27 April 2008

OBS, Birthday and a fire

Yesterday was long, starting with continued filming of the feature-length Hidden Frontier episode, Operation Beta Shield. Summer returned this past weekend, and with Rob's air conditioner on the frits -though it started off great - the heat made the studio very warm, despite the fact we no longer use the hot, burning lights anymore.

After the shoot, we hemmed and hawed about going out to Planet Hollywood at Universal City Walk for Star Trek: Odyssey star Brandon McConnell's 26th birthday. But we all -Stephen, Rob, Beo and I - eventually went. It was a blast, with most people associated with HF Productions throwing the handsome star a birthday to remember.

While I had one drink, many of those guys had way to many. Poor Brandon, having all these lovely girls of HF dancing around him. He's got a girlfriend, but apparently ("it's complicated," the way I've heard it described) they don't do these things together. He's extremely hot, and I don't blame them. And while he's a southern boy born and raised, he's slowly starting to see that not all gay men are the stereotypes we're made out to be. This was his first real social gathering with us, and I hope this means he'll feel more comfortable with the cast and crew, plus playing Ro on Odyssey, the first Star Trek -official or fan - to have an openly gay character as captain of a starship.

Finally, on the way back to the studios in Pasadena, I noticed an orange glow on the horizon. I thought it was odd, but thought not to mention it to anyone else. I thought right off that there was a fire buring in the hills, but this was not the "normal" time of year for them.

As I headed home on the 210, I saw the orange glow again, and then I realized I was right. There hills around the city of Arcadia and Sierra Madre were on fire. It was surreal, as I've yet to get real close to a wildfire since moving here. I saw it on TV, but it was never close to where I traveled.

So here I was, on the freeway, trying to drive and watch the fire. Lucky it was nearly 1 am and the roads where empty, somewhat. My guess, since this fire broke out yesterday afternoon, had I left the studios any sooner, I would've been caught in some crikey traffic.

Most of the fire has consumed brush in an area known for hiking, though it's close to some homes. Some of those foothill areas, however, have not burned for 40 years.

Today it remains hot (its 97 at 4pm), and very dry. The winds are light, but even these are not welcome when fighting wildfires.

I hope this is not a prelude to another summer of 100-plus heat and the fire that seems to follow it.


Book: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Little over a year ago, a book came into the store. Called Heart-Shaped Box, it was a novel about a rock star named Judas Coyne who purchases a ghost in a heart-shaped box for $1000.

I thought it was interesting, but I had so much to read and I though maybe I'll read it when it comes out in paperback. I looked at the author photo and thought he looked familiar. Then, I don't know, a few weeks later, I discovered that the author, Joe Hill was the the second child of Tabitha and Stephen King.

I went back to the book shelves, and looked at the back flap where that picture was again and now I saw it. Joe Hill looked a lot like his dad. As a fan of Stephen King -having read almost every novel he's published - I wanted to see for myself if Joe Hill (an abbreviated form of his given name and a reference to executed labor leader Joe Hill, for whom he was named) could write a spooky story that kept me coming back to his dad for the last 30 years.

Sure enough, I think he did.

When Heart-Shaped Box finally came out in paper, I bought and put it at the top of my reading list -which happens all the time, by the way, pushing other books away.

Anyway, the novel and the author have very similar styles as his father. Major themes about the past, and how it never leaves you behind, remind me a many of times of the elder King's works. So does the characters themeselves, who evoke a terrible childhood, which is another trademark of Stephen King, along with paying attention to details with language, accents.

Now, its not to say anything of this is bad. By and far, Joe Hill speaks in his own voice, and Heart-Shaped Box is an effective and powerful first novel. I look forward to see how Mr. Hill grows and see if he can be a creepy and suspeness full as his dad.

24 April 2008

Freeways and ramps

Every time I travel the northbound 15, and I approach the the exit towards the westbound 10, I feel anxious.

I don't really have a fear of heights, but on that ramp -the 15 to the 10 - I sometimes do. Like yesterday and today, after spending four-hours helping the Mira Loma Borders get ready for opening. As I traveled, the sun setting in the western sky, I exit the 15, and begin the climb on the big ass ramp. It goes and goes, and suddenly you realize you're way up in the sky. You look to your left, and then down. You see a few things, the ramp from the westbound 10 to the southbound 15. Then you see the eastbound ramp to the northbound 15, then finally, the southbound ramp to the westbound 10.

