A landfill is a dumping ground for random objects and things. I figure that this blog is going to serve as a dumping ground for my random thoughts - therefore, it's a mindfill.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Police Squad

Ok, I'll admit the title is really weak. I couldn't think of anything else that matched the subject of this post. Besides, you know me, I like to crib from movies and/or music. And somehow a Leslie Nielson movie/TV show just seems to fit me.

Anyway, the subject of this post is something I read in the lastet Entertainment Weekly. There was a section dealing with speculated (or actual) music reunions. It talked about whether the reunion was going to happen and who was involved. Apparently, the Police are reuniting for a tour! Holy cow! That's HUGE and exciting news. I have always loved the Police and thought that they were one of the most underrated bands in the history of rock. They put out some of the best songs ever and had a very short life span as a band. They also broke up right about the time I was getting into music. So I never really got to enjoy anything new from them.

I always thought they broke up because of tension between band members. That's the type of thing that will tear a band apart and keep them that way. Of course, then Sting went on to a multi-platinum several times over solo career. So the last thing I ever expected to hear was that they would ever reunite and tour again. But according to EW, that's exactly what's going to happen!

As a music nerd, I am so excited to hear this. I will bankrupt myself to get tickets if necessary. I have been very fortunate to see some of my all-time favorites in concert (some multiple times) and I would bend over backwards to see a reunited Police concert.

Obviously, this is all specualtion and grapevine reports at this point. And as the scuttled Van Halen reuniting proved to us (both times) - anything can happen. But still, I am going to remain cautiously excited at the prospects of this happening. In the meantime, I'm cueing up "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Don't Stand So Close to Me", "Every Breath You Take", and "Synchronicity" on my computer, hitting repeat, and enjoying!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Public Access?

I had a little difficulty in falling asleep last night, so I was flipping channels around 2am. I came across the public access/home shopping block of channels. Normally, I zip right through these figuring I'd never watch any of them in a million years anyway. However, for some reason last night I didn't. On one of the public access channels, I saw what looked like a low-budget, filmed in somebody's backyard with their own camera, gardening show. And, for some reason, I stopped flipping and watched it for a couple of minutes.

It was at that time I realized that it was indeed a low-budget, filmed in somebody's backyard with their own camera program and it did have to do with gardening - or at least the growing of plants. It was a show on how to grow your own marijuana. It was actually pretty detailed. But the final straw was when the narrator mentioned that in order to have the perfect "grow room" you needed to surround the room with a thick curtain that you can't see through because the plants like it that way! (No mention that this would also serve to make it a little tougher for the police to see when they raid you!) Once I heard this, I started laughing hysterically. Somehow, in this age of the ultra-tight, stick a lump of coal in their ass and you get a diamond FCC, (who is, ironically enough so tight that I wouldn't have been able to utter that phrase) someone was able to slide a how-to grow marijuana show onto the airwaves. Granted, it was on a public access channel and there is, if I remember rightly, little or no regulation of public access. But still. It just struck me as very funny. I kept flipping and found that Army of Darkness was on a couple of channels away. So that stopped my flipping until I fell asleep and I never went back to the other show.

Anyway, I just thought that was funny. Maybe I'm going to have to pay more attention to those channels and see if anymore strange or interesting nuggets can be found there.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My own indecision

I just started reading the novel "Indecision" by Benjamin Kunkel. For those of you who have never heard of it, here's the synopsis from Amazon.com (c/o Publisher's Weekly):

Dwight Wilmerding, the vacillating, down-market prepster protagonist of Kunkel's debut novel, gets fired from his low-level job at Pfizer and, with the lease running out on his hive-like Chambers Street boys-club apartment, lights out for Quito, Ecuador, where high school flame Natasha is holed up. Before this momentous undertaking, Dwight has been afflicted with chronic postcollegiate indecision, particularly in relationships: should he pursue a life with his quasi-girlfriend, Vaneetha? Start up again with Natasha? And what about his weird thing for his sister, Alice? As luck would have it, one of his roommates is a med student who turns Dwight on to Abulinix, an experimental new treatment for chronic indecision, which makes his South American jaunt very eventful indeed. A subtheme on the post-politicality of post-9/11 20-somethings gives the book some bite and surfaces most conspicuously in the form of Brigid, the Euroactivist who, along with the drug, brings Dwight clarity, and even hope. Annoying but accomplished, this entertaining book has screenplay written all over it, from the hot Dutch Natasha to the shambling cute Dwight—not to mention Harvard-educated, New York– literati Kunkel himself.

