ghosting the past

I know I have been writing a lot about pod casts lately but some of the topics make me really think about things I want to write about. Usually, I listen to these when I’m going for a walk. In fact, they kind of spur me to walk more because I look forward to listening to them. I cannot seem to listen to them while I’m at work because I can’t concentrate on my work and listen to what they are saying – sometimes even when I’m walking when I’m listening to something that makes me think I take off with my own thoughts and have to rewind the podcast to hear what they said because I drift off.

One of the topics that has stuck with me is ghosting. We all have been ghosted at one time or another and probably have ghosted someone else. I know I have probably written about this previously but I was ghosted by two of my good friends who I share a tattoo with and the other two friends with the tattoo I have ghosted (there are five of us altogether who share this tattoo). Sometimes I wonder if this tattoo was a curse to us. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone all-in to be marked for life with the same tattoo.  Other times I think that it’s just a way of life -having friendships come and go like the ebb and flow of the ocean. I’ve come to grips with it and am completely ok with it.

I believe that friendships fit into three categories.

  1. The besties you see or speak to every week or sometimes even more than once a week: These are a rarity for Charlie and I. We only have a few who we see every week and it’s kind of works out the way it does because if we had more then we wouldn’t have any time to ourselves.
  2. The once a month kind of friendships – the ones you may say, Hey haven’t seen you in a week, month, a few months since that ho left you – you meet for a drink or dinner.
  3. The ones you maintain a distance relationship with who you only really converse with on social media. Maybe you’ll travel every once in a blue moon to see but you remain distant friends.

And, everyone outside of that is really not a friend. They’re just someone you run in to at a bar or concert or restaurant and you exchange pleasantries of “We really do need to get together soon.” When both parties are thinking, Yeah no.

I believe someone can only have so many close friends in this life or else it gets crowded. I also believe people outgrow friendships, they move on or the time to spend with them takes a lower priority than the ones who currently are your besties or they piss you off.

I’ve lived on the same street since ’97 and have been friends with another lesbian couple three houses down. They have only been here a year longer than myself. They have both been through some health problems over the years but they are both doing well now. I used to take them lasagna’s when one of them was ill and there were times I got the mail for them. Charlie and I were always asking them down for a beer, over to dinner and even to the parties we’ve thrown – to no avail. They never hardly ever took us up on it – to a point where I was starting to think that there was something they didn’t like about us or our house or something. They always said no. It was a while back that I needed a ride to the train station – which, is less than 3 miles from both of our houses. I asked one of them if they could give me a ride to the station – this was the one who has her own business and is not tied to an 8-5 schedule. Before I could even tell her what time  or day I needed to go she said, Oh I don’t think so. I know I’ll be busy.

I was hurt by that and thought after all the lasagnas I’ve made for them when they weren’t feeling well and taking them all my Good Housekeeping magazines she won’t even give me a ride to the train? I mean, I think I almost cried.

Flash forward, they are one of our landscape clients and Charlie always gets roped into doing extra things for them like getting their mail when they go out of town and making sure if any packages that are left she gets them so no one will steal them. I told her that she shouldn’t do anything extra for them that I was done after that train station incident. She said that she was going to test them and ask if they could get our mail while we’re out of town next week just to see what she says since just recently she not only hauled their mail down to our house but also all their Amazon boxes as well. (Strangely, when Charlie said it would be easier if she had a key to their house and leave all that stuff there the woman acted all weird about it and changed the subject)

Don’t count on her saying yes, I said.

I just want to see what she says.

I guess the moral to this story is to just do stuff for people and not expect anything in return. Maybe I just need to get my head in that space and not expect anything of people. Even so – she’s pretty much off my #2 list.

Then, there’s the ones who are taking a different path – away from the friendship. Whether it’s a life changing thing, a new relationship, or a lifestyle change the ghosting may be mutual. Sometimes we’re just all in different places. I had heard that one of the “Toads” I share a tattoo with had hers removed. I find this ironic because she was one of the ones who always tried to get us all back together. I look down at mine in the traditional Chinese style on my ankle and think, this was just a phase of my life. Part of my past. I will not erase it. You can’t change history but only the future. 

