Alexander Film Works

Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

This Has Not Been A Test…

In blogging, Just Because..., no excuses, writing on June 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm

I should be writing more.

This is something I do not dispute.

Now there’s an incentive for me to write more… The Clarion Writers Workshop, which moved from Michigan State University in East Lansing to the University of California San Diego within the past few years, is holding their sixth Clarion Write-a-Thon.  They explain it using the walkathon model as an example; the more steps toward a goal that the writer gets, the higher total of pledges the writer piles up to go to charity.

My Beautiful Wife, who holds a much higher opinion of my writing talent than I do, has convinced me to sign up to participate in this endeavor; I have set myself a goal of 75 script pages completed by the end of the period – 22 June to 1 August.

For your part, I ask that you go to the site, Clarion Write-a-Thon, and pledge something to my account.  If you pledge fifty cents a page, and I complete all 75 pages I have undertaken to do, you would be donating $37.50 to charity.

Not an exorbitant amount, right?

You are free to pledge any amount you wish, and there are a choice of 69 authors (so far), including myself, who have signed up.  If you don’t want to pledge for me, then maybe there’s another you do want to pledge to.

Hey, I’m easy.

Just do this, okay?  Thanks.

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Je me souviens…

In blogging, It Bugs Me, Just Because... on December 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

It means, in case you’re interested, “I remember”…

The 13th of December was the 51st anniversary of the death of my grandmere.  She passed in her sleep, and I was the one who found her.  It was three days before my seventh birthday.

The 9th of December was my late mother-in-law’s 92nd birthday.  Since my wife and I married, just over 31 years ago, her mother had designated me her “bonus boy” – the child who was hers, but she didn’t give birth to.

Can’t argue with that.

The 19th of December was my wife’s baby brother’s birthday.  He would have been 54.  (He was killed before he was 17 in a particularly senseless auto accident.)

It’s been 40 years this year since I graduated high school in Baltimore.  This year, the fiftieth graduating class made it through.  An achievement to remember…

Memories, bitter, sweet, and bittersweet, all mixed together…

Something.  I don’t really have the words for it… yet.

Times That Bind…

In blogging, no excuses, screenplays, writing on December 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Here it is, early in the month of December, and I haven’t written a post since August.
I could dither about, offer lame-sounding excuses, and try to place blame other than where it belongs… squarely with me.
I have not posted. I have not seriously thought about posting. I have been moving from my ancestral domicile to our new (to us) home, and I was entered into a screenwriting contest where I get a genre, location, and object to use, and have 48 hours to produce 5 pages of script. The first two rounds are judged, scored, and the top 5 scores from each group of writers advances to the next round. After that, the top 5 from Round Three groups advance to the finals in Round Four.
Today, the third, is when the scores from Round One come out… and they probably won’t appear for two more hours, Eastern Standard Time.
Oh, my.

I Got Friends With Low Faces…

In blogging, fault, Just Because..., no excuses, Think About It on August 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Recently, while I’ve been trying to keep at least one eye on social media, I notice that many of my friends (of the “in-person acquaintances” kind, not just on Facebook or Twitter) have been having days – or weeks – that most people would consider horribly bad.

Relatives dying.  Bouts of major depression.  Treasured pets dying, or having to be euthanized.  Crippling, disfiguring, or wasting type diseases.  Feelings that creativity has deserted them, perhaps forever.  Even these friends themselves dying suddenly.

To quote Queen Victoria, “We are not amused.”  (At least, I think it was Queen Victoria… Have to research that further.)

And I and mine are not immune… My Beautiful Wife Megan spent several hours in an emergency room early last Sunday morning, with a gushing, non-stop nosebleed.  With no medical intervention, it stopped, and when she was discharged, and stood to get into the wheelchair to leave, it started again… and the staff did nothing, since she’d been discharged.

How’s that again?

I do not think that the way things are, and have been for a while, are the “best of all possible worlds”, as the saying goes.  It never was, and probably never will be.  But as for a solution?  I got nothing.

I merely try to live as perfectly as possible in an imperfect world… and fall short in most instances.  Such is the way of things.

