Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Curse of the Techno Slave

A while back, Pooks posted about an organizational aid called "Get It Done." Apparently, this system is a great help in cleaning one's desk.

I ignored most of this, but I seem to recall these instructions -- after a certain number of steps, the Organized Person reaches the point where she has in her hands stuff that either needs to be filed or thrown away. And the important thing to remember is that it DOESN'T MATTER which one she does. File-Throw Away-Same Deal. And I may not be remembering that correctly but,

That was the thought I clung to when my laptop had a catastrophic hard drive failure and all the lovely bits and nuances of crap, I mean, very important research material from all over the World Wide Web suddenly vanished into the electronic ether.

And the bits that didn't immediately disappear, peeked at me from places viewable but not retrievable. Stupid computer.

I curled in the fetal position over the arm of my desk chair for so long I had to visit the chiropractor.

But, Brothers and Sisters, I am now so very organized. Not one miscellaneous scrap of any-thing, any-where.

Bad computer. Bad.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Stupid HBO

Deadwood ended with a whimper.

With no fourth season, seems like they abandoned the story at the end of the Second Act.

They sound pretty chipper over at Save Deadwood.

Hope springs eternal, I suppose.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Swimming In The Kiddie Pool

Our town has a small independent film theater. Two screens. One regular size, in an auditorium with a stage where they also host small music venues and plays. And what they call the Screening Room which is a similar experience to inviting 30 friends over to watch your big screen TV.

This small theater shows the films the two big chain theaters in town think we're not interested in seeing.

This week they're showing SCOOP with Ian McShane (Stupid HBO), A SCANNER DARKLY with Keanu Reeves and CLERKS II, Kevin Smith's latest.

This is not your typical movie theater as it is in the old jailhouse. Easy for newcomers to become misdirected.

When we arrive, three young men, not teenagers, but young, were waiting in line. The term slackers came to mind, but I don't know if that's au courant.

There is no one in the ticket dispensing window.

One of the young men turns to me, throws up his arms and says, "Is this where you get tickets?"

"Yes," says I. "The guy has probably gone to start the first movie. He'll be back in a minute."

Husband Dearest wanders off to see if there's still room for us in SCOOP since we are arriving late.

Young Man #2, while staring at the movie posters in the lobby says, "I hate Keanu Reeves."

Third Young Man agrees. Young Man #1 grunts.

Young Man #3 says, "He was good in BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE."

I said, "Yeah, that was good."

They look at each other and laugh. (That's right boys. Get over it.)

Young Man #2 says, "I liked him in MATRIX, but just 'cuz it was different."

To which I replied, "His acting style was a good match for that movie."

Young Man #2 looks back at the poster and says, "Keanu Reeves is a douche."


Then we were all saved from further interaction when the ticket seller returned and the young men went in to see CLERKS II, and we were turned away because SCOOP had been preempted by an extreme snowmobile movie. I don't know. It's Montana.

As we were driving away, I burst out laughing and HD says, "What's so funny?"

I say, "Keanu Reeves is a douche."

Which brings me at long last, Dear Reader, to my point.

There is no way I will ever write anything the young men going to see CLERKS or the baby teenagers at SNAKES ON A PLANE would want to see.

This is Part 2 of an ongoing marketing revelation I've been having in which Part 1 happened when I noticed movies I like usually bomb.

So, the biggest market segment, the one Hollywood relentlessly chases, is unavailable to me because I don't like those kind of stories.

Talking to the boys this week has made me wonder if I should be writing something else.

Like directions to the ticket window or weather reports.


I do not think Keanu Reeves is a feminine hygiene product. I think he's cute. I liked THE LAKE HOUSE. Silly me.

An understated acting style often goes unappreciated. Just ask Clint Eastwood.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes on a ... you know what

I went to the first showing of SNAKES ON A PLANE last night.

I laughed. I jumped. I closed my eyes two times at the gross parts. (ick)

If you are unaware of this phenomena, it started with Josh Friedman's blog (page down to August 17.)

Two screenwriting lessons presented themselves with this picture.

First, the one about high concept. SNAKES ON A PLANE. Need we say more? Apparently not.

Second, if you want to experience the target audience Hollywood perpetually chases, check out the SOAP audience.

Teenage boys.

On the young side of teenage.

I thought this was interesting. Last week at the same time showing of THE DESCENT, the audience was college students, and me.

The SOAP group was high school kids, and me.

Wonder why?

Now, I couldn't sign off without one teensy, tiny, eensy, weensy, little old negative comment, could I?


Don't know about the SNAKES, but they got almost all of the PLANE part wrong.

No spoilers follow.

Snake bites a wire. Lights go off in the cockpit. The Captain yells, "We just lost Avionics. Call LAX and tell them ..... "

In the real world, Avionics is the radio.

In SOAP world, it is apparently the light panel above the pilot's head that twinkles sparkly yellow lights.

