Jazzy on the Beach and all the Cheese Too

Jazzy’s eyes caught mine as I walked up to her in the San Diego airport.  Upon seeing me they went really wide and this look of shock came over her face.  As I walked closer she just sat there, not moving, not believing it was really me.  Shortly afterwards she jumped into my arms and didn’t let go for a full minute.  It was sooooo good to see my little girl again.

We’re staying in a hotel right on the beach in La Jolla, about a 10 minute drive up Ocean Blvd.  Jazz and I wanted to start exploring right away.  We discovered the beach and then we discovered PJ wanted to visit some of the shops we passed on the way in.  So… the beach had to wait.

We bought some groceries that included beer, chips and canned cheese.  Only in America!  Jazzy didn’t shut up about the cheese.  She had this whole comedy routine worked out.  PJ and I were in stitches on the walk back to the hotel.  Afterwards Jazzy and I went for a stroll along the beach.  It was our first Jazzy/Daddy time of the trip.  We watched the sun set and debated whether the shell looking things washing up on the shore were dead sea creatures, or dead plant creatures.

Today I took Jazzy to the San Diego zoo while PJ went to her conference.  That excursion is a whole article unto itself and I’ll leave things at that.  She’s bugging me for my computer now because she has a farm to tend to on Facebook.

Reunions

I’m sitting in the Calgary International Airport and I have three hours to go before my flight to the US even boards.  I almost didn’t even make it this far.  At 9:31 last night Air Canada cancelled the 8am flight from Regina to Calgary.  I spent the next hour and a half making alternate flight arrangements so I could salvage the trip.  It’s kind of a big deal because later today, I’ll be meeting PJ and surprising Jazzy at the airport in San Diego.  I can’t wait to see the surprised look on my little girl’s eyes.

Officially, I’m meeting PJ and Ken Eklund in San Diego to discuss our next moves for the Mothers Day Game.  She’ll also be attending an academic conference on children and gaming as part of her Ph D research at UBC.  Unofficially, we’re taking advantage of a window that allows the three of us (PJ, Jazzy & I) to have a mini-family vacation together.

I realize the phrase ‘family vacation’ may seem strange, given that PJ and I are no longer married, but we have Jazzy, and that means we’re still a family to some degree.  There isn’t a manual for how to be a family, post marriage, but we’re figuring it out as we go.  It also looks like there’s a good chance PJ could wind up back in Regina teaching at the U of R when she completes her degree.  She hates the weather, but she also believes that having more family around would be good for Jazzy.  I’m really, really pleased to hear those words from PJ’s mouth.  Being a regular part of Jazzy’s life as she grows up is important to me, and it’s a hard thing to do when she’s living in Vancouver.  Sunshine and smiles await.

I spent yesterday frantically tying up loose office strings.  I did 2009’s T4s, completed a GST return, updated the books, revised cash flow projections, made arrangements with CRA about some tax credit stuff, put my equipment package together for Romania, and did some banking.  I don’t really enjoy doing that stuff, but I think of it as a means to an end.  Without the business stuff, the money stuff won’t flow, and the creative stuff can’t get paid for.  Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much of an effort to keep the business stuff on track.

I also had coffee with Courtney yesterday.  I hadn’t seen her since December.  It was really great talking to her again.  She’s doing well, much better than a couple of months ago, and she said to say ‘hi’.

Hmm… It’s 10:24am (Regina time) and I’ve been up for five hours already.  Time for a morning stroll.

Shiny

Shy and Meg came over last night for supper and we watched four episodes of Firefly.  I made honey garlic chicken breast with cream cheese mashed potatoes and Coke (served in the can).  The chicken and mashed potatoes wound up on a plate… three of them.  Meg is now certifiably a fan of the series… and of Joss Whedon.

All I can do is do… you know?  I walk through life and I try to do my part to make the world a better place by adding a little cheer to someone’s life.  Sharing my ‘Firefly’ collection over supper is one of the best ways.