Advertisements

Censorship, naval gazers and blogging

Years ago when I first started blogging I kept it completely anonymous. None of my friends who lived in town knew about the blog. All of the other people who knew about the blog were other bloggers that I hadn’t met in person at the time. Eventually, some of us did meet but none of them blog anymore.Those were the good ol’ days of blogging. People looked at you in wonder and said, You blog?? Wow…..that’s soooooooo………creative and fun!

Unlike nowadays people look at you like you have a horn coming out of your forehead and say flatly, Oh, so you have a blog.  Said like they’re going to fall over any minute from sheer boredom. Then they say, You’d better not write about me, or that one time, or THEM.

And, hence, censorship.

I want to reply something to the extent of You really think I lay awake at night thinking up a post to write about you or your situation?

The problem is they would actually believe it – that’s a naval gazer for you. They think all you want to write about is them. Sometimes I think they think the reason you started the blog was so you could write about them. I can hear it now:

Me and my girlfriend broke up and now Lanie has started this blog to write about me and my life- f*ck my life!

And, in answer to that – Yes, yes that’s exactly WHY I started a blog is to write about YOU and your life. AND next I’m starting a book about your life so sit down so I can interview you starting from the time you were born. I’m going to write about EVERYTHING.

So, there you have it – it’s all out on the table.(Maybe I should have censored this?)

Then, we have those who have asked me a gazillion times what my blog address is. I’m like, Bitch, I’ve told you 3 times. If they have to ask me that many times for the address then they really aren’t going to actually go there they’re just asking to listen to the sound of their own voice.

Then, other replies to finding out I have a blog are, Oh, maybe I should write a blog.

Yes, maybe you should and name it simply your own name. Or better yet, Navel Gazer – from the beginning. And, whatever you write about I don’t care. If I don’t like what I’m reading I just click on Amazon dot com and order myself a Kindle book and call it a day. I don’t lose sleep over it nor wonder what’s going to be written about me next.

And, I certainly don’t think, Every 30 minutes someone starts a WordPress blog to write about me, Lanie Belluz, OMG! F*ck my life!

420/360

As always, things have been crazy hectic. I still don’t know about the job I interviewed for. I knew it would take them forever to make a decision. I think they are going to base the decision off of two upper management positions they are currently interviewing for. Once they make the decision on who they will be then they’ll decide who is going to be the senior PM. Which, makes no sense and in a way it does. In the meantime, I have another interview for the same position in another department next week. I’m curious to see if it will be the same template of questions.

Charlie and I are going to head to Florida on Thursday to take a little break and see her kids. I’m hoping it will be relaxing just to get out of town for a few days. I’m depending on friends and family to hold their shit together while we’re gone – or we’ll just turn our phones off. Maybe we’ll do that.

Last weekend, we had three day passes to the 420 fest in Atlanta. Unfortunately, it also rained almost the entire weekend. Never again will I buy a three day pass to anything outside. We were supposed to go to the festival with Ellen and her new squeeze – I’ll finally give her a name – Stacy. They went on Friday evening to catch the Snoop Dog show but it was pouring rain and Charlie and I decided to go have BBQ and watch the game instead.

The next morning, Ellen and I were going to run the 5k race together but when I texted her in the a.m. it was crickets after. I figured she and Stacy had stayed out late, she was bailing on the race and headed on down there. On the way she texted me that she did something terrible to her leg and couldn’t walk. I parked in the pay lot paid a significant amount for parking – almost wishing I’d taken Marta but remembered that Marta was almost as much as paying for parking and went and ran the race. I was trying to beat my best time [recently] of 32 minutes but the course was really hilly and I found myself stretching after mile 2 and walking the last hill and made it in 34 – I was a bit disappointed but at least I ran it. In fact, I worked so hard that I couldn’t drink my free 420 beer afterwards because I thought I was going to throw up. As I’m contemplating pouring it out I looked at my watch and realized that I had only 15 minutes to make it back to the car before my parking pass expired. I threw the cup in the trash (alcohol abuse, I know) and headed for the truck only to see the truck parked right next to mine was booted. I was so glad I went back when I did because I saw that they had chalked my tire and I was sure they would have been back to boot me if I had missed the time. Relieved I drove home to shower, pick up Charlie and head back down there. We were trying to at least make the most of the one day it didn’t rain during the festival and enjoy some of the music. Which, we did. We got there at noon and stayed until almost 4 – long enough to see that people were getting hammered and it was starting to be difficult to part the crowd with Charlie’s wheelchair. [All I needed was some drunk person to fall on her and it would have been on] So, we left. We stopped at the bar on the way home and we no more made it inside when it started raining again.

