Remove the Head and Destroy the Brain

Pete Wright's and my new podcast is live -- this week, we chat about the wonderful rom-zom-com "Shaun of the Dead."  Join us!  Yeah boyyyyyyyyyyy!

Movies We Like - Shaun of the Dead


I'm back!!! With a podcast too!

Hey everyone,

It's been a while.  Okay, it's been years, but I'm slowly creeping back into the world of my blog.  Now that I have a podcast going, I figure it's good to get this moving again.  I may wipe it clean and start all over, but for now, it's just me using it to get my stuff back out there.  We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, Pete Wright, my old college buddy, and I have a podcast now called "Movies We Like" in which we talk about, you guessed it, movies we like!  We'd love you to listen in as we chat about 1 movie each week.  It's a lot of fun!  Our #ShaunoftheDead podcast is up on "Movies We Like!"  Check it out!  http://rashpixel.tv/mwl


Watch The Shield

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Watch The Shield. It's an amazing and very hard-hitting show. It is violent and deals with a lot of evil things (hence the reason it's on at 11pm), but it's well worth it. Season 5 just ended tonight and I'm still in shock. It had me in tears. If you haven't ever seen this show, do yourself a favor and rent all 4 seasons that are on DVD and then watch season 5 as soon as it's available. It's so worth it.

Tonight's episode just blew my mind. Horrifying. Painful. Amazing. Just watch it.

I have to go to bed. I have jury duty tomorrow.

That really helps my stressful week right before the film festival.

The Movie Monkey


The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Hey everyone,

This will be a quick post as I'm stressed out and scrambling to do a million things this week before the Phoenix Film Festival hits this weekend.

A friend was in town this past weekend and we took her to see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. What an amazing movie! It's Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut and he does a great job with it. A great story about a rancher who finds out his friend, Melquiades, has been killed. He finds out it was a border patrol agent, played amazingly by Barry Pepper. He then kidnaps the Border Patrol agent, makes him dig up the body, and takes him to Mexico to bury Melquiades' body back in his home town. Such a great story about friendship, with interesting parallels between Jones' character and Melquiades.

See it if you get a chance. It's well worth it.

The Movie Monkey


Chadd's Screen Test

Hey everyone,

My buddy Chadd managed to score an audition as The Joker for the next Batman film. Here is the link to his audition piece that he did that got him the audition.

Chadd's Screen Test

Check out his blog here .

The Movie Monkey


Thursday Thirteen #6

Hey folks. Sorry I've been out of commission. I somehow seem to keep getting busier and busier, which is good on the one hand and creating mounds of stress on the other. So what do I do to get away from it all? You guessed it -- I put together a posting for my blog! Enjoy.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I've accomplished in the past week

1. I premiered my short film, "Romey & Jules." Technically, it was just a cast/crew and family/friends screening. The official premiere will be 3/24 at the Phoenix Film Festival. There were probably 50-60 people in attendance, and it was well-received. It's hard for me to watch and enjoy, however, as I'm constantly noticing things that need to be fixed. The good thing is that we actually have an opportunity to make changes before the official premiere, now, so that's very beneficial. And truthfully, we may make some more changes after that before we start sending it out to festivals, etc.

2. I finally got to see the Behind the Scenes Making-of documentary that chronicled the making of our short. It was great to relive the moments from the movie and see everyone working again. It's a very different perspective than what I've been seeing for the past 2 months.

3. I reconnected with a long-lost best buddy of mine. He happened to be in town for a conference and I met up with him Sunday night for dinner. We ended up talking about podcasting and may come up with one of our own. He's such a great guy and it's a bummer that we've been so out of touch.

4. I celebrated my Little Brother's 18th birthday with him. This is not a real brother -- we're part of Big Brothers Big Sisters. He's been my Little for almost 6 years now. Zoinks! Where does the time go! Technically, our match ends either when he turns 18 or when he graduates. He graduated last semester but won't walk until this June, so we're officially ending it then. We'll still stay in touch, though. The good news -- he finally got a job. The frustrating news -- he's still impossible about calling me.

5. I found a new favorite TV show -- Battlestar Galactica. I watched the miniseries that started it all and was unduly impressed, and then I watched the 1st 2 episodes of Season 1. What a brilliant show. And I hear Season 2 is even better. I can't wait. (By the way -- sorry about not updating the info in my sidebar. One of these days, I'll do so.)

6. I recorded a commercial (I do some voiceover work) for a small Christian college in West Virginia. Too frequently, my VO gigs are in states other than mine so I never hear them on the radio. I assume they play because they pay me.

7. I got offered a gig to record an audio book, which I've never done before. We're still hashing out the arrangement, and I'm going in to my buddy's studio tomorrow to record a sample chapter so they can get a feel for how it would sound.

8. I found someone to design my short film's website and began compiling info for him, as well as for my Associate Producer who graciously has offered to do the content.

9. I got on a gig as Art Asst with TeeNick to do a promotional show for the upcoming movie "The Benchwarmers" and will get to work with the stars -- David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Jon Heder -- this Saturday.

10. I tried putting together the CD cover for my wife's & my annual birthday CD mix that we give to friends on their bdays, but the program is printing incorrectly and I can't figure out why, so I am stopping in frustration. This is a project I began in the fall of '05 so it'd be ready by the time '06 rolled around. If only there was more time in the day.

11. I found this incredible artist's website. http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/pave.htm

12. I stepped down as President of a local writing organization that I run. I will remain on the board, but feel that I need to free up more time to accomplish the things I really want to, to find paying work, to plan for the baby, and to actually write (something I have done little of since taking over the group).

13. I began breaking down, scheduling, and budgeting 2 feature film projects that I'm involved in. So you know, the first thing that happens when a script is going to be made is the script gets broken down -- someone goes through scene by scene, determines what characters are in each scene, what props, cars, special equipment, # of locations, etc. This person looks at each scene and figures out how many pages the scene runs so they can best schedule it. Generally, a feature shoots 3-6 pages a day. So a 120 page script (2 hours -- a movie generally speaking is 1 minute of finished film for every page of script) would take 20-40 days to shoot. Some productions can be done quicker, some take even longer. It depends on the type of shoot. The 2 features I'm breaking down/scheduling are too long for the # of days we have to shoot, in my humble opinion. Do the directors listen? No. They want their whole vision. What that means is that they'll hate me on the set when I come up and tell them, "You're done w/this scene -- move on to the next," because they're behind schedule. It takes the creativity out, but that's life. It's a business and money is on the line. Anyway, enough rambling.

