Sunday, May 31, 2009

Way Behind Schedule

It's been two weeks since I started this blog, and one week since I posted, which means I'm failing before I've even started.

School has always been dilatory, and my laziness and constant drowsiness (from voluntary lack of sleep) don't help much either.

I must get back to a day-by-day basis. Doing so will give me a much better handle on reaching deadlines expeditiously. More than like, a lot of it will be random stuff. In the cases that I do have to go away (such as last weekend, when I went to my granny's house), I will post an early warning if possible.

I want this blog to work, so I must work a little harder. Not too hard, but hard enough.

Actually, this something I want to talk about in a future post...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hey, look, it's me!

Just a few photographs of myself.

Now I must go to sleep. My head hurts, and I believe I have "drowsy drunkeness", these keys are hard to type..... cdlfjlkdaf

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Hugged McG, or: How I Let My Guard Down and Loved "Terminator: Salvation"

And so I was taken to the advanced screening of Terminator: Salvation with my friends from school.

McG, the director, was there. Being a Kamalazoo, Michigan native, he came to the Novi Emagine Theater to introduce the film before us all. Once he was finished, the film began.

Man, what a rush!

Terminator: Salvation exceeded my expectations to become a very decent action film. Many of the most complex shots were CGI-assisted long takes that worked fantastically. Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, and just about all of the actors pulled their roles off with great skill. Sam Worthington’s character, half-human and half-Terminator, and his emotional arc was highly effective: his realization of his dual nature was one of the best parts of the film. A lot of the action scenes were very creative, much more than the norm.

(SPOILER, I suppose)

I don’t think it’s any surprise anymore that Arnold Swartzneggar makes an appearance of sorts as the original Terminator to finish off John Connor. Nice to see him again.


I was impressed. When we exited the screening room, McG was out to talk to, take pictures with, sign autographs for, etc., the fans around him. Bobby, one of my friends, got his signature on his ticket stub. Tom gave McG his address to get a signed poster that had Jonathan Nolan’s name on the writing credit (Nolan was responsible for much of the great John Connor material). I gave him a hug.

Nothing special. Just one human showing his appreciate to another human in the most knowing, inoffensive manner possible. (I wish I’d taken a picture and had some proof, though.)

So I was glad to have seen Terminator: Salvation. But there’s only one film I’m going to cherish more than any other this year for the rest of my life: Up. Two more weeks for Pixar’s tenth film. First day attendance. Can’t wait!*

Sorry this post is a little lazy. I am terribly drowsy tonight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Going to See "Terminator: Salvation" Tonight

A friend of mine got advanced tickets, and is taking me and another classmate to go see it. Maybe I'll review it when I come back to the blog.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Preparing to Go Homeless

At this point in my life, I believe I am screwed. My Junior year of high school has been the worst school year of my life, so my chances of getting into the college I’d like to or getting a scholarship(s) is limited. I have a 28 on my ACT, but without the grades to support, just how reliable is that? The economic crisis in this country has hindered my chance of finding “easy work.” That is, janitorial services (which I really love to do), supply carrier, cashier, etc. I’m not saying I can’t get these jobs, but it’s harder than ever. I accept that.

For seventeen years, I’ve mostly wasted my time being lazy, selfish, and dumb. (I’m typing this entry when I should be writing an essay for World Religions class.) I’m not sure if, given my circumstances, I can ever become a filmmaker, let alone get a job in the industry. But I guess I shouldn’t be too down: there are many, many, many kids worse than I, so I should be grateful for what I have.

Anyway, after a year of college (which may be all I can realistically achieve), I intended to make a pilgrimage to California, where, miraculously, I hope to get a job at Pixar Animation Studios, or Nickelodeon Studios. The latter is further from me. I plan to take nothing but toiletries, a sketch book, a notebook, and an extra change of clothes. I don’t know about food. I’ll have to beg, or even go through the trash for something good. Maybe someone will let me work for my meals. That would be great. I wonder what would happen if I became homeless in a suit, like Mel Brooks in Life Stinks. I probably wouldn’t be taken anymore seriously than he was. It’s worth a try though.

