Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Behold the Loon

After three and a half years of a look reminiscent of Linda Blair's puke, I've bitten the bullet and gone and got a new do.

Thanks to Delta Dawn.

Comment below and tell Dawn just how freakin' good I look.

It's Good to be the King

Folks in France are complaining that the Wheels of Justice turn faster for the rich and powerful.

No shit.

Why does anyone even argue about this crap? I don't care what country you're in, or how day-glow-happy-perfect people would like to think their justice system is, we all know it works this way. So why is there even a discussion? And why vilify this one guy?

Well, of course I know why. His political opponents are simply trying to make hay. Which is more bullshit because we all know that if they were in his shoes, they'd have dug up that dang scooter just as quick.

Isn't it time the conversation moved away from "Is this really happening? Do people let this happen? Can this really happen here?"

It doesn't, you know, because every other person in power, and people still seeking it, know that they'd probably do it too, and many of them hope to have the chance. Not consciously! No way. They are as altruistic as anyone, and their motivations pure, but somewhere in the back of their minds is this sense of possibility. They think "I just might do it too, if it really came down to it."

You see, the people who could do something about it don't want the actual issue addressed. They just want to remove the asshole who's getting a better deal out of the issue than they are.

Until enough people here in the US, and everywhere else (read: France) start asking the right question and then acting on the answers, it will be the same old bullshit, and we'll all act indignant for a day or so until the new episode of Lost or American Idol comes on.

Then we can't be bothered, you know.

That Simon, he is a card.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

GPoW #4 - Dungeons of Doom

Yes, I have for years been a nut for role-playing games. I've played D&D, Runequest, Traveller, Gamma World, Dragonquest, Top Secret, Spycraft, Call of Cthulhu, and Mage, among others. I've been partial to the pencil/paper gaming I grew up with, but was delighted to start experiencing these wonder worlds on the PC.

These days my poison has been The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Nobody thinks I oughta be playing World of Warcraft. But why? I'm not your online dude. I can't lose that much of my life. And I play games to get away from all the assholes in real life. I don't want to pay a subscriber fee when I play games sporadically, sometimes going months without playing, then going crazy for a week or two. I played Ultima Online for awhile, but I didn't like the way a few dipstick vultures kept trying to lure me out of town to kick my ass and take my meager money. Star Wars Galaxies just didn't work out well. I'm just not that guy.

Anyway, enough of that digression.

I've played most of them, though not all. Yet there's one I keep going back to, time and time again.

Before Oblivion or Morrowind, before Neverwinter Nights or Baldur's Gate, before Ultima, before King's Quest, before Below the Root...

There was Rogue!

Forget graphics. An orgy of ASCII madness. It was the impossible dungeon, designed to kill you before you could ever reach the 26th level and escape again. Completely random, a new experience every time. Despite the typewriter generated look, it was more realistic in a way, because everything was a mystery every time through. Every colored potion was something different each time, every scroll, every wand. You couldn't replay it already knowing the way and the means, because it was fresh.

Let's see the guys at Bethesda do that with the next Elder Scrolls.

Yeah, it's clunky, and you can't put six hours together on it, but in a way it's the most raw, classic D&D like game of them all. Every moment lived on the knife edge of death, and every game ended with your name on a tombstone.

So, what's your gaming GPow?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

GPoW#3 - Son, Won't You Sing Me a Melody

Throughout my preteens one of my favorite activities was pretending to be a rock star. At the time I was a KISS fanatic. Until my mama finally bought me that cheapo electric guitar I was dying for, I used tennis rackets. I had a pull cart for my golf clubs that, when unfolded, left the handle looking conspicuously (to this pre-teen) like a microphone.

When mom was out for an evening, I would rope in my younger brother, and we would set up stage in the living room with our rackets and my makeshift microphone. Mom's stereo wasn't the greatest, but it was plenty loud for us. I put on KISS Alive! or Alive II! and we would bring down the house.

Of course, there was one problem. I had to lip sync. Now maybe that really was a good thing, but I sort of wanted to be the one wailing away.

Getting older I put away such play-acting because, well, girls. You just can't take the chance at getting caught playing about like that by the girl you're hoping to make out with later that night, right? You'd be a deader fer sure.

Fortunately, someone was looking out for me. Somebody said "There has got to be a way to let adults make arses out of themselves and still not lose the respect of their love interests or peers.

Enter Karaoke

You know, the Japanese are a strange bunch to us occidentals. They eat weird and play weird, but now and then they come up with some of the best inventions ever thought of by any person ever anywhere. Forex: Godzilla, Ninjas, and Square Watermelons.

