Alexander Film Works

Archive for the ‘beginnings’ Category

Year’s End…

In beginnings, Just Because..., no excuses, screenplays, Think About It, writing on December 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

How’s the saying go? “I was crazy once…”
2014 was not the “ideal” year for me in many senses of the word. I got hit with unforeseen circumstances up the wazoo, had some bad times, had some good times, and tried to get my felgercarb together.
Not that it worked
Dealing with insurance companies, alphabet-soup Federal agencies, collection agencies “cleverly” disguised as mortgage companies, the university I graduated from sending me letters asking for money, the high school I graduated from forty years ago sending me letters asking for money, seemingly endless streams of “junk mail” coming my way asking for money, and the things I really need – like inspiration, discipline, motivation, and the gumption to stick to a project until it’s done – in perilously short supply.
All this, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t be back until March, and Agent Carter won’t be here for another couple of weeks…
How is one to survive these holday times?
I don’t drink, and haven’t for a bit over thirty years… I gave up smoking a few years ago… I don’t cheat on my wife… I have an astounding number of food allergies, and can’t eat wheat, rice, barley, buckwheat, rye, hops, and many other things. Yes, this means no beer… the last one I had, a “non-alcohol” beer, had me being taken to the emergency room with severe anaphylactic shock; my throat swelled shut.
I want pizza. I want Chinese food, Mexican food, Thai food.
You always want most what you can’t have.
So, when you think about it, is it any wonder I’m conflicted? I want what I can’t have, and can’t seem to do what I want to do.
When I figure this out, I’ll let you know what’s going on with me… until then, I’m just trying to get by.
By the way, I’ve been in a short screenplay contest… It appears I won’t make it through the elimination rounds, but I’ll let you read the five-page screenplays I had to write in 48 hours for the first two rounds.


Sometime again!

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2014: The Month With Two Faces…

In activity, beginnings, Just Because... on January 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

In the days of the Roman Republic, the first month of the year was January, named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, war and peace, gates, doorways, transitions, birth, and trade. He was depicted with two faces, one looking to the future, and the other simultaneously to the past.
What does this have to do with the turning of the year? Romans named the first month of the year in honor of this god, because of the beginnings, transitions, endings, et cetera, which occurred in this month. And this seems a good enough place to start this month and this year.
Year two thousand fourteen of the Common Era (so used by those who eschew AD (“Anno Domini”, or “In the Year of Our Lord”) and BC (“Before Christ”) dating) has been, in its first twenty-three days, an interesting year… the consciousness of the Vatican has been moving into the twentieth century from its previous stronghold in the fourteenth; in the estimation of many whose opinions I respect, the Republican Party in the United States continues to shoot itself in the foot – repeatedly; observations of the Canadian Parliament, posted by more people whose opinions I respect, don’t seem to be faring much better; it seems to me that all those in power have cried “Havoc!” and let slip the squirrels of war. [Squirrels are rats with better P.R. people.]
In my estimation, no one is likely to escape this year unscathed and unscarred… least of all we, the people.
Is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing? Is this a thing at all?
My best answer is this:
I got nothing.

Endings, Beginnings, & All Points In Between…

In beginnings, film, Film and Related, writing on December 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I resist writing about the ever-increasing maw of consumerism that now has coopted Thanksgiving, and threatens Halloween next, in the mad dash for Christmas profits.
That’s something I see no need to add an opinion to.
Instead, something a bit more personal…
The middle of the month of December, from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (all you Catholics, or recovering Catholics like me, know that’s the 8th of December) until the Solstice (usually the 21st), has never been a time of resounding joy for me… at least, since the year 1963.
Fifty years ago.
On the 13th, I was living with my grandmere and Uncle George, and Grandmere laid down for a nap before tea. In the early afternoon Uncle George sent me in to ask her if she wanted a cuppa… I found that she had passed on in her sleep.
Not exactly a pleasant memory for a boy three days shy of his seventh birthday…
The succeeding days, including my birthday, went by in a hazy blur, and I was brought to the funeral home to see her lying in repose. (She was not an official of any kind, other than being in the Altar Society at our parish, so she did not “lie in state”.) Her casket was driven to our parish church, a short distance, and she was brought in for the funeral Mass. (If I remember right, since this was pre-Vatican II, it was a Latin High Funeral Mass.) At the conclusion, her casket was taken out to the hearse, and I was brought to the cemetery along with the other mourners, to see the graveside service. (They still did those at that time.)
The sixteenth, of course, is the day of which I speak somewhat fondly, the anniversary of my arrival. 9:07 AM, Central Standard Time (10:07 Eastern Standard Time), in Chicago, Illinois. The hospital is no longer in existence, and I am given to understand the location is now part of the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, on the South Side. (Chicagoans know that particular locations in the city are Capitalized that way; Old Town, the Near North Side, et cetera.)
Within fifteen days from my birth my grandmere, of whom I spoke earlier, had taken the bus to Chicago and brought me back home to Detroit. (I was baptized at our parish church on the 31st of December.)
Three days after my birthday, the 19th, is the birthday of My Beautiful Wife Megan’s baby brother, Bobby. Bobby was the last of six children my mother-in-law had borne, and was therefore that much more precious to them all.
My wife’s family had a tradition… there was a gentleman in the American Legion who played Santa Claus for a few special people, and he showed up at my in-laws’s house for several years. This time, on Christmas Eve, when he showed up, he said he had a special present for my wife, who was then almost eleven years old. He handed her Bobby, bundled up like a doll. Well, she took that to heart, and was going to bed him down in the doll crib in her room (which he fit quite well); when her mother came in, she didn’t want to give him up, saying “Santa gave him to me! He’s mine!” {Or words to that effect.}
Needless to say, there was a special closeness between the two dating from that very day… and when Bobby was killed in an auto accident in 1977, there was a great deal of shock and trauma.
My being born nine days before Christmas (and Bobby being born six days before) had an influence on how we viewed the holidays; forming my perceptions more deeply was the fact that my Uncle George worked for the Post Office as a clerk, which meant from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, the P.O.D. (remember, until 1971, it was a part of the Department of the Interior) would have mandatory overtime… I still have an award Uncle George received for working twelve hours, coming home, getting an hour or two sleep, and going back in to work another twelve hour shift during the season. For six weeks or so, I barely saw him at all. There was no real time to be festive, to decorate everything, to be filled with the “holiday spirit”. Before Grandmere died, we had an early artificial tree; it had the aluminum tinsel branches on twisted wire, inserted into a wooden dowel for a trunk. After Grandmere died, that tradition pretty well faded out, too. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were at about two o’clock in the afternoon, so Uncle George could watch football befoe getting some sleep before his midnight tour.
I don’t have a lot of festive memories of the month of December; any traditions Megan and I have are agreed-upon between us, and have been honored more in the breach than the observance this year… It’s not been a great time.
Still and all, we have each other (for whatever that’s worth), we have our two cats, Gabrielle and Babe, and we have a small cadre of friends.
Sometimes I hope it’s enough…

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