Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home For The Holidays

It's hard to believe that yet another year is at an end.  In a mere twelve days, it will be 2012.

On Thursday, Amanda and I are going home for the holidays, splitting the time between my family in Chicago, and her family in Michigan (and I'm meeting them for the very first time, so that should be very interesting -- and I don't mean that in any sort of disparaging way.  It's just that, you know, meeting your significant other's family for the first time...you just never know what to expect.  Could be the Bailey family from It's A Wonderful Life, or Cousin Eddie and his brood from Christmas Vacation).

I know I've said it before, but I could never do Christmas in California.  I joke about the warm weather, and the short-wearing Santas, and the palm trees shiny with ornaments and tinsel, and while all of that is in fact true (I'd rather have a Christmas at the snowed in Overlook Hotel from The Shining than celebrate one around the swimming pool), the big thing is that I am not from California, and all of my family is back home in Chicago, and that is where I want to be for Christmas.

Besides the non-Christmas feel of the Southern California environs for the holidays, I have a deep-seated mistrust of the weather here.

It fucks with time.

No, really -- it does.

As I write this, I realize that this March will mark my fourteenth year in California -- nearly a third of my life at this point.  That's a little scary.

The issue I have with the weather is the perpetual Groundhog Day thing it does (apparently this one is going to be chock full of movie references.  Sorry about that my friends, it's just how my brain sees things).  It's always warm and sunny.

Warm and sunny.

Warm and sunny.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Now some will argue that I am exaggerating things, that the summers and hotter, and the winters are cooler -- but come on, really?  Any way you cut it, when you're looking out of the window, it always, always looks the same.

Now some people like that.  Kevin Smith says that while he loves New Jersey, he can't imagine living anywhere again where you have to shovel the driveway.  Kevin Smith, talented guy that he is, looks like he exercised last around mandatory gym class in high school.  I know I may sound like I'm being a bully and a dick, but next time you can't fit in the airplane seat, Kev, even as in the wrong as the airline may be, maybe just venting some of that energy on a lifecycle instead of your twitter account.  For a guy who's married with a kid, why would he not make his health a higher priority?

Anyway...

I love seasons.  Seasons are nature's way of chronicling time. Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter.  What is planted, grows, blooms, bears fruit, and dies.  It's life.  Right outside your window.

When I think back on my life, I remember events in part by the seasons.  It was winter, and I was bundled up against the cold.  It was summer, and we were in the park, or at the movies.  The seasons are the ever-changing backdrop, and it helps me place the moments in their proper place in the timeline of my life.

The weather in Southern California strips the time from the moments, and the years seem not to advance, but rather run in place aboard some galactic treadmill.  Hence my surprise at the years I have lived here.  It just seems like yesterday that I got here.

But it wasn't yesterday -- and that is often a sobering and depressing thought.

I go home for Christmas to spend time with my family.  And there are times that that can be difficult.

On December 13th, my father turned 70.  My mother, who is actually a few years older than my dad, celebrated her birthday on December 9th -- but I mention my father's specifically, because for him, he feels turning 70 is a landmark.

And I think he's right.

It's hard for me to think of my father as old, but he is.  And while I, or anyone else, can ramble and blather about "you're only as old as you feel" and all that, it doesn't change the fact that my father, and my mother as well, are getting older and older.

What that means for me, what completely terrifies me, is that I don't know how many more Christmases I will have with them.

I have friends and family who lave lost a parent, if not both of them.  I consider myself extremely lucky that mine are both still around.

But I don't get home as often as I'd like, and when I do, sometimes I'm surprised how much they have changed since I saw them last.  Maybe it's just different from a picture that I keep in my head, one that keeps them forever young and vital, before the knee surgeries and minor strokes that remind me that the human body grows old, breaks down, and eventually...

I don't want to say it.

