Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

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Reactions: Family

Typical Midwest middle class family.

If that phrase doesn’t help you form a mental image, I apologize. This post may not make that much sense.

The first family member I told about my move to Los Angeles was my younger brother.

“When are you leaving?”

“January.”

“Okay.”

His thumbs twirled as he delved back into Call of Duty, and I could see his brain processing the news as ‘I get your room’. I called my older sister, who lives in Washington, D.C. the next day.

“Oh my God! That’s so cool! Have you told Mom and Dad yet?”

“Nope.”

“Are you going to?”

After a pause that was longer than it needed to be: “I guess.”

“You’re going to have so much fun. I’m jealous.”

“Really? I’m having an anxiety attack.”

FADE IN:

INT. KITCHEN – AFTERNOON

MOTHER sits at the table on her computer.

KATE enters.

I didn’t sugar-coat it. I want to write for TV. LA is the place to do it. I told her about some of the places I found with housing potential.

Mom: “Can I just say one thing?”

Kate: (sighs) “What?”

Mom: “Drugs.”

Well, she kept it to one thing. Silly me. While I was worried about affording rent and a car, not to mention food and healthcare, I should have been thinking about my drug budget. I’ll have to stick with the cheaper drugs for a few months. The mountain of cocaine is a dream…no. I don’t do drugs. It’s never been an issue. Now, it is, for some reason.

I let her ramble. Things like: “you don’t have a home there,” and “I guess that means you’ve given up on horseshoeing school,” came up.

I kid you not. My mother had a dream for me and it was shoeing horses. How do these things happen? Mom had my whole life planned before I hit ten years old. She even picked out the guy I was supposed to marry by the time I was eight. Seriously? In the words of Sarah Palin: you betcha. Imagine her disappointment when he moved away after second grade.

I know this because she told me. It is one of my greatest failings (in her eyes) that I haven’t pursued a relationship with a guy I haven’t seen or heard from in sixteen years who may or may not remember me.

Are you starting to see why I need to break free?

Let’s tack a lesson on here:

Life’s hard. The economy sucks. People will do obscene and degrading things for minimum wage just to have a job. Can you imagine what they would do for more?

But, things can get better. Maybe you don’t need to pack up the car and take a Thelma and Louise dive into something, but you need to get out. You need to be on your own. Your parents will never see you as an adult. They had dreams for you, but you aren’t their horse-shoeing Barbie.

Lesson learned? Good. I’m going to make the world a better place.

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Aside

Six Degrees

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon: fun game or way of life?

Well, its turning into a way of life.

I’m booking my social calendar for the next few weeks (I know, who’d have thought a poor little introvert like me could be so popular?), and you’d be surprised at how many people I know have someone in LA. 

I’ve got the one who knows the neighborhoods (Starbucks, Tuesday evening), the one who was out there to do improv (Starbucks, Monday evening), the one who lives there and might have a job if I can’t find anything in entertainment (phone call, next Thursday). I know a guy who knows a guy who can do a thing or two.

Nice to know things work that way. I’m looking at jobs and should start applying soon. The NBC West Coast Page Program sounds exciting, a good job with networking opportunities. Unlike the NBC East Coast Page Program (Kenneth Parcell), the West Coast focuses more on entertainment rather than broadcast news. I could be seating people for Jay Leno. (If you know Jay Leno, you can send me his email and we can skip the middle man.)

There’s an internship at Screen Gems I have my eye on. It’s a development position, much like the one I had at Sony Television, which means I’m sure to love it. I have to make the dream list now. I’ll start on the sad, not ideal existence list probably next week.

Starbucks is on it.

There will always be Starbucks.

Next time, you find out how my parents react to the announcement.

Stay tuned…


Aside

Things are about to get…

Things are about to get really boring. And, then, really interesting.

I’m moving.

Probably to Los Angeles. New York isn’t off the table, but it’s less likely. If I fail, it’s going to be in a blaze of glory, like a Katy Perry song or something.