If you thought I was going to say Anime, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh, deduct 10 points and sit in the sin bin. Anime is crap... well, Sailor Jupiter is pretty hot, but other than that...

So after being formally introduced to Karaoke back, oh, ten years ago, we've become semi-fanatics. I have a library of around 1200 songs, and of course our own machine to play them on. They're actually quite inexpensive these days, unless you're really going for sound quality. And why would you? With a voice like most of us have, what good is HiFi, right?

Still, we have gathered a pretty eclectic collection. I even have an Opera set with arias for guys and gals. No kidding. Real orchestra from Eastern Europe. You have to use the libretto, though. Tragic, but we manage.

So, when we karaoke together one of these days, what songs will you hear me sing? I'll throw out five, just to give you a chuckle:

1- Pink Floyd - Time
2- Deep Purple - Space Truckin' (no, really)
3- Billy Joel - Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
4- Van Morrison - Moondance
5- Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Oh, and if you do talk me into trotting out the opera one, I'll sing Nessun Dorma for you, though not nearly so well!

Your turn.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pull the Stopper

How many screenwriters have the opportunity I have waiting for me?

Very few, I'll tell you that. 99% of wannabe screenwriters have to anonymously run the gauntlet of readers and endure coverage often written by other wannabe screenwriters before the real agent or producer ever sees the cover of their script.

I don't have to do that. I have one shot at an agent. No readers, no coverage. And he's not a fringe dude. He's sold scripts that have been directed by Ron Howard and Robert Redford. If I could list 20 movies he's handled the script for, you probably would have seen 18 of them.

Sure, he's not my agent yet. But he's related to my boss, and as I've mentioned once before here, he's confirmed that I get a free read. If it's good, it gets sold. If it sucks, I might be done.

Yet my script, wallowing on my desk in need of a serious rewrite, has hardly been touched in over two months.

What's my freakin' problem?

Fear, of course. Not really fear of the first. I'm a reasonably successful guy already, so I expect to do fairly well in life one way or another.

It's fear of the second. Fear that a guy who is known all around Hollywoodland as a dude who knows what the hell he's talking about is going to say, "Dude, you suck."

If he said, "Close, but no cigar here. Send me your next one though," I would be ecstatic. Anything better than that goes without saying.

"You suck."

I love to write. I don't think I'm the worst at stringing words together, but having flaked on my buddy Zen, I still don't know.

If this guy tells me I suck, well, then maybe I suck.

Truth be told, I wouldn't stop writing, and I have enough confidence to believe that I won't get that particular response.

So what to do? Well, my motto for years has been "Life is an adventure. Live it or die."

For the last couple of months, every time the thought came to me to get to work on my rewrite, I would throw in a disc and start playing Oblivion or Fable or somesuch.

So I bought a box today. I think it's just big enough for all my games and their little manuals. They're going in the box. And I'm not allowed to take them out of the box until I've sent my screenplay off to the agent. Wanting to play one of them is my cue to hammer on my screenplay. My new goal is to send it off by February 28th.

I hope I can go that long without my games!

There's only one way to find out. Life's an adventure. Live it or die.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Now I Know My ABC's...

A- Available or single? No.

B- Best Friend? Wife.

C- Cake or Pie? Pie, Olallieberry or Pumpkin

D- Drink of Choice? Coke Zero

E- Essential Item? Crackberry

F- Favorite Color? Green

G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears

H- Hometown? sentimental: Fallon, Nevada; de facto: San Jose, California

I- Indulgence? Televised Sports, PC Role-playing Games, & Cheez-Its

J- January or February? January

K- Kids and names? Three kids. None of your beeswax.

L- Life is incomplete without? My wife

M- Marriage Date? June 18, 1988.

N- Number of Siblings? Four, one brother, two half-brothers.

O- Oranges or apples? Oranges, hands down.

P- Phobias/Fears? Heights

Q- Favorite Quote? "God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

R- Reason to Smile? Hugs from the kids.

S- Season? SPRINGGGGG!!!!!!

T- Tag three people! Anyone not tagged by all the others who went before me.

U- Unknown Fact About Me? When you see me singing in the car, I'm singing over karaoke background tracks, not along with someone else.

V- Vegetable you hate? Tomato (technically a fruit, right?) And Paula? You're a heathen. Asparagus, inDEED!

W- Worst habit? Profanity

X- X-Rays you’ve had? Teeth, Ribs, Back, Lungs.

Y- Your favorite food? Tri-tip

Z- Zodiac? Gemini

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

GPoW #2 - Be My Idol

For me, TV is for sports. AFL, EPL, NFL, even MLB and NHL, that's what TV was made for. I take pride that network programming is meaningless to me. For the most part there isn't a television program that will take me out of my routine of whatever other meaningful/less activities I like to indulge in.

