Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ask me no questions

So, for some reason Abbie Hilton interviewed Big and me for her podcast last night. We are friends, and we did a couple of voices on her epic story, and she is trying to create content for her fans in between releasing new chapters from her Fantasy novel.

We went for over two hours (and I assure you, no one has ever used the phrase "he went for over two hours" when referring to me). She asked us about how we created our podcast, how we work together, and why. We talked a bit about our on-air personalities, our aspirations, and how come we don't have Hate Letters of the Week anymore. I had thought about things I might say beforehand, but when the conversation actually began, I didn't remember to say any of them.

It was the first time I had been interviewed without people watching me behind a two-way mirror, and I'd say it went pretty well. I, of course, was goofy, and I stared off into space whenever Big started talking, imagining that giant tick thing Anakin rode in the second STAR WARS Prequel and how it might reproduce. I did, however, keep the flirting to a minimum, and that's something.

I also may have put my foot in my mouth a couple of times, like when I told her I made a graven image of Norm Sherman out of Sculpey and after I prayed to it, my hemorrhoids cleared up. But boy, it was strange to think that someone out there wanted to hear our history and our opinions on things.

Her website is www.cowrycatchers.com, and the interview should be up soon.

Rish "What kind of tree are you" Outfield

"Backup! We need backup!"

So, Big's computer hard drive was fried, despite it being a Mac, the kind of computer that can't get viruses, can't crap out on its users, and never, ever crashes.

Unfortunately, many hours of sweaty, hard podcasting work was lost.

His wife apparently backed up the stuff she wanted to keep sometime in February, but the stuff we worked on, well, that will be waiting for us in the afterlife, along with Maximus Decimus Meridius's family.

I don't know if this is the first time this has happened to Mssr. Anklevich, but I have had hard drive crashes since time immemorial, the first one happening way back in 1991. Every time I lose data/photos/recordings/pron/writing/games/journal entries/movies, I curse myself for not backing things up better, but there are lessons learned. For example, I used to make a backup disc of all my stories every New Year. Now that things are so much easier, I do it quarterly.

I even recently got one of those portable hard drive things that can hold everything I've ever written and still have room for all episodes of "Friends." Except for the ones with Giovani Ribisi, that is. Unfortunately, I never use it because--gasp!--it requires that I unplug my phone and plug it in to work. Hence, many files that could be backed-up remain . . . un-backed-up.

Rish "Some People Never Learn" Outfield

Monday, March 29, 2010

Will Write For Food

I remember the first time I was ever paid for acting.* My buddy Merrill had a coworker who was doing some industrial/educational films and asked Merrill if he wanted to help him (for pay). He told me about it and I either whined and cajoled or begged with class and dignity that he get me on one of the shoots. So, before I knew it, I was holding the boom mike for something like three dollars an hour. Not a lot of money, no, but considering I would've done it for free, it's not too shabby.

Well, the producer of the educational shorts seemed to think I was amusing, and he was writing another project and asked if I'd like to star in it. Before I could say yes, he said, "You'd be paid for your time." So, of course, I said no, and went home to download JPEGs of Britney Spears' head on Grace Jones' body.

Oh wait, no, that's what I normally do. In this case, I said "Sure," and we shot the project during the summer. I was even paid to do pick-ups a month or two later.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, other than the occasional contest prize, I never got paid for my writing--my other passion--in all the time I remember.

Until recently.

Late last year, I did some rewrites on a film script that was doing a few days of reshoots. The experience was absolute bollocks and I really regretted the waste of hours and effort at the time, but now I just shrug it off as a learning experience. I was almost paid for writing there.

But cut to March 2010. Somehow, someone somewhere thought it would be interesting to give me a screenplay premise and see what I'd do with it. So, I had a meeting, we discussed the idea, and I wrote three proposals for ways a film could go. And I got paid to do it.

Now, sure, it doesn't look like my ideas really lit the producers on fire, and the last I heard, someone else was onboard, steering the ship in a new direction, but to my amazement, another producer read my proposals and thought I had something to offer. So he and I had a meeting Monday and, barring any unforeseen laziness on my part, it looks like I'm hired to do a treatment for a period Adventure/Drama in the next two weeks.

