31 March 2008
On weekends, when I'm not filming on Odyssey or Helena Chronicles, I can be found in my Starbucks reading, sipping my way overpriced hot mocha (because I like them hot) and extremely overpriced pastry. Yes, strangely, I find I'm able to get more reading done there, than at home. Go figure. Perhaps, because, I'm easily distracted by the computer or the TV.
The point is, I think, that I once thought I could find someone who liked to read also, that we could have conversations -though I'm not really into those literary works - and spend Siundays on the couch reading.
But these days, I think as author Ariel Levy said, that the goal of a any relationship is “to find somebody where your perversions match and who you can stand.”
So, I guess, I have to let my rope out, and maybe take a chance on someone who hates reading. I'm so wrapped up in finding, what one friend called my "intellectual equal," that I've missed the forest for the trees.
Or, more realistically, I'm destined to be alone.
Sometimes I feel like Burgess Merideth in that Twilight Zone episode Time Enough to Read. That because I read so much, not partaking in the glory of life, that I missed the boat. The plane. The space ship.
What an odd post, David
29 March 2008
For anyone who’s worked in a office full of cubicles, where gossip, pranks and the joy of finding food in the breakroom, is sometimes more important than the actual work, will love this from first-time novelist Joshua Ferris. This is no The Office or even Office Space, but it does share the same universe. For some, the workplace becomes your second home, filled with “family” members who are just as dysfunctional and lunatic as your own.
The book is filled with many amusing passages, including the office coordinator who tracks serial numbers of office furniture and how the employees raid the detritus of former employee’s things, sifting through their boxes in hope of finding something useful.
Sharp, and at times wildy funny, the novel zooms along taking people on a glorious ride.
27 March 2008
As things are, I did not win the trip. However, I got an excellent consolation prize, a set of Wilson tennis balls with DUMA KEY and STEPHEN KING's name on it. The tennis balls, by the way, are part of the story, just in case someone was wondering.
Have no idea what I'll do with them, as I don't play tennis. I guess I'll store them, along with the deck of cards I got when Hearts in Atlantis was released.
26 March 2008
Scott Smith, who back in 1993 wrote the thriller A Simple Plan, returned in 2006 with The Ruins, a horror novel that is creepy in many ways, yet very familiar in others. Two couples, who are preparing to return to college in the fall, venture to Cancun for a vacation. They hook-up with a German tourist, who is searching for his brother and who vanished a few days earlier with some girl who wanted to take him to see some ruins in the forest. A Greek man also tags along.
A language barrier is the least of these peoples problems, as it seems the local people are trying to prevent them from going. They seem to know something, yet the six ignore them.
All too soon, though, they realize that ruins they’ve been in search of -and the people they are looking for, hold a terrifying secret. There is a presence at this site, one that will drive them to their demise.
As a whole, the book is well written, if not filled with stereotypical twenty something kids, with the female ones coming off as particularly unappealing and annoying. While I can picture in my mind the cast of the forthcoming movie (cause Smith goes out of his way to point out the size and weight of each of the characters -not a “normal” human among them, but male and female models; skinny and beautiful) of the book, its that exact reason why I found the novel distracting.
So, horror movies and books depend on stupid people doing stupid things -though the karma is they get what they deserved in the end. And these arrogant, spoiled college students seem to be the cream of the crop. Their blundering into areas that they should not have blundered into, is so unoriginal, and thus boring. It often reminded me of films where the heroine ventures into the dark room calling out “Who’s there?” I mean most people would just beat a path out of there.
Even the much older Mathias seems a bit dumb, not putting two and two together until its much too late.
Still, I give Smith props, as I feared the book was going to be more of a slasher than real psychological horror. It’s overlong, to be sure, but it transcends more typical horror of the slice and dice variety. And while the young adults are beautiful, I kind of liked the parts were the doomed group begins to wonder who’ll play them in the movie version of this unfolding horror (as it turns out, Jonathan Tucker, Shawn Ashmore, Jena Malone and Laura Ramsey. Nice "C" level actors if there was one).
It’s a good read, but I was never spooked out by it. But maybe because I’ve read Stephen King so much that I cannot be frightened anymore. Plus, I see these people -these idiots making the most basic mistakes - and wonder why I should even care about them.
24 March 2008
I came back to work, feeling that this was going to be just another day. After all I should be grateful, really. Going to work and not finding a declaration of bankruptcy was nice. I mean, there is every reason to believe that with in a year, Borders will find its self in two positions. One, a very much smaller company, or two, dead as George Washington.
