Thursday, October 26, 2006

Waking Up

2006, for those of you who follow what I do and where I go, was supposed to be the best year of my life. Well, those who follow know that 2006, quite clearly, has not been. In fact, along with 2000 and 1989, it's been the worst. 2000 and 1989, however, have the advantage of only partially sucking, while 2006 has been a bane pretty much since New Year's Day.

Like all things, though, there is a silver lining to this crappy-ass year... I've learned a lot about a lot, especially myself. I can now recognize, without fail, the type of woman I will wind up with. That, in and of itself, is something to smile about... in this year not worth smiling about.

I've learned plenty of other things about myself, too. I know that I am more proud of having been a soldier than proud of having been anything else in my life, or ever being in the future. I know that the military truly does create the best friends a person can have. College friends don't come anywhere near close, and childhood friends are more an obligation similar to family than they are true friendship. I know that I have never, not once, been truly in love in my life. I thought I have, and I've definitely been lustful over women, but I've never been in love. Not really. But I do know who I'm looking for, and like I said, that's something.

A bad thing I've learned is where my temper comes from, and why it comes. Most of my friends can attest to the frightening nature of a "pissed off Jeff," but I think I've finally got that fucker under control. Well, maybe not totally, but at least I know where it lives, and, like the woman, that's something.

The one 100% positive claim to fame that 2006 will have, however, is that my writing has finally become writing, instead of a collection of thoughts followed by the rapid motion of typing fingers. What I write is finally becoming alive. My writing is finally, like the rest of me, waking up. That's no claim to the quality of it, just a claim to the honesty of it. My words are, after 28 years, ringing true... and hopefully, after 28 years, so am I.

It takes a long time to get here... admittedly, a lot of people probably do it much more quickly than I, but I'm here now, and the view, while currently obscured, is a good one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Touch and Go

Every day we wake up, we're somebody else. Our experiences today will be different from the ones that we had yesterday. Our lives are, technically and theoretically, always changing. Nothing stays the same. Nothing remains familiar. Lovers are really strangers, strangers are really friends, and enemies are really those who refuse to admit that we're all more alike than anyone realizes. Life is touch and go. We touch, are touched, wish we were touched, and we move on, sometimes not even knowing why we move on, or even what we've missed.

Touch and go.

Life was interesting a couple of years ago. I was finishing up my first bachelor's degree, activated by the National Guard, and on my way to that fun little desert that is the Middle East. In a small PX in Fort Stewart, Georgia, I mentioned that I needed a padlock for one of my bags, but didn't have the money on me. Later that day, when I wasn't near my bunk, someone found my stuff and left a brand new padlock on my bed. To this day, I have no idea who this person was. Touched. And gone.

I remember getting my dog, Jax, after I got out of the Army. I bought him a doghouse so he could stay dry when it rained and I wasn't home to let him in the house. He wouldn't go in it... not even when I put food inside of it. I talked about this in one of my classes in college. The guy sitting next to me, a tall, gentle-looking black man, said to put sawdust on the floor of the doghouse. For some reason, dogs like the smell and the comfort it provides. I never tried it, but I never forgot the advice, either. Advice from a stranger just trying to help. I feel like shit that I don't know his name. Touched. And gone.

Life moves in circles, in waves, fuck... it even moves in squares and dodecahedrons. Why is it that I am alive, able to walk (although barely), work every day, and play with my dogs and cats? Why is that my replacement in the Army no longer has his foot... or his arm? Why is that I am able to talk to my father, but refuse to because of the friction between us? Why is that several of my friends want so badly to talk to their fathers, but can't because they're no longer living? How can one person leave so indelible a footprint on a person's psyche that a script, a poem, or a song is written due to that footprint? How is it that other people are forgotten as soon as you meet them?

Touch... and go...

We are not a species that can stay in one place long. We move on, from place to place, day to day. Not because of some instinctual need for survival, but because of some higher need for more. Why are we the only species that needs, unequivocally, to love and be loved? Why do we pretend that our pleasant emotions are tied into what's familiar? Why do we assume that our hurtful emotions stem from fear and the unknown?

We are the only living thing on this planet that is capable of touch and go. The only one. Everything else is tied into a natural cycle that repeats itself over and over again, and will repeat itself until extinction or the end of time. Touch and go. There's a reason we're capable of it. A reason so simple to comprehend, most of us refuse to acknowledge it when life seems too much to handle:

No matter what happens to us in life, we can always move forward.

