Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Did It Again, And Still I Suck.

I have now won ScriptFrenzy.

I shouldn't brag because it shouldn't have taken me a full 30 days to write the thing I wrote, but hey. 100 pages while I was busy with five other things and semi-dead was not bad. Really.

I discovered a neat little free program called celtx, that specializes in creating scripts and storyboards and honestly I only used it for a script format, and I figured it out within two days, so I would call it easy. There are sections for character profiles, and even video clips, like back when I was a kid and totally had a Star Wars/Xanadu crossover, I could have used my VideoReDo to make that totally happen, complete with the Benny Hill musical numbers. OMG.

It's for Windows, Mac, and Linux, so everyone can get in on it and start creating stuff that is probably better than most #1 movies these days.

Not that I'm saying mine is better than, say, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanimo Bay, but I have finally managed to shape a portion of the thing I occupied myself with during my childhood into a story that I can read back and not be thoroughly confused by. Of course I left the karaoke and paranormal elements of it, so that's why there's only 100 pages. *ahem*

There is puke, there is head-kicking, and there's even edgy hotness. I think I'm figuring this writing from my soul thing out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

VideoReDo is My Secret Lover.

It's been a while since I wrote a review of anything neat for the computer, and that's because I've been so busy using the stuff that I don't have time to rave about it. But VideoReDo...I have to just make everyone go use it. Even if you don't edit videos, just go look at it and know that it is amazing.

Yes, VirtualDub is fabulous, I love me that thing, but...there's an issue with that. Up to VirtualDub 1.4, I could drag the slider and see the frame I was on. (I've lost you, haven't I?) But newer videos, especially the MPEG variety, need VirtualDubMod in order to keep the audio synched (no, really, I'll stop with the lingo in a second). The latest version of VirtualDubMod won't show me a preview of what frame I'm on, and I know I'm hardcore, but I'm not that good.

VideoReDo takes the MPEGS, right? Cuts down to the frame, and it can take stuff out of VOB files, like, DVDs. Then? Joins them. So like, my great epic Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap Palpatine actually perked up its ears and thought about maybe existing outside of my head for the first time in three years.

Imagine me telling you all this with my runny-nosed face pressed up against the video camera, only a tiny flashlight to illumiate my crazed eyes. That's now much I love this frikkin' program.

Also, this past Monday, there was a special episode of Deal Or No Deal that involved Star Wars. Cheese to the max, I know, but I had to test VideoReDo's Ad Detective before the trial period was over. I don't know how it knows, but it marked out the commercials. The only mistake it made was when the tv went out from the bad weather, and come on, even I can't figure that out.

So if you have videos, and you want to edit them, but you can't with VirtualDub, I point you to VideoReDo. I will share my special friend, there's plenty to go around. Depending on the version, it can work with everything from Win98 on up. Score.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I, Like Spring, Am Sprang.

Last Saturday, we had a special dinner! Mum made coconut shrimp, which is batter-dipped coconut and shrimp and it tasted very good. Of course I am still allergic to shrimp, and fried food also likes to try to kill me in my sleep, so believe me, it tasted very good. I was still itchy on Monday. But it was really very tasty.

Then of course we watched movies! First was El Orfanato, a.k.a. The Orphanage, or as I like to call it, don't flip the hell out on your kid while trying to show other people you can take care of a bunch of will end badly. And, oh...did this end...well, not exactly badly, but bad things happen. It's one of the better "my imaginary friend is a wronged soul" movies, though.

After that, we watched Sleuth, the remake of Sleuth, that movie which has Michael Caine in both versions. I was surprised the remake was as short as it was, until I watched it, and wondered how they stretched it that far. The cell phone ring towards the end made The Puppy do this adorable thing with her ears and her head and it was so very adorable that I think Michael Caine and Jude Law deliberately did not answer the phone just to look through the TV and see how long The Puppy would continue to be adorable. I made a soundbite of the ringtone, and I plan to use it. FOR THE CUTENESS.