Still, I'm mad at my company for not learning from its mistakes. Not taking any sort of risks and letting B&N and Amazon.com walk over us like paper laid down for the puppy to piddle on.
Plus, the company has watered down the store so much, there is nothing interesting about the bookstore anymore. It’s like someone power washing an alley; it’s become pointless. Granted, that's much like what has happened to America in general, from TV to movies to Wal Marts and Cosco's.
They can spin this latest move -those goofballs in Ann Arbor, I mean - but everyone has lost confidence with Borders. Investors, customers and, sadly, employees are much aware that this company, the one I actually still like working for, has no idea, no plan to rescue it.
Maybe it should die. But, then that would be more sad than anything.
23 March 2008
Well, I was wrong, as it turned out this zombie was for an extra in a movie called Dead Air, being directed by former LA Law actor Corbin Bernsen.
So, after some hemming and hawing -after all, it was nearly 10 and I had been up since 7 am - I decided, what the heck. So, I showered and head towards LA.
After finding the place, on north Figueroa Street, I got made up as a zombie.
Met up with JayTee and Sharon, and producer Sonia - who also plays a recurring role on our Star Trek show, The Helena Chronicles. We worked, long and hard. Now, having worked on HF and assorted projects for the last two plus years, I know how productions can go on and on. You can't plan for everything, including shots.
We filmed outside, which meant we had to get everything done before the sun rises. So, we worked, took time off at about 3am for "lunch" and returned to finish off what was needed by the director.
We wrapped at about 6:45am. I was home by 7:30, now realizing I have been awake for over 24 hours. The last time that happened, I was 20 years younger. I went to bed, and slept until 1.
It was fun, and I would do it again. But the next time, I would like some notice before hand so I can get some rest before spending the entire night running around like a zombie.
22 March 2008
However, it seems the company cannot escape its past. This past week, Borders announced that they are seeking “strategic alternatives” in hopes of staving off liquidation. Those options could include sale of the company and/or some of its divisions. The company has hired J.P. Morgan Securities and Merrill Lynch to aide them.
To help prevent liquidity, Borders received some financial commitment from Pershing Square Capital Management (who already have a 10% stake within Borders already) of some $42.5 million (at a whopping, staggering, unbelievable 12.5% interest). Pershing will also have the ability to purchase some of the Borders international business.
This will, essentially, keep the company going through 2008.
And asked why CEO George Jones decided to look for other options after receiving the funding from Pershing, he told analysts on Thursday that the company is looking to maximize shareholder value, and one beneficial aspect might be to sell the company.
As of now, the company is reducing cost across the board, mostly by to reducing inventory (and discontinuing all of the perks on the retail level) while trying to improve inventory turns, which is means, essentially, the stores will be stocked more with stuff that has sold in the past. Essentially, will have a high inventory of, say the Oprah bookclub book New Earth, while lower inventory on new titles from unestablished authors. Since New Earth is selling, and we continue to pump up its inventory, this comes across to potential investors as a “turn” of inventory. It’s smoke and mirrors, but I guess it keeps the company from going belly up.
Still, Borders does not listen to its customers. While most of the ones I encounter like us better (as in employees) than B&N, but they find our stores confusing and not very cozy. They like the staff because they’re knowledgeable and nice, but they don’t want to be bothered every 10 seconds by a staff member coming up to them and asking them if they need help.
The store set-ups are confusing and not user friendly.
And now, with the rapid deterioration of music sales, the company is opening concept stores that offer customers the ability to download music at the store. Of course, I’m unsure why someone would want to do this, considering they can do it at home. Something a customer recently pointed out to me. She thinks the new digital centers is lame and wants to come to Borders to but CD’s.
Spin is the name of the game and the company is already trying to figure out how to get them to come anyways. I’m ambivalent at best on how this will help.
I feel, in the end, Borders will attempt to sell off Walden Books (though I suspect they’ll eventually close these mall based stores) and probably the UK based Paperchase after that. It continues in search of a buyer for its Australian/New Zealand operation, after a recent talks collapsed.
It has, I believe, a year or so left if it cannot turn around sales. Of course, the economy plays a key factor here, also, as its certain it will be not until 2009 that things get better. Despite that, most investors have no confidence in Borders stock (even my financial advisors tells me not to purchase Borders stock).
It’s a great company, really. Always was. It’s made some horrendous decisions over the years, but some how its still here. But the writing, it seems, maybe on the wall this time.
