Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just Moved

Almost two years ago, I began what I'd thought would be a one year push in pursuit of a screenwriting career. As time sped by and the one year turned to two, I changed my focus, and in the spirit of that change, I've changed my title and my surroundings.

Join me at three chainsaws.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Change is in the wind...

Right now my three week old daughter is napping on the couch with my wife. My son, fresh from his own nap, is asking me for corn flakes (in a minute, buddy). And I'm sitting in the enclosed porch of our house, a converted summer cottage for vacationers, looking out at the January sun, thinking about new beginnings. A new baby, a new year, new outlooks, new issues.

As hinted about over the past month or so, I'm about to change things up here, a shift in focus and a chance to right the push in the direction I wish I'd set it on at the beginning. I hope you'll be there for the ride.

More news here soon. Peace. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Now That I Have My Foursome, I Won't Have To Play Golf With Strangers Anymore

Quick post to let you know we had the baby on Thursday, just in time for Christmas. She's truly beautiful, and The Prince is glad to have her home to admire and protect as big brothers should their younger sisters.

My best to you and yours for a great holiday season and prosperous New Year. I'll be back.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where Am I?

It's been an odd month or so blogwise for me since my morale wavered, a month spent wondering how to proceed, whether to proceed. I have to say I'm very grateful for the encouragement I've received here, so thank you again.

A few days after puzzling publicly about continuing the blog and even the idea of continuing to write, I got some notes on one of my scripts from a certain reader, and found more encouragement, so thank you Scott.

But I also recognized a few weeks back that my latest project has a pretty decently-sized problem, so while I've got the first act down pre-trimming, I need to run back over the big picture to see if this will cause me massive grief later. A plus is that I woke up the other morning with a pretty neat setup for another story that I can start prepping and switch off working on with the already-started project.

The most important project that's occuring now though is the very rapidly approaching birth of our second child, our as yet unnamed daughter. Originally slated for arrival just after the new year, it looks like she's going to make her debut sometime in the next week (hopefully not during the nor'easter that's due this weekend). We've been painting and re-assembling furniture and hanging little bits of wall art and now my former office is my daughter's nursery. It's a small room, pretty cramped as the office/faux storage room it turned into, but just the right size for a baby. It will be too small for a toddler, however, so while we knew another child would mean our time in our present apartment was short, it now seems like we'll need to make a move in the next twelve months. Since we know we're not going to have any more children and we're both sick to death of paying rent and having no investment to show for it, this means we'll need to be looking to move into our first house. If we follow this train of thought, this necessitates at the very least a higher-paying job for me (the wife does pretty well, I'm the one bringing up the rear).

So I guess you can see where my head is at right now. When I began the blog, my idea was to write about the things that make me write and the things that make me not write. It's time I achieve a more defined focus.

Coming into a third year of what was going to be (albeit an unrealistic and naive goal) a one year push is stretching common sense, so a change of scene would certainly be necessary, a clean house to run around in. I've got a few changes in mind, I'm just considering how and where.

Whatever I decide to do, I'll let you know here. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 03, 2007

random anecdote

My sister-in-law spotted a toddler-sized firefighter's outfit online back in September and ordered one for The Prince. It arrived in mid-October. It's a nicely-made outfit, heavy fabric, a solid helmet, his name embroidered on the left breast. When we first unboxed the uniform and showed it to my son, he started pulling off the clothes he had on so he could change into the costume. Since this is the first year he seemed to show interest in Halloween, we figured we had a hit.

Halloween came and unlike the past few years, the weather cooperated with dry skies, if a little cool. My son went to school that day, specifically not in costume as mandated by the school's coordinator. His teachers handed out a packet of M&M's to each member of his class and wished them all a Happy Halloween on the way out. I talked to him when I got home about putting on his uniform and walking around our block like a few children were already doing, but my son just looked up at me quizzically, his brow knitted into one of those punctuation curly brackets laid on its side, peaking between the eyes, as if to ask what this absurd notion had to do with his logical and orderly routine. Despite the Spocking I was getting from my kid, I was still surprised later when he refused to put on his uniform. No tantrum, no screaming, just abject refusal. "No firefighter," he explained to my wife and I, waving us off with a raised hand. Instead, he preferred to sit on our stoop and hold the candy basket for the visiting superheroes, princesses and railroad hoboes, grinning ear to ear. I snapped a photo so we'd have a record of the holiday, but I had a rough time fighting off the disappointment of not being able to walk him around and show him off, my polite and handsome boy dressed as one of his heroes.

