Thursday, March 29, 2007

Itchy fingers on keyboard

It's been quite some time since my last blog entry and for that I apologize.

At the risk of sounding incredibly arrogant, I just wrote an 1800 word blog entry which is simply amazing. It's about some information of which I just became aware. As I've was researching some of the details, I realized that it is a magazine worthy story, so I've had to hold off on publishing it here. Again, I'm sorry and I promise to be telling more about it soon. Suffice to say that it involves millions of dollars, hidden away from its many rightful recipients.

For the moment, I'm blanketing various film and script magazines with proposals to write the story for them. Having written for magazines before, I know the deal. Sometimes it's smooth sailing; sometimes you get an editor that's a pain. The nice thing about this story is that I am unconcerned about having to "Sell" it to some editor. It's that big. There is also egotistic comfort in the fact that if I don't get what I want, the deal that I want from any of these magazines, I'll simply not do it. HA. It's nice when you got the scoop.

Anyway, I'll cut this one short. Loose lips sink ships, and I feel my fingers growing anxious to share my story with the world.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I had a nightmare last night in which I was back in a high school math class. I was copying formulas down from the board with a pointless pencil, desperately trying to understand any of the gibberish I was copying. What’s more, the teacher was assuming this was strictly reviewing a problem before moving to the new stuff. I had absolutely no idea what any of it meant. My silent mantra as I kept copying the formula was, “Please don’t call on me. Please don’t call on me”.

Interestingly, as I think back on the rapidly fading horror, the part of the teacher was played by my true high school English teacher, not my math teacher. What does it mean? Most likely, nothing. I could stretch and think that it had something to do with re-jiggering the third act of my screenplay, trying to get all the words and sentences to fit like a math formula. Or I might extrapolate and think of it as a metaphor of sorts for not being as prepared as hoped as the we move into the second week of March.

More likely, it has to do with reading not one but two articles about math geniuses yesterday. The first was an article about a math wiz doing time in excessively harsh conditions after destroying a bunch of SUV’s in the name of ‘ecoterrorism’ – a good article to read in case you need any further reminding that the country and its associated institutions is run by below average people. The second was Richard Feynman’s Wikipedia article, at which I arrived after an email volley with my friend, Mathboy.

Because this is my blog I will show how that happened.

Stumbleupon (evil but genius firefox plugin designed for procrastination)

leads to

(click on image to appreciate)

emailing link to Mathboy

Response from mathboy (already aware)

This gem

(click on image to appreciate)

Richard Feynman Wiki

I ended up buying his book before getting back to work.

So, there is my crude flowchart of what -

A. I believe caused the nightmare.
B. was a twenty minute diversion from writing.
C. cost me $15.00
D. today's blog

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My Neighbor Alex

My neighbor Alejandro Martin died.

For most of his life, Alex had been an auto mechanic. As a retired man, he never hesitated to help neighbors and others repair their cars. I frequently saw him under the hood of any type of car, rooting out and fixing a problem. I think a lot of the younger people in the neighborhood looked up to him for that reason. He helped more than a few first-time car buyers get their wheels on the road. When, one morning, we awoke to a flattened tire due to an errant screw, he took it to his place and returned it a short while later, plugged, balanced and ready for action – of course refusing to take any money.

Not too long ago, he had been happily picking some of the various fruits of which we have an over abundance and had shared more of the neighborhood stories with me. It was he who told me the history of the house in which we live (a voodoo witch used to live here – hence the reason for all the red paint hidden beneath the newly repainted walls). I'd also seen him during the graffiti incident where he had finally brought a paint brush of his own to help with the repainting of a wall across the street.

I knew he had cancer, but it was recently diagnosed and the chemotherapy didn't seem to be taking too much out of him – or so he claimed. So when, in the midst of a sudden flurry of activity next door, I saw his son and learned "We lost dad on Saturday", Marianne and I were kind of stunned. As we have woefully noted, the transient nature of Los Angeles is unnerving. The ground on which we stand, the houses in which we live, the friends, the neighbors and the neighborhoods have such a temporary feel, that it begins to feel like we are living in a film production. The sets and actors are all transient, and "It's a wrap" might be called at any time. For his family, it also came suddenly and unexpectedly.

At his wake, seeing the photos of him throughout his life was touching. I only knew him as a man in his early sixties, but seeing him as the young guy, fresh from Mexico, hopes and dreams yet to be realized was sweet insight into his life.

Seeing Alex in the casket, I was struck, as I always am, by the ritual itself. Rather than raise any emotions, the deflated wax figure made me ponder the strangeness of a "viewing"; a relic from a primitive time to confirm that yes, they are indeed dead. The utterly false representation of the person I knew lessened the emotions I was feeling – until my eyes caught one thing – a tiny wrench placed in his breast pocket. That small piece of chromed steel really got me.

In a town where stars are born, worlds and ideas created and exploited – where wealth and fame reach incomprehensible levels, Alex was a simple man; an immigrant who dreamed of a better life and made one by working hard with his hands. However, if a sign of a man's greatness is by how many people attend his funeral, he was a great man. Every pew in the church was filled to capacity – three hundred or more people. He affected a lot of people in a positive way, myself included. I'm glad to have known him.