What’s new?

20 09 2011

Well, sadly the angst of my life has dwindled away into a nagging discomfort that small amounts of Vodka can easily dispatch.  Unfortunately for you, dear reader, because this blog was my outlet for railing against all the injustice I experienced.  Not to say that my life is injustice free, I’ve just channeled my energy into writing in other forms.  Which is a brilliant segue (If I do say so myself) to share with you my latest venture–  Another BLOG!

Now, I know what you’re saying:  “Hey, these pants really DO make my butt look big.”  and then “Hey! Why in the world would you start another blog if you don’t even write in this one?”

Well to that I say: “Astute observation… and why don’t you shut up?!”

This new venue is a fresh start and a place where I can primarily focus on the craft of screenwriting and the entertainment industry as it interests me.  Project Hellbeast will still live on as a repository for all things mutant related and a great place to learn about why are men violent or why I cannot be a Dinka.

I may still post here from time to time and as always, my contemporary and supposed co-poster Professor Emeritus could always participate, but I hear he has a new buisness venture that involves loud machines which is keeping him pretty busy.

Well, I must close now.  Good luck to you and I hope to see you over at the new blog.

Oh yeah,  I didn’t even say what it is.  Silly mutant creator…

Here it is.

Scenes Real and Imagined


Understanding Your Wife: an owner’s manual for Husbands. Chapter 7

14 12 2009

In the previous chapter we discussed the common things your wife may say to you and what those things actually mean. You are probably astute enough already to know that sub context and cultural anthropology play large roles in gaining a baseline understanding for who this unique creature known as your wife is. Standard models suggest that 10 % of communication is expressed verbally and 89.9% is non-verbal (0.1% being expressed with either clicks, snorts, or other noisy bodily functions.) But what we are learning about wives is that they express themselves 50% verbally (this does not include yelling) and 139% nonverbally, with an additional 2% for the aforementioned noisy bodily functions.

This chapter we will be exploring this 139% nonverbal signs your wife gives you on a daily basis. Reading and understanding these signs is crucial to nurturing positive reactions from her (as well as when to avoid her altogether.) The chapter will be broken up into two sections: facial nonverbal and body nonverbal.

The Face

The human face, or ugly factory as it is colloquially known, is the primary means with which we identify each other. With over twenty major muscle groups in the face, one might expect to be able to do crazy things with it like crush soda cans, fold paper into swans or pit one side of the face against the other in an epic battle.  Your wife’s face, for all it’s complexity is know for just two major facial expressions.

1. The frown- this is the common facial expression of your wife. Whether she is happy,  sad, frustrated, tired, or pensive, the frown is an all purpose expression.

2.  The…  um.  I’m not quite sure what this one is called.  It’s very elusive.

The Body

Your wife’s body… is great. Ahahaha! But seriously,  Most of the valuable nonverbal information you can gather from your wife will be present in her posture or gestures. Paying close attention to them will help you decipher what it is that she is angry at you for.  Don’t think she’s angry at you for something?  Oh you poor sap.  Let’s take a look at the common stances and positions you may see on your wife.

1. The “Where were you?” — In this pose, your wife will be standing straight with her arms crossed in front of her chest. This can be accompanied by a tapping foot.  This pose is sometimes followed up by the “Do you know what time it is?”.

2. The “Were you out drinking?” This is a backward leaning stance with a hand waving in front of her face as if she’s trying to fan away the booze stench that’s emanating from your body.  If you’re wife is dainty or from the upper crust she may pinch her nose instead.

3. The “This isn’t working out” —  Notice the hand thrown up in the air, the exasperated sighs, the divorce paperwork.  This gesture is usually punctuated with her walking away to pack an overnight bag and the“I’ll be staying at my mothers” pose.

Well there you have it–the most common nonverbal communication you will receive from your wife.  Please note that if the behavior you witness differs from the items on this list, your wife may be sick and you should probably bring her in immediately to your local woman’s clinic or veterinarian. In the next chapter we will examine the many moods a wife may have and what you can do to avoid them.