19 March 2008
I cannot remember when I’ve slept through the entire night. I have no problem falling asleep. I usually nod off, like most people, within 10 minutes of turning out the light. I then sleep very deeply, very soundly, going into REM and everything.
Then, maybe four hours later, I wake up. And then, I can’t get back to sleep. Oh, well, I sleep, but not as deep as before, and it usually falls under the “cat napping.” I fall asleep, then wake up within fifteen to twenty minutes.
This will go on until I get up at 5am. And that’s another thing, I always wake before my alarm is scheduled to come on. I guess, it could be some psychological thing, as I fear that I will oversleep and be late for work.
So I wonder, just what makes me sleep for such a short period of time. I once thought it had to do with my sugar and caffeine intake, but I make sure I cut it out over three hours before I go to bed ( because I know if I have chocolate or even a soda before I go to bed, I cannot sleep).
Even on weekends, I rarely get a full nights sleep, so I usually get by on a little over 5 hours sleep a day, though on a rare day, I’ll get caught up with maybe 7 hours.
I do have a lot of stress, but none more than most. I worry about money the most, but so does everyone else. So, I wonder what prevents me from sleeping from the time the lights go out, until the alarm (as it should) wake me up.
16 March 2008
And, hail and thunderstorm. Both very rare here. Being up in the hills, somewhat, causes this, but it still was interesting. Anyways, got what we needed to get done, including seeing the schedule.
Due to some actors availability, we'll be shooting two days during the week. Both are suppose to be done by 11pm, which is when I'm suppose to be in bed because I'm up at 5. But we'll see how it plays out.
The rest are on Saturday until the three day shoot in June. I'm taking the week off, so no problem there. Plus, one of the three days of those June shoots includes beginning work on the next project linked to Odyssey and The Helena Chronicles.
Anyway, today has been cloudy, a bit breezy and cool. It's 60 now, and I don't think it got much higher than 65. Just a reminder, that while winter is almost over, its still winter none the less.
The pics above are of the clouds above my house. I thought they were interesting. Of course, I'm under no illusion anyone else will find the interesting.
14 March 2008
I remember last season, when Lost had it's first flashforward, and Jack had a Razor mobile phone, one that did not exist in 2004. I thought that was odd, but did not make the connection that we were seeing a flashforward.
Same thing happened last night, in the Ji Yeon episode. We see Jin with an older mobile, probably early 2000. Again, I thought that was odd, but it was well towards the end when I finally realized that Jin's was a flashback, while Sun was a flashforward.
Then, I knew that the comment about the Chinese Zodiac was important, but I think some people at Lost knew most Americans would not know what time was the Year of the Dragon. So, yeah, I was fooled.
There was some great stuff in this episode, even though it was densely plotted. I love both Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim, and they have great chemistry. Their reconciliation after Juliet lets Jin know of Sun's affair was wonderfully acted.
Then there's the action on the boat, where the captain, Gault, gives both Sayid and Desmond the lowdown that one Charles Widmore has the black box of Oceanic 815, thus saying that this will prove Ben staged the the crash of 815. Though I assume that Ben will say the opposite.
Then there's the bizzare death of Regina, the girl wrapped in chains who just jumps off the boat, which seems to indicate that even close proximity to the Island can make you do weird stuff. And, of course, the return of Michael -now going by the alias of Kevin Johnson. While it's been pretty obvious since Ben claimed he had a spy on the boat back in the season opener that it was Michael, I got a feeling that he's not doing it because he's working with Ben. Well, he's working for Ben, in the same way I work for Borders -they have something I need, which is money. And I think Ben has Walt. Or the Island has Walt. Or Jacob has Walt. Or Walt is Jacob.
Hopefully, next week we get some more info on why Michael is on the boat. And if we'll find out who is the number 6 in the Oceanic Six. But, sadly, that will leave us with a five week gap before the final five episodes of the season begin (thanks, writers strike).
Still, I'll take that. Next week could've been the season finale.
12 March 2008
Why I love (and miss) WGN Morning News
While not a huge surprise, my old cynical self wants to say that this reason stems from a more financial side than a need to give the best, full treatment to the last volume of J.K. Rowlings boy wizard.
Since the fourth film, the crew of the Harry Potter franchise have had to cut much of Rowling's tales down to fit it into a film that would last no longer than 2 1/2 hours. This has lead to many complaints from fans that while the jist of the story remains, much of what made the books charming have been lost.
