Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Caramel is Just Sugar, When You Boil It Down...

2015 is coming to a close. It's been a terrific year, all things considered. No, I'm not going to get all maudlin and do some personal "year in review" nonsense! Fear not!

In fact, tonight's post is likely going to be brief. As in, I'm wearing briefs on my head, as is my year-end custom. Hey, we all have our quirks, don't we..?

I primarily came in here to post the video of this year's Christmas play, called "Out There", which was performed on December 20 and starred Jennifer Scibetta, Andrew Ian, Mario Ortiz and Hanna Halland. It was, by all I could see, the most well-received play we've ever done. I'm immensely proud of the job our cast did...

As usual, there's something about seeing a play, live, in person, which does not translate well into video form... so even though the video turned out great for the most part, it just doesn't have the same punch to me that it did in person...

If you do watch it, be prepared for a weird little buzzing noise from 1:23 to about 1:50, it was a technical feedback glitch, and Bill O. handled it. After that, the play really takes off. It's about 30 minutes long. It doesn't look good full screen, sorry... I don't know how to get it to upload to YouTube at anything higher than 480p...

Again, many thanks to everyone - both the cast and the crew - who helped make the play happen. I think it bodes well for future productions... perhaps I can get even more local actors to participate.

Christmas was mellow, as was our 25th wedding anniversary, and we have nothing really planned for New Years... but hey, that's ok...

OK, I'm going to talk briefly about Star Wars vs Star Trek, and I shall keep things spoiler-free in case you haven't seen The Force Awakens yet... yes, I'm going to nerd out for a few minutes...

So, the age-long debate over Wars vs Trek is, in and of itself, well-trodden ground... but the fact that the same director has now made solid cinematic efforts on both sides of the debate lends new wrinkles to the discussion....

The punchline to what I want to talk about is thus: I really liked Star Trek: Into Darkness, while I was greatly disappointed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I have never really considered myself a "true" fan of either franchise, really. I mean, I like them both, as much as the next guy. That being said, it seems that "true" Star Trek fans (whatever that means) had substantial problems with the way JJ Arbams handled Into Darkness, while "true" Star Wars fans can't gush enough about how incredibly good The Force Awakens is. My 2 favorite online movie reviewers -- Jeremy Jahns and Chris Stuckmann -- each said The Force Awakens was their favorite movie of the year. For comparison - for Into Darkness they each gave their highest possible rating at the time, but in the year end list, Jeremy put it at #9 in his Top Ten Films of 2013, and Chris Stuckmann gave it an Honorable Mention - not even top ten...

Now, being a casual fan of both franchises, I went into each movie with an open mind, hoping to see a great movie. I didn't expect anything from Into Darkness - and I loved it. I thought it was a fantastic action film, with great moments, characters and performances. I went into The Force Awakens with an open mind - though admittedly, with everyone saying so universally how awesome it was, I took it for granted that I would love it as well. And surprisingly (to me), I thought it was a bit of a turd. It was sappy, ham-fisted, and filled with uninspired characters, dialog and performances... it did have great visuals and some great moments, but overall, the more I ponder the film, the less I like it. The opposite was true of Into Darkness...

The reason I bring this up is the irony, and also the idea of the impact that "true" fan-ness may have on a person viewing the properties. I had nothing really invested in either franchise - I liked them both, for the most part. I wasn't anchored in the lore, or the canon, or expectations based on things that have gone before. In each case, I just wanted to see a good movie. "True" fans disliked Into Darkness, "true" fans love The Force Awakens. To me, the better film is easy to spot a mile away...

I could go on at extreme length about all the questions and concerns I had about The Force Awakens - but I know it would be wasted. I think that the vast majority of the population is willing and able to overlook every possible weakness in the film and label it amazing, which is fine. Unplug your brain and enjoy the ride, that sort of thing. I say, go for it. I'm not wired to do that. I have to think about what I'm seeing - and if things go clunk, I need to figure out why....

Bottom Line: Without a "true fanboy" filter to hinder my assessment, I give Into Darkness a very solid 9.5/10 and I give The Force Awakens a very generous 6/10.

So the final blog post of the year is in the bag. And yeah, it was boring. What can I say? One of the drawbacks, I suppose, of winging it.

Lots of great things on the horizon for 2016, in both writing and acting (and possibly directing). I will keep you all updated as things continue to evolve.

Thanks again for your support and silent readership (lol... leave a comment, dangit!).

Have a great New Year's Eve/Day.

Adios for now,

Dave the Contrarian

Monday, December 14, 2015

25 Down, 75 To Go. Plus, My "Best Of" List! O Joy!


Well, hello there!

Welcome to another episode of Which Dave Is Going To Show Up To The Blog Tonight?! I am your host, Dave the All-Over-The-Place, and have I got a KFC-Bucketful of nonsense for you tonight! Unless you're reading this in the daytime, in which case the, uh, "tonight" thing doesn't really apply... whatever, I don't know how timezone's work...

Where was I?

Ah, yes, which Dave has shown up tonight? Is it the morose, pensive Dave, prone to wax maudlin and self piteous? Or is it the goofy Dave, spouting nonsensities and randomness? Is it Dave the Overconfident, droning on about some artsy thing, or reviewing a book/movie/TV and pretending he knows what he's talking about? Or is it the pseudo-theological Dave, peppering you with empty Biblical theories and semi-relevant scripture verses? Or is it that version of Dave that just talks about all the acting/writing stuff he's been doing?

The answer?

I don't know! Let's find out!

So tomorrow (December 15) is my 25th anniversary. 25 years of marriage. Twenty Five Years. My entire adult life.

Honestly, as you probably can imagine, I have a wide variety of feelings about it. The question of the moment is: how open should I be about it? I suppose a related question could be: who cares how open I am, lol?

Don't worry; I'm not here to lament the hard stretches of road, or pat myself on the back, or fish for compliments/sympathy. It is what it is. I suppose the heart of what I'd like to say revolves around the idea of symbolism, I guess. The past several years, in my personal ruminations on various subjects, I seem to always come back to the themes of "fantasy v reality", or rather, "the idea of something" vs "the reality of something." An off-shoot of that topic is the idea the importance of symbols... it's funny the way things represent things to people - often wildly different things, depending on the person.

Did you ever see the movie The Pianist, with Adrien Brody? He's a Polish Jewish musician of some renown before the war, who has a harrowing time dodging the Nazis during the occupation. At the very end, emaciated, desperate, the Nazi's have fled and the Russians have arrived, he stumbles out of the home he's been hiding in, and he's bundled up in a big winter coat that a Nazi officer had left behind for him - with the German army markings all over it... he stumbles out to greet his liberators - and is promptly shot at. He dodges into a building, calling out that he's Polish and please don't shoot, etc. They call him out, guns pointing at him, and one guy says "Yeah, he's Polish..." Another guy says "Why are you wearing that &^%$&* coat?" And Brody says, "Because I'm cold."

It's a powerful scene, and popped to mind as I was contemplating symbolism today.

