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|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
Coming home from one of those exhausting "vacations". This one included closing out my grandmother's estate, cleaning out the last of my stuff from our basement on orders from my dad, throwing out and replacing familiar pieces of my parents' electronics which had given up the ghost, meeting an old girlfriend for the first time in years and laying some ghosts to rest, and touching base with far too few folks and fans who we haven't seen in years.
And on our way home, we've finally got notice that the owner of the House of Sticks is going to knock it down. We've got to be out by early March.
I'm really not sure whether shedding so much at once is a good thing or a bad one...
On the flipside: Rupert Booth has just started shooting on our new film project (about which more soon). There's a future ahead; it's just that the next few months will be very, very full ones.
|Sunday, October 13th, 2013|
|Evelyn Fisher Rosenberg Kaitz, 1917-2013.
Below is the eulogy for my beloved grandmother (Bubby), Evelyn Kaitz, as written and delivered by Rabbi Mindy Portnoy (with a lovely bit interpolated from my cousin Gerri). It is a wonderful summation of a life thoroughly lived.
And here's Bubby, in the foreground, in characteristic pose. Amidst words, and ideas, and her community.
-----( Read more...Collapse )
But that's not all... on the plane over, in the wee small hours of jetlag, I wrote a little something, which they generously let me read out as well. How could I follow Mindy's awesome portrait of Bubby? Only by adding just a few personal details.
-----( Read more...Collapse )
And there's a little bit more that comes to mind. The speed with which Jewish funerals have to happen means that normally it might not have been possible for me to finish everything I had to do in Australia and make it back to the US in time. But Bubby's aneurysm timed itself, as Mindy said, for right before Simchat Torah
... and since funerals couldn't be conducted on the holiday, or on Shabbat, that gave me and Kate just enough time to make it up over. (We flew in Saturday at 11PM, with the funeral Sunday morning.)
And once we were up there, trying to look after my folks through the shiva
week... we found out that Brian Wilson was playing a concert in town the day after the shiva
week ended. Which we invited my parents to -- and it turned out to be a wonderful, cathartic, healing experience for all of us (especially my mom).
I couldn't help but get the feeling that even there, somehow Bubby was looking after us.
Hugs and kisses, Bubby. You keep warm.
|Friday, October 11th, 2013|
|Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found, Part 2
...and here's the "after" picture.
Nine new episodes, released today to iTunes: "The Enemy of the World" and all but one episode of "The Web of Fear". Plus reconstructed trailers! And there are still rumors of more yet to be returned to the BBC...
A sentence which will be really hard for most of us old-school fans to get our heads around:
Most of season five exists now.
"Woohoo" barely begins to cover it!
|Thursday, October 10th, 2013|
|Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found
Okay, for those of you who don't know the background to the whole finding-missing-episodes-of-Doctor-Who thing (and I'm surprised how many of my friends haven't just absorbed this through osmosis over the years!)... here's the story, and a nice little picture.
This represents which episodes of 1960s Doctor Who are known to exist, as of today.
Why are there so many missing? Because back in the old days, there wasn't a market for archive TV -- especially with the move from black-and-white to color. Once they figured they'd sold all the copies to overseas stations that they were going to sell, the BBC wiped the master tapes.
Pretty much all the B&W episodes which survive come from those film prints made for overseas stations -- carefully tracked down and returned to the Beeb in the eighties. Because seasons 1 and 2 sold to a lot more countries, we got back most of them; season 6 was also fairly lucky. But the later Hartnell and early Troughton runs were ravaged.
In this graphic, the green episodes are the ones which have long been known to survive; aside from the odd stray ones, these were included in the mid-'80s release of Hartnell and Troughton stories to PBS. The blue ones are the occasional episodes which have trickled back since then, over the past twenty-five years or so. The yellow ones have been literally re-animated -- the soundtracks survive (thanks to gonzo fans with tape recorders even back in the day), and the Beeb has used animation to re-create them. The white ones are the holes in history.
This is the "before" picture.
Tune in in a day or two for the "after" one.
|Sunday, September 15th, 2013|
...So, I just directed my first short film in the better part of a decade!