The next day we went out to brunch and stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for Charlie and a cane for Ellen. Despite her sitting in the ER most of the previous day they released her without doing sh*t for her and she was destined to pop pain pills until she could get in to see an orthopedic doctor on Monday. After that, we went home and I had to get the neighbor to help me take the stove out of the kitchen and to the street because they were delivering the new one the next day. I vacuumed, mopped floors, folded laundry and put clothes away until it was time to go to dinner on the way to picking Mary Ann up at the airport. We had heard from our neighbors that Spondivits down by the airport was great so we headed there. Sometimes it’s nice to eat outside of the neighborhood. We got there in 20 minutes and it was crowded but we no more ordered a beer and our table was ready. After ordering we got a text from Mary Ann saying she was still sitting on the runway. So, we ate dinner and decided to go into the bar area and have some more drinks and hang out until it was time to go fetch her. It was fun, we met some women that were in town from New York. Two of them looked like they were there trolling for men and the other one – newly married -was the one that struck up a conversation with us. We talked to her until her group got a table. We didn’t pick up Mary Ann until almost 9. It would have been great to have gone to dinner with her but it was late and I knew she probably wanted to get home.

Ellen saw the doctor today and ¾ of her quad is ripped and she has to have surgery on Friday. Fortunately, it’s outpatient but still it sucks to have it. All I can think is hoping this is the last of stuff this year – that we’re getting everything out of the way that can happen early in the year. Stacy keeps texting me joking that she’s going to call [Ellen’s ex] Louise to come and take care of Ellen. (she has a sick sense of humor that way – but we like her way more than all the other’s)

I know I promised you a post about the trouble Lee has been up to so hopefully I can post that this week sometime – maybe by the pool sipping a Pina’ colada. What a novel idea to relax by the pool and write about someone else’s drama for a change…stay tuned.

 

 

weeked recap

Charlie and I had a relaxing Valentines Day weekend. Saturday, we got up and had breakfast, went over to Ellen’s to take care of the chickens and then decided to go out for a V-Day lunch. Once we were done with that we ended up back at the house and sitting on the back porch. It’s hard to believe now – but, it was a nice evening out. Our neighbors were gone and we had the place [outside] all to ourselves. We practiced throwing beer bottles into the recycling bin and making A LOT of noise – on purpose as they weren’t there to complain. Sometimes they get on our nerves that way.

Yesterday, we decided to go to a movie and see American Sniper. I thought it was very good but the ending was a real bummer so just be forewarned. Afterwards, we came home and hung out while we grilled dinner. We managed to finally get a working dishwasher but now we need to start worrying about a stove. If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

I’m getting ready to work a couple of weekends in a row and I have to say that despite needing the $$ for a stove I’m dreading it. I had been wondering about something else to do part-time instead of teaching since it’s making me so miserable. It’s not really the students that make me miserable [most of the time although there are a few I wished who would take up underwater knitting] – it’s the man who employs me that I feel is treating me like a dog. I interviewed with a Segway tour group and made it through the first interview, however, when they asked me to come ride along on one of their electric car tours they never called me after that. The only thing I think why they wouldn’t be interested is either I’m not the right demographic for them and/or that I have a full time job and I wouldn’t be as available as most of the part timers they hire. Either way, I don’t think that particular tour was for me. What I end up doing to replace motorcycle teaching really needs to find me. So –

-after visiting Ellen’s Charlie and I decided to resurrect the landscaping biz and make her our first client as it’s a wreck over there. That way we can work our own hours and grow the business a little and later perhaps Charlie runs it full time. I like the idea because I already have the company set up (from my earlier unemployment days), business cards and we had a slew of friends who would be interested in maintenance. Although, we agreed we’d have to be specific about what services we’d offer.

So, we’ve been looking at landscape trailers and zero turn mowers which of course will probably one day lead to a mini barn out back. Maybe by the end of summer we’ll have it up and running. It’s a goal. I need to have an end date for teaching so I can tell them to kiss my @ss can back off that and focus on the landscaping and eventually fade that part of my life out. We’re also looking to get Charlie a motorcycle this spring. A couple of our close friends are getting bikes and it just makes sense. Plus, I’ve started this motorcycle group where we haven’t even ridden anywhere except to dinner.