I live in fear of a call in the middle of the night.  I've never understood in movies (yes, I know, everything is a movie reference) when the phone rings in the middle of the night, and someone sleepily, and slowly, reaches out and picks up the phone, answering it with eyes still shut.  When my phone rings in the middle of the night, I am instantly awake.  No one is calling me at 2:45am to chat -- to say Hey, how you doing?  How are things?  What's new?

Something is wrong.

A few years ago my phone rang in the middle of the night.  My cousin Chris had a heart attack.  He was gone.

I live in California because I chase this dream -- perhaps foolishly, perhaps without understanding, even still after all these years, of how hard, how rare, how uphill and how remorseless this thing can be.

And living in California puts me thousands of miles away from my family, which means, if anything goes wrong, the phone rings.  Even now, if my sister calls me at 1:30 in the afternoon, outside of the usual time when we talk during my drive to work, I have a brief moment where I think Oh, please, no.  Please let everyone be okay.


So I worry.  I worry how many more years I have with my parents.  How many Christmases?  How many phone calls?  How many hugs?  How many more times to say "I love you".

And I worry if I'm failing.

I worry about the future.  If I were to get married, could we afford a house?  Could we afford to have children?  Could I feed my family?  Shelter them?

And I worry about my parents being proud of me.  It may seem a silly thing, a childish thing, to worry what your parents think, but is it?

I know my parents love me.  But I also don't want them to worry about me.

I look at the career of Christopher Nolan, who, just like me, moved out to Hollywood from Chicago, at about the same time I did.

He and I are the same age.

He and I couldn't have more drastically different career paths.

I look at pictures of myself as a kid, as a high school student -- and wonder What happened to that kid?  He had so much promise.  He had his whole life ahead of him.

I wonder where I went wrong.

All of these things race through my mind.  At Christmas.  As yet another year comes to an end.

I look forward to going home, and I try to cherish every moment that I have.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Is For Kids

I'm not saying that it's something you outgrow -- as when some children boldly exclaim that they are too "old" for certain things, be it picture books, training wheels, or video games in which cuddly characters aren't mowing down everything in sight with a chain gun -- but ask any parent who's spent hours searching for the Hot Toy Of That Particular Year, and they'll tell you the same thing.

Adults sit on Santa's lap as a joke, or because they're drunk, or because of some deep-seated creepy fetish which I would rather not understand, so please, there's no need to fill me in.  Honestly.

Grownups are generally not wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4:30 in the morning on Christmas.  But the kids certainly are.  Those same kids would howl with disapproval at being awoken at such an hour on a school day -- and those parents who are reading this and thinking what a great moment of revenge that would be, think it through.  Kids remember that kind of stuff, and one day grandma or grandpa may fall down the stairs in their wheelchair.  It happens all the time.  They call them "accidents".

I'm forty-one years old, and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.  I love going home to see my family.  I love the cold and the snow (which I desperately need -- for me, Christmas in California is no bueno.  Santa in shorts?  Palm tress with lights?  No thanks).  But one of the things I love most is the look on my nephews' faces during Christmas.  And that look belongs to those who still believe in magic.

Spoiler alert.

Santa's not real.

I know -- shocking.  But you know what?  Now you may shrug it off, but try and think back to that moment that you found out THE TRUTH.  No Santa.  No reindeer.  All of it just, what?

A lie?

Technically, yes -- it's a lie.

But it's a great one.  And I also think a defining one.

When I was growing up, a woman who was a friend of my parents thought it best to not lie to her daughter, a la Maureen O'Hara in 'Miracle on 34th Street'.  Never.  Ever.

I try not imagine the child's reaction when she inevitably asked, "Mommy, where do babies come from?".  That whole stork and cabbage patch thing is probably more preferable to the young mind than the description of the all-too-brief, sweaty, and sticky beginning; followed by the screaming, bloody, even more sticky, and perineum-tearing finale nine months later reality (I hope she saved up for the therapy).

And as a result, there was no Santa Claus.