Unless it's American Idol.

All my pride, all my standards, all my aversion to network/reality TV... gone.

Now I'm a singer. I'm classically trained. I've performed in a lot of venues and I know how it feels to hang yourself out there. I've also learned to understand my limitations. I know when I'm good, and I know when I'm suckin' wind.

I am a sucker for every aspect of the show. The good, humble singers who are better than they realize get me excited about what I'll get to hear later in the season. The people who humbly try their best and just don't have it and are happy to have tried make me a fan. The people who have their hopes up, yet don't have the goods, who break down, make me feel a little sad for them. The delusional, those who suck eggs all over and think they're the next Mariah Carey/Seal/Josh Groban/Whatever, and are combative and incredulous when the judges dump them like yesterday's potato salad, well, that's what the first few weeks are all about.

I love the drama. I like to see how these people respond to the increasing pressure over the season. I like to see how people rise up and perform like champs, and I like to see how they lose their way and try to be something they're not, just when everything seemed to be going right.

I love my Idol, and don't you ever, ever take it away...

Your turn - comment below!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jack Be Nimble

It's Link to Jack Day.


How the hell should I know?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ain't Got Time for That

I don't have time for dawggies or dumb****s (insert your favorite four-letter-word.) Oh, yes, I took a little time and banged heads, because I'm incorrigible in a conflict, whether I'm right (as I was this time) or not (see: Paula, Gekko, etc.) But it is waaaaay too easy to spend 145 minutes chasing down comments by ambisexual hypocrites who lack self-awareness and common sense. After about 45 minutes of that nonsense on a couple occasions, I realized that:

1.) You're not going to get through to some idiots who can rationalize their way around any nonsense they wish to believe.

2.) I'm not getting any younger.

3.) I'm the only sumbitch without some sort of regular feature on their blog. So here it is:

GPoW (pronounced Guh-Pow!) Looney's Guilty Pleasure of the Week!

Thank you, thank you.

Here's how it works. I post one guilty pleasure I indulge in regularly. It will be family friendly, so no deep-dark secrets about the skimpy dress and stockings... errr, damn...

Anyway, you are then required to 1.) Comment on my GPoW, and 2.) Admit one of your own, related or not, in said comment. Violators will be forced to wear Wilford Brimley's old truss for one week.

So, without further ado, here is GPoW #1

Terry Brooks

And by Terry Brooks, I mean primarily his Shannara series of books.

An amusing note: I was at a reading/signing he gave in Capitola a few years back where he clarified something I didn't know needed clarifying, the pronounciation of "Shannara." I and my fantasy reading friends of my youth had always pronounced it how I think it looks, Shan-NA-ra. He started right off saying SHAN-na-ra. I had to resist the temptation to correct him. He then followed up by saying he believes that, as an author, he serves the reader, and that once he's done writing, the book belongs to the readers, and if they pronounce it wrong, then wrong is right.

Anyway, Brooks is often looked down upon as a bit of a hack, and not without reason. His first book, The Sword of Shannara, is not just derivative of the Lord of the Rings. It has many outright parallels that speak to the undue influence he let the Trilogy have on his writing. To his credit, the sequels have absolutely no resemblence to anything Tolkien beyond the obvious elf/dwarf/man thing and other fantasy tropes.

The man also can't come up with a character name to save his life. I don't know what it is, but everytime he introduces a new character, the name sounds like it was drawn at random from a bag of Scrabble tiles. He has had characters named after a golf standard (Par), a stadium in New Jersey (Shea), a science fiction writer (Brin) and an alcohol recovery organization (Allanon.)

He's often too wordy and repeats descriptions unnecessarily throughout his stories. His characters are black and white. If they're good, they're very good. And if they struggle, they don't struggle for long, and they eventually do right, because that's the only reasonable path.

His system of magic is loose at best, with explanations that wouldn't endure even a little bit of probing. The geography of the Four Lands is worse than improbable. It borders on nonsensical.

So with all that, why would I ever read him? I have no idea. All I know is that I find it easy to slip into one of his books now and then, especially when I've finished a demanding read and need some dessert, so to speak. I find that sometimes I want to read about characters whose hearts are too good to end up doing bad. I like a good, familiar land to journey in, even if the mountains, lakes, trees, and rivers are all in the wrong place. I find I don't care if the magic really works, as long as he says it works.

For some reason there's that little sense of enchantment that he injects so well, despite his other shortcomings, that makes me want to see what's around the next bend. He is no James Joyce, or J.R.R. Tolkien, or George Martin, but he is my Guilty Pleasure of the Week.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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