I mention this for a couple of different reasons. First off, since I just started reading it, I have no idea how good the book is going to be or whether or not it's going to be worth reading in the end. At this point, I can only go off of initial impressions.

Those initial impressions, however, are what's making me focus an entry on the book. So far, I'm enjoying the book. As cliche as it may sound, I can relate to the main character and to his situation. There are several thoughts within the book that resonate with me. This fact makes me all the more curious to continue reading. There is a certain pleasure taken in reading thoughts that could have very easily been written by yourself. You gain a certain clarity in actually seeing them on the page in front of you. In a way, it makes me feel happy that thoughts that I've had could be used to create a novel that is being presented for mass consumption. It's almost as if it's a sort of transferred affirmation of my own thoughts and ideas - kind of like some sort of literary group therapy.

At the same time it also troubles me. For one thing, I'm troubled that I can relate to such a character in the first place. For that matter, I'm slightly troubled that I find myself relating to a fictional character at all. But on another level, it bothers me that I'm reading these very same thoughts and ideas that I've had being expressed by another person. This bothers me because it makes me realize two things: First, someone beat me to the punch. Secondly, even though I can relate to the thoughts and ideas being expressed and wish to express similar thoughts and ideas, my own self-doubt makes me realize that I could never express such thoughts and ideas nearly as well as the author.

Therein, lies a nice little bit of insight into my innerworkings. My brain for years has wrestled with this dichotomy. On one hand, I seek out things that are interesting to me in one way or another. I want to learn more about these things in order to apply them to my own works. Yet at the same time, I get easily discouraged when I feel that I will never be able to do as good of a job as has already been done by someone else. In the end, the result is that my list of things I want to write about continues to grow and I never really finish any of them.

I bring this up because for the last few years I have been working on a screenplay. It's something I've always wanted to do. I made every excuse in the world for not actually doing it though until a good friend called my bluff on the matter. We were talking about accomplishing goals and I stated that it was one of mine. She simply looked at me and said: "Well, why don't you just do it?" (I'm hoping that last statement won't cause me to have to fork over any royalties to the folks at Nike!) I had no answer to her simple question - at least not a good one. So, I started the writing process in earnest.

Fast-forward to now and the script is still in the "under-development" stage. Sure, it's long enough to be considered done. And, it actually has a coherent story that follows a logical progression. Technically, I guess, it could be considered done. However, if you've read this far, you most likely have come to the conclusion that it is no where near a finished product. As events in my life have unfolded that would fit into the structure of the story, I want to shoehorn them in. As a result, these insertions have altered the story. Now, I'm considering a complete reworking to better capture my current ideas. So instead of being done, the screenplay is really back to square one.

Which brings me back to the initial crux of this entry. As I read this book and as I see plot points in movies and TV shows that I feel capture something similar to an idea I have for my script, I once again am faced with the double-sided coin presented above. On one hand, these similar ideas provide me with more inspiration and encouragement to place my own spin on them. Yet on the other, I feel the pangs of self-doubt creep in telling me that either I can't do as good of a job expressing that particular idea or that it doesn't even matter because it's not original anyway.

Either way, I'm left with a stalemate of indecision and underproductivity. One of these days, I'm just going to say "To hell with it" and just sit down and do it. That's what I did in the first place. So why not just do it again? (Great, more royalties to Nike!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Appetite for Distraction

So far I've made two posts in 2007 and both of them were bad music puns. I promise I'll stop eventually! Somehow I find making a pun off of a Guns N Roses album much less sacreligious than my Beatles pun though. At least it's a step in the right direction.

Anyway, the point of this post (and we all know how circuitous my routes to my points tend to be) is that I find myself far more productive when I'm distracted. I know that sounds counterintuitive. By the way, I apologize for using so many big words tonight. For some odd reason, normal language just doesn't seem to be flowing tonight and the switch in my brain is stuck on "Hey-let's-use-big-words-to-impress-the-reader" mode. (Coincendentally enough, this same mode tends to lend itself to frequent use of hyphens and parenthetical asides as well!)