[About 35 minutes pass]

A serendipitous moment just occurred.  As I was finishing that last paragraph, Nadia walked into Atlantis.  She didn’t see me at first so I rushed over to the counter and paid for her latte before she could get her money out.  We sat and talked for a spell afterwards.

Nads and I lived together for a year and a half while we were both going through divorces.  There was never any boy/girl answering the call of nature stuff going on between us.  Instead we became the closest of friends.  We did much to untangle each others’ headspaces when we both needed it the most.  For that, we shall always have a special place in each others’ hearts.

She remarked that it was funny we ran into each other today.  She’s once again going through some things.  I reminded her of the really helpful words she told me once upon a time that seemed kind of appropriate for her current situation.

She left to resume her day, and I’m left to resume my writing.  I can’t help but marvel at what little effort it takes to brighten someone’s day.  Did you know that if you smile at someone, it actually requires an effort on their part to NOT smile back?

Sixth Sense Piss Off Highwaymen

Media Release

For Immediate Release

SIXTH SENSE PISS OFF HIGHWAYMEN

February 13, 2010 (Yellowhead, SK) After losing half its coaching staff, and several players to The Sixth Sense this off season, The Yellowhead Highwaymen have turned to some unorthodox procedures to address vacancies throughout their organization.

“We have developed advanced human cloning techniques to fill the holes on our roster and within our coaching staff,” began Captain Jarrett Rusnak, Owner/Coach of the Highwaymen, “We’re happy to report that all the clones can count to 13, and have been genetically programmed to work for the league minimum.”

The last two weeks have not been kind to the Highwaymen. The Sixth Sense plundered Yellowhead’s roster and coaching staff in the hopes of not sucking in 2010 as bad as they did in 2009.  “They pretty much basked in a pool of ball licking hind tittiness,” said Rusnak, “So I don’t blame them for looking towards an highly respected organization such as ours to rebuild their franchise.”

The new clones were grown in petri dishes from samples of urine left over at last year’s successful “Pee For Charity” fundraising event.  The actual cloning process itself was developed in house by Highwaymen trainer, Gluko Von Ivanberg.  “It really was a stroke of luck,” said Von Ivanberg, “I was looking for a way to preserve my coffee creamer and I discovered human cloning instead.”

The clones will fill the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks, and Special Teams positions on the coaching staff, as well as play Defensive End.  The Highwaymen have also announced the dismissal of their entire scouting department and have instead fitted the visiting team’s locker room with specially modified urinals.

-30-

Long Distance Muse

I hit the road on Wednesday.  By road, I mean ‘runway’.  I’m bound for the US for five days, then I return home for a few hours, only to get on another plane that will take me to a plane in Toronto, that will lead me to a bigger plane in Montreal, that will fly me to Paris, that will eventually land me in Bucharest, via yet another plane.

I am both excited and somewhat reluctant at the same time.  Honestly.  I have a lot of shit to do before I leave – everything from preparing 2009’s T4s, to finishing my homework for Film 486.  There’s also this niggly little thing called, ‘writing a shooting script’ that I need to complete sometime before landing in Bucharest, to undertake previously mentioned, ‘shooting’.  I’ll be spending a few days in Toronto upon returning from Bucharest.  I’m lining up some meetings and I have a shoot with Rich Terfry (aka Buck 65) for Crimes of the Art.  I’m not going to buy my ticket back to Regina until I hear back about some of the meetings I’m trying to make happen.  One way tickets back to Regina from Toronto are cheap, and I don’t want to run out of time.

I’m spending far more time in Bucharest than required for the shoot, but at the same time, I’ll be spending all my time there writing when I’m not off producing the demo.  I can’t think of a better, more inspirational environment to put myself in as I write treatments for the series.  Bucharest has long been my muse.  Might as well put her to good use.

