Originally uploaded by abstract visionsound.

Sunday, 8/22: A return to Atrox in Leeds to shoot what will ostensibly be the last shots for Chance Shirley’s Hide and Creep. My part in the day includes helping out wherever I can in reshooting Jim Roberson’s scene (he’s the Pick-Up Truck Zombie who eats the government agent’s head), and to get shot.

Not really shot, Mom. Just hit in the stomach with a cotton ball soaked in blood.

It occurred to Chance that he hadn’t any shots of zombies getting hit anywhere other than in the head, so while it is said that only head shots stop the zombies, it’s not shown. Thus, the purpose of today’s pick-up.

Chance offers, as any good filmmaker should, to take the first shot from the goregun to prove that it won’t hurt, and I tell him not to bother getting blood all over himself — how bad will it hurt, after all?

And so we line up the scene I’m in, and the camera rolls, and I hit my mark, and I go past my mark, and then the gun finally goes off, and there’s no pain in my stomach, but suddenly I can’t see out of my left eye.

Fucking marksmen.

It didn’t hurt, fortunately, though I lost a contact to a permastain of fake blood. And it should make for a great outtake — every tells me that the look on my face when it happened was priceless.

Following up…

A little follow up on the fan mail (see post below):

Journalists are trained to be reporters of fact, impartial cameras that pick up detail that relates to the story at hand. They are observers, occasionally distant and ‘uninvolved’ participants, but always (theoretically) aloof enough that they are able to act as recorders of fact.

Writers — a tag which journalists are a sub-group of — are able to put thoughts into words, succinctly and descriptively enough that people are able to understand them. This tag also includes script writers, fiction authors, biographers, PR hacks, advertising copywriters, lyricists….

I am under the writer’s umbrella, but I am not and have never claimed to be a journalist.

I don’t work for newspapers such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. I don’t write investigative pieces on Presidential scandals or financial corruption. I write what might best be described as fluff filler — interviews with musicians and filmmakers, reviews of CDs and books, feature pieces on cultural areas that interest me.

This is the joy of freelancing. I write what I want, not what other people tell me to. And what I want to write is positive, not negative. I don’t want to expose the darker side of Birmingham’s film or local music scenes; I don’t want to out Famous Musician X as an asshole or a diva. I want to let people know about good bands that they might not have heard, good books they might not have read, local efforts that deserve more attention (at the very least).

This town has one common complaint from people in the 18-34 demographic: culture, or lack thereof. “Birmingham has no local music scene.” “Good movies never play here.” “People are so interested in football that no one ever writes about theater, or foreign films, or … ”

What no one seems to realize is that there is as much of a scene here as there is support for. Maybe no one knows where to go to support the things they are missing; maybe they don’t realize that the Galleria 10 does show indie films, or that ther eare other bars in town besides the Nick and Zydeco, or that Sidewalk features a huge array of local talent. Maybe they all know all about these things, and I’m kidding myself into thinking that Birmingham is not hopeless mired in the past.

But I like to think that it’s not, and I’m just trying to do my part to change that.

I’m not a journalist. I have degrees in criminology and in computer science; my experiential background is one of music, film, design, and writing. These are things that interest me, and perhaps will interest other people; think of me as a billboard for entertainment in Birmingham.

Yes, I tend to know a lot of the people that I interview (locally, at least); it’s a small town, and after 25 years, you get plugged in to a certain level and know who you know. Those people doing things I want to support, I get to know. Those people that i know, I tend to want to support the things they are doing.

So yes, a lot (95%) of my published writing is self-serving. I still think it’s honest — believe me, there are plenty of things I haven’t supported publicly because doing so would require pointing out the flaws, and I don’t want to do that — and no different than what an outsider would report. On the flip side, my insider status (concerning HIDE AND CREEP or local music) affords me a unique insight to a lot of things, as well as a passionate interest that I hope comes through to the reader.

Perhaps I should write articles on things that I know nothing about, or about subjects that I don’t like. But expect the same lack of objectivity that apparently permeates my writing — it just might not be so pleasant.

I always wanted fan mail

Forwarded to me, this lovely piece of criticism regarding an article I wrote for Birmingham Weekly:

From: “[person I probably know]”
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 06:08:21 GMT
Subject: How far…

can someone’s head get up another’s ass?

I am referring, of course, to Kennnn McCrackennnn and his shameless
promotion of his current bandmates’ endeavors (chance shirley et al). Does
no one in B’hdm [sic] know how much of a circle jerk his writings are?
Congratulations on supplying the Vaseline.