And for a moment, you feel your flying. And also in that moment, I feel that if there was going to be the big quake everyone knows is coming, this will be the time when it happens. When I'm at the apex of the 15 ramp to the 10.

It would be just like that 1970's disaster movie, funny enough, called Earthquake. I would be on that ramp as the earth started shaking. I would hear the pillars that hold the ramp up in the sky start to snap like redwoods caught in a tornado. The ramp itself would twist and turn like taffy at a carnival.

Then I drop, like a stone to the ground below.

Funny, though, the odds would predict that I would survive.

22 April 2008

Working it

Work is fustrating.

Why do they resist holding people accountable, when that's all they talk about?


19 April 2008

Saturday in the Life

I have so many plans.

I've got a pile of shirts that need to be ironed. And I hate to iron, but because I care about how I look, I just can't pull the damn things out of the dryer and put them on. I have to iron them. It's my thing.

So, they've been sitting there, just gathering dust, as I had more and more. I wanted to do them today, but after coming back from Starbucks (and talking with a group of "regulars" that go there), I came home.

And suddenly, I didn't want to do them. I thought about going on a bike ride, but as predicted, the on shore breeze made the sun play cat and mouse with clouds, and the cool winds blew strong. I know that's an excuse, and I can deal with that.

I realize I'm motivated by other people. Because I'm limited to friends here -when not filming on HF related productions - I've got no one to push me to do anything. I've got no friends who'll call me up and say, let's go biking. So, I find excuses not to do it.

Bill went off to work, but even he's less motivated than me.

I did finished Company, which turned out nice. I sat outside, in the sun. But because it was also pretty cloudy, when the sun vanished behind a cloud, you could really feel the cool winds. It was distracting, so I came in and finished reading it on the couch.

After grabbing dinner at In & Out (while I love this place, the fast foods name is pretty oxymoronic {?}), I watched the season finale of Torchwood. While this Doctor Who spin-off has not struck a cord with me, I find the show interesting. And season two is, perhaps, better than the uneven first season. Still, I'm unsure how things will be resolved for season three, as Exit Wounds was, as they say in the biz, a shocker. Of course, I may have just made that up.

Book: Company by Max Barry

Max Barry takes on corporate America in this broad farce of a novel, Company. As I read the book, I could not help but think about all the jobs I've held with large corporations that turn employees into cogs with in the machine. While at its core, this novel is satire, it none the less rings very true. Plus, in many ways, this novel reads like something the late, great Douglas Adams would've wrote.

The story starts with Stephen Jones, who is surprised to discover he's been hired at Zephyr Holdings during a hiring freeze. As the days unwind, he ponders what exactly his company does, and tries to figure it out. While the rest of his fellow employees could care less, Jones - in a fit of inspired initiative - discovers what is at the dark heart of his company.

Barry attacks the way corporation dehumanize its employees and certainly provides laugh out loud takes on managers who's goals for the company border on the bizarre.

Meanwhile, the cast of characters, Jones' fellow employees, are rather cartoonish, coming from the world of TV's The Office. Still, while some are stereotypes, many strike true.

And the sad part is, this book would be funny if it was not for the fact that for most of us, this is real life.

17 April 2008

Pope Benedict XVI, the Real Dark Lord of the Sith

Random Days

Tyler Bosserman and Wayne Webb

Due to Tyler's availability, we had to shoot his scenes for Operation Beta Shield on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Now, on a school night, I don't like to be out late, as being I need to rise before the sun does. Now Tuesday I was home by 12:05, in bed by 12:06, but woke up around 4:30 - a half-hour before I had to get up to go to work.

Yesterday, as the filming went on, and on, and on, I was growing weary. I was distracted and totally not into the the shoot. I finally left at 11:15.

I did get to go in at 7, so I got an extra hour of sleep, and while I still woke up before my radio coming on, it was no that bad.

This is the one problem with getting older. I cannot be out late and it takes days to recover. Granted, if I ate more healthly, tried to excersise more, I guess I could have the energy to stay the course. Of course, getting up at 4:55 every day does cause me to be tired by 8pm.

