Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adventuring In Trumansburg

Today I did what Tigger from Winnie The Pooh would call "adventuring" in Trumansburg. The ride over and back was very nerve-wracking: it wasn't snowing, but there was a lot of wind.

When I got into town, I parked at a vacant parking lot, where a grocery store called "Save-A-Lot" used to be. My guess is that people didn't save enough for the store to stay in business, because it was closed, and it looked like it was vacated only recently. In fact, I remember it being a "Big M" store not too long ago.

The first thing I did after I parked was to go to the post office, to mail a few things.

Then I made a stop at Gimme! Coffee where after my nervous ride over, I ordered a LARGE cup of coffee, and got to work on the game plan for my DVD.

As I got to work on my game plan, I realized something: this DVD may be more than I bargained for, or at least I'll have to devote more attention to it than I initially thought. Of course, I'll be doing it, but it may mean that I may have to put some other things on hold. Getting off topic. Anyway...

After I finished the game plan, I walked around and snapped a few pictures:

This is the Church of St. James the Apostle, the local Catholic Church.

In the rectory yard of St. James is a lovely statue of the Virgin Mary. I don't think this picture does it justice.

This is Trumansburg's Town Hall. Below are two more pictures of Main Street:

I stopped at Life's So Sweet, a confectionery on Main Street, before I started back home. I stayed in Trumansburg quite awhile, but I think this trip was cut short by the weather.

On my route home, I always pass by a vacated diner called Happy Landing. Every time I pass by it, I always fantasize about turning it into a diner. Of course, I think about this every time I pass by a vacated building. On Christmas Eve, I passed by a vacated corner store in Geneva and even went so far as to jot down the number of the real estate agent. One of these days, I may jump on one of these buildings.

I was still very nervous on the ride home (though not as nervous as on the way over), but as I got closer to home, I calmed down. Also, I drove careful and slow. I made it home safe and sound.

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Neat Desk

My very recent job had me scanning archived designs dating back to right after WWI. When I spotted this at Staples, I was like, "I could make a whole business running a something like this!" You can scan receipts, invoices, bills, etc. I want this.

Too bad it costs $500.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

No Book Today

Back in 2004, I joined a screenwriting group at Ithaca College. I wanted to write a movie with an ensemble cast, when I tried to push the material, the other people in the group shot it down, primarily because there aren't too many ensemble films evaluated--mostly because the studios aren't interested in buying them.

Cut ahead to the summer of 2007. I'm at a library at a local college when I decide to pull out a book on psychoanalytic criticism, which I had read about elsewhere. In the introduction, the editor of the anthology made a point to distinguish Psychoanalytic criticism from other forms of literary analysis, like New Criticism and Post Modernism. A passage about Aristotleian criticism really inspired me. If you've read at least one or two screenwriting books, you know that many of them to some extent regurgitate Aristotle's Poetics. To realize that the Poetics was only one form of criticism (as opposed to the form of criticism) really blew my mind.

Thus began an 18 month odyssey in which I devoted myself to researching and debunking popular screenwriting theories. It would either manifest itself as a book, or a "consulting practice", by which I could've marketed myself by having a contrarian view.

Last month, after I got hired at my last job, I decided it was time to bring some closure to the project. I realized that maybe I didn't need to write a book, and I'm not sure if I have too much interest handling other people's scripts. I decided I would write a paper. I ended up writing 2½ pages, enough for a position paper. This past weekend, after finishing The Huffington Post Guide To Blogging, I thought about created a "side blog" devoted to posting my findings. Then I realized: there are plenty of options open to me. What do I have to prove?

Part of me is glad I did the research: I know at some point, I'll be able to use it in my own writing for sure. Another part of me, however, regrets wasting so much time that--at least some of it--could've been spent writing. Oh well, live and learn.


In other news, I sketched out the website for the DVD. At least I'm making progress somewhere...

