Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Bring the Bullets...

...I'll bring the wine.
- Bob Schneider
  • Dan and Trish are the proud parents of Rosalind Lorraine, who joined us on Wednesday morning shortly after 5:AM.  Mom and daughter are doing well, and dad is over the moon.  All are understandably exhausted.
  • Speaking of new babies, Raechelle got her baby fix when we went to have dinner at Nicole and Dan's on Sunday night.  Austin is a pretty well-adjusted cutie, and although it's been awhile since mine were that tiny, somehow kids can sense a "daddy" vibe, and I got some big goofy smiles.

  • Rae and I discovered that I don't snore nearly as much when I wear earplugs at night.  I guess that makes a certain amount of sense, if the ears are part of the sinus system.  I also slept a lot more soundly last night than I have in several days.  2:30, 3:30, 4:00 and 5:30AM have all been recent wake up times.
  • Rae and I have managed to get some work done on Green Light.  This makes me happy.
  • Gavin and I have been trading the Arrowflight Second Edition manuscript back and forth all week, and it gets ever closer to being able to hand off to Mark Bruno for editing. Anxious to get this one out the door.
  • We're heading to Portland this weekend to see SweetJuice play.  It'll be nice to have a mini-road trip and an overnight away.  Thank heavens for family close by and kids' friends.
  • One of the Facebook memes of late has been the Doppelganger meme, wherein one posts a profile picture of a celebrity or someone one has been told one looks like.  When I was a teenager, I was a ringer for David Bowie.  To wit:

    But now, a bit redder and a few pounds heavier, not to mention more bearded, it was back to the drawing board.  According to facial recognition apps on the web, I'm close to Keifer Sutherland, Jason Statham, and Alan Tudyk.  And while Alan Tudyk is clearly a genetic cousin of the Downings (and I've pre-cast him to play me in Green Light), it's still not quite right.  So Rae made a couple suggestions:

    Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Max Martini (from TV's The Unit)
    I went with Max.  Although if Vince Vaughn had red hair and blue eyes, we're almost an identical match on body type.
  • Got some paid graphic design work done.  Always nice to have a supplement.
  •  We got everybody in the family doing some kind of therapy, except Kayleigh, who moved on after a year and a half of work.  It's good stuff.  Really helping the process along.
  • I'm down 6 of the 20 pounds I need to lose.  Let's hear it for walking and a dearth of holiday sweets.
  • I had a little microgasm when I heard Florence + The Machine are touring the States.  They are playing but FIVE dates in the whole country, and the West Coast consists of Coachella, Vancouver BC, and Seattle.  I've gushed about this band before, but allow me another dribble: if anyone deserves to inherit the Kate Bush mantle in both songwriting and performance, it is Florence.

    Compare (Kate) : (Florence)

    I can't be the only one who sees the similarity in artistic style.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Geekiest Cupcakes Ever

Thanks to Wil Wheaton for sharing the linky love.  An evil genius woman named Robin Dahlberg made 100 cupcakes, each with a different game (board, video or otherwise) represented on top.  Her recipe appears to be mixing 1 cup awesome with 3 cups win and a tablespoon of epic.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.  Allow cooling time before consuming.


The Power of Insomnia

For the past little bit, we've had Mercury AND Mars in retrograde, which I guess astrologically means that people not only can't communicate effectively, but they're mad as heck about it.  Seemed like the moment that was done (last Friday night), something lifted and we had our energy back.

This is not always a good thing.

Case in point: "having energy" for me is a double-edged sword, because it means that, although I will be productive, I will also get f*ck-all in terms of sleep.  Note the timestamp on this post.  So when Saturday arrived and I was up at 5AM, I was on a trajectory of crashing early.  Imagine my, um, surprise when Rae emerged smiling from the bedroom at 8AM and in the cheeriest of tones proceeded to list all the things she wanted to accomplish that day.

"Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?  She is groggy and cranky in the morning, and you are downright perky."  I scratched my head, but went along for the ride.  See Mrs. Downing's post for all the stuff we did.  To hear her tell it, I may as well not have been there (and certainly wasn't present a great deal of the shopping trip - too busy wondering when the twister was going to finally deposit me in Oz).  I felt like a rodeo bull rider at times, but I held on for dear life and didn't get stomped or gored.  So I guess I win.