Now I think that's lame.  More than that -- I think it's just mean.  Why would you deny a child the magic of it all.  Is it fucking hurting anybody?  No, it's not.  And the rationalization that lying to them in the first place is what's actually hurting them is utter and complete bullshit.  It denies a child the thing which defines them most: their childhood.

When the truth of Santa lands, in a way, childhood is officially packing its bags and stepping out the door.  It's part of magic and make-believe, and as adults we know they're not real.  And no, not in the "we've forgotten what it's like to believe in magic, and if only a Will Ferrell elf could remind us" or anything like that.

I work in make-believe -- I believe in the magic of movie-making.

But I also know it's not real.  And that's okay.  I understand that it's pretend, but as much as I love it (and I really, REALLY do), I also know that it's fake.  In being an adult, I have seen what is behind the Wizard's curtain, but fortunately I can still suspend my disbelief.

When I was a kid, I wholeheartedly believed in Santa Claus.

Every Christmas Eve, we would go to my Uncle Bob's house.  When we were there, one of the local radio stations broke in on the Christmas music with "Santa Watch", where they were tracking Santa via radar.  Nowadays they have the online versions of it, with all the visual treats of where Santa is on a world map -- but there was something about that radio version, because the details existed completely in the mind's eye.

One particular year, one our way home I remember staring out the car window, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa's sleigh passing by the full moon.  If I remember correctly, I think I saw it.

And the night of every Christmas Eve, I had absolute proof that Santa was real.  I would wake up in the middle of the night, and hear him up on the roof!  And, remembering the "He sees you when you're sleeping/He knows when you're awake" refrain of 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town', I would instantly fall right back asleep.

Years later, I found out that what I heard was actually my parents up in the attic, retrieving our gifts from where they had been hidden.  I think that's pretty cool.  I never said that the glimpse behind the curtain couldn't be fun.

There was just something about the Christmas season when I was a kid.  Somehow, the month of December seemed to take forever to get through.  Every day we would open yet another window on the Advent Calendar, counting down, getting closer and closer to the day that we could open 'December 24th'.

On Christmas morning, my sister and I would have to wait at the top of the stairs that led down to our finished basement while our parents first went down to where the tree and, presumably, the presents were.

When they let us, my sister and I would race down the stairs and run toward the tree.  I remember the blinding light from the lamp on top of the Super 8 camera my dad was recording the moment on, and the colored lights of the Christmas tree.  And there would be the gifts from Santa, with handwritten notes by the big guy himself, telling us how proud he was of us for being so good that year.  For some reason, my sister and I never recognized our mother's handwriting, even though it was pretty obvious.  Kinda like Superman -- with glasses, good old Clark Kent; without, hey it's Superman!

In a way, I miss those Chistmases (Is that even a word?  I don't know) of my youth.  They were so much fun.

But they still are.

Every Christmas, I go home to Chicago.  And every Christmas morning, my nephews wake me up when it's still dark outside -- "Comeoneuncleseanit'schristmasmorninggetupgetupthere arepresentspresentsPRESENTS!!!"

My sister hands my half-awake self a video camera, and I film the event.  The boys opening their presents, excited beyond belief.  If we're lucky, it's snowing right outside the window.

And it is always amazing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Acts Of Coolness

Hollywood can be a bitter place.  It chews people up and spits them out with terrifying alacrity.  You see people attending an open casting call -- men and women in their fifties and sixties, wearing old suits and Sunday dresses, still hoping, wishing; and you realize that for every Lana Turner story, in which she, a mere girl of sixteen, discovered at the soda fountain of a Hollywood pharmacy and propelled to cinema stardom, there are countless others who will never get that break, that chance, that moment where everything they hope for comes true.