I can’t really offer any solace or constructive advice to anyone, since any I might have hasn’t seemed to work that well for me.  The only thing I can think of doing is pressing on, regardless… “Forward momentum”, as Lois McMaster Bujold advocated in many of her Miles Vorkosigan stories.  Well, that and “newt nuggets”… (You might not want to know…)

“Endeavor to persevere”… as the “civilized tribes” were told (in “The Outlaw Josey Wales”)…

Screw it.  I’m getting more dessert right now.

The Seventh Month…

In blogging, It Bugs Me, Just Because... on July 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Many people have a “least favorite month”. I can’t say I do, but the month of July is not my most favorite one.

July starts out with promise… the 4th of July is a glorious celebration of the birthday of our country – which we would much more happily celebrate if the temperature and heat index would be out of the triple digits.

The 14th of July, in addition to being Bastille Day, is the anniversary of the death of my namesake uncle in the Korean War. (This year marked the 60th anniversary of his death.) And Kim Jong Un, the “supreme leader” of North Korea, has allowed a few Western journalists in to witness North Korea’s celebration of what they call “Victory Day”, the 27th of July. (This also is the 60th anniversary of that day, the enactment of the Treaty of Panmunjom.)
My mother-in-law, who was more of a mother to me than my own mother, died in July three years ago. My Uncle George, who raised me, died in July back in 2001. (At least he didn’t live to see the World Trade Center towers fall, the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and the assaults on our civil liberties and civil rights by the government.)
And, to top it off, the 28th of July this year is the 25th anniversary of the injury that changed my life, and, by extension, the lives of everyone I love, when I was working for the Post Awful.
I have lived with pain every day since then, from the nerve damage in my knee, from my back, from my neck, and from the other injuries I’ve sustained because my knee wouldn’t hold up the way I needed it to.
And yet, despite it all, I continue to continue… as was said in The Outlaw Josey Wales, I “endeavored to persevere”.
Such are the ways of things.

Diversions, Distractions, and Detours… Oh, My!

In blogging, film, Film and Related, Just Because... on June 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

It’s a bit of an understatement to say I’m not exactly timely with this post… especially since my last one was twenty-three days ago.
I could explain myself… but that may be as confusing as the actual events I’d be attempting to describe. So, then, let me say merely that I have had, over that twenty-three day span, more things to do than time to do them in.
Some short (and hopefully pithy) takes on various events…
With the amount of rain we’ve had here in the Detroit metropolitan area of late, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see Noah floating down my street with his ark.
Bill Cosby was more right than he knew in his old "Noah" routine… it wouldn’t take but forty days for the sewers to back up in Detroit.
Humidity and polyurethane adhesive for tub surrounds are not a good mix; when you can’t open windows because of air conditioning, the fumes make it hard to breathe.
Computers can be exceedingly subtle in how they screw with your data. And your programs. And your messages. And your lives.
Why is it that so-called "smartphones" make you feel less and less smart the newer they get?
And why does the Internet, in all its "glory", begin to look like a ragtag collection of one-sided political screeds, moronic human tricks, and cute cat videos? No intelligent discussion without the hate-slinging, no dispassionate analysis of current trends, no proposals for solving what problems can be solved without rancor, bitterness, or calumny…
If I didn’t have too much to do, still and always, I would probably be sinking into the gloomy muck of despair. As it is, my digestion (which is being helped by my almost-food-free diet – see that post for a bit more explanation) is sending signals of dislike, distrust, and "stay close to a bathroom" almost every day.
This much, at least, I can deal with.

Getting Gas Gives Me Gas…

In blogging, fault, It Bugs Me, Just Because... on June 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Driving home from a shopping trip earlier today, it made me wonder what the gods (and the oil companies) have against Detroit. Just since the beginning of May, gas prices have gone up nearly fifty cents, and we’re well above what they tell us the "national average" is.

These are a sampling of prices taken in a seven-mile stretch of Dequindre Road, from 16 Mile Road to 9 Mile Road. Stand agog, as we did…

13dq

Thirteen Mile and Dequindre.

9dq

Nine Mile and Dequindre.

12dq

Twelve Mile and Dequindre.

11dq

Eleven Mile and Dequindre.

s11dq

South of Eleven Mile on Dequindre.