And I'm not a nap person, even as a kid, it was a struggle for my mom to make me nap. So, by not being able to nap - no matter how tired I am - makes me a wimp and I'm nodding off an hour after prime time starts.

Weather, by the way, has been nice. Not as warm as it was over the weekend, but while we have some cloud cover in the morning, it's been vanishing and the sun is out. Still a bit breezy, but that's what you get, I guess, living here.

Suppose to be a cool weekend -and the only weekend I have nothing planned in April - so we'll see what I can do. I need to finish Company, so I might make a concerted effort to do that.

Beyond that, nothing else much is going on.

14 April 2008

Judas Kiss gets its first reading

JayTee in the pink shirt, and Carlos

Zach is in his 30's, aging as we all do, reflective of our past, often wondering how we ended up where we are now. He made a splash in his late teens, writing and directing a short film that got entered into a prestigious film festival.

But unable to captialize on it, he finds his dream of becoming a great movie director fall to the ground, swept away like fall leaves; he ends up producing wedding videos. But when a director friend asks Zach to fill in for him at Keystone, the film school they graduated from, he discovers his yesteryear is catching up to him.

For on that campus, where memory and time become one, Zach will be confronted with his demons of the past, the present and the unstoppable future.


Above, somewhat, is the premise for Judas Kiss, a film two good friends want to make. Writer Carlos Pedraza (Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, StarTrek: Phase II) and writer/director J.T. Tepnapa (Star Trek: The Helena Chronicles) got a group of actors together near LAX on Sunday to read the script for the first time out loud. This gave them a chance to hear it in other voices than their own. Thus a chance to see where the script needs to worked on. The actors, after both sessions, gave their opinon.

Two readings where done, starting at 10 am, with the other starting at 3pm. A few of the actor who helped out where from HF related projects, and Sharon brought some from her acting class -including this guy named Hunter who, well, is kinda of hot, but has a huge....ego. But he's good, and he read very well, but he's just some eyecandy.

There was one major eyecandy who also read. A nice guy, really. A major -from my perspective maybe -gay porn star, looking to cross over into legit films. He was charming, and with some coaching, he could play almost any role, including the star of story.

So, to the few who come here, if you want to help out, or know anyone looking to invest in a project of this kind -and it was filmed so potential investors can see and hear this original story - just click here and take a look at how you can help.

I also want to thank J.T. and Carlos for letting me be a part of this project. The script is good, very original, filmed with some tense moments, heartbreak and humor.

11 April 2008

The heat of Summer in the Spring

Earlier in the week I had been complaining of the cool weather here -very cloudy, breezy with temps below normal. Today, summer rushed in.

It's 85 at 6pm tonight, and the temp had to be in the low 90's. It was just a fabulous day. Went for a bike ride, just to soak up the sun. It's suppose to remain like this through the weekend, before a slow down trend brings temps back to normal.

This day reminds me of Chicago, that seems like LA, to have only two seasons. Chicago never really seems to have a spring. Sure the days get longer, the flowers bloom, but the transition in temps never comes. It goes from cold winds -thanks to a wind off the Lake- to summer heat.

LA seems to be the same-though the old joke comes together as fire and earthquake seasons. Well, at least today gave us the reminder of what is due in just a few short months.

Of course, there is the June Gloom, which more or less means fog and low clouds in the morning, which then should be burned off by 10, giving us warm, but not hot day. The real heat of summer, those days in the 100's do not usually arrive until July. Then they go on, and on and you are sort of wishing for the days that happened earlier in the week.

The world is so complex.

Anyways, tomorrow filming contiues on the stuff for Operation Beat Shield that does not require the Scottish cast from Intrepid. Then on Sunday, I'm off to help JayTee and Carlos with Judas Kiss, as a reading of script with actors gets underway.

I'm thinking I'm a production assistant, cause I'm helping people to get where they need to be, and probably make sure the three cameras set up to film are coving everything that needs to be covered.

And, it seems, there will be a former gay porn (?) star reading one of the roles. That should be interesting...

09 April 2008

Disney ramps up its animated movie schedule

Walt Disney Studios recently announced their most ambitious movie schedule in years, releasing 10 new animated films from both Walt Disney Animation and Pixar through 2012.