Now, only a joyless nit-picker or FAA Inspector would mention the aviation gaffs in this movie. Guess with whom I was sitting?

Didn't matter. Added a laugh or two. Or three. And there was stuff the kids were laughing at that I wasn't getting, so I guess it evened out in the end.

I predict it'ssssssssssssssssss a hit. It certainly was a fun night at the movies.

Monday, August 14, 2006

WTC - The Movie

Bring a hanky.*

I’m not much of an Oliver Stone fan, but this movie is good. He has a point, and it’s important he makes it, whether the time is right or not.

As a student of screenwriting, what I learned from this film is that the smallest moments can make the biggest impact.

*Hanky Disclaimer

I cry at the movies.

I cried at the original Disney version of The Jungle Book.
I cried in Honkytonk Man.
I cried in Steel Magnolias. I’ve seen that movie seven or eight times. I cry every time.
I cried three times in Seabiscuit.

Once, I cried during an ad for a Star Trek Movie. I was pregnant at the time. I blame hormones for that one.

My point being, I am not perhaps, the best judge of what is or may not be a weeper, but there's no reason to be unprepared.

Bring a hanky.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What Is It About Women?

Last night I went to a late showing of THE DESCENT.

I usually avoid horror movies when the accolades include phrases like “one of the best eye-gouging scenes in the history of cinema.”


I watched THE DESCENT for three reasons.

1. If we want Hollywood to make more movies with women as the lead players, we should patronize the movies Hollywood makes with women as the lead players. It will not keep you too busy.

2. I am related to this one.

3. I like scary movies.

In DESCENT, six friends meet once a year to indulge in some risk sport together.

The set-up is nicely done. Back story revealed, each character delineated, denouement hinted at, and a pretty good scare, all before the popcorn got cold. I don’t know if it was first ten minutes, but it was close.

The women are going caving. Not a nice cave you could walk through, but one that has to be rapelled into.

My in-house expert in rock climbing matters said all the gear was authentic.

I thought their shoes were wrong.

I’ve been a semi-horrified spectator of rock climbs, and the rock climbers were not wearing hiking boots.

But, I suppose if a girl happened to find herself fleeing monsters of undetermined origin, she would have to run in the shoes she was wearing.

Which reminds me.

The lesson I learned from all those 50s era sci-fi movies, where inevitably the hero had to drag the heroine away from the monster while poor heroine tottered along in high heels, is this –

In case of natural disaster or monster emergency, please wear sensible shoes.

Back to the movie.

So, the girls proceed on their adventure, are quickly lost and fleeing monsters of undetermined origin, while havoc and mayhem ensue.

There are many good BOO type scares, but the horror is never elevated above that unless you consider bloodletting, eye-gouging violence to be what makes a good horror movie.

I do not.

Those are merely gross special effects. I looked away twice. So what? I was never seriously creeped out like in THE RING for example.

Or like in the original ALIEN which THE DESCENT is being compared to in advertising. And it’s not even close.

Remember in ALIEN when Ripley’s the last one alive. She’s about to make good her escape, and she goes back for that damn cat?

Which brings me, finally, to my point.

Hurray! We’re making women our movie heroes. But if you look closely, what are the film makers really saying about women?

Did Ripley look brave, compassionate or extra heroic when she went back for the cat?

No. That was a stupid move. And I love my cat as much as the next person, but if gigantic acid-dripping, parasitic, bug monsters are after me, Petey will have to fend for himself while I flee in my sensible shoes.

So, after seeing THE DESCENT I wondered if the target audience was at all upset when in the end …


It was all just a cat fight over a man?

I couldn’t believe it.

90 minutes of rocking, strong women who cope with catastrophe with proactive, vicious self-determination and the end it’s --

Touch my husband? I’ll feed you to monsters of undetermined origin and be on my way. Bitch.

Add soaked tee shirts and mud and it’s a good old boy's wet dream. Oh wait. They did.

And besides that, why do our strong women portrayals resort to making the women behave like the worst men?

Is that how to empower our movie women? Have her pick up a deadly implement to hack, slash and eye-gouge her way to glory?

Well, at least they’re wearing sensible shoes.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday Lists

Random Favorites

What's your favorite...

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?


2. Spice Girl?


3. Luncheon meat?

Turkey, but occasionally I hear the White Man’s Revenge calling out to me. (Bologna with mayo on white bread.)

4. Jim Henson character?


5. Salad dressing?

Green Goddess.

What's your guilty pleasure:

1. Joke

My mother was trying to tell me a joke one time that went like this:

Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Newt Gingreich were on the Titanic.

I said, “If only.”

And then she went away and I never heard the end of the joke.

My bad.

2. Movie


3. Song

Bad To The Bone.

4. TV show

Will and Grace reruns because I never watched it when it was on the first time.

5. Magazine



1. What are the top three places you’d like to visit before you die?

Ireland. Italy. Greece.