A week and a half went by, the uniform hanging in his closet, only the helmet getting occasional play. There was plenty of room to grow in the costume, so knowing he'll be able to wear it next year cushioned the blow, but seeing it there when I'd reach in for his jacket would still make me sigh. I was getting ready for work, not due in until the afternoon. The Prince was busy hugging up his beloved sitter who'd just arrived for the day. I could hear a fire engine honk its horn a few blocks off, but disregarded the sound since we live two blocks away from the local firehouse. Instead, I spent 20-30 seconds looking in the bathroom mirror, wondering why the hell I keep growing what looks like stray strands of black wire on the bridge of my nose.

I heard the engine honk again, closer. A lot closer. Before I could fully ask where it was I had my answer with another honk, right outside our house. As I walked to the front door, my son was hopping up and down at the porch window. "Firefighter!"

My neighbor across the street had called them, I heard her telling the squad from her sidewalk that some grease had caught fire and she'd been able to put it out, but wanted to be certain there was no danger. The firefighters trundled into the house and around back to the kitchen.

I stood on my steps and watched for a moment, thinking about my father, pausing on a scrap of memory I have of being in his station house, somewhere near 1969, 1970, the huge engines right up close, the camaraderie of the firemen. I turned back to the porch window to find my son beaming, watching the flashing lights, counting the firefighters.

I don't think the idea came in a flash, it was just suddenly there, like those moments where you thought you've lost your keys and then they are in hand, right in your pocket where they've been all along. The idea was there and I had everything I needed to make it happen, but I needed to act fast.

"Firefighter? Put. On?"

"That's right, pal, let me buckle you up."

Just like that, my son was in uniform and my camera was in hand. We ran out to the sidewalk and he slowed down and stopped as we neared the fire engine, looking up as though looking at an enormous red beast. I tugged at his hand, but he firmly stood his ground, not scared, but cautious.

I placed his back to the engines and turned to step a few feet away, preparing for my three year old to lose the mercurial interest a toddler holds in most things parents hope they'll enjoy. I turned back to look.

My son stood up straight, shoulders back and let loose a toothy grin, his helmet cocked back, the sun breaking through to shine on his face. I held my camera to my eye and fired off shot after shot as he giggled in joy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

The past several years, I've been a ghost around the house from this week until the first week of January. In my previous career in retail, these next six or seven weeks mean everything, and despite increased commitment each year to spending just the alloted amount of time at work (last year, my boss threatened a bad job review for anyone who went more than 30 minutes overtime for any week), we were never able to get out of the store with less than 45-50 hours each week.

My wife would just wave to me on my way out, no amount of discussion being enough to fix the problem of not having me around to chase The Prince around in his annually-increasing holiday mania or help around the house. I'd come home most nights after they'd gone to bed, wake up before them and take off for work, only to return in time for dinner in a state of mental exhaustion. If my job was normally like fending off a stoning, the holiday shopping season made it like having floor seats for an avalanche.

When I quit that job in May, my very first thought was that I'd get to spend the holiday season with my family, and starting today with an abbreviated shift at my new daygig, that's about to happen. I can give thanks for my wife for her support, to my son for his energy and spirit and to my soon-to-debut daughter for a renewed promise of a great future.

Let this old sap give you a moment of advice: Let yourself enjoy what you've got. I tend to look around at my life and focus on what's not there, but this holiday season I'll be reminding myself that not long ago I didn't have any of what I have now. Sure, it may dampen my drive for a moment, but it will serve as fuel to keep driving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Once Had Lunch With Brian Dennehy, But He Must Have Withheld The Tzatziki

I've been missing my Late Show fix since the strike began, so I'm glad I found the Late Show writers strike page. Thanks for the funny, guys. If only you were smart enough to reprogram the Julie Chen-bot, you could end this strike with a little pillow talk.