Blogging into the wind

I find blogging is such a self perpetuating cycle. When you blog and there’s no response, you assume no one is reading (which may or may not be true). Therefore you don’t write as much. Of course when you never update people are bound to stop reading. Chicken/egg, Yin/Yang, etc.

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Samaritan

Yesterday I was in the condo when I heard the sound of a huge crash outside. I went to see what had happened. A tree obscured my view but I could hear a woman crying fairly hysterically and saying she was so sorry. From the sound of how hysterical she was I feared something very bad had happened. As I rushed down to see if I could help I feared finding someone gravely injured or dead.
When I got downstairs I was very relieve to find no such scene. I heard her say she was on the way to a job interview and had been looking at some papers for a second while driving. That second was all it had taken for her to rear end a neighbor’s car parked on the side of the street. The neighbor had heard and come to investigate and the driver had been apologizing frantically to the neighbor. I had also, from my balcony, heard the driver call her grandmother, crying, and saying she had been in an accident. When I got there, another couple from a few condos down was helping the shaken woman to sit down on the patio of the neighbor whose car now had its rear end completely smashed in. The driver had a bloody lip, had hit her head and was naturally feeling some soreness in the neck and back but otherwise appeared, at least outwardly, to not have any major injuries.
As no one had had a chance to call 911 yet, I did that and explained the situation. As they gave the poor girl a bag of frozen vegetables to put on her lip, she just sat crying, hysterically upset. My instinct was that I wanted to take control of this situation. I wanted to take her hand and look her in the eye, find out her name and tell her that everything was going to be O.K. They were just cars and the important thing was that she was alive and no one had been severely injured. I wanted to comfort this poor, shaken, traumatized person who also felt so foolish at her own mistake which led to this accident. I felt that I had the power. I felt like I am very good at keeping my head in situations like these and making people feel more at ease. I wanted to do all this…but I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I felt it wasn’t my place. I don’t really know. I look back and I really regret that I didn’t follow my instincts. I think I could have made a difference.
The police and EMS got there and began to tend to her. I told the officer that I had called 911 and asked if there was anything else needed from me. He said there wasn’t so I decided to vacate the premises. I hope I never have to face a situation like this again but if I do, I will follow my instincts next time. I hope that wherever she is, that she’s O.K. and has realized how lucky she really is. Cars can be fixed or replaced. So please, friends, remember that it only takes a second of taking your eyes off the road to possibly lead to a some very bad things. We all do it. Fiddle with the radio or iPod, look at a text message, glance at a piece of paper. I know this had made me more aware of my driving habits. I hope it will do the same for you.

The conspiracy of Sara(h)s

I worked with an actress last night named Sarah who was extremely cool and great to work with. This got me thinking of something that had occurred to me before. I have never met a Sara(h) I didn’t like. More than that the Sara(h)s I have known have generally been way above the norm in terms of absolute awesomosity.
Back in my pizza delivery days I worked with a girl named Sarah who was one of the coolest women I’d ever met. Then later when I was working in IT for an insurance company I worked with a completely different but equally cool Sara. My wife’s middle name is Sara. Anyone got Mulder or Scully’s contact info? I think this needs to be looked into.

Wassup, people!

I learned recently that my friend, Darrin, reads this blog though he has never commented. Therefore inspired by knowing that there are actually at least a few people still reading here I am inspired to update!
My silence is not only due to being a sucktastic and neglectful blogger but also because I’ve been fairly busy. i’m currently involved in more films than I can keep track of even with my nifty new iPhone and constant email and calendar access!
I am in the midst of a 10 day shoot for a small feature I’m starring in after which I immediately start another feature. There are also several shorts I’m in, several more shorts and features in the pipeline for other people and that whole ever growing stack of shorts (and features) that Larry and I have written that we want to get into production.
In other exciting news, episode 1 of Sal Monella is in in the finals tonight of the Austin Film Festival’s “Funniest Filmmaker in Austin” contest. Then there’s also the rest of my non-film related life to live too.
Life in general is kind of a roller coaster of highs and lows but overall I think my account ends up in the positive. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…