Among the line-up includes four new animated films, and six new Pixar films, along with four direct-to-DVD films featuring Disney Fairies from DisneyToon Studios.

First off, opening this June is Wall-E, from Pixar, while Bolt (Disney) bows in November. Also in November is the DVD release of Tinker Bell, the first in new series of films set in the world of Fairies.

Summer 2009 sees Pixar’s first 3-D feature, Up, followed by the Christmas Day release of the animated film The Princess and the Frog. Also out that month is the next film in the Fairies franchise, Tinker Bell North of Never Land.

In 2010, Pixar brings Buzz and Woody back, and in 3-D this time, for Toy Story 3. Then, at Christmas, comes the Disney animated film, Repunzel. Next up, is the DVD release of Tinker Bell: A Midsummer Storm.

Coming summer 2011 sees two Pixar releases, the summer film newt, followed by the Christmas holiday film, and their first fairy tale, The Bear and the Bow. Also out then will be the DVD release of Tinker Bell A Winter Story.

Finally, summer 2012 marks the return of Lightning McQueen, Mater the tow truck, and an international cast of favorite and new car characters in Pixar's Cars 2. Then veteran sci fi author Philip K Dicks only work of fantasy, the short story King of the Elves, will be adapted into animated film from Disney.

08 April 2008

Creepy Commercials

Now, I've always thought the King from the Burger King commercials was creepy -popping out like some demented jack-in-the box - but now the Honda Spring Sales commercial, with this guy hauling around cars to various, isolated areas, just to inform people that they need to get back to buy a car.

It's just seems wrong, a bit stalky and all around just bizzare actions on the side of Honda to get people to buy their cars.

Haven't eaten at Burger King in ages, mostly because of the creepy King. I guess I'm off Honda's now, too.

Spring is currently sucking

So, day 6 of cool, cloudy days here. Yep, thought I would never whine about the southern California weather, but there you go. Sure, the sun has been out here and there, playing like a two year-old who's discovered the peek-a-boo is really fun, but its never out for long, and the breezy winds from the ocean, sent through the hills, have made the I.E. just a bummer to live in. Oh sure, can't complain about the weather too much, as after all, it's still fairly cool back in Chicago, where my family is wishing for 60's without winds off the lake or the skies opening with an ocean of rain.

Then there's Tornwordo, who does not have any sympathy for me, as he's living up in Montreal, where it's still snowing. He's from this area, and I think -kidding of course - he thinks I'm a bit silly bitching about the cloudy, cool days (get well, Torn)

Now, I do feel sorry for him. Really.

Snow really sucks, and even if I can no longer live here, I'm never going to live in Chicago again. I'll move to Texas before that happens. Though, I really probably stay in the Southwest someplace, like Arizona or New Mexico.

But these last few days have ironically, reminded me of my old home town during the spring. Which is why, maybe, I'm on about it -though we could use the rain.

07 April 2008

Doctor Who returns to the BBC (and then Youtube)

The Sci Fi Channel will debut season 4 of Doctor Who on April 18 (after the April 11th start of the second spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures), with the broadcast premier of it's last Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned. The official season opener, Partner's in Crime, will air on April 25.

One of the reasons the cable net will air the show only three weeks after it's debut on the BBC, other than airing it in the summer, as it's done the last few seasons, is to curb viewer loss, as many can see the show on bittorents almost within moments of its airing (this was why, I'm also guessing, BBC America began showing Who spinoff Torchwood only 2 1/2 weeks after its BBC debut). So, wait a few more hours, and it's up on Youtube.

While the show does well on Sci Fi, how many people don't tune in because they've seen it already on the net, is one thing all the broadcast networks are wrestling with. All of them advertise now that you can watch your favorite shows on their websites, semi-commercial free. Even Sci Fi does it. It's an attempt at putting a band aid on what has become a major issue for them -and the people who produce, write, direct and act on them.

But to while the calculation of how many are not watching is questionable, there is no doubt that shows -especially newly produced shows - are losing viewers. Part of the recent drain can be blamed on the 100 day writers strike. And while broadcast network shows are finally returning, the shadow of an actor's strike this summer could further push people to the net to watch more shows not produced here in the states.

