Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

American cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Like the man said, "freedom isn't free." Memorial Day should contain an element of remembrance for all who served and especially those who fell.

As a kid in the Midwest, our parents once took us to a Memorial Day parade in a small town outside Chicago. In addition to the high school marching bands and cheerleaders, the stars of the day were a large group of survivors from the Bataan Death March. At the time, they were middle-aged guys, mostly in their forties, and seemed relaxed, walking along in a loose knot and waving to the cheering crowd. Only later did I learn what they had endured fighting on Bataan and how they had been treated on the march to prisoner-of-war camps. Freedom certainly wasn't free for them.

So I thank our veterans, past and present, including my second cousin Marty Smith serving in the Air Force. Thanks for watching our backs and allowing us to barbecue in peace.

Forgot to mention Colin Wells of the Army's Stryker Brigade, home safe from Afghanistan and based in Ft. Lewis. Thanks on behalf of the Write Enough family.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things to Watch Recovering from Surgery

Yesterday I watched more TV than I have in one sitting in many a year. In a post-operative haze I viewed:

1. I Shouldn't Be Alive

2. Biography of John Candy

3. Two Hour Special on Snipers

4. Scared Straight

5. 2 Hours of Storage Wars

Dog the Bounty Hunter was coming on but I was done in and lapsed into a deep sleep sitting upright per doctor's orders.

Some pain today, but not bad. I can move my fingers, but typing is a bit difficult. More soon on this year's operation.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Away, Away to Surgery Land!

I'll return soon with a patched up rotator cuff. Shouldn't be long before I'm back pitching AAA ball, wait. I never pitched AAA ball. But I will receive a video of the procedure possibly with the soundtrack to House. I thought they were kidding when they told me about the video, but this is, after all, the Motion Picture Hospital. Why not my own underscore throughout the operation? A craft services table for the doctors and a separate one for administration and nursing. Remember: anything can happen in Hollywood, even good things.

Rachel Maddow Meets the Huntsman

Thanks to Tom Minton and Tom Ruegger we now have MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and frustrated crime fighter The Huntsman in the same room at the same time. Zip ahead to around 7:52 for her intro. Don't forward too far ahead or you'll be saying, "Darn the luck!"
Image: meine kleine fabrik &

Monday, May 23, 2011

Busy Shoulder Pre-Op

'Perchance to Dream' said the Bard and I'm down with that. The last two and a half weeks have been a series of marketing deadlines, animation pitch meetings, and overall preparation for this operation on Wednesday—such as getting all the bills paid while I'm still able to type with both hands. I've worked every day and still need time to complete the last few marketing/animation projects.

But Wednesday—sleep, then football-sized pain pills. And it will all seem very dream-like.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Published Yet Again

A short story of mine, "Fresh Ideas" has migrated into an anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction Three. Support small presses, especially the ones that publish my stories. They have the discrimination and taste to rise above their boorish peers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pitching Animated Shows

A strike and a long foul ball. Double-pitch meeting today at a studio with happy, laughing execs. They knocked down one idea in short order, but loved another, wanting to hear a bit more. So I'll get a second swing. Weird to be on that particular lot, since I'd worked there a few years ago during a dark period of life and hadn't been back since. It was the last time I smoked.

So fix my one idea, write up a few more, and return to seek that elusive development deal.

Just to clarify my Ick! post. I reread it and smelled a victimy scent. I'm the only one who can sidetrack me—not mean people, bad breaks, or unfortunate circumstances. Alas, I'm very good at sidetracking myself, thus need little help. But this time will be different!

"The hot dog of fate is often lathered in the mustard of opportunity."
Billy the Marlin, mascot for the Florida Marlins

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ugly Pitch Meeting

An unpleasant pitch meeting this morning. The exec. clearly was looking for reasons not to buy my animated TV show idea and couldn't wait to tell me. One the one hand it was refreshing to receive the blunt, unvarnished truth, on the other hand who wants the blunt unvarnished truth when it isn't good news?

I've never had a rewarding experience at this particular studio, despite the fact that I know many people who have worked there for years and proclaim it a pleasant environment. Several years back, one big exec. dissed me to my agent and would not allow me to even pitch there. What triggered his animus has yet to be revealed. In any case, his no-pitch edict was successfully enforced. Today was my fourth pitch in six years. (On one of those pitches I was the writer attached to a big star's project; on another they passed on a fav, Tomorrow Bear.)

On Wednesday, I have a double-header, pitching a brace of animated TV show ideas to an exec. at another studio where I've had universally pleasant but financially meager dealings over time.

"Each new at-bat holds the potential for a variety of outcomes."
— Billy the Marlin, mascot for the Florida Marlins

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Marathon Mom Finishes

Congrats to first-time marathoners Bernadette and daughter Hope (and friend Emily) for finishing the Pasadena Marathon. Good running weather—overcast, 50s, rain—but lousy for cheering.