What have you done this week?

The Movie Monkey

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Kimmy at Snickerdoodles
2. Kelly at
Diary of the Nello
3. Dale at Just Takes a Minute
4. My personal favorite Paisley
5. Kim at Nothing Heavy
6. Stacey at Broken Spirit

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


ugh... tired... need bed... sleep...

It's 3:26am. Just got home from working over at my editor's house all afternoon. And before that, I was working on our taxes.

We finished the effects for every shot except 2 which have to be done tomorrow before the premiere tomorrow night. Talk about cutting it close.

After we finish that, we have to render all of the effects, then watch it and look for problems -- colors that don't match from shot to shot (already know we have some of that ahead), audio that isn't quite right, etc.

But it's all coming together.

And tomorrow's the big night.

And I'm tired... so I'm going to bed.



Down to the Wire

For those of you who have been there since the start of my blog, you remember me talking about directing my latest short film. Well, we're in the last big push of post-production this week. We're having a test screening, which is basically the unofficial premiere since we really won't be changing much afterward, this Thursday night. We were planning on finishing it this past weekend but things always take longer than planned -- now we're pushing to have it done late Wednesday night. Not much extra time to squeeze there. Zoinks!

One thing I'm realizing about myself as a director -- I'm a producer's nightmare. I'm one of those guys who is constantly saying, "Oooh! This'd be cool! Let's try this!" This is great for the creative process but it pinches the pocketbooks. I'm lucky that my editor is really excited about the project because he'd have thrown me out the door weeks ago. After all of the amazingly hard work he's done just helping get the picture cut together, he's done the following with me to make this the best it can be:
-- Re-record and loop one of our actor's dialogue because of some audio issues. Let me tell you, this is a very difficult process. Try this to see what it's like -- videotape yourself then play it back over and over again and try to say the lines different ways with different emotions, but make sure it fits within how you moved your lips in the video clip. It's insane. I've never been through the process before, but watching our poor actor struggle with one particular line for a good half hour, I realized it's so much easier to get it right on the set. Unfortunately, there are so many more time constraints on the set. It's really a difficult balance between what is reasonable to do without going into overtime (or in our case, since we weren't paying people, going so far that people would refuse to come back the next day) and what is feasible to rework on set to get the right emotion. It was made even more difficult because our lead actor had some difficulty finding the emotion needed for some particular scenes. But it's done, thanks to my brilliant editor.

-- Going through the film shot by shot to do all of the effects work. In case I haven't mentioned it before, this film was shot in color and we're now dropping all the color so the film is in black and white, but we're keeping certain reds. If you've see Sin City, you have an idea of what we're doing. What this means in the filmmaking world, however, is that we have to go through each frame and rotoscope around all of the reds. Rotoscoping is basically a process of creating a mask for each frame of the film around the reds that we want. This makes those pop out while any other reds -- skin tone, random colors in the curtains, etc. -- turn grayscale. But because of movement w/in the frames, he has to move the mask with every frame. Luckily, he can cheat by drawing key frames every few frames. When he does this, the mask moves between the frames. Anyway, it sounds complicated and it is. And he's spending at least 100 hours -- probably more -- doing this. And it looks fabulous.

-- Remixing and normalizing all of the audio. We locked the picture on Thursday last week (which means we're not making any more changes to the edit). Since then, he and I sat down with an audio expert friend of mine who gave us some great advice. Now, my editor is spending whatever time he isn't doing effects work on remixing the audio. And there are up to 10 tracks sometimes. It's a lot of work.

-- Manually animate the closing text slide of the film to make it look like someone is writing it.

-- Add a magical teardrop that brings a character back to life.

-- Add the moon in one shot.

-- Change the name of the motel on the sign. One of those effects you hope no one actually notices -- it's supposed to look real.

-- My latest creative addition. I listen to a great podcast -- Photoshop TV. They had a really interesting tip about making photos look hand tinted. I've been playing around with it. I noticed that it kind of added a smoothed-over look to certain textures. One of the problems I have w/my film is that the makeup tends to look a bit chunky in the closeup shots (my leads are a clown and a mime). I've been vexed as to how to make it look better. And then I saw the trailer for Ultraviolet. I hear it sucks, but it looks really cool. And they did something to make the characters' skin look really slick and shiny, kinda like vinyl. I knew right away that it's what I wanted. And then I remembered this technique from Photoshop TV. And I tried it with a shot of the film. While it smoothed everything over, it also really crushed the blacks so the blacks lose a lot of detail. Normally, that's a bad thing -- you want detail. But this is a really stylized film. My editor and I played around with some possibilities. Today, we finally came up with something. It's an effect that can be applied to the entire film to give it this look. It'll probably be a good 12 hour render time, but it looks frickin' sweet. I can't wait to see how it looks on the finished project.

So that's what he's been up to. The poor guy has a 2-year old and a wife who's about to pop, and his own video business, but because he loves this project, he blocked out today, tomorrow and Wednesday to get this done. He rocks and this film wouldn't exist without him. So this is my thanks to my editor. Who will never read this, but at least it's out there.

And while I'm thanking people who work hard, my composer -- one of my long-time best friends -- has worked his tookus off as well and has come up with some BRILLIANT pieces of music, my favorite of which has some funky 70s jive going on. It's great.

So it's all coming together, but we're really in the last crunch. If any of you are in the Phoenix area March 23-30th, it'll be playing in the IFP Phoenix Shorts program.

While I've been writing this, I've been listening to a loop of the song "10,000 Miles" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. It's such a beautiful song! If any of you saw the movie Fly Away Home with Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin, you'll remember it as the song that plays during the opening credits when Anna's mother/Jeff's ex-wife gets in a car wreck and dies, and also when Anna is flying solo toward the nature preserve at the end of the film. It's hauntingly beautiful and I can't stop listening to it.

While I have your ear -- Oscars. Did any of you watch it? What'd you think? I thought Clooney's speech was the best, though it's hard to beat Tom Hanks getting beaten by a violin. And it's also hard to beat 360 Mafia winning for Best Song with "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." If you haven't seen Hustle and Flow, rent it. Terence Howard is brilliant and it's strange to actually watch a movie that makes you identify with a pimp.
What were your favorite speeches? Moments?

