The Next Thing

I’m drifting these days and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I have this nagging feeling like I could be doing more, but somehow or another, I managed to get all the important things done already.  The books are in good shape.  I’ve sent out emails to broadcasters all over the world lining up meetings for Hot Docs.  Some have already gotten back to me, and as for the rest, I won’t be doing any follow-up for another week yet.  The paperwork for ‘Crimes of the Art’ is done as much as could be right now.  I have Amber started on the demo for Moccasin Enterprises.  As for the rest of it, there’s always niggly other little things to do, but one never gets those things done anyway.  As soon as you get to one, another niggly little thing takes its place.

So here I am, all set to leave for Havana in two days, and Toronto two weeks after that.  I have a few projects to take with me and then… I don’t know.  We’ll see where I’m at around May 9th.

On one hand, I’m in a really great place.  My daily routine includes taking lots of time to spend in all kinds of free flowing ways throughout the day.  I went for a 7km walk with Chrystene and her dogs yesterday.  It was great.  We talked about projects, past and future, and we got some exercise.  My mind is pecking away at what the next project may be.  Yet, I feel guilty because I’m only working 3 or 4 hours a day (on average).  I don’t think I should feel guilty… I mean, I’ve got all my shit done.  But I do.

It’s not like the slow pace doesn’t come with strings attached either.  Once the final checks for Crimes of the Art come in, that will be my income for the foreseeable future.  I have roughly five months to come up with the next thing, if the seeds I planted with last year’s projects fail to sprout.

Kind of ominous went it’s put like that, but I’m truly not worried.  Something’s gonna happen.  I feel it.  I believe it.  I’m going to Havana to write, and I’m feeling something building inside.

It might be the next thing.

Jasmine Kings Penguins and Coyotes

Today is Jazzy’s birthday.  Eleven years ago I was on a highway, coming home from a film shoot in La Ronge.  I phoned home on the set cell (weren’t a lot of cell phones floating around in those days), and there was no answer.  Phoned again, no answer.  Phoned mom, she told me I was a daddy!

Jazzy came so fast, PJ didn’t have a chance to call me from the hospital.  I showed up the next morning, walked into the hospital, and my first thought was, “I wonder what colour her hair is?”  My second thought was, “I have to pee.”

The nurse put Jazzy in my arms for the very first time, and I barely put her down the whole day.  PJ was spent, having been up all night hatching our beautiful little girl.  Jazzy slept on my chest and even though my body was beginning to cramp up, I didn’t dare move, lest I wake her.  I changed her first shitty diaper.  I fed her.  I glowed.

It was the best day of my life.

Last night I got together with the fellas from the Romanian Syndicate for a hockey pool.  Normally, I wouldn’t give a shit about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but now that I have $20 in a hockey pool, my TV viewing habits for the next two months have been set… except for the times I won’t be around my TV.

I’ve got Penguins and Coyotes on my roster.  There’s one King in there too.  I had Penguins last year and won the pool.  Of course, victory means spending my winnings on beer and pizza for the boys.  I actually went in the hole last year.  Still, having a little skin in the game makes it more fun.

My teams are playing again tonight.  Jazzy has a sleep-over.

Sad Zamboni Driver

There is no such thing as an unhappy Zamboni Driver reference.  Just pronouncing the word forces one to smile due to the ‘i’ at the end of the word (it’s the same with the word ‘boobies’ by the way).  I challenge someone to invoke the phrase ‘Zamboni Driver’ and make it sad.  I’ll even give it  a shot….

The really sad Zamboni Driver, in a fit of suicidal depression, piloted his Zamboni out the rink after the 2nd intermission and headed for the highway.  The second Zamboni Driver gave chase.  Drinking heavily from a bottle of Jack Daniels, the first Zamboni Driver stepped on the gas, and laid down a thin layer of ice.  The second Zamboni Driver skidded out of control and ran over a pack of baby seals.  His ‘Peter’s Sewer Service Sign’ flew off upon impact and beheaded a sweet old lady who was feeding bread crumbs to the pigeons.  The pigeons then promptly set about shitting all over the sweet old lady’s corpse.

The first Zamboni Driver turned the corner and headed down a small residential side street.  Suddenly a large large group of Kindergarden children crossed the street in front of him.  The Jack Daniels fueled, bleary eyed first Zamboni Driver didn’t see them, and his machine barrelled towards them at 15 km/h.  The Kindergarden children stopped in the middle of the street and instinctually began to wave at the Zamboni Driver playfully, as they had done so many times before, in so many hockey rinks.  The Zamboni hurled towards them.  The children waved.  Closer and closer it came.  Until…. the second Zamboni Driver came out of nowhere, leaped aboard the first Zamboni and wrestled for control.  The Zamboni weaved back and forth.  The children waved.  The Zamboni accelerated.  The children smiled back innocently.  The Zamboni loomed closer.  The children started running towards it in excited glee.  The second Zamboni Driver saw what was happening and suddenly at the last minute turned the wheel.  The Zamboni dashed wildly to the right and crashed into a telephone pole.  Both Zamboni drivers died.  The children were traumatized and back at the rink, the game went into overtime and no one was around to clean the ice.  The home team lost.