Touched.... and gone...

Writer's Mood Revisited

Crazy world, this is. Very. Things happen that you don't expect, obviously, but when things happen that you've never even considered, well, that's when you're in trouble.

Case in point. I was betrayed by somebody last Sunday. Now, I've always said that betrayal is the worst thing you can do to somebody, and it is. This one is going to cost me a few thousand dollars, a few months of my life, and a little bit of sanity. Fuck yeah.

The strange thing is that I'm writing again... like, seriously writing. When I wrote about my lack of "writer's mood" before, I figured that it was just life in general that was keeping me down. Well, given the evidence today, that's just not the case. Life is looking very, very bleak at the moment, yet I'm still writing. Most of that is my reluctant muse, I'm sure, but given the hit I just took, I should just want to curl up and die. But I don't. And I'm writing. Ironically, it seems that the more I really write, the less I blog. Blogging, it seems, is a clue that I'm not really writing... well, maybe not given the circumstances, but it sounded good, didn't it?

I'm making no sense, am I?

Eh, who cares? I just finished a script and I'm editing it now. Hooray for me, sort of.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blog Updates and Pointless Musings

I was just thinking about a few things, some of which I've already blogged in the past about, so I decided to update my thoughts, as it were.

1. People who enter their own IMDb information are still idiots.
2. Controlling America's borders = smart. Building an actual fence = stupid.
3. George Lucas should never have fucked with Star Wars.
4. Voting and driving should be privileges left to those who have actually graduated high school.
5. I no longer consider the electric toothbrush one of the two greatest inventions known to man. Toilet paper, however, retains its top spot.
6. Tom Cruise is still gay.
7. Dan Brown is still a bad writer.
8. People really need to learn the difference between "your" and "you're." It's quite literally starting to drive me insane.
9. If people want to smoke cigarettes and die, let them.
10. Pennies would be more cost-effective were they worth two cents (I just realized that "penny for your thoughts" and "put your two-cents in" would mean the same thing were this the case... clever, aren't I?)
11. Catherine Zeta-Jones is NOT a good actress.
12. Celebrity does not a Hollywood star make.
13. The Marine Corps should be a part of the Army.
14. San Diego is the greatest city in America.
15. If everyone drove motorcycles, traffic would be less of a hassle.
16. "Musicians" should know how to read music.
17. Actors are generally overpaid. Athletes are not. And I'm really tired of hearing about how teachers, cops, and the like are underpaid. Go get different jobs.
18. Battlestar Galactica got off to a bad start, but the second episode of season 3 was actually good.
19. The San Diego Chargers look for real, don't they?
20. If I had to pick between my muse and Natalie Portman, I'd pick my muse. Those of you who know me well know how big of a statement that is.

Pointless Musings

Former Florida Congressman Dick Foley is clearly one sick bastard (you know, the "page" guy), but the real sick fucks are the idiots who turned his situation into a political one.

America Online being free is great. In a strange twist of fate, I was going to get rid of it the week they switched over from a pay-for service.

XM Radio is like God's gift to music. I have more to say about this, so look for a pointless blog in the future.

Ms. VD, I don't really hate my readers. I actually despise them. Just kidding. I love you all, but only on Wednesdays.

I can't wait for Thursday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Portrait of a Muse

I'm hoping that some of you have noticed that the quality of my writing has improved a bit recently, with the probable exception of yesterday's blog (which was written under the influence). My long-time blog readers will remember that lull in my writing in which I couldn't get into a "writer's mood." Well, I must say that my writer's mood is back, and, so far, better than it has ever been before.

I have written a few poems as of late, two of which are easily in the top five of the best poems I've ever created. In addition, I knocked out a song lyric for a friend's sort-of birthday present, and it wasn't bad (in my humble opinion). I'm also in the middle of writing the best lyric that's EVER come out of my mind. That may sound arrogant, but it's undeniably true.

Screenplays are also once again pouring from my fingertips, and I'm ten pages away from finishing one and about 15 pages into another. They aren't perfect scripts, but they're both good... Again, that sounds arrogant, but trust me... they're both good.

To sum it up: I'm writing, the writing is good, and life is good. And it's all due to my muse. She's a wonderful muse, almost solely responsible for the script that I had finished last year (Theorem), and absolutely solely responsible for the music I've been playing and writing. Like I said, she's wonderful.

