I Love Losing Things

Every day I lose something.

Usually it's my iPod.  I can't find it before a run or a long drive.  Yesterday it was a rebate coupon for Costco that I took with me to the store a couple weeks back and forgot to use.  Right now, it's the leather notebook/case thing with a legal pad and three of my favorite pens in it.  I can't find it anywhere, and it has the contents of my last three meetings, not to mention notes on a project document in there.

I've torn apart every room, a car, and even the mail slot looking for it.  I can keep looking in the bathroom but there's really no where for it to hide there.  I've done a wee bit of cleaning so the living room takes no time.  The dining area is a mess, and I assume it's hiding there, but I cannot find it and I know it's not in any of the boxes.  My room could be hiding it, but again not that many spots.  I know it came back with me because I remember seeing it somewhere and remembering that I should put it somewhere else, and the water bottle from the last meeting is on my desk.  I left with both, since I picked it up last.

So where, oh where, has my notebook gone...

THE LIST: Stand-Up Comedy

Another feature I'll be adding to the blog (in addition to TGIM and the eventual regular short fiction entries) is THE LIST.  What is THE LIST?  Glad you asked.

THE LIST is a list (pun intended!) of things I'd like to do, see, experience, etc.  Not a before I die thing, just a general checklist of things I'd like to do.  Hopefully putting them in a public setting will encourage a little bit o' poking and prodding to make it happen.  And I'll use the tags to make sure you can keep track of them.

The inaugural THE LIST item is one that's been on my mind for a while.  I've already mentioned it to a few people, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  Especially since Troy loaned me Demetri Martin's CD and said, "I imagine that he talks the way you think."

Before this year is done, I'm going to do some stand-up comedy.

I don't have any illusions about how good I'll be (awesome) or where I'll be (Laugh Factory), but I know I want to do it.  I've seen Comedian a couple times, so I know how hard it is to even get ten good minutes together, but I'd like to think that this will be something awesome that I at the very least give a shot to.  I don't see it as a career move, but never say never.

Here's a special bonus for you:

Ah, crap.  I need to add voice-over artist to THE LIST.


The Economy is like VD

I know I already twittered this, but I felt like it deserved some explanation.

Got a call today from a company that I've worked with via Top Cow in the past.  They have some upcoming projects and want me to pitch for one.  It's a project I really like, but I thought I had missed the boat on being a part of it.  If I can turn around a decent story doc, it would appear that I've got the job.

I'm online not five minutes later and see an email from a buddy of mine that works at a major corporate company, or at least one owned by a behemoth.  He's moving on... I IM him and find out that he's yet another victim of the economic crunch.  It's been hitting everywhere this year.  It's getting a lot worse for a lot of people before it (hopefully) gets better.

This recession is economic herpes.  Let's hope someone finds a cure.


Can't Stop, Won't Stop

I've been going a mile a minute since the Cow and I changed our arrangement.  Maybe it's the fact that I finally get to do what I've always wanted to do.  Maybe it's the fact that I need to find some way to pay the rent.  Either way, I've been waking up on the same scheduling and hitting it hard every day.  Some people call unemployment "retirement."  Others call it a "vacation."  While I like the idea vacations and retirement sounds great, that's not what I've been doing.

I've been going on meetings at a clip of about one per business day, for the past week and a half.  I've been working on my own stuff - knocked out my WB backup script, lots of back and forth on the Hawaii pitch and stuff I've got going on with Mr. Hill, and trying to solve the mystery of the upcoming screenplay.  My only beef with this early stage of unemployment (or if I reframe it, freelancing) is that I want to know where the next check is coming from.  But the upside is huge.

I felt this tremendous pressure all the time at Top Cow.  To keep the trains running even remotely close to on time, you're checking in on people all the time.  You're bugging, begging, and bargaining to get things done.  And when it all falls apart, you stop pulling your hair out and realize that all the planning was to prepare you for the inevitable worst case scenario.  But now...  I wake up creatively fulfilled, completely free of stress, and I work on what I want to on my own time.  It's amazingly freeing being this unconstrained.