The most exciting thing about all this is that success with these projects could lead to more projects in the future. Chances are I'll screw it up somehow, but I hope that day is a long way off.

Rish Outfield

*I don't count the first time I did extra work. That's not really acting, since they can (and often do) replace/supplement the flesh-and-blood extras with cardboard cutouts. I ought to blog about that sometime.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"You Stupid Plasma-Giver!"

This plasma donation center recently opened nearby.

When I was in college, a couple of my friends started donating plasma at the local . . . I don't know what you'd call it other than a plasma donation center. On a couple of occasions, I dropped them off at the place (I believe it was called Or-plasmic), but not before asking them why they would be doing this.

They told me that it's something your body naturally regenerates, and you get paid for donating it. Well, I had a job and a fear of people laughing at my genitals (later I found out plasma isn't what I thought it was), so I never joined them on their little expeditions, but I always wondered if I should have.

Okay, I didn't always wonder. You caught me. Nobody gets anything by you. But I did wonder once.

At my job in L.A., there was a Red Cross bus that would come once a quarter to take blood donations. After a couple of Topol-stains flew planes into a couple of buildings, everybody started to feel that it was their earthly duty to go there and give blood (in case it happened again? Yeah, that was probably it. Sorry, but it's the truth, kids), and I wanted to join them. You see, in L.A. I never felt like I was one of the cool kids, I never felt I measured up, but I was surrounded by wealthy, successful, attractive, confident people, and I wanted to be them. They grew out their sideburns, I'd do it too. They took up jogging, I'd do it too. They entered strange little pyramidy marketing schemes, I'd do it too. They leased a new car instead of buying a used one, I'd do it too. They read "The DaVinci Code," I'd do it too. They poured kerosene on the homeless, I'd do it too. They gave blood at the Red Cross, I'd do it too.

But I was afraid, I have to admit. Partly of the needles, partly of people laughing at my genitals, and partly because we've all seen the movies where a dude gives blood and then faints dead away. Plus, while I was fainted, they would probably laugh at my genitals.

But after Marie Boland, the loveliest lass you ever did see, said she hoped she could donate blood, even though she weighed around a buck-oh-two, I thought, "I am going to pretend to be brave/cool/generous/dangerous and donate blood with her. That way, if she faints, I can catch her.

"And if I faint, she can be the last thing I see."

Well, I didn't pass out, and the whole giving blood thing wasn't a bad experience at all. And I felt good about myself afterward, as if I had done a good turn. It was like in my previous life when I was a Roman emperor and I would sometimes give thumbs up to one of the gladiators, just because I thought it would amuse the gods.

And I did the whole quarterly blood donation thing up until they sent me packing from that job.

I guess this is my roundabout way to explain why I decided to donate plasma, but it would have been so much easier to say this: I do my best writing when I am stuck somewhere. A cabin, a jail cell, a friend's house, in a car, your girlfriend's bedroom, a mechanic, a doctor's office. Since I don't go to doctors or dentists since that "Tell me when it stops hurting and starts to feel really good" experience, I rarely find myself in a waiting room with a notebook, filling its pages with undistracted imagination.

And that, kids, was my primary motivation for this whole plasma thing. If I had a set appointment every week (or twice a week, apparently) where I was stuck in a chair with no computer or television or mp3 player or ouija board nearby, I know that I would write at least one day a week, every single time. And that's something I truly need. In my conversations with my other friend who writes, we both agree that our greatest challenge in the creative process is our own sloth. We're both far too undisciplined to set aside a scheduled writing time and stick to it. Heck, there were times when we both worked together that he would say, "Okay, for the next half hour, we're both gonna write," since that's what we had talked about the day before, and I would say, "No."

And that was the deal, much more than the small amount of money they give in exchange for the darkish liquid. Not that money is a bad thing, mind you. Is it? I mean, I know that people are always saying "money is the root of all evil" like it's a fuggin' Bible quote, but that seems to be taking it a little too far. Just like saying "money makes the world go round," only in the other direction. Too bad the quote isn't something like "LOVE of money is the root of all evil." We'd all be better off.

