Saturday, December 27, 2014

You Might Be In Montana ...

Driving to town yesterday, I saw a Golden Eagle fishing off an ice floe.

Followed by these two thoughts.

1. I love where I live.

2. Baby, it's cold outside.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fraidy Cat

I scared myself.

Sitting in front of our fireplace, writing a scene in the new script.

A night scene, where the monster, in all his gooshy, drooling, icky menace circles the hero unaware of the threat.

A log in the fireplace popped and I threw my notebook and pen on the floor and nearly had a heart attack.

Immersed, I was. In the writing. Yay. And BOO!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Movie Time

This month I've seen the following movies.

The Maze Runner
The Equalizer
The Drop
Cold In July (DVD)
Gone Girl
The Judge

Maze Runner -- not bad. Gamerish, which is a description not an insult. Nice effects. Good monster. The obstructive force/character was such a cliché, I almost counted his lines to know when we would be done with him and could move on with the story. Pretty tame considering they could have gone Lord of the Flies and didn't. But, I'll pass on the sequel. You're only a teenager once, I guess. Box Office = $76,339,821.

The Equalizer -- Denzel seems a very precise actor. No surprises here, but not a bad afternoon at the movies. The showdown in a Home Depot-like store was a nice change. Comes the Zombie Apocalypse, let's hole up there. Box Office = $70,160,373.

The Drop -- Go see this in a theater while you still can. James Gandolfini's last film and the always amazing Tom Hardy. Lovely film making, takes some time to let the audience gather clues, which creates tension and suspense without anyone jumping out of the shadows wielding a bloody chainsaw. Box Office = $10,499,451. Seriously, go see this. Support a smart film.

Cold In July -- This one has already tanked and it is the best of the bunch. I'd heard about it and was planning to see it. Never arrived in my local theater, but there it was as a DVD rental. Nothing in this film is expected. You won't see this plot unraveling. And then, Don Johnson strolls in at the top of the second act and steals the movie out from under Sam Shepard. Rent this. It's great. Box Office = $423,223.

Gone Girl -- I read the book and hated the ending. 
Let's take a moment and mourn "The Hollywood Ending." What was wrong with those anyway?
So, I was going to the movie hoping they'd changed the ending and to see Ben Affleck's penis. This is probably a more enjoyable film experience for people who haven't read the book as the film unfolds slowly. I got a clearer picture of Amy here than I did in the book. And yes, if you watch closely, the star penis makes an appearance. Shower scene, pay attention. But Neil Patrick Harris is also fully exposed and no one is talking about that, which hardly seems fair. Box Office = $51,481,190

Note to self, don't go to movies based on disliked books.    

The Judge -- This just opened yesterday with Robert Downey Jr urging attendance to show Hollywood, movies about people can attract an audience. It's the same old story though -- cranky curmudgeon with a heart of gold vs big city dick with a heart of gold. And all they need is a family crisis for the hearts of gold to break through to win the day. Blech. This one is saved by the cast, Duval, Downey and D'nofrio -- but still, in my experience, dicks don't have hearts of gold. They don't reform. They attract others of the same kind and flourish. Making one wish to send them shopping at Home Depot. Ask for Denzel.

Just opened, so no box office yet. I went to the first showing and the audience applauded the end. Hadn't heard that in a while, so my curmudgey opinion aside, who knows.

Monday, September 22, 2014


While I was away at the Deadrock Script Conference, Rocky found himself unattended with food within reach and ate three Hershey bars, two mini Krackle bars, a whole bag of Pepperidge Farm Maui cookies and 20 goldfish crackers.

Thereby answering the question, if allowed unlimited access, would he ever stop eating?

Answer: No.

Dearest and kiddo made the emergency vet call and were instructed to deliver the hydrogen peroxide cure to the little glutton.

Which is how they knew exactly how many goldfish crackers had been consumed.

Okay. Take a moment. ICK.

Chocolate is poison for dogs. Here's why. Not the first time this happened at our house.

 What followed was a long night of constant monitoring to insure the little bandit didn't have a seizure and die.

Question: When I got home the next day,  guess who was glad to see me?

