Monday, December 19, 2011

Stream of Consciousness, Friday night

My Friday night at home, alone.

Stream of consciousness (look it up) blog. Once in a while, I think it is good to take a break, diverge, take tangents, see where it leads you. I've come up with some very interesting things that way. Or so people tell me from the results.

Here we go:

I discover that Steven King has a new movie on, a mini-series, actually. Pierce Brosnan is in it, with Patty Duke's TV dad. Awesome, love that guy, but oh, God, he's getting old. Patty and her cousin, so funny, so long ago, so 60s.

So, I'm the guy, that wrote a play, wherein, the protagonist, was a frustrated playwright from New York, Manhattan. I'm an ex Manhattan-ite. Love Manhattan. Used to live on 86th and 5th. Anyway, in the play, the guy goes through all this crap with his girlfriend. In the end, he's had it. So, he leaves NY. He plants a nuclear weapon (okay, now, look, this is all metaphorical, and, I wrote it in 1983, in a screenwriting (or was it playwriting, yes, playwriting class). So, this guy, he blows up NY. Right? But then he finds out that Mr. King (for whom I have the most respect) has left for San Francisco. So, this guy, he blew NY up for no reason. Shit happens. Right?

I wrote that at Western Washington University. We were sitting on bleachers, in the downstairs stage, so there's a stage, an open part of floor, and bleachers. When the play is done being read, EVERY one in the class turns around and looks at me. No one says a word for a minute. One guy near to me, I think it was Mike Rainey, says,

"So, do you have a problem with Steven King?"

I responded, "No, I really don't, other than he is famous, and no one knows me." Everyone is quiet.

At the end of that class quarter, the instructor, Bob Schelonka, walks around and hands out slips of paper to eight students. I'm one of them. I said, when he handed it to me, "What's this?" He's says, "It's a slip for you to take part in an eight person, year long, special screen and script writing class. I've selected eight students out of this playwriting class, and you are one of them. If you're interested?"

I look at him, incredulous. "Seriously? You are choosing me?"

He gives me a questioning look and says, "Yes?" He smiles. I smile, I'm stunned. Understand, I showed up at this class, typically, at 28 years old, the oldest student in the class (this was after four years in the Air Force), usually, I had a cup of coffee in a paper cup, with a shot of 151 Barcardi in it. I was stressed out in this class, possibly the most stressful class I'd ever attended.

And that includes a solid year of Psychology Statistics.Horribly hard class. I mean, I took Psychology to avoid any kind of math, and they make me take a solid year of statistics! Miserable, but I learned a lot. Couldn't have made it through though, without my girlfriend Monie (Monica) and our friend Kim ("God", long story). I remember hours of studying our Psych stats book, drinks, study, filling up the mug with rum and coke, more studying. Then our primary Psych. Department Adviser, Dr. Rees, tells us, if you study high, you should take the test high.

But it's better to study straight (anathema), and take the test straight, he says. Okay, didn't happen. We studied and drank to kill the boring duration, then took the tests as straight as possible. I got a "B" first semester, "C-" second semester, but no "D", so I passed and left that nightmare behind.

Where was I?

So, I accepted. The year long screenwriting class. Best decision of my life. Well, one of them.

So, tonight, I'm watching yet another Steven King movie. And he never got blown up, just run over by a van with a drunk driver. A drunk driver who just sat there waiting for the police. Drunk drivers, are idiots.


King did a good job on this one. I'm a Pierce fan, so no worry there. When I heard Brosnan was going to be Bond in the movies, I thought, finally, good choice. I Loved Roger Moore as "The Saint" but he just wasn't Bond to me. Even though Ian Fleming wanted him initially, and hated Connery, but Roger couldn't get out of his TV contract. Sean, was the man.

But King. Well, don't get me started. Okay, I'm started....

During the misery that was that first semester of that Pyschology Statistics class, with the Professor that literally wrote the book for the class (and his Father, and Grandfather were both big names in Psych. Stats and he looked like some kind of  Cary Grant figure the girls literally swooned over, but he was such a nice guy, the guys couldn't be jealous over), I found a copy of King's book, "Cujo", left in the classroom.

So I took it, I read it. And I was furious afterward that I had wasted the time to read it. I took it back to class. I put it on the desk where I found it (someone left it for someone else, we did that a lot to help out other poor broke students so I always would leave a book to replace one, or return it). But this time, as I set the book down, I realized that if I left that, someone else will read it, and that would be a mean thing to do to someone, after all, our time was valuable.

So, with no one left in the room, I took it and threw it in the garbage can; that grey metal thing next to Dr. Thorndike's desk. Don't get me wrong, Steve is a genius, sort of. But he does go very long in the characterization and it puts me to sleep. And his prose ain't that wonderful. I'm more of a Clive Barker fan. Always have been and I have the letters on my wall from him to prove it. Even if he tells a boring story, you can't help but enjoy the prose for its own sake.

