Monday, December 16, 2013

A little tip for the holiday season...



You know how they say what happens at the work Christmas party stays at the work Christmas party?



It's a big fat lie.

Nevertheless, eat, drink and be merry! And stay safe :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The leaves of laughter!

Fall is in the air and the city is filled with vibrant colors!

I took this picture outside of my house earlier today.


Three blocks up that street was my neighborhood Starbucks. Notice I say was and not is? Because it's not. Not anymore. I haven't been back since my cunty phone incident. Ah, well. I'm drinking less Starbucks these days which I'm sure my body thanks me for.

Anyway, since I'm a firm believer that laughter is always the best medicine for all of life's ailments, I have to share this following video. Someone sent this to my daughter -- the way normal people laugh and the way she laughs.

And holy shit, does it ever make me laugh!

In fact, every person who watches this that knows my daughter busts a gut! It is exactly her. Really. If I recorded her laughing and played it side by side with this video? No difference.




Ah, baby girl, you bring joy to my life :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Some documentary suggestions

I love documentaries. So much that I couldn't even begin to tell you how many I watch/have watched. And I have no preference in the subject matter. If a documentary somehow looks interesting to me -- maybe the title grabs me, perhaps the poster looks good, someone recommended it, or I saw a trailer and it's filmed well, I'll watch it.

To me, documentaries are sort of like a mini-education and a fun way to learn a diverse range of subjects. A well-made doc can make even the most dreary subject interesting.

The fall is almost upon us and since it's nice to sometimes spend a cold evening in the warmth of our homes, I've put together a small list of documentaries you may think are worth watching.

I generally like to sip on a Chai tea while watching my movies/documentaries so before I give you my picks, I want to share something that happened to me the other day.

Seven in the morning and I'm standing in the line up at Starbucks when this really loud siren goes off, followed by official sounding words through a megaphone:

"Do not pick up your phone! The person who is calling is a cunt! If you pick up your phone, you will be talking to a cunt!"

Someone's cellphone. What kind of asshole has that for a ringtone, sets it on loud and goes out in public!

It took me a sec to figure out the asshole was me. The night before I was in bed making myself laugh listening to different ringtones and... well, I don't know. All I know is I woke up in the morning, went to Starbucks,  and my phone started screaming the dreaded c-word.

I was mortified! I'm not joking. I don't embarrass easily, but damn...! It was packed in there and everyone was looking at me, some in disgust, others hiding a smirk. If I didn't need a dose of caffeine so bad, I might have left. Instead, I just shut it off and hoped the red would leave my face soon.

The guy in front of me turned around, smiling, "I just have to ask. Who was that calling? Your boss?"

"Nope. My mother." (It really was)

The guy laughed so hard, he paid for my drink and thanked me for making his morning. Although my embarrassment came with a reward, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to that particular Starbucks again which totally sucks because it's the closest one to my house.

Without further delay, my pics of the month:

THE GATEKEEPERS

A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency. 

THIEVES BY LAW

(aka Ganavim Ba Hok) An inside look at the Russian mafia.

MARK OF CAIN

Russian criminal tattoos and their meanings, filmed inside one of Russia's toughest prisons.

BURN

Detroit firefighters as they try to save a city that has lost all hope.
 
I AM

Director Tom Shadyac explores the way we live life through interviews with spiritual and intellectual leaders.

QUEEN OF THE SUN: WHAT ARE THE BEES TELLING US?
 
The title of this one is self-explanatory so I'll say nothing other than this -- I think the whole world should be made to watch this one!

Those are my picks for today -- short list but enough to get started on a doc watching marathon if you feel so inclined.

And now, I'm off to bed to settle in with a documentary!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Me and my men!

I used to refer to them as my boys, but really, they are grown men so I figured it was time to change the label.

The men to which I refer are Mike and Andy. Two of my dear friends who are also my film partners. Mike and I go way back, since he was a teenager and a friend of my younger brother, and Andy came in to the picture about five years ago.

The three of us starting making films together when we were all green and brand-new to film-making. I had just won a screenwriting fellowship with my first solo script, Mike had just graduated from Vancouver Film School and Andy was a year out of the cinematography program at Capilano College.

One drunken New Year's Eve, Mike and I decided that we should make a film noir together. I would write it, he would produce and finance it and Andy would shoot it.

Thus, a partnership was born.

'Course, that first project slammed to a halt before production due to grevious ignorance on (mostly) my part.

