23 October 2013

My gawd I love writing ...

 FatScribe Waterman Fountain Pen  

My gawd I love writing. I love it so much that it hurts. I wish I could do it professionally.  (well, I do, sort of, but not like I'd like.)

I saw that my last post was from the most recent Ice Age, and it embarrassed me.

I was out having a nice dinner and drinks with colleagues in Seattle when I looked via my iPhone at FatScribe.com during a lull in the conversacione and saw my last post sort of frozen there in time, like some mosquito stuck in amber on the side of a tree, marking my last entry into the blogospheroid.

 Blogospheroid ... it rings true to me. I'll coin it; why not? It's this dish-dome thingy that comes down on all of us unpaid writers who sweat out little nuggets of prosaic fun, polish a bit, then publish. All under a dome of aspirational writerly, creative effort.

It reminds me of the "cone of silence" that used to crack me up whilst watching "Get Smart" when I was 7 or 8 yrs old. It was this supposed cool, high-tech gadget that "Max" and "Chief" would pull down over themselves to have a top-secret conversation. And that's what we're doing here, Dear Reader. We're having pretty much a top-secret conversation because no one else is listening! It's just the two (or three or four) of us ... writing and reading each other's prose. Each other's poetry. Each other's patina of reality that sometimes reveals a great yarn or story about love, heartache, an awesome recipe, a fantastic photo, a phenomenal ensemble, or even a homespun bromide that never really gets past one's front porch.

Whatever, (whatev's, as our Brit cousins's kids are wont to exclaim) there was a spark somewhere deep down, like some intestinal discomfort that only an unlady-like belch or an actual blog post would relieve.  I get that, feel that, and am bothered by that.  But, there it is.  The reality of the self-published, self-important, self-imposed shame of not having been actually published yet.

quick note: I was hip-pocketed by a junior-level agency d-bag whilst I was taking screenwriting classes at UCLA several years back right after my separation/divorce (healthy distraction), and during the same class had a story optioned by a producer for chump-change.  I've also pitched to every studio, save for Paramount Pictures, several scripts and treatments over the years.  I had one project at FremantleMedia go 3 meetings for a reality tv show that to this day I feel could still be a great project.  ugh.  but, it's all good.

So, yes.  I love to write.  But, not sure if writing loves John g.  The muse, shea slapsa my face with embarrassment!  But, she also drives me onward and upward at 2am when I'm supposed to be catching up on my sleep (so important for those of us recently on the wrong side of 40), I'm writing another treatment, or sharpening up a children's story.  Some day.  Some day.

By the way, I'm now the head of marketing for a legal company up in Seattle. I still live in Malibu Canyon, but fly there weekly.  It's great fun, but lots of hours and work.  I'm launching two new websites for this company, which is keeping me in high creative cotton.  I write; I edit our outside attorneys who write for us; I create new products, and brand the hell out of all the IP we create, and draft all of our press releases and corporate responses.  So, again, that's fun, but there's still a brass ring with my nom de plume on it in the form of a book, children's book, screenplay ... or at least another blog post.  Gawd, I love writing.

01 May 2013

Keep Calm and Carry ... Out Intellectual Property Thievery

I absolutely appreciated this charming story about the wave of support and admiration for this very British idiom.  Is enchanted too strong a term?  For an Anglophile such as myself, probably not.

Here's the LATimes.com link that explicates the ugly side of the story.  One always has the yin with the yang, the bitter punching the sweet I guess.  Without the conflict where's the tension that exists in any truly great story?

Click on the YouTube vid above to watch a rather remarkable yarn about the intersecting of happenstance and history.  I thought so at any rate.  I think you will also.

Cheers ... and carry on, Dear Reader.