I have no response, other than to say that yes, there are plenty of people in Birmingham that know how much of a circle jerk my writings are. Especially those interviews with Norah Jones and Tenacious D, close personal friends of mine, and Amber Benson, who is, in fact, my future wife. But it’s okay, because at the end of the day, they all pay me large amounts of money and supply me with endless amounts of 95% pure heroin — not snow white, but white like a January day in Aspen on the slopes, to badly paraphrase Chuck Pahlaniuk.

Also another one of my buddies, by the way.

Vive la Revelations!

Nostradamus was a pussy.

Seriously. He was too busy studying to play tag and stickball. He wanted to be a doctor, and he wrote poetry. And that name — “Our giving,” from the Latin. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I mean, yeah, I would have changed my name, too, if my folks had tagged me Michel, but Jesus, how pretentious. Did he think he was a rock star or something? Even Jesus had a last name…

And Edgar Cayce — oh, don’t get me started. Farm boy. Kentucky, for Chrissakes! Fell asleep on a spelling book and woke up knowing the meaning of life, or somesuch. He went down like a brick, though, when the uppercuts and left hooks were flying. Even the old witch Mother Shipton got in a shot or two on him.

Me — I stick by the dreams. Okay, sure, I had taken about half a sheet of some seriously high-grade blotter just before the peyote kicked in, and the previous day’s David Lynch marathon on AMC probably didn’t help. But any dream you remember three years later must be true, right?


I still freak out when I hear Miles wail. That cat could blow a horn, but really, did he have to do it so well?

(from The Journal of John the Apostle, Volume 3, recently published by Insomniactive Press; the journals are claimed to be approximately 2000 years old, discovered in a remote underground cave in western Egypt, though the presence of Liquid Paper on some pages seems to refute this)

That feeling again

It may as well be late September, except for the fucking heat.

Once in a blue moon (not coincidentally, I write, as we just had one), I get this feeling. It’s a good feeling, shiny, translucent, harmonic and cocoonlike. It’s not unlike the post-hangover clean feeling that I used to get every Monday when I was still doing the Sunday night karaoke thing, and yet it is. It’s two parts nostalgia, one part transformative. Nothing’s really different today — I’m still dateless and alone, soon to be unemployed, have two cats and too much debt and my share of problems, iDVD still runs too slowly, my bass needs an amp. But it feels like something good is waiting around the corner, ready to pounce when I come into view.

Do I really think good news is in the air tonight? Nope (not that I think it’s *not* — but best to expect the worst and hope for the best). But that feeling is in my gut and chest and head, and I’m going to enjoy it while it’s there. You never know when it might come back, if at all.

Recommended listening: the soundtrack to MONSTER by BT, preferably the 5.1 DTS mix. You can almost hear the autumn approaching.

Ye Gods, the office refridgerator smells like a gigantic dill pickle died in there.

SO… what am I looking for in life? I’ve spent too much time saying that I don’t know what I’m looking for, just what I don’t want. But maybe it’s time to make lists.

Because, if you weren’t aware, that’s one of the best ploys for putting off doing what needs to be done while making yourself feel as though you’re accomplishing something.

In a job, I need: Stimulation, both intellectual and creative. Nothing rote, nothing that feels like it’s going through the motions day in and day out. Flexibility in schedule — not to a severe degree, but enough so that I don’t feel like a prisoner. Room to advance based on ability and aptitude, not willingness to politicize and brown-nose. At least enough money to live comfortably — which is to say, being able to save, and not having to live week to week like I have for too many years.

Optional: I’d like to feel like I’m making a difference in the world, no matter how small. I’d llike to feel like I’m in a field where I can excel to recognition.

Wow, that was fun. No, really. I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever. Seriously.

So, why didn’t they take advantage of the alphabetical hurricane naming system, and go from Bonnie to Clyde? Then Florida would still be soaked this weekend, but at least headline writers everywhere would breathe a little easier for a day or two.

I can feel the cooler air coming, yes I can. It would be perfect weather to cuddle with someone. So I’ll settle for memories.

Things will be looking up shortly. That’s what I think today.

When the universe speaks, I listen

Sometimes, though, I’m just not sure how to interpret what I’m hearing.

As of August 31, my job no longer exists, so there’s that. The official line is that I’m being laid off, which is good for my resume; the truth behind the official line is rather unimportant to me. So I get to get my resume back in working order, and start that process that I love so – the job hunt. Argh.

Much easier when it’s a laid-back, replacement sorta search.

On the one hand, I’ve been trying to get away from this job for a long time — over a year, maybe longer. On the other, I’m now one more reason short on why it is that I stay in this town, and one less exterior definition of self. It’s a tough juggle in my head.

Plus, I hate hunting for work.

And for the first year in three, my short script isn’t a finalist for the Sidewalk competition.

But on the bright side, I’ve got the cover story this week in the Birmingham Weekly, my piece on local film / Hide and Creep. So that’s coolish.

To the resumemobile, Batfucker.