Today was the first day I've even remotely taken it easy or taken advantage of the fact that I have no set time for reporting for duty.  It all started last night, when I nearly closed down the bar...  Took off a while before last call, but not before having three beers, whatever flip cup totals added to that, and two shots...  I used to have a rule, put in place by some missteps at dodgeball, that I didn't do shots on weekdays.  Well, last night the rule got broken because people said, "Hey, I've got something for you," or "Want a beer or a shot?  Or both?"  Got home late after hitting up Big Tomy's for nachos and put on a movie, which I immediately fell asleep on.  It ended at 5am and I told myself, Okay, you can have this one.

I set the phone alarm for 10am and turned off the Neverlate.  And sleep in I did.  Then drove around in the morass that was LA traffic (thanks to this) trying to find a way east for Chinese breakfast.  Gave up and headed west to Bread and Porridge, where we partook of neither bread nor porridge.  Portions are gigantic and delicious, so this place is now on the list of excellent west side breakfast/brunch spots.

I came back and finalized my business cards with the printer.  Because I couldn't get the format to work with the site, I ended up having to pay more for shipping to make sure I get the cards in time for NY...  I was a little bummed about it, but these things kick ass.  I used a card program to create them, and then customized a very simple, stark back.  Even though these are just temp cards until I get a logo and the full site running, I couldn't stand the thought of showing up at NYCC either cardless, or with VistaPrint ads on the back and a shite design on the front.  There are so many unprofessional professionals working in comics, the least I can do is let people know I handle my bidness.  A man is only as good as his brand, and this brand is dressed for success.  As long as success means jeans and a t-shirt.  After all, I'm a creative.

Had a very promising meeting in the afternoon.  Got my wheels spinning after it and I think it's going to lead to some very good (and potentially very big) things going forward.  All of the meetings I've had have been solid, but I think this one has the most long term upside.

Very much looking forward to New York (minus the cold) next week and more meetings up there.  If you're reading this and would like to meet with me at the show, please drop me a line.  I think you can email me through the site.

2009 is looking more and more like The Year of No Suck.



Had a very informative meeting earlier today with a former co-worker (from a few years back).  He's got some big things going on, and big things could be huge things in the coming weeks and months.  Very curious to see where he and his company are headed as they're in a great position.

Also realized that I still haven't gotten any business cards for the show next week.  I should probably do that... now.  These will just be temp cards as a friend is helping me design a logo.

But in the meantime, here are some links to awesome business card designs:

TGIM - Amazing Days

A friend of mine mused on Saturday about the nature of an Amazing Day.  He said it's about remaining present in the moment and appreciating it.  The definition of an amazing day is being able to appreciate every little thing around you.  Do you take it all in or just let it pass you by?

Yesterday I had my own Amazing Day.  I woke up early(-ish), went for a run, and then got out into the world.  I went to Brentwood and walked around.  No agenda, in no hurry for anything, and didn't pull out my phone even once to lose the moment.  I hit the Farmer's Market and the grocery store.  I sampled fruit, hummus (an addiction at this point), and talked to people.  I stopped in an athletic store I happened to pass by.  More than anything I took stock of the world around me.  Brentwood is a gorgeous area I haven't walked through just to walk it in a couple years.  People everywhere, trees, shops...  Almost made me forget the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles.

Later I went home and threw on a movie.  I felt Drugstore Cowboy was a fitting choice.  I guess it's life-affirming, and it's definitely due back to Netflix since I've been holding it a couple weeks.  I cleaned up a bit.  And then I went to a barbecue with friends; great food and some damn fine Skinny Pirates if I do say so myself.

There's nothing I would change about yesterday.  No happier ending.  Remember, I'm not talking about a perfect day (and you know what Palahniuk says about perfection...).  I'm talking about an Amazing Day, and you can have them all the time with a little focus.  Maybe not on a Monday, but here's to giving it a shot.


Lazy Sunday

Knocked out my WB #125 backup script yesterday afternoon, and except for a tentative last page, I'm pretty happy with it. It's gone out to some members of the brain trust for appraisal and so far the marks are good, just need to shore up the final page. Here's hoping Frutti digs it and doesn't give me any notes so's I can get Pee Eh Eye Dee.

Gonna take it easy today as I've worked long, brain taxing creative hours pretty much every day since the layoff. Going for a run and then a leisurely stroll to enjoy the first non-rainy day in a while. I'll probably watch a flick in the afternoon since Football is taking a pause. And I should clean...

