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Archive for September 2005

Wrap-ups

To close a number of outstanding issues:

1) The kids did finally get paid, and I met Josa in person. Each kid received $250 Cdn for one day’s work. I could have quiblled that Children Two and Three worked two days, but I didn’t want to completely alienate Josa or the producers.

2) I still haven’t fetched any mousetraps.

3) The toe is coming along nicely.

4) I wrote my portion of the Will and Sylvia story for the collaborative script project at the Screenwriting Life. I spent my pages trying to tie things together, but I may have only succeeded in adding a new twist.

5) The lab at Concordia worked fine Monday in JOUR 319, but Wednesday in JOUR 202, I couldn’t get the projector to work. After class, I found Simon, the TA, who informed me that they have discovered that the ceiling-mounted projector freezes up. Only unplugging it will reboot it. It’s a good thing I have a few strapping young lads in my classes to reach it for me.

6) Soly hasn’t written back after my offer.

7) If you use Safari 10.3.1 on OS 10.3.9 and Blogger undergoes maintenance, you need to close and restart your browser to get www.blogger.com to show up again. Clearing your cache won’t help.

Bleh

I feel like crap. I have a headache and after an unusually rhinovirus-free year, I’m coming down with a cold. I also have more work than usual to prepare for tomorrow’s JOUR 202 class. The class used to hook up to Infomart through Telnet. This is my first time teaching it through the Web interface. It’s easier in some ways, less powerful in others. Regardless, I had to teach myself how to use the Web variety, and then write up lecture notes on the process.

Sunday, while watching yet another substandard episode of “Family Guy”, I was caught in a brainstorm. I thought up a decent plot for the short Nearmiss and I will be writing. She liked my idea “A LOT”. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she makes some money in the biz – neither of us is an amateur writer, although I still am an amateur screenwriter.

We hashed out an outline in chat Monday afternoon. She said it reminded her of a “Twilight Zone” episode; it is of that genre. She said she’d take first whack at a treatment and get it to me Wednesday.

Time for me to send some notes on “Medieval” to Alex. In some aspects, it resembles “Sheep’s End”: medievalized pop music (Alex used the Beatles, I used New Order and the Hoodoo Gurus); supernatural beings; and the whole swords-and-sorcery culture and audience.

I also have to get in touch with Lorne. I probably send him “Sheep’s End” as a sample. If he likes it, we may end up collaborating.

What with how I feel, and the workload, I had to cancel on hockey tonight. :(

Bonus observation:

Not a single obituary has mentioned Don Adams’s work on the execrable Canadian sitcom, “Check It Out”.

Are things happening?

All of a sudden, I’m very busy with scriptwriting. I may even make some cash from it.

A small group of TriggerStreet users is holding a non-competitive project. Teams of two people take on a genre and McGuffin and have to come up with a script for a short film up to ten minutes long. I’m teamed with a woman who goes by “Nearmiss” and we have to put together a SF script based on a watch.

Our title is due tomorrow morning, and I only just found out that the teams were sent out Friday night. Thanks for trashing all of Nearmiss’s e-mail, Videotron. I just switched the default e-mail on my TriggerStreet account to my Gmail address.

I’m also chatting with a member of the Montreal Screenwriters group about writing for pay. he has a number of scripts partially done and wants to pay to get one completed, so he can shoot it. I think I can get one of his comedies done.

Lastly, I’m on deck for the collaborative screenplay at the Screenwriting Life blog.

And then there’s all the stuff I’m doing for Alex. I feel particularly proud of getting his PowerBook back on his wireless network after a Tiger update wrecked the networking scheme. I had to create a new AirPort port under a new name (LN AirPort), delete the old AirPort port. set the port to keep scanning for networks, and created a specific network setting rather than have the computer log on automatically. I have more work to finish for him, as well.

It’s going to be a busy week.

Goodbye, Videotron

To co-opt a popular theory, I have a “tipping-point” temperment. No matter what goes on around me, I adapt, go with the flow as long as I can – until I reach that tipping point, when I act.

Psychologists call this “bottling up the rage inside you”.

This week, I reached the tipping point with Videotron, the Quebec-based cable conglomerate that supplies me with that lovely coaxial cable full of creamy Intardnet goodness.

The cable Internet service truly is wonderful. My download bandwidth regularly reaches T1 speed. Much of that, I suspect, is due to my neighbourhood of NDG, which has one Canada’s highest per capita rates of seniors – a cohort that doesn’t traditionally suck up much of the neighbourhood share of cable bandwidth.

Videotron runs an open-relay SMTP server (the one that sends out e-mail). No matter the advantage to such a system, one big drawback is that open relays find their way onto spam blacklists. Often, ISPs will block all Videotron e-mail as spam, and few spam filters bother to send back a bounce message. That’s understandable – replying to every spam is as bad as spam itself – but it means that any Videotron user must trust that their e-mail has gone through.

That’s not good enough for me anymore. I was trying to set up an interview this week and my e-mail failed to get to its destination. Only because I overcame my misanthropy enough to pick up the phone did I learn that my e-mail never made it.