This is a comedy short, about which I hope to talk about a little bit more soon. But in the meantime, some photos behind the cut...( Read more...Collapse )
|Monday, August 19th, 2013|
Kate's back from her writing retreat, which comprised about most of our four-day holiday. Basically, instead of going away somewhere, we got a nice hotel room in the city, I stayed over a couple of nights (and went home to feed the cats on others), and then she just holed up in the room from Sunday to Thursday and beat the middle chunk of her book into shape.
So that way I got the weekend-getaway I'd been promised for my birthday (thanks, Mom and Dad!), Kate got a hell of a lot of good writing done, and I spent the other couple of days getting a hell of a lot of *other* projects done!
Kate's list of realizations from her wonderful head-clearing experience:1. I am not a writer; I write.
2. A "writer" can be compared in status to another writer - someone else with more accomplishments and recognition, themselves past and (imagined) future, and so forth.
3. However, since I write, I only have to sit here typing, rather than worrying about my unfinished projects (by definition, there will always be at least one), whether I am a has-been, envying others' success, etc.
4. Since I am not a writer, I am free to have a life outside writing.
5. Scenes are for moving the plot forward and demonstrating character, not for exposition. Not even in science fiction.
6. Uh, that's it, I think. I'll add anything else if I think of it. Let's see how long I can keep 1-4 in mind.
My list, on the other hand, is just the sheer number of creative things that have happened in the past couple of weeks. Since the beginning of August, I have:
* Run sound on a short film which I co-wrote (It's Only Magic
, with Kyla Ward), which entailed staying out at a bus station past Parramatta till ridiculous o'clock at night.
* Attended the red-carpet premiere of Isobel and the Patissier
, which Kate, my parents and I were extras on (and Gemma Laurelle was the 2nd AD). Three of us got great featured shots, while poor Kate ended up as a tuft of hair...
* Wrote and sent off a short-film script for shooting early next year, which would involve Rupert Booth, Craig Walker, Gemma Laurelle, Kyla Ward, and other familiar faces from The I Job
crew (plus I'm hoping to poach Pete the DOP from "It's Only Magic" to do our lighting, and Tania the sound recordist from "Isobel")
* Did a hell of a lot of work on editing and mixing The I Job
-- now largely apparently-complete, but it'll need a lot of fine-tuning and foley work, plus I'm going to need a pickup session to fix some distorted dialogue! And I'm going to bring in some help on mixing a couple of complicated scenes...
* Did a day's work as an extra on an indie feature, Zoe Misplaced
-- a quirky indie lesbian rom-dram of a sort that makes me positively nostalgic for my college days -- along with Kyla again (and Tania doing the sound)
* Attended a red-carpet showing of The Navigator
, a micro-budget indie feature with Gemma in a co-starring role (great cast, cleverer story than it looks, needs a bit of a tighter edit)
* Discovered that Danger 5
has been renewed for a second series -- one which will apparently do to '80s action shows what the first series did to '60s ones! Looks like I'm gonna be schlepping down to Adelaide for a set report...
* Suddenly got *another* brainwave for a short film, and wrote another whole five-page script, with an aim towards it being a showreel piece for Craig, Kyla, and Gemma, probably to be shot quickly in the next few weeks
* ...and oh yeah, there's a day-job in there too!
Sensing a bit of a theme here? I suddenly realized, I've got a regular group of collaborators now, and we're all egging each other on on our projects... this is the sort of alchemy I haven't had since the days of the Half A Dozen Lemmings! God, how I've missed that. I've spent all these years in a creative marriage with Kate; this is more like creative polyamory, which has a whole other set of satisfactions. :-)
So, in a nutshell: incredibly busy, but deeply satisfied!
|Thursday, August 8th, 2013|
On an even lighter lighter note... Last night we got back from the red-carpet premiere screening of Isobel and the Patissier
, the short film which my folks, Kate and I all got to be extras in!