Then on Sunday, Nan found Blood For Dracula again, and Mum hadn't seen that, and Nan hadn't seen Flesh For Frankenstein, which was coming on next, so we watched them all together and it was glorious. Nan likes Udo Kier now. I think I love those two movies. I mean, I've watched them three times, and I can remember bits of them and everything. Wow.

Art School Confidential was coming on after it, and being it was one we hadn't seen before, we left it on, and it was all well and good with us making remarks about the levels of snobbery in schools and the art world and the next thing we were onto fowarded emails that promise 16 years of bad luck of the forwarding does not continue. I delete those letters, and that may explain my personal life, but saying it didn't go down too well because Nan just sends those kind of messages back to the senders, and Mum thinks the Internet should stop existing and we fell into a toned-down version of my childhood, where everyone is wrong, but we're all too tired to leave the room. These are the parts I don't blog about usually, but I'm writing this after a long day of working on things I can't blog about and therefore all I have that is mine are things like this and endless deadlines that all get in the way of each other and keep me from actually putting any real joy into any one project. Plus I have what the earthlings call PMS.

Then something in the movie we were watching made me think of that time Pa said something about shooting someone with a book, and I was okay again. And by okay, I mean I crawled up into my head where the '80s music plays and cats leap through grass and dogs look adorable digging holes and all I have to do is make sure I keep my face clean and change my clothes when they get too much mud on them.

At the beginning of the week, Nan found Heaven, with Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. It was one of those movies I like, but it was mostly in Italian, and when I had my head in the computer, I was unable to get the subtitles. I got what was going on, though, and thought it was pretty good.

I think it was Tuesday that Nan found Age of Consent which we started to watch just to see Helen Mirren as the young girl James Mason meets when he goes to live on the Great Barrier Reef, but then we watched the whole movie because it was pretty good. Godfrey the Dog was made of awesome.

Nan also found The Linda McCartney Story, and while I knew most of it (possibly more than the movie covered but I guess the sponsors of the TV movie didn't want to hear too much about vegetarianism), the actor playing Paul actually looked like him so I looked up occasionally from my work and thought, "Wow, they matched him pretty good."

And then, I think on Thursday, it was 80° and sunny out. And I died. As I think back on it, it must have been interesting to those who noticed the zombie dragging along that day. I don't think any other time I've said that I made it home without causing a car accident was ever so amazing to me. It's another one of those things I don't talk about merely because no one gets the joke, but the rather nice-looking guy nearby did laugh when I was trying to get Mum's attention, and she's sort of deaf and I lost my voice, so um...I really made an ass of it all. Since that day, I've been regaining the feeling in my right arm, and I've been trying to catch up 44 pages on my Script Frenzy story, edit some family videos, continue to stay ahead on my comic strip, and also make appearances so my family does not think I really have finally laid the hell down for good. Luckily, I have some David Cook albums I found to keep my head occupied. It's almost wrong, the way I like this guy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Movies I Might Not Watch With The Pope

We finally got to see The Golden Compass and it was frikkin' fantastic. I hope they make the other two before Dakota Blue Richards graduates college. Then again, this movie ended so happy maybe I should just be glad for the warm fuzzies and call it the greatest ad for a book series ever. My puppy gained the title of demon for a few days after this. Er, no, not daemon, just demon. One-puppy garden demolition team, she is. Wouldn't have her any other way, but the running with hedge clippers in her mouth is a bit hardcore.

On Thursday, Nan came across Blood For Dracula! Yes, the exciting sorta-sequel to Flesh For Frankenstein, featuring the same star (Udo Kier-I've seen him in loads of movies but never realized how heroic he is to cult films) and the same Fellini-like vibe. The topless gardeners made me think about how in a lot of movies, as soon as someone comments on the heat of the day, BOOBIES happen. Okay, maybe not a lot of movies, but Spiderbabe left its mark on me. Vampire movies always amuse me, though, because of the running around bitching about the sun, and not being able to eat or, but this one had the added bonuses of po' Dracula barely making it up the stairs without falling down, then he kept throwing up the blood of non-wirgins, and the ending...well, all I thought of was the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I now have to wonder if the Pythons were inspired by the this for the rest of my days. Fabulous--if odd and very, very naughty--movie.

