27 August 2008


Austin Film Festival contest shows no love to your intrepid narrator, dinking me this year in the first round.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up senseless fits of pointless violence....

26 August 2008

ya know, *I* had an idea once....


"Oh, really? Tell us about it, Bob."


The 2.3 people who still pay attention to developments around here are surely not even the tiniest bit interested to know why things seem to have been moving so slowly of late. But on the bright side, I had an idea today which might -- maybe -- help jumpstart a long-stalled project.

No, that's not really Earth-shattering stuff, I know, but still. One works with what one's got.

17 August 2008

bea arthur sex tape

There are some bloggers who seem to post crap just to draw attention and hits.

Not interesting posts, or amusing posts, or relevant posts, or insightful posts, or even competently reasoned or written posts, but instead posts which contain a lot of stuff, and often a lot of keywords.

I think I'll try and be one of those folks. To hell with making sense or justifying the existence of the blog. I'll just bang cymbals together and scream "BADGER! BADGER! BADGER!" until a crowd gathers, and then I'll take my bow and bask in my newfound glory and attention.

big bucks no whammies B

14 August 2008

shameless self pimpage

Sometimes I toss off a phrase which I glance at in my rearview and smile at, thinking "OK, that was not bad."

Like today, in a discussion of what a writer is "allowed" to do in writing a screenplay:

"There are no screenplay police -- only screenplay vigilantes."

Back to your lives, citizens.
self-adoring B

11 August 2008

long live sport

I love the Olympics.

I know a lot of folks seem bored by The Games, and some folks can be so annoyingly nationalistic as to become nauseating, but for me one of the most purely beautiful sporting moments is that odd 5 minute highlight reel now assembled and played at the close of every Olympic broadcast, where we see a parade of Olympic glories (and sometimes heartbreaks) set to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Yeah, yeah, Super Bowl and World Series and World Cup and whatever, blah blah blah... those are all professionals playing at the peaks of long well-publicized careers, with decades of pampering and pay behind and usually years more ahead.

But in the Olympics we get Nobodies. Anonymous people from anonymous places, often competing in sports we never even acknowledge except for these once-every-four-year events where we will sit and tolerate some swimming or decathlon highlights as we wait for the Dream Team to play.

I love the nobodies. Because every time you see someone lining up to compete in an Olympic event, that's a human being who has set their jaw with steely resolve and dedicated years of their life to answering a question most humans will always remain too timid and terrified to ever ponder: "how good can I be? Where is the absolute limit?"

Pushing one's self in pursuit of epic greatness is not something most people have the stomach to try. The ego cost is usually too great: It sucks to be shown -- conclusively, harshly -- that you're just average. Or maybe even worse. Instead, we mock those who dig deep onto reserves we lack. We ridicule the focus and dedication required to improve from the 99.9947 percentile to the 99.9983 percentile.

How razor thin is that difference? About 8 one-thousandths of a second, if Sunday's 4x100 Men's Freestyle Relay is any indication.

Everyone probably is aware of US swimmer Michael Phelps. He is a freak of nature, a condor-winged naturally-gifted talent with an unnatural drive to improve. He's on a chase to collect 8 golds and become the greatest collector of Olympic hardware in American history. He has huge endorsements and requests for appearances on all the shows and magazines. he is the Golden Boy of swimming right now.

But how many people can honestly say they'd hear of Jason Lezak before Sunday night?

Sunday, Lezak swam the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay for the US men's team. The French team was near-universally expected to win. Even Rowdy Gaines, former Olympian and commentator for NBCs swimming coverage at The Games, admitted "I've worked this race on paper a hundred times and I just don't see how the US can outswim the French-- they are just that good."

But there's a reason we actually run the races and play the games rather than just award medals and trophies based upon what the stats and numbers tell us is "supposed" to happen. Because we -- we, the less focused less committed less involved folks on the sidelines -- will never truly know when one human being is going to take a deep breath, step forward, and say "to hell with what is supposed to happen. Right now, right here -- I AM history."

If you did not see Sunday's epic race, check the video below. Words will not describe the just plain amazingness of it.

On the final turn of the final leg, the US team trailed the French team by roughly three quarters of a second -- a full body length -- with the French riding to certain gold on the back of the world record holder in the 100 freestyle, Alain Bernard. Bernard had expanded a small lead into a near-impossible lead with just one pool length to go. The commentators covering the race were saying there was no way to chase down Bernard, the world's fastest sprinter.

Except someone forgot to tell Lezak. With half a pool to go, Lezak unleashed what swim experts are already calling the most amazing and impossible surge ever witnessed. Suddenly, without any rational explanation, Lezak started closing. Fast.

Phelps and teammates watching from the finish line were screaming for Lezak to find one more calorie of strength. The announcers were screaming "THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!" Even Bernard, a "right breather" who turns his face over his right shoulder to breath between strokes, could be seen turning to his left underwater to steal a glimpse at what was totally completely and in all ways inconceivable -- "oh my God -- here he comes..."

Bernard, already the world's fastest-ever in this event, broke his own record in the race, covering 100 yards in a blistering 46.6 seconds, only the third time any human being had broken the 47-second mark over 100 meters.