Today, my office was closed because of the impending storm coming in. Everyone is hysterical about not getting caught out in it like last year. Me – I have enough personal days I can float at home all week if I want. The dogs have been hanging in the office, the cat’s in his bed and it’s quiet here a good day to write.

blank spaces

I’ve been staring at a blank piece of paper for so long. Blank when it comes to writing blog posts, starting a new writing project and finding something else to do other than teaching motorcycle classes in my spare time. I feel like I’ve been talking about this for so long that it’s making me nauseous.

I do want to start a new writing project but I just don’t know what I want. I somehow stumbled into the script writing scene but I have yet to develop anything. Plus, the writing style of scripts is a little disjointed to me. It doesn’t flow like writing a post or short story so I’m not sure I have it in me to produce a script.

Either way, I’m going to try to make a commitment to at least start on something and see where it goes.

As far as teaching goes – my frustration has gotten to an all-time high when it took two months to pay me for a class I did early December.  I started looking around at different things to do. I ran across a Segway tour group and applied. I had my first interview last Monday and my second one is this weekend. I think the interview went well, however, if it wasn’t for my teaching experience I doubt I’d even made it to the next level of consideration as according to them the competition for the 4-5 positions they have open is fierce. Saturday I’m to go down to their office and meet some of the staff and then go along on a tour just to see if it’s something I’d like. I’m thinking, What’s not to like? At least if there’s obnoxious people on the tour I’ll be done with them in 1-3 hours and never have to see them again. 

If I get in then I have a lot of training to do but at least I’ll get paid for it – unlike when I trained to be a motorcycle instructor – I got nothing for my time and even had to pay for my teaching materials. They initially train on their electric car tours first because they are their longest tour. Then, if I want to do walking tours and Segway tours then I train some more for them. I do want to do those, however, they aren’t as long as the car tours and they don’t pay as much. But, unlike the motorcycle classes they encourage tipping the tour guides. So, we’ll see what happens. If this works out then I’m tapering off the motorcycle thing and will eventually resign. I really think I’ll like it so keep your fingers crossed.

In other news, our Super Bowl party has really blown up to a large event. I’m thanking the stars for the 55” LG TV in the living room. But, not for the  LG dishwasher we had to take back. When the repair guy showed up to fix it – it had such old parts [on a new unit, I might add] that he had to back order the part and couldn’t promise it would be in by 15 days. When Charlie heard that she disconnected it, threw it in the back of the truck and drove it back to Lowe’s and got her money back. So, we have to start over. This is so frustrating. I recommend sticking to LG TV’s only.

Yes, we’ll be eating off paper plates for Super Bowl XLIX.

exercise your right…….to unfriend

It’s national unfriend day on FB but churchy has already beat us to the punch -she unfriended both Charlie and I.

What’s ironic about all this is that just last weekend when Liz and Lina were here we were discussing her. I found it VERY STRANGE that churchy had only met them both briefly at dinner last New Year’s and had friended them both on FB. We had gone out to Brickstore pub before our party in Midtown and Ellen and churchy had joined us. When I asked Ellen about it she said, Oh they had that whole Methodist thing going on. Regardless, I thought religious denomination not enough to friend someone on FB. I had met several of Ellen’s friends at her get-togethers and most some I still haven’t friended even though I know them.

Do you think some people collect friends on FB like some compulsive hoarders keep old  magazines around?

I was like, What did we do? We have been nothing but nice to her and we weren’t even one of the single friends of Ellen’s that she always glared daggers at every time they were around like Cindy and Mary Ann.

FB provides all kinds of weird parallels, too. Ellen had met this woman, MaryAnn, through another musician friend that lives out near Portland, OR. This friend moved here recently and Ellen had been showing her around and helping get her settled in. We thought she was a possible love interest until we met MaryAnn’s [long distance] gf who lives in the other town of Portland, ME. (Unless I’ve gotten this all confused) ANYWAY, despite just moving here MaryAnn seems to know a lot of people -including a friend of one of my ex’s crazy monkey woman.