What makes her so? Well, what usually makes a muse wonderful? Right out of the gate, she's beautiful. Sure, she claims she's "just a Carolina girl," but she's also the most attractive Carolina girl I've seen in the 10 years I lived in North Carolina. Beautiful, gorgeous, and sexy are words that fail to do her enough justice. She's hot, and that's even too weak a word for what she really is.

She's also intimidatingly smart. She has to be, for she's going into a medically-related field, and is likely going to have a doctorate before I can even finagle a master's degree. World concepts come easy to her, as do many of life's frustrating concepts... and she's wise beyond her years. You can see that in her eyes... and hear it in her voice. A voice so calm, so soothing, one could sleep through a battle were she whispering to you.

And she's sweet... very sweet. I won't elaborate here, because I don't want to accelerate my heart rate before I go to sleep, but she's sweet... very sweet... or did I say that already?

A brief description of this muse... brunette, about 5'3" tall, just turned 21, powerful and very stimulating legs, and skin as perfect as a Clairol advertisement. The very thought of her smiling makes me smile... and the very thought of her upset pisses me off...

She's my muse, and she deserves to be as inspired as much as she inspires me.

Intimidating... Inspiring... The Portrait of a Muse.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Carolina or California: A Crossroads

What a strange place to be in right now. Of course, the preceding sentence probably makes no sense to you, since you probably don't know what strange place I'm referring to.

Well, let me break down "life according to Jeff" for you. There are two things that, to me, equal a successful life. Two main things, anyway. Of course there are thousands upon thousands of individual things, moments, thoughts, events, conflicts, etc., that make up the entirety of a successful life. But for the purposes of now, let's just break it down to two. Now, I don't want to sound like some silly astrologer, but the two things I'm referring to are 1) career, and 2) love. Or, somewhat less aesthetically pleasant: money and sex.

But let's stick with career and love, as I'm feeling sentimental today.

First of all, however, let me fill you in on a bit of history here. I spent my formative years in Southern California, which explains my love for all things San Diego (Chargers spanked the 49ers today, by the way) and my attraction to Los Angeles. I spent the last 10 years of my life in North Carolina (minus one year in Korea, but whatever), where I attended three different colleges on my way to three degrees. In between California and Carolina was Nevada, which is, not entirely without irony, where I am at this very moment.

Now that you're even more confused, let me tie all this shit in: life is career and love, which are somewhat frighteningly represented at this crossroads in my life by California (career) and Carolina (love). Even more frightening is that neither is a sure bet... in fact, both are long-shots at best; blatant impossibilities at worst.

In California lies Hollywood, the ultimate goal of my career aspirations since at least 1997. That's right, nine years of my life have been dedicated to preparing for Hollywood. I want to write movies. I want to make movies. Where else do you really do that than in Los Angeles?

In Carolina lies, well, a nameless beauty that I can't help but be infatuated with. And believe me, I've been trying incessantly to get her out of my head... to no avail. I want this girl. Not in a "stalker-obsessive" way, mind you (I swear), but I want this girl. More than anything. Repeat that: more than anything.

So, here I am at a crossroads. In California lies my nine-year objective, my working future, my career of choice. In Carolina lies my, for lack of better non-poetic term, my heart.

Either way is a complete risk. Neither way guarantees anything. In fact, both ways probably guarantee that the path that I don't pick will no longer even be an option in the rest of my life. I can usually find a middle-ground when it comes to life-altering crap like this... but not this time. This time, I don't have a clue. My mind tells me California. That other organ tells me to pull a Good Will Hunting and "go see about a girl."

I guess the choice is going to be made for me in one way or another in the near future... but until that happens... what a completely nerve-racking way to live a life.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

MySpace After Death

As I sat around one day, twiddling my thumbs... I was probably at work, mind you... I got to wondering. You know, all the crazy things one wonders wonderfully about when he or she is supposed to be doing something far more important. Yeah, that kind of wondering. Stuff like, "Why did my parents become vegetarians?" and, "Why is chocolate the only flavor of ice cream that possibly tastes better when it's been freezer-burned?" As you can tell, I worry about the state of the world quite often. Of course, there were more serious questions, like, "Why can't I get the one girl I want to go out with in the world to like me... even just a little?" and, "Where, oh, where have my little cats gone?"

Then, the ultimate question hit me... the one that pertains to us all in this glorious virtual world of communication known as the Internet... "What the flying fuck will happen to my MySpace page when I die?"