I'm happy to report that it looks like a million bucks. And that, despite being non-speaking roles, we each got a moment in the spotlight -- Dad and I get a few bars of our musical performances, Mom gets a great close-up shot of her welcoming her "son", Dad gets a lovely edge-of-the-shot reaction to Rene's story about the duckling, and over the lead actor's shoulder you can see me determinedly chatting Kate up. :-)
Only downside is the narrator's pronounced French accent (pronounced "zxnt"), which left me missing about two thirds of what he said -- but the actual actors' French performances were much more followable. However, the film is completely stolen from all of us by a little boy and two dogs!
Overall, it was a lovely experience, and I met a number of people I'd love to work with again. And with a little luck, not only will I get a DVD at some point soon, but copies of the photos of me and Kate on the red carpet, looking distinctly dressed-down next to the professionals. :-)
On a lighter note: Amanda Palmer's musical response to the Daily Mail
's hyperventilating coverage of her wardrobe malfunction at her concert in the Glastonbury festival (complete with plenty of photos and not one mention of her actual performance)...
Sheer brilliance, and shameless in the best possible sense. I only wish we lived in a world where Janet Jackson had taken this approach!
(Mom -- Amanda is Mrs. Neil Gaiman; we've never met her, but technically she qualifies as a friend of a friend...)
Over the years, my parents have, disappointingly, fallen for the idea that "the media" pushes a liberal agenda, rather than a what-sells-papers-and-airtime agenda.
As an antidote to this, allow me to recommend 15 Things Everyone Would Know If There Were A Liberal Media
-- a wonderful little essay about a whole bunch of stories which the main corporate media outlets consistently under-report.
There's stories of general trends in recent years (the increasing concentration of wealth in a few hands; the profound lack
of trickle-down results from tax cuts and in particular the estate tax; the impact of the temp-izing of the workforce).
There's simple statements of fact which don't seem to be widely grasped (US health care costs being the highest in the world, while service levels aren't
the best; the correlation between the Glass-Steagall Act and the stability of the banking system from the Depression through the end of the 20th century; the record number of fillibusters being conducted by the very people railing against a "do-nothing" Congress; the fact that as multinational corporations recover from the GFC, they're hiring overseas while continuing to cut jobs at home).
And there are un-reported matters of corporate influence over the political process: I don't know how many people who stick with Channel 5 News or Amazon's Washington Post have even heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council (which actively drafts legislation on behalf of corporate lobbyists and hands it straight to legislators to enact) or the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (look it up if you haven't).
The list in the article goes on: the visible gerrymandering of a bunch of states in recent years (including Virginia and North Carolina); the continuing use of Nixon's old race-baiting Southern strategy associated with the attempts to slash social programs; environmental effects of the collapse of the bee population (and its possible connection to nicotinoid pesticides).
And, last but not least, there's the consolidation of 90% of old-school media outlets into the hands of just six corporate owners.
You can argue the validity of some of these points listed in this essay... but that overlooks the fundamental statement the essay is making, which is that that sort of argument isn't even happening
in the news sources of millions of people. These issues simply aren't being thrust into the spotlight, with the force that's applied to make a news story out of a single catchy criminal trial.
Simply put, if the mainstream media has a liberal agenda, they must be profoundly crap at bringing it across...
Our newly-single friend Stacey is looking for housemates to share her lovely Chicago condo! If you know anyone who might be interested, pass the following on:
In order to stay on in my condo, I'm looking for roommates in the Chicago area.
Go have a look at my Craigslist post here
with lots of pictures and tons of details about the rooms, the prices, the condo, the neighborhood, and the requirements.
Then please pass it on to anyone you know looking for roommate situations in the Chicago area. I have to find two to be able to afford this place. And as you can see, it's a hard place to leave!
|Thursday, August 1st, 2013|
| Link to an article which details comparative quality of health care in different nations
I don't think my folks, who genuinely seem to believe that the old status quo for US healthcare was the least worst option available, have really seen these sorts of detailed comparisons.
All I can say is, I'm delighted that Australia is top of the world list in "long, healthy, productive lives". And that, despite my wife having chronic physical and mental illnesses, last year we spent more out-of-pocket on healthcare for our cat than for her. :-)
|Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013|
Quick update... "The I Job" is lingering in post-production limbo for a little while longer, because I've just been asked to do rewrites for Rupert Booth on a script which has a good shot at seeing production. Which is... well, a tremendous delight! This is one of those projects that Rupe was just born to do, and so much of the script draft he and Barry handed me just sings.