Rewinding a bit, on Thursday night we'd met Steve & Stephanie for dinner at West 5, as per our Christmas coupon from them.  Some good food, cocktails and plenty of laughs.  Then off to a couple venues on the West Seattle Art Walk, ending at ArtsWest.  It was a good night out.

Friday was all about doing laundry and experiencing the aftermath of Raechelle's fillings.  She'd left work early for the dentist appointment, and by the time she got home, she was miserable.  Which made Saturday that much more of a freak occurrence.  But we ended up doing the pizza-movie night thing anyway, and Tyler had Miles over.  We've covered Saturday.  She was an extremely clean hurricane.  I helped out when asked, but otherwise tended to my own stuff and generally tried to stay out of her way.  Sunday was Kayleigh's turn to have a friend overnight.  Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, yesterday I had my second session with the therapist, and now you're all caught up.

Oh yes.  Energy.  Yesterday was a banner day for productivity.  I got three complete sections imported, edited and formatted for Arrowflight, and as if that weren't enough, I was able to muster enough gumption to work on the Green Light script a bit with Mrs. Downing.  We managed to get her arc through the second act, and I finally forced myself to sleep at about 11:30.

And awoke - alert and ready - at 4AM.  I will have to try to be productive early today, because I know a crash is coming later.  Maybe this is the Universe smacking me down and telling me not to be such an overachiever.  But I don't know any other way to be.

Which is probably what the therapy is for.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Fine, Thanks.

I had my first over-40 physical today.  It wasn't as bad as the photo above.

I had a nice brisk walk there, and there was no wait, shockingly.  The PA who took my blood pressure said it was borderline high, to which I replied, "I hope so.  I just walked six blocks and up three flights of stairs - I'd worry if it wasn't on the high side." 

Funny how you build certain things up in your head, but it turns out to be pretty minor.  Take the prostate exam, for example.  After dreading the ol' digit-up-the-rectum party (having experienced it at the [ahem] hands of a crusty--and creepy--old urologist when I was twenty), it turns out my doctor doesn't worry about a prostate cancer test unless something funny shows up in the blood panel, for which I will return later this week.  And even then, it's another blood test, not the greasy finger.

Well color me pleasantly surprised.

Until he said he wanted to freeze and/or burn some skin tags off.  Which meant some liquid nitrogen in the junkular area, and three shots of lidocaine and an electrocautery zapper in my armpit.  Thank goodness I didn't have time to build THAT up in my head, huh?

So the bottom line is, aside from dropping the twenty pounds I knew I'd need to lose, and pending the walk-in blood panel which will tell us cholesterol and thyroid levels, I'm in good shape for a 41 year old dude who's had his ass kicked by life a few times, and whose armpits feel like they've been worked over by a couple Russian sailors.

Tomorrow I start with my own personal therapist.  After managing a family dynamic and the grief counseling of two kids, I'm going to work on my emotional engine for a bit.  Call it a New Year's resolution.  Call it an emotional tune-up.  Call it whatever you'd like.  The long and short of it is that I believe in being the best father and husband I can be, and that means keeping everything in working order.  And the last thing I need is figurative rats in my proverbial engine compartment.

On a totally different topic, this site rocks.

Friday, January 8, 2010



Two blogs I've taken to recently are Badass of the Week, which features everyone from Stephen Colbert to The Kraken, and Woman: Uncensored, which is a very frank and outspoken blog about attachment parenting.  But, just as the blog author Rachele says, I feel like "attachment parenting" is just instinctive and common sense, and many of the so-called modern methods of childrearing are "detachment parenting".  Her posts on CIO (Cry It Out) and infant circumcision are particularly thought-provoking and use very effective perspective shifts to shake up old modes of thinking. 

So while one blog amuses my inner 16 year-old, the other fuels the passion of my outer parent.  Each is badass in its own way.  Enjoy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Enormous Agenda

Yes, I said it.  I have an enormous agenda.  It woke me up early this morning, and it's kept me busy all day (as well as generating a large number of Facebook comments).

After pulling out of the holiday wreckage, I was finally able to get a meeting with my production peeps about three projects currently filling the queue: 1) The Duo Issue #0 shorts, 2) the Ordinary Angels series pitch, and 3) a bid on a PSA gig for a non-profit.

