2.27.2009

fripodding and succeeding: bobby womack - across 110th street

As I stated earlier this week, I've been rather busy attempting to get back on top of my numbers at work. Ya know, my "A Game." Last week was my D game. This week might've been a B+ game. Even though I had several meetings I could write off to subtract from my numberly goal, I still wanted to surpass my own expectations. But hey, I did what I had to do.

But enough about that. Let's get on to today's iPick for the friPod.

Once again I thought I'd pick something relevant to Black History month... but again I lied. It's not that I couldn't pick such a song, but usually it's what iSaac and I are feeling at the moment when the pick is chosen. Today, we picked Bobby Womack's Across 110th Street.

Thanks to Quentin Tarantino, my ears have been opened to this gritty, real-life account to the hardships of the ghetto. Not that I haven't heard songs like that before (specifically from the 70's) because I can name a few artists that would tell you like it is: Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Curtis Mayfield to name a few. But it's just something about this song. Maybe it's how he chant "Across 110th street" as the instruments flare up. I think it's the instruments that have a lot to do with it, really. But I also just like the lyrics as well.

And movie buffs may have heard this song in other movies too. I was just informed this song is also featured on such a movie called Across 110th Street. Imagine that. Actually the song, and several others, was sung by Womack himself. That's how Black cinema was done back then. Again, check Curtis Mayfield and Super Fly. Another movie this song is featured in is American Gangster. But there's another song from that movie I liked a lot I'll save for another day. But let's take a look at the scene from QT's Jackie Brown that sent me to iTunes in the first place.



The scene itself isn't all that thrilling, but it's nicely done. Tarantino has a thing for long one shots. He also likes to pay homages to heroes, like blaxploitation movies, such as this one and using that era's sex symbol Pam Grier. The movie itself was pretty good. Classic Tarantino, even though it's not truly his since he didn't write it. But I'll forgive him. But extra kudos to him for picking this song to start the movie. It's also a great song to drive to... or wait in traffic... or walking down 109th Street.

2.24.2009

m.i.a. = missing indoobian actions

This particular M.I.A. does not stand for "missing in action" or refer to the lady singer famous for the song Paper Planes which I don't particularly care for, but was surprised to see performing at the Grammys a few weeks ago. That's another story entirely.

Some may have noticed decreased activity of my presence in the blogospshere. Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on who is stalking me I suppose. Or who I've been stalking. I haven't really been reading most of my favorite blogs recently. Much less comments. I haven't even responded to comments here, yet! But no worries. I'll be back, sooner or later. I've just been really busy. And this week is no exception.

Especially this week, actually. I have about 2-3 meetings this week, some of which are on the same day! Not only that, but my weekly 55 file quota I had to add an extra 20 to make up for lost files last week. That's my own fault. All that slacking had caught up with me. So consider this doing time for the crime. I progressed in my digression (from work). I slacked early and often a little too much, then crammed as much work as I could in the last 2, sometimes 3 days. Which meant I had to work on a Friday!

[Gasps are heard world-wide, shock and awe on their faces. Even dogs look up confused. Birds stop chirping. Planes are grounded. Construction halted. Even the Sun (which no one knew had a mouth) has mouth agape.]

Yes, indeed, the master slacker had to practically work an extra full day to try to catch up. I can use the word "try" because I gave it my best attempt, but didn't make my 55. I failed.

[Everyone has sighs of sadness.]

But never fear, I'm on a mission! I've changed my ways! Yesterday, a good start for a Monday, I was up 20, which makes up for last week (since in reality, they count the files for an entire month) and today I already spent an hour and a half letting my computer update/upgrade security measures (which counts towards off-production, and would've taken up my time some time this week whether I manually started it or not). Plus the meetings will also count and maybe save me a whole 5 files or more! Who knows? What I do know is that I will strive to achieve my 55, or even 65 and shine through with dazzling but humble colors that I expect myself to do. I have a reputation to keep. It's okay to slack as long as I have the work to back it up first. And now it's time to back that thing up. I'm sorry, bad joke. This isn't 1999 anymore. Forgive me.

Speaking of music, friDay may be the next time you'll hear from me on here. I want to give 1000 apologies for missing last weeks and not doing anything Black-History-Month-related like I might've said I would sometime this months... which is almost over. But as I always believed, Black history should be celebrated all the time. So maybe I'll purposefully do what I was going to do in March. Or April. Or August. Nothing ever happens in August. We'll see. But as for now, back to basics. It's time to attack! I've got iSaac here, fully charged and ready to go. I had my eggs (no bacon today, maybe tomorrow) and a pretty good cup of coffee. Not feeling the caffeine yet... Oh wait... HA HA! ....yeah, there it is! Okay now... attack! [Takes a short nap.]

2.23.2009

about last night... at the oscars... and the bets...

