Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the Winds are Blowing... ?

Okay, so here I am in Wilmington. No job, no dogs (well, one... but I should have three), no social life, no nothing. Seriously, I literally have nothing material, save for this laptop and an old Army cot. Not that I mind, of course... I'm a little attracted to the idea of being able to leave at a moment's notice.

Anyway, so here I am in Wilmington. Coming to Wilmington was a bit of a stretch. I knew it was an overrated film town to begin with, but I had my reasons for coming, and most of them have or are coming to fruition. All that said, I have once again discovered my love for being on the go.

So, here I am in Wilmington, wondering where the Hell I'm going to go next. I have several options: return West, either back to Los Angeles or to Las Vegas; go to Texas and try to latch onto the next season of Prison Break; go to Vancouver and try to latch onto the next season of Battlestar Galactica (difficult, as Canadian film regulations make it hard for non-Canadian's to get below-the-line work); rejoin the active Army and go to Iraq or Afghanistan with my friends; sign up for Halliburton (gasp) or KBR and get overpaid to go to Iraq or Afghanistan; go to Japan and work with an old friend in the Japanese film industry, or just drive until I get sick of driving and stop somewhere random (I particularly like this choice... don't know why).

But, here I am in Wilmington. Wondering and waiting as the itch to wander grows slowly but surely. Should I stay? Or should I go?

Hmm... guess I'll keep wondering and waiting.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Movies in North Carolina: Three Reviews

As you can probably infer from the blog title, I've seen three movies since I've been back in North Carolina. All were good, though not as good as they could've been, but I figured I'd enlighten you with my ever so educated (not) opinion of said films.

The first, Vacancy, was a well-made taught thriller. Following a trend of recent horrors trying to concentrate more on character than previous waves of the genre, Vacancy succeeds in that its characters seem real. More disturbing is that, despite being entirely fictional, there is a higher sense of "this could happen to me" than in other, supposedly "based on true story" horrors such as Hostel. Vacancy was refreshing in that it avoided most horror-movie conventions and, despite its less than completely satisfying ending, is worth seeing.

Spider-Man 3 is, as we all know, the capstone to one of the most successful movie trilogies of all time. That being stated, it felt a bit rushed, and while having an excellent script, delved more into camp than the previous two films. In addition, fan clamouring for the appearance of Venom only wound up hurting the film, and one wonders if Sam Raimi did that on purpose in order to keep fans out of the development process of any possible future Spider-Man films. As with most trilogies, this installment failed to surpass the quality of the first, but unlike the third Matrix film, deserves to make its way into your DVD collection.

Another "part three," Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, did a decent job in wrapping up that respective trilogy. A bit too long (almost three hours), and more than a bit chaotic, it still managed to be better than the second film (though admittedly not as funny). Once again, however, the first installment still holds the bar for how good this movie could have been.

On a side note, is anyone else "insulted" by the way MySpace places movies and television with celebrities in its blog categories?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

First Full Week Back in Wilmington: Some Notes

Well, it's official. Yesterday marked my first full completed week back in lovely Wilmington, North Carolina. I actually officially moved back May 19, but I had to return to Fayetteville and didn't actually stay here until May 21.

Anyway, some notes...

Wilmington's film industry seems to be no better off than when I first left it. Three projects, almost all wrapped. No available film jobs. Nuts.

The humidity is killing me.

I had to split up my three dogs. It sucks. They're sad. So am I.

I've been sick for the better part of a week. What a way to celebrate returning to an awesome beach town.

A bunch of "friends" have yet to return phone calls or emails. Thanks, guys.

Another friend told me to never contact her again. Still confused about that one. I'm not sure if she found out about my "adventures" in Latin America or not. ;)

I quit smoking on May 26. For those who didn't know, I started again on May 5, when I stopped in Dallas for two days and stayed with the guy who taught me how to smoke in the first place.

It's very weird shopping in my old Food Lion and eating at my old Subway. Can't explain it. It's just weird.

My laptop is painfully outdated, and despite my best efforts to upgrade the hardware/software, it really doesn't invite me to use it... hence, the few blogs and complete lack of other significant writing.

I cut all of my long hair off. I officially look like a soldier once again (even though I never looked like a soldier when I actually was a soldier).

My cats are pissed that I haven't let them outside yet.

I have no idea how the Padres are doing, and have no clue how the Chargers are progressing with their off-season. Also, I don't even know if the Ducks won the Stanley Cup. In fact, I'm not even aware that sporting events are occuring right now.

I hurt my foot, my hip, and my elbow doing pratfalls for a buddy's video project on Saturday. He showed me a rought cut, and my pain didn't even make it on the trailer. I feel used.

I taught my dog how to jump in and out of my room window, primarily because I'm too lazy to walk him around back.

Finally, despite feeling so out of place and mostly being bored with nothing to do, I feel great and am loving it.

Shoot me a line, people. Let's hang out.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just Another Day Among Days...