Seriously, in the real world (the one that few of us even bother with any more), the problem of "virtual property" after a death is becoming a big one. In fact, I even read an article recently concerning email accounts after one dies... it's important, too... go find it and read it... and no, I read it after I formulated the MySpace after death question... so there.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the real world. Anyway, so what happens? Has Saint Peter installed the Internet at his desk in front of the pearly gates? Does he have a MySpace page with which to message Tom and ask politely to close Joe Schmoe's MySpace account because Joe had a little too much to drink and veered off the bridge into the foamy brine? And what about Satan? Oh, wait, I know... Satan is the one that posts and reposts all of those stupid ass bulletins that morons can't seem to get enough of.

But what if you're not a Christian? Does Allah play? I know Muhammad can't show his picture on his page, but does he have a minion that screams at Americans for their disparaging and immoral pop culture while deleting MySpace pages in the glorious afterlife? And what about Jews? Hindus? Sikhs? Baha'i's? Buddhists? Never mind that last one... Buddha doesn't seem like he'd care. And I'm sure the Scientologists just take their Thetan-invaded laptops with them to their Heaven, so they probably get to keep their MySpace pages when they die.

And the agnostics? Well, they obviously don't know what happens to their MySpace after death, and they probably don't really care. The atheists? I know this one... there is no MySpace after death.

Seriously, folks... this is something we need to figure out. Tom can only handle so much.

Pointless Musings

I've only recently come to the conclusion that the music of Steely Dan is really, really bad. Anyone know who the idiot was that signed Steely Dan to a record deal?

Wilmington, North Carolina should quit trying to pretend that it's a "little Charleston" or a "little Savannah" and start trying to pretend that it's a "little San Diego." It'd be a much nicer place that way.

Even though I was born there, Jacksonville, Florida, should not have a football team (Los Angeles Jaguars, anyone?).

Why can't some roommates grasp that leaving a shower curtain extended keeps the mildew from sticking the curtain together and turning it brown?

Why are women willing to break the sound barrier on large highways, but absolutely terrified to pass people on two-lane ones?

I'm not sexist, I'm just curious.

Not that kind of curious.

I hate you all, except for a certain brunette who absolutely and unequivocally does it for me.

But I hate the rest of you.

Really.

I do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Irony of Cats and My Life

I have, in my lifetime, owned nine cats. Ten if you count the stray Pete and I tried to adopt before our hateful, anti-people, anti-animal landlady kidnapped him (her?) and shipped him away.

I received the first of those nine cats while I was living in Fayetteville, NC, in 2003, I think, from my girlfriend at the time. She had caught Lancelot in her old neighborhood and brought him to me. He was a doll, I must say... big eyes, scared shitless of my dog, Jax, and loved to attack my toes and my eyelids while I slept (the latter of which is quite frightening when you think about it). I didn't have him long. A stupid fight led to Lancelot running away in the middle of a golf course. I found him a few weeks later, but by then he had been acclimated to running with the other feral cats... and besides, some old lady was taking care of him.

My next two cats were Galahad and Guinevere (noticing a pattern?). I was to pick up Galahad as part of my apology for scaring Lancelot away, but when I got to where I was to get him, I noticed Guinevere. She looked a lot like Lancelot, which was one of the reasons I picked her up. Little did I know that this decision would turn my household into a fucking zoo. Galahad ran away shortly after I moved to Wilmington, NC, in August or September of 2004. He just really wanted to go home to Fayetteville, I think. He ran out of the house while I was shooting a student film. One of my buddies offered to chase him down, but I assured him that Galahad would come back. I was wrong. At the time, Galahad was my favorite cat.

Guinevere ran away while I was stuck in Dayton, NV, this past June. I saw her out the window, walking by my dad's truck. Had I known that was the last time I'd have seen her, I'd have went outside to play with her one last time. At the time, she, like Galahad, was my favorite.

While still in Fayetteville, Galahad and Guinevere had a litter of four cats. We named them Gawain, Tristan, Merlin, and Vivianne. Merlin and Vivianne were given to my roommate at the time, Joe, while my then-girlfriend convinced me to keep Gawain and Tristan.

Gawain died while in Wilmington. He had been sick, came home with some cuts from a fight... my girlfriend let him outside on accident. I never saw him again. When he had disappeared, Guinevere had been gone on a "vacation" (she came back later), so, as before, he had been my favorite.