“The Dark Knight” (No spoilers)

Wow. Frickin’ wow. Totally worthy of all the hype. Intense. It felt like two movies worth of experience, at least (in the best possible way). So dense. Heath Ledger is as amazing as everyone has been touting (or expecting). Not once was I pulled out of the movie by bad CG. Brutal without being graphically gory.
Though this movie obviously requires some suspension of disbelief, there was only really one thing that snapped my suspension of disbelief for a nanosecond but then I got over it and was back in this amazing film.
My one complaint, and it is oh so minor, Christian Bale’s voice when he’s batman and not Bruce Wayne. It’s just too gruff and affected. It makes him hard to understand and sounds like he’s desperately in need of a bat-lozenge for his throat. As one comedian put it after “Batman Begins”, it’s a little like cookie monster playing Batman.
“DO YOU HAVE A COOKIE FOR BATMAN?”
I WILL be seeing this movie again in the IMAX. It almost demands multiple viewings to process it all.
In another interesting twist, my acting career idol, Gary Oldman, plays probably the most boring, normal, plain part of his career. A part that’s so not “Gary Oldmanesque”. And yet, in a strange twist, it being so different in itself kind of makes it Gary Oldmanesque! Don’t get me wrong, he does a great job and I love his character, he’s just so normal, plain and kind of boring (the character, no Gary Oldman).
See this movie. Multiple times. Genius.

The Quest for the iPhone

For quite some time now I’ve been looking at getting an iPhone. I am constantly at auditions and such where I need to know my availability and would have to say “I’ll let you know when I get home and check my Google Calendar”.
Now before you even say it, I don’t want to carry around a good old paper calendar/notebook/whatever. I share calendar’s with several people so we can easily see each other’s availability and I don’t want to have to document things in multiple places either.

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It’s time for Dr. Horrible!

Joss Whedon’s new online project, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog is online in three installments for free until July 20. Catch it now, or pay for it later!

Chipmunk Punk

When I was a kid, I had the album “Chipmunk Punk”. This was a 1980 album of Alvin and the Chipmunks doing 9 songs that were not really in any way, punk, but were pretty cool and influential to me. This album actually introduced me to a lot of songs that I would later come to really love. At the time, I had never heard of “The Knack” and I don’t think I had heard of most of the other songs on the album either. I just knew I liked the Chipmunks as we had a cool clear red album of theirs from 1969.
Recently I was thinking back on this and realized just what a weird album this was. The track listing was:
Side A

  • “Let’s Go” by The Cars
  • “Good Girls Don’t” by The Knack
  • “How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt
  • “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • “Frustrated” by The Knack

Side B

  • “Call Me” by Blondie
  • “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel
  • “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
  • “My Sharona” by The Knack

Now the first thing I noticed is that one third of the songs are from The Knack. Now don’t get me wrong, I love The Knack’s debut album “Get The Knack” which spawned all three of these songs, but to have three of nine songs by The Knack, who I had never even heard of at that time, seems an odd choice. Were the producers friends with The Knack? Did they get a hellaciously good deal on song rights?
Secondly, though I remember very specific changes they made to the lyrics to make them more kid friendly, those three songs from The Knack are racy! They’re all about trying to get laid. Sure they changed “Til she’s sitting on your face” to “Til she’s sitting in your place” but a few lyrical changes do not change the overall subject of the song.
I don’t really remember realizing at the time what these songs were about, but again in hindsight, WHOA! How did this album get made?
“You thought you heard her saying ‘Good Girls don’t’…but she’s been telling you ‘Good girls don’t but I do.”
“Frustrated” is all about blue balls, basically. Some girl not putting out.
“My Sharona”, all about lusting after this young teenage girl.
Again, I ask, HOW DID THIS ALBUM GET MADE AND RELEASED? All I know is I’m glad it did, because I played the hell out of it and was introduced to some awesome music. I own every one of those songs on CD by the original artists. Except for “How Do I Make You”. I can’t remember how that one goes but I remember I liked the Chipmunk’s version of it. Somehow I listened to this album repeatedly without ever really realizing how inappropriate some of the songs probably were for a nine year old boy.