Then I have to hang out with Mel again. And other ex-work folk. Uggh.


Skeleton Boy

No digital FX, all practical.  Enjoy.

Friendly Fires 'Skeleton Boy' by Clemens Habicht from Nexus Productions on Vimeo.

From My Vantage Point, You Should Only Let the Right One In Your Grant Torino

Wherein we discuss the last three movies I've seen in reverse order.

Vantage Point - The best thing about the movie is the trailer (or maybe the poster).  The cast is probably the 2nd best thing, but the script is just asinine.  Not only does it not make things clear initially (and I'm all for making an audience work), but it's intentionally vague or not clear for no real reason.  And thus is the entire modus operandi for the movie.  You get bit by bit of a 23-minute segment from a different vantage point of each of the main characters.  None of the characters are compelling, and the narrative is what I could call frustratingly tantric, but without any payoff in the end.  There's barely a movie here, and that's why they have to rely on the gimmick.  (It's the same thing I'm worried about a bit with the second season of Damages, but they've got a strong first season backing them to see if they can pull it off again.)  At least they tried to give Dennis Quaid's character some backstory.  And did any of the characters have names?  Skip it.

Let the Right One In - I clicked on what I thought was the trailer for this on Quicktime's site, but it turned out to be a scene from the movie.  Knowing nothing, I was immediately intrigued.  The trailer did nothing to dispel that interest.  Alexander and I went to a late screening, and early on I had some trouble not falling asleep reading (an ongoing problem).  Beloved by critics, I can't say I thought it was great.  It was interesting as hell, well-acted, but I'm not sure where the real story was.  I find myself being very picky about character arcs and narrative structure these days.  Not sure if it's because I finally get it, or just that it's on my mind whilst writing.  This is a movie about a relationship, not a series of plot points.  Not quite as horrific as one might expect, though it does have some genuinely creepy moments.  We ran into one of Alexander's CAA cohorts outside the screening and he said, "This is what Twilight should have been."  So take that for what it's worth.  It's definitely a different look at both vampires and young love.  Recommended.

Gran Torino - It's flawed as hell.  I mean, seriously, how did this script get made? I bet it read like a joke on the page.  Eastwood's character is one of the most ridiculous racists ever committed to film, especially outside of exploitation movies.  But he's an interesting character, and it's a damn fine performance that carries the entire movie.  He's the only one doing any acting, and the only character outside of Thao we really get to know.  Weird to see such a stellar performance surrounded by mediocrity, but he pulls it off.  Narratively it's all over the map.  The plot kind of shows its hand early, then backs off, then reappears much later than it probably should have.  The antagonists needed more screen time to be more of a threat.  They're... lacking.  You'll laugh, you'll enjoy, and Eastwood is always essential viewing on both sides of the camera (almost anyhow).  This is no exception.


Thinking Oscar (2009 Edition)

The nominations are out, and here are my quick thoughts, having not seen much:
  • Best Picture - the movie most people will not have seen is The Reader
  • Best Actor - Where is young Hollywood this year?  Also surprised to see Eastwood passed over.
  • Best Actress - Is it me or does this category look increasingly familiar each year?  Glad to see Melissa Leo on there for some variety.
  • Best Director - I know Ron Howard is good, and he's gotten plenty of acclaim, but he's up against some serious talent here.  I haven't seen Frost/Nixon, but this nod makes me want to see it sooner rather than later.  And no Christopher Nolan?
  • Original Screenplay - Thrilled that Wall-E and In Bruges are up.  The latter is an underseen gem, and the former...  Damn it's good.
  • Adapted Screenplay - I've seen one of these...  Sad.
  • Editing - Give it to Slumdog now and save some time.
  • Animated Feature - I know I've only seen the one, but it better win.  
  • WANTED - got two nominations.  Huzzah!
Because I had a meeting get moved, I'll likely post some thoughts on a couple movies I saw on Sunday later today.  You know, as opposed to this where I yammer about things I haven't seen.


Stalemate Broken (I think...)

I came up with a new concept while getting ready to go out on New Year's Eve.  I've spent a lot of time mulling, and a lot of that time devoted to how much of my original idea should be merged with or thrown out based on some notes I got.  After talking with someone else tonight, and pretty much doing an about face concerning what I told him on the phone an hour or so ago, I think I know where I'm headed.