My contribution is going to be pacing out the massive amounts of exposition, and sharpening the character drama... so, structure and character, my favorite bits to play with. :-)
In one day of actually working on it (as opposed to just giving notes), I've already reworked the first twenty pages (of which I actually had to write about five), and got rave reviews from Rupert; only about 100 more to go...
Quick update... "The I Job" is lingering in post-production limbo for a little while longer, because I've just been asked to do rewrites for Rupert Booth on a script which has a good shot at seeing production. Which is... well, just a delight! This is one of those projects that Rupe was just born to do, and so much of the script draft he and Barry handed me just sings.
My contribution is going to be pacing out the massive amounts of exposition, and sharpening the character drama... so, structure and character, my favorite bits to play with. :-)
I've already reworked the first twenty pages (of which I actually had to write about five); only about 100 more to go...
|Friday, June 28th, 2013|
Apologies to those who've already had the Wendy Davis story to death -- but I want this story preserved on the record, including the attempt to alter the record.
As summarized by Karsten School:
Last night something very important happened down in Texas, something that if you weren't following as it happened, you're probably not going to hear the whole truth about. I was one of the people who was in the right place to watch, and so I'm now going to try to pass on the word as best I can. I'm tagging some of you at the bottom, people who I think should read this. Apologies for anyone who finds this disruptive.
The Texas senate voted yesterday on an bill that essentially would have closed nearly every abortion clinic in the state. To try to counter the bill (which was heavily supported by the Republican majority, senator Wendy Davis attempted a one-woman day-long filibuster, during which time she spoke on the subject while going without food, water, bathroom breaks or being allowed to sit down or even lean on her table for support. She lasted nearly eleven hours before being ruled off topic on a technicality. A second female senator then stepped up and tried to continue the filibuster by asking for salient points to be repeated to her, as she missed part of the session that day to attend her father's funeral.
But here's where things get interesting. With fifteen minutes before the midnight deadline, the lieutenant governor ordered the senate to proceed, and actually had the democrats' microphones cut off. The spectators in the assembly responded by cheering, chanting and generally causing a ruckus, in order to drown out attempts at a vote. The midnight deadline passed without a vote being taken, but the chair held a vote after midnight, as the spectators were forced out of the assembly. During all of this, there was no coverage on MSNBC, CNN or any other major news network, with the only coverage coming from a livestream set up by the Teas Tribune.
At 12:15, the Associated Press ran a story saying the bill had passed, which CBS picked up. This was based on a sole source, which the AP later admitted was a republican senator. Meanwhile in the chambers, the senators stood around, both sides confused if the vote had even happened, if they had even voted on the correct issue. The chair had left with the lieutenant governor without ending the session. The Tribune's feed was cut at 12:20 with 70,000 people watching. CNN at this point was talking about the deliciousness of muffins.
Outside in the halls of the senate building, thousands of people were packed wall to wall, chanting "shame, shame", while thousands more were outside. State police had formed a barricade around the entrance hall, and were making sporadic arrests (50 or so by night's end) and confiscating cameras. In the thick of it was a guy named Christopher Dido, who used his cell phone and a live stream to report on what was happening. He was the only journalist in America who was filming at the senate, with as many as 30,000 people watching the stream at one time, and over 200,000 viewers by night's end. He did this while the state police surrounded the protesters in the building, some of them with nightsticks drawn. The police at this time refused to let through food or water that people tried to send in, instead eating and drinking it themselves. They also barricaded access to vending machines and water fountains within the building, and were said to have blocked off access to the washrooms for at least a period of time. Meanwhile, journalists still inside the chambers tweeted out news updates, which were disseminated and retweeted by people like Matt Fraction, Felicia Day and Will Wheaton, reaching an audience that would otherwise have probably not seen or heard what happened next.
The senate was recalled 90 minutes after its midnight end point, to determine whether or not the vote was valid- behind closed doors with no microphones, and only the Senate's own muted camera. Then something disturbing happened. The senate website carries the official record of the caucus. It listed the vote as happening past midnight, on June 26th. Until suddenly it didn't. The date was quietly manually changed to 6/25, the minutes altered to say the vote happened at 11:59, despite almost 200,000 people watching live who saw differently.