In preparation, I need to develop whatever skills I can for so I’m not entirely screwed. My drawing and writing would probably help more than I think. It’s a long shot, but maybe if I learn to draw well enough, I can actually sell something. I definitely want to learn how to play jazz piano. Of course, the chances of me finding a place to play the piano, let along for tips, are limited, to put it cheerfully. The Bay Area is probably fruitful with opportunities, but then again, I’ll have competition.

I don’t know. I probably won’t even make this pilgrimage, or even make it homelessly. I’ll look into more and come to a decision.

Learning from the Masters: Steve Martin and George Carlin

Before I start, I want to note how interesting it is that by the end of this day, I have enough thoughts to make at least three entries if I had the energy. Because of my drowsiness, only one will be developed and posted. That's the trade, I guess.

Today I started to really read Steve Martin's autobiography Born Standing Up, reading up to the end of his childhood. Two sections of lines really stuck out for me, and probably help explain my psych and my problem:

1) "Having cut myself off from him, and by association the rest of the family, I was incurring psychological debts that would come due years later in the guise of romantic misconnections and a wrong-headed quest for solitude. I have heard it said that a complicated childhood can lead to a life in the arts. I tell you this story of my father and me to let you know I am qualified to be a comedian."

2) "But there was a problem. At age eighteen, I had absolutely no gifts. I could not sing or dance, and the only acting I did was really just shouting. Thankfully, perseverance is a great substitute for talent."

Martin's father once aspired to be an actor, and maybe didn't achieve this goal thanks to his job selling real estate and the needs of his wife and two kids. This produced a growing anger inside him, and Martin got the most grief from him. On one particular occasion, he lashed out at Martin on one particular occasion that essential hindered their entire relationship. Nothing this bad and physical happened again, but the deed was done: "...there was little he said to me that was not critical, and there was little I said back that was not terse or mumbled." After his death, his friends always called him a delightful, funny man, which confused Martin, who never recalled him being anything but reserved and formal around him and the family.

I see many parallels between Martin's relationship with his father and my own relationship with my stepfather. My stepfather is a "business-first" guy, a man of strict logic and scrutiny, generally reserved. He is not a bad person, although it's highly probably that he is a bad parent. The circumstances of our union didn't help matters much: most of my childhood I'd been pampered; I remember having a Game Boy and Pokemon Yellow that completely took my mind over, so that I'd sneak in playtime with homework time (a problem that persists to this day); charm was my way of handling my relations. Anything "smart" coming from my mouth got instant gratification; I was well-mannered for the selfish reason of getting love and admiration from everyone (that's a problem now, too); and I was a spoiled crybaby. Criticism was not, and still isn't, something I can take lightly.

With this man as my unofficial parent, I was the anti-thesis to the kind of son he would want. He disciplined with his hand and belt, which, of course, doesn't help when you consider that a selfish kid like me would be concerned only with the punishment and not the logic behind it. I hated him. I still don't like him, despite recognizing that he is trying to help me. He was trying to force the bad out of me, instead of gaining my trust first. Admitted, he tried the latter, taking me to arcades and other places. They didn't work.

Essentially, his totalitarian righteous parenting and my egotistical theatrics were a terrible combination that resulted in a ten-year black hole of wasted time, limited childhood, and lost opportunities. I can't say he didn't try, but I can say I wasn't listening. Is it sad that I'm only seventeen, and the songs "Reelin' in the Years" and "Do It Again" by Steely Dan, and "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp fill me with grief and resent?

Essentially, the most important thing I learned from him was to not complain about shit. One day, I whined about the heat we were working under, and he told me about how the slaves didn't have a say it their manual labor, so I have no right to complain (something along those lines). From that day on, generally, I've kept my mouth shut. It's caused problems. I haven't made many or any enemies, though.