But, yeah, a 25th anniversary... it represents something multi-faceted and emotionally complex to me. I suppose it's like finally reaching the peak of a mountain I've been climbing. Trying to imagine the view from the top (the fantasy) for so long... and then actually seeing the view (the reality). It's odd... there's always been a sense of finality, or completion associated with the 25 anniversary in my case... like once I get there, I've accomplished something huge, epic, worthy of note. Like the world should stop and celebrate our accomplishment or something. And yet I know the day will pass like any other day for everyone else - as it should. The symbolism of my 25th anniversary doesn't mean anything to anyone not directly impacted by it: my spouse and I of course, but also our kids and my mother and sister... that's about it. It won't even register on anyone else's radar - and it shouldn't.

The power of symbolism. Why am I wearing this coat? Because I'm cold.

But of course, my marriage isn't ending - I'm not "finished"... We will continue to march forward together, my wife and I. It has its ups and downs, as it always has - as I'm sure it would also have ups and downs if I were single or married to someone else or whatever situation I find myself in... alone in a cave somewhere. Pluses and minuses. Accept them both or reject them both. In fact, if anyone were to ask me, "Dave, what relationship advice do you have for people who wonder how the heck you can stay married for 25 years?" I'd say that. Everyone has positives and negatives... which weighs more? If the positives outweigh the negatives, accept them both. Don't try to pick the positives and "fix" the negatives about the other person... accept them both. If a "negative" changes, it will be because the other person changes on his/her own. If they don't, then so what? You accept them, right? The price you pay to reap the positives. If the negs outweigh positives? Chuck them both. Weigh them both, accept them both or reject them both. Don't try to cherry-pick and micromanage.

There. Simple advice from Dave the Simpleton.

So the year draws to a close. I guess I could discuss some of my Favorites of the Year, in various forms of media...


This is a tough one for me! I read 25 books this year - most of them new, but a few re-reads. Once again, I read the Stormlight Archive (Brandon Sanderson), the Kingkiller Chronicles (Pat Rothfuss) and Tuf Voyaging (GRR Martin) all of which I enjoyed revisiting... not surprising, I suppose... I wouldn't re-read a book if I didn't really enjoy it previously. But as for the new books I read, as I review the list, there isn't really a title I loved without reservation. There were good ones, but they each had flaws of various kinds. City of Stairs (RJ Bennett) and Leviathan Wakes (JS Corey) were both great reads but had weak endings... Redshirts (Scalzi) and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (R Riggs) had great premises but mediocre execution. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (L. Taylor) and Half-A-King (Abercrombie) were watered down with too much Hollywood flavor... I suppose if I had to pick this years best book for me, it would be Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence - though that one was hamstrung by it's choice of first person perspective, which limited it's potential scope.


I saw some great television this year - as well as some turds (The Flash). And also some that started well and morphed into turds (Person of Interest)! I seemed to gravitate to superhero fare mostly. I loved the first season of GOTHAM - but the second season is flat-lining. The inconsistent writing is undoing the show, in my opinion. I had big problems with The Flash for this same reason - although I had other problems with The Flash beyond the writing -- basically top to bottom. The writing, directing, casting, acting, story choices - I honestly have no idea why this show is so popular...

But back to the good stuff! I loved the dark and gritty shows, like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Fantastic filmcraft on display - in fact, when it gets to the point where I'm ready to start directing films, I'm going to use Jessica Jones as my film school. I will break down scenes - shot for shot - to see the choices that the director made, and why. It is a visually sumptuous show - practically every shot like a painting. So good. I hesitate to say it's my Favorite of the Year, since the content is dark and disturbing - the villain (David Tennant as Kilgrave) was as unnerving as he was well-portrayed. Can't say I'd recommend the show to anyone who offends easily. But if you want to see absolutely fantastic filmcraft on display, you won't get any better...

But to pick a Favorite, I'll go with Daredevil. It had direction almost on par with Jessica Jones, terrific writing, great casting, wonderful long shots, and great performances - with two notable exceptions. Two of the main characters in the show - Eddie Henson as Foggy Nelson, and Deborah Woll as Karen Page - absolutely rubbed me the wrong way. I don't think it was just the way the characters were written (they were a couple of hard-drinking whiners, really, who never passed up a chance to cry), but the acting was consistently weak. However other actors (such as the fantastic Vincent D'onofrio as Wilson Fisk) more than made up for it, as well as cameos by the likes of Scott Glenn. All things considered, an outstanding show.


This one is an easy choice. As with the TV category, I saw films that ran the gamut this year. But Birdman was easily not only my Favorite of the Year, but one of my Favorites of All Time. The writing, the acting, the themes, and the incredible craft on display made it thoroughly memorable to me. I wrote a review of it last March, if you'd like more detail on why I loved the film as much as I did. The same director is about to release The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCapprio, which I *was* going to see - until I read reviews about how relentlessly brutal and unflinching it is... I may pass on that one for now.

Of course, the new Star Wars movie comes out in December - If it's as good as I hope it it, I may need to revise this list! I doubt it will unseat Birdman, but hey, you never know!

Other good movies I saw this year include: Spotlight, St. Vincent, John Wick and Captain America: Winter Soldier.


This one is a bit of a challenge - I heard some terrific music this year. It was hard to decide between Thank You (Sevendust), Hush (Hellyeah), Failure (Breaking Benjamin) and Big Bad Wolf (In This Moment)... but I decided my Favorite Song of the Year is the recently-released song The Light by Disturbed.

I would link to them, but honestly, they are all heavy rock songs - my listening has trended in that direction the past year or two - I love the energy level. I know not many other people who read this blog would be interested in listening to such music, but if you are, you likely already know the songs. If not and you're really curious, you can find them easily enough on YouTube.

I will embed The Light, though...


This one is also a pretty easy call. As much as I enjoyed the Dead Island Series, Grim Dawn, Minecraft and Wolfenstein Old Blood (fantastic art direction), I have to say Fallout 4 is proving to be every bit as awesome as I'd long hoped it would be. Roaming the wasteland has never been so fulfilling. I'm 70 hours in, and still only level 29...

A funny (to me) sidenote. I bought and played a bit of Grand Theft Auto 5, and I can safely say it's one of the most impressive games I've ever played (and likely one of the best games ever made), but as much as I enjoy the game when I'm playing it, when I'm *not* playing the game, I have absolutely no desire to play it. Does that make sense? It's a great game, but I rarely ever play it. I really have to talk myself into playing it - and when I do, I enjoy it completely. It's a weird dynamic.


Anyway, that's that for now.

We perform the Christmas Play next Sunday (12/20). The whole cast is miked this year, so we'll hopefully have good sound on the video. If it turns out good, I'll post it here.

Other projects I'm working on all seem to be on hold until after the holidays.

Wow, this post ended up being longer than I had anticipated. Looks like all of the Daves showed up to tonight's episode!  If you endured all of this nonsense without tipping over, you have my admiration and appreciation.

I hope your Christmas is a good one.