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Personality Parade

In junior high and high school, I used to look forward to reading the Sunday Papers. Not to catch up on news, but to read the celebrity Q&A columns in USA Weekend and Walter Scott's Personality Parade in Parade. Then celebrity blogs came along. I read Perez Hilton (until it was all about Perez), then Pink is the New Blog (until Trent sold out). I'll pop into DListed occasionally, but I don't really get into celebrity blogs these days.

Last summer, I read a wonderful book titled Girls Like Us, which profiled three wonderful women of song: Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell. The book prompted me to dig out my old Joni Mitchell CDs (and buy a few more), and wound up listening to Mitchell almost exclusively most of the summer.

This morning, I took a look at USA Weekend's celebrity Q&A column, and lo and behold, there's a question about Joni Mitchell, submitted by someone who had read Girls Like Us:

Judging by how the columnist answered this, I wondered if they read the book at all, because if they had, they would know all this information was in the book. I feel sorry for the person submitting this question.

These days, these Q&A columns seem to be only for people who are computer illiterate. I wonder how long it takes them to dig up all this "insider" information. Somewhere, Joni Mitchell is cackling.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Cheddagate, Continued.

On Christmas Eve, I reported about Russel aka Chedda, who went from working for $10 an hour at Foot Locker and being $12K in debt to recieving $5K a month in Goverment Grants which have allowed him to buy a $15,000 watch and help him start a clothing line.

While killing time at my sister's house yesterday, I went to Technocrati to see if anyone else had blogged about this. I came across this item from WorkAtHomeTruth.com. Earlier, the blogger posted this item.

"Brad" is a former waiter with similar problems to Chedda's. Like Chedda, Brad was struggling with Credit Card Debt, but was able to get a $12K Grant and earn $5K a month to finance his business on Google. Aside from a few notable changes (substitute "clothing line" for "Google Business"), his "blog" is nearly identical to Chedda's: at the bottom of the page, there are six comments, with the comments section "temporarily disabled". The website shows this:

A few years ago, I ended up running up a significant amount of credit card debt and didn't really have a good job to pay this off. On top of that, I had my home and car loans to worry about. I didn't have the best job in the world, so I needed to find a way to get some money.

If he's working as a waiter with a boatload of credit card debt, who did he get his mortgage from? Fannie Mae?

Who the hell makes this shit up? Anyone who falls for this scam is a moron!

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Tommy the Angelman

My Christmas went well. Yesterday afternoon, we went up to my sister's place where we killed time while we waited to go to my cousin's house for dinner.

My 3½ year old cousin Tommy decided to make me his person of the day by continuing to grab me by the sleeve and dragging me however far until he lost interest. Tommy has very recently been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, which is caused by a chromosonal deletion. It can be a very devestating (as it has been for Tommy's family) dignosis, especially for parents who want to have more children.

I had a good time, and we had a filling dinner, topped off with a very tasty mint & cookie ice cream cake. I managed to sneak in a few minutes of watching Ben-Hur on TCM before the boys came in and decided to watch Basketball instead. When I got home, I finished watching Lawrence of Arabia, which I started Christmas Eve. (Watching a "Epic" has become a Christmas tradtion of sorts for me--last year it was Spartacus), and watched the first episode of Season 3 of Saturday Night Live, which I got as a gift.

I'm not going to mention everything I recieved, but another item I recieved was The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. I'm not a huge reader of the The Huffington Post (with exceptions, like Jamie Lee Curtis' editorial on Miley Cyrus), but given that it's been successful, I figured it might have some worthwhile information for an upstart like myself. I haven't finished it, but so far, it does have a lot of useful tips which I hope to incorporate in the near future.

This weekend, I'm hoping to get started on the Are You From Bingo? website--sketching out the page before I create it. I might as well get to work on personal projects while I figure out what to do as far as work is concerned (at least until spring).

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Colored Person Earns $5K a Month Via Government Grants

I never click on Google Ads, but I saw this at the top of The Velvet Rope this morning, and just had to click on it.