Tristan disappeared last week. He wasn't my favorite, but he had been my girlfriend's favorite, and I feel a deep and quite strange sense of guilt for having lost him. What makes it worse is that the day he disappeared, I could've sworn I heard a stuck cat meowing from underneath my truck as I drove to work... my dumb ass chalked it up to the radio, but I'll never know for sure, and it makes me ill.

While in Wilmington, Guinevere had given birth to another litter of Galahad's children (he had run away by this time). This litter was named Arthur, Kay, Sagremor, and Isolde. For some odd reason, I kept all of them.

Isolde ran away the day after Guinevere did. I don't know why. Maybe because she was mad that I just spayed her two days prior. I've seen her and Guinevere together once since then, but it was in the middle of the night in an open field a couple of miles from me. They looked healthy, and none of my traps were working, so I forced myself to let them go.

Arthur died early in August of this year. He was sick, and one day decided just to go somewhere and die. I'm still sick to my stomach about it. Guess what? He had been my favorite, too.

Kay and Sagremor are all that are left of my nine cats. The irony here is that, prior to leaving Wilmington, I had decided to get rid of two cats in order to alleviate myself of some of the burden of taking care of so many animals. Guess which two?

I sure am glad that I'm stubborn when it comes to pets.

I was going to tie this story into something relevant, but I've just depressed myself... have a nice day.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Padre Stuff, Charger Stuff, and Some Pointless Musings

Well, the Padres season ended tonight, but what a ride it was. And at least they didn't get swept this year like they did last year.

Let's review what they managed to do:

First place in the NL West over the Dodgers.
First time in team history they made the post-season two years in a row.
Trevor Hoffman broke the all-time saves record.

More importantly, they got me to love baseball again... a sport that used to be my favorite sport, one I had played a lot of when I was younger, and one that I had forgotten about until last year, when the Padres snuck into the playoffs as the NL Wild Card team (I also watched the Padres-Yankees World Series when it happened, but that's beside the point). Baseball, in my life, is finally back... and it feels good.

Now, how about them Chargers? 3-1 and on top of the AFC West. I'm still a Drew Brees fan through and through, but I'm definitely on the Phillip Rivers bandwagon, and have been since the beginning of the season. After the terrifying resurgence of Marty-ball last week in Baltimore, I had grown worried for the Chargers' chances... but, thankfully, it seems they fixed things this week against the Steelers. Hell. Yes.

Quick note on Brees... did anybody read John Czarnecki's NFL blog on September 29th? No? Well, I'll reprint it here:

Saints quarterback Drew Brees finally said this week that the only reason he's not playing in San Diego this season is because Chargers GM A.J. Smith didn't want him.

"He's the guy who drafted Phillip (Rivers) and my shoulder injury gave him the excuse to play Phillip this season," Brees said. "I think Marty Schottenheimer and a lot of players wanted me to stay there, but the general manager didn't want that."

Brees said he's happy to be in New Orleans, but had once figured that he would finish his career in San Diego.


Now, I know I'm not the only person to have claimed that Smith was the real reason Brees left town, but I just wanted to point out the accuracy of my September 9th Chargers blog. What can I say? I like to toot my own horn from time to time.

On that note, I would absolutely love to see a Saints-Chargers Super Bowl. It won't happen, but it'd be the coolest thing ever.

Anyway, the Chargers are playing the 49ers next week. That one should be a no-brainer... provided Marty-ball stays in the trashcan.

Pointless Musings

There must be a ton of Battlestar Galactica fans floating around MySpace, because yesterday's blog sure had an insane number of hits.

Why do obviously beautiful and intelligent women stay with obviously unfaithful and idiotic men?

Any movie produced by both Clint Eastwood AND Steven Spielberg is destined to win some Academy Awards.

Tina Fey is deceptively gorgeous.

There are way too many amateur photographers trying to pose as professional photographers in the world.

Same goes for lawyers and politicians.

Chargers are 3-1. Oh, did I mention that already?

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Battlestar Galactica, Season 3: A Bad Start

I'm a science fiction nerd. I love the stuff. Can't get enough of it. One of my favorite shows is the SciFi channel's Battlestar Galactica. Two seasons ago, it was my number one favorite show. However, as an observant MySpacer might have noticed, it's not listed in my TV favorites on my front page.