But still, the net offers -much like Tivo, DVD's and the almost forgotten VHS - people to watch shows at their convience. Don't want to wait three weeks to see Doctor Who, just wait because you can see it on the net in only moments.

Eventually, I see most shows available in any type of format almost instantly. Which means, that shows like this British import, will air on the same day here as it does in England. And while on Sunday, I did watch the season opener -and Voyage of the Damned - on Youtube, I'll still catch it on the Sci Fi Channel and will buy it on DVD.

I may have cheated by doing it -after all, I guess I can be like the majority of Americans who can no longer wait for anything - but I'll still catch it on Sci Fi. Of course, I'll DVR it so I can pass by all those pesky commercials.

06 April 2008

Gods and the late night party drunks

From L to R: PK, Bailey the cat, Adam and Stephen
Front: JayTee

Last night was JayTee and Adam's God and Goddesses Party. I'm not much for dressing up for parties -I'm even a bit wary of Halloween.

Most of the people that came were dressed up, but there was an equal number who came dressed as, well, normal.

It was fun, I ate and drank more than I should and got home at about 2:15am.

Oh, the times when I could be up half the night, get a few hours sleep and have a full and productive day. Now, on a day like yeterday, where filming began on Operation Beta Shield, and then a full night at a party (or is that par-tay?) I suffer the entire day.

I guess is was helpful that today was a cool, cloudy, all around depressing day -much like the last two days. I've gotten used the sun. Go figure.

Anyways, an offshore flow should begin by midweek, pushing the temps to the upper 70's and low 80's.

04 April 2008

Rage of old age

I don't know. Maybe I'm getting old, but I feel out of place at a gay bar.

Last night, I went to rage in West Hollywood for Beo's birthday. It looks just like any other gay bar in any nameless city; lots of mood lighting, a cheerless bartender and dance music blasted so high, the dead in Las Vegas can hear it.

While it was a blast to surprise Beo for his birthday -he knew he was coming to Rage, but did not know all of his friends would be there as well - but I felt, I don't know, like a the gay guy that I am, sitting in a roomful nuns. It was odd, very uncomfortable and just weird.

I've never enjoyed gay bars, per se. Especially the real popular ones. Back in Chicago, in Boys Town, there are many bars sandwiched between Addison and Belmont on Halsted. There's Spin and Sidetracks, along with Roscoe's and Hydrate (once known as The Manhole). Those are the most popular, the ones where all the boys are pretty, perfect, thin and probably all size queens. But they're also shallow, overpriced and generally boring if you don't fall into the above slots.

I like Sidetrack, if only because of Showtunes Sunday. Campy? Yes, but also fun.

Big Chicks, up in Andersonville (far north side of the city) is, perhaps, my favorite. You go there to drink, have some fun times with your friends, maybe dance, but you never feel like you have to be on display, like the bars in Boystown. It really has no attitude what so ever.

I've yet to find a place in West Hollywood that even comes close to it.

So, anyways, I just felt old there last night, and I sensed that the bored bartender knew I was from the 'burbs, thus I was, I'm guessing, uninteresting.

Don't get me wrong, I would like to go to gay bars, but I like to go for the conversation, music at a lower level and pretty boys who may not have a 32" waist and spend all their money on hair and face care products.

Then again, as freaky as a leather bar is, I actually find them more fun to go to. I wonder what that says about myself (get the whip out, sister).

01 April 2008

Leno apologizes

Nearly two weeks later, Jay Leno has apologized for his comments on his show.

When actor Ryan Phillippe appeared on his show, Leno asked the actor to look at the camera and give it his "gayest look." You see, one of Phillippe's earliest roles was a gay teen on the soap One Life to Live.

That one incident sparked Avenue Q creator Jeffy Whitty to post about it on his blog, ending with a picture of him giving Leno the middle finger, saying that this was his "gayest look."

As only that can happen in this internet age, mygayestlook.com was born. Nearly 400 people submitted photo's (including yours truly) to the site, giving Leno our "gayest look."

Now, with some help from here (let's hope) and a little pushing from GLAAD, Leno said he was sorry.

"In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong," Leno said. "I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize."

I can and will accept the apology. However, he's still not funny.