It all boiled down to character.  On the one hand, my initial idea had a lot of ties to my own personal life/past.  The notes I got back put it in a very different place, and left out a lot of me.  As a narcissist, how could I let this stand.  I mean, the concept was borne of a need to inject myself into everything I do...  It's really all about where I want the characters to go.  The more I thought about the original (and I did done thought a lot and luckily not for naught) idea/character, the more I realized I didn't have the arc and opportunity for transformation and growth.  Somehow it just took me until tonight for that to crystallize.  As a guy who pretends to pride himself on character-first storytelling, I think this fits in that line of thought.

There's still a lot to figure out, but the goal is to get this fully plotted before NYCC, then go at it hardcore until I've got at least a draft finished by the end of March.  It's a screenplay.  I could do it as a TV pilot, but it's a finite story.  Name one successful mini not on pay cable in the last couple of years.

I Wanted to Say "Thank You"

To everyone that's reached out in the past few days, I just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to each of you.  I've tried to get back to most of the emails, but (hopefully) understandably I've had a lot on my plate.  It really does mean a lot to see an outpouring of outrage, sympathy, compassion, and the rest of the gamut lobbed my way.  And to everyone who shared We Shall Overcome! stories, much respect and appreciation goes out to you as well.

It's nice to see that all that hard work didn't go unnoticed or unappreciated.  Editing is pretty much a thankless gig, so to know that some people paid enough attention to notice the ebb and flow of our good and bad is a fine thing.  Gives me hope.  How audacious of me...

I'm gonna try and do some morning blogging from here on out to get this back to regular.  I avoided any thoughts on the inauguration since, like the job situation, I'm staying positive about it.  Last thing I want to do is ruin all this good will by spitting Libertarian musings at you.


Rob and Mel make LITG

I guess it's always official once Rich Johnston gets ahold of it.  Not that I didn't update here first...

For the record, it's Top Cow Productions, not Top Cow Comics.  Not sure why people always mix that up.  And secondly, I would have been more than happy to provide more insight on this story so people don't start making up doom and gloom scenarios.  However, I was not asked.

TGIM - Life

Welcome back for the second weekly installment of TGIM, in which we'll now discuss Life.

Life is funny.  I went to Towson because my aunt happened to suggest I visit the campus when I was up in Baltimore on break from school, and I dug it.  I left Towson because I didn't think the film program was up to snuff, and because Joe McFadden said, "If you want to make cigars, go to Miami.  If you want to make movies, go to USC."  While at USC I started interning at Top Cow, which would later become my job for five years.  While at Top Cow I met a girl who gutted me, and thanks to a connection I made at a convention, discovered the key to changing pretty much everything about my personal life.  Personal life intact and better than ever, it became time to move on when the news came down the other day.

I didn't walk away from the gig with anger and resentment.  I walked away with hundreds of contacts in and out of comics, way more experience than most 24 year-olds have, and a ton of favors offered.  Plus some freelance work already on the table.

Life's funny that way.  Isn't there a proverb about G-d closing a door and opening a window?  It's true.  The me of a couple years back didn't believe in possibility.  He was a closed-minded pessimist (and depressed narcissist) that couldn't fathom everything the last few years entailed or how to cope with the position I'm now in.  But the me of today...  He loves life, lives with no regret, and believes in possibility at every turn.  He also talks about himself in the third person, and when allowed to go on (oh, he will), sounds a bit like someone reading at random from self-help books at your local bookstore.  

I'll skip the maxims as that's not the point and you've heard it a million times.  I'm alive, I'm happy, and there's nothing I can't do, nowhere I can't go, and nothing that can stop me.  I'm like Godzilla, with better breath.  Same goes for all of you. How's that for a non-sequitur.


So That Happened...

Thursday was an interesting day.  I began the day trying out a new energy drink, going for a walk, writing for half an hour, and then going to work.  This could have been any day, though I don't write as much as I would like, until about 4pm.

Matt came into my office and closed the door.  He told me had just let Mel go.  Then he said he was eliminating my position.  And just like that, roughly five years to the day, my time at Top Cow was over.  He talked to me about some options in terms of future work, and gave me the option to tell him to go to hell.  He left and I spent about 30 seconds going, Okay, that really did happen.  And that's when it got weird.