Dave the Rambling Smacktard

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blogging (v.): What Crazy People Do Instead of Going To Bed

You autumn be ashamed of yourself!

There, my weak lead-in pun is out of the way. Now I can get down to business. And by "business" I mean my usual stream of hot air, studiously pounded out on my Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard. Hey, only the best for you, you know this!

So, what has happened since last we spoke? Well, I guess I'll lead with the Four Points Film Festival, which I mentioned in the previous post. I talked of a short film I got to be in where I got to play an android. Well, it has since been made available online, so I'mma let you see it!

Warning: Abbie, you're not going to like it. Everyone else, I think there's enough worthwhile elements to make it worth a viewing, so go for it!

Hmmm.... it doesn't have embedding enabled... I was just going to conveniently post it here, for you to watch without having to leave this wonderful little blog... but I guess not!

So, if you want to watch it, it is called Memory Recall, and can be found at THIS LINK.

If you do go there, you'll notice 4 "pages" of films (8 per page, only 1 on the 4th page), totaling 25 films. Even though 170 films were submitted worldwide on time, the judges have culled out the 25 films that they wanted to put up for the Audience Choice Award! Our film made this cut. Which means if you wanted to, you could vote for your three favorite films of the twenty-five available for viewing. The Audience Choice Winning Film wins a cool $1,000. (vote here)

But your vote would only count if you vote for exactly three films! You can't just vote for one! Which means, if you're a conscientious person, you can spend a couple of hours watching all 25 films and score-carding them all... or rely on the opinion of someone who already did that! (Yes, I mean me...)

My Favorites:

-- What Goes Around: This is a work of art; a true film. It's from Warsaw, Poland, and has terrific cinematography, clever shots, great costuming, wonderful acting, lots of great moments, and is my pick for the very best. If I were a contest judge, this would get my vote for Best Film.

-- Morsus: This is the best American effort, in my opinion. Crisp writing, tight editing, very solid acting, terrific flow. This one got one of my three votes as well.

-- The Man in the Swivel Chair: OK, bear with me on this. It is a completely absurd film, and it's incomplete, in that it has no opening credits or closing credits - I assume they ran out of time and just sent it "as is"... it just starts and ends abruptly. And the characters are hams, along the lines of something you'd find from the Coen Brothers... but I laughed so hard - and I really needed a good laugh when I'd seen it - so (after much deliberation) I gave it my third vote. I guarantee you not everyone will enjoy this as much as I did - or maybe even at all (don't even try it, Abbie!) - but it was just what I needed. Absurdity at its rough-edged best. (warning: a bit of bad language)

-- Phil Can Feel: Another beautiful, well-crafted film (from Peru), it is loaded with wonderful imagery, minimalist dialog, effective acting, great moments. In fact, as well as I tried to do the "android" part in our film, I think this guy's android performance buries mine. I'll just have to try harder next time!

-- Reconnectes: This was very well made as well, in my opinion. It's a bit too heavy-handed with the message for my taste, but beyond that, a top-notch effort, featuring some very natural performances (not all, but many).

Others that I feel are worth a watch include: Who Am I?, Taste Tester, Running Heart and Handle With Care.

Do with this info as you will. The films are all under 8 minutes long.


Well, I'm about 75% of the way through my re-read of Pat Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. As usual, reading The Name of the Wind was a pure joy... and also, the same concerns I had with The Wise Man's Fear the first time around are still there this time... Inconsistent writing, a few forced moments, some boring stretches of barely-interesting world-building, some oddly skipped content (The Trial, and the disastrous Voyage to see the Maer of Vint), and a hamstringing of the relationship between Kvothe and Denna (that awful, illogical "argument" they had right before Kvothe went off to find the bandits was so overdone and unnecessary).

Speaking of boring, how boring was that last paragraph?

Here, I'll liven things up...

Abbie, you won't like that video either, I'm afraid... more Extreme Absurdity... it will only appeal to you if you are a fan of all of the following:

- Absurd Humor
- Star Wars
- WWE/Randy Orton
- Internet Memes

If you failed to check all of those items, skip the video...

Guess I better drop a photo in instead...

This kid fell asleep in his mom's arms while waiting to get a photo with Santa... so Santa improvised this photo... awesome...

I had a great Thanksgiving - I hope you all did as well. Very mellow. Had dinner at my Wonderful Mother's house, as per tradition. Because I was there, we had two turkeys... no, not because I'm a big eater, but because I'm a turkey, see?... Come to think of it, I'm a ham as well, so we technically had two hams also...

Anyways, one of the highlights of the whole extended weekend was the fact that I bought exactly ZERO games in the Steam Holiday Sale! None! I resisted every deal! Well, honestly, it was likely because I own Fallout 4 now.... I've been playing it, saving the post-apocalyptic wasteland from all the various and sundry wasteland baddies... so who needs more games, eh? What else does a growing boy need? I even stopped Minecraft for the time being! That's how serious I am about saving the wasteland! See what a hero I am? SEE?!??!?!

Wow, another boring paragraph... I'm on a roll!

Uh oh.... I'm in trouble...

On the plus side, I also recently read that people who talk to themselves out loud are more likely to be geniuses!

So I've started talking to myself out loud... O_o

And just to tease you all again about Beyond The Impact, man o man, wait until you see what we are going to do... just wait. Incredible things are in the works. When Jeff gets back from his World Travel, we go into high gear... I cannot wait...

All that to say... yeah...

One final tidbit, I went to a family gathering over the weekend, with almost all of my aunts, uncles, cousins - many of whom I haven't seen in a decade or more. It was great visiting with everyone. I live in my own little world so strongly, it's hard to remember the importance of extended family.

Anyway, if you watched our film, thank you. If you voted for it, thank you even more.

I'm exhausted - I need sleep!

Until we meet again,

Dave the Goof

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop the See-Saw! I Wanna Get Off!

Usually, as I sit down to write a new blog post, I have no idea what I'm going to write, but I'm usually well aware of what the undertone is going to be... am I feeling goofy? Maudlin? Confident? Thoroughly insecure? If I'm going for humor, is it because I'm feeling great and want to share it? Or is it because I'm feeling lousy and want to cheer myself up? If I'm going for serious, is it because all is well, and I don't need cheering up, and feel like exercising my brain? Or is it because I'm feeling bad/somber/on edge and want to maintain that for some reason? In the short time it takes to grab an opening photo, I'm usually well aware of the tone.

But tonight, I am all over the map, so I'm literally free-wheeling it tonight. Since last we spoke, I've experienced an amazing array of highs and lows. I'm going to start pulling them up to share with you, at random, and see how many I can get through before collapsing in a quivering heap. I'll start with the positives... who knows, I may end up sticking just to positives... let's find out!

As I write this, I'm finishing eating a big ol' cup full of vanilla ice cream with a generous dash of chocolate syrup on it. My diet lately - especially today - has also been all over the map. Subconsciously, I realize I'm going to work out tomorrow after work, so I think it's ok... of course, I feel the same way the day after a workout... "I worked out yesterday, so it's ok if I eat this item of questionable nutritional quality."  I guess that also speaks to my personality on other levels. When I accomplish something substantial, I use it as a license to goof off either beforehand or afterwards. There has to be a term for that condition, and I doubt it's flattering....

