Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring Is Broken
It's cold here in DC, I read that the Cherry Blossoms have blown off the trees, it snowed last night and I'm not feeling creative. My toes and fingers are cold. So it was probably not a good idea to watch "Children of Men" (pictured) this afternoon, but I did. It was fascinating. I'm saving "The Pursuit of Happyness" for tonight, after the sun goes down. I'm hoping it's a bit more uplifting.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Do Straight Bloggers Read "Gay" Blogs
Lately, I've been wondering about my tag line: Life in DC, Comments on Culture, Hunting the Elusive Male. Especially in regards to hunting for a new job, which I will have to do starting in May.

I'm seeing my blogging as an online example of my writing, as well as a clue to my personality. I'm thinking of including it in my job search, as it also shows my understanding of how web sites work (or don't!)

But - I'm also wondering if potential employers would be put off if they find out I'm Gay right off the bat.

I know that any employer is going to have to find out soon after they hire me, as I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not. I did that for a number of years and as a way of living a life, it basically rots.

Straight people don't have to worry about this sort of thing - our society is arranged so that the classic "male & female" couple style is primarily assumed by just about everyone. So if you're a guy married to a girl (or the other way around), legally divorced or separated, or dating a member of the opposite sex, that's deeply ingrained in so many psyches as "normal."

I feel, however, that blogging adds so much of a personal touch, that it's imperative I include a little something about my life that takes up such a big space in it.

I did have an interesting (and highly educational) experience just a few minutes ago, which proves that I can make have the same knee-jerk reactions I'm worried others might have.

I visited a couple of sites I find interesting: Dustin Staiger's Casual Fridays and Steve Wilson's Waypoint. Today being Good Friday, each had a post referencing the day within the scope of his belief (not sure if that's grammatical, but who cares?)

Anyway, I immediately thought "Whoa, Dustin and Steve, they're both talking about their religious belief in the middle of their blogs on branding and corporate communications and the like! I'm not sure how I feel about that!" (Full disclosure point: I was brought up and confirmed Catholic...)

Then I was immediately smacked with my own voice, inside my head, telling me "Um, aren't you doing the same thing?" AND aren't you applying a double standard here if you don't understand where these bloggers are coming from?"

Yup. I was. After realizing I'm capable of the same kind of thinking I fear in others, I now know that it's a fantastic thing these two bloggers let me know where they come from.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Zombie Tales
Argh. Tuesday afternoon was gorgeous - warm, clear, sunny. I took my laptop out to the corner cafe and sat down in a perfect spot, flipped open the screen and started to work on "The Zombie Movie* where I had left off.

Since this is the fourth draft, I'm at the point where I go through the script from the beginning, look at each scene, each character, each line of dialog and make it the absolute best that it can be. No more playing around with characters persuading each other to action. Now they need to "just do it," make a decision, stop fooling around. Clear, sharp actions, all wedded to what each person wants in every scene. This also includes a heavy amount of editing. I'm definitely at the point where I can look at a scene and actually see where it needs to end. And sometimes that end point happens in the middle of the scene. I hit the delete button and hold it down as I obliterate line after line. This is all to make the script move, like lightning.

Then this sharp pain jabbed me, inside my right temple, behind my right eye. I thought it would go away at first, so I just kept typing. But it didn't.

I figured it was some kind of migraine (which I get every five years or so.) But they usually announce themselves with some kind of visual disturbance. This time, it was just the pain.

I finished my drink and actually got some dialog written, but the pain was far too annoying to work through. I had to go home.

"Rats!" I thought. "Gorgeous afternoon, great seat at the outdoor cafe, ruined." The pain lasted a full two days. I've been under a bunch of stress, especially at work. So I wasn't surprised I was felled in this manner.

At least it wasn't an aneurysm! I've taken tomorrow off, so I will hopefully be able to get some more work done, even though the weather's taken a retreat back into winter.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Down and Dirty
Need a break from "The Secret" and the law of attraction and the ever-popular positive thinking? Catch any one of these five Cynical Cinema masterpieces (showing often on Turner Classic Movies.) They're perfect for those times when you just have to think really negative thoughts. When you look at the world and all you can see are the soggy, grimy Starbucks cups flattened in the gutter. The sky's overcast, the temperature's 50 degrees, and the only colors you can see are grey, whitish-grey, darkish grey, and brown.

A Face in the Crowd
Andy Griffith as ne'er-do-well parasite Lonesome Rhodes, championed by Patricia Neal into a plain talking, tobacco-chawin', heartland-born good-old-boy. He becomes a success and gains power, but his abrasiveness gets played out on larger and larger stages. Until, of course, The End.

The Sweet Smell of Success (pictured)
Burt Lancaster plays powerful New York City columnist J.J. Hunsecker, who holds court in Times Square clubs and bars. He's the center of a society that values who you know over what you actually do. But Burt's holding a ton of stuff inside, and it isn't pretty. Not at all.

Ace in the Hole (AKA "The Big Carnival")
Kirk Douglas plays slimy newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum, who deliberately stalls rescue efforts saving a man trapped in a cave, just to drive up the story, get it played nationwide, and make himself successful. This is the movie that got me thinking about this post, when I saw it a couple of weeks ago. Awesome final shot.

Kiss Me Deadly
Ralph Meeker plays sleazy LA private investigator Mike Hammer, who gets a lead on something big... REALLY big. He doesn't know what it is, but that doesn't matter. He dominates his way through the movie, abusing people left and right, until the end. That's when he gets burned.

The Apartment
Jack Lemmon plays monolithic NYC insurance firm gruntworker C.C. Baxter, who "sublets" his apartment nightly to married executives who promises him promotions just so they have a place to entertain their "dates." And when Jack gets the success he strives for, it comes with a whole lot of extra baggage. However, this one does have a quasi-happy ending.

These 5 flicks that show us at our most negative. All are in black and white, from the fifties/early sixties, and feature main characters see lying, cheating and stealing as too tame. Basically, these movies are primers on how NOT to get ahead!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Don't Be An April Fool
Online humor is tough. When email started to catch on, everyone noticed that messages tended to sound more terse and dismissive than ordinary speech or formal business letters. Emoticons cropped up as a method of softening chatter =) and identifying text meant to be humorous.

Today I came across a couple of blogs that are dealing with online April foolishness. The ultra-famous Seth Godin posted a piece criticizing online retailer Archie McPhee for offering a "baby parachute." While the item screams out "April Fools Sucker!" (and the comment confirms this), I agree with Seth. It's irresponsible to offer a potentially dangerous product, even if it doesn't exist.

Copyblogger's "Greatest Link Attraction Strategy Ever" is clearly a joke, although gullible me took it for serious until I remembered what day it is. Will someone try to fake their own death online? Probably. However, it's disturbing to see, in light of the current trouble with a well-known blogger receiving death threats, and so much opportunity for anonymity and misrepresentation on the Internet(s).

Why go to all this trouble in search of cleverness? Search me. These are hoaxes, and there are plenty of them going around - think about all the email virus messages, or that often repeated tale of LSD on public phones. The trouble with hoaxes? They just aren't funny. Couple this fact with that tendency for online communication to seem more serious than it might be, and there's just too much room for trouble.

Atlantis Events created a bogus Web page last year at this time, offering a cruise to Denver, Colorado. It was actually kind of funny, although anyone who hadn't experienced one of their vacations would likely miss out on the joke. And this kind of corporation humor can backfire in odd ways. I remember a selling point for this impossible vacation - "dine in any one of seven separate restaurants, all offering the same food!" That's actually the case on cruise ships.

Sometimes, when going for the ridiculous, we end up getting nearer the truth than we realize!