I didn't get upset.  Not sad or angry.  I skipped all the stages of grief and went right to acceptance.  I stared at the computer for those 30 seconds, then called a buddy to follow up on a freelance editing gig he had mentioned.  I had a phone call about 8 minutes later, so I just sat there with the door closed and waited for the phone to ring.  I thought, Sink or swim time.  You want to be a writer.  You complain that editing doesn't give you the time.  Here's your shot to do it and make a living.  And I felt totally okay.

I spent almost an hour on the phone, talking about that, other things, and pretty much that.  Talking about it didn't make the prospect of chasing my next paycheck any scarier.  It didn't make me feel undervalued or unappreciated after being dropped with no warning or inkling it was coming.  I remained okay.

I was planning on spending 2009 getting my writing career going so that at the end of the year, or later if I wanted, I would have the option to leave editing behind.  It's not that I didn't love it, but it definitely has its drawbacks and can be very frustrating.  The thing is, it was never the end goal.  I'm a writer, and I want to tell my own stories, not just shepherd those of others.  Ultimately this speeds up what was at best a tentative plan by about 11.5 months.  And I'm totally fine with that.

Some of the creators I let know are kind of sick to their stomachs over the whole thing.  My mom is probably freaking out, my dad is worried, and my sister is probably pissed.  She went through the same thing a few months ago, but she's also still in school for her Master's.  I'm feeling oddly okay with the whole situation.  The hardest part is walking away from creators and projects.

I've come to feel a real sense of ownership on a number of books.  Of course I'm talking about Witchblade and The Darkness.  They're the flagships, the only perennial ongoings, and I have longstanding working relationships with the creators involved, especially Ron Marz and Phil Hester.  They were also the only creators who got the call yesterday.  I got pretty choked up on both calls.  I called, feeling as solid as I was feeling, but then you start realizing that you're not going to be on the phone or IM or even email with these guys all the time, talking about work, life, and whatever else comes up.  I'll definitely be in touch with both, but...  A big part of their lives is what they do to make money, as was mine, and I won't be their creative midwife anymore.  Phil killed me by trying to blame himself.  I kind of cut the tension by telling him it really was his fault.  Ron did it when he said, "I'm not going to say that it's been a pleasure, or anything else like that," and then the phone just went silent for a really long beat.  I'm sure my voice was shaking a bit when I finally spoke again.

There are other books I've really loved and felt a strong connection to like Genius, which I championed like no other near unsellable book, and Madame Mirage, which probably didn't need me too involved but I'm still willing to take any credit for its successes.  It's really tough to just make a clean, immediate break from projects and creators I've spent the last five years working on and with, respectively.

The remainder of Thursday was spent at Busby's, commiserating with Mel (who I should probably talk to more since we're in the same boat) and the rest of the gang.  It was a little weird having everyone tell you how sorry they were to see me go when I was already busy thinking about how great it was going to be to finally be able to devote time to my writing career.  The power of positive thinking (and framing), I suppose.  Perception truly does dictate reality.

I spent all of Friday calling and emailing creators, letting them know my status and that Filip would be taking over all of my responsibilities as well as Mel's.  Lots of shocked creators out there.  I won't blow smoke up my own ass...  But there are many who would say I'm the best editor they've worked with.  It's nice to hear that I had an impact on the work and lives of at least a few of them.  I can self-aggrandize all I want, but hearing it in a genuine way really does mean a lot.  It's really weird to just be done with all that.

I take solace in the fact that for five years I gave all I had to give.  From working for free for a year, to telling Matt I was up for whenever when Renae left, and him putting the faith in me to run editorial (at 22, I think).  I left it all out there on the court, to borrow from my sports vernacular, and there's very little I would change.  Would I rather have my job when I wake up tomorrow?  Absolutely.  There was plenty I liked about the gig and the people I worked with that I wasn't ready to walk away from.  Am I okay with being unemployed and being forced to embark on the next phase of my life?  Absolutely.  I think this is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

I still have a ton of creators to notify, and I'm sure lots to catch Filip up on.  I don't know how that guy is ever going to sleep again.  I'll be doing some freelance writing and editing for the Cow, so hopefully anything I do in both capacities will alleviate some of his stress rather than add to it.  And I still need to figure out how to disconnect from all the books and people I'm so used to being around and involved with on a seemingly hourly capacity.  The 4-Hour Workweek is helping...  One of the things Ferriss goes over is people who are addicted to their station in life.  They'll make every excuse in the world about how they can't leave their job because it's not the right time, they'll never do as well, etc.  And the whole book is about people, including him, who have done all the things others are scared to.  One exercise is to imagine the worst-case scenario.  If the worst is you losing your job, how bad is that really.  It happened to me on Thursday, and I'm living proof that I lost what was one of the most important things in my life and I didn't crumble.  Still here, still standing, still going strong.