Meanwhile, David Yates, who directed The Order of the Phoenix, and is helming this years The Half-Blood Prince, will complete the trifecta by directing the final fim.
Warners expects Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt.1 to be out November 2010, followed by part 2 May 2011.
Meanwhile, director Bryan Singer has confirmed he'll return to helm Superman: The Man of Steel, the sequel to Superman Returns.
Singer told Emipre Online that he is aware of criticism about his earlier effort, which some said lacked enough action. "The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film," he said. "I'll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there's really an opportunity to up the threat levels. ... Clearly there'll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror! All those teenage girls who found the movie and mooned over James Marsden or Brandon [Routh]? Well, I'm going to wake them up!"
I've never realized gays had the ability to end the world. I mean, Jebus, where's my memo about this?
No matter how you spin it, this is hate. These statements will give some jackass enough reason to go out and kill a gay person. After all, they'll say, according to old Sally, they're terrorist.
11 March 2008
Some have called her out on that, but I think she has a point. Sure, its not all about race, but lets be honest folks, it is partly about race. I've spoken about Obama here before, mostly on what little record he actually has as the the freshman senator from my home state of Illinois.
I helped put him here today, yet his spotty at best record in the senate gives me trouble to think what he plans to do if he's elected president. I'm fine with a black man or woman or anyone of mixed race taking the highest office, I justr want them to stand on a real platform of explaining just what they intend to do once they hold that seat.
Obama has said nothing, beyond some very nebulas and trite answers as to what he'll do to help America.
I was not alive when Kennedy ran for president 49 years ago, but now I suspect why some people felt he was too young, too inexperienced to lead the nation. Of course, somewhat, he proved his critics wrong. Some still, and forever will, hate him.
I don't hate Obama, I just feel he needs a few more years in the senate to show us what he can do. I challenge anyone to give me information on what he has done as a senator. What he has done to help Illinois. Where's his record?
If this is not about the first really viable African American man running for the White House, what is it then? Race is the central issue here, and I think alot of folks are voting for him because of his race.
Because I don't see them voting for him because of his experience. He has all of about 3 years as a senator.
And that is his record. I'm not impressed.
But go on, deny, deny, deny. Ferraro is a smart cookie. She knows the score and so do I.
09 March 2008
I mean, I can do it. I just got to convince myself (and get some reflectors and light for riding in the rising sun) to do it. I could do it, at least twice a week. Save on gas, which is the ultimate reason for doing it.
Anyways, it was tiring and ended up going to bed early. Which is usual, of course, but it was also to try and get an early start on losing that hour of sleep with Daylight Savings beginning on Saturday night, Sunday morning.
Today turned out to be okay. Even though I did not have to be there for the start of 1.04, I went to see if I could help out, because JT has a cold. But Jenn came to the rescue, so it was great and yet odd, not to have something to do.
Not a bad weekend, in the end. Nice weather, also.
08 March 2008
This episode also seemed to make us viewers believe that Juliet is one of the good guys, though I still feel she (if only because its ingrained into the mythology of the series) has an agenda we’ve yet to see.
Ben supplies enough information to Locke -that Charles Widmore is trying to find the Island -something that was eluded to in last weeks episode. I guess it just confirmed it.
We got to see yet another underground component of the Island, the Tempest. This place is where the poison that Ben used on the others so many years ago. Faraday and Charlotte -who were the red herrings of this story - turn out not to be the ones to use the poison, but render it impossible for Ben to use it again.
While Ben has more or less been creepy since his debut, he took it to a new level with his obsession with Juliet. While one can’t be surprised that Ben would fall for her, it’s just another odd bit of plotting that has made season four more standard for me -cause I still can’t get over the idea that any news network would show a dead corpse like they did the “pilot” of Oceanic Flight 815. It was a contrivance to get Frank to say that it could not be the real pilot of 815, because he had no wedding ring on.
Still, I’m enjoying this season much more than I’ve had since its beginning. And according to next week’s promo, we find out who is the sixth member of the Oceanic Six. Plus, maybe, we’ll see Michael, who I still think is Ben’s man on the boat.
But that could be a red herring, also.
Over the years, after he was outed as Bachman, King has played this game with his constant readers that Richard Bachman was real and existed (I’ve often though King’s novel The Dark Half is his idea of what might happen if Bachman actually lived). I've found this bizarre, but that adds to his quirky nature, I guess. Still, to this day, I've never read any of those Bachman books.
Until now, I guess.