Thursday we found Infamous, which was not just another story about Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood. Then again, I haven't seen any others, so this one was really really good in my opinion. Also, there is more Daniel Craig. I don't think he ever sleeps.

Like...vampires! Odd movies we've been seeing this week after watching the Pope on TV visiting the church Nan lived in most of her young life, and last night, right after the replay of the St. Joseph's mass on EWTN, we turned on the 2004 remake of 'Salem's Lot. There was no X-Files tonight, man, that's treason, even if I have seen them all a billion times. Being I have a history with 'Salem's Lot, it's now possibly the least freaky thing to see a dude with weird eyes bust through a window and be creepy. Sad that I don't have that debilitating fear of things in the movies coming to get me as often as I used to, the world is not so magical as it was when I sat near the TV in the '80s watching the scary movies. Then again, this post could have been delayed by me hovering outside the door to my room with the sword our neighbor gave us, poking at my jacket until I was sure it was safe to enter.

I haven't been doing too much gardening since Wednesday, as it's been too hot and it's not like the movies when I garden in hot weather. Not at all. The neighbors don't know how lucky they are.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Am So Hardcore....

I just washed my hair without taking off my radio.


Okay, it was only the front of my hair. I only washed a section of my hair.

I am so hardcore I only wash one bit of my hair at a time, yo!

Then I got medicated shampoo in my eyes. But did I cry? No.

One of the perks of losing one's voice occasionally is that no one can hear you scream when you nearly blind yourself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hey American Idol!

What's with all the songs about death? The couple of hours a week I take my brain off the hook, the last thing I'm itching to see is everyone crying and being, like, human. Except David Cook, he's perfectly entitled to cry if he wants to.

That said, I do not expect to survive Andrew Lloyd Webber week.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dear Telecommunications Gremlins,

Stop signing me up for baby magazines and e-newsletters just because I bought stuff for my niece. Trust me, the mere appearance of more magazines cause me to be way too violent to be trusted around. I am planning to write back with horrible and totally false tales and threaten a mental distress lawsuit if I get another issue. I've unsubscribed from the online version five times already. Just stop. Don't make me come up there.

Anyone in need of a sample Huggies umbilical care diaper, I have one. I don't need it. I will send it to you. (I swear I'm not kidding, I thought it was a blankie or something useful to my cats and dog, but after the initial confusion, I'm seriously considering finding some poor dumpster baby and giving her the diaper.)

Stop charging things to my bank card that I'd never sign up for in the first place. If I had $19.95 to blow on something, you can bet it would be utterly ridiculous and probably involve jointed plastic likenesses of movie characters, not lists of e-mail addresses to spam and not pre-paid Mastercards.

Stop calling my grandmother names when you dial the wrong number and she takes the time to tell you you're wasting a story on our answering machine. Shut up and listen to what she is telling you, it's obvious you speak the same language. I hope your ears are still ringing from that blast of my handy little siren, you bucking fitch.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Movies Without End

Next is a movie with Nicolas Cage. He can see so far into the future that the movie ends before it starts. If you think that's funny, wait until you see it.

Nan found Whispers and Lies, which was a made-for-tv movie where everyone practically holds up signs saying, "WE KILLED YOUR FRIEND AND WE'RE LYING BECAUSE WE WANT YOUR BLOOD," and the main character even ignores the punky local girl who calls her stupid. Then they all meet up, resolve their differences, and wander off the set. This was not as bad as the movie about the guy who keeps stalking a house, no matter who lives there, causing the woman he was originally obsessed with to come back to the house so she can shoot a wall and yell, "I don't love you! Now don't move!" and he stays there and waits for the police. I can say that was an unexected ending. I'm not even going to bother finding the title, I'd rather call it, I was stalked by a dumbass. Who knows, maybe that is the name.