Results of said meeting:

1) Jessie has offered to have a cut of Chapter One ready to screen with his latest film next month.  We also strategized about how best to finish the last chapter, with Trish's impending labor (which will take Dan largely out of commission for actual face time on set).  The feature pitch is also being put in front of a local producer whose background is in corporate marketing.  We'll see what she has to say.

2) Still working on the basic plots for the first season episodes, and honing the pitch.  We've given ourselves a six-month deadline, then we're shopping that bitch.

3) Can't really talk too much about this, except to say that we don't have the gig yet, and we do have some strong concepts for it.

In other agenda-related news, I sent Gavin the manuscript for Arrowflight 2nd Edition (or AF2e) after tinkering with it for a week, altering the archaic DEEP system remnants to fall in line with XPG system procedures.  Steve Hartley has been working on new interior art, and the cover is coming right along.  After Gavin adds some material, I will take it back for more tinkering and formatting into playtest document form.

Hurray for a new year, an enormous agenda, and the will to work it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Same Hell, Different Day

No, that's not me being down or pessimistic.  That's a statement about hearing lots of people over the New Year weekend mention how awful 2009 was.  In general, yeah.  It was a high stress year.  A lot happened in the world and closer to home.  In our family, there were challenges in the child-rearing, house-selling, house-buying arenas, coupled with various health issues and scares.  Couples splintered apart.  One close friend was diagnosed with (and apparently beat) lung cancer.  My grandmother was in and out of the hospital.  It was kinda rough.

But here's some perspective:
  • The planet is still rotating, and revolving around the sun.
  • Climate change hasn't killed us off yet.
  • I got married (W00t!)

Honestly, there will always be dark clouds and silver linings to any year.  If I look at my own 2005-2009, I can see rough years of Biblical proportion: death of wife, death of father, flood, fire, locusts... Actually, there weren't locusts.  But we joked about it, because at the time if I didn't laugh, I would have curled into the fetal position and sobbed my ass off.  Come to think of it, I did that anyway.  Just not in public.  But in the midst of that maelstrom of awfulness there were deep friendships formed, the discovery of strength I didn't know I had, and an outpouring of love and support from my community.  I released an award-winning short film and made lots of valuable contacts in the film arena.  I also released a tribute CD for Samantha, which directly put Raechelle in my path.  Now THAT eats my mind every time I think about it.

The point being, it's fine and dandy to say, "2009 sucked - 2010 will be better!"  Heck, it may be true for you.  But there are always ups and downs to any 365-day period, and an arbitrary date on a calendar isn't going to make that any different.  2010, for me, holds the promise of progress on the film front, of creative collaboration with my wife, and of finally releasing the long-delayed second edition of Deep7's first premium fantasy RPG, Arrowflight.  All good things.

And while all of this is happening, an old friend of mine is dying of cancer.  Shura is one of my oldest friends in the area, as Sam & I lived with her and her then-boyfriend Garth when we first moved to Seattle in 1991.  I recently got reconnected with Garth, who got me reconnected with Shura just in time to find out not only had she battled breast cancer for years, but that it had metastasized to her bones and liver.  And she's now quite literally on her deathbed.  Seeing pictures of her taken within the last 48 hours was a huge flashback for me, and I beat my tiny fists against the massive chest of cancer once more, railing impotently from the mountaintop of Facebook.  Time may mute the immediate pain, but watching a loved one die far too young from cancer never becomes more okay.  Godspeed, Shura.  Much love.

On top of that, Raechelle's mom had a heart attack over last weekend, and was hospitalized with stents in her arteries.  I know she doesn't like it when people make a fuss, but we were preparing for some very hard news.  Thank goodness that doesn't appear to be the case! 

So my New Year kicks off with the impending death of an old friend and a health scare for my mother-in-law, and yet -- what a great gift to be reminded of life's finite nature, to be given renewed impetus to fulfill my own potential and not waste a single moment.

To that end, the woman and I are getting back in shape, and I've made appointments with a new head doc (to keep the emotional gears and cogs moving smoothly) as well as my meat doc (for that "You're over 40 - bend over!" physical). And as soon as we receive the report from UW, we'll be getting Tyler's situation sorted out as well.

And with that, here we go...