Shortly after friending MaryAnn on FB I got a friend request from a Yvonne. It had been so long that I had to go to her FB page and look at pics before I remembered who she was.  We had one friend in common, MaryAnn. I texted MaryAnn, How do you know this person? It was explained through various gf’s they had had, met out west and a typical lesbian incestuous circle. I asked her if she knew crazy monkey woman and she didn’t remember the name. I was relieved because I think if I saw CMW again I’d want to punch her in the nose or take a bag of rats over to her house, break in and let them loose. (if you’re curious about the rats you can go to my old blog and read about it here)

ANYWAY, Yvonne was friends with CMW. In fact, while CMW and I were dating I was highly jealous of Yvonne. She was this cool artist, musician type that CMW was always saying to me, She’s truly talented, Lanie, truly talented…..and, she’d do the verbal drift off after that like she was in deep thought. I was thinking that she was thinking about being between her legs is what I thought. They even went on trips together. CMW did a business trip (she was always finagling biz trips around crazy monkeys in other places – there were crazy monkeys everywhere – England, Texas, Chicago, you name it – there was a crazy monkey she had to go get sh*t and cum thrown on her study. So, CMW has to go to Texas to study some monkeys and asked Yvonne to go and photograph them. She even got her on the payroll and a ticket to go and after photography of said monkeys they went fishing together the rest of the week.

We caught so many great fish, Lanie. She’s truly talented…..[the drift]. By that time I was sure they were having an affair. I mean, wouldn’t you?

Yvonne happened to have a gf as well who obviously didn’t mind that she went off with women who always gushed over her talent. But, Yvonne’s gf was constantly glued to her phone. While I wasn’t even allowed to even look at my blackberry when I was in the presence of CMW Yvonne’s gf was constantly on hers. She would even leave the room and go talk while they were in the middle of hosting parties, dinner, playing cards, everything. Who she was talking to no one knew – she was a busy fundraiser working for a non-profit organization. I could not see the two of them together at.all. Again, why I was sure CMW and her were having an affair.

When I asked MaryAnn if they were still together she said no that they had broken up and Yvonne had moved to SC. I asked if she had known her ex that much and she said, Oh I see her from time to time at their gigs (a friend of MaryAnn’s (who, ironically we met at the last motorcycle meetup) plays music with the Yvonne) but she’s always on her phone so I hadn’t had the chance to talk with her. Some things never change.

So, after grilling MaryAnn about her, going to her site and even seeing that she didn’t have CMW on her FB I friended her. I at least have a little more of a friending pre-requisite than churchy.

How about you? Have you exercised your right to unfriend today? Or have you recently friended someone from your past?

You can find me on twitter @Lanie_Belluz

Screenwriter studio meetup #2

I went to another screenwriter meetup last night. I hadn’t been since this time and before I started the job I have now. [Hence, why I haven’t been outside the fruit loop in a while]

This time I had a little more insight on what to expect. Social time between 6:30 and 7 – unlike the first time I was like, Ok, we’re all here. Can we start? And between 7-8 we went over a script that we had all been asked to read before we arrived. I liked that much better than having to do an entire reading while we were all sitting there (like the last time). This time the woman who wrote it sat in front and we went through a structured critique of it. I found I liked the script even more after critiquing it with everyone.

The synopsis was: After waking up in a strange house, pathological liar Hal wants nothing more than to get out but someone from his past won’t let him.

At first reading it, I had to get a sense of wth was going on. I had to read it a couple of times. But, afterwards I felt it had a little twinge of Vanilla Sky.

The woman who wrote the script is actually going to film it soon -it’s been accepted and funded and everything. She’s also the roommate of a coworker of Charlie’s that showed up one Saturday to pick up a futon we were throwing out -funny, strange coincidence at that.

If you read the post about the earlier meetup some of the same characters were there – Nick and Lance but Kip wasn’t which, I was a bit relieved because I’d remembered him slightly annoying me because all he wanted to talk about was this surreal book he was working on that he wanted to turn into a script. The girl with the smiley face tag, Meagan, who I later found is the co-organizer of the group. I sat next to her while she read a huge volume (it was literally 9 x 12 inches) of Fire and Ice complete with pictures. I sort of glanced at it and wondered why she was reading that while we were critiquing this other woman’s script but she offered some great critiques and she had written a heck of a lot more scripts than anyone in the group so who was I to judge. The guy whose script Dinosaurs and Lasers we read last time was there. When I asked him how that was going he said he hadn’t had time to work on it. There was one guy there who had produced some of the things he’d written. He kept challenging the woman whose script we were critiquing to make changes. I thought it was a bit bold of him especially since he wasn’t paying to film or produce it.