One night we happened across Flesh For Frankenstein, which I could just say is an Andy Warhol film and expect you to understand that means lizards come out of men's butts and scientists get way too friendly with their patients' parts. I did not realize Andy Warhol produced feature-length films until that night. It's also Italian, and is directed by the director of that Hound of the Baskervilles I love so much with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. All this might prepare you for the movie if you plan to check it out, but then, it didn't give me a clue. We actually watched the end twice to make sure that it ended the way it did, because it came down to the direction someone was being cranked, and you know how when you see a plane in the sky, and it seems to be standing still because it's headed straight for you, but then you notice it moved, but you're not sure it moved? YES. After two hours, it mattered that much.

During the week I did a lot of gardening. Also got my voice back as soon as the weather warmed up. Except it went again after I bent over. Such is life with a hiatal hernia. I'll be the one in the corner who talks funny, then jumps up and down, and proceeds to talk fine until going off-balance or sitting down.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Very much like 1980.

I'm sitting by the TV, watching X-Files, writing, and what comes on maybe two times during the ads? An Esurance Speed Racer tie-in! Does this mean someone is crazy enough to insure a guy who drives a race car equipped with radial saws around town with his kid brother in the trunk? Perhaps this insurance company has an idea.

They showed a clip of the movie, and it's the first time I've seen any of it on TV, as opposed to loading frame-by-frame on YouTube and I realize drugs may be a viewing requirement but I don't care, because it's fabulous.

(Okay, X-Files would have been a welcome sight in 1980. All I had to freak me out back then was like, 'Salem's Lot with all those freaky-eyed people, and the slasher movies of the day.)

(Yes, I was six in 1980.)

(No, that's not why I couldn't sleep.)

Speed Racer is hitting theaters in less than a month. OMG, SQUEE.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Paso Doble And Me Go Way Back.

You know, I always loved Kristi Yamaguchi. I first saw her as a pairs skater, and that was probably twenty-something-ish years ago, so I've liked her practically forever. I figured she'd do well on this season of Dancing With The Stars, and she has, but I damn near lost my mind when she danced the paso doble to Blue Monday, and I can't understand why I loved the whole thing so much, because usually the band makes me cringe with their covers. (I feel I should apologize to the band if they ever Google themselves and find this, but I cringe at wedding bands, too, so don't let me stop you, just rock on and don't mind me.) I think it just proves that Blue Monday is so fabulous it can't be done anything but great.

I found the dance on YouTube, and I'm putting it here because admitting I watch figure skating and Dancing With The Stars isn't enough, I'm taking you all with me.

Adam Corolla's paso doble was also frikkin' hilarious, and I was sad to see him and Julianne Hough go so soon, but it was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Three Days Does Not A Week Make.

On Monday, I signed up for Script Frenzy, a writing extravaganza from the people who do NaNoWriMo. It took me two days to figure out Celtx. I thought screenplay formats would be better for me considering I write like, "He walked into the room and sat down," but I realize now that I just suck. I wrote four pages on Monday. I plan to get back and add the other 96 pages...but I was kinda busy this week.

Nan found Dead Silence, a new movie about an evil ventriloquist dummy with Donnie Wahlberg as a policeman who can't stop shaving. It was a good scary flick, so if you like movies about killer puppeteers and haven't seen it, go for it. You'll never accept mysterious dummies in the mail again.

Then it rained. Then I wrote the previous post.

I feel like I'm being a bit of a downer at the moment, so here's some Muppet goodness for you.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Together Again

I took this picture of my Aunt Bubbles and Uncle Gene when I was a kid. For the next 25 years I carried it with me everywhere I went, and just seeing it and knowing they were in the world kept me going.

Aunt Bubbles & Uncle Gene

My Aunt Bubbles followed Uncle Gene to that party where Pa is dancing on the bar, and I know her parents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and dogs were happy to see her, just like I know she and Uncle Gene are proud of their daughter and grandchildren, who--live everyone who knew her--are gutted to know they won't see her or hear her voice for a while. Aunt Bubbles and Nan called each other soulmates, and I know there's no one that could talk with her about their guys and movies and mysteries the way Aunt Bubbles could. I promised Aunt Bubbles I'd try, but my brain is dependent on the Internet, where Aunt Bubbles just knew things.