Top Podcasts Recommendations

21 10 2008

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently.  Approximately seven and a half hours of content every day to be exact.  Theres a few that I really enjoy and being that I am such a generous guy, I will give you my top picks for podcasts. They are available on Itunes.

1. Out of the Past, Investigating Film Noir. A great podcast series that is chock full of information about film noir.  Each episode they dissect a particular movie and discuss it’s particular merits as it pertains to the genre. Great stuff, especially if you are a writer or are interested in movies in general.

2. 12 Byzantine Rulers. A great historical series about the Byzantine Empire and it’s 12 most influential rulers. Very well done.  And you thought our political process was messed up. You should check out the Byzantines.

3. SModcast. Kevin Smith (of Clerks fame) and Scott Mosier deliver this hilarious and very ‘adult content’ podcast.  Kevin is just funny to listen to but also has some profound insight on some everyday things.  You can’t help but smile when you listen to it.

4. Psudeopod. Weekly horror podcast.   Great horror stories and a well produced series.  Especially good this time of year.

5. The Moth. True stories from real people.  This has great anecdotes from people in front of an audience.  My favorite was the Elderly Debutante Hypochondriac.   Now you have to listen just to find out what I’m talking about.

6. Creative Screenwriters Magazine podcast. Jeff Goldsmith interviews the writers of current movies.  It is insightful and inspiring. Especially for budding screenwriters, but interesting enough for anyone who cares about how the story of a movie is put together.

7.  The Ricky Gervais Show. I’m not sure if it is on currently but on it’s first run it was absolutely hilarious.  You almost feel bad for poor Karl Pilkington, but not really.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you at the moment.  I’m considering doing my own podcast. But then again, who would want to listen to me yammer on for 30 minutes?

Hellbeast at the Movies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

17 10 2008

Hi everyone,

Like many people out there on the interweb,  I am a person with a blog and an opinion– Which automatically qualifies me to be a movie critic.   Now I’ve had more training beyond that but let’s not get into professional pedigrees.  Speaking of pedigrees, here is movie franchise that has been beloved by many people for many years.  A brilliant creation borrowed from cassic serial adventures by a certain bespectacled man who seems to have caught lightning in a bottle when he created this beloved cornerstone of American cinema. Of course I’m talking about Indiana Jones.   Here is my review of the latest installment of the saga.



As is the case with the other movies in this franchise, the film starts off with the old style paramount logo of the mountain, which then turns into another, but in this case– the mountain is a mole hill… well a gopher hill anyway.  Sadly, this is a fitting metaphor for this entire film.   It is an undersized adventure with more style than substance.  While there are grand set pieces, (Indy silhouetted by a mushroom cloud is an amazing image) they seem pointless and unmotivated.  Whereas in previous movies, Indy travels the globe to unravel a great mystery,  in this film he goes to two locations in South America, neither of which are particularly interesting. He doesn’t have to work particularly hard to get the legendary crystal skull, and ends up keeping it for most of the movie.  Where is the peril in that? It was over-reliant on CGI. (C’mon, who hasn’t seen a character eaten by CGI ants before?).   None of the villain’s were properly developed.  The dialog was stilted.  And pretending to replace Indiana with a kid named Mutt?  Don’t even think about that! Finally, the religious themes of the previous movies that worked so well for the series as a whole were totally absent.  Indiana Jones is inherently about the conflict between science and religion.  When you have Indy (the scientist) going after space aliens (science), where is the conflict in that?  The faith element is gone.  With Indy having no where to develop as a character and nothing to believe in,  I was left with nothing to believe in with this movie.

All in all the script felt like it was concieved by kids playing in their back yard.  On the bonus features of the disc,  Steven Speilberg shares his reluctance to do this project and it is abundantly clear to me why.  This story needed more development work an probably the involvement of the original screenwriter for Raiders, Lawrence Kasdan.

I realize I am being really hard on this film and that it does have a lot of merits,  but I hold it up to such a high standard because I know of what it is capable of.  It is like the straight A student getting a “C”.  ‘C’ might be average, but to me that is unacceptable.

Uke Coolness

18 06 2008

I play the ukulele… but not this well.