After 8 they offered a kind of workshop for beginners on how to get started. Books and software were discussed. (I had already downloaded a free software and started writing something but I have no idea of what I did with it and what it was about). One of the books they discussed I think I already own but hadn’t read. I’m more of a hands-on type of person – I just want to sit down with the software and start writing something instead of reading some book cover to cover on how to set up Act I, II & III even though I know that’s important to have a sense of. Lance, who is another co-organizer of the group and experienced said he had recently attended a class from this famous man on screenwriting that he didn’t really find all that helpful because he said he’d been doing most of the stuff already that the instructor talked about. He said it was great and all for beginners but that if you’d been doing it for a while not so much. I was happy with that because I had been really considering taking that class and now I can save $300.

So, it was all a bit interesting. I really have to find what I started a while back and start putting something together. They have these things twice a month and I don’t see how anyone can get anything done in between two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

the weekend

IMG_2975.JPG

This was a gift from Charlie this past weekend that I thought was hilarious! I haven’t decided just yet what I’m going to use it for unless to carry change in. Right now it sits on my desk where it gives me a laugh from time to time.

I started the holiday weekend early on Friday by going to bootcamp that morning and then just kicking back the rest of the day. We had decided to bag the camping trip in case of rain and stay home. It ended up not raining but it was way less stress not having to get everything ready to go and beat the traffic out of town. We stayed in and ran around town, did errands, cooked, drank, visited with friends (those who wanted to hang out) and rode the motorcycle a bit. It was fun and I was really sorry for it to end.

Saturday, we went to a housewarming party. The ladies throwing the party are a couple that Alana and her partner, Meagan, are friends with. If you remember way back I mentioned them. Mostly what I mentioned is never getting invited out by these girls and them always doing things with Alana and Meagan. Well, now – we’ll call them Trisha and Kerry – have moved to the neighborhood where Charlie and I reside and decided to grace us with their presence by inviting us to a party they were having – because, of course, we’re practically neighbors now unlike Alana and Meagan  – who are about to move to Boise, Idaho in a few weeks. We’re invited to another party – a going away party for them again at Trisha and Kerry’s house in a few weeks. It’s always been a mystery to me why I have intermittently been invited to their parties from time to time but not every time and never actually out with them to watch a game, have drinks, dinner or anything social outside of having a party in their home.

Anyway, the party was good – I didn’t drink because we rode the bike over and I thought it would be good to be nice and sober in front of these ladies in case they might have a desire to invite us again somewhere (not that they arn’t huge lushes don’t drink themselves). At first, I was going to pass on the going away party for Alana and Meagan – because really I don’t care – bye, have a good life in bum-f!ck Boise but, you know? Maybe it is good to put in as much as of an appearance as possible so the invites will continue. Many of the group I knew there hadn’t met Charlie. As I introduced her around as my fiance Steph piped up, “Did you know Alana and Meagan just got married?”

Leave it to them to upstage me with their rings even though Charlie and I have had the date on the calendar for over a year – unlike them. I replied, “Yes, we’re going to New York in a few weeks to get married, too.”

As we got on the bike to leave Charlie said, “I had fun! They are so nice! How come we haven’t done anything with them before?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t been with the right girl until now.”

Speaking of invites – I had messaged both Ellen and Cindi earlier on that day about going to the book festival and neither of them messaged me until about 8 hours later when we had already gone and were doing something else. Ellen even  said her phone died at the parade and she was just now getting the message – although, I had sent the message hours before the stupid parade. I think she was just lying and wanted to spend time with churchy. Either way – I’m done with both of them for a while. I feel like I always have to beg both of them to do something and I’m sick of it. I ignored both of their messages – because it didnt’ matter by then – and went along with the weekend with Charlie. We had our own fun!

This week, I’m going to go sit in on a lecture from a guy who teaches screenwriting. If I enjoy it then I may just sign up for the next class he’s giving. I barely started working on a new project – in fact, I need more character development but it’s a start nonetheless. Tonight, I draft both of my fantasy football teams – back to back so it will be busy.

 

 

 

 

 

Screenwriter studio meetup

imagesCARXFYZ9

I went to my first screenwriter MeetUP last night and I have to say it was very enlightening and I met some very interesting people.