I walked my 5k and finished in 41:18. That's about 13:17 a mile and landed me smack in the middle of my age group. (Had I run as well as I did at Santa Clarita last year I'd have placed third and taken home a coveted age group medal. My point being Santa Clarita has much faster old men.) Despite the pissy sky, I beat out a 79 year old man and a four-year old girl and challenged a woman pushing a stroller but she pulled away in the home stretch.

Who do I meet on the course but old Team in Training coaches Jimmy and Kate Freeman. (Jimmy was coaching a group completing their first 5k.) Kate was watching her hub work having just crossed the half-marathon finish line, third among women, strolling in at 1:29:03.

Anyway, fun to participate in a race again. Note that the 5k gave out finishers medals. It's like receiving an award for placing seventh in a Candyland tournament. But I accepted the medal on behalf of my knee. Congrats to all who ran in Pasadena today!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

No Man is an Island—But Several Men are Peninsulas

For old times sake I'll be walking the Pasadena 5k tomorrow. Haven't actually run in two weeks because of a sore knee. And after my late May shoulder operation I won't be running or walking much for the next three months. So this will be a leisurely farewell stroll for the reminder of the summer. By fall, I'll weigh as much as the island of Crete. But there are racing categories for island-sized men and women. I intend to enter and beat the Greenland and New Guinea classes before taking on Long Island then aiming for either Catalina or Tonga. When I get down to Staten Island or Capri, I'll make a big deal out of it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Variety of Pitching Experiences

'We Don't Laugh Around Here. We smile politely.'

No one came out and said that, but such a message was clearly conveyed yesterday afternoon as I pitched an animated TV show idea to a pair of execs. I could feel my energy draining like air from a punctured volleyball.

It made for a long pitch.

Oddly enough, last week I was at CBS for a meeting with two different execs. where I didn't pitch a thing. Nevertheless, they laughed at my every jest and bon mot no matter how tepid. While leaving I said I had to attend a child's funereal. They roared.

Meanwhile, a second animated show pitch to a different studio—involving a different idea— looms on Monday.

What reaction I'll receive is unknown.

But I'll exchange non-laughter for a development deal any old day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Interview in Necrotic Tissue

The latest, and final, issue of Necrotic Tissue includes a fine interview with me where I hold forth briefly on Waylon Jeepers, writing differences between animation and prose, plus my in-depth take on what a poor husband King Kong must have been since he ran through a lot of brides.

As indicated, Necrotic Tissue is closing up shop. I want to wish Publisher/Editor R. Scott McCoy the very best. Putting out a small press genre magazine can be pretty thankless, but "Tissue" kept up the quality on all fronts. His imprint, Stygian Publications, will be publishing an upcoming Necrotic Tissue Best Of which will include my own, "Dagon and Jill."

Writing all that made me pine for fiction writing. Not that cobwebs have grown on the computer keys. I'm cranking out a tsunami of copy for the marketing folks.

And the first of my new animated TV series pitches is this Thursday. Then two next week and one the following week. One pitch will include two separate shows. But very exciting overall. Send me waves of pleasant goodness.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To moms: We wouldn't be anywhere without you and we certainly wouldn't be on time.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Fan Pans New Looney Tunes

From the Comments section, Luke weighs in on Warner Bros. new Looney Tunes:

"Saw the show. It was okay, boring, generic, and slow paced. Probably the biggest hit in the face is the sheer lack of background music. It just is not Looney Tunes without the orchestra. I've heard that the budget for each episode was 750,000 dollars. I don't know how hight that is in comparison to, say, Animaniacs, but they have to have money in there for orchestra tracks. The biggest problem is it just does not have energy, or charisma behind it. It is, what it is, Seinfeld with bad timing and no charisma."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

5 Pitches, 3 Shows, No Waiting

Three original animated series will be pitched to various people at various studios over the next two and a half weeks during the run up to my latest operation May 25th. As health care is running out, I must accelerate the schedule for my annual surgery. This year I feature the rotator cuff, a change of pace from last year's skin cancer and on par with '09s knee operation.

It's been awhile since I've pitched anything animated, but if you wait long enough the executive deck gets reshuffled and you walk in somewhat fresh. But its important not to mention too many operations. Then you remind the execs. of their own mortality and they'll grow sullen and stop their perpetual smiling.

I'm thinking of hiring someone young to impersonate me at meetings. I'll pay for gas and throw in a percentage of every show sold. Let me know in the Comments section. If this works out, we could be on the verge of a plot for a Disney film.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Shocking Footage

Bad luck? Possibly and yet more seems implied. The lesson, clearly, is do not wear metal underwear no matter how comfortable they are or sexy they make you feel.

fororoma753aclive via

Po Tofu

News overload. No sooner has terrorist mastermind OBL been clasped to the bosom of Neptune, then Kung Fu Panda 2 decides on a previously overlooked product placement.