Monthly Archives: December 2009

Memories of Oates

The Oates, together in Garden Grove

The Oates, together in Garden Grove

I was standing atop a hillside covered in animal droppings and trying to figure out the manual focus function on Cheryl’s Sony Handycam. Down below, John Karyus, flanked by Diane and Carri, made his way across a dried riverbed; at the start of the incline, he stopped beside a tree, squatted, took a handful of dirt, and started rubbing it vigorously on his face, in his hair. This was Day 6 of The Oatmeal Man shoot and I was spending the afternoon at Shit Mountain…and I was thinking to myself, “Sal was right, this is awesome—the Colossal Theatre gang is making a movie!”

Now, several months and many blog entries later, the hard part is over. Now the hard part can begin. Now we get to attempt to cover up all our mistakes while reveling in our triumphs. In many ways, it’s been a long year, and yet the weeks and months have flown by. It’s all a blur. Certain things do stand out, though. There was that afternoon when Sean and Claude made love on top of Shit Mountain (which you can glimpse here, if you wait till the very end). There was the table read, at the start of which Kaleo showed up with this fancy Nikon-looking camera. He started taking pictures of everyone, and I thought to myself, “Wow, this is pretty cool! Sean hired a professional photographer!” Later on it dawned on me that this was the guy who was going to be wearing the oatmeal suit. He just happens to be a professional photographer, too.

I remember the first day of shooting with John Karyus, how he bathed in dirt on his way up the mountainside (mentioned above). Later that same day: John Karyus, by now quite sweaty and dirty, playing with himself for ten straight minutes while Sean and Colten set up their next shot. I remember Sal sweating bullets the night we shot his bottom. I remember how Krisondra freaked when Claude got a hold of the camcorder and kept farting on everyone. She came to me, dirty, wet, and disheveled, and she pleaded with me: “Give me your camera, I need to fart on Claude with it!”

It’s moments like those that have given me the conviction to say, “I helped make a movie about an oatmeal man, and I’m darned proud of it!” Happy New Year, everyone.

Interview, Heroes’ Day Reissue, Ubuntu 9.10 Gripe List

I did a brief interview regarding the writing process over at creative-writing-help.com. The site is new, but growing quickly, and there are already a number of interesting interviews / advice pages available. Worthy of a check-it-out.

Those of you who frequent my blog will already be aware of the demise of Vertigo Alley as a publishing imprint earlier this year (though it still exists as a parent company—let’s just say there are politics involved and leave it at that). This means Heroes’ Day had been placed on the endangered species list only a year after it had been published. But it looks like my new team of irritable office monkeys have redone the novel under the Jessture.com imprint, which is now handling reissues of my previous work. If you’ll check out the Heroes’ Day page, you’ll find a brand spankin’ new cover and, indeed, an entirely new interior layout for the book. Both were sorely needed, as the yellow / black gymnast silhouette cover was a last-minute job after the original artist died unexpectedly before he could deliver his finished artwork. Also, the trade paperback version’s typeface is now readable. The interior text for the old paperback version had mistakenly been taken from the e-book source files—meaning the e-book looked great, but the paperback version looked…awkward. This is no longer the case.

A brief note on the Ubuntu / Linux front: For the first time in a long while a new edition of Ubuntu has actually taken several steps backward for me and my notorious Acer Aspire 5100-5674. Save for the fact that several key programs quickly became out-of-date (OpenOffice, VLC), 9.04 had been bitchin’. The video drivers were fairly solid, sound was smooth as silk, and wireless worked out of the box. I expected 9.10 to be a continuation of this, and so eagerly made the upgrade. The result was a prompt uninstall and this list of gripes:

  • Lousy ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 drivers—OpenGL flickers, and exiting 3D-accelerated games results in the system freezing / locking up
  • Audio playback is riddled with pops and crackles, be it system sounds, VLC or Audacious playback, or OpenGL games (changing the respective programs’ audio output plugins and buffer settings doesn’t help)
  • Under GNOME, locking the screen sporadically locks up the entire computer
  • Logging out of GNOME frequently results in, you guessed it, a system lockup
  • The GNOME panel crashes whenever closing Opera

With the exception of the lock-screen bug, none of these issues were present in Ubuntu 9.04. I suppose I should’ve stuck with that version and used the PPA repositories to update my key programs. The alternative solution, though, has worked with minimal effort on my part. I tried the Linux Mint 8 live CD on a whim, and even though it’s based on Ubuntu 9.10, Mint 8 has none of the issues listed above. I don’t understand it, but I’m digging it. Stupid, spiteful computers.

Supernatural Lurv

A friend and I have a tongue-in-cheek, purely speculative saying we throw around whenever one of our friends gets with a younger woman: “If God didn’t want grown men courting sixteen-year-old girls he wouldn’t let them turn sixteen.” Okay, I know that’s downright naughty, but it seems to be an inexplicable trend when you’re talking about young adult vampire novels—which me and Sal do just about every chance we get. Because neither of us understands why any girl would find it romantic to curl up with a cold, undead, century-old emo dude named Edward Cullen. Because I once wrote a pseudo-vampire novel that Sal thinks gives him uncontrollable boners due to its portrayal of non-ice cube psychic vampires. This pleases me.

In the case of modern-day YA vampires, I find myself wondering something similar to a question posted over at the Lurv a la Mode blog (this is a question that includes its own answer, by the way):

I do not understand why a 500 year old vampire would find a teenage girl, or even a woman in her early twenties, the least bit alluring. The best I can come up with is that jaded vampires are drawn to their relative innocence and purity, traits they themselves cast off long ago.

That could be it, though as a vampire centuries of isolated living would give me plenty of time to sort out my attractions. I know that the day I turned twenty, the allure of teenage girls pretty much vaporized on the spot. One, I was officially out of my teens, and ready to blunder through fresh territory. Two, I was aware that all of us are high maintenance while in our teens. Each of us is so convinced we’re the shit. It can get old quick if you’re older than the girl. Especially when you run headlong into that first meaningful college relationship. You can date a gal without having to babysit her. It’s awesome, and it doesn’t reinforce the stereotype that all teen girls want grown men in boys’ bodies. In fact, it nurtures the possibility that more women are willing to put up with the reverse.