I practically lifted the very list from my an earlier post just to expand on it. Whatever is listed first after naming the category, is what was predicted by Entertainment Weekly. If I agreed, I left it alone. If I had other opinions, it's in bold parentheses... although on some I sort've agreed anyway to what the predictions were. Those that are underlined are the winners.

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Director, Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Actor: Sean Penn, Milk (the Comeback Kid Mickey Rourke or the Underdog Richard Jenkins)

Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader (too close for me to call, haven't seen any of these but if not Winslet, then Streep or Hathaway.)

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (I'd like to see a surprised Taraji Henson)

Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk (I <3 Wall-E, honorable mention for In Bruges)

Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Animated Film: Wall-E

Foreign-Language Film: The Class -LOST- Departures (Japan)

Documentary: Man On Wire

Editing: Slumdog Millionaire

Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire (The Dark Knight just for kicks)

Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Costume Design: The Duchess (Do period pieces from this era always seem to win... or am I wrong?)

Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Score: Slumdog Millionaire (I want to give this to Wall-E, but it's the only movie I've seen)

Song: "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire

Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I want to mention The Dark Knight for Two-Face, since most of the action on screen was barely CGI, according to the director. But I equally visually enjoy every special effect in Iron Man so this is a tough call for me)

Sound: The Dark Knight (Wall-E)

Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight (Wall-E... I mean c'mon... the sounds and the dude behind them?) -LOST- Slumdog Millionaire

Short: Spielzugland (Toyland)

Animated Short: Presto -LOST- La Maison en Petits Cubes

Documentary Short: The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 -LOST- Smile Pinki

Overall, if I were to actually bet money, I would've lost 4 categories. Regardless, it's fun. And if you watched the telecast, you were either entertained, confounded or bored. Award shows aren't for everyone, but I thought it was different and enjoyed most of it except the length. I haven't figured out how to get my live-Tweetings to post on here... but I wouldn't torture you like that. I think I might've posted close to 100. Maybe. Instead, it's much more fun, and funnier, to watch professionals do it. I recommend to look around EW's Oscar page for more fun and recaps, especially if you are into that kinda thing and you want to know more of what happened last night.

2.21.2009

missing fripods and found links

First of all, allow me to apologize for my absence this past friDay. I didn't have a song, or video or anything ready to talk about. It's been quite a week for me, but a good week over all. Well, except for at the office, but I'll make up for that on Monday. I will work on getting a double iPick for this coming friPod's edition.

Besides not doing my office work for the week, I was busy planning my road trip to Minnesota. It's still awkward for to say I'm going there, especially out loud to other people because their response is always "Minnesota? What the stank is in Minnesota?" Actually, quite a lot. But specifically, the Mall of America. But I'll post more on that when I actually get closer to going.

Tomorrow is the Oscars! Woot woot!

And besides the work I wasn't doing and the early road trip planning, I came across a few websites. One of which I hinted at last week: Christian Children's Fund. That's right, I'm sponsoring a little Bolivian boy! I don't want to get in trouble with them or for exploiting children or anything like that... so I'll hold off on his name until him and I start writing each other and I give him a proper nickname. I'm excited about this and can't wait to befriend him as well as help him and watch him grow. I've been blessed and I want to bless someone else. Anyway, I did my research, the CCF has been around for many years and they (and other sources) prove the money is going towards the children's benefit. Soon I will talk to my dad and see if he's interested in having our church sponsor another child. I'll let them pick, but I'll be more than happy to set it up and write letters as well.

Another interest I've taken on is back to my old school computering days. I have a knack for knowing how to get around computer software and some hardware. I'd like to get better at the hardware side. What better way other than to do what I did before: teach myself. It's mostly free and whenever I get around to some light schooling on it, I will come in with some background knowledge already which will make it easier to learn. So I'm going back to basics now that I have a junked computer to "play" with, and possibly some extra funds to invest in it. If not now, then maybe in a few months. I still need to do my writing ya know. But I enjoy taking apart and rebuilding computers. Like mechanics to cars or something.

Kitten and I discuss our dreams rather frequently. We also discuss less deep things like the contents of poop, but we already discovered a book to enlighten us on such facts. Anyway, since our dreams are another topic of discussion, we wanted to learn more about them and I stumbled across this website that talks about lucid dreaming. There's more than likely tons of books, articles and websites on this, but you have to start somewhere. This seemed like a good place to start. I haven't finished reading all of it yet, but it's something I think is highly interesting. Plus, dreaming is a storyteller's best inspiration and origin for great tales. And sometimes I really need to know how to escape out of a nightmare. I will continue my studies of dreams by looking into dream interpretations.