To close, here' s the transcript (minus the "You're a motherfucker") from 360 Mafia's acceptance speech.
Oh, my. Hey, we want to thank Keith Young our choreographer. And the whole Sony Records, Lisa Ellis, our moms, our whole families. Thank you, Jesus. And for giving us a chance, the Academy. We love the Academy. You know what I'm saying? Gil Cates. Everybody. I got plenty of time. Ain't nobody else. I want to thank everybody. Yeah. Donnie Ienner. Once again our families. Ludacris. What's up? Going down. George Clooney, my favorite man, he showed me love when I first met him. We bringing the house. We out of here. Memphis, Tennessee!

The Movie Monkey


Thursday Thirteen #5

Oi veh. It's that time already?

Here we go.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Pets I've been lucky enough to own and why I love them

(If I had the time to rummage through old pics and if I were skilled enough, I'd put a pic of each of them w/my post)

This list is NOT in preferential order (except for #1).
1. Muffy -- my childhood kitty cat who was with me from about 3 to 18. She'll always be my favorite because she was there through my entire childhood. She was my friend, my playmate, my pillow. She could also be a little shit, but even more reason to love her. ;)

2. Sam (aka Lady Samantha of Soda Creek) -- our yellow lab. What a loyal friend. She had hip dysplasia and could never have puppies, and also had a hard time running around, but that never stopped her from playing with us kids. She was a high pedigree dog (hence the longer name which we always thought was kinda cheeky and fun since we lived near Soda Creek). Loyal and so friendly. Labs are great.

3. Sierra -- one of our current kittie cats. She's a beautiful, though slightly overweight, tortoise shell. She was from the pound and was so timid and scared when we got her, we figured she'd been abused. She hid under the bed constantly. Only in the past few years has she completely come out of her shell (no pun intended) and now is SOOOOOOO friendly and loving. She has little coo meows and purrs constantly.

4. Maya -- our other current kittie cat. She's a petite black cat who is full of spunk and likes to walk on the line of what we accept and what she knows is wrong (ie. walking on the tables). She loves to play and I run around the house with her mouse on a string with her right on my tail. She isn't a huge fan of being touched or held except when we're somewhere with a tile floor. Strange.

5. Tony -- my Red Eared Slider turtle. He was a vicious little punk and bit my fingers more than once when I was a teenager. I was usually asking for it, though, so I can't blame him. I loved dropping a bag full of live goldfish into his tank and watching him catch them and tear them in half. The downside was having to clean his tank -- what a chore! Nothing worse than moldy fish parts floating around. Ugh. The sad end of my time with him was that I took him outside to run around in the grass as I often did in the summer -- he loved tromping through it looking for bugs to eat. I found a black widow and became obsessed with watching it. I turned around to find Tony but couldn't -- he had run away. I searched the area for the rest of the day but no sign -- he'd completely disappeared. Sad but true. Even sadder that I can say that my turtle ran away from me. Slow and steady wins the race.

6. BJ -- technically not my pet, but was my sister's and I ended up taking care of her for a while. BJ (short for Benny, Jr.) was another petite long-haired tortie. She was a tough cookie -- she'd been attacked by dogs and lived, she'd fallen asleep in an open dryer only to run through a dry cycle and lived, she'd been diagnosed with a fatal kidney disease only to have it miraculously disappear. She died a very old age a few years back and it was heartbreaking. She was old, blind, and going gray. She was like 20 years old. By the end, her meow was pretty obnoxious and harsh, but she was always a great buddy.

7. Niyak -- My early childhood dog. I don't remember him much except for the pictures with him and me playing. Beautiful dog. A german shepherd mixed with something else -- a lab, perhaps? He was unfortunately put to sleep because he'd been busted for biting some neighbors. He never bit me, though.

8. Albie -- our albino catfish (only about 1 inch long). He was so cool to look at. One day he mysteriously disappeared from the tank. We couldn't find him anywhere and figured he leapt out. Suicidal for some reason. It wasn't until months later in the process of a routine cleaning when I noticed his body jammed into a hole on the inside of a plastic log that had been in the bottom of the tank. He had swum into the hole and apparently couldn't swim backward to get out. Very tragic.

9. Snickers -- Our kitty for 6 months. We adopted her because someone we knew had a friend that had to get rid of her. We readily adopted her as she was so stinking friendly and loving. Very overweight but full of nothing but loud meows and loads of constant love. A few months after getting her, she was diagnosed with diabetes. She stopped eating and drinking. A short time after that, my wife and I had one of the most difficult nights imaginable as she layed on the floor emitting pitiful attempts at meows. We put her in bed between us and knew that the next morning, we had to put her to sleep. It was heartbreaking. We put her favorite toy in a small pile of prayer stones on the top of a mountain we hiked. Immediately afterward, a butterfly flew up to us and circled us, then it circled the prayer stones, then circled us again and flew away. We felt as if her spirit was thanking us. It was pretty spiritual.

10. Oreo -- Guess why we named this cat with that name. She was a great cat -- actually, she seems similar to Maya. She was a great cat that had to deal with being the third wheel between my Muffy and my sister's BJ. Both of the other cats would pick on her. She also had some major sick spells in which she'd pee all over the house (including a bout of bloody urine on top of the refridgerator -- talk about nasty!!!). When my sister and I were gone, my mom decided to take her to her friend's farm where she thought Oreo would have a better life (without asking us, of course). Halfway there, my mom thought it would work to stop and let her go to the bathroom in a nearby cornfield. She ran off and we never saw her again. My sis and I still have a hard time (jokingly) of letting my mom forget about that one. Oi veh.

11. OJ -- a huge, fat version of Maya. More my dad's than mine, but OJ was always around when we were at Dad's place. A very cool cat who, sadly, died when his other cat, Odie, jumped on a shelf in the garage and knocked the ladder over. It landed on OJ and killed her instantly.

12. Tess -- My dad's Siamese. A VERY old cat that my dad adopted from someone who couldn't keep her anymore. Very scared at first but definitely came out of her shell. Her meow was horribly painful to hear (it sounded like sandpaper mixed with the whooping cough) and she drooled on you when you pet her, but she was awesome.

13. And this one goes out to all the mice, salamanders, frogs, cats, dogs, insects, fish, and other animals I've raised. I'm sorry if I was incompetent when I had you. I wished you no harm and know you all lived lives as full as you could, given the circumstances.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. elle
2. Mental Excrements (Denise)
3. Paisley Propaganda
4. Kodijack

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Bumblebee Me

So if you read my wife's blog, Paisley Propaganda, you know that we got home from our brief weekend vacation late last night and I turned around, unpacked, and repacked for a trip to Tucson. I'm currently down here production coordinating a Diamondbacks shoot. It was a fairly busy day in which I worked my tookus off to get all of the paperwork done that I needed to and in which I helped the rest of the production team get through our 1 day of pre-production. It was a bit nutty but not too bad, except that I've had bad acid reflux for the past 2 days (something which I never have).