Ah, but I digress...

I doubt any of you will recall this, but in spite of my love for Minecraft, Battlefield 2 and Unreal Tournament, my favorite game of all time is Fallout 3. I could wax long-winded about all the reasons why I love it so, but I will spare you that. The reason I bring it up is that, as I'm sure you all know already, the next game in the series has been released, unsurprisingly titled Fallout 4. And yes, I got it on the day it came out... I received it as a gift from Wifey, as an early anniversary gift (25 years married, as of mid December.... man, that will take an entire blog post itself when I'm ready to talk about THAT milestone, lol).

So I'm back to wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland, doing all the post-apocky things I loved doing so much in Fallout 3, only this time with much better graphics, and in the Boston area (as opposed to the DC area). Plus, additional improvements to the gameplay that are too numerous to bombard you with here. The only aspect I will mention is the music, which I whole-heartedly love. It's all vintage music from back in the day... in fact, here, let me post one here for your amusement...

Love love love. I tell you, there's nothing like listening to this type of music while wandering the wasteland, blowing up old derelict cars, exploring, dodging bandits...

All that to say, on the entertainment front, I'm happy as a clam.

Speaking of revisiting old favorites, I'm also re-reading The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss. It's my Third-Favorite Book of All Time, and for good reason. What a wonderful, wonderfully-crafted story. I'm savoring it. I may simply follow it up by re-reading The Wise Man's Fear immediately after, who knows?

On the movie/TV front, I finally watched Captain America: Winter Soldier, and loved every minute of it. Man, what a great script. As for TV, I'm watching another truly fantastic series called Person of Interest (recommended to me by the illustrious Marc Biagi, and I'm so glad that he did). Jim Caviezel is fantastic. A great actor in a great role. And terrific writing.

I recently watched the first season of The Flash (at the recommendation of another friend) and was not impressed. I won't go into it - I made the mistake of voicing my opinion about the show to my friend (the one that suggested it), and I think it annoyed him (to put it mildly). Remember what I wrote a couple posts back, about navigating minefields? I won't repeat that mistake, by voicing my opinions about The Flash here!

I will say that it's quite discouraging when I blindly, and with nothing but the best of intentions, go stomping on people's toes. I hate that sinking sense of mortification I get when I realize that I may have offended someone who means a lot to me.

O the rambling journey of elaboration I could go on right now, if I had the strength! But I don't, so I will spare you that as well. But man, I lose sleep over it. It bothers me tremendously.

Moving on...

Here is the latest trailer for BTI, in case you haven't seen it yet...

Beautiful. I love it muchly. All the pieces are coming into place for us to begin filming the next chunk soon. I shall refrain from giving any info about all that is happening related to this project. I'm finally learning (the hard way; see previous) that in my excitement, I'm a bit too free with information.  Let's just say that if even half of what we have planned comes to pass, you will be very happy indeed...

You can check out the newly-expanded Beyond the Impact Website for more info.

I did get a chance to be in front of the camera recently... I got to be an android! Let me explain...

Every year in July, there's the 48 Hour Film Festival. I'm sure you're familiar with it - I've bombarded you with insane detail about the last two I've been involved with. Well, the same folks put on another similar competition in the fall now, called The Four Points Film Project, which is similar to the 48HP in concept, but the allowable time is stretched to 77 Hours, and the films are submitted online - plus, it's open to the whole world (as opposed to just a San Diego thing) and is limited to 200 teams total.

I wasn't planning on participating, but received a call about 11pm the night it started from the Great and Powerful Lisa Winans, who was on a team, and found out they needed an additional actor. She called and asked me, and I pounced on the chance. Our team (Dueling Factions) was small and potent. A script was written in the sci-fi genre, and I got to be an android that another character was building in her dad's old workshop. I will give no other details! I won't even post a photo of myself in the android get-up! Again, I'm done stepping on toes...

But it was a lot of fun, and a surprisingly challenging role. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to participate, and meet new people. Not sure how well it turned out, but from what I understand, the team leaders are pleased.

Wooden Rhino Sculpture

The Christmas play is scooting along wonderfully as well. Having two local professional actors on the cast working with our two home-grown volunteers is sure a fun ride, from the director's standpoint. They are all doing so well, and work really well together. Definitely a life highlight of late.

What else? Well, other writing projects are still in various stages of developmental tinkering. No other acting gigs beyond BTI seem to be on the near horizon, but I'm open to them, if/when they decide to come knocking.

I think I'll call this post over. There, I steered pretty clear of all the downer stuff I could have pelted you with... kept it fun, safe and boring instead!

Until we meet again!

Dave the Man of Ups and Downs

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gotham: Season One - A Review

The first season of the FOX TV show GOTHAM was recently recommended to me along with Agents of SHIELD, and I began watching both. I enjoyed GOTHAM sooo very much that I thought I'd do something I'd never done before - review a TV show on my blog.

The show tells the Batman backstory, laying the foundation for what most of us are familiar with from the Nolan films, as well as whatever each of us has gleaned from the comic books and other forms of media over the years. The primary focus of this series is Detective Jim Gordon, and his one-man mission to clean up Gotham -- not just of the criminal element, but of the corruption that saturates the Gotham City Police Department, from the Commissioner on down. From the beginning, he throws caution to the wind, and refuses to play along with the bribery, coercion, the turning of blind eyes to the various twisted ways that the police and the mob dance together.

Early on, he makes enemies everywhere he turns, as his fellow officers undermine his every move - even his own partner, Harvey Bullock, who is very persistent in his efforts to convince Jim to play along. When Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered in front of their son Bruce, in a Gotham alleyway, Gordon makes it his mission to find the killer(s) and set it right.

I think that's good, as far as setting the stage for the story arcs.

And now, what I love about the show!

The Cast

I've never watched a show with a cast I absolutely adored as much as this show. In fact, my love for the cast is my main reason for writing this post. There are so many cast members that are vying for the title of My Favorite Cast Member, it's ridiculous. The are so many amazing characters and performances throughout the season's 22 episodes that it boggles my mind - not only the regular characters, but the minor roles as well as those that appear only once, setting the stage for future involvement.

If I was forced at gunpoint to pick my favorite member of the cast, it would be Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin...

Early on in the season, I felt he was overdoing it a bit, but he settled into the role so well that it wasn't long before he became one of the strongest reasons to watch the show. His portrayal of the Penguin is a fascinating mix of nervousness, quiet cunning, simmering violence and calm confidence. I absolutely love this character and this actor.

Other favorites include both crime bosses:

John Doman as Don Carmine Falcone:  Very classy actor, and the character carries strength and wisdom, even though he knows he's in the cross-hairs of many friends and enemies, as they all see him as having had his day, and now should step aside (or be removed) so that younger, fresher blood can take over his empire. He is Gotham's #1 crime boss.