FML is (I think) a fairly new site. Almost like a blog, reminds me of Twitter, with everyone contributing to it. If I tell you that "ML" stands for "My Life," you can figure out what the "F" is. A friend sent it to me asking me if I thought it was funny. To be honest, it was like a painful laugh. You're able to separate the entries by groups like love, money, sex, work, etc... and then you can also see how others respond to someone's entry. Do you agree that they got it bad and you feel their pain? Or did they deserve what happened to them? It's really self explanatory when you check it out. In a way, it might make a depressed person feel a little bit better knowing that they aren't the only one having a hard time, or someone might be going through something a bit worse. Another site that maybe helpful in that weird way is WhichIsWorse.com.

Last, is my favorite one and I had to laugh when I caught it on CNN's website... or was it Time? Doesn't matter. Another friend sent this to me before I even read about it later. The URL is simple and tells you exactly what you are about to see. ThisIsWhyYoureFat.com. And then, it will show you exactly why you are fat. Not only that, but several ways to cause death. Death by heart attack probably, if you ever eat any of these things that's shown. This also has a blog format and I think a new picture adds everyday. The first time I went there, I couldn't go more than 5 pages in one sitting. I actually began to feel sick. And I'm mostly certain that all the pictured items are indeed real. Have they actually been eaten? I can't say. I hope not. But I know some people have a serious love for bacon and this site is proof of that. I love bacon too, but it has it's time, place and proper portions.

2.18.2009

dreams of anti-fame

I was reading about the dreams of aspiring screenwriters who want to make it big in Hollywood... as well as some money figures of what some screenplays sell for - even the ones that's don't get made. And to be completely honest, those figures I saw, even the so-called "modest" amounts, looked quite alright with me. But between that and reading an article about a soon-to-be-watched documentary called Dreams on Spec, I read some line about struggling to be "the next big thing." And I thought that line... and it got me thinking-I don't necessarily want to be the next big thing. I just want to be something. I indeed, want to be successful and content, but I don't want the glitz and glam. I'm still going to shop at The Mart and eat at IHOP. But, perhaps, I think it all depends on your definition of success. Anyway, I was stuck on the phrase "next best thing" and jotted some lines down as I thought about it.

I don't want to be the next big thing.
I just want to be something.
Not just anything, but a mix of everything.
They'll say "He's doin' his thing."

I'm completely aware that being a screenwriter isn't a profession that would make me an instant multi-millionaire (unless I'm directing, starring, etc.), but I just want to get by. Not only that, I just want to be really good at it too. So I continue my learning and studying. I haven't been aggressive in this passion the past few days due to some other concerns (like vacation planning), but rest assured, my dream won't be deterred. Oooh! Another hot line! [Scribbles in notebook.]

2.16.2009

"push" film review

My sister thought this movie was a spin-off of Jumper or some kind of remake or movie version of Heroes or another kind of X-Men. And who could blame her? I only heard about this movie a month before it was released. Even then I wasn't so sure about it.

While it may not have cracked the top 5 in the box office, it was still a decent movie to see. The special effects were definitely fun and it kept you entertained... mostly. I counted a few dry spots that could've been cut or shortened or something. Most of the time it was giving the audience information... but it felt like the scenes went on too long and we needed to see more action and special effects!

It's a eye-candy movie like Wanted or The Matrix. It's not ground-breaking special effects, it's just fun to watch when it happens. The fight scenes in particular.

The title comes from what a certain kind of psychic can do, called pushers, who push thoughts and ideas into someone's mind. There are movers, who obviously move things with their mind. Watchers who can see the future. Sniffers who sniff things to see the past (of that object and those who have touched it). Shifter who change things into whatever they want. And bleeders who scream so loud, they make anything in ear shot bleed to death probably because their brains explode. It's kinda violent. There are a few others too but it's worth watching to check out this world they live in.

Overall, besides the dry parts, I'd watch it again when it hits DVDs. I wouldn't rush to the theater, though. And Dakota Fanning needs more clothes. I understand she was probably going for a certain look in this film... but I didn't like it. That's just me. Anyway, not a bad film. It does make you wonder which power you'd like to have.

I gave it *** and a half *.

life update 2.16.08

Hello fellow Indoobians. I wanted to turn some of my recent adventures into little short stories, but these events are piling up faster than I have time to sit down and write them. And I didn't want to neglect or forget to document them. Such things are a bit too much to let Twitter handle on it's own.

But let's journey briefly and chronologically, shall we?

February the 12th, I helped my friend, Unique, make cupcakes for the first time in her life. Actually, it was the second. Before I showed up, she burnt her first batch by breaking the first rule of baking that isn't listed on any recipes but apparently needs to be: don't leave the house. While they baked, we watched a movie about another kind of baking: Pineapple Express. Unfortunately, I had to given to my severe dislike of watching a bootleg (I don't care of the quality is top notch, it's still stealing and illegal). Fortunately, it's a movie I've already seen legally, so I'm not too bothered by it. By the time the movie ended, the cupcakes were done and were a success. I didn't help with the frosting, she handled that on her own without worry.

