Saturday, February 5, 2011


  • Randy, David and I drive down to Los Angeles for a long weekend, staying at Randy's pro photographer friend John's place in Hollywood.  John knows Andy Summers from The Police.  We take a "demo comic" of one of my properties to the hotel where WorldCon is being held.  Our intent is to slip the demo to Wendi & Richard Pini.  We find their hotel room, but they've already left to return home.
  • I take an after-school job at the AMC Old Mill 6 movie theater in Mountain View.  Free movies and a paycheck too.  Sweet deal.  I take Samantha, the cute brunette, to Amadeus for our first date.  Over the course of the next year, I'll witness all sorts of cinematic wonder, from David Lynch's Dune to James Cameron's The Terminator.  From Back to the Future to 2010 to Buckaroo Banzai.  And while Weird Science is more of a John Hughes teen comedy, it nonetheless falls into my sci-fi milieu.  And staring at Kelly LeBrock for 94 minutes is hardly a chore.
  • Alan Parker's Birdy is a cinematic revelation to me, between the incredible cinematography and Peter Gabriel's score.
  • I continue to write.  Whenever honors English assignments warrant (or rather, when they don't specifically forbid), I use sci-fi and fantasy as a theme.  I continue to tweak my postmodern rock novella, and start on another - this one a psychological thriller, probably inspired by Dreamscape.  I also publish a comic strip, Zingo, in the Palo Alto Campanile newspaper for two years.
  • In the spring of '85, Samantha, my buddy Konrad and I spend the weekend at Randy's apartment.  We all take shrooms and proceed to share an incredible 8-hour trip.  Sex on a waterbed on shrooms is an experience I will never forget.
  • Although A-ha becomes a mighty MTV one-hit pop icon in the US, I'm impressed with the entirety of Hunting High and Low, and follow the band for a few more albums.
  • During the summer of 1985, several Palo Alto friends and I shoot Project, the supernatural thriller I began writing in Santa Cruz.  We get it in the can and school starts before I can edit.  I finish post production right after graduation in 1986, and submit it to a young directors' series for PBS.  It is broadcast.
  • Ridley Scott's Legend is released.  I am blown away by the production design and cinematography, and it becomes one of my go-to films for visual inspiration.  Between that and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which is a fictionalized account of my own senior year), I develop a crush on Mia Sara.  I find Ladyhawke to be solid medieval fantasy with an unfortunate disco muzak score.
  • 1984-1986 music: I see Howard Jones, Love and Rockets, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Marillion, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lou Reed, U2 and The Stranglers in concert.  It's a good time for alternative music.  David Beach and I start a mostly electronic music project called Pig SynoNym.  I get into Joy Division, New Order, Bauhaus and Tones on Tail.  I'm big into Shriekback and Depeche Mode, and Simple Minds and Tears For Fears are everywhere.  Fellow high school writer Scott Burgess turns me onto Japan, Bill Nelson, David Sylvian and that crowd.  I embrace the Cocteau Twins and their ilk on 4AD records.  Fellow music addict Gordon Kelley turns me onto Moev and Dalis Car.  My musical palette grows by leaps and bounds.  David get's me into The Church.
  • Randy moves to El Rancho Milagro, an orphanage in Ensinada, Mexico.  He will spend the next two years constructing dorms and doing maintenance.
  • 1986: I take my brother Gavin to Transformers.  I sort of missed out on the whole transforming vehicle craze, and he's far more into the toys and the mythos than I, but it is nonetheless Orson Welles' last film (one other project was released posthumously).  
  • Samantha and I take a road trip north to Vancouver BC for Expo '86.  It's a great adventure to be out and about on our own.  On the way, We fall in love with Washington State.  This will be important later.
  • Flushed with the success of Project, I tackle the next logical film - a medieval fantasy.  A totally rational and level-headed decision.  By this time I'm working swing shift at Kinko's, and I copy my scripts for free.
  • After a short hiatus from RPGs, I join Samantha's group at Foothill College.  The game is a homebrew system and setting, run by a woman who is probably the best improvisational storyteller I've met thus far.  New friendships are made, as are preparations to shoot Kings, our medieval fantasy film.
  • Highlander comes out.  I eat it up, warts and all.  Aliens proves to be exemplary, successfully merging the sci-fi, horror, action and war genres into one tight, well-made movie.  "They'll never top this," I think.  And I'm right.

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