I’ve had three e-mail accounts for a while: Videotron, Gmail, and Yahoo. This week, I gave up on Videotron. I will still retrieve my Videotron e-mail, but everything I send from this point on will go through Gmail (with the exception of posts to Yahoo Groups mailing lists).

Gmail isn’t perfect – call me old-fashioned, but I like to archive my e-mail in distinct folders rather than use a search every time I want to look something up. But I can use Eudora to retrieve the Gmail e-mail and store it on my own machine the way I like.

If any of you want a Gmail address, just post a comment.

The toenail

My wife came home from school (she’s a grad student) and after saying hello to the surviving guinea pig and the newest rescue animal in our house, a black she-rabbit of as yet undetermined name, she greeted me as well.

She came towards me for a hug and stepped on my foot, removing the half-toenail that hung on. I thought I should post the news while my toe still felt the sting of the bitter end.

Not so lovely Rita

My mom and brother live in Houston, so I have a vested interest in keeping tabs on the impending landfall of Hurricane Rita. Both live in homes on the west side of town, my brother just outside the outer loop near I-10, and my mom further out along I-10, near Katy.

I went to Rice University in Houston – although no one in my family lived there at the time – and I still have many friends there.

None of the people I know are in danger of flooding or are in zones of evacuation. At worst, they can reasonably expect broken windows and other property damage. My mom called last night. She works in an orthopedic clinic. They closed up shop yesterday and backed up all hard drives (off-site, I hope). She and my brother plan to hunker down and ride out the storm. I probably would as well.

My brother writes:

What can we say… a huge storm is heading our way. We seem to be as prepared as we can be, but we are still discussing the possibility of leaving town. A typical drive from Houston to Dallas takes about 4 1/2 hours…today it takes about 14 hours to do the same drive. My parents and Kristin’s parents as well as her grandmother have decided to stick around and see what Rita is really all about. We hope that we are far enough inland to avert any major disaster. Flooding doesn’t concern us as much as the 165 mph winds (which will be about 100 mph when they hit us). As long as trees and debris don’t hit our house, we should be ok. We expect the power to go out but we have the pool to keep us somewhat cool. We will keep sending updates for as long as we can.

Even had they decided to leave, traffic is impossible. Check out these Houston traffic webcams. My mom’s exit is Barker-Cypress along I-10 Katy. Sure are many more folks leaving than heading in.

This is not my family’s first brush with hurricanes. Last year, my father in Freeport, Bahamas took two in the face. (That’s my sister and her kids, not my movie-star offspring.)

Search for stowaway vermin

I dragged me tired bones to the main deck, and heaved the chest on casters fro’. Aaarrgh! The mice be treatin’ the main deck like a poop deck, even to this day.

Serves me right for puttin’ off a voyage to the hardware quartermaster. Ten lashin’s at dawn!

We be still infested with the vermin, so as soon as my beauty, the Schedule, loughs sails in a moment of placidity, I shall drop the jolly boat and row for stores.

With a little nut butter, the tiny scalliwags will ne’er know what hit ‘em!

Bonus toe update:

I good and cracked me injured toe against a chest today, but the little feller gamely hangs on like a baby at its mama’s teat. Avast!

Saul and other opportunities

Saul sent a pleasant e-mail declining to fork over money for the Lenart bio. He’ll remove it from his site. I would have preferred the $400, but he took a few words to promise to get back to me as soon as he has funding. which he didn’t have to do if he were just stringing me along.

We only had six people at our monthly screenwriting meeting last night, but it was the best meeting yet – probably because of that. I may have landed a low-paying job, made stronger contacts, and confirmed that I’m on the right road to reducing the suckitude of “101”. All it will take is more work….

Dream

Many people, writers especially, wake up and write their dreams down in the hope that it will make some sort of sense. I remember the last time I did that before this morning. Let me see if I can find the notes….

Aha!

storm trashes bank robbery
motorcycle getaway to car to motorcycles
get loot in lakeside stairs, found
marathon swim to escape
get to ? then hide in big old armoire

Uh huh. I’m sure it made sense at the time.

This morning, I woke at the end of a perfect dream. It was perfect in the sense that it was a well-crafted thriller about friends gone wrong, kidnapping, and family. I dreamed it like I was watching the movie, and as it ended with a heart-rending plot point, I woke up.

I’m not sure if all the structure is there, if I just dreamed Act I or a synopsis of the whole thing, but I’ll tell you what: it was one hell of a movie. And I’ve got it down on two pages of notes. Although I’m not convinced that the villain should dress in Edwardian top hat and miniature cape, or use a rifle-cane and a giant slingshot to fling himself onto the forest on top of the church.

But those are just quibbles.

Showbiz!

I mentioned, in my “Plagiarism” post two posts down, that I met with a fellow writer. That fellow is Alex Epstein, who writes the Complications Ensue blog (link in the left sidebar). He also writes for screen and television (“Naked Josh”, “Charlie Jade”). I’m his new intern.

Let’s see how long it takes him to find this blog and comment….

So far, the job has entailed a heck of a lot of research – really the same stuff I was doing before, except now I’m doing it for status and opportunity rather than money.

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