I present to you all a break from me trying to mine political relevance from people who wear spandex and solve issues by punching.
I am in Amsterdam, which has been surreal for me.
But this bit is great to share.
Following a thread posted a few weeks ago, I walked today to Lambiek, oldest comic shop in Europe and one of the oldest in the world. I stuck my nose into a room marked "bar" and ended up chatting with employees/owners Klass and Rich (and latter Abel - I hope I have the names right in my drunken state) as they worked away on the store web site and encyclopedia. They even shared some wine with me. I was introduced to some local dutch comics, which I said thank you for by spending money on those comics.
I talked up White Chapel, Warren's communities online and may have convinced them to join up. I have permission to post pics I took, and in fact I need to send them those pictures.
It was quite an experience and I will post pictures when I get home Tuesday, or Wednesday if I crash upon return.
Oh, and Warren if you see this, they would love if you would send them a updated snippet or bio for your entry.
WARNING: furiously pissed rant below. Read at your own risk.
I am bloody pissed with Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
Explanation: first of all, I live in Brazil. This place is, unlike the hype might lead you to believe, a shithole if you intend to stay here longer than, say, a week. I've lived here for decades. I hate it, and I'm moving to the USA as soon as possible.
What's the importance of that? The fucking shows on Discovery and National have portuguese voice-overs over the original english ones. They dub the interviewees, the narrator, everything. And all the actors suck. The narrator is deader than a stone.
But it's not that, oh no. Recently, I have watched two shows, one on each channel, that made me puke inside my mouth. I kept watching them out of pure morbid curiosity. One, in Discovery Channel, followed an archaeologist that defended the existence of dragons. I swear. Dragons. The fire-spitting ones. And for an hour I had my brain raped by a bunch of jackass actors pretending to be the actual archaelogists, examining the carcass of a dragon and finding more and more "evidence" it was a real dragon. "Look! He has glands on the sides of his throat! Those glands produce a liquid that when in contact with a gas on the creature's stomach, turns into fire when in the air!". Worst of all, there were computer-rendered scenes showing the dragon's life as if it really happened, during the dinosaur era and in Ancient China, where the dragon had conveniently "mutated" into the snakelike dragon the chinese like. Oh, and there's even that moment where one of the actors says "OF COURSE! How didn't I see this before" and he makes a great discovery. All with ridiculous portuguese voice-overs.
And then this: in National Geographic, a show called Hunter Hunted about why a chimp attacked a group of tourists in Africa.
About an exceptionally angry.
Okay, it's not normal for chimps to attack people, biting one of their fingers off, but it was one of the worst shows I've ever seen. The simulation of the chimp attack (let me repeat that, I have to. Chimp attack.) is absolutely ridiculous. We have the Brazilian narrator saying in his wannabe epic voice: "The tourists are now fleeing through the woods, one of them now heavily wounded. And the chimp is getting closer every second, furious and bloodthirsty". I CAN SEE THAT! Why every narrator on every wildlife show acts like Roy Thomas on an issue of Conan the Barbarian? Conan beheads a dude, and the caption says "And Conan beheads his enemy with his mighty sword". YES! I SEE IT! IT'S THERE IN ALL OF JOHN BUSCEMA'S GLORY!
Oh, and the editing. Instead of filming the chimp attack (chimp attack. CHIMP ATTACK.) with a nice direction, good special effects, actors worth more than a dime each and no narrator, they chose to show separate images of chimps running, then separate images of the stupid actors fleeing for their lives, and making it look like both scenes are happening at the same time. And they shake the camera to make it look more "badass" while the narrator tries to make it all sound epic.
And the narrator insists in stating the obvious and on repeating information all the time: "Chimps are peaceful creatures", he says that for about ten times, maybe aware of how the show is instantly forgettable.
It was brought to my attention, in the interest of cross-posting, that if I posted my storytelling campfire bullshit here, people who weren't registered on the doomspace could 'Comment' on the stuff here. Fine then.
Let's have a little perspective, though. I can't violate the rules. I can't post my doomspace entries here, and I'd really prefer that if anyone does 'Comment' on that stuff here, they don't quote it (in case that's in violation of the rules too).
There was some sort of contest(?) or promotion going on for story pieces based on a photo on a site (see entry linked above). Got lazy, ended up rushing it in the last 14 minutes of my workday. In the end, some other guy 'won'(?).
This was the only complex in my area that was salmon coloured and apparently coal-powered. I don't really know what was in there, but it gave me chills thinking about it. My hometown had two of those, almost exactly the same, only one had a giant R on top and was the only remaining structure from the old factory that had been there, and the other was in Rocky Mountain Labs. The latter was always talked about like they used it to burn old contaminated specimens*mice*. The lab still exists, but they've installed a T4*T3?T2? I can never remember lab classifications, the kind that lets you work with Ebola, and is basically an above-ground submarine environment* and most of the old buildings have been demolished. I fear I may one day hear about my hometown on the news because of an Ebola or Typhoid outbreak.
There are coyotes that live in the woods behind my mother's home. Small, sleek creatures, yellow dogs with amber eyes, grinning jaws and perked ears. They're the color of mud and honey, able to vanish into the woods from a foot away, able to move like ghosts.
You can hear them working in the garden, the lining of their doggish footsteps, smell the soft, slightly sour tang of their musk as they observe you.
One of the pups used to come and play with our dogs, before it realized that our dogs were not, in fact, the ugliest coyotes ever, and it returned to its pack, never looking back after that social faux pas.