February the 13th, the so-called Unlucky Day, was actually a pretty decent and enjoyable day. Kitten and I went to see my best friend, or more appropriately, brother-from-another-mother whom I shall call Mr. Phoenix (for the time being, and with no relation to the actors) and his band Taken From Ashes (formerly known as The Final Approach) perform at a local pub. So local, I didn't even know it was there despite my driving past it several times in any given month. An hour long set was played with about 9 or 10 songs including an awesome metallic/rockish cover of Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise. This was an event I should've brought a camera for, so I could really show how things went down. It was undoubtedly fun, and TFA sounded great. Better than the Toad's performance.

February the 14th, Kitten and I reclaimed it as Friendship Celebration Day. Sure it's a corny title for those singles who don't have anything better to do, but to those who would've followed our exploits that day would think we were a couple anyway. We ventured to the mall and found a belated birthday gift for my brother-in-law, went to the movies to catch Push (which I still haven't written a review for), and later went out for pizza at a quiet pizzeria. Word to the wise for the future, local family-run places might not be as busy during such times compared to the commercial restaurants. Okay, that might not be a fact, but I was right in picking a not-so-busy place to hang out... even if that is our usual weekly not-so-busy hang out spot anyway.

Friendship Celebration Day continued as I ventured to Mr. Phoenix's new place. He and his girlfriend (who has a sense of humor painfully similar to my own, but I won't destroy her because of this since she's on my good side, Mr. Phoenix's better half and seriously enjoys cheese) treated me with nachos and chili dip as we caught up on life, talked about the performance from the night before, and watched Pan's Labyrinth. 'Twas a good time. For his birthday this weekend, he gets a free month of Netflix on me. Enjoy it. Now.

February the 15th, I was asked to fix a friend's computer. He got excited that I was coming and called his friend to come over so I could fix his too. So I stopped by his house and got one computer running, but not the other. I don't consider myself a computer expert, but I've been known to get by. This loss was discouraging, so I took it to the "Nerd Patrol," as I usually do when a problem is beyond my capabilities. I don't normally speak negative things about people, whether I know them or not... and I won't start now. Let's just say I don't like the character who "helped" me very much and I must now be alert of who's working at the desk the next time I return. Pompous pretentiousness isn't a very good customer service trait. Actually, it's not a good trait at all unless you are an evil villain. Hmm... looks like I met some inspiration.

It would seem like an incredibly random act for me to do this, but I signed up to sponsor a child with the Christian's Children Fund. It's something I actually thought about doing for a few years, but was never in a financially stable place to do so. But things are going good and I've since taken care or gotten rid of useless bills, so why not spend that money on something worth it? It's legit, I checked. My passion is still charity for the arts (in schools), and Lord knows America has it's own major problems. But the Indoob is global-people from around the world stop by. So this is me reaching back out to the world. And maybe someday I can go visit the little guy. More on this later.

I'm planning a road trip that I'm seriously (hopefully) going to take this summer. To where? The Mall of America! There was talk and plans of making plans to go last year with a few friends... but that fell through in a few different ways that's not necessary to discuss, and needless to say, I never left. But this year, I'm making plans with whom I'd call a "doer" and not just a "talker." I love my friends, but I need more doer friends than talkers, because I don't want to keeping talking about it. I need to do it. And I'll be sure to bring a camera or two to show it.

My dad (who is a doer) suggested I start writing letters to some famous doers asking for "not a hand out, but a hand up." People like Tyler Perry, who is definitely a success story if I ever heard one, from living in his car to owning several cars (I assume). Perhaps he'd like to lend a helping hand to someone like me. I know I definitely wouldn't mind working for him at his company. My dad also suggested contacting Will Smith's people. Both of which have their own successful production companies. My aunt suggested Oprah. Also worth a try, and we share a birthday... that's gotta get me some points, no? Whether I get in contact with any of them or not, this is my season for progression. And I refuse to lose my dream of doing and being something great.

So yeah... that was my weekend. I also ordered the second season of 30 Rock (shame on me for buying out of order, but it was cheaper and I still love you Tina Fey) and the Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection (more on that later). So please excuse me in a week or so whilst I laugh myself to creative, comedic and witty enlightenment with these awesome stories, actors and writers. But I'll be sure to pre-post some posts about stuff. Maybe. Somebody hasn't been sleeping much which affects his work during the day because he's too busy writing... so something's gotta give. And yes, I liked that movie.

2.13.2009

fripodding and valentines: "happy valentine's day" andré 3000

I think, if such an argument exists, it can be argued that there may not be definite "Valentine carols," if you will. I contend that there are, at least, a few. What would bring such a discussion? The countless love songs that one could dedicate to another on such a special day of love. Or... The countless anti-love songs one could dedicate to another on such a sappy day of love. Depends on your mood and "romancism" at the time.