David Zayas as Don Sal Maroni: Another class act that dominates the screen whenever he is on it, Zayas' portrayal of Falcone's main competitor is explosive and smart and sooo smooth, and the fact that he's given such wonderful dialog is icing on the cake for me.

Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth: I cannot say enough good things about this actor and what he's done with this character. He is so charismatic and bad-ass (pardon my French) that he swiftly secured a place on my "Oh, Great, We're Going To See Him Again!!!" List. Every time "we" went to Wayne Manor, it was a treat. Talk about class, this guy is so thoroughly legit, he could have his own backstory series. And speaking of Wayne Manor....

David Mazouz as Young Bruce Wayne: He is the man himself, Bruce Wayne - only, you know, the younger version. This little kid has the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, and he pulls it off like a champ. Ultimately, this entire series is about Batman - it's the "elephant in the room" foundation to the whole reason the show exists. He pulls it off incredibly well. I've seen plenty of "child" actors ham their way through performances - the choice of David as Bruce was another stroke of genius for those that cast the show. He is perfect, and better, he is consistently good.

Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma: Anyone with even the barest knowledge of Batman lore knows that Edward Nygma is the alias of the villain The Riddler. In this series, he isn't The Riddler yet - he's a crime scene technician that works for the Gotham City Police Department - he's one of the good guys! Granted, it's very plain that seeds are there for his eventual cross-over to the other team - his interactions with his fellow officers is rife with idiosyncrasies and quirks. He's the quintessential nerd, with a Grade-A crush on one of his female coworkers who unwaveringly keeps him friend-zoned, while simultaneously dating other officers, driving Edward nuts. He persistently navigates the ridicule of his fellows officers so that he can weather the repeated rejections of his crush. I'm sure you can see where this is headed... Bottom line, a wonderful character, very well played.

Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock: Jim Gordon's partner at the GCPD is "corrupt cop with a heart of gold" Harvey Bullock. I immediately loved this character, which is more than I can say for Jim Gordon, actually (more on that below). He's honest about his desire to maintain the status quo, and not rock the boat, getting "his" on the side where and when he can. Yet he (almost) always backs up Gordon on his crazy plays, and supports him even when no one else will. And slowly, he comes around. It's a great arc for a terrific character, played by a Grade A actor. Tons of great moments.

Ben McKenzie as Detective Jim Gordon: Here is the One Man Army himself. To be honest, it took a while for him to grow on me - both the character and the actor. The role is so gung-ho clean-cut Dudley Do-Right that initially it was off-putting. But by Episode 7, I was firmly in McKenzie's corner. What did it for me was the actor more than the character. McKenzie is a very subtle actor in the ways that count - which is important when you have a somewhat over-the-top character. He floods the seams with little facial movements, partial smiles, eye-twitches, little head movements - all the things I'm convinced exponentially increases the appeal of acting performances. The way he carries and presents himself makes him well worth watching.

Other characters I enjoyed were Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, the wonderful Carol Kane as the Penguin's mother Gertrude Cobblepot, Anthony Carrigan as henchman Victor Zsazs, Nicholas D'Agosto as Harvey Dent, and special mention goes to Cameron Monaghan for his one-off role in Episode 16 The Blind Fortune Teller. His transformation into what I hope will be The Joker was absolutely fantastic and riveting and left me wide-eyed and goofy-grinning with glee. Sooo well done. In fact, watch it here!

As great a job as the casting department did, however, the cast wasn't flawless. There are forgettable filler characters (especially on the GCPD), and even two of the main characters never clicked with me at all, throughout the season. One of them was Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. It was overdone from the outset, and stayed that way throughout her often-odd storylines. The whole stretch on the Doll Maker's Island (Ep 17-19) was just absurd, and did nothing but solidify my negative opinion of her character. The other one that didn't sit right with me was Barbara Kean, played by Erin Richards. I cannot put my finger on why, exactly, but she got under my skin big time, up until the final episode, when it became fairly clear that she was slated to become a villain. She may grow on me in Season Two.

The Writing

The show creator is a man named Bruno Heller, and he also penned five of the twenty-two scripts for the season. Honestly, that was one thing I learned in researching the show. I don't know why I never realized it, but apparently these types of shows have an army of writers and directors - it isn't like a film, with one or two writers, and a single director. It seems as though each episode is treated like its own individual production, with its own crew, from Director on down.

Of the ten writers that penned the 22 scripts, Bruno Heller wrote five (of the best, in my opinion), and John Stephens and Ken Woodruff each wrote 4. The remaining 7 writers each got one or sometimes two attempts at writing a script - and honestly, it was evident. Now that I'm writing for a serial, I kind of know what to look for in writing, and the episodes that I felt lacked (especially, by far, Episode 11 Rogue's Gallery) were almost always by one of the single-shot authors. I can only assume that reflects the show producers story-telling acumen. Weed out those who don't quite cut it.

You think 10 writers is a lot, try 16 directors!

Yes, 22 episodes, 16 directors. Two of the directors - Danny Cannon and TJ Scott -- each helmed 3 episodes. Almost everyone else had one shot. That being said, I felt the direction was consistently good-to-outstanding, throughout the season. I am open about admitting my naivete when it comes to industry stuff, but apparently this "army of directors" approach is standard. Other shows I've researched prove the same pattern. I suppose it makes sense - I mean, seeing first-hand all of the pieces that Jeff Patton has had to assemble to direct just one hour of Beyond the Impact was a real eye-opener. I can't imagine having to juggle all of that for a dozen or more episodes.

Even shows that create all of the episodes and release them all at once (like House of Cards) has a large team of directors, many of which direct only one - or at the most two - episode(s).


As if making blog history by reviewing a TV series for the first time wasn't indication enough, I think it's safe to say I highly recommend Gotham, occasional warts and all. I'd say 80% of the episodes were excellent, with an occasional sub-par effort thrown in. But for me, those hiccups are easy to overlook, especially since I'm getting a clearer understanding of just what a complex machine it is, running a show like this. And I'm sure I'm only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Kudos to Bruno Heller and the entire retinue of people involved in this show. I am a big fan. A wonderful cast, and solid writing means excellent entertainment. If you have Netflix, you can stream it, and binge-watch the whole season.

On to Season 2!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Greetings from the Minefield!

Yes, please.

Navigating minefields. I think I can safely add that to my List Of Things I Cannot Do Well.

Not literal minefields, of course... wouldn't take too many failures to bring a swift end to that hobby (although it does remind me of a certain monologue of which I am quite fond). Figurative minefields, however... when it comes to those, apparently I know no fear. I'll just stride out into them as though I have good sense. Which likely means it's less an issue of fearlessness as it is a demonstration of questionable intelligence.

Of course, I'd love to go into detail about the multiple minefields I've lost figurative limbs to this week alone, but alas, the wounds are a bit too fresh, the explosions still ringing in my ears, the dust still settling.

Let's just say the teeter-totter of life continues to dole out its ups and down. At the moment, my self confidence is zero.