Although, I thought were we met was very strange. The place the meeting was held was at this huge wine/beer discount store (Kind of like a Sam’s Club for booze). The store had a conference room in the back that we used. While the room was good I questioned meeting there – maybe the store let them use the space for free? I could have used some refreshments while listening to scripts being read and pitches and feedback and thought a coffee place would have been more suitable. One of the organizers said as the group grows then they may break off into smaller groups that meet in nearby restaurants and so forth. I was envisioning a group meeting at the coffee shop up the street from my house instead of a wine store way outside the perimeter by the mall but that’s just me. I guess I can sacrifice not being in my little haunts with atmosphere. (I guess I am an atmosphere whore)

When we came into the room we were greeted by the Organizers – I got the impression there are three guys running it. They all have catchy Golden Age comic book names, too – Nick, Lance, and Kip.  A woman walked in behind me and said hi to them like she was a regular but still filled out a nametag. I couldn’t quite make out the name as she scribbled a long name that started with an “M” and ended it with a smiley face. I thought, “Oh, one of those.” Meaning, those women/girls who put a smiley face at the end of EVERYTHING. I called her “MaryAnn” in my mind.

More people filed in and the conversation of movies bounced off the walls. Most of the movies they were discussing I hadn’t seen and reminded myself that this was a screenwriting class so probably many of the people in the room were film buffs. During this time Nick put up a powerpoint presentation of what the group’s intentions were, what they do, etc. There were several lulls in the conversation and I wondered when he was going to begin. They finally got started at 7 which, I thought was a little late. I told myself at the next meeting I would come in at 6:45 and not hurry.

After starting, Nick wanted to know who was going to do pitches that night. Three people who already had scripts written raised their hands. Nick wrote down the names and asked if there were any “maybe’s” I volunteered as a “maybe” even though I had not written one word of this idea I’ve had. Kip’s pitch was a thriller set in Korea where he was stationed in the armed forces. Something about finding bodies that had reassignment surgeries on them. People threw out questions and gave feedback of the story and also ideas of where it could go. I was impressed with all of the feedback he received for just a pitch. The next two pitches were for cartoon-like comedies. I got up and did my pitch – mine is horror/thriller for a TV series. Like The Walking Dead – it’s apocalyptic with the main character trying to get somewhere to start a new world/life with lots of things working against her. (That’s it in a nutshell) The difference is that she is more of a savior type not so much a project manager type that takes the lead, like Rick. Also, there are many environmental things going on in the world that are working against her along with other people. I saw many raise their hands with questions. They asked where specifically she was going and about story line specific things and also threw out some great ideas. I thought it was all very helpful.

After that, they did table readings of scripts. Two people had brought theirs in to read. (I think you have to submit it to the organizers and they tell you when they will read it). The first one was by an older gentleman who was there. He kind of reminded me of the older guy I work with who gets on my last nerve. His script was a cop mystery/thriller genre along the lines of girls getting kidnapped by this psycho doctor and these cops trying to run down clues as to what happened. I found the dialogue between the cops to be funny and entertaining, although, I’m not sure he really meant it to BE funny. The generation difference between him and the rest of us was very apparent in the language he chose. He had written some things like “Ok, so you’re going to go off with Billy and get horizontal and do the mambo-pambo.”

I thought, “Huh? Who SAYS that?”

Then, in the body of one of his descriptions he had written “Rick was over in the corner talking to some little filly……” Referring to the woman he was talking to as a “filly”.  

Again, I thought, “Who says that?”

 After it was read, MaryAnn jumped up to mediate the Critique. They had specific questions such as Gut Reaction, Genre, Story, Protagonist, Antagonist, Supporting Characters, Dialog, Action, Scenes, Style, Structure, Format, Theme, Commercial Appeal, Author Questions and General Comments.

There were also guidelines in providing criticism. Raising your hand to give feedback and/or ask questions. Be concise and focus on making one or two points. Help improve the script, provide constructive criticism, be objective and show support for comments you agree with by snapping your fingers.

It was a very thorough review. I thought he had a good storyline – it reminded me of my own book, however, we did question the horizontal mambo-pambo and the use of the word “filly”. Nick said that some could find it offensive. I found it more hilarious, honestly. One of the other things about being respectful is not laughing at some of the things in the script that aren’t supposed to be funny. I had to look at the ceiling a few times to keep from cracking up over his use of words in the script. I thought I did a good job in holding it back but I was entertained none-the-less.   