It can also be a world that indulges and condones the worst of human flaws.  I would like to tell you that every celebrity who graces the screen both big and small, are considerate, generous souls who are eternally grateful for the opportunity that came their way.  But I'd be lying.  I've been lucky for the most part, but I've seen my share, and heard firsthand from others, the most deplorable behavior of people who get paid exorbitant amounts of money to play fucking make believe.  Am I wrong about that?  Sure, one can argue the joy that they can bring into people's lives, but just how sad are these people that need utter strangers to brighten their day.  And not one of them is curing cancer.  Not a one, even though they may seem to think they are.

But there are good people.  There actually are those who appreciate where they are, and who have not yet forgotten (and I hope they never do) where they come from.

A word of fair warning: I'm going to do a little name-dropping here.

I'm not doing it to impress anyone, or to say 'how cool am I?'.  I assure you, no one is less cool than I.

I'm going to drop some names here because they deserve to be said, not because of who they are, but for what they did.

When I was working on 'Alias', I was given the chance to write a script.  It's a big deal to write a script on a television show.  It's a chance to bat in the majors, and I was, and continue to be, well aware of how crazy lucky it was to have that opportunity.

My episode came towards the end of the season, and for anyone who has not worked on a television show, the end of a season can be insane.  John Eisendrath, who was one of the show-runners on 'Alias', said it best:  "When you start a season of television, the production train is waaaaaaaay down the track -- you can't even see it.  But by the end of the season, you are running just a couple of inches ahead of the cowcatcher as the train bears down on you."

After my episode was broken (which means that I and the writers broke the story down in the Writers' Room), I was asked how many acts I would like to tackle.  On a show like 'Alias' there were five acts, and ordinarily the writer would write it all -- but at the end of the season, there was no time, and it would have to be divided up between a couple of the other writers in order to meet the script delivery date.

Audaciously, I said that I would write three of the acts.

Now, at the time of the year I wrote my script, there was a three-day holiday.  I don't remember which one it was, but what I do remember was basically locking myself in the office for those three days so I could get my work done.

There was an interesting evolution that occurred over those three days.

Day One was: OhmygodwhatthefuckhaveIdonethissucksIcan'tdothisfuckfuckfuckshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.


Day Two was: Hey, this is pretty good -- this might work.

And Day Three was: This shit is gold.  Every keystroke is magic.  They will bow before my brilliance.

Uh-huh.  Wait for it...

So the following Tuesday I turned in my pages to the writers that were handling the remaining two acts.  Those writers were Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.  They have gone on to be incredibly successful, writing and producing some of the biggest movies in recent years.

So I handed in my pages, they read them, and told me that they were great, and they were just going to clean them up a bit.  Convinced that this "cleaning" would probably take all of ten minutes (remember, it was gold I tell you.  GOLD!), I awaited the final script.

A couple of days later the script landed on my desk.  It was hot off the printer.  I mean, literally, warm to the touch -- like fresh bread.

I picked it up, savored the moment of seeing my name right there on the cover page and, smiling like a crazed baboon, turned to the first page.  And then the next.  And then the next.  All the while, my smile was fading, because everything I had written -- was gone.  Every word, every sentence, every paragraph -- every fucking name that I had given characters, was nowhere to be seen.

I was crushed -- just fucking obliterated.  By way of the chance to bat in the majors analogy, I had struck out, my pants dropping around my ankles while I simultaneously shit myself.

I was humiliated.  I had moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, leaving friends, family, and actual weather behind for the sole purpose of becoming a writer, and I had failed miserably.

Now, I'm Irish and Italian.  Stoic we may be, but we also wearing our fucking emotions on our sleeves -- and if my all-Irish friends are claiming that that is not the Irish way, then I guess the Italian half of me punted the mick down the stairs and beat his chest quite operatically.

So I was bummed, and obviously so, because toward the end of the day, I received a phone call from Alex Kurtzman, asking me if I was doing okay.

I then told him that my immediate plans involved quitting my job, moving back to Chicago, and finding employment with whatever McDonald's would have me, since I obviously did not have the skills required to be a writer.

He told me to stop.

In the nicest way possible he told me to calm the fuck down, take a breath, and step back in from off the ledge.