But the next project followed within a few weeks with all of us a little wiser. Not much, mind you, but a little. Enough to actually go into production on a short film.

And can I please tell you that our first short film experience, PRIVATE DICKS, was a giant clusterfuck? From the words, "... and rolling!" to the words, "... and that's a wrap!", we struggled. Everything that pretty much could go wrong, did.

But we got through it. And we learned. More importantly, we learned to think on our feet while in a pressure cooker!  Truthfully, watching that film now,  I can easily pick out all sorts of things wrong with it, but I'm still proud of it nonetheless. For knowing diddly-squat back then, I think we did a decent job and it does have great production value!

We started out together with nothing but passion and the determination to succeed. None of us are where we want to be yet, but when the time is right and we've all worked hard enough, it'll come.


Me and Mike (far right) at our office party this past Saturday.





Me and Andy, taken at our last office party two months ago.
(is it just me, or do we throw a lot of parties... heh, heh)


 

I can't wait to see where the future takes all of us, both individually and as a group!

Live your dreams, people. You only get once chance at this life so don't waste it.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Street Food!

When you say it like that, doesn't it sound unappetizing?

But it's not!

Street food, as in food trucks/carts that serve up yummy delights, are the rage in Vancouver these days. Go downtown and you'll see them everywhere, usually with a line-up, especially if it is lunchtime.

Last year, the city decided to "celebrate" our love for food carts and put together a Food Cart Festival. It was such a hit, it's now going to be an annual event.

It runs every Sunday for the duration of the summer and I encourage you to check it out! Be prepared to battle the heat, though. Although the food was delicious, the venue sucks. It's by the Cambie Street bridge, across from Olympic Village, right in the middle of the concrete jungle, in a parking lot, with no shade in sight.

Last Sunday, I went with my daughter and Melissa and we (along with everyone else) roasted!

That black asphalt soaks up the heat and blasts you from the bottom while the sun overhead pounds you from the top. I haven't seen so many sunburns in a long time! Vancouver is a coastal city and we have dozens of beaches with large parking lots. Beaches equal breeze off the water. If I was an organizer, I'd have chosen one of those locations.


 Anyway, we all decided to order something from a different cart and play a round of sharsies.

 This is what we sampled:

Melissa's is a yam taco and mine is a fish taco.


Jerk chicken poutine

  

Dougie Dog European wiener with macaroni and cheese and a butterscotch root beer.


West Indian curried vegetables, plantain slices and a ginger lemonade.
(not pictured, I drank it too fast!)


Also not pictured was meat on a stick.

I didn't touch the meat on a stick or the jerk chicken poutine. And I especially didn't touch the European wieners. (Which is such an ironic comment coming from me considering I love European men! Ha, couldn't resist... *cheesy grin*... seriously, though, there is something about European men... )

This weekend we were feeling like partaking in some more street food, but instead of the Food Cart Festival, we went out to the Richmond Night Market where we were joined by another friend. The market also has good eats and this year's theme is rubber duckies.

I've always had a dream of sitting on a duck throne ... and yes, fulfilling the wish was everything I imagined and more!

 

Again, we all played a round of sharsies, except I didn't partake. I ate way too much last weekend so I'll wait a couple of weeks before I play again.

Not pictured is my BBQ tofu, which I find delicious, by the way. All three of my "dates" tried it, two said it was edible if they were starving, and one gagged and spat it out.

Ah, well. I didn't have to share that much of it!

(I do admit to trying one small bite of the treat pictured below. Then I walked away, far away, over to the vendors and bought some trinkets. I didn't come back until the box was empty)
 
Deep-fried cheesecake


Curly potatoes, one sour cream and onion, one cheddar cheese, grilled on a rotisserie.



As much as I enjoyed the Food Cart Festival, I do choose the Richmond Night Market. The food at both places is equally good but the night market gets the edge because it's near the river and no matter how hot it is outside, the breeze is glorious!

Plus, it's more like a fair, as opposed to just food. They have dozens and dozens of vendors selling everything from electronic and cell phone accessories through to clothes for your animals. Don't expect the brand names to be real, though. Everything like that is a knock-off.

One small word of caution:

Other than sweets, pretty much everything you eat there is served either with or on bamboo skewers. Not chopsticks, but sharp pointy skewers you BBQ with.  The place is always full and I have visions of people running around and in their haste, someone gets poked and not in a good way. Just be aware of where you point your "tool".