Only one thing to do! Well, actually, there are many things to do. But first on my list is (apparently) to update my blog with rambling vagueries. Alas, it is more an exercise in self-therapy than an effort to coherently entertain and/or enlighten you, at the moment. I've been bottomed-out before, many times. I have a cot set up here and everything.

The next thing to do is to go the heck to sleep and hope that tomorrow is a better day than today. I try to take the edge off by reminding myself that, overall, my life is terrific, and these small foxes are more pests than plagues. One of the benefits of being a person prone to mood shifts: tomorrow is likely to be better.

In the interim, I have to get my ramble on! And this ghost town-of-a-blog is my domain, so pardon me as I haunt it for a while...

Ahh, there we go! The sweet aroma of empty platitudes! What a rush!

So there's this juggler, and he's frantically-yet-skillfully keeping a half-dozen balls in the air. It was impressive to watch until, quite suddenly, he just stopped, and all of the balls cascaded to the floor and rolled to a stop around his feet. He stood there, slump-shouldered and a bit dazed. When asked what happened, he said, "Well, I was going along fine, when I asked myself, 'Why am I doing this?' I had no answer."

OK, so there's updating the blog and getting a good night's sleep. What else? Well, Minecraft is one of my go-to's, but it isn't working. I mean, the game is working, in that I can play it, but the usual "fix" isn't there. Neither is it there for Fallout 3, Grim Dawn or Left 4 Dead 2. Trust me, I've tried them all tonight. Plus a new game I got recently, with the rather unorthodox and unappealing name of "Vermintide". Good game, as are all of the titles I mentioned. But nope.

I think it's because, as entertaining as these (and other) games are, the sense of accomplishment they produce is, ultimately, empty and without substance. When bottom-dwelling is on the agenda, emptiness doesn't cut it. It's like starving and only having cotton candy to eat.

So there's this juggler who's eating cotton candy, see, and...

So, game playing isn't working. How about writing? Blog writing, yes. Hence, this post. Fiction writing? Screenplay writing? The sense of accomplishment that accompanies those activities is substantive indeed. However, everything I write in both realms wrings some juice out of me. That's part of the cost, like a gadget using battery power to operate. Right now, my batteries are dead. Trying to wring a few drops out of me when I'm a dry rag is only a recipe for frustration.

There's always food. That can usually take the edge off. But eating at midnight always summons my old friend, acid reflux. That would be counter-productive to a good night's sleep.

There's a story behind this next picture...

Apparently, this kid idolized the garbage men that serviced his neighborhood. He always got sooo excited when they came by. He and his mom would go out and watch them, and he'd be all wide-eyed and happy, waving to them, cheering them on. Well, apparently, one week, they stopped near his house and called him over, giving him a toy garbage truck and posing for a photo with him. This photo. The kid was so overwhelmed with emotion, he couldn't believe it.

There are some great people in the world.

Hey, you know what? That photo kind of worked! I'm feeling a bit better.

Plus, I'm done writing this post, which also has had a positive effect.

Next stop, bed. Or rather, the cot.

Adios from the minefield.

Dave the Juggler

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Little Science Friction Never Hurt...

Greetings, earthling!

Or is that greeting too cliche? What other term should I employ? Terran? Mudman? Hairless Ape?


How about "friend"? Awww, that's more like it! All sweet and saccharine and treacly.... I need to brush my teeth after that greetings!

So, yeah, I've been on a sci-fi binge lately. I thought I'd give y'all a quick run-down...

Saw a pair of films FINALLY! I may be the last person on earth to see these...

Yep, finally saw Interstellar.

Overall, I thought it was very well done, had a great feel to it, and was visually robust. But honestly, it was pretty heavy-handed in the "emotional manipulation" department. And you know, I won't spoil it, but the ending really bugged me. And there were other aspects of the story that really bugged me as well...

Crap, I have to rant about it. OK, fine, I'm going to SPOIL some things here, so if you haven't seen it yet, BE WARNED... skip down to the Prometheus review...

So on the water planet, the whole "7 years of time passes for every hour we're on the surface" thing makes exactly no sense. Period. I don't care how close that planet was to that black hole, it it makes no sense. Their crew mate really stayed on the ship in orbit for 23 years, waiting for them? Nonsense. He would have left and went to the other two planets and then come back, plenty of time. Plus, they really wouldn't have noticed thousand-foot tidal waves sweeping around the planet, on their way in?

When Matt Damon attacks Matthew McConnaghey, that also made exactly zero sense. Why? Unless he was flat-out insane and just did it out of animal rage, it makes no sense. Plus, why rig the robot to blow up? Why falsify all the planet data? Why not just send out a rescue message? It all makes no sense.

And, the ending... the only reason I hesitate to rip the ending is, really, I'm not sure what I would have done differently, to improve it. So I will leave it be.

Bottom line, I give it a 6.5 out of 10. It was worth watching, but I'm not sure I'll ever watch it again.

Which reminds me of another movie...


OK, so I really went into this film wanting to like it. I was eager to enjoy it! It actually scooted along fairly smoothly, until the ship arrived on the planet, LV233 or whatever. Then the entire film toppled into the cinematic commode. This film has next-to-no redeeming qualities. The script is a chocolate mess of insipid dialog, fumbled concepts, sour-note casting choices and a nonstop string of the most retarded decision-making blunders I've seen in a movie of any genre.

When I say "nonstop", I mean literally, from the moment the "team" of "scientists" decided to park next to an alien compound on an unexplored planet, and go waltzing right through the front door. They take their helmets off (because, hey, the air seems breathable!), and then start poking and pushing everything they come in contact with ("Hey, what does this button do?").

"Hey, let's wake up this giant sleeping alien! Maybe he's nice!"

What a bunch of idiots. They deserved everything they got.


Look, I'm actually going easy on this film. I could go scene by scene and ask you what on earth "they" were thinking... but I know how hard it must be to tell a big budget story, when you must have a couple dozen studio yahoos with their hands all over it, pushing it, pulling it, tearing it... so perhaps a lot of it was out of Ridley Scott's hands. But man o man, this was a turd. I can't believe "they" are going to make three more films in this series...

Moving on to books...


So I've things to say about these three titles....

Tuf Voyaging. George RR Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) penned this content back in the mid eighties, as a series of short(er) stories, which were then ultimately gathered into this title. It's creative and entertaining and intelligent, as is Martin's custom. I believe I mentioned this in a recent previous post, but you can imagine the main character Haviland Tuf as a blend of Tyrion Lannister and Ignatius Reilly. Or, if that does nothing for you, he's tall, overweight, without a hair on his body, incredibly intelligent, sharp-witted, yet with zero sense of humor, loves cats and is in charge of an ancient "Seed Ship", which can do and create many, many incredible things.

Reading about Tuf coming into possession of the Seed Ship, and what he travels around using it for, is terrifically entertaining (to me, anyway)....

Leviathan Wakes by J. Corey is predominantly a FANTASTIC sci-fi epic. Up until the end. Man, I don't know what it is about big, awesome, ambitious stories... sometimes they seem to go off the rails at the very end... this is another example. Like Redwolf Conspiracy and City of Stairs before it, I was all set to come in here and trumpet the praises of this book from the rooftops, and strongly urge you to drop everything and read it... but the last two chapters left me crestfallen.