He reminded me that I had broken the story, that many of the characters and set-pieces were my ideas -- so my involvement had been incredibly important.

Alex told me that everyone gets rewritten.  He and Bob had been rewritten -- every writer that they knew had been rewritten.  It's part of the process, he told me.  And the important thing, he continued, is to learn from it; to take the experience, and use it to become a better writer.

It was the greatest phone call I have ever gotten -- because he didn't need to make that call.  But he did, and I am forever grateful for it.


I worked, peripherally at best, on 'Lost'.  By peripherally, I mean that I worked in an office adjacent to theirs; specifically in the 'Alias' office, and that there was considerable wandering back and forth by many of the creative staff on both shows.

Now, at this stage, I had seen the pilot, but it had yet to air.  I thought it was pretty fucking cool, and in my travels from office to office, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Damon Lindelof, who was the co-creator of the show.

Now, I'm a Stephen King fan.  And in all my years of working with cool creative people, not one of them was a Stephen King fan.  That is, until I  met Damon Lindelof.

Damon was a huge SK fan.  And what was important in my world, was that he was a SK fan who had grown up to be a successful writer -- which was a path I dared hope to emulate.

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that 'Lost' aired, and fucking BLEW UP.  It was a hugely successful show.

I remember in the first season, Stephen King, who was (and, as far as I know, still is) writing a monthly column in Entertainment Weekly, wrote a glowing fanboy review of the show.

Now, that was the shit to Damon, like golden idol in the beginning of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' cool.  Imagine your hero saying that something you did was awesome.  If it was me, I would smile appreciably, and then roll myself under the nearest bus because I know it would never, ever get any better than that.

If I'm not wrong, Damon had the article framed and hung on his office wall.

Now, a year later, the same Entertainment Weekly magazine invited Damon, J.J. Abrams, and Carlton Cuse to come down to Maine and chat with Stephen King in a kind of roundtable conversation about writing.

So they all head off to Maine, and the conversation, which I would have killed to be a fly on the wall for, occurs.

Then they come back.

Damon Lindelof calls me over to his office.  When I get there, he hands me a small package.  It is wrapped in light blue paper, with dark blue ribbon (I remember it vividly).  I open it.  It is a copy of Stephen King's 'On Writing'.  On the inside cover is written "To Sean.  Best, Stephen King".

Oh, yeah.

Damon goes to Maine to meet his hero, and brings me back an autographed Stephen King book.  A personalized Stephen King book.


In both of the above instances, neither Mr. Kurtzman or Mr. Lindelof had to do what they did.  No one asked them to do it.  Their was no plausible reason for them to do what they did.

And yet, they did.

This is why, when I see the talk backers on Deadline.com or aintitcool.com spotting shit about them being no-talent hacks, it gets my blood up.  Because besides being incredibly talented (and have no fucking illusion whatsoever, they worked their asses off to get there they did.  No one just gave them their success.  They worked the shitty jobs for years.  In other words, they fucking earned it, and worked tirelessly at their craft), they were, and undoubtedly still are, generous to a fault.

Who am I?  I'm fucking nobody.  But they each still did me a kindness for which I could never hope to repay.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving

Every time I go into a restaurant lately, I see all manner of signs advertising their Thanksgiving Day plan.  In casual restaurants, it's casual -- like painted on the glass of the front door casual; and in fancier restaurants, the advertisement, perched on a polished stand, is paired with photos of a steaming Thanksgiving feast atop a table decked out in linen tablecloths and gleaming silverware.

I've never been to a restaurant for Thanksgiving.  I know it's pretty common because my girlfriend worked in the food service industry for many years, and has told me how she worked on Thanksgiving Day quite a lot.

But I just don't get it.

I'm not condemning or judging or maligning in any way.  I'm saying what I'm saying because of my personal experiences over four decades of celebrating that fourth Thursday of November in the manner that I celebrated it.