I'll be at the New York Comic Con next month, and sticking around NY a few days after (thanks to Elaine).  I hope to see a lot of the friends I've made over the last few years there and catch up, as well as score plenty of gigs.  I've gotten a lot of offers for help in whatever capacity I need, I just need to spend next week pounding the pavement and lining up some work, seeing if freelance is a viable option for me to make a living via.

It's an interesting time for me because the only responsibilities I have are rent, car payments, insurance and utilities (plus the never-diminishing school loans).  I have no familial or relationship obligations to lock me down, and my lease is month-t0-month.  I can literally go anywhere and do anything if need be.  It's kind of liberating.  Well, except for the thought that I might disappoint some dodgeball teams if I take off... I haven't traveled much outside of for conventions the last couple years, and already I'm thinking about where I'd like to go, and how easy it'll be to work from there so long as they have an Internet connection.  I think Japan is definitely high up on my list right now...

I don't know what the future holds, but for today that doesn't scare me at all.  Stay tuned to this space for updates on whatever I'm up to.  And I'll have to make sure there's a link in the sidebar to contact me.  In case you're wondering, the email is the blog name @ gmail.com.


'The Wood' is Good

About to crash out watching The Wood, and a couple of things occurred to me.

1) I have no idea the creative force behind this movie.

2) Whoa. Co-story credit to Todd Boyd, one of my professors at USC.

3) What the hell happened to writer-director Rick Famuyima? He knocked the flick out of the park, did one more movie, and then went silent for 5 years.  He co-wrote Talk to Me (which is nothing short of great) two years back, but hasn't directed a film since 2002.

4) I really like this movie.


The Worst Movie Trailer Ever?

I'm sure there's a ton of hyperbole involved here, but not that much.  In continuing my apparent theme of bringing you the worst, I present the latest epic from the visionary mind of Dolph "I Was Totally in Johnny Mnemonic" Lundgren.  Thanks to Filip for the tip.

It's not that it's bad, it's just utterly boring and nigh unwatchable.  If someone didn't get stabbed with a guitar around the two minute mark I might have started breaking something.  And then breaking a lot more somethings.

For a much better example of how to do a trailer the wrong way and still end up being tremendously entertaining, I present SHARK IN VENICE!


The Worst Comic Ever?

Courtesy of Ron Marz, I bring you a great review of quite possibly the worst comic ever published.  Read the whole thing, and please hover your cursor over the images for an added bonus (captions).

Here's an excerpt:
And yet, it is beautiful in its purity. It is, in two sentences, everything that Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is about. It’s why I read the book. Because every now and then, it gets so bad, so unrelentingly stupid, that is somehow loops back around to become brilliant for eleven words.

The 4-Hour Workweek

I've started reading Tim Ferriss' book again.  I have the audio, and I got about halfway through last time before it threatened to destroy my life.  It pointed out all the inefficiencies and time wasters of my world.  It made me want to be a more productive individual.  Work smarter, not harder.  That sort of thing.

Anyhow, I've started at the beginning and I'm going to finish it this time.  I'm going to become a life hacker.  I've added Tim's blog to the list at right, and you can find more about him and the book HERE.

Also, if anyone knows where I can watch the pilot of Tim's show, Trial by Fire, please let me know.

Does Anyone Like Hipsters?

I present to you the Hipster Olympics:

Thanks to Signe for the link.


TGIM - A New Weekly Feature

Here's the deal.  No one, but I mean no one, likes waking up on Monday.  Love your job, hate your job, whatever.  Monday morning rolls around and signals the end to the weekend and the beginning of a five day trek to try and arrive at the next one.