That's because, dear reader, Season Two was a disappointment. The season itself was adequate, with about a 50:50 ratio of good and bad episodes. The kicker, though, was the absolutely horrifyingly horrible season finale. In it, one of the cardinal rules of good television writing (and good writing altogether) was broken: following a nice set up, the show jumped "one year later" in order to shock us... to "grab our attention" for more, as it were.

Well, that it did. Shock us, anyway. What the flying fuck were the writers thinking?

Now, as I recall the horrible Season 3 premiere, I'm left with all of the silly questions the writers no doubt intended for me to have, such as:

"What happened in that lost year?"
"Why are the Cylons on New Caprica anyway?"
"What's going on back on old Caprica?"

To make matters worse, the writers decided to put another four month gap of between between the Season 2 finale and the Season 3 premiere, which essentially left us with 16 months of "what the fuck?"

The error of this, quite obviously, lies in characterization. Suddenly, because we are expected to acknowledge that 16 months of change just occured, characters are acting what seems to be "out of character." Starbuck, in what was the single most stupid subplot of the premiere, is now acting like a mother to her supposed half-Cylon child. Lee Adama, in what was another stupid subplot, is now grotesquely fat. Yes, it served up one good line of dialogue from Edward James Olmos, but otherwise seemed unnecessary. I could go on, but I won't spoil anything for those few Battlestar Galactica viewers that haven't seen it yet.

Another problem exhibited by the premiere is the rather glaring shift from being politically ambiguous to being clearly anti-George Bush. I understand that being relevant is an important aspect of art, but the show was much more relevant when both sides could be interpreted. Once, a couple of seasons ago, the creators and writers of Battlestar Galactica claimed that the Cylon similarities to radical Islam were "coincidental." As of the Season 3 premiere, despite the attribution of terrorist aspects to both the humans and the Cylons, this is obviously no longer the case.

As the season progresses, I'm hoping that the writers return to the original point of the show: a long lost colony on its way to find Earth. This was hinted at in the premiere, but it's been hinted at for three seasons now, and we're not getting very far. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that we're going to be subjected to another cardinal sin of writing, the flashback. Only one show I can think of does flashbacks well, it's called Lost. With Battlestar Galactica, I fear that the flashback will be used for what bad writers always use flashbacks for: to fix continuity errors and to avoid revealing lack of skill in writing "real time" plot and character development.

I'm not even going to mention that Mars is a Roman god. And yet the humans in the show were quite obviously intended to have worshipped the Greek pantheon.

Ugh.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Where Everything Is

At the end of August I posted a blog entitled "Where Am I Going?" In that blog, I described a conflict in my life that was slowly coming to a head. At the time of its writing, that conflict was everything in my life. Literally everything. The obstacle to my success, the reason for my failure, the unexpected detour away from happiness... all that philosophical crap. Physically, it was the reason for my financial mess. Add all that together... let's just say that I was a tad bit angry.

But... some positives came out of it, as well. And everything, while still not where I want it to be, is finally falling together again... finally rebuilding my path that I've seemed destined to follow since, well, forever. That, in and of itself, is enough for me to smile about. But there's more.

I'm writing again. Those of you who read this crappy blog at least semi-regularly know that I've had a hard time (if not impossible time) trying to write... not just these blogs, but stories, ideas, even poetry and music. All of that is back, or at least coming back. I'm currently working on the best set of lyrics I've ever put to paper... now I just need a song to go with it. My piano is back out of its box... placed there in the first place thanks to a forced depression and an uncharacteristic desire to destroy all that was musical in my life. Script treatments are starting to flow again. I finally have a strong enough inspiration to write again.

I am, despite having been a paratrooper for almost seven years, in the best shape of my life. I've recently lost 30 pounds... my endurance and strength have increased (a little, anyway), and I'm even working on my flexibility. To be honest, my new-found exercise discipline stemmed from moving to SoCal, was reinforced by realizing that I was fat in Wilmington (thanks, Kim... those pictures scarred me for life), and emphasized by the strange fact that exercising until I hurt actually calms me down. Just for some perspective, I've been doing yoga, too, and I find that straight-up exercise keeps me much, much calmer. So much for meditation...

I even finally starting working again. Now, this wouldn't have been an issue had a certain someone not stolen so much money from me, but I've come to realize that keeping busy feels good somehow. Sure, I'm not in the film industry at the moment, and I'm not making as much money as I used to, but the very act of doing something semi-productive keeps my mind off of more serious things.