04 April 2013

Roger Ebert, Dead at 70 ... In Memoriam

I loved Roger Ebert.  He made me love film when I first watched him and Siskel on PBS on Sunday afternoons here in Los Angeles.  Roger Ebert helped to give me my own critical voice through mere osmosis.  That one hour of (public) television made me so happy.  How many other junior high schoolers watched these men wrestle with their own impressions of a specific film, and then cross swords with the other's opinion, only to finally realize that this was how educated and informed adults could have a proper disagreement or discussion on a film, book, or topic of the day.  No wonder so many of us today are bloggers!

His was an opinionated, erudite and critical voice, one that sought to be deeply informed about film (and its 100-year history), yet he fully resonated with his readership and millions of viewers because we could see that Roger Ebert liked people as much as he loved film.  Good film, the kind that put butts in seats and influenced generations and politicians and started movements.  He hated film that wasted one's time, was made like (Studio) sausage with six screenwriters, or was just a hot mess from questionable conception to poorly executed delivery.  Though he did like to be titillated.   Over the many years of watching Gene and Roger, many a Sunday I could see a thumb going up (pardon the pun) because there was a saucy vixen crossing her long legged limbs on some auteur's vision/version of Last Tango.

When I was 12 or 13, I would trudge down to the video store with my list of 3 or 4 or 5 videos that Siskel and Ebert said were de rigueur (when video stores were a small cottage industry, full of moms and pops and sons and daughters hawking their wares faithfully, in stores located next to the hairdresser or the vet or the Carvel Ice Cream), and then trundle back with my "Citizen Kane," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Mean Streets" to watch that week.  My mom (dear mum) and I would bring a dozen videos with us to her little place in Lake Tahoe that Roger would have been proud to sit down and watch with us. From the ages of 12 - 19, my film school curriculum came straight from Professor Ebert; I humbly submit that I was his best student.  

Roger was a well known multi-hyphenate as writer, columnist, screenwriter (yes, once), and television personality.  He hosted his own film festival, and was extremely influential on many, many filmmakers, writers, educators, academics, and studio executives.  Roger's trademarked "thumb's up" meant money ... er, let me clear my throat, Dear Reader, millions for Hollywood when they had his imprimatur.

He was also a fighter.  Like my mom, when he got to a certain age, his hair grayed, he fought an illness, and he had to take some time away from the limelight for a bit.  And, like my mom, even when he struggled with his physical limitations, he never gave in to feeling sorry for himself.  Her stroke was his debilitating cancer.  Though he struggled with this radical transformation in his life, he remained a happy, smiling, wide-eyed optimist about things happening in his life, especially his lovely bride, Chaz Hammelsmith who was there before during and after his diagnosis, surgeries and daily struggles post-surgery.  As one who watched his career with great eagerness, I was delighted to see his personal happiness quintuple when he met and eventually married Chaz later in his life.

Though I totally and completely in every way possible disagreed with his politics, when I write a film review, I still find (some 20 years on) that my own attempt at film criticism is a lame effort to echo Roger's highly skilled Pulitzer Prize-winning voice.  Imitation (impersonation?) being the highest form of flattery, what more can I say but that I wish more film critics and journalists had his skill with the word and love for his craft.

I never met Roger, but he did answer a couple of my emails.  Made my freakin' day, I'll tell you that much.  I've met, known, and run into hundreds of "celebs" in my time here in Los Angeles, but those emails from Roger, though small, meant a great deal to me to be sure.

Roger made film come alive for me.  Would that we had another 70 years of his influence.  I'm glad for the time he was here.  Chicago was lucky to have the man to themselves.

02 April 2013

Jacob Collier ... In a land of wannabes, the real genius appears.

What can i say?

This kid will make your day.  My favorite of his posts on YouTube is "The Road not Taken," words by Robert Frost.

Very fun distraction on a day/year/era of tough times.

Makes me happy to see this sort of genius so joyously performed.

Thanks, Jacob Collier!

13 February 2013

blog crush No. 2


My first blog crush can be found over here at Tuin Woman (to see my original post, click here), where her blog/project is called Au Coin De Ma Rue.  So unique, and very interactive with individuals on the street in her joint cities of Brussels and Amsterdam.