I used to walk out in the woods, hear the soft sound of their footprints, follow their tracks, hear the sharper, more edgy sound of the hooves of deer as they moved around me, invisible to my eyes unless I curled up among the leaf-litter, and stayed still.
Some of my peers are afraid of them. Coyotes. God's Dogs, some called them, the Old Trickster Incarnate. They say they rip the bellies of dear, lead dogs to their packs to eat them, and would kill people if they could. But I'm at ease with the beasts, as at ease with the shy creatures as I am with 'my' ravens. I am not their prey. They will not hurt me. I don't go into the woods smelling of anger, fear and blood. I don't go into the woods smelling of gunpowder and death. (cont.)
Still working on The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle, one of the prepubs I snagged the other week. I'm word-dazed, my mind there and not wholly here, shoveling rice goop into my mouth because I know I need to eat something, so something turned out to be brown rice + cheese sauce. Whatever works. I'm not an expert cook, or a chef (like my step dad, who I am convinced is the best chef to graduate from the CIA, ever), but normally my meals are edible. Today is no exception, though rice always reminded me of meal worms and maggots, the squashed up stuff that made up the food for the orphaned robins I took care of as a child.
Back to the story- it's about a girl, her family, and horses, a nice, quasi-sorrowful tale, without dropping too far into the sugary realm of those horse stories I loved as a kid, and realistic enough to remind me of my riding lessons as a child (english and western). It's about a working stable, and -more importantly- about the complex relationships we share with others. Feel the human connection, folks. Nice light reading.
Why? Well some if has to do with the fact that I've not long ago posted the three hundredth fiction piece on my MySpace blog. It hardly seems all that long ago I was getting excited about getting to one hundred.
There's that which isn't that strange although I wouldn't have expected to be still posting to it over a year later.
The really mad thing is that a couple of weeks ago I got it into my head to write a screenplay. The idea for the story wouldn't go away and kept building on itself so I sat down and started writing. A week later I had second-ish draft (because I started the first draft, realised ten pages of dialogue was a bit much and restarted) that came to one hundred and ten pages.
I've sinced tweaked it into a third draft and once I go through it properly there will be a fourth draft.
I still can't get the thing out of my head.
I should be going, "Yes, that's it, done. Do some revisions, polish it and then be done with it."
This doesn't seem to be the case. I have a hunch that unlike anything I've written before I'm unsure of what to do with it once I'm happy with it. It's not like I know anyone in the film industry.
These are big thoughts from an all but unknown writer to be having. Some might even say arrogant...
It's a cold night; up here in the computer room, there is no heat; only the buzz of my small 'energy saver' space heater, which hardly produces as much heat as my mother's dogs do. The air is dry, and my light comes from a plant-light jammed into a previously unused lamp I found in one of the other rooms.
I'm in a reading-thrall. One more sentence, one more paragraph, one more chapter, to the end, caught up in the adventure of it all, escapism mingled with a lust for new experiences, and a lust for ink.
Ink is the blood of the soul.
As a child, my mom said I read too much. I remember it. Go outside and play with your friends, or something. Anything. It's not natural for a child to closet herself away like that, not healthy...
If I could live off of books, thoughts, ideas, I would.
I can't keep it up forever, and probably within the hour I'll groggily head to bed to collapse until morning in a dreamless sleep, then wake up to finish the last few chapters of the book, then on to the next.
Then, Mark Protosevich steps in again. Neville's reaction to seeing human beings is perfect. Then, Goldsman: Neville voice-overs Shrek just to finish it with a wannabe funny joke (Goldsman did the same kinda thing in I Robot, also starred by Smith). After that, Goldsman remains, and includes an...
... ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RIDICULOUS DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT GOD EXISTS AND WHETHER OR NOT HE HAS A PLAN FOR US ALL AND BLAH-BLAH-BLAH INSERT TYPICAL THEOLOGICAL BULLSHIT EVERYTHING-HAPPENS-FOR-A-FUCKING-REASON HERE...
... and Protosevich steps in again, I guess. I think they wrote the ending together. There are some beautiful moments, but the part the above theological discussion plays in the ending is ridiculous and doesn't fit at all. At the same time, it's touching. Protosevich and Goldsman, probably. And the unecessary monologue at the end? Goldsman.
But surprisingly, the ending works. How? Because by then Robert Neville is already important to us. In other words, thanks to Protosevich's part of the script, Lawrence's direction and Will Smith.
Smith is brilliant. He displays fear, surprise, etc. with perfection. Notice his heavy breathing and his eyes at the warehouse sequence: it's almost palpable. And his performance at the ending of the movie is nothing short of beautiful. He carries the movie on his back without breaking a sweat, and once again, like he did in Pursuit of Happiness, he proves what a great actor he is.
My fellow Brazilian Alice Braga can't do much, though, since her dialogue and character are mostly written by... you guessed it. So she does what she can: excellent american accent. And her son practically doesn't talk. Neville's dog is more interesting than them, just so you have an idea at what a fucking disaster Goldsman and his characters are.
I Am Legend is a good movie, tense and dramatic. But Goldsman prevents it from being the masterpiece it easily could have been, and the CGI creatures are unconvincing. It is, though, worth watching.
This and other movies make me perfectly convinced Goldsman didn't write the script of A Beautiful Mind. Someone else did it and Goldsman found a way to take credit for it without writing a single line. How do I know? A Beautiful Mind is an excellent film.
PS: in a certain point of the film, Anna says she never heard of Bob Marley.