So aside from that, I'm busy working as a line producer on an indie feature that we're hoping to shoot this summer. I heard from the producers and they say Robert Wagner is now attached and a string of other actors, from Bruce Campbell to Jerry Lewis, are interested in the project as well. So we're in an exciting position because it means if we can get a few of them to sign on, it should help us find our financing to actually make the movie.

This is all great because life has been very frustrating the past few months as I've felt like all of the work I've been doing hasn't really been going anywhere. And now, it feels like things are on a slight upturn. Here's hoping.

But what this means is that I am constantly busy. I run a writing group locally and that takes up a lot of my time. It's a great group, but the sad truth is that since I've been running it, I have barely found time to write. Seems like it shouldn't work that way. I'm also busy with this line producing project as well as a few other writing projects for feature films I'm involved with in one way or another. So far, all of this work is pro bono, but work i'm doing to help my career move forward. I'm also busy working on my audio problems on my short film, the one that I directed back in early January. It's definitely coming together and we're still planning on premiering it next Thursday (which makes me nervous because there's still SOOOOO much to get done!). We still need to get the rest of the score dropped in, add some sound effects, and normalize/remix all of the audio. It's going to be a busy weekend this weekend, I'll tell you.

And on top of all of that, I'm busy working in the local commercial biz to keep food on the table, and I've recently stepped up from PA to Production Coordinator. It's a great step up but I definitely need to push hard to make it work so I can keep getting more of this work.

So with all of that, I feel like a busy little bumblebee trying to pollinate a field of flowers. Still, I'm doing what I love and I'm thrilled to be moving up the ladder finally.

Now before I go to bed, here are a few thoughts on some movies/TV shows I've seen recently.

Serenity -- I watched this again with a friend in Colorado (though I was tired and slept through most of it). This has to be one of the best films of '05. If you're a sci-fi person, or just love great, fun movies, check this one out. It's a great story, great characters, and very fun and exciting to watch.

The Shield -- In case you haven't been watching the BEST show on TV, start now. It's brilliant. Last week's episode had me near tears by the end -- one of the main characters (who we recently learned has lupus) breaks a huge case only to collapse from her illness (not to give it away, but it's damn powerful and shocking and moving and horrifying and so typical of how the show constantly finds a way to do something fresh and new and stay edgy. Check this show out. Rent all of the previous seasons and WATCH IT NOW.

Medium -- I don't watch this often but when I catch it, I really like it. Too bad they don't actually shoot in Phoenix so we could all get work on it.

Equilibrium -- If you ever had doubts that Christian Bale could be Batman, watch this. He frickin' kicks ass in this! It's awesome. Great movie though little seen. It's a bit Matrix, a bit Fahrenheit 451, and very cool. Watch this one.

Family Guy -- I watched my first episode of this show and found it very funny. Perhaps I'll watch it more. Perhaps.

Saw II -- Not as original as the first one, but still very inventive. I think the only reason this survives w/o being a shitty sequel is that it was a completely original script unrelated to the movie Saw, and then the producers found it and thought it might work well as the sequel, so the writer/director was hired, along with Leigh Whannell of Saw fame (actor/co-writer), to rewrite the script and put it in the Saw universe. And so there it was. And it definitely kept me going. The ending was obvious, but it was fun.

Match Point -- Wow. Never would've guessed that this was Woody Allen. Very cold film. Very unlikeable protagonist which makes for a very challenging film to watch. Still, I enjoyed it and what it said. And I couldn't help but falling in love with the main character's wife because she's so cute and innocent. Damn him for doing what he did to her! Anyway, if you like Woody Allen comedies, skip this. It's a dark thriller drama, and it's not easy watching.

Invasion -- this show strangely fascinates me, while at the same time driving me crazy. I think it's a great concept and I enjoy it, but I find the characters -- well, most of them -- to be annoying and not necessarily believable all the time. Still, an alien plot to invade excites me.

Lost -- Such a strange show. Yet I love it. Yet I wish more happened.

Anyway, I'm getting tired -- only 3 hours of sleep last night. So i'm off to slumberland before I have to wakey-wakey for the intense day tomorrow (we're shooting 3 spots in a day, which is very challenging). So hasta la pasta, all.

Keep smiling, and keep watching movies!

The Movie Monkey


Inside the Monkey's Studio

Greetings and Salutations, friends.

Before I fly off to Colorado for the weekend, here is a little dose of James Lipton (inspired by the great Bernard Pivot), though I was actually inspired by Nancy over at CraZedMoM, who included it as a part of her TT. I've been wanting to do it here, and her posting reminded me and got me excited. So here goes. Completely off the cuff. Without really taking time to think about it beforehand like the actors on Inside the Actor's Studio do.

1. What is your favorite word? serendipity

2. What is your least favorite word? faggot (or any other hate word used derogatorily to describe someone of a different race, sex, sexual preference, etc.)

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? playing the piano

4. What turns you off? dealing with people who are rude, obnoxious or full of blame

5. What is your favorite curse word? I'd say "Fuck" but everyone does -- it's so overused, and I use it all the time. I'll go with turdbucket because it's more fun. Even though I never say it. It just makes me laugh.

6. What sound or noise do you love? Laughter

7. What sound or noise do you hate? nail clippers clipping a nail (it should neither be seen nor heard except when I'm doing my own nails)

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Zoologist

9. What profession would you not like to do? Statistician

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Not too bad, Movie Monkey. I particularly liked that movie you made last year. C'mon, let's get you ready for your next life. You'll like it...

Until next week!

The Movie Monkey


Thursday Thirteen #4

Hola amigos! It's time for my next TT -- and this time, I'm doing it Wednesday night so people actually can look at it on Thursday. Finally thinking ahead. Of course I'm procrastinating on many other things I need to do, but really -- what's more important that blogging? ;)

So here we go...

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things that make me SHUDDER

1. People clipping their nails anywhere but their bathroom. I don't know what happened in my childhood to make me hate this so much, but it just revolts me be near someone who is clipping their nails. The worst moment EVER was when my wonderful wife, Paisley, and I were at the theatre and during intermission, a guy in the row in front of us pulled out his clippers and began clipping right there in the theatre!!! It was so revolting that I wish I was able to force myself to vomit so I could have taken my mind off of it. And perhaps I would've hit him with it which would've made me feel better.