So anyway, I signed up at the center, made an appointment, got the physical exam (which is always a little weird), blood tests, interview, and electroshock, and started coming in to plasmate. In a week, I wrote a complete story from beginning to end. I would have written more, but it's not possible to write once I'm actually in the chair with the gigantic needle in one useless arm (though I could buy a laptop for that purpose and maybe it would work, but then I'd just feel that familiar guilt every time I didn't use it). I started on another story the last time I was there, but I've currently got bigger fish to fry, and ought to be writing on that instead of anything else right now (including this).

I'm starting to wonder what the point of this post is (now that it's taken me a week and a half to write it). I guess I was going to say something about writing, and something about how unpleasant it was the first time, since I got some strange claustrophobic sensation halfway through and nearly bolted screaming for the door never to return. But since that never happened again on subsequent visits, I sort of dismissed it to bad shrooms. I know I had a reason for writing this. I guess that's why procrastination is bad.

Bad writer, no cigarette!

Isn't that the cliched writer accessory?

Rish Outfield, Brain Donor

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shatnerfest '79

The greatest actor to ever li--nay, the greatest man to ever live, turns 79 today.

William Shatner.

I've only met the man a couple of times. The last time was on the set of "Boston Legal" at the Manhattan Beach studios, and it was interesting to watch him interact with the cast and crew. He has a larger-than-life presence, and a almost tangible need to be the center of attention. He flubbed a line and looked at the extras and said, "You see what I did there?" before continuing. When we were going back to holding, he was talking to one of the producers right by the door, so I gently touched his arm. He turned and put on a gracious host face. "Yes, sir?" he said, and the only interpretation to that in my mind was that he expected me to ask for an autograph or tell him how big a fan I was. "We need to get through," I said meekly (after all, I was facing Mister Bill Shatner, greatest man to walk the earth), and he chuckled falsely and said, "Of course," and moved out of the way so we lowlies could leave the stage.

It's crazy, but, I was so convinced that that was what he expected of me, that I grabbed a photo of Captain Kirk the next time I was booked on the show and put it in my backpack, in case the opportunity presented itself again.* It never did (or if it did, I hadn't the gumption to ask him to sign it), and the photo ended up getting bent and dogeared from the ride inside my pack.

But while I'm geeking out on Mr. Shatner's birthday, let me confess one other thing. Craig Kilborn had a show on the CBS lot that followed Letterman for a while in the Noughts, and it was so hard up for viewers that they'd pay people to come sit in the audience for tapings. Well, I had no money or job and didn't know quite how to get either, so I signed up and went a couple of times, clapping and pretending to know who D.L. Hughley or Brad Garrett were. But at the end of one show, Kilborn said, "Join me on Monday when my guest will be William Shatner and the black guy from Police Academy." Well, as soon as we were let out, I went back to the CBS ticket office and got a seat for Monday's show . . . on my own dime.

As far as I knew, that would be my only chance to see Shatner in person, so I went for it. I got to pick where I wanted to sit because I was a "paying customer" as opposed to the people who were bribed to be there. I don't remember any of the interview, and I only ever did that one other time (and I shan't say who that was for, because it's even more embarrassing than William Shatner).

I had no money in those days, and an almost continual fear of the future. Even so, I miss those days.

Maybe I'll live to see Bill Shatner again. And his sacred hairpiece.

Rish Tiberius Outfield

*I had gotten his autograph a couple years before at a signing he did with Leonard Nimoy in Universal City, but alas, the DVD they signed was stolen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stupid Thing of the Week

I was listening to an audio commentary by actor Martin Landau yesterday while I was attempting to get some work done, and he was reminiscing about his life, about his career, and about the many good memories he had of doing television and working with writers and other actors, and it made me sad that I never really appreciated the man when he was alive.

I was never a Martin Landau fan, and only heard of him when he got nominated for TUCKER: A MAN AND HIS DREAM back in '88. I saw him get his Oscar for ED WOOD and watched him in a couple of movies here and there, though I didn't really feel anything for him one way or another. He was a singularly foul-looking man, even when he was young, but he didn't really stand out, and I was too young to watch "Mission: Impossible." But listening to him talk about the past and doing live television in the Fifties, it made me wish I had been a part of all that, and feel sorry he was gone.

So today, I looked him up on the internet, and to my surprise, I found that Martin Landau is still alive.