I’m hoping there’s no Midnight Train to Georgia moment.

I’d been kicking around the idea for a bit. Last night, I got the marvelous advice from Shawn Scarber: “You’re broke here. Why not be broke in LA?”

Excellent point.

So, January, at the latest.

I’m not completely without guidance. This blog by Amanda Pendo is quite inspirational. Now, I live in that space that all procrastinating writers love: the Research Phase. Can you really trust anyone on Craigslist? In the land of beautiful people, will I stand out in mediocrity? Am I crazy? Will I ever see my family or friends again? (If you don’t hear from me, my phone plan’s probably been canceled.)

Doing some spec scripts right now. Modern Family and Warehouse 13. I’m flexing my network (hopefully, not to the breaking point). I’m looking for a writing assistant position, maybe a fellowship, maybe a production assistant, maybe a Starbucks employee.

Here’s your latte, Mr. Scorsese. 

Watch the blog. Things might get interesting.

Cue Defying Gravity from Wicked.


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Items of Interest: Ep. 17

Humans like patterns. We like to think that things repeat, and we love to feel clever. There are quite a few wonderful things that have come out of this idea. Writing. Science. Mathematics.

These things are supposed to help us identify the patterns of the universe and make us feel special and clever.

Then, things take a turn for the strange and bizarre.

Items of Interest: Ep. 17

Conspiracy Theorists

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. I love a good conspiracy. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe all…many (most) of them. Like:

1. The government is covering up evidence of a UFO landing.

The event that kick-started more than a half century of conspiracy theories surrounding unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Something did crash at Roswell, New Mexico, sometime before July 7, 1947 and – at first – the US authorities stated explicitly that this was a flying saucer or disk – as shown by the splash story on that day’s Roswell Daily Record, pictured. Numerous witnesses reported seeing metallic debris scattered over a wide area and at least one reported seeing a blazing craft crossing the sky shortly before it crashed. In recent years, witnesses have added significant new details, including claims of a large military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens themselves, at as many as 11 crash sites, and alleged witness intimidation. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis claimed that he was involved in alien autopsies which were carried out at the Roswell air force base.

2. The Apollo moon landing was a hoax.

Nasa and possibly others intentionally deceived the public into believing the landings did occur by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence, including photos, telemetry tapes, transmissions, and rock samples; and that Nasa and possibly others continue to actively participate in the conspiracy to this day. Those who think that Nasa faked some or all of the landings base their theories on photographs from the lunar surface which they claim show camera crosshairs partially behind rocks, a flag planted by Buzz Aldrin moving in a strange way, the lack of stars over the lunar landscape and shadows falling in different direction. Many commentators have published detailed rebuttals to the hoax claims, and these theories have been generally discounted but belief in them – particularly on the web – persists.

3. The Philadelphia experiment.

During an experiment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in October 1943, the US Navy destroyer Eldridge was rendered invisible. According to some accounts, the scientists on the experiment found a way to bend light around an object but that the experiment went wrong and Eldridge was transported through space and time, reappearing at sea. Several sailors, it is said, were badly hurt when the experiment went wrong and some were melded into the ship’s superstructure. The US Navy has denied that the experiment ever took place.

I approach these with a healthy dose of what-if. It’s fun to play with these ideas, morph their conclusions, twist around their concepts to the rationality breaking-point. Aliens? Moon landing? Teleportation? Well, if it isn’t the basis for a new novel.

But, by far, my favorite conspiracy theory is the “Paul is Dead” theory, not only in the scope of crazy, but in the realm of “does it matter?”.

You’ve probably heard what I initially did. The whole Abbey Road cover, Paul is the only one crossing the street without shoes, which means that he’s dead. I thought that was sort of it.

Alas, no, my friend.

I stumbled across this website.

It’s well researched. But, I can’t help but think maybe someone put too much thought into it. Maybe it’s true. Maybe there’s only one Beatle left in the world.