This was the first time I've attended the night market before dark and the only difference I noted was that although it was still just as busy, there were a lot of families with children present. After dark, it's more of a party atmosphere with neon lights and louder music, not so many families. Decide what mood you are in and attend accordingly.

Both festivals cost $2.00 to enter with the proceeds going to charity but at the Food Cart Festival if you are a VanCity member, you get in for free, just show your bankcard. At the Richmond Night Market, you can purchase a 7 visit punch-pass for $10.00 that is transferable, valid until the end of the summer and lets you bypass the long entry lines.

Me and my dear child, at the end of a beautiful day, just before dusk!


Life is good. Life is really good :)

And now that I'm back in Vancouver full-time, I'll post here a little more often.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

INFERNO!

I'm a huge fan of author, Dan Brown.

If you aren't familiar, he wrote The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Perhaps you've seen the films.

I've read all of his books (only five, wish there were more!) and what I enjoy about him the most is that his stories are so intricate, yet weaved together with a seemingly effortless flow.

Add to that his subject matter. I really enjoyed his Robert Langdon trilogy ( The Lost Symbol, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons) because I find that particular subject matter fascinating.

But I also enjoyed his other two, Deception Point and Digital Fortress.

He came out with a sixth book, Inferno ( another featuring Robert Langdon), and I finally got around to picking myself up a copy.

 

Yup, that's my book and my bed.

Now I just need to grab a bowl of grapes... okay, let's get real, a chocolate bar... and settle in for a night of reading!

Before I go, though, I have to show you a picture that made me laugh my ass off today!

My kid and her cat, Sushi. She posted the picture on Facebook and tagged it...

CAT BEARD


It's the little things in life that I enjoy most, I tell ya!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Signed, Sealed, Delivered... almost

Oh, but I'm so close!

The past several months have been really busy for me, but my hard work is about to pay off as I'm am in the final stages of two projects.

One is a short documentary film that I was hired to write and produce. I'm especially excited about this project because it will be released into the public school system for educational purposes! It's in editing for the final cut and will be delivered before month end.

It was a fun little film to work on and the production value is fantastic, thanks to my team! The clients are happy. We are happy. Everyone's happy. Life is good.

The second is a feature comedy script I have been working my balls to the bone on. (rhetorically speaking since my balls are on the inside!)

It's almost there. I'm going to go over it a few more times to iron out any wrinkles I find, but after that, I believe I will be ready to put it out there.

And then I'm going to start on a new script. At any given time, I have several ideas and/or scripts on the back burner to choose from. Not quite sure which one I'll bring to the forefront to focus on yet but it will be most likely be between two of my more developed projects -- either another comedy or a deep drama.

I let present opportunities,  present circumstances, and my own intuition guide me when it comes to which project I will focus on. I'm really leaning towards the dramatic piece --  it's one that's been simmering for a long time but I decided to wait until I had the experience and expertise to do the story justice before I attempted it -- however, if new opportunities present themselves, I just might switch to the comedy.

Anything can happen.

And that's why I love life!




Thursday, February 21, 2013

Come Together!

Been working on a particular comedy for awhile now. It was one of my background projects while I was working on other stuff but has become my main focus because I believe it has potential. 'Course it took about 20 rewrites for me to feel that way. LOL!

Comedy is outside of my usual genres which are dramas with comedic undertones, and dark dramas. I can write that stuff with my eyes closed (so says she, who really is humble in real life. Honest!), but I'm finding that straight up comedy is tedious and, quite frankly, really difficult. Make that really really difficult. Actually, it makes me question whether I have the talent to pull it off. I don't know.

Oh well, guess I'll find out!

Anyway, I was stressing (on the inside only) during the process of this script trying to make sure it was as funny as possible while fitting into a structural "comedic box" and found myself losing the story.

Then I decided, fuck it. Just go with it and write what seems to come naturally in the chain of events. If it sucks ass, I can always revert to the previous draft and start again.

Turned out to be a wise decision. A few more rewrites and I think I might have something!

 So, tonight's song is in honor of the feeling that my script is coming together.

Cheers!

AS PER USUAL, CRANK YOUR VOLUME!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

ROXY ROLLER

Foxy from the Roxy
Might turn some heads tonight
Flashlight dream
Peaches and cream delight
Roxy Roller

Five-bob job
She gets bubble-gum on her knees
Down between the seats
Sometime she'll pass you the keys
Roxy Roller
Oooh Roxy Roller

Roxy Roller, Roxy

Her daddy, le commissioner
Took far more than his share
So Roxy joined the syndicate
Knowing it wasn't fair
Roxy Roller
Oooh Roxy Roller

So... a dream of mine was to write a follow-up to one of my favorite movies, Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS, but I never allowed myself the pleasure. One, because I'm nowhere near as talented as the man and two, because... well, just because. 