Such a song, I believe, captures both moods. Honestly, I think it leans more towards the "happier" side of the Valentine theme, but the song I'm talking about is Happy Valentine's Day by one of my idols, the great Andre 3000 of OutKast. This song is found on The Love Below side of the multi-platinum, Grammy winning, double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. It is meant to be jammed to very loudly all day on the 14th of February, even though the song states everyday is the 14th.

In this song, Andre voices a character named Cupid Valentino, who is an updated version of the classic Cupid we all know and love (or hate). Instead of wielding a bow and arrow, this Cupid brandishes a gun. And based on the album picture, it's a shiny pink metallic looking pistol.


On a side note, this song and image inspired me to write an updated version of Cupid based on this representation. I also did some homework on the Cupid character, the stories, the family background, personality traits, so forth and so on... Then I thought of a few storylines to throw him in, coming up with a trilogy that has separate stories that work on their own, but together would be considered the Chronicles of Cupid. I've only completed the outline to the first story, the second would be a reincarnation of a favorite film Love, Actually, and the third would be a modernized retelling of the story of Psyche. This is one of my first independent screenwriting projects I started once I decided screenwriting would be something I'd pursue professionally. But I stopped working on these projects so I could focus on smaller projects, eventually working my way up to feature length. Unfortunately, I keep seeing other modern Cupids popping up on TV and I pray none of them have guns. (Strange prayer, I know.)

Anyway, this song has both Andre singing and rapping, which he does all over this album. The album is based on the concept of love, and this particular song deals with Cupid hunting down people running away from love, and Cupid's revenge since he doesn't get the respect he deserves. Well, that's my interpretation of it. At the end, the chorus chants "[expletive] that Valentine's Day!" as if to say "bump this stupid holiday." Again, my interpretation. And those that dislike this holiday would appreciate the sentiments.

Whenever I begin making music videos, this is one I'd love to tackle. I'll admit, my version might seem a bit violent since I'd take the lyrics literally and incorporate Cupid shooting that pink gun at people, but don't fret, there won't be blood. Just lots of love. Or reluctant love. But it'll be fun! And yes, this video would be a taste of what I have in mind for how this character acts in my stories. It'd be awesome if Andre could be involved and star as Cupid Valentino himself in both the video and movie(s). But after some careful YouTubing, I found these two gems, with the first being super close to what I had in mind. They get so much props from me, it hurts.



And lastly, another version brought to you buy somebody who knows how to play Sims 2 very well. Actually, I don't know, I stopped at the first one... but still, check this version out too.



Happy/[Expletive] Valentine's Day, Indoobians!

2.12.2009

placing my bets: oscars '09

Okay so I lied... this post has nothing to do with Valentine's Day whatsoever when I said every post this week would be Valentine-themed. But it's time-critical, so I felt the need to post this immediately instead of waiting until next week. Oscar business is big business.

I know I'm perfectly capable of making my own Oscar predictions, but being an Entertainment Weekly subscriber for the past five years has shown me that these guys really can pick 'em. At least the Academy Awards. I'm not saying they are right 100% of the time, and to be honest I don't remember if they were or not... but most of the time they are mostly right. At least for the major categories. So below are EW's Dave Karger's predictions. My own wishes and desires and hopefuls I put in parentheses. They might not win, but it'd be nice if they did. I know you can only pick one, but this is my blog, post your own predictions! (Or vote on the side bar, or leave me a comment.)

For the record, any category WALL-E is nominated in, I'm probably inclined to root for due to it's awesomeness and the sad fact it's one of the few Oscar nominated movies I've seen, and has been snubbed by some larger categories like Best Picture. Oh well. The big winners looks to be between Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button due to the nods they have, but the list below shows the final sweep by the underdog Slumdog. Based on their winning streak, I think I might be foolish to disagree even if I haven't seen that movie, or most of the movies nominated. Next year I'll get it together.

Check out this little Oscar Cheat Sheet I found! This was posted prior to the Globes, but you get the idea.

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Director, Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Actor: Sean Penn, Milk (the Comeback Kid Mickey Rourke or the Underdog Richard Jenkins)

Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader (too close for me to call, haven't seen any of these but if not Winslet, then Streep or Hathaway.)

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (I'd like to see a surprised Taraji Henson)

Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk (I <3 Wall-E, honorable mention for In Bruges)

Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Animated Film: Wall-E Foreign-Language Film: The Class

Documentary: Man On Wire

Editing: Slumdog Millionaire

Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire (The Dark Knight just for kicks)

Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Costume Design: The Duchess (Do period pieces from this era always seem to win... or am I wrong?)

Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Score: Slumdog Millionaire (I want to give this to Wall-E, but it's the only movie I've seen)

Song: "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire

Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I want to mention The Dark Knight for Two-Face, since most of the action on screen was barely CGI, according to the director. But I equally visually enjoy every special effect in Iron Man so this is a tough call for me)

Sound: The Dark Knight (Wall-E)

Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight (Wall-E... I mean c'mon... the sounds and the dude behind them?)

Short: Spielzugland (Toyland)

Animated Short: Presto

Documentary Short: The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306

So if you don't have plans Sunday, February 22nd, watch the Oscars with me. I'll (hopefully) be Twittering while I watch.

2.11.2009

black history blogging here and there

Being a Black American, I didn't forget that this is Black History Month. How can I? My own personal feelings might be a bit conflicting, since I believe Black history should be celebrated all year round because it's made all year round. November 4th, 2008 and January 20th, 2009 anyone? But at the same time, it's nice that we get an entire month to reflect and appreciate great achievements of our African American heroes, legends and events--past and present. And I'm talking about the legends that don't get mentioned as much as MLK, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas and President Barack Obama. Legends like Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, Frederick Gregory or... dare I say it... Sam Cooke. And events like the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Power Movement or the Greensboro Sit-In (which is typically grouped with the Civil Rights Movement, but still significantly important in Black history as well as being immensely interesting and not as widely discussed).

I wrote some commentaries about some great Black idols of my own. Specifically the screenwriter/director/actor idols. It wasn't an easy list to make, but talking about why I chose them and think they are great or deserve some attention was easy to do. Melvin Van Peebles was first on that list, even though I think most of this generation might be more familiar seeing his son, Mario.

Anyway, a friendly screenwriting teacher known as Jaden is the one that provoked my written opinions about the subject, and offered me to be a guest contributor this month on her blog! My first thoughts were... "Me? Just a mere blogger and novice movie guru? On your resourceful site with tons of readers?" It is indoob humbling. Despite my few years of writing and performing for an audience, it's a feeling I don't think I'll ever get used to. I accepted the offer and picked four African American auteurs in cinema. There are more, and it's a list I'm striving to be on someday. But for the time being, these are some people that I aspire to be like.

But enough of my babbling, head on over to Screenwriting For Hollywood and appreciate my aspirations with me. I didn't "advertise" my posting over there partly because I forgot, so I'm doing it now. But thanks again to Jaden for furthering me and the Indoob brand out into the blogosphere and Internet world. Make sure you stick around her blog past February, she has a lot of wisdom and knowledge to dispense whether you are screenwriting for Hollywood or not.

cnn is anti-valentine?

I came across this article on CNN.com that was just too good not to share. I'm an admitted news junkie, and my news source of choice is the Cable News Network. I think they might lean towards the left a little, but it's usually pretty centered even if I tend to be liberal minded. Plus it's the most watched and trusted news source! And I know most of the anchors, reporters and contributors by name. Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, John King, the lovely Soledad O'Brien or Betty Nguyen (I'd like to be their Valentines). I think I've shown too much of my news-junkiness. Nevertheless, the African-American male liberal political contributor Ronald Martin is a trusted source of knowledge and intellect. I had to be specific, because there's (who I consider) a female copy of him--Donna Brazile (I don't see her on CNN's payroll, although she's on CNN all the time).

Anyway, Ronald wrote a poignant piece about boycotting Valentine's Day that totally agreed with my opinions. That's right. Whether your single, married, engaged, embattled--boycott it! And he states his reasons, which I've heard before, but they weren't typed or linked to my blog... so I'm doing it now. Plus I spent all my research time for this post searching for Donna Brazile's name. I strongly agree with Ronald: love and relationships should be celebrated everyday, not just once a year. And he says retailers are to blame. I just mentioned card companies specifically--I totally forgot about the jewelers! And the fact that men don't get much attention other than they are expected to give. Except, maybe for some, they get theirs later that night. And platonic friends shouldn't expect more than a card or sweets. That's just the way of the world unless you live in a movie or some brand of fiction. Harsh reality we live in.

But let's be real and keep it sterling. In this tough economy with people losing their jobs and houses, who can really afford jewelry, fancy dinners, expensive flowers or even a $3 Valentine card when we are trying to scrimp and save to put some morsels of food on the table for the family, let alone one significant other?

Then again, why not make it a day she'll (or he'll) never forget? Bump the kids (if any apply). Despite the circumstances, you still came through and made it magical with a shoe string budget thanks to some DIY website you read on Yahoo's homepage titled "Inexpensive Date Ideas That Impress." I don't have a link for that (ran out of research time, remember?) but type those words into Yahoo or Google and I'm sure you'll get some desired results.

(But did you see what I did there? I like to think of it as being a two-faced devil's advocate. Either way, it's fence sitting, but this particular post is definitely leaning towards anti-Valentine.)