Answer: Everybody.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We Are Watching You

 I don't like facebook. It's turning us into voyeurs.

Every once in a while they get hit with negative news reports about how facebook monitors what we look at on facebook.

Never realized how closely facebook watches us back.

I'm half-heartedly trying to break the fb habit.

Hadn't been on for two days when I received an email from fb.

"You have notifications PENDING.

You're MISSING stories your FRIENDS have posted."

Missing stuff.

Virtual life is scrolling by me unaware.

Oh well.

Real life is suiting me fine just now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Cooking for the Pure in Heart

... because the kitchen's a mess.

Looking up recipes, I am dazzled by the beautiful kitchen and process pictures.

My in-process kitchen always looks like a murder's been committed.

Murder most foul.

At least the final product looks spiffy.

Family requests for this year's chokecherry harvest were syrup and infused vodka.

Wise choices from the Montana woods.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Analog vs Digital or Analog AND Digital

The Multimedia Enhanced Journal is a new product that seeks to combine the best of two worlds.      

Offering what the advertising states is the ultimate in personalization, the ME Journal has a QR code on the corner of each page which the user can scan to upload up to 50MB of content per page to the ME website into a personal account linking the written word on the journal page to a wealth of media online. An option to enter the code numbers manually is also offered.     

A QR (Quick Response) Code is a type of bar code easily read by handheld devices to store information or links to goods and services.   
This first struck me as an odd combination -- an effort to link two disparate groups with nothing in common. Like hitching up a horse team to move a Cadillac.

Would those who admire fine paper and the experience of moving ink across a page be interested in digital uploading, bits, bytes and bandwidth?

Could a person used to instant digital access 24/7 and ever evolving faster devices be lured back to paper and pen?

 Weren't these groups mutually exclusive? Did such a person exist?

Oh wait.

I'm so wired, I lose track of how many ways I have to interact with the world wide web. I have what can only be called a woodcase pencil obsession. I love fountain pens and am seriously fussy about paper.

Okay. They're out there, these people with a foot in each realm. Can the ME claim them?


Slightly larger than the small Moleskine, with a firmer cover that still feels a bit flexible. This journal looks and feels like business with a touch of elegance.

Surprisingly, it will lie open. almost flat, even in the middle pages.

The title (front) and company (back) are inscribed unobtrusively.

The first page contains instructions so help is at hand.


85g Clairefontaine. Need I say anything else?

The only complaint I've ever read about Clairefontaine paper is it can be BLINDINGLY, BLAZING WHITE. The ME Journal has lined ivory paper -- a nice mellow cream.

My only objection is LINES. I always use blank pages. I'm strangled by lines, but that is a quirk of mine.


The APP is free, fast and user friendly.


The user must sign up for a free account. Other than the 50MB limit per page, I couldn't find a space limit or lurking offers to sell more space.

The website is clear, uncluttered, relatively fast and user friendly.


So, will it work?

I'm hampered living in northwestern Montana, as I'm often without either Wi-Fi or cell signal. I'm not used to being able to call on those at will. I don't take them for granted as some do.

My current travel journal is a soft cover, pocket Moleskine.

Obviously, I've been making it a multimedia experience for quite a while. Adding video and audio are enticing prospects.

 Will the tidy, more efficient ME replace it?

One thought -- We're planning a wedding at my house, and it occurs to me what a nice gift the ME Journal would be. 

Suppose the wedding party wrote something on the pages about the day, then uploaded pictures, video and whatever via the QR codes then gifted the book along with the free account and password for each book so the lucky recipient could page through the book and view the special day at leisure.

I think that's a good idea. 

As always, possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Purchase link is on the website. "ME Journals are available in large (6 ¼ x 9 ¼”) and pocket (4 x 6 3/8”) sizes in three colors—black, red and raspberry—in a firm, leatherette cover that’s perfect for on-the-go writing. Each journal has a bookmark and elastic closure."

DISCLOSURE -- I received the ME Journal from a contest on

I always like to see other folks' daily carry. Here is the rest of my travel journal set.

