Friday, September 28, 2007

Dispatches from the Abyss - Friday, Sept. 28th

I have been in a funk of late fighting the general feeling of depression I slip into around this time of year plus a serious case of writer's block. As I was driving around today running some errands (read: spending too much money at Best Buy, which we will discuss later)and contemplating a writing piece I wanted to do I kind of had a break through. Right now I need to concentrate on writing. It does not matter what I am writing, just that I am spending 30 minutes to an hour a day in front of the laptop pounding the keys. This means I am going to fundamentally change how I am blogging.

Initially I did not want to have this blog degenerate into one of those, "And today I did this blah blah blah," blah-gs. I wanted things I post to have some sort of meaning, even if it is just me being a snarky dick about things, however I am going to change that and start posting my musings as I find time to get them up here. I have no idea what is going to be in these dispatches since they are going to be thread of consciousness things. I am also not going to play grammar cop or rewrite them, so you will be getting a slightly spell-checked stream right from James' brain to your screen. Maybe I should title them downloads or dumps since I am all cyberpunk and shit.

Remember when cyberpunk was all the rage? R. Talsorian came out with the Cyberpunk RPG in an attempt to capture the flavor of William Gibson's novels and a couple of years later FASA followed up by adding elves and dragons to the mix and calling it Shadowrun. Billy Idol (I almost typed Joel) came out with the Cyberpunk album, which wasn't half bad, really, and towards the end of cyber-chic Wired launched, only to eventually be consumed by the media giant Conde Nast. (Which is sadly not Condi Rice's street name but it so should be.) Why were there no good movies that embodied the grittiness of the cyberpunk aesthetic? The laughably bad Johnny Mnemonic tried, but ultimately it was too clean. A real cyberpunk movie needs to be shot on push-processed film so it is grainy as fuck (BTW I am not going to edit my language like I have in the past. Suck it) in black and white with a real film noir sensibility. There is so much potential there for coolness and I am not aware of any movies that really got it. Shit, I still think Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive could be adapted into really good flicks. Some day when I am a big shot producer I will have some monkey do that for me.

My 34th birthday is creeping up on me. Creeping? Shit, it is this coming Thursday. Every time my birthday comes around I catch myself thinking that this is not the life I was planning on having. By 34 I was planning on being married, having a house, and at least one of my legion of kidlets. I was supposed to finish high school, go to college and meet the future Mrs. James Wood, get married soon after graduation so we could spend some time being a young couple before it was time to get serious, be adults, and start having kids. I get all bitchy about this and then I step back and think about what my life has been like, particularly since I turned 30, I realized that I have had opportunities few other people have and I have lived out so many of my childhood dreams. I have been to England and stood on ground that has seen continuous human occupation since nearly 900 A.D. I have been published; several times. I have walked the streets of Tokyo. Climbed to the top of Seoraksan and saw all of Korea spread out beneath me. I fucking went to Scotland! I have sat in a bar in New York City and taught a couple of Irishmen new drinking tricks. I have my own kilt. I have learned to SCUBA dive. My thirties are not about where I went wrong but rather about all the dreams I have cherished since I was young that I have gotten to live. How fucking lucky am I? On top of all that I have some very close friends that make the down times bearable. I don't say thank you to them enough, so thank you Scott, Matt, Rob, and Diana. I am not sure where I would be without you cats there to commiserate with me and give me a kick in the ass every once in a while.

So the other day I suffered a minor setback in a writing project that I was actually making some okay progress on. I was finally getting serious about writing that script for Starship Farragut when I found this posting on their website:

Farragut Films has closed the door for script submissions at this time. We have a roadmap in place for our stories, as well as scripts in place that take us well in to the forseeable future.

In that time frame, we will be producing numerous films that will provide our audience and fan base with a better understanding of our characters and will enable potential script writers to write even more compelling stories.

We appreciate the overwhelming response and the number of scripts we have received thus far.

When the window of opportunity opens again, we will post that information on this page, so, check back here often.

Thank you.

FUCK! Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. FUCK!

Just the night before Scott and I had sat in Downing Street while we discussed my story idea. I had finally found the character conflict which was going to drive the story and Scott helped me talk through a couple of different ideas on how to approach the story. I was planning on having the script done by the end of October, giving myself a two week period to get it out to a couple of people for comment before rewriting. After that I was going to have a small party where I screen the two completed episodes of Starship Farragut for my friends and then do a read through on the script before doing a final polish and submitting the script. This development does not really need to change my timeline, but it is just irritating. Oh well, I still need to get this done because I think that what I have dreamt up is a very timely story about command decision, responsibility, and the right to of people to demand answers from their leadership. Of course I do not know how to end it on the up beat that many Star Trek episodes seem to demand.