I'm still on the fence, like I stated at the beginning of the week. The past few days I've been waking up late and weary, so I'm considering sleeping in all day on Saturday. This means I won't be on the fence, nor will I be on anyone's side or anyone's yard. Honestly, I will probably treat that day like any other and enjoy some pizza with a friend or two. That alone would be making a point of non-romantic celebrations. But that's me. Let's check out what a rational cynic (if I can call him that) Mr. Martin has to say and you can come up with your own conclusions, if you haven't already.

2.09.2009

bring on the bitter romance, baby!

Valentine's Day is upon us. I remember way back in my youth reading in a Highlights magazine that St. Valentine had nothing to do with love or romance whatsoever. I don't feel like Wikipedia-ing right now to find out his story... but perhaps this was one of the first holidays that people say was created by greeting card companies. And, my oh my, do they make a killing. Not that anyone doubts this, but the proof is seen at stores like Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, Hallmark... any store that houses these cards. What will you find? Crowds of last-minute-men scrambling to find the perfect card--or any card--for their special lady friend.

The florists and chocolatist get this treatment too. And it's not just V-Day, but Mother's Day I see this happen too. But we'll wait until May to talk about that.

This holiday's mascot is probably officially Cupid of Roman mythology. I've done my homework on this dude since he became the focus of a trilogy screenplay I had been working on, but I since took a break for other creative interests. But I've been thinking about creating a character to counter Cupid. A Grinch or Scrooge to Valentine's Santa, if you will. Naturally, at the end of his story, this cynical, malice-filled caricature would probably discover the true meaning of Valentine's Day by the night's end... or maybe the night before... and change his ways thanks to a caring woman who made his heart grow three sizes that day. Or maybe Cupid will stab him with a magical pitch fork.

I could totally take it to an adult themed story line and tie in Victoria's Secret marketing. Out anti-hero will discover a different ending that night. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

But on a personal level, I'm feeling rather apathetic this year. Most of my friends already have someone they'd call a Valentine. And the ones that don't... Well, wouldn't it be nice to get all these bitter singles together to just hate on love and say how overrated romance is? Some hooking up might happen in the process, but they'd be promptly kicked out.

This year, I could go either way. I can look at the lovey-dovey side, or the "this holiday sucks" side. I don't care. And yes that means that at the time being, I am Valentine-less. But no weepy tears for me. It's not that big of a deal. Besides, the day hasn't yet arrived so anything can happen.

I have my favorite past Valentine memories to reflect on though. The double Valentines at Purchase. The Casablanca viewing Valentine. Heh-heh... yeah... Sorry. Okay, so those are only two memories... but they were great and I will plead the fifth as to why and what happened. Good times, indoob.

Anyway, be sure to stay tuned this week as I do the best I can to keep my posts holiday themed. I have had a reputation of being a romantic, so I can't let those people down. Yet, at the same time, I find the thought of being the anti-romantic intriguing. Maybe we'll call this alter ego Syd the Cynic. So join in on the bittersweet holiday that so many people love to hate, or hate because they get no love. Or both.

2.06.2009

fripodding and immigranting: wyclef jean - carnival, vol. ii

I done forgot what I was supposed to be friPodding this friDay. Oh well, let's talk about the newest album I bought that iSaac and I can't stop pumping through every speaker I can plug him up to.


Wyclef Jean's Carnival, Volume II: Memoirs of an Immigrant.

I find it interesting, almost ironic, how I haven't bought a Wyclef album since The Carnival, which I loved so much that I "borrowed" it from my sister for the past... I don't know... 10 years? Well, I accidentally stepped on her original copy while I was making a mad dash through a messy room trying to shut off an alarm, so I had to buy another one. She does not know this because that happened maybe 5 years ago. I swore I bought that album a couple times due to similar accidents... but that's all beside the point.

What I like about this album is how similar it is to the first. Guest list galore, and each song seems to come from a different location, or has an influence from a different culture. The original album has that same flare too. However, there are no interludes, which made the first album seem like a movie or something. But that being the first solo album after The Fugees' The Score, I think it made sense. 'Twas the time of the interludes. Nowadays, we get our music online or even by the song. Interludes are a thing of the past. So sad. I wanted to be on some interludes.

But back to II. This album is actually 2 years old, it came out in 2007. But if I haven't heard it, it's new to me, right? And I liked coming into this album not being aware of the singles or what was a big hit. I already know, thanks to iTunes, that the song most popular was Sweetest Girl and it is indoob a good song. I also highly enjoy King & Queen with the Colombian goddess Shakira. I'm thinking about getting a few of her songs because I'm digging her voice these days. Next up is Fast Car with Paul Simon. I liked this song based on the preview alone without even knowing what the song is about. Kinda on the serious and sad side, but still, I love it. Next is What About the Baby with Mary J. Last I saw them together was with 911. I think this is like a continuation of that song, and maybe a hint of Gone Til November. Just me.