Monday, July 21, 2014

90% Stupid

Harlan Ellison says bad science fiction makes people stupid.

LUCY is a movie opening Friday in which the major plot point is that the heroine, exposed to a substance unknown, becomes able to use more than 10% of her brain.

Not that the heroine is impaired and restored, but that all humans only use 10% of their brains. Once she has access to more, super powers ignite.

Every human uses 100% of their brain, TV, social networking and Republicans aside,


If I met that screenwriter, I would throw a rock at him.

Morgan Freeman is on a science show, FFS, yet, playing the neuroscientist in the film, intones the 10% urban myth with the gravity of the Gettysburg Address.

Maybe I should throw a rock at him.

The problem is that the film looks cool. Special effects and the lovely Scarlet will attract that most sought after demographic -- young males -- who will leave the theater wishing they could use more than 10% of their brain.

The more serious flaw is that this film could have been SMART.

Maybe the substance could have created faster responding neuro pathways or conscious control of autonomic brain function with the ability to enhance them at will or a way to unlock partial strands of dormant Neanderthal DNA. And this is just me sitting here writing a blog post. Surely there exists a better idea than a stupid old wives tale.

My in-house anthropologist did her thesis on the brain drainage system -- the network of blood vessels that constitute the circulatory system that maintains the brain. When our ancestors stood upright and stayed that way, the brain drainage system changed from something like this  > to something like this \/ .

However, a certain percentage of modern humans retain the knuckle-dragging brain drainage system which explains Republicans and certain French writer/directors.

I thought I was the only person moved to yell at trailers and movie posters, but, thanks to the Internet, I find I'm an amoeba awash is a sea of the same.

Science News

Infinite Futures


Gus Blog

It will be interesting to see how the film performs. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014


When I was a kid, I rode my bike back and forth from one end of our street to the other.

Back and forth in front of my house. That was as far as my mother would let me go.

I'd pretend my bike was a horse. This being back when I wanted to be a cowboy. Old Blue and I rode many miles, just not very far.

These days I have a stationary bike which is convenient and efficient, but not at all romantic. I've started taking my mountain bike out after dinner to ride up and down my street.

It feels like homecoming.

Most of the neighbors are still at dinner, watering their lawns or watching TV, so there is no traffic to dodge.

Back and forth.

There's something about moving one's own weight and feeling a breeze created by self effort that quiets my jumpy mind while strengthening a pair of old knees.

Afterward, while I sit in the yard swing, cooling off, I contemplate how a simple activity can transport a person back fifty years.

Time travel via bicycle. I wonder if Einstein ever considered that?

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Seriously Dog?

Walking the dachshund as an exercise in geometry.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hurry Spring

We're tired of waiting.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

To Be ... Whatever

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
I signed up for an acting class at the local community theater to learn about body language.

I had read an article about how body language could undermine whatever verbal message was being delivered. Plus, my native environment is in sweats in front of a keyboard, making any time I'm in the spotlight an unnatural occurrence with attendant and resulting feelings of woe is me, alas, and oh shit.
"Think you only kings have power? Stand on a stage and hold the hearts of men in your hands. Make them laugh with a gesture, cry with a word. Make them love you. And you will know what power is.”
So, I trundled myself downtown for six weeks of acting lessons.

It was interesting for me to realize that actors use their whole body as an instrument, and I'm used to living in my head. Usually the only thought I give my body is to wonder if it will accomplish getting me to the next place I am going.

Every screenwriting tome I've ever cracked has stated goals and obstacles as the key ingredient in drama. What does the character want and what is keeping him from getting that is the essential element. Snappy dialog and character development trail along behind.

Goals and obstacles = drama in both art forms but there's a difference.

A writer gives a character goals as something to reach for. An actor uses goals as something to push against to reveal character.

That's a different picture.

I've watched interviews with professional actors saying how they had to move off the text or between the text or beyond the text, and as someone working to provide the text, I felt like putting my hands around their throats to choke the disrespectful life out of them.

But as a neophyte acting student, I've learned the actor is using the text to make the character REAL for himself to give the story life.