The next script was named, “Dinosaurs and Lasers”. As you can tell from the title it was very futuristic, sci-fi and just as it was named – about dinosaurs and lasers. It started out as a battle scene of people on top of all these different types of dinosaurs fighting each other. As the different names of the dinosaurs flew by I had a hard time following. I kept getting stuck on “is that the type of dinosaur that has the long neck?” instead of focusing on the storyline. It was very different. I couldn’t say that I was a fan but as we were critiquing it grew on me a little more. He really brought out the scenes even if it was of a genre that I rarely read or watch. The old guy whose script we had read earlier said that his scenes were too long. One guy in the back of the room said, “Yeah, but if you were here two weeks ago and heard his pitch the fact that he was able to come up with this script is amazing.” We all snapped our fingers in response and then clapped.

It gave me hope of producing something before the next meeting. In fact, I have to submit 10 pages of my pitch before they will let me come back so I guess I’d better get to working.

 

2013, bye bye

I know, It’s New Years Eve and you all are expecting a post about the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Memories, expectations, hopes, dreams, plans, trips, you name it!

2013 (cracking fingers):

Proposal: Charlie proposed to me shortly in the new year (Feb 23rd) and (of course) I accepted. This year will be busy with making plans for that. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface on what it takes to plan out one of these things but we’re getting started early.

feb23

Work: Still s*cks but is getting better. I just found out today that BAB has indeed gotten another job in another division. What is very ironic about this is that he is going to be the person in charge of leases his new division and since I’m the real estate person for our division we will have to be working together. I have no problem with this – I can work with the man just not for him. He will no longer be in a supervisory role. Also, the upside is since Noel is losing his comrade in arms he will no longer have any power. The downside is that he will continue to be an @sshat. I have decided that I’m letting the GIS thing go and focusing on real estate since it seems like the stars and the universe wants me to do it. Heck, maybe I’ll even be good at it, who knows. I’m still in my real estate class – it seems like it’s never-ending. But, my goal is to have it completed the end of January. I’m not giving up on looking and interviewing.

Charlie work: I helped Charlie write several cover letters, resumes and applications for a new job. Her massage job wasn’t as dependable in hours. She went on several interviews and got continuously turned down. Finally, a place nearby hired her and she’s now a vet tech. I think she likes it. It’s close by, she can come home for lunch and let the dogs out and she gets to help all kinds of furry friends. Unlike my own, it’s meaningful work.

Travel: We didn’t travel as much last year as we hoped. When we did we got rained on and ended up putting our tent out at the street and vowing not to camp until we could afford a new camper. In September we bought one only to find out after that I was going to be furloughed for 18 days.

camper3

If we could have detected the future then we should have taken that thing straight to Jekyll Island with the dogs and ate oysters. But, we didn’t. Charlie started her new job shortly after that and so there were no more vaca days for awhile. This year we are chomping at the bit to take that thing out and we will.

New hobbies: We bought a gun this year and started joining friends at the shooting range. I was surprised that I was a decent shot. I got a carry permit and know much more about guns now (you would hope, right?). This year I want to take a conceal carry class.

Friends: We made new friends (who are coming to see us for NYE and we cannot wait!) and met them for the first time on our camping trip to NC.

 1260884_10201190053807909_1209682397_n

Other friends we made are work friends, the boys – who, sadly moved to Texas. Old friends – hmm, some became flakey, some just are flakey, and some are just what they are – old friends. We lost some friends to death this year – may they rest in peace – and it made us realize how lucky we are each day to be walking 6 foot (5’-3” to be exact) above ground. Hopefully, make new friends, we are always looking to add to our friend repertoire.

Personal growth: I’m always hoping to have, do but sometimes it seems like it just gets pushed under the wheels of work and life. I’m still going to pursue working out – running more, riding more – both bicycles and motorcycle. Writing more, of course, and kicking myself to start that new writing project I’ve been talking about for so long.

So, that’s 2013 in a nutshell. All in all I have no complaints and I only hope that 2014 is even better. I will leave you with this hilarious article I read -and I especially liked what he said about “Stop pretending cupcakes are brilliant: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/08/charlie-brooker-new-year