I love Thanksgiving.  A lot.

What I don't love is how the holiday seems to get lost in some odd Twilight Zone between Halloween and Christmas.  Walk into any store on November 1st -- actually, who am I kidding?  Walk into any store on October 15th, and the halls have already been decked out quite sufficiently.  My sister tells me that the local radio station in Chicago that exclusively plays Christmas programming during the holidays has completely forgone the day after Thanksgiving kickoff, and decided to start a little earlier; as in fucking October.

Look, it's business, so I somewhat get it.  Halloween and Christmas are huge moneymakers -- and unless you're the maker of Butterball turkeys, pumpkin pie filling, or that odd, gelatinous tube of cranberry sauce, there's not a lot to pay the rent with.

But that doesn't excuse reducing the holiday's only notable moment to being the kickoff to Black Friday, either.

Thanksgiving for me starts well before dawn.  To stuff the bird, peel the potatoes, or prepping pit crusts?

No, it's so I can get to the airport on time.

With the exception of the first few years I was in Los Angeles, I have always made it home for Thanksgiving.  Those early years were celebrated in what was dubbed an 'Orphan's Thanksgiving', as I and a bunch of other out-of-town transplants got together.  We always cooked.  And each of us brought something to the table, potluck-style.

But ever since my sister got married and started having kids, and undeniably, as the passing of family members struck it home that the ones we love will not be around forever, I started coming home for Thanksgiving.  I don't care if I had to pay it off the rest of the year -- it's worth it.

I did spend one Thanksgiving in a small fishing village in China -- but that's a story for another day.

Plus, I just love being home in November, at the tail end of autumn.  I love that I have to wear an actual coat.  I love breathing the cold air, and smelling the smoke from chimneys.  There's something about autumn sunsets in the Midwest, the sky streaked with the same colors as the leaves underfoot.  People in Los Angeles can argue all they want that the region really does have seasons.  But really, they don't.  Rain does not make a season.  Sorry, but it's true.  And a high of 65 degrees does not mean winter.  Come on, you have to admit even that's a bit far-fetched.

My sister usually entertains for Thanksgiving, and coming in from the cold into a warm house, the windows steamed up, and the air redolent of all that is cooking...

Have you ever noticed how smells can take you back to a memory?  I smell fresh bread, and I think of my grandmother.  Same with Ivory soap.  It's all she used, and when I gave her a hug, I could smell it on her skin.

I smell a turkey cooking, and I am back with my family, no matter where I am.

Some people, I imagine, do the restaurant thing because of all the work -- and yes, I realize that a Thanksgiving feast is a hell of a lot of work.  Try doing any grocery shopping anytime after the second week of November, and it's clear that the initial prep alone is a daunting task.

But for me, it's family -- and family means being at home.  And when we're together for Thanksgiving, we all pitch in.  Someone mashes the potatoes.  Someone sets the table.  Everyone has a job do do, and when the meal is finished, everyone helps with the dishes and clean up.  All the work, ultimately, is still time spent together.

That's why I think football games on Thanksgiving is bullshit.  Not that I have any sympathy for overpaid athletes, but why should they spend a day away from their families for your entertainment?

I'll admit that the game may be on in the background at my sister's, but it's just atmosphere at best, like Christmas music at Christmas.  But I know that I would never ever want to be glued to the television, watching some stupid game, when I could be spending time with my family.  I would hate to think that I wasted one second locked in on the idiot box, when I could have been talking to a family member that is no longer with us.  Is that stupid game really that fucking important?

We sit as a family.  We eat as a family.  We spend time together as a family.

Why on earth would a holiday like that be reduced to almost nothing, a mere blip between Halloween and Christmas?

I'll never understand it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My 44 cents

There was a story on the radio the other day that the U.S. Postal Service is in trouble.  They're basically out of cash, and in order to avoid a complete shutdown of service, the Postmaster General will be suggesting some changes, not the least of which is the cancellation of Saturday deliveries.