I’ll be renting a furnished apartment while I’m there.  It has a kitchen with a gas stove and all the utensils I’ll need.  I’m planning to buy groceries and cook a few meals for myself.  It’s also located near the old centre where an abundance of really cool cafes and free high speed internet await (not to mention the lattes and alcohol).  I even have my own Romanian cell phone ready to go.  For all intents and purposes, I’ll be living as closely to being a local as any foreigner possibly could… except for foreigners who actually live and work there as well as speak the language.  Other than that, I’ll fit right in.

You can check it out my apartment and let me know what you think by clicking here.  The best part is, at 30 Euros/day, it’s cheaper than a hotel.

Motherfucker

Motherfucker done stole the booty I done stole from the ashes of the memories we left behind, we left behind, we left rewind back to the place we were when we first started out.  It’s motherfucking sacrilegious for the motherfucker to even be messing with that shit, guessing with that wit, pressing with that mitt strung through his coat sleeves from back in the day, backing away from matriarchal over complications of embarrassinations  of childhood reciprocations.  It’s your photograph on the wall that makes me shy away from digging too forcefully, looking intercoursally upon a desire to lay with you in my head.  These memories reveal the motherfucker’s a part of me, he is in me, a me I was, I am, I feel to be.  It’s in this dichotomy reciprocal to the rest of me, a great big holistic vision that eats the shit and feeds the shit in as much the same way as it spawns the light and darkens the light.  It’s all ash in the end, a booty of ash left for the taking, for the motherfucker and me and you and every other memory.

Hamburger Patty

It’s been six hours and I’m still not dead, so I guess I’ll be okay.  A frozen hamburger patty thawed out on my countertop last night, and I ate it for lunch today.  I didn’t mean to leave it out, I just forgot about it.  So I ate it.

I felt bad for it.  I didn’t want it to feel like how I always used to feel in the school yard when I was the last guy picked on my football team.  I didn’t want this patty to grow up with a chip on its shoulder.  I wanted it to WANT to be eaten… and it was… and I’m okay with that.

Firefly

Mal: “If anyone gets nosy, just…you know… shoot ’em. “

Zoe: “Shoot ’em?”

Mal: “Politely.”

Nine completely different people look into the emptiness of space and see nine completely different things.  That’s how Joss Whedon described ‘Firefly’, a short-lived series he did for FOX in 2002.  The series was cancelled after eleven episodes due to low ratings… due mostly to how FOX mishandled the show and ensured it a quick death.

Jayne: “Ten percent of nuthin’ is…let me do the math here…nuthin’ into nuthin’…carry the nuthin’…”

Whedon’s fingerprints were all over this series, a ‘Western’ set in outer space.  Brilliantly conceived characters, thrown into extreme circumstances, where the best and worst of humanity was allowed to unfurl itself before the camera.  The writing was incredible, awe inspiring, and real.  The scenes never followed a predictable path, always taking lefts, when rights seemed the obvious choice.  Even at the most heightened and emotionally charged moments, there remained room for a witty line, a laugh, or a left.

Wash: “Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.”

Zoe:  “We live in a space ship, dear.”

Shortly after the series was cancelled, it received cult status with millions of fans buying DVD sets and pooling money to buy large ads in Variety Magazine, urging other networks to pick ‘Firefly’ up.  Due entirely to this effort by the fans, Universal decided to turn the series into a movie.  ‘Serenity’ was the result.

Wash: “Yeah well, if she doesn’t give us some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn through, this landing is gonna get pretty interesting.”

Mal: “Define interesting.”

Wash: “Oh god oh god we’re all gonna die?”

Mal: (into intercom) “This is the captain. We have a…little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then…explode.”

Eight years after the series ended it’s eleven episode run on FOX, recent polls of science fiction fans have named ‘Firefly’ as the best SciFi TV series of all time.  ‘Serenity’ has been named the best SciFi movie of all time.  I now happen to own both, and if you ever find yourself with a few hours to kill, come on over for dinner.  We’ll turn down the lights and settle in for the unfolding of one of the greatest accomplishments in television and cinematic history.

Wash: “Inara…nice to see her again.”

Zoe: (beat) “So…trap?”

Mal: “Trap.”

Zoe: “We goin’ in?”