Prejudice

I had an experience a few weeks ago that made me realize just how lucky i am to live a fairly prejudice-free life. I am generally surrounded by non-prejudiced people in a fairly non-prejudiced town, at least to the point where something like this actually took me by surprise which is a good thing.
I was at a band gig when one of my band mates was talking about his family trip to Disneyworld. This individual is a very generous generally great guy but he’s also an old country boy farmer. Sometimes these things just don’t seem to go together, such as when him, his wife and their teenage daughter were talking about how they happened to be at Disneyworld for gay pride day. And, oh my goodness, they were surrounded by GAY PEOPLE! Shock! horror! And, I quote, “It was disgusting!”
I sat there kind of fuming trying to figure out exactly how to handle this. I had no idea what to say or do. I wanted to speak up but in a non-confrontational way that would hopefully reach them and make them think instead of just alienating them but I just couldn’t think of anything to say. I ended up muttering sarcastically, “Oh no, gay people,” but no one really heard and I didn’t want to make a point by repeating it or whatever. I think the real shame is that their daughter, who is a bright, intelligent girl, is having this kind of thing put in her head.
There are so many people in the world and the vast majority of them are going to be different from you in at least some ways. Sometimes you have close friends who are good people and yet have some pretty major differences from you. Sometimes that can be really hard. I actually wondered, albeit only briefly, “Do I really want to be in a band with people like this?”

My top 10 favorite robots

After seeing “Wall-e” (which, by the way is one of the best movies ever) my brain decided to start thinking about my favorite movie robots. So here’s my top 10 favorite Movie/TV robots (not necessarily in any particular order):

  1. Wall-E: this movie kicked so much ass in so many ways I don’t know where to begin. The virtual camerawork was better than most actual camera work in most movies. Wall-E himself was just awesome beyond words. EVE (or I-Bot as I called her) was also pretty damn awesome
  2. R2-D2 (honorable mention to C-3PO): While I think R2 is the far cooler bot, you gotta give props to his robot life mate too. These two are robot royalty. Star Wars was just full of so many great bots. The Gonk droid, the mouse droid; you could probably fill a list with just your favorite Star Wars droids.
  3. Tom Servo (honorable mention to Crow T. Robot): MST3K was just brilliant and Kevin Murphy’s version of Servo will always be one of the great bots for me.
  4. Maximillian (honorable mention to V.I.N.CENT.): “The Black Hole” is one of those movies that holds a special place of childhood nostalgia for me despite the fact that the ending is an absolute bizarre cinematic drug trip. These two bots are each worthy of their own place in robot history with more honorable mentions to Bob and S.T.A.R. but in the end I think Maximillian with his spinning blades is the more memorable and iconic robot.
  5. Yul Brenner in “Westworld”: A classic.
  6. Robot from “Lost In Space”: There was always something about him that I loved. What boy didn’t want a best friend like that!
  7. The Iron Giant: Vin Diesel’s best role to date!
  8. The Terminator: While the T-1000 may have been cooler in a lot off ways, it was the original Arnold-nator that will always be the classic.
  9. The Cylons: There was a time when I would have said the original series’ centurions but the new BSG is such an awesome show that I gotta go with those fleshjobs now. The new centurions are pretty sweet too.
  10. HAL 9000: I’ve never even actually seen this movie but that glowing red circle and eerily clam voice have so permeated pop culture that he makes it to my list

I’m sure I’ll probably think of a ton more that I’ll wish I’d put on here as soon as I publish this, but those are the ones that first came to my head so that says something about them. Keep in mind these are MY favorite robots. The ones that for whatever reason made an impact on me. Many people may cry “Where’s Johnny 5? Optimus Prime?” Etc., but there are many famous and iconic robots that just don’t hold any personal value to me. I never saw “Short Circuit”. I never watched “Transformers”. Daleks and “Blade Runner” replicants aren’t actually robots. So those are my picks. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Random bonus tidbit:
I always thought “Gort” was cool too but I never actually saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” In fact I think I first became aware of Gort on the cover of a Ringo Starr Album.