I won't talk about every song. There are a few others on here I really liked. And I like the messages in some of these songs... which are about immigrants and/or society. Not really shocking, is it? But honestly, I didn't love every song. But the most interesting is the last one called Touch Your Button Carnival Jam which has a long guest list. It has to. It's 13 minutes long! It's really 3 songs in 1, and feels like a party that's winding down, but still jamming. I have to imagine that this is what a carnival party is really like.

Either way, this album fits nicely with my other Wyclef tracks. I would've loved some cameos from the other Fugees members, Pras and Lauryn. Who wouldn't?

2.04.2009

ready to read about writing right: "how to write a movie in 21 days"

The truth about me is pretty sad: I'm practically an anti-reader. It's true for a lot of people I know, they have a hard time picking up a book. I don't have a hard time picking one up, I just have difficulties opening it. Then, the chances that I do open it, it's finishing it. That's why I think it was such a big deal that I finished reading Watchmen. But I can hear critics saying now that that isn't considered a real book. Well, I beg to differ. It made it on the top 100 novels and it's the only graphic novel on there. Sure, it's mostly pictures, but you really can't figure out what's going on without reading it.

Anyway, you know you are a sad reader when your friends have to mail you books to read. Peopel can suggest books to you all day, but when it's hand delivered to you by your local postman, then perhaps it's time to read the words cover to cover.

Granted, I still haven't finished Our Uncle Sam by Erik Greene... but I say that's a wee bit different. I started reading that because our cable went out before I decided to pop in a DVD. Again, I know... I'm a sad reader. I've been tryin' to told ya!

So my friend, whom I dub as my "cinematic soul mate" (and I could write an entire post about, but I'm not going to but will thank her for this book and a birthday card she stuck in it), sent me Viki King's How to Write a Movie in 21 Days. Hopefully I can read it in at least 7. If I'm not mistaken, I think she wants this book back, so I will get my reading on so I can ship it back to her ASAP whilst I look into buying my own copy. Or buy her a brand new one since I'm too lazy to ship anything myself that can't fit into a envelope. I have no shame.

By receiving this book, I think it means it's time for me to head back to the "studio" to start penning a script. February just began. In my dream world, perhaps I'll wriet a script every month. Hey, I'm a firm believer in making my dreams come true, so if I could write a script every month... Good googamooga! Of course I'd come back to them a month later to tweak and tweak until I see no more need for tweaking until others say so. I haven't forgotten my mentors Mrs. Rogers and Jaden, plus countless tips I pick up from various trusted sources.

But first, I must read. That's one piece of advice I haven't followed that even my idol, Sam Cooke, said to do: read as much as you can. I seriously doubt I can count Wikipedia.

a [pot] lucky day

Today is crunch day, like most Wednesdays, once again. The difference between this Wednesday and the Wednesdays of the past few weeks is this: I'm in (mostly) full health [coughs], my day is just starting (I woke up at 8:45 instead of 5:45), I have a full water bottle (I don't mind tap and recycling is good for Earth), and iSaac is fully charged and ready to keep me entertained whilst I break down the system (and thanks to my past friPod countdowns, you have an idea of what I'm jamming out to).

Today in particular is a big meeting day at the office. The company would like everyone to be there, by everyone, they mean those who work at home, like me. Will I be there? No. I'm saving on gas and my personal loss of body heat. Which reminds me, I need to make some phone calls to see how much it'll cost Sam to get some heat in his system even though I'm pretending winter will be over next week.

Anyway, there's a meeting I won't be attending--not in person anyway. I'll listen over the phone and eventually get back to work attacking my files while everyone at the office enjoys what's called a pot luck. I'm fully aware of the joys a pot luck lunch brings, I just wish it had a different name. It makes me think of leprechauns with black pots of gold. Not that a name like that will keep me from eating. Hmm... now I want me Lucky Charms. But does it seem odd I'm passing up free food? Maybe to some. But the catch is we are supposed to bring food with us, so the others will be like "I'm sure lucky I came" or "They are lucky they got here to get some of my three-alarm rice!" My mother is grudgingly bringing meatballs. I'd like to go a little crazy on them if I made them, slathering them in BBQ sauce or something. Had I done that, none of my co-workers would get one. Tough luck, no pot luck.

The other great thing about today, I know exactly how many more files I need so I could "slack off" tomorrow. That is, I need to destroy as many files as I can today: at least 20 to make my 55 quota. And hey! If I do more I can count it as overtime! And Lord knows I need some OT pay. Sammy needs a new heating system... among other things.

2.02.2009

a poem: "tour de force"

I captured you against your own will.
You want to resist but can't sit still.
I'm shooting my shotgun at your feet.
Your head bobs trying to dodge the beat.
There's no lacking the cracking of whips.
There's no faking the shaking of hips.
Work you off the wall to the floor by force.
You're my slave and that's my tour de force.
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