Suddenly twitter and other social media sites blew up with before-and-after screen shots. Inside the closed sessions, the democrats were made aware of the alterations and brought them up- without social media, almost no one would have known, and never in time. Ultimately, based on the fraudulent alterations, the GOP conceded defeat, admitting the vote had taken place at 12:03, and declaring the bill to be dead. When this happened, the AP and CBS said the vote was overturned, never admitting to shoddy journalism. CNN ignored the story until this morning, because muffins take priority.
(ETA: Here's the website image:)
Yesterday, I witnessed women's rights under fire, a crippled legal system that didn't represent its people, a corrupt government body attempting to commit a crime in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses, and the complete failure of the main stream media. I also witnessed a woman performing a nearly superhuman act to do what was right, the power of the people making themselves heard both in person and online, and the extraordinary value of one young man with a cellphone making sure people saw and heard the truth about what was going on.
Anyone reading the papers or watching network news today won't get the full story. Hopefully enough people saw it unfold live, that the lessons from last night won't be forgotten.
I'd just like to emphasize: all this happened *outside* the view of the major media outlets. Only the transparency of having a live-stream of the proceedings allowed the incident to be noticed. You can expect attempts to limit such live broadcasts in the future.
And given that my parents still seem to get most of their political news from Rush Limbaugh, I'm curious whether they've even heard that any of this even happened.
(ETA: Planned Parenthood Action quotes Texas governor Rick Perry on his continuing attempts to pass the abortion-restriction bill in another special session: "The louder the opposition screams, the more we know we're doing something right." Erm, Rick, you really think it's a good idea in this context to say the more she screams "no", it means "yes"?...)
|Tuesday, May 21st, 2013|
Oh my God. I just finally tracked down a book that I read when I was way too young to really understand most of it -- turns out it's The Legacy
by John Coyne, based on a script by Hammer horror legend Jimmy Sangster. I'm gonna have to get ahold of this one again!
(Mom -- this is the book that featured the drowning of Maria Gabrielli -- the woman who dives into the swimming pool in the cursed mansion, and the water itself holds her under
I borrowed this from a couple of my summer-camp counsellors when I was about eight or nine, and devoured it... they did a great job of corrupting my young mind, that little bunch. I still remember getting lifts home in their old Plymouth Duster... but I can't remember their names.
And there's a film, with Roger Daltrey and Charles Grey and Sam Elliott! I never knew! (And there's even an in-joke in Buffy
to it -- Maggie Walsh from series 4 is named after the heroine!)
It's a little piece of my childhood come back to me...
|Friday, May 17th, 2013|
|Isobel and the Patissier
My parents have come down to Sydney to visit us a bunch
of times, over the fifteen-years Kate and I have been married (*keels over from sheer old age*). So they've pretty much run out of ordinary touristy things to do.
This year we took a side trip to Canberra... but it's their second or third trip. They got to tag along through Conflux, for a performance of The I Job
and various panels I was on... just like they did the year we went to New Zealand. So basically, Kate and I are casting about for new and different things to liven up their trip.
So... why not a couple of days as film extras?( Read more...Collapse )( Read more...Collapse )
|Thursday, May 16th, 2013|
It's been absolutely ages since I last posted, so very a brief recap...
* We've done more live performances of The I Job
! Including a stunning one at Conflux in Canberra, for which the entire cast made their way down from Sydney. Details -- and pictures -- hopefully to come soon.
* The I Job
is now a third of the way through post-production, with a few pickups yet to be recorded.
* On top of this -- my parents came down to visit Sydney, and got dragged along to the convention as well! (They enjoyed themselves tremendously.)
* My day job has involved a hell of a lot of development work at high speeds.
* Plus, Kate and I have just been approached to write a rather large amount of web content rather quickly.
Between these facts... well, you can tell why I haven't been updating lately, can't you?