2. Stepping in someone else's blood in the ER. Particularly when it's gloppy, like the gloppy chunky blood I stepped in, completely unawares, when I took my wife to the ER when she was having pains in her abdomen related to LBD (Little Black Dot, which is now Little White Blob, aka our growing baby) (and don't worry -- she is fine now as is LWB) (But the blood was disgusting).

3. Mushrooms -- BLECH!

4. Stepping into a bathroom stall and finding that the person who used it before me didn't flush a #2 or vomit (is that a #3?).

5. Cleaning up cat or dog poop off the floor -- something about that squishy feeling makes me want to vomit. Luckily, our cats don't poop on our floor.

6. Cleaning baby diapers -- I'd better get over this one right quick.

7. Egg plant - right up there with mushrooms.

8. Cleaning up vomit.

9. When a trash bag rips open and the contents spill out and you have to pick up the goopy glop created from all your trash mixing together. Especially when something in it was going bad and the smell is rancid and has that gross, humid feel. Ewwwwwwww.

10. Gutting fish. Yet I still do it when I fish. Why? Because I feel obligated to as the adult who catches and kills the fish (I usually go with my Little Brother, from Big Brothers Big Sisters and he loves catching them but won't gut them.)

11. Opening a jar of something in the fridge only to discover that it's not only gone bad, but that the jar is now full of mold. Whew! That's one spicy meat-a-ball!

12. Scraping out squishy food bits that are clogging the disposal.

13. Watching people eat the random animal parts on Fear Factor. What is UP with that show? I don't mind the crazy sports, but eating raw pig spleens? What kind of sadistic people produce that thing?!?!?

How about you? What makes you SHUDDER?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Uisce
2. Paisley
3. Chickadee
4. Karen
5. Gary B Phillips
6. Nancy
7. Kimmy
8. jk :)
9. leemarie
10. stacey

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


I'm it!

Well, I guess I was tagged, which means my next blog will consist of me answering questions for your entertainment. Enjoy!

I've been tagged by Kimmy

*Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot*

1. So Much Myself (co-starring the bandwagon)
2. Cocktails and Smokes
3. a girl named inky
4. snickerdoodles
5. The Movie Monkey

Next, select five people to tag.

I'll do three since I don't visit that many blogs and don't want to randomly pick people...
1. Kodijack
2. Gary's Filmmaking Journey
3. Paisley

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I had only recently come back from a semester off where I worked at Walt Disney World as a part of the Disney College Program. I was an attractions host in Area 6 in Disney/MGM Studios. (Area 6 consists of The Magic of Disney Animation, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and the Behind the Scenes tour of Disney's latest animated film.) Six days after returning, my girlfriend at the time and I broke up -- we had grown apart quite a bit while I was gone. I was living with an old friend from my job at the movie theatre and was busy with school. I was finally taking Film 3500, which was the 16mm non-synced sound production class. It was there I met my favorite college professor who taught me a lot, and is still a good friend. I also met one of my great college buddies who I just found out today is getting married next year. I was also babysitting my sister's cat while she was studying abroad in Costa Rica. Her cat was awesome, even if I did have to clean up periodic diarrhea messes.

What were you doing one year ago?

I had just ended a business relationship with a friend which was a bad split. I ended up with the nonprofit org that we had developed. After the bad split, I pulled out of the film production company which we had formed together. I was going to push on and help get the feature film produced that we had been working on (I have since pulled out of that as well). We have since mended our friendship and she's still pushing hard to get the film made, and I'm still running the nonprofit.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. Chocolate Chip cookies with milk
2. Reeses Pieces
3. Peanut Butter
4. Dr. Pepper (does that count as a snack?)
5. Cherry Garcia ice cream by Ben & Jerry

Five songs you know all the words to:

1. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
2. Particle Man by They Might Be Giants
3. Three Is a Magic Number by Bob Dorough (of Schoolhouse Rock fame)
4. A Little Respect by Erasure
5. Love Me or Leave Me by Nina Simone

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Stop working so I could completely focus on Making a Movie
2. Pay off debt for everyone in my family
3. Buy my mom a house
4. Start investing & learn how to do it right
5. If there's any of that million left, I'd take a trip around the world with my wife to see the world

Five bad habits:

1. Not working out
2. Online window shopping for things I shouldn't buy but want, even though I don't need them
3. Not replying to emails -- just reading them
4. Putting off my writing time
5. Ignoring my chores

Five things you enjoy doing:

1. Anything with my wife, particularly when we can be holding hands
2. Watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon (not that I do it that often, but it's possibly one of the greatest spiritual experiences I've ever had and I highly recommend everyone do it). Watching any sunrise, actually. Sunsets too.
3. Watching a movie that I'm completely engrossed in
4. Making mixed CDs that I give to family & friends as birthday presents (whether they actually like them or not)
5. Directing films

Five things you would never wear:

1. The Swan Dress Bjork wore to the Oscars (seen here). Not much chance of that, anyway, since I don't mix birds with my dresses. The AmEx card Dress (2nd one down), on the other hand -- you'd better believe it. ;)
2. The Body Suit worn by Mr. Goodbody (seen here) (though I did learn a lot from him)
3. Mickey Mouse's shorts
4. Goofy's little green hat (it kinda looks like a green chef's hat, doesn't it? How strange...)
5. The terrible stone costume that they made poor Michael Chiklis wear when he portrayed The Thing in Fantastic Four

Five favorite toys(/games):

1. spinning tops -- I don't know why they fascinate me so...
2. Othello
3. Dominoes (anyone up for a game of Mexican Train?)
4. my Tuck and Roll dolls from A Bug's Life that talk to each other. Frickin' hilarious because all they say is nonsense.
5. Chess, even though I really suck at it. It's a game that my dad introduced me to as a child. I have always found it to be a fascinating game and I love playing it -- I just wish I had the mental capacity to be another Bobby Fisher

Holy cow! That's it! I did the test! So now I've passed it on to 3 others. May they fare as well on these choppy seas of questions as I have.


The Movie Monkey


The long road of post production

Oi veh.

I went over to my editor's house this afternoon at 2pm for what we thought would be a simple looping session with our lead actor. For those of you trying to figure out what I'm talking about, a looping session is basically when you have sucky audio from your shoot (shoot being the production of the short film that I went through in early January) and you have to go back and loop the video clip and have the actor try to re-sync their dialogue w/their lips. It's a tremendous pain in the tookus. So what we thought would be a short 4 hour session turned into a full 10 hours. It's so painstakingly tedious and very difficult. The scary thing is how many movies actually use looping for their audio. It's also called ADR, which stands for automatic dialogue replacement, but there really is nothing automatic. It's just taxing.