2. Who would be your ideal travel buddy?

Someone who won’t complain about carrying my camera bag.

3. What’s the longest time you’ve been away from home?

10 days in New York. I think. I don’t get away much.

4. Where's the best place you’ve ever visited?

The Beach.

5. What’s your favorite travel story?

It doesn’t matter where we go or how long it took to get there, we can get home in one day. One. Which leads me to believe, home is downhill from everywhere.

Old Skool

1. What book were you forced to read in English class that made you want to gouge your eyes out?

Mill on the Floss.

2. What was your best elementary school science project?

Volcano. Didn’t everybody make one of those?

3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?


4. Did you ever participate in a school play?

Yep, in Vacation Bible School.

5. Describe your most embarrassing school photo or early fashion faux pas.

Early fashion faux pas? Do they count if you’re still making them? I once traipsed around the library whilst I thought great thoughts and did arcane research and thought myself oh, so cool, only to realize as I went out the door that I had my turtleneck top tucked inside my long underwear and waist of my jeans was riding two inches below the waistband of my long underwear. Oh, what a fetching sight I was. Had my underwear fetched up to my ribs.

And it wasn’t that long ago.


Last But Not Least

1. Last present you gave someone?

Hipster PDA to my college girl who mocked it as so not hip.

2. Last time you danced?

Danced around my office last Thursday when I finally realized why the speakers on the computer weren’t working and suddenly had a Ringo Starr song vibrating the window.

3. Last meal you cooked?

Potato Tart.

4. Last letter you wrote?

Wrote one to the college girl not long ago. Trying to show her there exists a mode of communication other than email and cel.

To no avail, I might add.

5. Last time you got on a plane?

I haven’t flown since 9/11.

Guess that makes me kind of a sissy, but it hurt my heart to see airports turned into armed camps.

No, I don’t have a better solution.

Probably a good thing, I don’t travel much.

This Meme courtesy Monday’s a Bitch.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Shopping Trip No One Wants

Today I bought a condolence card for an old pal of mine. Her son has been killed in Iraq.

We send our children, filled with hope and energy, into the world.

We pray the world treats them gently.

Sometimes, the world does not.

Friday Meme

1. What are your five favorite stores?

Art supply stores, which in my little town, have all gone out of business except for the Ben Franklin. Office supply stores, ditto all the old neat ones here. Book stores. One lonely independent still holding on in town and we're about to get a Barnes and Noble. I'd go to the Coach store if we had one.

2. Is there any store you absolutely hate going to?

3. Do you pay with cash, credit, debit, or something else?

Debits are so easy it's almost like you're not spending money.


4. Do you prefer to shop in person or online?

Oh dear. Might this be a sign of serious addiction? I like both.

5. In the last six months, what single purchase has been the most important to you?

Well, I spent a fortune for an online writing course that is currently driving me more or less insane.

I got a new digital camera in April which turned out to have multiple non-functioning parts, and is currently returning home from the manufacturer after repairs. I've spent a lot of time thinking about that one since I had to go back to my old digital camera which is like returning to one's outdated computer, all the while telling myself I should be using film anyway.

But on the gleeful side, at the summer clearance I bought a new dress and shoes that will be just the thing come Christmas party time.

Let it snow.

From Five on Friday.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday Meme

Compliments of Scratching The Itch.

Are you more...

01) Banjo for the fun, danceable sound or violin for the soulful, spirit-lifting sound?

My Grandma played the banjo, but I like the violin.

02) Bus/subway for cheapness and ecological responsibility or cab for door to door convenience?

I don't know how ecologically responsible the bus or subway are. Have you ever smelled one of them? I've used all three. Don't be a slave to ideology. Use what works.

03) Paper grocery bags for the capacity and biodegradableness or plastic grocery bags for the convenience and reusability?

I like those paper ice cream bags, and I reuse the plastic ones.

04) Liking fruit that you peel (bananas, oranges, etc.) or fruit that you don't peel (apples, pears, etc.)?

Have you ever tried to peel a kiwi? I like fruit that's a bitch to peel. Pineapple also comes to mind.

05) Expensive 3-ply kleenex or discount 2-ply kleenex?

Puffs with lotion.

06) Super soft toilet paper or rough, no-nonsense toilet paper?

Why does rough equate with no-nonsense here? I vote for super soft. Cheap toilet paper is just stupid.

07) Watching fake wrestling for the kitchy drama or watching boxing for the realness?

I'll watch boxing movies like Cinderella Man and Million Dollar Baby, but I don't watch either, the real or fake, on TV.

08) Coy about telling people what you want when asked or upfront about telling people what you want when asked?

Coy is a waste of time.

09) Believing NASA is amazing for inventing the Space Pen (works in no gravity) or believing NASA is stupid for not doing like the Russians who just use pencils?

I don't think NASA is stupid, just expensive.

10) A Spanky fan or an Alfalfa fan?

Exactly how old do you think I am?