So, I'm watching Steve's "Bag of Bones" miniseries, all four hours at one time. In the end, a pretty good piece of work. Pierce, as always did a good job.

Melissa George, did a good job, too. I liked the show. Until the end. An old woman attacks Pierce, and takes a dire end. A LAME dire end. Seriously? Oh, God that frustrates me. A good film, and then at the end, you have to muff it up with some lame special F/X? Really? And she died too quickly for that kill shot. Temple shot, eye shot, whatever, but not that. They always have people bleed out too quickly. Like if you stab someone with a bleed out wound, they do NOT die within five seconds. It takes a Long time to bleed out. But then death in film is almost always so fake, so stupid, so, inaccurate. Unless it's something like "Blood Simple".

I have a rule, in life, in writing. If you try to kill someone be prepared for this, because they won't die, easily. But if you don't want to kill someone, they may very well die easily. Case in point. Some bad guy tries to kill you, you kill him back first. DO NOT simply walk away, make sure you overkill him, or he's probably going to get back up. In real life, people don't die easily, especially if they are motivated; they will run on until the batteries run out, or the oxygen in their blood burns out. If you are in a "friendly" bar fight, one punch, that person may fall and hit their head, then die, immediately. Suddenly, you're up for murder charges, when you only wanted to blow off some steam.

I had a guy try to pick a fight with me once in a bar (actually, he did this twice, another time a few weeks later). As things were escalating, I told him, I don't believe in bar fights. He said, why not, what's wrong with a friendly bar fight? I said, because, you are just looking for a "friendly" fight, but one misplaced punch, or someone falls and hits their head, and you have just unintentionally murdered someone. Drunk, he looked at me and said, "Good point." It de-escalated from there.

Okay, fine, whatever. So when the show is over, I switch over to NBC's "Grimm" Show. Kind of like it. Not so much, ABC's "Once Upon A Time". I argued that with my gay friend, John. But then, he's on the fence with that one too. Whatever. We like "Grimm" better

I miss, the original
Star Gate" show, so don't listen to me. Jack, was just a funny guy.
I miss, "Firefly". Thank you Joss.You're a genius.
I miss, my ex (Oh, please, not that again).
I don't miss this Brandy (good stuff, thank you very much)
And what is this "Blue Dream" stuff?
Life is good.

Of course, my 19 year old daughter is living on the beach in Athens. Aw, life is good. For some of us, who don't have to show up at work on Monday. I missed out on that when I was 19, I went into the USAF at 20. She took a better route. Perhaps.

So did my son. Rock on dude. He just got acknowledgement of his skills at work. Moved to a different testing project. They're starting to realize just how smart he is. What a guy! A chip off the old block, I suppose. My Prof at the University said, "You are, of the existing Psychology students, in the top 1% of the top 1%." Nice compliment (that was to the both of us, the girlfriend, and myself).

And he was a brain. He went to Brown University. He was in a "Think Tank". When the students wanted to protest, they asked his team, what is the next step. They had charts all over the walls, worked it all out, then told the student leaders what they had to do. Take over the administration building, shut down the school. The rest is history. Brown was shut down because of him and his student team of thinkers.

I tried to tell all that to my son tonight on the phone, but he didn't quite get it.

He was playing pool in his girlfriend's basement. Was he dense? No, just was humble. That is part of our way. I am not stupid, but it took until I got to college to even have a concept of that. So in his not "getting that", he was being well rounded, I think. Not conceited. Conceited to me, is thinking you're great, but your not. Thinking you are, or not thinking you are, and being so, are well, different things, right? The difference between my son and I, in childhood, was that I was told frequently that I was stupid.

With my son, we always told him he was smart, he just didn't want to do the work, or do it the way he was instructed to do it. My ex, told me one day, she was tutoring him in math in his room, he was in life, fourth grade, she came out, frustrated with him. She said no matter what, he has to do things his own way. It was a very clear math problem, and I agreed with her, she was teaching him the way, THE way. He would find that out. But he had to invent his own way, stubborn, just stubborn. Strength in character I think. He would try all different kinds of ways of figuring it out and sometimes would decide, the way he was shown, was the way.

But he had to figure that out on his own. Smart. But, time consuming, and after all, we, our society, is all about, saving time, even if it's wrong. Taking the long, hard route, is the smarter way, it's just not temporally economical, is it? I suspect, he's way smarter than I am. We talk about physics, metaphysics, and so on like that, and I hold my own, but he inevitably loses me. But you don't have to understand it all, to be able to help someone like that to solve their own problems.

At my old job, I used to help the programmers. I had no idea how to program in the language they were using. But time and again, I was called into someone's cubicle to help the get unstuck. I could always find the roadblock in their code. So, you don't have to know everything, or more than someone, to help them. Keep that in mind, it's important. There'll be a test later....


Friday night. I need more of these each week.

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