It was a funny session, despite the frustrations. The funniest moment, which had us laughing for at least 15 minutes (yes, we were at that point when the giggles were kicking in hardcore) was when I commented on the following line to the actor, Dale. "Come morning, we'll get back in that car and we won't stop until we hit the ocean." I said, "No, you're hitting the 'come' too hard." That sent Dale, in his Beavis mindset, to a very scary place where he was picturing lines of shot glasses... need I say more. So after laughing hard about that for the first half of the 15 minutes, I managed to calm everyone down and said, "You know what I mean -- you're hitting the opening too hard." Which was the wrong thing to say to Dale at that point, and we laughed for the rest of that 15 minutes.

With all of that said, I will say that if you are going to make a short film, FIND A GOOD AUDIO PERSON -- SOMEONE WHO REALLY KNOWS HOW TO GET CLEAN AUDIO ON THE SET. Our audio guy was fairly new to the film world and we ended up with some awful audio. It's all there, but a lot of the shots have bad levels. So it makes our post-production process a real bear. I'm very frustrated, but at least I know that I'm working with a good editor. I also have a few audio contacts around town. I'm planning on calling them to see if they can take a look at the project and see if they can give me any advice to get the audio to a point where it's the best it can be. If there's anything that makes a film look unprofessional, it's bad audio. That's the last thing I want.

The other tough thing is working w/the composer. Primarily, that's because my composer is one of my best friends. That always creates awkward working situations. His music is great, but sometimes it doesn't fit. So I have to tell him, and we work everything out. Which is what I'm doing, but it is awkward, particularly because I know he's very busy and doesn't have a ton of time to redo any bits. But he did take the gig, so I don't feel too bad. ;)

So our deadline -- the date we're planning on premiering our short -- is March 9th. That gives us 3 weeks. I'm out for an entire week in that time on another job, so really, I only have 2 weeks to work on the film. And we still need to edit the looped dialogue back into the film, normalize all audio, add the rest of the sound effects, add the score when it's completed, do the final audio mix, add the special effects, prepare the closing credits, do final edit tweaks, do the final picture adjustments (the film is only in black/white/red), and burn it to DVD. It doesn't seem that bad, but considering we're all doing this for free and still have to find paying work, it makes it much more complicated.

Anyway, enough griping. I'm done.

I missed another Thursday Thirteen today -- since I generally do these late at night, I need to remember to do the TT late on Wednesday instead of planning them for Thursday night so people actually read them and respond. I'm slowly getting this blog thing down. I'm not around as much as my wonderful wife, Paisley Propaganda, so I haven't mastered the fine art that it is. Slowly but surely, I suppose. Slowly but surely.

Well, priorities, I suppose. Right now, my priority is my short film. And my baby.

I've gotten to a rambly point of my post so I'm outta here. nearly 2am so time for beddie bye.

Last note -- I finished watching The Shield Season 2 last night. If you love cop drama shows, you should check this show out. Intense, taught, exciting show w/great characters and writing.

The Movie Monkey


Remember These Movies?

Probably not what you remember exactly. Check out these spoof trailers (some better than others). My favorite is for Shining.

Brokeback to the Future
Sleepless in Seattle
Top Gun 2: Brokeback Squadron
Taxi Driver (violent scenes - warning)

Brokeback Penguin

Gotta love what personal editing systems can do these days.


Ever heard of The Vestibules?

Here's a funny little spoken song I heard on Dr. Demento years ago and it's always been stuck in a deep crevass in my brain. You can read through it, or go to the bottom and click Listen to the skit... (which I'd recommend before reading it). Very goofy & makes me laugh. And it's safe for the kiddies. (And possibly educational?)

Bulbous Bouffant



Movie Question of the Day #5

I've been swamped trying to reorganize my life. It feels like it's falling into the Pit of Despair. So I have a bit of work ahead of me, and piles and piles of paperwork to go through.

With THAT in mind, I'm going to get right into the movie question since, as much as I'd like to write more on my blog this evening, I really can't.

What is your preferred venue for watching a movie?

My response: I ALWAYS prefer watching a movie in the theatre over our TV at home or even a fancy home entertainment center. That being said, I am getting more and more frustrated with my movie theatre experience. I can't stand it when people talk in movies, and over the past few years, it seems my wife and I are attracted to people who just won't shut up. There are some crazy stories there, let me tell you. I also have noticed that I've had to leave the theatre more lately to complain about something in the theatre that the projectionist should be fixing. (The fact that I was a projectionist in college didn't help -- I'm a bit more nitpicky now as I know how things should be.) Despite all of that, I'd still take the movie theatres.

What about you?

The Movie Monkey


Favorite Bad Jokes

So this has nothing to do with movies, but every now and then, a completely lame joke from my childhood pops into my head and, even though it's bad, I still smirk and chuckle. Why is this? Is it just the memory of the joy the joke caused me when I was young? Or am I just that easily amused? Either way, I figured it'd be fun to share a bad joke. If you have one that you still giggle at and tell, even though it elicits no response from the crowd, share it! We'll all be laughing this time; you just can't hear us b/c we're not in the same room.

This is the joke that popped into my head just now. It's lame. I actually got this one from The Big, Fat Joke Book, a book I received as a gift when I was probably about 8 or so. I must've read it 1000 times before it disappeared -- probably sold at a garage sale or donated to a library without my knowledge or say-so.

A young boy takes his shoes to the cobbler. While the cobbler is working on his shoes, he asks the cobbler, "What do you make the shoes out of?"
"Hide," the cobbler replies.
"What?" says the boy.
"Hide," says the cobbler again.
"Why?" asks the boy, confused.
"Hide! Hide! The cow's outside!" the frustrated cobbler replies.
The boy shakes his head at the cobbler. "Why should I hide? I'm not afraid of any old cow."


I told you. It's bad. But somehow, it still makes me smile.

So what bad jokes do you still grin at? Do share. Oh, do. Do.



My Belated Thursday Thirteen -- Friday Thirteen? Seems Unlucky... how about Friday Fourteen!

Thursday Thirteen

Fourteen Things about The Movie Monkey

1. I always have loved elephants. Which is strange because now I seem to be surrounded by monkeys. I think it all started when I worked at Walt Disney World and met one of my best friends who began calling me Monkey Boy. So that somehow began equating in people's minds that they must give me monkey trinkets. [Well, talk to my wife, Paisley, and she'll tell you that I have a thing for buying monkey trinkets too. Damn -- I thought I could blame that on the Monkey Boy thing...] Back to elephants, though. I still have my little jade elephant that I got when I became a member of the Cards of Knowledge club. Do any of you remember that?