I decided I would do my part to spread a little Monday joy to everyone in the struggle.  Each Monday I'll be presenting Thank Goodness It's Monday, and offer up a reason to be thankful.  Not necessarily because it's Monday, but just in general.  Think of it as a weekly gratitude experiment.

Your TGIM for last week should have been the fact that it was the first Monday of the new year, and a chance to start your first work week off right.  This week I could be a lot more Monday specific as today holds both an industry mixer and dodgeball this evening, but I'm going to focus on the best thing to happen over the last couple of months, Netflix Watch Instantly.

They had just started rolling this out right when I left the service for the second time (never because I was dissatisfied, I just happened to get offered free Blockbuster).  When I came back, they had gone from limited viewing to unlimited, the only drawback being it didn't work on a Mac.  Well, not only can you now watch on a Mac, but you can also watch on your XBox 360, Roku Box, and Tivo HD, but also an increasing number of BluRay DVD players.  They load in about 30 seconds or less, and the quality and selection are pretty kickass.

I've been able to watch movies for research (The Star Chamber, Premium, Strays), pleasure (err... Wild Things 2 and 3, which I only scanned for the naughty bits), and WAY too much television (Dead Like Me, Action, The Tick).  The only drawback is that sometimes entire seasons aren't uploaded, so you'll have to order a disc if you want the complete experience.

It's a fantastic way to stay entertained on a lunch break or on days like Mondays when you're just too out of it to head all the way down to the mailbox to retrieve your new movies.

This has been TGIM.  Authentic Impostor approves this message and thanks you for your time.


Potential News

Looks like I may have more work out this year than I was anticipating, especially after begging off one project.  More details as I can offer them up.

2009... Best.  Year.  Ever.


The Worst Sleep

Left off the word ever because that would be debatable, but...  Last night was some of the worst sleep I've ever gotten.  I woke around 3 with inhuman pain in my right shoulder.  It was like an ache that no amount of shifting, massage, Aleve, ice, or time could alleviate.

I tossed.  I turned.  I flipped.  I bargained.  I begged.  I got up and called my mom.  I played video games with an ice pack on my shoulder.  At around 8am I began to feel a little better and got back in bed.  It came, slowly...  Then I woke to my phone buzzing with a new text:

Filip - U coming in?  By 11am meeting?

I check the clock.  It's 11am.  I text back, Apparently not.  Will be in though.

It was the worst of sleeps, it was the worst of sleeps.  I wonder how today is going to go.

'Atonement' - Nothing Doing

Tonight I watched Atonement, thinking it would be an excuse to let my vagina get some air and my eyes some natural lubricant.  It did neither.

I saw Joe Wright's take on Pride and Prejudice in Maltin's class at SC.  I thought to myself, "This guy has no idea how to use a camera."  Well, that's still true.  I guess he's good with actors, but...  Seriously, why all the love for this flick?  Atonement starts out well enough, and it does a good job of setting up the unreliable narrator, but everything after the first act is a major snooze fest.  

The achronological storytelling is done just to be achronological, not because it adds anything.  It jumps because going in order would mean there would be no story.  But wait, I've spoken too soon.  There is no story.  You have this great inciting incident, and as a setup it could be potentially fantastic.  But the rest of the movie is practically a documentary.  We just follow people, but there's no real conflict.  We watch people do what they do, but in the end they don't have goals or dilemmas.  The end reveal seemingly invalidates what little is there.

I went on Rotten Tomatoes to see what the critics thought, and it's all love.  I used to be a big Peter Travers fan, but then our tastes diverged a bit.  Lately I've been agreeing with him more, but his praise for this movie makes me think we're still pretty dissimilar.

I'm sick right now, and stuffed up, and not up to 100%.  I'm perfectly willing to admit that that might be the reason I didn't enjoy the movie at all.  But seriously, is there a story?  I'll give it up for the acting, but no one DOES anything.


Louisville Free Face

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Seriously, I cannot make this up.

Say It Ain' So, Smoltzy

I woke up late, sick, and got just about the last sports news I ever expected to see.  Especially at this juncture in the MLB's free agent season.

John Smoltz is leaving the Braves, the only team he's pitched for in 21 seasons, to join the Boston Red Sox.  The initial report I read thanks to a gmail clip was that Smoltz was "on the verge" of signing.  But the AJC confirms it all official like here.

