Thursday, January 18, 2007

There, but for the Grace of Booze....

Last night at Film Society, I finally saw American Movie; if you've not seen it, it's a movie that holds much of the same fascination and horror of a train wreck. Not just a regular train wreck, either, but one of those ones you see in movies where the trestle is out and the train just peels off down into the ravine car by car by car.... It's truly amazing.

It's a documentary, and I can sympathize with the basic motivation of its subject--it's about an ordinary guy who wants to be an independent filmmaker. I've dreamed about making films since I was 8 or 9, wrote scripts in middle and high school with every intention of committing them to celluloid... and never quite managed to do it. (Though my dreams of being an on-camera star were finally realized in 2006, thanks to MD Hearts!) So I know a little of how Mark, the guy in American Movie, feels.... But oh. My. God. The guy is obsessed with making a horror film--but also with writing craptastic scripts, worming money out of his mentally infirm but rich uncle, and drinking huge quantities of peppermint Schnapps and Labatt Blue. He's just the kind of guy who would have come into the game store and talked to us for hours about his movie/game design/RPG character, whatever, while we took turns hiding in the back room. A telling moment is an interview clip with one of his brothers, who says, "Yeah.... I never really thought Mark would be a filmmaker. I kind of thought he'd turn out to be, you know, a stalker, or a serial killer or something. Seriously." It's like the reverse of when they interview the serial killer's family and they say "Oh, no, he was always such a nice boy, and so polite!" Here, Mark's own family thinks he has stalker potential. His best friend is a recovering addict who is really kind of sweet, always very agreeable, not very bright--and he's like a poster child for what happens when you drop acid/drink/get high to excess, because it's apparent that certain areas of his brain are no longer functioning. He was my favorite person in the movie, actually... But the main thing about Mark is that he will not give up on his dream. Even though his dream seems like a really bad idea--even though his movie looks kind of awful--even though he has no money, and a complete lack of good sense--he knows what he wants, and he goes for it. And strangely enough, he gets it. He makes his awful movie (called "Coven," with a long "o" sound) and has his premiere, and then this documentary about him was a huge hit at Sundance in 1999, and he's sold over 5000 copies of his film and has moved on to make more movies and realize his dream. You gotta admire that.

My pal with the camera is talking about starting to shoot his first film in May, and I am on board 100%. But if I have to drink that much Peppermint Schnapps and Labatt in order to be a filmmaking success, I think I'd rather be a loser...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One Froggy Evening

Oh man....YouTube has EVERYTHING.....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh Please Oh Please!!

It's supposed to (maybe) snow tonight. And maybe stay below freezing tomorrow. Come on, snow....this winter has SUCKED so far. I like the occasional unseasonably warm day as much as the next guy, but my bulbs are coming up, dammit! This is not the January I've come to expect from Indiana. Having 50 degree days in midwinter is just lame. If it doesn't get cold, how I am I supposed to appreciate it when Real Spring comes?


Friday, January 05, 2007

Hoosier Pride

I just had to post about how proud I am that the single dissenting vote on the massive lobbying ethics reform measure was cast by Dan Burton, my former congressman. Apparently he is the only member of Congress who was brave enough to admit that he doesn't WANT to give up free travel and lavish gifts from lobbying interests! Way to go, Dan--honesty is always the best policy.

And really, I did look around on the net and on his official website to see if there was any official explanation of his opposition to this much-needed reform. Nothing. Nada. The local newspaper was unable to reach him for comment; however, they do note that while Indiana lawmakers severely curtailed their lobby-funded travel in recent years, Dann-o took the single most expensive trip of any of our delegates in 2006, a $15,500 jaunt to Taiwan. (The next most expensive was taken by former rep. Mark Souder, Mr. "Homosexuals want to destroy YOUR marriage," who got to go to Madrid with his son for 14 grand.) Coincidence? I think not, my friends.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

But...But I Liked Lorne Greene....

As you might be aware if you too are a Blogger-o-Phile, Blogger has been in beta-test for a brand new version for several months now. The Beta is finally over, and now every time I log on I'm exhorted to "Switch to new Blogger! Switch now! NOW, dammit! Or we'll come to your house and rip all the labels off your canned goods!" Naturally, I'm suspicious.

What I decided to do instead was to start a brand new blog over on Blogger2, using my google ID. (Yes, that makes 4 blogs I have now. Each is a discrete entity serving an entirely different purpose. Really. Shut up and stop laughing.) While Cautionary Tale strives to be funny, the new blog is a bit more serious and a dumping ground for personal introspection--so I won't be offended if none of you want to read it. But anyway, it's giving me an opportunity to check out New Blogger's format without risking the old blog falling into chaos. It's got some nice features--it's certainly easier to tinker around with the look of your template than Old Blogger ever was. But the best thing about it, so far, is that when I log on I get all sorts of messages telling me how cool New Blogger is, including the following analogy:

"Let us put it this way: Old Blogger = Battlestar Galactica with Lorne Greene. New Blogger = Battlestar Galactica with Edward James Olmos!"'re saying....Old Blogger had Daggit? Damn! I always wanted one of those!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ringin' It In, Yo!

Happy Grue Year, everyone and sundry! I'm cleaning my house today, and making room for the stationary bike I have promised myself I'll buy with any leftover holiday cash I might have. It's time I got off my ass. I'm also making corned beef and mashed potatoes for dinner. So what rituals do you perform on New Year's Day?