I'm still very lazy despite my contemplative nature, which causes us to continue fighting. Because I have already lost the argument, the instinct is to be an ass, which does not help at all. Man, I wish I wasn't so dumb.

As for abuse, he doesn't hit me as much (the last straw was before I ran away) unless I just do something superstupid, like unknowingly throw a battery at the dog's nose out of pointless anger. Most of the abuse in the house is that that I give to my twin half-brothers; his real sons. If there's one thing I could take back, it's the furious abuse I've given them. Now they've become worse than I was: totally arrogant, spoiled, talkative, and self-righteous. I still abuse them to this day, even as I realize my pointless rage is ultimately self-destructive and cowardly (I'm not this mean to anyone else, particularly those my age and size).

I've wanted to get into filmmaking for a while. Maybe it was the make-believe aspect that appealed to me; anything to avoid the "reality" my stepfather spoke of, if not necessarily upheld. It wasn't until recently that personal filmmaking meant anything to me. The feelings of resent, guilt, and inadequacy I've felt have informed so many of my story ideas. I think the arts is the best thing for me, although what I really need is spiritual redemption.

Now, the second quote from Martin's autobiography especially speaks to me because I feel I have no talent whatsoever. I've been drawing and writing for years, but still suck at it. Martin's quote gives me hope that all of this will not have been for nothing. If I keep working, I can achieve what those with talent achieve, if not to the degree of genius those rare folks have.

Earlier tonight, I managed to catch the last fifteen minutes of one of George Carlin's last stand-up routines. Now this is a man I need to learn from. He reiterated the importance of questioning everything. From what he has gathered, national pride, swearing on the Bible/to God, rights in the US, etc., are silly, shallow concepts. I'm in no position to argue some of his points, but I can admit that they were funny as Hell. He's taught me that I need to stop remaining neutral about everything. Think and argue.

This was all pretty much typed in spur-of-the-moment fashion, so typos are sure to be endless. I hope this is a good entry.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Because I suck at keeping a private journal...

...I figure I might as well have a public blog. At this point, it's just as useful as the former, but at least it has the chance of being out in the open, welcome to criticism, advice, community, among other things. Now I need a reputation...

My blog will hopefully contain at least a thought-a-day, or a post of some kind, whether its a Youtube clip, great music, interesting articles, etc. ; something to fill the void.

Marshall Turner was the name of a character I created years ago for a script I created called Predator 3 (uh huh). Needless to say, not only did that script suck, but current copyright laws would have prevented me from selling the screenplay anyway if I was ever so nervy. The name stuck for some reason. Probably because it has a nice ring to it. Maybe because the only other "Marshall" I know is the great Eminem. that I think of it, Marshall was probably the only black character, and I wanted him to live at the end of the film (Damn, was I original!)...nah, he was white. He was friends with the black guy, though. I think they both lived.

Just for the Hell of it, the plot of Predator 3 was that a group of war veterans go deer hunting after the Vietnam War, and have to face the Predator...


Needless to say, my writing skills have matured much since then, which is partially why this is "The Evolution of Marshall Turner." I want to display my even-changing progression of thought, spiritual maturity, artistic skills, political opinions (I have none at the moment), all that good stuff. Not since writing that script (be glad), but from this moment on. What thoughts have strongly stayed with me from my past, I'll share. Otherwise, it's strictly present day jive.* Thanks, Zen.

Marshall Turner is also my Deviant Art name. I may move some of my art from there to here if I feel the need.

So, if you've read this first post, you know my deal. I'll try to stay posted as often as possible.

Thank you and God bless.

* I just looked up "jive" in the dictionary. I did not mean it that way. I've heard the word used many times, but didn't know what it meant. I just used it because it sounded appropriately cool. Boy, I've got some growing to do...