Now, long after Bachman “died,” King resurrects him with Blaze (though I wonder where The Regulators falls here; it being an alternate universe version of King’s Desperation?). While King, in his forward to the book, explains how Blaze came into existence (and that it was part of his psyche of Bachman) he is honest in his opinion of something he wrote 30 plus years ago. Still, the novel reads much like classic King.
While the homage to Of Mice and Men is obvious, it none the less becomes a book you can’t help but enjoy. And while the conclusion is obvious also, you also can’t but root for Blaze, the same way one could not root for Lennie in that classic John Steinbeck novel.
While there is no supernatural stuff seen here, it does feature many classic King-isms, including some nasty-ass characters like the distant father and dead mother. A huge cast of characters, despite it really being a character study between Blaze and dead friend George.
05 March 2008
Expect a major cast shake-up at Smallville, by-the-way. Both Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk have already announced they're leaving and the show is expected to be retooled, but not drastically.
One show left off the early renewal list was critical darling Reaper. One guess that the handful of new episodes to begin airing in April will decide its fate. This show is funny and a bit off, but deserves a chance to prove how good it can be.
And while the fate of Aliens in America is in the same box as Reaper, its seems almost assured for the cancellation bin. Despite the early pick-up of Everybody, the CW has shuttered its comedy department and has decided to focus on serial dramas and reality/game shows.
04 March 2008
03 March 2008
02 March 2008
This move was really designed to save money, and it’s expected that 600 people in both LA and NY branches will lose their jobs. Also out will be the studio's creator Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne.
New Line has had a good track record as an independent, handling the franchises of Austin Powers, Rush Hour, Blade, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination, Friday the 13th, and, of course, The Lord of the Rings which made them more money than anyone of the above mentioned franchise.
New Line will also stop its longstanding practice of selling off international rights to finance films - a move that came significantly after The Golden Compass underperformed domestically but grossed big overseas. The project's failure was the last in a long line of problems that have plagued the company since the success of the Rings trilogy. The move is not expected to affect the production of both The Hobbit films, which they’re targeting for Christmas 2011 and 2012 release.
Anyways, had to got to Pasadena to film one pick-up shot for Helena Chronicles 1.02. I suppose I could've not gone, after all the director was there. But as usual, my sense of finishing my job over took the logic that it could've been handled without me. The AD job, at times, can be a little useless. Usually, you're ordering lunch and trying to keep the schedule moving.
Whene I got back, around noon, I did the dishes and decided to go bike riding. The sun was out and despite the coolness, I could not complain. Yesterday was such a bummer, so there.
Next Sunday, besides being the start of Daylight Savings, is also one of the longest shoots of year, as episode 4 of Odyssey's first season begins. As noted, I'm not doing anything with this episode, which fills me with some happiness, yet the feeling of not "being" there and missing things. I sense I will go there, but spend only a few hours there. I'll play that by ear, as the saying goes.
Speaking of Daylight Savings, I still feel odd starting it 3 weeks earlier than usual. Don't get me wrong, like most other people, I enjoy the extra hour of light, but dred the loss of that sleep. And I think the only people who really hate it, are the ones who need to be up super early. Hell, when I leave at 5:30 and see traffic, I'm amazed at how many people are up earlier than me.
People who get up at 7 or 8 to be at work at 9 really should not complain. But they do.
And for Midnight Roamer, Daylight Savings must be a pain in the ass.
01 March 2008
Still, got a bit time reading over at Starbucks and got caught up on all four episodes of Torchwood I'ved DVR'd. So yea.
It's funny, really. Kind of missed not working over at Rob's, even though I bitched about working too much there. On Wednesday, The Lotus Eaters, the third episode of Odyssey was released in the chat room. This is the first episode I've directed for this show, and while I'm satisfied with it, I'm not completley happy with it.
The writing was fine, and Rob's editing really saved it, but I felt something was a bit wonky with it, as it featured way too much exposition and not enough clear explanation as to the main plot. The good thing that came out of this was seeing Brandon and Michelle work together. They have great chemistry and it comes across when they're on the screen together.
And Brandon, completing his second episode as Ro, seems to be settling in very nicley. He seems more confident and relaxed. So, with the exception of an actor, the acting of the others -including the secondary cast members -were better.
The Lotus Eaters should be out for general release sometime next week. In the meantime, production on 1.04 begins in a week. I'm not working on the episode too much, and will be the first time in 2 years I've not worked on an episode, but that was my choice.
Now, BTW, I've got a headache.