, not so easy. Plus there was homework.

As to walking, that's out this weekend. The knee is sore and needs icing. And so, back to the keyboard to finish up a short story as rain falls gently outside and the neighborhood youth serenade the block with a symphony of bass-heavy rap and horn honking.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hearing Haiti

Audiobook actors will be discussing growth in their industry. Listen in for a donation that goes to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Effort. Details, as they say in Georgia, rot 'cher.
h/t: Voiceroy via Facebook.

Famous Directors Helming the Super Bowl

My fave is David Lynch.

h/t: Slate V via Hot Air

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Walk Don't Run

And I did today, for a little over two miles. No knee pain and a bit more comfort locomoting in the chi walking style. I set up a meeting with a chi running/walking coach to refresh my technique and correct my form.

Adding to my physical fun, I pinched a tendon in my right shoulder. Back to physical therapy, where they remember me from last fall. Twice a week for three weeks plus homework. But my range of motion has already improved after one session and I'm thinking this should be easy.

Haven't written much the last few days. Doesn't look like I'll finish the final two short stories. But I could finish one. Maybe. If I stop making excuses and write. Okay. I will.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Almost a Pasadena Pacer

Saturday, I will attempt to hang with a group of walkers. I'm not sure how many miles they plan on doing, but I'm gone at the first sign of knee pain. The walkers are associated with the Pasadena Pacers, a local running club who, most importantly, don't charge any dues. I'm keen to see how my knee reacts to, say, three miles at a modest pace. Not much in the grand scheme of marathons and ultramarathons, but a worthy start. And free. I mentioned that?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Bane Fish" Published

My short story on the law and surviving sea monsters has surfaced in Night Chills. Thanks to all who helped out with the reading last summer. (Image: Black Matrix Publishing LLC)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Foreign Freak

Takineko scores again.

Baby, We Were Born to Move Briskly

Or run, according a 19-year study. Seems it may even be good for you.

My Toby Danger Idea

Continuing to cull my paperwork, I came across an idea for a Toby Danger episode. In 1997, I pitched Jean MacCurdy on breaking out TD for its own series. Jean actually understood how the animation business worked and said she'd look into it, but the chances were remote. Everything developed with Steven Spielberg—Animaniacs, etc.—involved profit sharing and a host of complicated legal elements. Since Dreamworks was then a competitor, Warners didn't see any point in bankrolling a show in which they didn't totally own the property.

That said, here was my thought for "Danger on Ice."

An Alaskan cruise ship full of retirees is attacked by two giant snow crabs, who carry off a Jell-o effigy of Wayne Newton. The Dangers arrive to investigate on the Flying Island. As they circle to land near the fishing village of Muskeg, Dr. Danger lectures everyone on the how the government has a responsibility to help people in trouble. As the Island lands, it throws up a huge wave that swamps several fishing boats.

The Dangers disembark in the Danger Command Car, armed with a high-powered micro wave ray dish and a rack of stainless steel barrels for Dash to throw. They head over to the inlet where the cruise ship was attacked, accidentally locking Jules the cat outside the vehicle, clinging desperately to the radio antennea.

At the inlet, Dr. Danger investigates a shoreline littered with dead fish. Toby, Sandra and Jules go exploring. Dash attempts to open a metal thermos of cocoa with a pipe wrench and fares badly. Face dripping cocoa, he joins Dr. Danger who surmises that a mixture of cruise boat fuel and jettisoned low-salt meals have interfered with the aquatic ecosystem, upsetting the snow crab's diet.

DR. DANGER: You see, Dash, according to Newton's First Law of Physics, the crabs are left with no choice but to grow to monstrous size and attack Mankind.

DASH: When you put it that way, Doc, it makes a lot of sense.

Meanwhile, Jules pounces on a young bald eagle that has landed in the snow. Suddenly, a giant snow crab rises up behind the unsuspecting cat. Toby bursts INTO FRAME and grabs the bald eagle, fleeing as Jules is squashed by the crab. Toby tells Sandra how proud his dad will be when he learns he rescued a rare species. The eagle bites Toby on the nose and flies off.

Sandra and Toby are cornered by the snow crab, but a battered Jules has alerted Dr. Danger to the menace. Arriving with Dash in the Danger Command Car, they open fire with the micro wave ray, missing the crab and incinerating a forest of old growth timber. Finally roasting the crab, the Dangers are reunited in time for the second snow crab to attack. Dash buys time by throwing a stainless steel barrel.

Inside the Danger Command Car, Dr. Danger fires the micro wave again. But the crab is too close and tips over the vehicle. The Dangers flee in an escape flier, leaving the micro wave ray still running, pointed directly at a huge glacier.

Inside the escape flier, Toby realizes they've forgotten Jules.

DASH: Too late to go back, Toby. Let's hope Jules has a couple of his nine lives left.

CUT TO: The second snow crab crunching Jules.

Using the escape flier's grappling hook, the Dangers' at last clutch the second crab and drop it into a volcano. WIPE TO: The village of Muskeg where everyone is enjoying giant crab legs. As they return to the Flying Island, Sandra tries to get Dr. Danger's attention. The glacier struck by the micro wave ray has melted and a great wall of water is descending on Muskeg. But Dr. Danger is busy lecturing Toby on the importance of preserving nature's balance and how science must be harnessed to that end. As the Flying Island lifts off, the glacial wave submerges Muskeg, while the villagers flee, screaming "IEEEEEEEE!" (Image: Warner Bros.)