Shy Quiet Type

I have a lot of people in my life who care about me, and the feeling is mutual.  I am truly thankful for their place in my life.  They make it richer and more meaningful.  But I don’t have anything that would resemble a tight knit circle of friends.

I know a number of girls who have their girlfriend group.  They’ve known each other since high school and they’re still just as tight, if not tighter a decade or two later.  Same with some guys I know and same same for some mixed groups I’ve crossed paths with.

I always thought it would be cool to belong to a group like that.  I could just show up at the usual spot and I’d always know someone from the old gang would be there.  We could say really witty things to each other and just hang out…. and we’d be so cool that we wouldn’t even care that we belonged to such a tight group of cool people.  Maybe we’d even have an assorted cast of characters… maybe there’d be a drama queen in there who’d always be talking about her relationships… maybe there’d be a jock, a geek, an artist chick, a comedian, a jerk, and a really shy quiet type too.

The thing is I don’t really feel that comfortable in a group for very long.  Maybe I’ve got a little too much Alpha Male in me.  Maybe I’m too insecure to give way and NOT try to dominate a conversation.  Maybe I just think too much to truly live inside a social moment with a bunch of people.

Maybe when it comes right down to it, I’m more comfortable slipping in and out of social circles rather than living inside them.  I like being able to pick up and go with the flow.  I live for really intense one on one conversations.  I like finding myself in new situations and I like figuring out why my routines are my routines.  I like thinking too much and I like my ‘me’ time.  I also like meeting new people because fresh perspectives on life help me grow.

I don’t know.  Maybe living life to the fullest means fully being able to let go of some of the things we think we want, so that we can more thoroughly explore other things we need to be more complete.

Or maybe I’m just a social retard.

1st Rain

I think the grown-up version of jumping in mud puddles is walking in the rain for no particular reason whilst fitted with proper rain gear.  That was my walk to Atlantis this morning.

It’s a grey cloudy rainy day and earlier there was even thunder booming off in the distance.  It’s the first rain of the spring and I couldn’t be happier.  The snow is gone but everything is brown, dirty and dead.  The first rain will freshen things up nicely.

I was at the office until 2am last night cutting a shorter version of the Crimes of the Art demo.  It’s down to 2 minutes and should be short enough to accommodate the attention spans of bleary eyed MIP TV broadcasters in France.  I’m not completely happy with it, but my distributor had meetings booked with Sky TV (UK) and Ovation (US) today, or more specifically, last night while I slept.

Today I plan to line up meetings for Hot Docs, finish a cost report, and submit a new bio & log line for my play.  I’m also meeting with my accountant today.  Exciting stuff.  Totally blog worthy.

I desperately need to read a book or something.

Might Be Trouble

The Steak Night went superb.  Over 100 people came through the 49 seat Ardill bar over the course of 7 hours.  Everyone had a great time, good food and lasting memories.

My cousin Patty got even more out of it, collecting bits of half-eaten steak from returned dirty plates, out of the garbage and off the floor.  She kept them in a large container and brought them home for her dog.  At 5am, Shyanne, her friend Pudge, and her other friend Mike returned home from a party.  They were starving and spied Patty’s container of steaks…

The next morning, as we sat around the table drinking our coffee and chatting about the previous night, the three looked on in muted horror as they watched Patty feed her dog from that container.  When Patty explained to the table where the steaks came from, a new family legend was born.

So far Shy, Pudge and Mike seem to be okay.  I figure the large quantities of alcohol in their systems at the time, may have insulated them from anything bad in those steaks.  In any case, don’t ever eat steak on the farm if you find it sitting on the counter at 5am in an old bacon bits container.

Holy Fucking Wind

Well… here I am on the farm.  They swear like sailors here… except they’re farmers.  Might as well get started.

Holy Fucking Wind!  Damn!  I was kidding yesterday morning about tornados, but it turns out out I wasn’t so far off the mark.  The tallest building in Regina had to be evacuated yesterday when people started loosing their lunch because the top floors were swaying so much.  Signs were flying off buildings, trees were snapped, and semis were blown over sideways.  My cousin Cody said he saw his passenger side trailer tires leave the ground while hauling a load.  The wind gusted to 104 km/h.

I didn’t really notice though.  I was inside at the office, doing office stuff until 9pm.  I was gettin’ er done!  The books have never been in better shape.  I now have an accurate cash flow forecast that takes me through October.  I’m now in a position to make sound financial decisions about my immediate future.

To that end, I bought my plane tickets for Havana (return via Toronto) and booked my hotel for Hot Docs.  I’ve also begun the process of lining up meetings for the festival.  There are 62 individuals from companies all over the world that I’d like to meet with.  If I only get to meet with a handful of them, the trip will be a success (provided the meetings lead to some business down the road).