Lezak? From some never expected corner of his heart, he summoned forth the insane effort needed to swim a 46-flat. Three quarters of a second better than Bernard's record. Lezak lunged forward with his last bit of strength to touch the finish 8 thousandths of a second before the mighty Bernard, and nobody in the building could quite believe what they had just seen. The French stood staring at the final times with a totally stunned expression, as Phelps, Gale and Jones flexed and howled with pure unfiltered screaming joyful wonder.

Lezak? He panted in the water, seeming too spent even to lift his arms to accept a high five. He had no strength left to celebrate.

He'd left it all out there in the race -- one insane impossible unbelievable unforgettable race.

"The whole thing was remarkable," said Orjan Madsen, the German head coach. "It was one of those moments where you just sit back and say, 'Jesus Christ.' If I wouldn't have seen [Lezak overtaking Bernard] with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it."

Long Live Sport.

04 August 2008

dry river -- wet sky


The Family heads out for the annual Blanco River tubing and swimming vacation in just a few hours. It's always a fun trip, as we drive 3 hours west to the Texas Hill Country and stay for a week or so in a small but comfortable cabin fronting the small but comfortable Blanco River which flows through the small but comfortable village of Wimberley, Texas. We'll have a half dozen innertubes, some air mattresses, some fishing poles, some camp chairs, a clothesline to air dry the swimming gear, and for a few days we'll do pretty much nothing but find cool swimming holes in which to hide from the Texas heat.

But there are complications.

One, there's almost no water in the river this year.

Two, a Tropical Storm Edouard is bearing down on us and going to run right over us in 48 hours or so.

The first problem is due to drought. While the spring fed Comal and reservoir controlled Guadalupe still have plenty of water (and might yet get a visit from us this week...), the Blanco is fed almost entirely by runoff. And locals report their rainguages in the Wimberley area have shown a total of approximately one half inch of rain since January.

One half inch.

Which means the river, which usually flows at a rate of around 200-400 cubic feet per second (CFS) is right now "flowing" at 14 cfs.

My toilet sees more water pass through.

So that means when we arrive this afternoon, the Blanco ("White" in Spanish) will again reveal the source of her name, as her bare rock course will shine bone white in the Texas heat.

"Well, here we are kids! Try not to trip and fall down!"


That second issue the storm. Now, I've been through tropical storms while in the Hill Country before. So long as you're not dumb enough to be in a tent along the banks of a river, you should be perfectly safe -- the water comes up, flows like crazy for a half day or so, and then starts to recede. In fact, this kind of storm is exactly what the doctor ordered to help break the awful drought conditions in that part of the state. Edouard will rumble onto land, dragging a few million metric tons of nice clean Gulf water in his wake, and leave the parched heart of Texas a little less hellish.

Except... the ETA for this storm in the area where we will be is Wednesday, and we eave Friday morning. Meaning that we'll arrive today, find no water, have all day Tuesday to enjoy the hot blazing bare empty river, wake Wednesday to hear thunder, and then have light torrential rain soaking us for the day. Thursday -- maybe -- could turn into something fun, as the rain will flush the dust and gunk from the river and hopefully put enough wetness back into her that we can actually ride our tubes rather than just carry them around like luggage.

Of course, there's always the chance that Edouard will dump a true flood, in which case the rocky canyon walls will divert all his wetness down the narrow Blanco, and that 13 cfs flood rate will balloon to... 1500 cfs? 2500? Or maybe the 3900 we saw one year when we arrived two days after small hurricane had parked over the area and soaked it but good.

At any rate, it should be an interesting flat trip, and hell yes I meant to put air-quotes around "interesting."


See ya in a week. I hope.
soon to be seared then soaked B

03 August 2008

I'm big in Veneto


Poking through the burnt entrails of SiteMeter reports and notice a quirky number of hits from different IPs in Veneto, Italy (the region around Venice in the northeast, at the top of the Adriatic).

Now, so far as I can recall, I've never visited Venice, have never mentioned Venice, know nobody IN Venice, and do not specialize in content and opinion which in any event might somehow speak to the Venetian soul.

And yet, there you go.

So, Ciao, Veneto.
befuddled B

02 August 2008

what blogs are we reading?

I was clicking down some of the links on the sidebar and realized (again) that I really oughta clean up and update that list, as there are blogs I look at now which are not on that list, while there are at least a few links over there which lead to dead, abandoned, or relocated blogs.

And that got me to wondering just what I might be missing. Once upon a time, it seemed like the "Scribosphere" -- that loosely connected network of screenwriter bloggers -- was a swirling always active crowded party. Lately, I've noticed, a good number of what once were favorite haunts now seem like ghost towns, and many of the bloggers still active seem far less... I dunno, "inspired" or "excited" or optimistic.

Surely, there are those who still remain bullish on this hunt, and I'm curious to know what blogs you crazy kids are finding consistently interesting and enervating. So spill, lovechunks: where are the cool writer blogs these days? Who are you reading? Who gives your chankras a nice rattling?

Talk to me, people.