Great characters, a great set of premises, great action, great dialog, a terrifically enjoyable ride... for *almost* the entire story.

I still recommend it, but honestly, I'm not sure I'm going to read the next volume(s)...

And I've started Redshirts, by the prolific John Scalzi, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2013. I'm 8 chapters in (30% of the way through - a fast read), and it's... good. It's light reading, humorous (in a mostly unforced way), but nothing to write home about. I was expecting better. I assume it gets really good - I mean, Best Novel? Not so far...

Comic Break. Click to enlarge!

This segues into the Christmas Play...

So believe it or not, the Christmas Play that I wrote this year (called "Out There") is science fiction theme, too! It takes place on the moon...

I kid you not, it takes place on a lunar base. I thought the idea of talking about "peace on earth" while looking at the earth was too rich to pass up. That meant either the International Space Station, or the moon...

Now, hear me out here... you may recall the very first moon landing, back in July 1969, with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Do you recall how Buzz Aldrin brought the communion elements with him on the trip? And that after the "Eagle" had landed, but before they got out to walk on the moon, Aldrin read from the Gospel of John and took communion? So there is a precedent for dealing with issues of faith on the moon...

So, yeah, a manned lunar compound, and handful of characters, dealing with "every day" issues that they brought with them (so to speak) to a very unusual place. Is there such a thing as "too far away" from home and/or God? Can God hear you on the moon, be with you on the moon?

The play is a Christmas play, in that it takes place on December 25, and hits the Christmas story. It also deals with other more universal themes of faith and belief, and what it means to be human. Plus a few surprises.

This year, I'm bringing in a couple of my actor friends from the San Diego acting community, to flesh out the cast, and play the lead roles. It's getting harder and harder as the years pass to fill out the cast from within the church. People are uninterested/unavailable, for various reasons, which is depressing but understandable. But this may be a great opportunity in disguise. Maybe I could start producing more elaborate, challenging plays, and bring in skilled veteran stage actors, and really kick things up a notch or three.

Or it could be the last play we do, who knows?


On the TV front, I've been watching the shows Gotham and Agents of SHIELD, with mixed results. In each case, I watched a half-dozen episodes, and thought "meh".... it was a mixed bag. Some great moments, mixed with stretches of clumsy storytelling, pedestrian dialog, and scattershot acting. But in the case of Gotham, the seventh episode was TERRIFIC and 8, 9 and 10 were great as well. I was soundly hooked. The cast and writing seemed to settle into a nice place. But then episode 11 was lame...

I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I dug into the show a bit, and discovered something interesting... the first season on Gotham is 22 episodes long... with 10 writers and 16 directors... I had no idea that was how the big boys made a series! I guess I'm naive, but I figured a writer or two, and one director, like a movie... but it seems as though every episode is treated like an independent feature. Different directors, directors of photography, editors, writers... man, what a machine. I had no idea it was such an involved process.

The cast is a mixed bag as well. I love some of the actors (Penguin, Riddler, Harvey Bullock, Selina Kyle), while others don't agree with me yet (Fish Mooney, Barbara Kean).

Anyway, going to give Agents of SHIELD more of a chance to hook me like Gotham did.

We'll see. Man, there's so much to watch!

So I'm going to be interviewed on Saturday 10/24 for the TGGeeks podcast. Me and Travis. I have no idea what I'll be asked, but I assume it will revolve around BTI and perhaps acting in general. But hey, I'll talk about anything...

Once it goes live, I'll post it here, so y'all can mock me mercilessly.

EDIT: Here is the interview:


We're set to begin filming on the new batch of BTI content in the next couple weeks. Jeff is chomping at the bit to get back on set.

Lots of other stuff going on, which I shall refrain from bombarding you with. Dangling participles and everything...

Good days ahead.

Adios for now,

Dave the Cruisin'

Saturday, October 3, 2015

In Sickness and In Health

If there's one certainty in life, it's that when I'm writing the script for the annual Christmas play, I always seem to find it impossible to resist stopping to update my blog! Thus, here I am!

Yep, it's that time of year again. The holidays approacheth. I'm a dozen pages into the Christmas script, and have stalled out... at the point I'm at, I could take it in any of a number of different directions, toward a pair of different possible endings... and I can't decide how best to proceed... I really want to share the premise with you here, now, but I want it to be a surprise! Let's just say, it's unlike anything we've ever done at Mt. Zion before... as in, radically different.

As is my custom, the play is dialog heavy, loaded with concepts and Christmas tropes... but my hesitance comes from the fact that I could conceivably add a heavy dose of action, which could either enhance or detract from the dialog... it could either be awesome or contrived... can't decide!

But I'm a professional. I'll figure it out... tonight, I hope...

The Christmas play is one of SEVEN different projects I'm currently involved with, in some capacity. 2 web series, a TV pilot, a short film, a full feature, a play and a radio drama. I'm a busy little boy! Over-commit much? Maybe... plus, there's all that Minecraft to play! What's a man to do!?

I'm missing my L.A. acting classes. But I can't go back up again until I either take care of my car problem, or until the illustrious LW decides to go up again, so I can hitch a ride. In the interim, I languish, untrained...

This music video is wonderfully artsy... me likey...

You know what I've been doing a lot of lately? I'll tell you, but I can't tell you why... I started watching videos on YouTube of illusionists and card manipulators (like Ricky Jay) and magicians, and that transitioned into watching videos of high-stakes poker players... man, I had no idea that subculture even existed... for some odd reason, I've been absorbed by it. I have zero interest in gambling of any kind, and don't claim to have any idea whatsoever how to play the game, but the people involved are incredible characters, and watching them interact at a poker table, and banter and bet and bluff and fold and joke and throw tens of thousands of dollars around... something about it fascinates me.

Here, watch this card handling trick by Ricky Jay, and be amazed...

I don't know why I get on these little tangents... magicians and cards? Never really interested me at all... perhaps it's research for some upcoming script I know nothing about yet... I did recently write a short script (15 pages) about a roulette gambler, which went straight into my archive. Ah, the life of a writer!

What else have I been up to? Other than writing, not much. I've been reading a little -- I read Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (outstanding book) and Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin (also outstanding)... started reading a fantasy book by Kameron Hurley called The Mirror Empire. I'm on the prologue, so I have no opinion of it yet. Let's see if it makes three outstanding books in a row, eh!

Ah, the life of a reader!

I've been sick of late. Not "sick" sick, like anything contagious or flu-like... it's my annual sinus thing. It starts in my throat, then splits its efforts, going up into my sizable shnozzola, and also settling down into my chest in an annoyingly rattling manner. Usually runs its course in 1 to 2 weeks, which means no workouts for me! All my massive muscle mass is atrophying accordingly.

The only bonus to this sinus things is that if affects my voice. It effectively drops my voice an octave or two, so I get my deeeeep voice going. That means one thing... yep, I get to work on my Sam Elliot impression!