Aunt Bubbles was the storyteller I'd sit with every chance I got, but when I thought about it tonight as everyone was sharing stories, I realized most of the stories she told me were about things Pa and Uncle Gene would do. I didn't get up and tell everyone that she was the one who told me how to spray paint downwind so I didn't paint myself, and mum didn't tell the story about the curtain rod project of 2002, but those are some of the things we'll remember. Everyone knows about her love of movies, though, and my Aunt Theresa told a story that she found a composition book and thought her mother had left a journal. When she opened the book, she read, "Paul Newman was born...," the book was had pictures and notes about actors and movies. Aunt Theresa went on to tell the story about one time that Paul newman got into Uncle Gene's cab, and Aunt Bubbles asked, "Why didn't you bring him home?!" Aunt Bubbles said I had good taste when Nan told her I liked Jean Arthur, and she always told us she was like Becker (the Ted Danson character, which made me happy because, dude, I wish I was like that!) and last night I heard Nan's TV, playing Becker. There are a million things that will make me think of her every day, just like Uncle Gene. Years ago, she sang Beyond The Sea at her grandson's karaoke party, and I've been thinking of that song, and this week it makes me quite weepy. But in a good way, because they rocked, and all I want is for them to be happy because they earned it. I would go so far as saying they saved my life. They definitely kept me sane, and they always looked out for me.

One of my happy safe places. There was, of course, the story involving mah boobie back when I was 14, when Aunt Bubbles told us about her doctor, who Uncle Gene called up the night before my surgery, telling him to get some sleep. He told me he called at one in the morning. This is part of the reason Uncle Gene was cool. The other part was that he picked us up and drove us to the hospital the morning of my surgery, and told me not to worry if "one ended up smaller than the other," and then he ate the meal they brought me afterwards because I only wanted the Jell-O, and told me not to get cocky when I started getting ready to go home two minutes after I woke up and nearly puked.

After we lost Pa, Aunt Bubbles and Uncle Gene had me put my film-to-video skills to good use, and through that, I met Aunt Bubbles' family, and Aunt Theresa's in-laws, and their friends Annette and Chuck, and I loved them all so much that it got to the point where I would know people at gatherings, and they had no idea who I was at first, but then they'd say, "You're Gene's niece!" and they'd tell me a story or ten and I felt like I could take on the world. One time Aunt Bubbles told me it happened to her, too, that because of the videos I'd sent her of Pa's friends, she was getting up to greet people she didn't even know because she recognized them from a movie film or picture.

I had plans when I learned to drive. Those plans will never happen now, and I have to live that, but I know they understood. At least, Uncle Gene used to yell over the phone, "Get off the road!" and always told me to warn him when I was going to come through his street so he could get indoors. Like I said, always looking out for me.

Being the emo soppy mess that I generally am, I wasn't much use over the phone before I lost my voice, so I sent Uncle Gene my comics, because I wanted to make him laugh. Aunt Bubbles told me he loved it. Aunt Bubbles loved butterflies, so yesterday I made her an origami butterfly. I wrote a message on the paper before I folded it, what I wanted her to know above everything, and actually all I could write before my head threatened to explode and wet the paper. I love you, my China doll Aunt Bubbles.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Guess I Live For Movies.

Entertainment Weekly has a feature on Speed Racer, complete with a flash slideshow that lets you zoom all the way up Emile Hirsch's nostrils. Not that I did that. *ahem*

There won't be too much more prattling about this movie from me as it comes out next month. ZOMG! Then I can start frothing over the new X-Files movie, which has a poster that I braved ending up on a website that tried to give me a "virus scanner" to share with you. Erm. It may surprise you to know I've never had that happen to me before.

Where are you going, Scully? Get back there, I loved the last season.