Not that it matters. Our lives are being manipulated by men in a room in suits while they drink from snifters and smoke cigars, and, at any moment, we will be thrown into martial law. *cue Twilight Zone music*


Aside

Bad blogger! No cookie!

I haven’t blogged this week. I know. Bad writer. Back to your cave.

So, here’s the rundown. There comes a point in every person’s life when they make sweeping assumptions about the human race based on their personal experiences. And, this is one of those times.

I tend to look at my life as a game with specific objectives I’m attempting to achieve. I think this was a week of secondary objectives, which is sort of a terrible thing to say (you’ll see why in a moment). 

I cultivated a social life this week.

My main objectives are…not going so well. This may have to do with the fact that I feel like I’ve been treading water. It’s terrible to consider a social life secondary, but hey, I never said I was perfect. I just insinuated…

This last weekend, I wrote a spec script for a television show. After sending it on its merry way (for your eyes only), I decided I wasn’t going to write anything until next Tuesday. Not one word. Except, quotes. And, this blog post, which is hardly coherent.

The demonic writer within me flipped me the bird and hunkered down in the back of my head. It’s been poking me more insistently as the time passes. Last night, it said, “Hey, you know that one scene? What if you do this? You better go jot it on a notecard or something because you’ll forget it by morning.”

Not gonna do it.

Characters are sort of bunching up in my head seeking escape. And that’s just fine.

What to do with all that time? 

Reading. That’s a big one. Watching movies. I actually played a little bit of a video game. Played Solitaire for a long time on my iPad. You don’t really notice how long you’ve been playing Solitaire until it’s ten games later and you realize you haven’t blinked in an hour and a half. 

But, here’s something cool. I saw friends. Like, real life actual people outside of the Internet box. We talked about stuff. Stuff that mattered. Stuff that didn’t. Stuff that might or might not ever be.

I complained a lot. I’m not making any headway on that main objective of moving out of parents’ house, you know, so I make a stink about it.

It was cool. Sort of nice to see what it’s like to not work all the time. Achievement unlocked.

I’ll be a bit more bloggy next week. Until then, I’m going to sit in the sun and finish reading The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez.

Summer’s here. You should take some time to…you know. Whatever. 


Aside

Book Breakdown: Oh. My. Gods.

In preparation for Memorial Day Weekend, I went to that wondrous place where dreams come true.

The library.

(We kindly request that the audience hold all nerd jokes until the conclusion of the performance)

I sort of got carried away. Twelve books later, I decided that maybe, perhaps, I could get rid of two.

So, one down, nine to go.

Book Breakdown:

(when you can’t choose what to read next)

Oh. My. Gods.

Tera Lynn Childs takes us inside the head of Phoebe, a high school cross country runner. Everyone has a hobby, a thing that makes them lose track of time, space, and the universe moves in perfect harmonious glory. For Phoebe, that’s running.

We get it. We understand. We lose ourselves with her as feet crunch gravel, sand, and track.

Phoebe is uprooted from her hometown in California when her mother gets remarried to a Greek, headmaster of a prestigious private school on an island. On the boat trip over, she discovers that everyone attending the school is a descendant of a Greek god including her stepfather and evil stepsister.

Phoebe’s only hope is to get a B average and a spot on the cross country team in order to get a scholarship to USC and move back home. How do you compete with demigods?

First Ten:

Voice, voice, voice. Let me be honest: this wouldn’t have made it to my library stack without voice. In the first ten pages, we are dropped at the end of a race, a moment of euphoria, and the best place to understand what is happening in Phoebe’s head.

Not really a runner? Doesn’t matter. You get it.

First person, present tense (I’ve been reading a lot of those, lately), Phoebe is a normal teen. She gets flustered, tongue-tied, but can be stunningly insightful and confident.

There’s a hint of mystery, a twist, competition, hot guys (descendants of gods, right?), cliques based on the Greek gods.

No actual gods in the book, though, so if you’re hoping for a Zeus/Poseidon/Hades throwdown, perhaps look elsewhere.