Enough shop talk.  I’m at the farm and I’m headed for Shyanne’s steak night in a couple of hours.

See ya later fuckers!

Beckoning Calling of Guilt

Do you know why Saskatchewan has so much wind?  Alberta blows and Manitoba sucks.

It’s a tornado outside today.  Walking to Atlantis would have gone faster if I put up a sail.  Of course, once the wind caught ahold of me, I might have wound up in Manitoba.  Not entirely a bad thing, but I got shit to do right here in Regina.

I’ve got a lot of shit to do actually.  My productivity this week has been disappointing.  I don’t know where the hours go, but I just seem to always have the same things sitting on my to-do list day after day.  I look at them now, and they just glare back at me.  It’s like I’m keeping them from something or perhaps even, I’ve lost their respect.

I don’t need their negative energy in my life.  Today, I’m going to get to the worst offenders on my list, and purge them from my life.  Good bye CTF paperwork!  Good riddance.  You too Straightening up the Office!  Take a long hard suck on my arse!  SaskFilm doesn’t say much, but I know what it’s thinking.  The silent treatment is the worst kind of bad energy.

It’s not like I’ve just been sitting around watching TV and playing computer games… well I have done some of that, but the point is, I’ve been doing other things too.  Last night I went to a poetry night/Sisu screening at the Film Pool.  I found the two an odd pairing.  No offence to poets, but when you’re the opening act to a brilliant film, you better come with a sound track and visual effects.  I’m just saying…

Gotta run.  My to-do list doth beckons me.

Undrapped

Last night I found myself standing naked in front of a room full of people who were just staring at me.  It was a very naked feeling… modelling for an art class at the University.

The session started off with me clothed, and I was asked to assume a number of extremely dynamic one minute poses.  The poses became gradually longer in duration and after an hour I was asked if I would mind doing the next hour, ‘undraped.’  The most challenging part was figuring out my next pose while maintaining the current one.  By the end of the session I was naked, and holding 20 minute poses.  I couldn’t move, muscles were staining, mind wandering, and… I was naked.  But, I did make thirty bucks, never did anything like that before, and it was a great experience.

Afterwards I dropped in on Shy and she treated me to drinks at O’Hanlon’s.  She’s having a steak night in Ardill on Saturday night, and I told her I’d buy a ticket.  So that means I’ll be heading out to the farm this weekend for an overnighter.  Yet another unplanned happy happenstance finds its way into my life.

30 Year Old Tape Recorder

There must have been something in the Tim Horton’s coffee this morning at the airport.  After leaving Jazzy on the plane, I went home and immediately set to cleaning up my apartment.  I scrubbed the bathroom, then went to work on the kitchen.  Didn’t even take me an hour.  Didn’t even give it a second thought.  Is the moon full or something?

Putting Jazzy on the plane this morning was a bit of an adventure.  I lost track of time, and left myself no time to get her in line to check in.  I had to butt to the front and get them to open up reservations and give her seat back to me.  After enduring a bit of a well deserved scolding, they sent me to the front of the line in security and Jazzy was on the plane 10 minutes later.  We were so rushed we almost forgot to hug and kiss each other goodbye.  Just as well.  Putting her on the plane is always the saddest moment of any visit to Regina.  I usually just sit there and think about how long it will be before I get to see her again.  It’s the only time I allow myself a brief moment of grief where the distance between her and I are concerned.

I bought Jazzy a Macbook for her birthday.  I took her to London Drugs and let her pick it out.  Got the biggest hug in the world afterwards.  I considered the possibility that giving a 10 year old an $1,100 birthday present might be excessive, but I don’t think so.  She’ll spend hours with it everyday for the next three or four years.  She can use it for school, and she can scratch her creative itches.  I can email her, and iChat her anytime I wish, and I know she’ll get the message right away.

I remember when I was seven, and Liz, my God Mother, bought me a tape recorder for Christmas.  I used that thing every day.  I made up stories talking in the microphone.  I made mix tapes and I recorded conversations.  My seven year old mind went swimming for ideas and inspirations.  If I can point to the single greatest reason why I choose the film industry as my career path, I can point to that tape recorder 30 years ago.

I talked to Sandra last night on Facebook.  Got the low down on the logistics required to live in Havana for two weeks.  I’m going to be living among the locals for that period of time, not insulated inside a tourist resort.  There won’t be ATMs around, nor will high speed internet be easy to come by.  Food may also be a challenge… there’s lots of it, but most of it isn’t very good.  Might be wise to pack some granola bars.  On the plus side, booze is cheap, and also… I’ll be living in Havana for two weeks.

Maybe that’s what’s going on with me this morning.  I have a solid plan mapped out for the next two months.  I know where I’m going, what I’ll be doing, why I’m doing it, and what I hope to get out of it.

It couldn’t have gone smoother if I planned it this way.