12 06 2008

When you look at the people who change the way we do, look at, or thing about something, they seem to have one thing in common– they have a way of looking at whatever they are doing in a new way.  They throw away the conventions of what is and start fresh.  They build a process of innovation that removes as much of the assumptions that we would normally bring to a task because ‘that’s the way it has always been done.’  It’s bold, daring and yields some tremendous results.  Certainly we wouldn’t have some of the amazing technology we have today if we didn’t have those innovators breaking new ground for us.

Why not innovate?

If creating new ways of approaching problems can result in beautiful, efficient, or clever solutions, why doesn’t everybody do it?  We should all be capable of looking at a particular object, situation, or procedure and see a way to make it better.  Especially if it is a something that we come into contact with on a regular basis.  That’s the whole principle behind managers coming out of their offices and asking their workers what they would improve. Who knows better than those actually doing the job?

But innovation means change.  Change our processes, change our products, change our lives.  Humans like order. They tend to get comfortable with the way things are. They know what to expect.  It also makes our brains lazy. We don’t have to think about what we are doing because it is an automatic process.  But a lazy brain is a less productive brain and the people who spend years working in the same job, doing the same thing are often very uncreative in dealing with new problems and situations.

Another reason why we don’t change things is because there is risk in change. We’ve been taught that failure is bad.  You lose, you get an ‘F’, you get rejected– that’s a bad thing.  I reject that notion.  Not learning from failure, now that is a bad thing.   And with innovation, there will be failure.  How many ideas won’t work?  The psychic damage of failure can sometimes be insurmountable.  The true innovators are the ones who can push past all that failure and get to that idea that works.  No one remembers the other guy who  gave up trying to invent  the telephone, they remember Alexander Graham Bell.

Well I’ve resolved myself to be an innovator.  Find solutions.  Create beauty.  Learn from failure.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

Hard knock life.

2 06 2008

There’s a reason why there are so many people who dream of going out to Hollywood and becoming a big shot in the movie business.  The rewards are huge.  Some people want the fame that goes with being an A-list actor.  Some desire the respect of being a great director.  Some want the power that comes with being a major producer.  Others still dream of the sheer creative force and world-forming god-like ability of a writer.  All of them are paid what seems like exorbitant amounts of money to do one simple thing– entertain.  What better feeling than having someone look at your work and say “wow, that moved me.” Not too many other professions can say that.

The down side to being in the entertainment business is that it is difficult.   It is TOUGH.  The very act of creation means breaking off a piece of who you are and putting it out there for the world to see, and think about, and judge. And when that piece of you is rejected– it is painful.  That criticism of your work is a criticism of you.  You are bad. You are not good enough.  YOU NEED A REWRITE.  That is sometimes too painful to bear.

Beyond that, when you take that purified piece of yourself and then other people want to come along and change it. They want to mutate that piece with something of themselves– to taint it– to RUIN it possibly. You mix it up with the pieces of other people and suddenly that that piece of you doesn’t belong to you anymore. The pieces all come together and form something new.  Perhaps something beautiful.  Maybe it’s a train wreck.  But it still carries a  part of you and it is out there for the world to see.  Some people can’t allow their pure vision get mutated into a beast.  They would rather it die that escape their control.

Beyond that there is so many obstacles to achieving that great reward. So many things that stand in the way between you and that golden prize.  You may be talented, but don’t have the right opportunity.  Or you get your opportunity but you have personality conflicts.  Or sometimes there are factors beyond your control that change your destiny.  There are a million things that want to knock you off the path.

And not everyone who stays on the path makes it to the top level.  It is rare to reach the big rewards. Many people end up on some obscure middle level.  They languish, they settle or they quit. Their work gets taken away or buried.   So many movies are still just scripts sitting on some studio’s shelves.  So much film is sitting in a can, never to be seen by the public.  So much money is spent on projects that go nowhere.

But sometimes the conditions are perfect. Sometimes you get that movie made.  Sometime that movie you made is good.  People go see it and they like it.  And to hear praise for your work is like the sounds of angels singing.  Forget the money, fame, and power.   To have someone out there be profoundly affected by a part of you is like nothing else.

And that is where the real reward lies. That makes this crazy, difficult,  hard knock life all worth while.