A few years ago Memorial Day was, to me, simply another excuse for the Army to give us a four-day weekend. Good for a quick trip to the beach, a barbeque, maybe an alcoholic run or two. Its significance was lost on me, as it remains lost on most Americans. I mean, Memorial Day, right? A day where disgruntled Vietnam Vets and geriatric World War II Vets gathered together to remember the glorious or not-so-glorious days. That's all it was. All I had to do was wave a couple of American flags and I had done my part.

Then Omer Hawkins died.

Still, Memorial Day remained just another day among days. I was out of the Army when Hawkins was killed, and I had yet to feel any sort of nostalgia for my time as a paratrooper.

Last year, though, it all changed. Four more people that I had known were killed. Not all at once, mind you, but somehow in one of life's little ironies, I found out about all of them on the same day. Four people. None that I had known well, but four that I had known. Add to that a close friend, Greg Robinson, losing a leg, and I had quickly gone from a good day to one of the worst in memory.

And so, here I am on the first Memorial Day since I found out Webb, Flores, Rafferty, and a fourth whose name dishearteningly eludes me (how fucked up is that? I can't even recall his name). I could go to the beach like everyone else, I suppose. But I'm mysteriously sick, and have been for a week now. I guess I'm meant to stay home, in this strange house, and actually observe Memorial Day the way it shoud be observed: in silence, with nothing for company but memory.

After all, it's just another day...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Afterthought

As I'm typing this in my rented room in Wilmington, North Carolina, there's a strange and constant curiosity floating around the back of my mind. An afterthought of sorts. It's asking me what the fuck I'm doing here, once again in the place that I left not 14 months ago. Strangely, despite the plethora of reasons for being in North Carolina, I can't really answer that question. What the fuck am I doing here? How the fuck should I know?

And that's the million-dollar question, isn't it? How the fuck should I know about anything? The answer to that shouldn't surprise you: how the fuck should I know?

Maybe it's me, maybe it's this place, maybe it's the fact that my three dogs are split up in three different locations, but I really feel like I shouldn't be here. During one of my first days back I was driving down Market Street headed for downtown, and I could've sworn the trees were telling me to leave. No, I'm not crazy (not certifiably, anyway), but that's the sensation I got.

I know what you're thinking and you're probably right. It's just me. Nothing new there, everything I've done right and done wrong has always been just me. This shouldn't be any different. But it is somehow. My whole life I've been little more than an afterthought to most people, but here I'm practically nothing. The person people roll their eyes at when his number shows up on their caller IDs. It's worse than afterthought... it's not being thought of at all.

Of course, again, that's mostly my fault. I didn't really make an attempt to embrace Wilmington when I was here the first time, even though I love the place. Then again, that logic might not work here, since I hate Fayetteville, North Carolina, but feel absolutely at home in the shadows of Fort Bragg.

I've never been remarkably good at anything. Baseball, maybe, but with most things I was merely competent. People say I'm a good writer, but most of that is undoubtedly false encouragement, and until I make a living as a writer, I won't ever make the mistake of agreeing with them. There was, however, one thing that I was among the best at, and that was being a soldier. Now, I never fit in well with the Army system, but nobody in uniform anywhere in the world could tell me that I didn't know my job, and know it well. Whether it was demolitions-related or reconnaissance-related, I knew what I was doing better than most in my field. Jumping out of planes I can't claim such confidence with, but I'm not really confident with anything that you can do perfectly and still maintain a good chance of dying.

The irony here is that I treated the Army much like most people treat me: as an afterthought. It was merely something I was doing until I was ready, financially and mentally, to pursue other things. My dreams, in particular, and we all know how those are turning out.

Still, as Memorial Day approaches and the notifications from the Army become more frequent, I can't help but feel some guilt in not being a soldier anymore. There are friends I will remember this upcoming holiday, though I remember them always, and the burden of not being there when they were killed is sometimes too much to bear. Maybe I came back to North Carolina to fulfill some fucked up destiny. I, with my good-for-nothing left foot and bad attitude, just might wind up back in uniform. Half-unwillingly, of course, but who knows? I have a tendency to leave things unfinished, and maybe this is one of them. This is all, of course, afterthought to me. But then again, it's probably even less to you.

Still, I'd rather be an afterthought buried next to my friends and fellow paratroopers than "that guy" you sometimes hang out with.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spinning Free

What a feeling. Upside down and backwards, sick to my eyes, blind to my stomach. Spinning free like a rocket ignited not by will, but by circumstance. Landing nowhere, carrying nothing... just flying.

Spurned by a dream. Laughing and smiling through a nightmare. Knowingly going in the wrong direction. Spinning free like a raft guided not by sail or paddle, but by current. Landing nothing, carrying nowhere... just floating.

And yet here I am. Three hours ahead of my home. Far away from the City of Angels. Or am I? Spun free like an animal guided not by sight or scent, but by fear. Guess I'll figure out where I'll find ground, and what will be in my hands... just falling.

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 -...