Believe it or not, yes, I can nail that voice, all deep and rich and full. I really wish I had recorded it when it was it's best. I'm almost over my sinus thing, so my voice is almost back to normal, which means my Sam Elliott impression is super weak now.... Next year, I'll record it and post it for you...

I'd say I've diverted my attentions away from the Christmas script for long enough. Gonna dive back in. Ah, the life of a procrastinator!

Take care, y'all!

Dave the Rambling Goofball

Friday, September 18, 2015

In Which I Get My "Rant and Ramble" On....

Leave me be.

Yes, you! You can't be here. You're not allowed.

Oh, wait... you're not aloud. Sorry, I get those mixed up a lot.

You can be here. Just be quiet, mmkay?

Shhh! You'll wake the baby!

I bet you're wondering why I've been silent myself of late, eh? It certainly isn't to avoid waking the (fictional) baby. I'm sure you keep popping your head in here, checking to see if I'm blabbering anew about acting again, right? And all you see is that same old (admittedly awesome) photo of the lion couple, right?

Well, todayve is your lucky dave! Dave the Weird is here to entertain you!

That's me, by the way, up top, in that amazing Milky Way/Beach photo.

Or at least, it should be. That's how I feel of late. Drifting, spinning, feeling alive and very small, at the same time. As with most facets of life in general (and my life in particular), I cycle through things. I could rattle off a list (familiar to many of you long-timers, no doubt) of things and hobbies and interests that I've been fully into 100%, for long stretches of time... and then one day, I wake up and I'm simply done. I cycle through things, like some sort of grand series of cosmic mood swings or something.

Right now in my life, I'm all in 100% in acting and screenwriting. According to this pattern, one day (hopefully not for a good, long while), I'll just wake up and be done. One day 100%, full-throttle, the next day, 0%. And on to something else.

But that's not the cycle I meant to talk about -- the one that refers to the Milky Way/Little Man photo at the top of the post.

On a smaller scale, I cycle through feelings... in other words, I'm a normal human bean... I feel confident, alive, full of creative energy, vim and vinegar, ready to conquer the world. And then The Shift occurs, and I feel spent, small, adrift, confused, insecure... Sometimes I dwell there for a while... sometimes it's a quick visit. Not sure how long this latest visit will last, but I'm feeling solid ground under my feet at the moment, so that's a good sign...

Yes, I get a lot of my photos from 9GAG... I wish they wouldn't tag them with their URL on the side like that... it detracts... sometimes I don't mind popping them into Photoshop and "cloning" the tags out again, but I'm feeling lazy at this moment, so I'll leave it... funny, a few minutes ago, I wasn't too lazy to remove it from the top photo... see? Mini-Shifts occur in me too! How cool!

Took part in my second BTI-related interview a couple of days ago. It was a radio interview, with a few select members of the BTI cast, for a program called Kryton Radio (Event Horizon). It is the "Most Popular Sci-Fi Station on the Planet", and they're big fans of what we've done so far in BTI. Here, hop over real quick and take a peek at their website... Krypton Radio...

There, I put their banner and everything! Click it! It's like magic!

Anyway, yeah, it's kind of a big deal. So we'll be on their radio program this weekend (9/19-9/20), and then at various random times throughout the week, and then it will go up onto iTunes and their website archive the following weekend. It was a lot of fun. I'll post a link when it becomes available.

If you do listen to it, picture me calling in from my Man Cave, sitting in my Favorite Chair in my gym clothes, smelling suspiciously like a potent armpit, having rushed home post-workout to hop onto Skype. Due to some miscommunication somewhere, I had no idea the interview was scheduled for that night, and had planned other things accordingly, lol...

But it all worked out in the end, and we saved the world from destruction.

OK, fine, but we did do a cool interview.

So BTI is moving ahead full steam. Jeff and I are still wrestling the mammoth script into submission. We hope to start filming before the holidays begin in earnest, which should make trying to produce this year's Christmas play at church more interesting (read: frantic)! Man, I need to get on that, and soonish!

Also, working on Momentum (web series), with Alpha Male Rob Dey (lol). The steampunk project has been bumped to the back burner. I'm meeting with Cinema Viva at the end of September to discuss future projects. And my film-maker friend Ryan E. also has things in the works that I hope to participate in. So lots of things going on! Plus, I've written a short film (15 pages) about a gambler in Vegas, and a 5 page monologue about a company CEO being forced to resign.

The steampunk project.... hmm... OK, rant time.... you know, one of the hardest lessons I've learned as a burgeoning screenwriter is patience, and the fact that people are not like me.... I can list 8 people I've given the steampunk script to, to read. Of those that I sent it to (most many weeks ago), only two have returned any feedback at all, indicating that they even read the thing -- and one of those two is the person that commissioned the script to begin with!

That drives me crazy. It's a 36 page script, and I love it. Yet I want to grow, as a writer, always. It would take a person maybe 15 minutes to read it, tops. Then maybe another 15 minutes tops to write out some quick thoughts into an email, or call me with what they liked/disliked, and suggestions on improving it.

A half-hour of someone's time! Is that too much to ask?! Am I worth a half-hour of someone's time? Especially someone that told me they'd like/love to read it?! I'm sure other writers among you can relate - it's like any art form. You pour yourself into something, creatively, and it means a lot to you. And you'd LOVE it if someone would take a small amount of time, look at it, and give you his/her impressions/thoughts. Man, it would mean the world to me! But, nope, not everyone is like me.... I drop everything, and read stuff straight away... don't tell me people are "too busy".... they just don't want to, that's all. It must be like homework. Don't tell me you'd love to read it and then fail to deliver, dangit!

Whatever. Rant is done. It bugs me, but there's far worse problems to have, obviously. Hardly worth the time/energy spent typing it out... and, frankly, it makes me seem rather petty.

And I know whining is not what you came here for!

You came here for fart jokes, right?

And for edgy theological humor, right?

And for cat photos, right?

There, that should keep everyone happy for a while. Too bad I don't have any edgy cat fart theology pieces to post....

Other Odds and Ends:

  • My car is over mileage on my lease, and I still have half-a-year to go. Ouch. That's gonna add up...
  • I found a stash of old CD's that I haven't listened to in years. It's like finding buried treasure. Hello, Sinead O'Connor! Hello Switchfoot!
  • Recently watched the movie Nebraska. Bruce Dern was fantastic, and the rest of the cast wast solid. But it was a boring film, no mistake. Worth watching, though.
  • Currently devouring Prince of Fools by author Mark Lawrence. He is truly a terrific author - definitely in my Top 5 Favorite Authors. The man can write. And he updates his Twitter more than anyone else I follow. He's an addict.
  • Speaking of addiction, I'm still spending a shockingly-embarrassing amount of time building things in Minecraft. I tell myself, "It beats running around town, drinking and getting into fights!" Of course, I'd never do that to begin with, lol, so it's a limp justification.

And with that, I am done.

Adios for now,

Dave the Comma Addict