Very much like blog crush secondus.  If you don't know of Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist, allow me to introduce you to your next time-suck on the ole tripple-dub.  But, knowing the folks  that visit here episodically (you lot, there), I'm 98 points positive you all are well aware of Scott and his lovely better half, Garance DorĂ© and their fashion blogs.  Scott Schuman has been steadily working for many fashion publications since the early successes of his blog.  This man of taste with the nonpareil "eye" of the street fashionista is really quite extraordinary ... truly.

His line of work is very similar to that of Bill Cunningham's (we all stand on the shoulders of giants, don't we?) "On the Street" column from the New York Times, except like all good bloggers looking to catch their big break from blogosphere into the mainstream, you do it on the cheap, cut out the overhead of the middleman, and then gather all of the perspiration and hard work and passion and feed it through the press of diligence and consistent preparation and let others call it luck when the marketplace loves what you have distilled.  What Scott has produced from his vine of talent is a book or two, a great video shot in Italy, and most recent, guest shots on television shows.  And, like the venerable Mr. Cunningham, it is a rite of passage for New Yorkers to have their souls (and sartorial splendor)  captured by by Mr. Schuman "on the street" -- or outside of the latest fashion event -- including the high priestess herself, viz., Anna Wintour, who certainly did earn herself an ambassadorship to the UK with all of that cheddar she raised for BHO, er, No. 44.

I thought my interest in fashion and luxury (which began in earnest after acquiring my first Armani topcoat in my teens which I proudly wore to Spago back in the day the same week my mom (sweet mum) opened her boutique) would launch a luxury network.  After law school I founded LuxeMont.com (and its various subs) a full 2 - 3 years ahead of the curve from the other websites who began chasing this high-end niche. Not quite, not just yet.

I'll be surprised if i'm not hit with a C and D (cease and desist) for my rather liberal reposting of Scott's original shots, but below are several of my all-time street shots from thesartoliralist.com., with my accompanying commentary to prove-up my bonafides as a recurrent visitor.  I've wanted to do this post for forever and a day, but today is finally the day (well, it's actually, like 2am or something thereabouts, but you get my drift, Dear Reader, especially because you also post in the middle of the night as well, n'est pas?).

Easter in Harlem, New York City:
I mean, would you look at this shot?  Good gawd that's good.  Good?  Nah, brilliant.  Makes me sick with envy to see Scott so good at what he does.  The gentleman in the suit looks like the type of cat that Tommy might meet up with at the crossroads to sell his ever-lovin' soul (nod to O Brother, Where Art Thou?).  He has that vibe that Tarantino searches for in his films.  Dude is just B-A-D A-Double-Ass.  If there were ever a time to visit Harlem for a fashion photog uber blogger, Easter Sunday is the day. Can I get an Amen?!  As someone who lived in South Central for almost ten years, I know of which I speak when it comes to an Easter parade.


University Place, New York City:
I hate to quote myself, but what the hay (or is it hey! ?): Unbeknownst to Scott, he has captured "Botticelli's 'birth of venus' writ moderne."  Truly extraordinary coincidence! I mean look at the wind in her hair; the hair color; the pose.  All we need is a clam shell behind the poor girl, et voila!  Writ moderne, baby.  But, Mr. Schuman does that continually, viz., he captures a moment with his skilled eye and he nails his subject mid-pose, almost a mise en scene of a street artist.  Because that's what Scott is, a moving, roving artist with camera (say it like Jenna from 30Rock, CAmerahh, to capture the Manhattan moment of it all) in hand, and he snaps and snags and shares with us his day's catch, dragging it back to the cave for all of us in his tribe to appreciate and become sated with his subjects' unique choice for ensemble.


New Oxford Street, London
Well, below is my favorite shot ever on thesartorialist.com.  How can a photog get this lucky?  I'm talking about her porcelain doll skin color, the wet pavers, the black/dark brown background, her ensemble (or is it a uniform and she a player?), the colors of her coat (even its lining!), the bows in her hair, her ruby red lipstick, and would you look a that ribbon tied on her case?  Good cripes this shot kills me.  What say you, Dear Reader?  We already know what Karena *(our blogger pal at her eponymous named blog ... see her comment below as well!).