I haven't even had a chance to do more than a tiny bit of work on the album project since last December... but I've written one more song for it! Which I've demoed, and as soon as I have time to lay down the bassline I'll get on with recording some vocals. The current rough plan is that, once I've got this song, I'll have enough originals that I can get together an album just
of my stuff -- which we can release properly online somehow.
Tomorrow, hopefully: photos from the other thing my parents and I got up to during their latest visit: a couple of days as film extras!
|Friday, March 22nd, 2013|
Just finished shooting a demo scene for an attempt to do "The I Job" as a motion comic. I think the results will be good -- Gemma, Brendon, and Craig put in strong performances, Jack Kelly handled the camerawork with aplomb, and huge thanks to Andrew Shellshear and Jim Orman for their behind-the-scenes contributions.
I just wish I felt like I'd been in better control of the direction! I didn't have a First AD on this shoot, Kate was too under the weather to give me a hand, and frankly I've just been run too ragged with rewrites on the "Silent Partner" script to put in the prep hours I needed. I ended up worrying so much about trying to get it done close to schedule that I wasn't able to pay attention to the actual directing end of things...
Ah well, we'll see how the results come out! We got all but one of the shots I wanted; I figure we'll be able to get away with it...
|Monday, March 11th, 2013|
Every so often J. Michael Straczynski comes out with something laser-sharp. Here's one to chew on:
The other day, in testimony, Attorney General Eric Holder said what may be one of the most astonishing and deeply disturbing things said about the current financial system. The quote follows:
"But I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."
In particular, this clause "if we do bring a criminal charge it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Mark down the date in your journals, because the moment this was publicly admitted was the day that the presence of the New Aristocracy was officially confirmed and given status above the rule of law.
If you or I or anyone else embezzled a few grand, or laundered a few grand, or committed any other kind of crime, they'd throw us under the jail for years. But like the aristocrats of long-ago England and France and other nations who could commit any crime they so chose and go without blemish because it would upset the Natural Order of Things, the New American Aristocracy cannot be prosecuted, cannot be indicted, cannot be brought to trial because if they do it will bring down the world economy. They are immune. They are above the fray. Untouchable.
It's Mafia logic. "Nice world economy you got here. Be a real shame if something...happened to it."
A congressman, senator or sitting president can have criminal charges brought against him or her, but not someone in a large financial institution?
For over two centuries, what made this nation a shining beacon on a hill was the absolute certainty of its citizens that we were a nation of laws, and that no one was above the law.
That world no longer exists.
Say hello to the New Aristocracy.
|Monday, February 25th, 2013|
|The I Job: LIVE at Whovention!
Ahhh, Whovention. This was one of the greatest "all right on the night" experiences I've ever had!
The "I Job" cast had all agreed to do this con as a promotional freebie -- but as usual, we all knew that paying work would take priority. Less than two weeks before the day, just as we were being locked into a Sunday slot, Gemma let me know she'd got another gig. (Hope it went well, hon!) I immediately started searching for a backup... but suggested to the ever-helpful Paul Deuis that maybe Louise Jameson might be interested in stepping in to read the part.( Read more...Collapse )
As I say right afterwards to Louise while thanking her yet again on stage... since this script was written I've seen it performed multiple times. There have been at least two complete read-throughs with different casts, rehearsals, two live performances at conventions (the one at Gallifrey with Rupert, Nigel Fairs as Seth and Julie Caitlin Brown as Lee was a close competitor), the actual recording... but this was by far the best. It was like watching the script get up and dance!
And as Craig pointed out afterwards, the really uncanny thing about Louise's performance was that we could hear Gemma's performance in it. They hit a lot of the same nuances in their choices and line readings... but Louise was basically doing it all as a cold reading. Now *that's* skill.
(Oh, and Scott Handcock, who'd played Baz at one of those early performances at Conflux about a decade ago, turned up and congratulated Brendon on his performance. Classy!)
And the icing on the cake? After the show, Louise *asked to see the rest of the script*. Cause she wanted to know how it ended! Now that's properly ego-boosting. :-)
So basically? Gemma, you know we're all committed to this relationship for the long term... but we all just had a fabulous one-nighter with Louise Jameson. :-P And it was one of the best nights of my life!