And to my horror, I found myself disappointed that this was the case.

Maybe I deserve my daily misery, folks. I'm just that bad of a person.

Rish "Adolf" Outfield

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So true, funny how it seems . . .

I took my nephew to the pet store on Tuesday (he calls it the turtle store) and there was a woman shopping there with an amusing t-shirt. It said, "I MAY BE FAT, BUT AT LEAST I'M NOT PREGNANT."

'nuff said.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who you gonna call?

I guess I've created a monster.

Or a future monster hunter.

My mom's doorbell has some kind of glitch so that every single day (sometimes more than once) it will ring when there's no one at the door. When I first asked her about this phenomenon, she said, "I guess we must have a ghost."

And that's just stuck. Whenever it rings and I'm in the other room, I ask if it's a person or just a ghost.

Well, now my sister's two year old is over there several times a week, he's sort of picked up on it.
It was funny at first to watch him look around and say, "A ghost?" when the doorbell rang, but now he runs away from the door, shouting about the ghost, and sometimes actually hides when the bell chimes.

I recorded him doing it a couple of times because it so amuses me, and it took me a couple of months to figure out how to embed a video of it (is that even the correct term?) on my blog.

Enjoy. I'm sure it'll take extensive therapy in the years ahead for him to.

Maybe a future parapsychologist.

Rish "Uncle of the Year" Outfield

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stupid Thing of the Month

My buddy B.A. and I use his computer every Monday to record stories and podcast episodes. Lately, the darn thing has become more and more frustrating, as it tends to crash every time we get together and use it. If I had to guess how many hours of material had been lost due to that, well, I'd have to do math, and that's not going to happen.

We've taken to stopping and saving every seven or eight minutes, so that when it does crash, we only lose a little instead of a lot. I kept encouraging him to take it to the shop to get it looked at, because the frequency of its crashing seemed to be getting greater, but he has a) money troubles, b) trouble finding time, c) troubles with everyone else in the family claiming it is their computer and off-limits, and d) motivation troubles.

Finally, he couldn't take it anymore, and bundled the darn thing up and took it away, dropping it off at the Apple shop to be looked at. Everyone felt its loss, whether they used it to play games, sell things, send emails, or watch ungodly shite like "Flava of Love."

But yesterday, the technicians told him they'd fixed the computer and that he could come by and pick it up. It cost him some money, sure, but not as much as we had feared, and the problem had apparently been an easy one to remedy.

B.A. was greeted by adulation and flower petals as he brought it back into his house and hooked everything up again. He sent me an Instant Message, boasting about its new speed and efficiency, and how great things would be accomplished in the coming days. I'd never seen the man prouder, even though I couldn't see him and I could only read the joy in his typed words as he--

But then Big Anklevich went away, in the middle of our conversation. That sort of rudeness is usually how I treat others, not the reverse, so I was surprised, but sure enough, five minutes later, he was back again, sending me another IM.

His computer had just crashed, you see. Again.

Rish "Never Trust A Mac" Outfield

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corey Haim: Dead Former Celebrity

So, Corey Haim is gone.I was never a fan. Of the two Coreys, Feldman always struck a better chord with me (and hey, despite his best efforts, I still sort of like him).

But I grew up with lots of girls who had a thing for him (I guess of the pair, he was the pretty one and Feldman was the "bad boy"). Most everybody my age or younger really loved THE LOST BOYS, but I've never been partial to it.* I wonder if my dislike for Haim has something to do with it, or if my dislike for LOST BOYS affected my affection for Mr. Haim.

Regardless, he died today of an apparent drug overdose.

A friend of mine works for FOX News and sent me the news. The article mostly talked about the thirty-eight year old's acting career in the Eighties, and the fact that he plugged both Nicole Eggert and Alyssa Milano (their words, not mine). He was out of work and staying with his mother when she found him unconscious. Unable to revive him, he was rushed to a Burbank hospital where doctors attempted to save Haim. Without success, they closed the former child actor's eyes. They were, however, unable to close his mouth.
Rish "The Bastard" Outfield

*I was at Comic-Con in 2008, where Haim and Feldman were there promoting LOST BOYS 2: BACK TO THE WELL, but I didn't even think to take a picture. Guess it would've come in handy now, huh?