Poolside, Los Angeles:
Had to comment here, because, frankly Scott is never in LA.  Well, rarely.  LA has so much style, but it is not displayed or concentrated like it is in New York because truly no one walks in LA (great Motel's song from the 80's), and we have this urban sprawl thing happening here in LA County and SoCal.  But, there is a great deal fashion and style, and one does see it exemplified in the rapidly gentrifying downtown LA district, East LA, West Hollywood/Melrose area, Los Feliz, Santa Monica and of course Beverly Hills, but it's a bit dated.
Rupert Street, London
I've seen this dude on thesartorialist.com a few times.  He's got this "v" thing happening.  His hand tat, the lapels of his jacket, the shape of his face/beard, everything is a wedge on this fellow, as he pierces his way through life.

So, there you have it.  My fascination and envy of a simple yet impactful blog.  This 'blog crush No. 2' is but one of about 10 posts just sitting, waiting to be properly edited and completed, lurking in the bowels of the vast file system of the ole porkster.  Writing and posting takes a bit out of you, especially if you have anything else more important to do.  Nice to finally get this one scratched off of the whiteboard as they say.

06 February 2013

but two wishes ... redux

if i had but two wishes, i would give them to you, my two sons, my lovely boys.

would that you'd think of me, when i'm gone and with our good God, and you're sitting on your giant wrap-around porch in some southern clime, with your brood in the yard playing their favorite games, with voices rising sweetly toward sunset.

and when you feel a warm summer breeze on your faces, would that you'd think fondly of fat, squishy, bald dad and turn to give your little ones your wishes -- a baton of blessing -- golden wishes that see the best in everything, and forgive easily, and work hard for good things for family, friends, and those in need as our faith dictates.

if i had but two wishes, i wouldn't have to wish because i already have them in you, my boys.

22 January 2013

One Word ...

there it sits.  by its lonesome. 

a single, solitary word on a blank page.  an atoll of black san serif letters against an ocean of indifferent white.

unless it’s a verb. then I suppose it doesn’t just sit there; supposed to show action and all.  so I guess it acts quietly, you know, when it sits alone the one word there on the screen, or on 20 lb stock of acid-free office, or perhaps on millennia-old papyrus scroll … the one word.

the one word.  isolated in its inchoate-ness.  it usually denotes a beginning.  beginnings are good.  but to begin again?  to borrow a phrase from our Brit cousin (the YOB!), “now that’s bleedin’brilliant.”

that’s where we mere mortals, destined for the mortician-- we who are caught up in the whole time/space continuum thing -- have one very amazing and saving grace, even over angelic beings who witness our luck in awestruck wonder …  you and I can always (and I mean always) begin again.

it really is the great catchall in life; well at least in my life, the restart. we can’t get to restoration without the fresh start from scratch, n’est pas?

so what happened last year? were things said?  were promises broken?  were there disappointments,soul-crushing defeats, unexpected setbacks, death, illnesses, spectacularly rotten luck?  did others get blessed and you left out?  somebody go out of their way to screw you over?  dunno, that.  maybe it’s one, more or all of the preceding.  I know my hand was up the entire time.

but, let’s try something, you and I, Dear Reader.  let’s take a deep breath.  seriously, just try this,okay?  deep breath. now hold it!  hold it. now, long exhale.  feel it?  that little moment before your next breath? when you and I involuntarily breathe again?  we can’t help it; we just do.

to me that is the metaphor spot on for our single word on the page.  we should, no matter how many disappointments in our lives, automatically, like the viscera of heart beating and diaphragm contracting, instinctually place the lone and brave first word on the page. 

alone.  by itself.  priming the pump for us, surveying the landscape for the rest of those damned pesky yet beautiful words to join in our atavistic battle … again.