Mal: “Ain’t but a few hours out.”

Wash: (confused) “Yeah, but…remember the part where it’s a trap?”

Mal: “If that’s the case then Inara’s already caught in it. She wouldn’t set us up willin’. Might be we get a shot at seein’ who’s turnin’ these wheels. We go in.”

Kaylee: “But how can you be sure Inara don’t just wanna see you? Sometimes people have feelings. I’m referring here to people.”

Mal: “Y’all were watchin’, I take it?”

Kaylee: (everyone looks guilty) “Yes.”

Mal: “Did you see us fight?”

Kaylee: “No.”

Mal: “Trap.”

Irregular

I spent the last twenty minutes polishing the first two paragraphs I wrote for today’s blog.  Then I deleted them.  A simple keystroke and not even a hint of regret.  They simply weren’t that interesting to me, and no amount of editing was going to make them more interestingier.

You know what the problem was?  C’mon.  Guess.

Alright fine.  The problem was with title of the article.  I came up with a title before I even wrote the article.  That shit never works.  I’m at my best when I just start putting words together and then sentences form.  Pretty soon I’m riffing on an idea and then I hit the ‘publish’ button.  Some people meditate.  I write upon a stream of semi-polished consciousness.  The title is usually the last thing I write.

Having said that, I’ve decided to keep the title I had as an homage to the blog the almost was.

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  I’m in the process of stewing ideas for the look and feel of the art crime series.  I have six days to come up with something that resembles a script, and I don’t even know what the story is yet.  I met with Amy, a hip hop dancer and student filmmaker who came into my sphere through a number of spooky coincidences.  We’re going to shoot some tests tomorrow in some stolen space at the University then head to the edit suite to explore possibilities with the footage.  I also met with Chrystene who’s going to be my Production Designer.  Chrystene is simply amazing and the series became a kazillion times more betterer with her name on the roster.  They say the secret to being good at what you do, is to surround yourself with really great people.  Just ask Mick Fleetwood.

Interesting observation: when it appeared in that last paragraph that I misspelled ‘kazillion’, the alternative suggestion in the spell checker was ‘bazillion’.  I like kazillion better.  It feels more ‘me’ somehow.

Well… time to start my day.  Shy’s coming over for supper tonight and we’re going to take in a ‘Firefly’ marathon.  I got shit to do before she appears.

Nosferatu

I’m trying to take a little Buck 65, an obscure legal case surrounding a silent 1922 German film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, Hip Hop, Romania, still photography, and fuse it all together into something that will make for a compelling one hour story.  So far all the bits and pieces don’t add up to much on their own.  I’m looking for a through line.

I spent the last several hours doing research for Crimes of the Art.  I watched ‘Nosferatu’, the first film ever made (1922) that was based on Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’,  I did a thumbnail history of Vlad Tepis, a Romanian prince who lived in the 15th century, whom the legend of Dracula is based on, and I did some reading on the making of Nosferatu.  All prints of the film were supposed to have been destroyed in 1924 after the filmmakers lost a legal rights battle to Bram Stoker’s widow.  A few prints survived and today the entire 124 minutes of the film can be seen for free on the internet.

For the moment, I’m content to let the bits trickle into my imagination and stew for awhile.  I’m sure that by the time I get off the plane in Bucharest, in 19 days, I’ll have something figured out.

At first pass, I think this story could take place from the perspective of the obscure film print that survived destruction in Germany, wound up in Paris, was eventually bought by Universal twenty years later, translated to english, and rereleased in 1947.  A ‘B’ story could be the legal case, which the filmmakers should have won, had they had enough money to defend themselves.  The C story could be Bram Stoker releasing the book in 1897.  The D story could be Vlad Tepis.

But how does it all come together?

This is the kind of writing I live for.  There’s a puzzle here that needs solving.  It’s composed of pieces that were never meant to fit together.  And when I’m finished, it will be a story, hosted and narrated by Buck 65, and may include Hip Hop dancing.  We’ll see.