2. I also love turtles. I have a really cool hand-carved stone turtle that I bought from a little old lady on a trail up a South Korean mountain that lead to an ancient Buddhist temple. It'd look really cool on a leather necklace, but I don't wear jewelry so it just sits on my desk. Staring at me. They represent longevity, you know. So maybe that's why my stints in front of the computer are so long...

3. I'm just all around a nature lover. I love being outdoors, hiking, biking, or just staring at the amazing wonders around me.

4. When I first moved to Arizona (from Colorado via a 1/2 year stint in the Bay area), I thought it was the ugliest landscape I'd ever been in. A few years later, I finally realized how beautiful the desert is. Definitely a different kind of beauty, but I love it now. (Of course this 110+ day drought we're in isn't good for the desert, nor any of us living here.)

5. Speaking of the desert and droughts, that reminds me of a time when I lived in Steamboat Springs, CO and we had a HUGE snowstorm that came up to our roof. I remember banks of snow piled up along the windows. I don't remember how my dad managed to shovel a path for us to get outside, but he did somehow. Now that's a snowstorm! (Of course I was probably 6, so there may be some childhood imagination enhancing the snowbanks, but I'll pretend that it was exactly as I pictured it.)

6. I become obsessed with things; sometimes it's a good thing, other times it's not. An example of a good obsession -- I like to make CD mixes for my friends. An example of a bad obsession -- I can't just stop there; I have to design a CD case with detailed track listings; I have to come up with a CD theme or feel; I have to do whatever I can to mix the music so it all balances out; I have to find the right order of songs. You should see some of my CDs. I made a kick-ass 5-CD set with the theme of Colors. 2 CDs were all songs that had Black or White in their title, 2 CDs were colors, and 1 CD was all songs with Blue. It's pretty sweet. But yes, I obsessed.

7. I worked on a gig for the Oakland A's a few weeks back and made it a point to get an autographed ball. I'm not really a baseball fan, but I felt like I couldn't leave there without it. How strange is that? And I did that when I worked the gig for them last year, too.

8. On July 24th, 1998, I met my wife in person. She flew me from San Francisco to Phoenix for my birthday. Up to that point, we'd been serious pen pals (introduced by a mutual friend, my best friend from Disney World) but we both felt like there was potential for more. When I got off the plane and saw her waiting at the gate (back in the day when you could...) I had a total Sleepless In Seattle moment: I saw her and it was magic. I just knew that she was the one. It was so weird. I didn't think that sort of thing really happened, but there it was. The best part was she felt the same.

9. My sister and I have almost always been great friends. We even were roommates in college. We're still great friends, though we don't talk as much as we used to, which makes me a bit sad.

10. My mother is an Australian citizen. Still. To this day. She met my dad in Europe, they married in Switzerland, and then moved back to Colorado, where he was from. They're now divorced, but she still has never gotten her US citizenship -- she has always been a Registered Legal Alien. Yes, I can say my mother is an alien. The best part is that when my sister and I were born, she registered us w/the Australian consulate as well, so we're both dual citizens: here and in Australia.

11. I have a caffeine addiction. Well, I had one. Last fall, I quit cold turkey. I felt like I had the flu for a week and my whole body ached for another week on top of that. Then it all went away. I felt more awake and felt great. I only drank root beer and an occasional decaf latte at Starbucks. But in the past few months, caffeine has been sneaking back into my diet. (See how I make that sound like it's not my fault? I'm brilliant that way.) ;) My wife busted me on it the other day and just to prove it to myself that I could still go w/o caffeine, I didn't have any caffeinated drinks all day yesterday. I had a bad headache. I need to watch it.

12. I love to read but don't put it in my schedule anymore. So now the only reading I do is on the computer monitor. Bad.

13. I have a problem with how I eat and drink -- I have a compulsion if food or drink is in front of me to eat/drink it as quickly as possible. And to not stop until it's all gone. This is why I'd be a great alcoholic. It's not that I love drinking but if I have a beer in my hand, I feel the need to constantly put it up to my lips and sip. I can't just stand around with the beer for an hour. I must drink it. Same if I have food in front of me. Even a bottle of water. People wonder why I have to pee so much -- it's because I guzzle water like it's going out of style. And why do I do that? Because it's in front of me.

And just to keep from being unlucky. 14. I love believing in ghosts and aliens. But I've never encountered either. I believe in them and wish I'd have an encounter, even though I know I realistically never will. It makes me wonder sometimes why I believe. But it won't stop me from believing.

That's it, campers. Sorry about the delay in being on my blog the past week or so. I hope you all enjoy!

The Movie Monkey

Links to others who dropped by and may or may not have a T13!
1. Just Takes a Minute (Kodijack)
2. Portal of My Mind
3. Paisley Propaganda
4. Snickerdoodles (Kimmy & Jacob)
5. Gary's Filmmaking Journey

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


The Insanity of Life and Bidding Farewell to a Friend

I know.

It's been a while. And I apologize. There are just a million things going on in life recently and I have been putting off writing on my blog. I blame the country of Mozambique. Why? Because no one ever seems to blame them for anything.

No, seriously, I love Mozambique. The people there are so kind. So generous.

Okay, so I've never been there. But I've heard that about the people there.

Well, not really, but if I knew anyone who had ever been there, I feel sure that that's what they'd say. After all, haven't you noticed that when anyone you know travels somewhere, they always say that about the people in whatever country they're visiting? "They're just all so nice. So friendly." And I'm sure it's true.

So I feel comfortable saying that about the people of Mozambique. Because I'm sure someone would tell me that if they'd been there.

Enough about Mozambique. Let's talk about something else. Let's talk about my little black dot.

For those of you who follow my lovely wife's site, Paisley Propaganda, you already know about our little black dot. For those of you not in the know, we're having a little black dot!

What that means is that we're having a baby. You can read about the trials and tribulations we've gone through just in the past week on her blog (see the link above) -- basically, she started having pains in her lower right abdomen so we thought, and the doctors thought, that it was an ectopic pregnancy.

So, after much fright and an awful night at the hospital, we did another ultrasound and, while the ultrasound tech couldn't actually say anything, I saw her mark a little black dot in my wife's uterus as "gest sac" which seemed clear to me to be gestation sac which, while it sounds like the same thing that the facehuggers leap from, seemed more likely to be our lentil bean-sized baby.