I've always been intrigued by Mr. Pink's character in RD (played by Steve Bucsemi) because he is the only one who gets away.  I've imagined hundreds of times what becomes/became of him, but I know it is not my story to write.

However, I couldn't  get Mr. Pink out of my mind so I knew I had to just go with it and write something.

Anyway, I've come up with my own original story that only references and doesn't copy Quentin's work. It's called ROXY ROLLER, and the lead is... you guessed it... Roxy Roller, who just happens to be Mr. Pink's daughter.

While fleshing out her character, I put this song on replay and listened to it probably 50 times. I pictured Roxy in my head, got to know her, felt her, then became her, entered her world and perfected her swagger as she strutted down the street, AK-47 in hand.

Holy shit, she can be viscous! But the audience is gonna love her. (I hope!)
 
The whole opening sequence of ROXY ROLLER has no dialogue, just visuals set to the song, Roxy Roller by Sweeney Todd.


BE SURE TO CRANK UP YOUR VOLUME!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thumbs UP!

My daughter is a huge movie buff and goes to the theater at least once a week, sometimes twice. 

She and I have very similar tastes when it comes to films except  for horror. She loves horror and I am not a fan. Anyway, I lead a pretty busy life and I'm lucky to get out to the theater more than once a month (watch a lot of pay per view, Netflix and rent a lot of movies from itunes) so I use her as my "wing girl".

She scopes out the movies and then calls me with her opinion and lets me know which ones are a must see in the theater. She called me this afternoon after seeing Gangster Squad, and this is what she said:

"Emma Stone really outdid herself. Outstanding acting on everyone's part, throughout. Josh Brolin and Sean Penn were amazing. Can't say a single bad thing about the movie. From acting to the script to directing to the way it was shot. Best movie I've seen in a long time."

(incidentally, she knows more about making movies than your average Jill. She has been on set with me numerous times -- and I always end up making her work. LOL!)

So, this week, I'm going to make a point of trying to get out and see Gangster Squad at the theater! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don't waste my time!

I don't waste my time on New Year's resolutions. Besides the fact that they have a negative connotation attached to them, I feel like you're just setting yourself up for failure. Along the lines of, "... I wasn't good enough at xxx last year, so this year I guess I`ll try again."

By thinking you weren't good enough in the first place, you fail before you even start.

Instead of New Year's resolutions, I like to start every January by writing a list of 10 things (of the many) that I love/appreciate about life.

Remember, it's the small daily pleasures that count the most. Take the time to appreciate something that you enjoy everyday and it will all add up. Before you know it, you won't be able to stop yourself from being positive. A positive energy will permeate all of your senses.

Then, when the downfalls in life come -- which they surely will, after all, this is life -- you can rely on your positive "reserves" to get you through it.

 Anyway, here is my list of ten, off the top of my head.

1.) The people I love and love me back.

2.) I live in a climate that has four distinct seasons to enjoy.

3.) The smell of fresh rain.

4.) Laughter.

5.) Music.

6.) Bed sheets that were hung outside on the line to dry.

7.) The sound of children playing.

8.) Wind in my hair.

9.) Flowers. Not in a vase, but planted in a garden.

10.) An extra-extra firm mattress.

11.) Shoes. Although, right now it is boots since winter is upon us.

12.) Hitting every green light when I am driving.

13.) My animals. (Two sharpeis, Kiki-san and Earl, and a Russian blue kitty, Jay-Jay the Jetplane)

 


Oops! Was only going to do 10, so I'll stop. But see how easy it is when you take a moment?

Easy-peasy! Why don't you try it?

*BTW, if you didn't see writing and making movies on my list, it is because there is no need. That IS a given!*

And on a different note -- HOCKEY IS BACK!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

GO CANUCKS GO.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

All the Best!

From me and mine to you and yours, Happy New Year!


I hope 2013 proves prosperous and fruitful for you all.

For me? I've decided that this is the year to "come out of the closet" as far as my writing is concerned. I've spent the last few years learning, experiencing and preparing (not just in writing, but also in producing) so that I could be ready when the time is right.

You've heard the saying, Luck is when preparation meets opportunity? Well, my preparation is done and it's now time to find an opportunity and make me some luck!

Looking forward to the adventure.