Among other accomplishments I managed to get completely caught up on my comics reading this week. I was so far behind from all the time I had spent in SCUBA classes, diving, and just being out of town over the last couple of months, so it is nice to not have more than a weeks worth of new comics sitting around waiting for me to read them. The Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction is one hell of a comic and if you are in to old school kung fu movies then you need to check it out. I also managed to read volume one of Whiteout: The Definitive Edition, which collects the four issue miniseries "Whiteout" which was novelist Greg Rucka's first comics work and a break out hit. It is an interesting murder mystery set in Antarctica which, I believe, has been optioned for a movie starring Charlize Theron. It should be a good one. I also managed to read through the first volume of Dark Horse Comics Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus which collects all of the BtVS comics Dark Horse have ever produced. Rather than collect them in the order the stories were published, this collection puts them together in chronological order so they follow the events in the television series. I am not a huge Buffy fan (I wonder if Buffy fans have a special name for themselves? Are the Buffers?) therefore I find the comics interesting but I am not really into them. My favorite story in the bunch was "Dawn & Hoopy the Bear", but I think a lot of that has to do with my own attachment to my long-enduring Winnie the Pooh bear. (That's right I am almost 34 and still have a stuffed animal in my bedroom. Now where's that payphone, smartass?) I think the series will be good for people who are big Buffers but for the casual fan they're not really worth picking up. Of course the second volume features the artwork of Ryan Sook in several stories and thus is worth checking out just for that.

Other than that my geek-fu has been rather weak this week. I did go and drop some mad cash as Best Buy today. I had to swing by and pick up Knocked Up before it was not on sale anymore. I also wanted to pick up Elizabeth so I could watch it before Elizabeth 2 comes out this month. I had also decided to pick up a season of TV on DVD. I was hoping to find the first season of Wild, Wild West so I could check it out since the folks that produce Star Trek: New Voyages are making some noise about doing a Wild, Wild West revival and it would be cool to get in on the ground floor of that. Barring that I would like to get Sports Night since it is another Aaron Sorkin show and I have never seen one episode. Sadly they had neither of these so I went ahead and picked up Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series. I have never seen an episode of this series however it has been on my radar since UH Tim was such a big fan. Here's hoping it is worth it since it is my little birthday gift to myself.

I made one more purchase while I was there. As I was walking down the aisle to the beginning of the Drama section, which shares a riser with the end of the Comedy section something caught my eye. Something so amazing that I actually did a double-take and stopped dead in my tracks. That something was this:

HOLYFUCKKNUCKLEBATMAN! I had to shake my head to make sure it was actually working and not just having a little fun with me. I closed my eyes when doing this and when I reopened them, slowly as not to scare the DVDs, I saw this:

Christopher Hitchens can bite my pasty white ass. There is a God. And God, he answers the prayers. We watched this movie WAYYYYYY too much during and right after high school and it has not been available on DVD ever. I had consigned myself to buying another VHS player and purchasing a VHS of this classic POS movie. Now I don't have to because I have it for my very own on DVD. Guess what I am doing once I am done posting this? That's right boys and girls, its time for another game of "Whose Underwear is That?" with your host, its Fitz!

And that brings us to the end of this hour we have spent together. I hope you had as much fun as I did. See you in a couple.

(This is what the iPod decided to spit out while I was working on this post but I am not going to take the time to put links in here. If you have questions you know how to use Google.)
Bay City Rollers - Saturday Night
Tom Petty - Love is a Long Road (skipped)
Ultravox - Hymn
Sheryl Crow - Soak up the Sun
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Soundtrack - Victory at Ed Parker's (This movie rocks the casbah and I think it was my first exposure to Randy Edelman as a composer)
Camille Saint-Saens - Le Carnaval des Animals Final
Blaque - Blaque Intro (WTF? Why do I have this?)
The Corrs - Radio
Kim Carnes - Betty Davis Eyes
Pogues - White City
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Soundtrack - Hedwig's Theme (skipped because this is not the music I need right now)
Dropkick Murphys - For Boston (Ahhh...that's better)
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Gwen Stefani - Orange County Girl (skipped)
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Soundtrack - Brandon
Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and - Highwayman
Shania Twain - Dance With the One That Brought You (old skool Shania)
Hootie & the Blowfish - Not Even the Trees (HOOTIE!!!! skipped)
Dine Alone - Coming to Senses
Ozzy Osbourne - Black Sabbath (skipped)
David Sanborn - Crossfire (Man I won some crap. Skipped)
The Nixons - Happy Song
Toto - Rosanna
Digital Underground - Sex Packets
Dean Gray - Boulevard of Broken Songs
Matty the Mutaytor - Rodan's Revenge
The Killers - Smile Like You Mean It
Beauty and the Beast - Home (Reprise)
Les Miserables - Castle on a Cloud
Mediaeval Baebes - Alba
Eve 6 - Superhero Girl
Tommy Tutone - 867-5309/Jenny
Scorpions - Alien Nation
Erasure - All Through the Years
Joan Osborne - Love is Alive
Ace of Base - Cecilia (skipped)
Iron Maiden - The Mercenary (skipped)
Stray Cats - (She's) Sexy + 17
Rob Thomas - Fallin' to Pieces
Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces (Oh thank god I am done!)

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