No real black person could've created this "blog", and there's no way in hell you could get a grant to pay for a $15K watch. The comments section at the bottom of this page are a total joke: "Comments Have Been Temporarily Disabled".

Trolling Google to see if there were other reactions to this, I came across this post from Holy Taco, which shows a screen capture dating to 12/18. The pictures in the blog look really different than the ones I'm seeing now. Noticeably, there are no more pictures with Chedda's face on it. Also, the blog post is dated to October 5th. In the Holy Taco picture, there's a picture of a man on a motorbike, and in the one I saw today, a man with a car.

I speculate that this "blog" will be taken down in 5...4...3...2...

My two siblings and my brother in law are here. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Wrapping It Up

My last day of work at my temp job is tomorrow. What's most devastating for me about losing this was that I was really looking forward (once the housing situation was settled) to getting to work on the DVD. I'm still planning on working on it as much as I can in the coming days and weeks--at least what I can do, given where I will be. For now, I plan on trying to enjoy the holidays, since there isn't much I can do about looking for a new job until after New Year's, anyway.

I will be applying for a job at H&R Block in the meantime. I worked there before in 2004 and 2005, but should I be accepted (and I likely will be), this will be more of a stopgap that will allow me to take it easy and wait out winter. However, if I find a full-time job--even if it's a temp position--I'm out. I'm also hoping to put together a business plan so I can figure out what exactly it is I want to do, both in business and creative ventures, for next year. I figure that might help me in terms of what type of job I should try and go for next.

Remember that woman I was talking about last week who might be able to help me with housing situation. She can't really take me in, but has been trying to find people for me and will continue to do so.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blue Motel Room

I am spending my remaining two nights in Ithaca at the Super 8 Motel. The person I was staying with declined to tell me that she would have a guest arriving tomorrow. I told her last week that I would be working Monday and Tuesday, and staying tonight and tomorrow night.

She said I could stay tonight, but I would have to leave tomorrow. For the last week and a half (after she told me to look for another place to live), she hadn't even so much as tried to make conversation with me. I don't want to be in a place where I'm not wanted, so I decided to check into the Super 8 instead. Thankfully, the Super 8 isn't charging too much for the next two nights.

This Super 8 is nice. It has WiFi (which is allowing me to blog this), a fridge, a microwave, and even complimentary breakfast. I wanted to write more tonight, but I am very tired. Maybe I will talk more tomorrow.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let Go

Once again I am out of work. The company I've been doing temp work for has had to make cut backs, which means that they have let all temps go. Apparently, this isn't the first time they've had to let temps go for money reasons. I told my supervisor that if they had the resources and were able to resume, I would be more than happy to come back. My last day will be next Tuesday (the 23rd).

Obviously I'm very sad about this, but at least this time it wasn't my fault. The tough part for me by and far is that it is now winter, making it a lot more difficult to commute. I really liked my job, but this is happening to a lot of people right now.

Last summer, I was approached for a certain type of work, and at the time, I declined. Now I'm considering it much more seriously.

Stay tuned.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

A New Home, and: To Self-Publish, or Not?

Well, I may have finally found a place to stay for the remainder of my job. A friend of my father and I has offered to help me find somewhere to stay. There's an apartment that I'm going to look at Wednesday just incase.

Last night and this morning, I gave some thought of publishing one of old screenplays (along with some essays) as a print-on-demand book, just for something to sell. Xlibiris offers a nice package that would allow me to publish it and sell it at Amazon. But it may have to wait. I have the $500, but I have to spend it on other things.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let the Wind Carry Me

I'm feeling a little bit better about my situation. Tonight I'm going to take a look at a room that's available. The only thing is, the other two people there (I believe) are college kids, and the lease runs until July.

I suppose I can get another job if worse comes to worse, but I didn't really want to stay in Ithaca long this time. I just wanted to work, do my DVD, and keep my options open. My mother mentioned she'd help me out with rent, but I am tired of depending on them. I know there's the option of subletting, but that's not a guarantee, either. I suppose I can figure that all out when the job (and the DVD) are over.