As I was saying, I find that I tend to be more productive and better able to function when my brain is distracted. By distracted, I mean that my brain is occupied with thoughts of trying to get things like done, like the daily crossword puzzle or Sudoku, or even other menial tasks. When my brain is occupied in these pursuits, I am able to concentrate on the tasks at hand and I find that I'm able to accomplish them.

On the flipside, I find that when I don't have things like this to distract me I tend to focus on other thoughts that are running around in the big cavernous space that is my head. It's at these times, when I have a bad habit of mentally slipping into the abyss of negative thoughts and self-pity. Most of the time this tends to happen at night when I'm lying in bed trying to sleep. Needless to say, on those nights I don't sleep very well.

In the past, I've resorted to list-making in my head to occupy my thoughts to help me sleep. I would expound on these lists, but I don't want to reveal how much of a nerd I truly am in terms of remembering trivial facts. Those of you who know me can imagine just how truly pathetic some of these lists can be - especially those related to sports!

Oh well. For the most part, I do a pretty good job of keeping myself distracted. Every day I try to come up with new methods or even new list topics. I would tie all of this up in a concise summation, but in all honesty I forgot where I was headed. Ironically, I guess I got distracted.

(I'll give everyone a minute or two to stop groaning.....ok, there you go!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

You say you want a resolution

Happy New Year to everyone!

Yes, I do realize that the first post of 2007 has a title that is a horrible Beatles' pun. Come on, like you'd expect anything else from me! But, it is the time of the year for making resolutions. I'm not one to normally make them to be honest with you. I'd like to think it's because I don't feel like there's ever anything I need to change. But it's most likely a fatalistic reaction to the realization that I probably won't keep them anyway so I just cut out the middleman from the outset.

Which brings me to this year - I figured in light of the way things have gone for me over the last few months maybe it was time to actually make a resolution or two and actually try to stick to it. So that's the plan. Who knows if I'll be successful, but I thought it would be a good idea to at least set some goals.

First off, I resolve to try to do a better job of being optimistic. I've often said that we percieve our own reality. Therefore, if we see the glass as half-full, it most likely is. And yet, I've had a hard time following my own advice in recent years. I've found myself too often sliding into my own prison of self-pity. Instead of focusing on what is going right or looking forward, I tend to focus on what isn't right or looking backwards. You can only imagine how well that's working for me. So, I'm going to try to reverse that. From this point forward, I'm going to try to be the person I never actually let myself be for one reason or another.

Secondly, I resolve to try to incorporate this new attitude into my writings. A friend of mine who reads this blog (see, there are some people that actually do) pointed out to me that my posts are "a bit gloomy." It's always been my contention that, as a writer, I tend to write better when I'm feeling "a bit gloomy." I think that's true. But I also think that's a crutch. I should be able to articulate my thoughts just as well regardless of the mental state that's producing them. So hopefully, you the reader, will be able to see the results of this.

Finally, I resolve to do a better job of keeping in touch with friends and others who are important to me. There was a time this summer when I pretty much lost all contact with all but a few people. It was my own decision. I decided, instead, to focus all of my attention on one particular person at the expense of others. As a result, I fell out of touch with several people who I consider to be important. Luckily, those fences have since been mended and things appear to be fine. But still, it never should have come to that. Besides, in recent weeks, I have come in contact with a few people who I hadn't talked to in years. Cyperspace has certainly shrunk this great big world of ours! It's been nice catching up with them, albeit rather briefly. Also, I ran into a good friend I hadn't seen or even talked to in about three years on New Year's Eve. It felt so good to reconnect. All of this made me realize that I had been negligent in my duties as far as keeping in touch and not falling off the face of the Earth. So, it's my hope that I can do a far better job on that front in the coming year as well.

Of course I am also resolving to eat better, exercise more, take better care of myself, finish my writing projects, and just be more productive overall. But I figured those are pretty much standard resolutions and not the most interesting ones. If nothing else, my pursuit of accomplishing those might just provide some fodder for this blog. Who knows, they might turn out to be the most interesting ones after all.