Writing, I might be better served to create text that makes it real for the actor. Make them feel it on the page, not just read it.

I think that would be more elegant writing. That's my new goal.

So, did I become an actor?



Except . . .

Everyone at Austin last year was engaged in the Pitch Fest going on at the same time. Where is Vince Gilligan and how'd you do at the pitch contest were the most frequent conversation starters.

Nearly everyone.

That's right. Not me.

I hate pitching.

I won't do it.

You can't make me.

I won't.

So there.

Early on in my screenwriting adventure, I witnessed a pitching opportunity at the Selling to Hollywood Conference. There was a panel of expert professionals from the Biz. Intrepid, brave, hopeful, wannabee screenwriters stood before the panel and pitched their scripts for a designated time.

I overheard someone say the pitches were a crapshoot. Emphasis on crap.

Yes alas, ideas are like hair. Everyone has some and sometimes it ain't pretty.

Soon the expert professionals weren't supportive listeners hoping to find the next tent pole money maker. They were more like cats in a cage somebody poked with a stick.

As I watched more than one intrepid soul sweat through the back of his shirt I decided, not me pal. No way. No how.

Except, of course, a screenwriter does have to tell people about the script. And, I suck at that.


I write a blazing query letter, but talk the story and I sound like Helen Keller figuring out water.

I'm okay on the phone. No one looking. See.

The times I've been invited down to LA, I've gotten points for quirky.

I'm a writer. Quirky is the base layer.

But I suck at pitching. I hate it. I'm not doing it. Just stop talking about it less I feel compelled to put my hands around your throat.

Except, at Austin, everybody was pitching. As we waited in line for Vince, Shane, Terry and Callie, we'd ask about each other's script. It was only polite. The more times I fumbled through mine, the better it got.

More importantly, I realized from the reactions I saw, which part of the script was the strongest. And which wasn't and where I'd misplaced the story engine. Not that the pitch sucked, but what I'd done wrong with the script.

O Never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
Okay, I'm convinced. Pitching is something I should do.

Woe is me, alas, and oh shit.


Except, EUREKA and all that.

I don't have to conquer all my quirky character twitches or overcome my self-esteem issues.

I will create a PITCHING PERSONNA and ACT the pitch.

As I begin my second round of acting classes, Pitching Person is my new acting project.

I'm going to call her, Ace.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Erin go bragh

In honor of the day everybody's Irish, here are some views of the Old Sod.

Off the coast near Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol
You can still see the bullet holes at the Post Office.
It is good for you.
The Cathedral at Kildare. The pagan fire pit is still there.
Brigid's Holy Well.
Across the Irish Sea to England.

May your troubles be less, 
And your blessings be more. 
And nothing but happiness come through your door.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Springtime in the Rockies

The Snow Apocalypse is over. 

Then we had a flood. 

But it finally looks like Spring is creeping upon us.

Around Town -- saw this graffiti. 

How much of a grammar snob does it make me, 

if I prefer obscenities to be correctly spelled?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dream On

We're currently enduring the Snow Apocalypse, but I'm ready for Spring.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Brave New World

"A new project has been unveiled that aims to create a "virtual you", capable of interacting with a person's family, friends and ancestors after their death.

The team from MIT claims that by collecting a person's digital footprint over their lifetime and using "complex artificial intelligence algorithms", it will be able to create an avatar that emulates the person's personality."

Read more:

And that is just creepy.

This morning, Facebook presented me with a movie of my year based on my interactions there. It consisted of twelve pictures of my dog and a quote off my blog about how my poop turned green after a week at a writer's retreat that served only vegan food.

We're staring into the abyss and the abyss is staring back, taking notes.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Lying In Wait

I added black pages to my journal and was searching my desk drawer for my white pen to write there. I chose the yellow one instead and wondered if the white pen mourned a lost turn.

Then I wondered if all the pens and pencils were lying there patiently waiting their turn.

Pick me.

Pick me!

Not you. You're too purple.

You either. You're just a pencil.

And then I thought,

Do they know about the keyboard?

Friday, January 03, 2014

Another County Heard From

New Year? Seriously.
Human, turn off the lights.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014