Care & Cleaning of Equipment Day…

In activity, blogging, It Bugs Me on May 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

My Uncle George, who raised me, referred to days when the weather was miserable and/or the body was unwilling to comply with any requests from the brain as “care and cleaning of equipment days”. This was a holdover from his days in the Army in the Second World War.
Those types of days were (and still are) low energy, high pain index, and zero visibility brain fog days… much like today.
I woke up around 0830 with pain in all my “bad” joints, the beginnings of a cluster headache, and about as much energy as a twenty-year-old car battery. I took care of the immediate necessaries, and, with the advice and consent of My Beautiful Wife, I went back to bed.
I finally got up and moving about 1330 hours. I hadn’t had anything to eat until just now, when I had something light. (My stomach wouldn’t hear of anything else.)
This is becoming a balancing act between forcing myself to stay out of bed (and nursing the aches, pains, and popping/snapping/grinding noises that come from moving around slightly) and giving in, going back to bed, and conceding the entire Memorial Day as a total loss with no insurance.
It’s a near thing, either way.

Stringing It Together…

In arts, blogging, Just Because..., no excuses, writing on March 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Words, and the way they fit together to make visible our thoughts, have been a preoccupation of mine for most of my life, even before I knew how to do anything of the sort.

The visions that the proper combination of words can produce verges on the magical; in fact, as I’ve heard it defined, magic itself is produced or controlled by the proper combination of words, placed in the proper order.  Like computer programming and magic, writing is entirely dependent on the correct choice of terms, placed in the correct sequence.

“It was a dark and stormy night.”  How often has that phrase, the first in the novel Paul Clifford by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Baronet, been quoted, misquoted, and misattributed?  But it is remembered.

Words can weave a spell to transport the reader to Middle Earth… or to the cradle of the Foundation… or to the outer reaches of a red giant star… or in a General Products hull in a hyperbolic orbit around a neutron star.  Words can create vistas in your mind that a Super-70 mm Ultra Dolby 7.1 3D Imax extravaganza couldn’t match, even with a budget the size of the Gross Planetary Product.

And yet… Reading is becoming less and less popular, from what I hear.  Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, which I exceeded in my third line, if I’m not mistaken.  Attention spans fall dramatically year by year.

Few there are who would even try Nova or Dhalgren by Chip Delany; and I couldn’t think of anyone who would try reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or Dostoievski’s Crime and Punishment.  Dickens’s Bleak House, one of his more acclaimed works, is a doorstop in paperback, and even more recent works, like William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, approach it in sheer volume.  Reading tomes such as these is hardly considered as entertainment anymore, and even the shorter-form writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway get shorter shrift.

It is a crime and a shame to ignore the writers of the past; the stylistic flourishes of a Dickens give way to the spare prose of Hemingway, which inspired writers of more recent times like Capote, Ken Kesey, Thomas Wolfe, Mailer, Gore Vidal, and some we see in magazines today.  Only by reading the words of others with your own “inner ear” can you find the “voice” that informs your writing.  It’s akin to learning to talk by listening to those around you.

I do not condemn others for their lack of breadth in reading, but invite them to widen it on their own.  Read J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, James Joyce, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sir Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Woodward and Bernstein, Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, or any number of other authors I could name.  Expand your horizons.  Question your thinking patterns.  Question your choices.

It could be an illuminating experience…

 

The Oscars Are Coming! The Oscars Are Coming!

In activity, blogging, film, Film and Related, Just Because..., Roughly About Films, writing on February 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

On Sunday evening, at about 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, which is about 7:00 PM here in Detroit, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 85th Academy Awards® at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Back in the mists of time, when I was just a youngster, the show was the ultimate in what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to be one day. Now, after several decades, and roadblocks galore, I find myself no closer to that goal than I ever was.
The only thing in my way now is myself; I have learned the technical tricks to get a film made, and some of the ways to promote it so it’s seen. I have the tools, I (supposedly) have the talent, but it remains to be seen if I have the WILL.
Could I win an Oscar®? Sure. Anything can happen; events have proven this over the years.
Will I? That will depend entirely on whether or not I can get the motivation together to get out and DO something.
To DO… or not to do…
THAT is the problem.
*
More later…

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