I know that this isn't a great time for anyone on a financial level, but I'm tired of bouncing from menial job to menial job, and even if I can't make a living making movies and writing, I'd like to have a full time living working in something in that field.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Well, as it turns out, I will have to leave where I am come Christmastime regardless. The woman I am staying with is used to being on her own, and it's very cramped for her. I will be spending the remaining week and a half here looking for a place to stay. House sitting situation or an affordable place to stay doesn't materialize by December 23rd, I plan on showing up at at the Red Cross emergency shelter, and hopefully they'll find me a place that I can stay, or someone who can take me in.

It stinks that it has come to this, but it will be January and commuting an hour to Geneva will not be an option.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Looking for an Orphan'd House

I've decided to look for a place to house sit for next month. Right now I'm staying with a friend, but it's a little cramped, and I where I sleep isn't too comfortable. I'm going to put up an ad in Ithaca's Craigslist, and I have posted a couple of flyers downtown. I hope I get a response and a decent bed.

In other news, I just found out Ry Russo-Young's Orphans has been out on DVD for two months, and has a new movie premiering at Sundance. I've been wanting to see Orphans forever, and her new movie looks pretty good, too. I have put it at the top of my Netflix Queue, and I can't wait to see it.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On My Ranch, In The Dark, With My Llama: The Rest of the In Living Color Video Parodies

Kim Wayans as Whitney Houston: "Rhythmless Nation"

Janet Jackson sang the original version of this song, but this is still funny. Even when Whitney could sing, she couldn't dance to save her life. Come to think of it, most of her outfits in the '80s were tacky, too.

Tommy Davidson as Michael Jackson: "Little Billy's Not My Lover"

I remember seeing this one the first time around, as it was a response to the Child Abuse allegations that were brand new. At 13, the fact that this was a "Billie Jean" parody went over my head. The video briefly mentions that he had a relationship with Brooke Shields. It's hard to remember a time when he associated himself with anything other than children.

Kim Wayans as Tracy Chapman: "I Write A Fast Song"

This one I remember as well. I like how Kim/Tracy tells whoever is over the phone that she doesn't want to rush the song, then heads to the window with her guitar and starts writing lyrics inspired by things that are happening outside her window. I really loved this sketch the first time I saw it, and I'm glad it's on DVD now.

There's another parody I wanted to put on this blog that was a parody of Michael Jackson's "In The Closet". It was a parody with David Alan Grier as Joe Jackson, singing "Keep her in the closet" or something like that. It came out right after the initial broadcast of the Jackson Family miniseries, and all this stuff on Joe Jackson came out. Unfortunately, it's not on YouTube...yet. Stay tuned.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

"Now I'm Being Dissed By Urkel": More In Living Color Parodies

Here are some more In Living Color music video parodies:

Jamie Foxx as Sir Mix A Lot: "Baby Got Snacks".

I hated the original "Baby Got Back" until I found out that Sir Mix A Lot was trying to flatter the large gluteus, not objectify it. This video parody is okay...Sir Mix A Lot is still better.

Shawn Wayans as Jimmie Walker: "Mama's Gonna Kick Me Out"

"Mama Said Knock You Out" was a golden moment for LL Cool J. It proved that LL wasn't just some teenybopper idol (see "I Need Love") but one who could flow with the best. Personally, I'll take LL over Tupac or Biggie anyday. But anyway, I'm sure this video alludes to Jimmie Walker's post Good Times career...which is practically nonexistent.

Shawn Wayans as Shabba Ranks: "Mr. Ugly Man"

Again, I didn't have MTV as a kid, so Shabba Ranks never entered my radar. But whenever I see flattop fades, I always think of Chris Rock's SNL Sketch, "I'm Chillin'", where Chris Rock's character sports the most hubristic of black fashion. One time, his character offered Tommy Hilfiger wallpaper (this was around '96 or '97). Perhaps it's not such a bad thing that I didn't have MTV as a kid.