I'm shocked, quite frankly.  But for a rapidly deteriorating ball club and given the way this off-season has gone, I guess I shouldn't be.  John Smoltz is the Atlanta Braves.  He's never been quite as prolific as Maddux or Glavine, and he never made the waves that some other high
 profile stars do.  But he was the work horse and the heart.  A multiple time surgery recipient and one-time Cy Young.  A starter and a closer.  And now, we can add ex-Brave to that list.

I'm pretty much speechless over this.  Frank Wren has proved himself to be no John Schuerholz, and I just want my team back.  So long, Smoltzy.  You're a legend and a class act, and I miss you already.

As you can see from the above, I'll definitely be talking some sports up here.  I'm a big ATL sports fans (Hawks, Braves, Falcons), and a general buff.  Feel free to skip if it's not your thing.

Template issues

So I spent the last couple hours searching for templates.  Downloaded the world's most customizable blogger template...  Yeah, not so much.  It has a lot of cool stuff going on, and is infinitely cooler than Minima, but it was mucking up my own custom stuff in here.  Default with a messed up color scheme for now.

Anyone wants to help out (with this or the actual AI site), drop me a line.


So what's the point?

I've blogged before.  Many, many times.  I've blogged for work, I've blogged for play.  I've blogged for joy and I've blogged for sorrow.  So what makes this one different?

Well, for starters, this is only phase one.  The blog will be a permanent element of what will eventually be a full-fledged website.  I just need the right hosting, design, etc.  First thing's first, I've asked a friend to help me out with a logo.  I have a few other options, but I think he has the right sensibility for what I'm after.

This will be the place (the site, not just the blog) for people to get to know the professional Rob Levin.  Not the drunken twitterer with the constant updates, or the irate editor with the fantastic but often schedule challenged talent, but the man who writes, thinks, and maybe does a few other things.  It'll be the place for coverage of my work, research snippets, and general thoughts on entertainment, culture, and sometimes life.

What it won't be is a personal blog.  My relationships (outside of friendships I mention or professional relationships I have) will stay off of here, as will things like feelings.  The last blog collapsed under its own weight because of that.  This is about being a professional.  Not a bearded baby.

I have a couple of goals, and since we're looking at this at the start of a new year, here they are in all their "he'll break so many promises" glory:
  • Daily updates - I'm assuming Monday through Friday, but if I've got stuff to say, weekends aren't off limits.
  • Monthly short fiction - I'd like to get this to weekly status, so I plan on rolling out some old stuff first while trying to stockpile the new
  • Exclusive previews - If I'm working on a comic, you'll see pre-lim stuff, stolen panels, etc.  If it's prose or a screenplay, I'll pull scenes, chapters, and the like.  I'm a firm believer that all things can be made better out of context.
  • Kickass links - This is where I'll drop the ball, as the operative word, kickass, is certainly debatable.  And there's no way I can keep up with culture surfer (not to mention writer, filmmaker, musician, photographer, and inspiration) Bryan Hill, but I'll post the things that come into my life and I think are worth sharing.  Or at least funny.
  • Big-ups - Links to friends and other professional peeps who are all kinds of awesome, and why.  My goal is to share the wealth in terms of the creative community and the bodies of work that I've discovered.
  • An ever evolving biography - My goal is to come up with the best one ever, so I'll be revising it daily as part of that pursuit (maybe).
  • Audio/video portions - Not necessarily podcasts, and not just talking head stuff, but likely just that.
I'm sure there's a lot more, but a blog to me always seems like a living, breathing, constantly evolving organism.  It's a lot like "the alien" that R. Kelly describes Trapped in the Closet as (and yes, that'll get a whole big post).

So welcome.  I'm posting this (while sick) and then going right back on the new template hunt.  At some point I may switch over to WordPress or a custom design, but for now I'm back with my old pal blogger.

I'll get the links and extra content on the sides going over the next week or two as well, and they'll be constantly updated.  Feel free to comment, suggest, and do whatever else it is you do.  Thanks for reading.  And if you'd like me to write something for you, just drop me a line.


Authentic Impositions

It's a new year (again), so I figured, "Let's rock this shit like Gibraltar." That's how all the cool kids talk.

More coming soon. Hopefully this site is forwarding properly to the blog.

Welcome to my new, permanent, official, officially awesome site.