Why the sudden jump in spirits? Well... like I said before... I have an inspiration. Actually, I have a few inspirations. The most important inspiration I have is, suprisingly (but shouldn't be), me. Ever since I left home after high school, I've been in direct control of my life and nearly everything that happens to it. Me. Reacting, acting, and otherwise contributing to what I want to do and where I want to be. Earlier this year, I lost that control... quite completely, in fact. Not only did I lose that control, I lost the desire to regain it... and that, people, is not a good thing for anybody. But now, that control is returning. Slowly, but surely... and I'm finally in the position again to return it to myself.

So, yeah, I'm the most important inspiration I have. I don't think many people can actually claim that, but right now, I feel that I can. That being said, I needed a catalyst to get to where I'm at... I needed a catalyst to point out how beautiful everything really is. She has a name, this catalyst... she's beautiful, intelligent, sweet, and altogether wonderful. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend, but she's serving her purpose for me regardless. In the Army, everyone has something they fight for, no matter how subtle... and even though I met her after I left the military, she's what I fought for... and what I now fight for again.

There are more inspirations, but the last one I'm going to mention here are those friends of mine who provided me with the necessary means to sustain myself when I was down. I won't name names, but they know who they are... the two friends who took turns paying my bills for me... the friend who refinanced my high-interest credit cards... the friend who, at no cost to me, gathered the information I needed to pursue legal action against the person that almost destroyed me... the friends who put up with my self-deprecating crap until I, myself, got sick of it... and the friend, my catalyst, who clearly wants to tell me to go away, but won't because she knows I was in a depressed state and is too kind and loving a person to do something like that anyway.

These inspirations, these friends, are everything that I have (along with my pets, of course). Not only that, these inspirations, these friends, are everything that I need... and everything that I really want. All else is icing on the cake of my new life. These inspirations, these friends, are in my head and in my heart.

And that, people, is where everything is.

Sincerely and lovingly,
Jeff

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Overpaid Actors, Underpaid Athletes

This is likely going to piss some people off, but I don't really care. Anyway, as we approach the Fall Classic and are underway with football season, I figured that I would point out to all of you that I am one of the few people in the world that feels that A-list actors are overpaid, while A-list athletes are underpaid.

Now, this is by no means an all-encompassing statement, as I can probably spout of at least 20 baseball players that are highly overpaid (Alex Rodriguez... ahem) and a few football players that are, as well. I can also think of several Hollywood stars that are underpaid. However, I'm not here to argue individual exceptions (in fact, I rarely argue individual exceptions).

So, what the Hell am I blabbing about? Well, my Chargers just lost to the Ravens, 16-13 (thanks, Marty), so I don't really know, nor do I care.

Oh, wait... overpaid actors and underpaid athletes.

Okay... look at some of these so-called Hollywood superstar salaries. There is, not surprisingly, an elite club in Southern California called the "$20 million club." This club includes Tom Cruise ($25 million per film), Mel Gibson ($25 million for The Patriot, back when he acted), Julia Roberts ($20 million for Erin Brockovich), and the list goes on.

Now, these salaries would be completely justified would the presence of these particular paid actors actually increase a film gross by at least the amount of their salary. But, the fact is that they don't. In no industry but Hollywood would somebody pay more for a product that will return less. I don't have the time to go into this phenomenon here, but you can do the research yourself. It's practically common knowledge.

But what about sports stars? Well, let's look at the NFL, as their fiscal model is the one I'm most familiar with. The NFL is a $30 billion + industry. Under a system in which athletes are paid crap, that $30 billion would largely be split among 32 owners. That's a lot of wealth to be pocketed by so few people. Not only that, the owners don't win their games or even increase their teams' popularities... the players do all of that. Good players equals more wins equals more exposure equals more income. Paying that quarterback $7 million (or more) per year may very well be the reason that a particular team makes $7 million in revenue. And, it takes those multi-billions of dollars and splits it among 2000 players.

Does anybody see actors spreading their wealth with their cameramen, their sound techs, or even their makeup artists? Let me answer that for you: no.

I could totally rant and rave about this subject for hours... but I'm inebriated, irritated that the Chargers lost, and hoping that the Padres win... so maybe I will later.

Irreview, Book Review: The Nutshell Technique

I have, to date, read well over two dozen books on screenwriting and its related mediums (theatre, specifically).  While most - if not all -...