I have a few more video parodies, and I'll try to post them this week.

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Taking A Cue

Last week, I tried to write an essay on a topic that I've been researching for a year and a half. I wrote the first part Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...that was fine. Over the weekend, I tried to write the second half, and any energy and enthusiasm I had for it fizzled out. It just...died.

Also over the weekend, I found the hard drive that has most of Are You From Bingo? on it. It's been MIA since summer. I'm taking both of these things as a sign that I really should focus on the DVD. I'm hoping to contact the interviewees for the new interviews either this week or next, and let them know I'm doing this.

I might also have an interview with Binghamton University's newspaper, Pipe Dream. Which would be good, because I'm hoping to hire BU kids for crew, so that would be good to get the word out.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grandma Made Me This Dumb Jacket: In Living Color Music Video Parodies

I lived out in the sticks as a kid, so I didn't have cable until 1994, when my family was one of the first people to buy a DirectTV satellite. which made my first real exposure to Urban Culture the Fox TV series In Living Color. During its four year run, In Living Color made a lot of video parodies of then-popular music videos.

Recently, I've been rewatching a lot of them on YouTube, and I'd like to share them with you.

Tommy Davidson as MCHammer: "You Can't Touch This"

Mc Hammer getting lost in his pants made an impression on me the first time I saw it. I waited for years to see it afterward. My only wish is that it had been longer.

Jim Carrey as Vanilla Ice: "White White Baby"

Jim Carrey takes Vanilla Ice's mannerisms to the extreme (pun intended). The sad part is, as exaggerated as Jim Carrey takes it, he's actually more entertaining the real Vanilla Ice. Best line? "I told the world I was stabbed in the butt, but it was a toilet paper cut, yeeeeeowsh!" Check out what the Vanilla's jacket reads.

Tommy Davidson as Michael Jackson: "Am I Black or White?"

Ahh...the days when the weirdest thing Michael Jackson did was grab his crotch and smash the windows of a police car. When we knew of his friendship with Macaulay Culkin, but didn't know of the extent of...well...

Jim Carrey as Snow: "Imposter"

Another "white rapper" video with Jim Carrey. This time, Carrey is playing Snow, who we all thought was a Jamaican til we saw him in his video and discovered he was Canadian. I think Snow was actually sent to prison about the time his song actually became a hit. I loved the real version because I was 12 when it came out...I loved the parody then and now.

Kelly Coffield as Paula Abdul: "Promise of a Thin Me"

I remember when I first saw this one. I don't remember this being on any of the DVDs, so I thought it was lost in my memory forever.

The original video had Paula Abdul all stretched out, and I'm almost certain the original video came out after her Vibeology debacle. Could you imagine if the internet was as well developed in 1991 as it is now? The "Vibeology" video would've been all over the internet.

Kim Wayans as Crystal Waters: "My Songs Are Mindless"

This is the video that inspired me to make a post devoted to In Living Color video parodies. I actually don't remember this one when it came out, but I saw it last weekend for the first time. Anyone who has heard the original song will have a good laugh at Wayans' lampooning of the repetitiveness of the lyrics. "Yabba Dabba Doo, Yabba Dabba Doo, Yabba Dabba Doo, Yabba Dabba Doo..."

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Fighting 29th!

Now that part of my initial purpose of setting up this blog has been resolved (at least temporarily), I'm thinking about shifting the focus of this blog to something else, most likely Independent Film. I will likely be redesigning this blog too. I like the colors, but I want to utilize CSS more.

Meanwhile, I'd like to belatedly congratulate Eric Massa for finally winning New York's 29th Congressional District seat a week and a half ago. I don't know how Randy Kuhl would've held up on The Colbert Report's "Better Know A District" series. Google "Randy Kuhl + Shotgun" to see what I mean...

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