But we haven't heard the official word from the doctor yet and, even though I saw that on the screen, and even though my wife's pains have completely subsided, the doctor finally told her today (well, technically it was the doc's assistant) that they still weren't sure and they wanted her to come back in two weeks later for more blood tests and another ultrasound.

So to me, that means that they're probably scared of officially saying anything -- even though they marked a "gest sac" in the uterus -- until they can be even more sure so we won't sue them for malpractice if they're wrong. Or, it could also mean that they want to get even more money from our insurance company. Either way, it is frustrating because we just want to know for sure.

At the same time, we both feel pretty sure that everything is okay with our little black dot, or LBD, as we'll call it now. (Or at least I will.) Still, it would be nice to hear the doctor say that.

Other than that little bit of insanity that's been going on this week, I've been busy -- monumentally busy, even -- trying to catch up with my emails and business since my near 2 weeks with no computer. Plus I feel like jobs keep piling up on me. Just to clear the trash from my brain, here is a list of things that have been making me INSANE this past several weeks. [And don't feel obligated to read all of this -- I just need to vent. You can skip down if you so choose. As Bobby Brown said, it's your perogative. (Actually, he said it's my perogative, but you get my drift.)

1. My short film, which is now in post-production. We have a fine rough cut done, meaning it is close to being edited but I'll end up making a few more changes before we call it done. Right now, the composer is writing music for it and our audio engineer is reviewing it to see what he can do to fix audio problems, etc. We're probably bringing our lead actor in next week to rerecord his lines because there were some audio problems and a number of his lines are VERY soft. Plus, he's got some extra work -- humming, sobbing, groaning -- that we didn't record on set b/c it's heard off screen. We're planning on a premiere date here in Phoenix on March 9th. I worry a bit that we won't be done in time, but I guess that's why you create deadlines -- so they can make you crazy but still force you to finish before they hit. Still, a lot to do and I'm on a gig for 3 1/2 days next week, then potentially another Sonic gig the following week, then a brief trip to see family in Colorado. When will I find the time? (my soap opera moment -- picture me throwing my hand to my head in dismay)

2. A writing project I'm collaborating on about the US/Mexico border and all of the issues. It's a fun and exciting project; I just haven't had much time to write lately. But I did have a lot of work this past week because I'm meeting my writing partner tomorrow morning (a mere 8 hours away as I whack away at the keyboard) and I absolutely HAD to get her transcribed notes from my ride-along with the Border Patrol I did in early December. That story right there warrants a blog another day.

3. My writing organization. I run a little writing organization in town and it consumes way too much of my time. Seriously. To the point that sometimes it feels like a fulltime job. I've worked 50 hour weeks on this org and I don't get paid. Why? Because I love it. But it has made it more difficult to write. Which seems backward -- I should be in a writing organization so that I can feel like I can write more, but instead I write less. Something seems amiss... Anyway, this is one area in which I had weeks' worth of emails to read and respond to. Ugh. But it's done!

4. My personal emails. Ugh. Don't go there. Still a complete mess. I'll hit this soon.

5. Line producing. That's right. I'm line producing an indie feature film! Of course, what that means at the moment is that I help them get the script breakdown, schedule, and budget done. Then they take it and hopefully get money together so we can make it. The good thing is it looks like they really will get money, and stars too, which helps. Meaning it might actually happen for a change. But I have a LOT of work to do on it right now. And the deadline is yesterday.

6. Dealing with people who still owe me money. If any of you freelance, you may know the pains of chasing money from people you worked for. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life. I see it as this: I give them an invoice, they pay me in net 30, just like it says on my invoice. They see it as this: we get him to work for us, we pay him whenever we actually get paid from the client, unless we need that money for something else to cover our butts, and if it rolls around to us needing him again, we'll pay him. This is never fun.

7. Paying bills. Everyone knows this sucks. It's even suckier when your computer's down and you have a huge pile to deal with. And the bills just stare you down, mocking you, because they know you have to deal with them as soon as the computer's back. Evil bills.

8. Working out. Normally, this wouldn't stress me out and make me insane but I have to work out -- I'm putting on the sympathy weight before she's putting on any weight. That ain't right. Perhaps it's because I worked that damn Sonic job weeks ago and now have constant cravings for fast food, which I usually quell quite well. Must read "Fast Food Nation" again. Stop the madness. Or perhaps I'll try Morgan Spurlock's latest book, "Don't Eat This Book." But this just makes me insane because I know I must do it, and I know I must make time for it, but it just feels like I don't have time for it right now.

9. Calling Best Buy to try to get my money back from Geek Squad. This is a nearly pointless task because I am 95% sure they won't give me any money back, but I really want to talk to the manager and tell them what horrible service GS provided, and just to tell him that I sent out an anti-Geek Squad email to my email distribution list of 500+names to never go to Geek Squad. That would just make me feel good. Anyway, I keep putting this off because I know it's not necessary.

10. Beginning to organize tax paperwork. I have my 1099s organized and matched up with my invoices. Only 1 is incorrect. Now I just need my tax prep paperwork from my accountant and I can get that monster done. Our goal this year is to have it done by the end of February instead of waiting until 4/15 as we usually do. Naughty us.

So that's what's making me insane lately. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. It feels good to vent.

So enough of that. Goodbye insanity. Goodbye.

Speaking of Goodbye, tonight was a sad night. Tonight was the end of "Arrested Development", the funniest show on TV and my favorite comedy show. Absolutely hilarious. A friend introduced it to me last year and my wife and I can't stop watching it. It's just brilliant. If you haven't seen it, rent the DVDs and watch them.

We had 5 friends over and we watched the last 4 episodes -- all run back to back (and brilliantly scheduled opposite the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics -- brilliant on the part of Fox's marketing team). They were so funny. I just laughed for 2 hours straight pretty much. Actually 2 1/2, because when it was all over, we watched an episode from earlier in the season that's still on our DVR. The show has brilliant writers and brillant actors. It's just a shame that it never found its audience. So they're leaving.

But my friend Brian said he heard that it may be picked up by Showtime or ABC. So there is hope! Still, it was a sad evening no matter what. At least they made me laugh right through to the end.

With that, I'm signing off. I'm going to quickly do a Thursday 13 for yesterday, which I really did try to do last night but blogger.com was shut down for maintenance. So blame them for not hearing from me until this evening.

Thanks for letting me ramble tonight, folks. See you in the pictures!

The Movie Monkey