We live in a digital world now.  We communicate, pay our bills, and attend to a number of our daily needs via computer.  As a result, the amount of paper products that find their way into our mailboxes (the traditional kind nailed beside your front door, not the electronic kind) has diminished.  Well, except for the endless SAVESAVESAVE mailers -- those things drive me nuts.

I propose we pitch in and help the U.S. Postal Service, and all it will cost you is a little bit of time, and forty-four cents.

When was the last time you mailed someone an honest-to-god letter?  Or how about a card?  And not just for birthdays or Christmas, but just because it's...Wednesday.

I love cards.  I have an entire drawer of my desk filled with them.  I especially love those quotable ones -- with all the smart and sweet things said by smart and sweet people printed on the front.  But all my cards are blank on the inside.  I think cards with paragraph after paragraph of things already pre-printed  are a real bummer.  Those cards you receive with the accompanying explanation of "I bought you this card because it said exactly what I wanted to say!".  That's great -- truly -- and believe me, I am appreciative of the thought.  But it just would have been a tad nicer if it said those exactly what you wanted to say things in your own handwriting.

I know that seems petty, and I'm not trying to be.

No, really, I'm not.

I know I have in the past, but this is different.  Honestly.

Oh, shut up.  Cut me some slack, and hear me out.

I have an old wooden box that my dad gave me.  It has brass hinges, and an old brass lock, with one of those slider button things that releases the catch.  I open it up, and it becomes something of a Way-Back Machine.  There are pictures.  There's one of me with my father -- I'm tiny, couldn't be more than a year old.  There's a picture of me with my cousins, Chris and Patrick.  We're sitting at a table, mugging it up for the camera.  I have a leg of KFC chicken jammed between my teeth, and I have a beard, so I know I'm in high school.  Chris passed away a number of years ago, and to see him in the picture, grinning, arms wide and thrown over the shoulders of Patrick and I, it takes me back.  I miss him terribly.

But I also have a lot of cards.

Birthdays.  Christmas.  Of course.  Going back through the years.  From friends and family.

But some are just from random moments.  A note to say hello.  Or thank you.  Or great job.  Or I love you.  These are the ones I cherish, and not just for the words within, but for the moment in time that they seem to capture in the simple act of pen on paper.  An autumn day, with an unexpected envelope in the mail box.

I know that, for myself, when I look back on my life, of course there are the big moments that are expected to be chapter headings of memories -- graduations, birthdays.  But for whatever reason, and I admit that I am speaking simply for myself here, those memories can tend to be a little less pure, painted by the occasion, and by what we expected and hoped for them to be.

But the memories I remember most vividly are the unexpected ones.  Just a moment, a simple moment, that in the forty-one years I have lived, take me back to a time with a clarity so powerful it can be overwhelming.

A card, a letter, can do that in a way than an email never, ever will.  The feel of the paper, the familiar handwriting of a loved one.

And let's say it is from someone who is no longer with us -- to see that handwritten note, in a penmanship that we would give anything to have so much as a grocery list scrawled in -- that is magic.  They, alive and in the world, wrote that to us.

Perhaps I digress.

But for less than fifty cents, you can drop someone a line.  For honestly not that much more time than we would spend texting or emailing, slap a stamp on something and send a card to someone.  Just because.

p.s.  I've been gone for a bit.  Good chance you didn't notice, but if you did, thanks.  I've been a little busy -- spending as much time as I can with someone.  In that time, I jumped out of a plane, and fell in love.  She's amazing. And yes, I've written her a couple of times, just to let her know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures In The Final Frontier

I was in Star Trek.  That big movie from a couple of years ago?  Yeah, that one.


Now I'm not saying it to brag.  I'm just saying that there was a Star Trek movie fairly recently, and I was in it -- there's no bragging involved because it is certainly not the thing that works with the ladies.  Trust me on that one.  I have the statistics to prove it, and all the possible math ends with a sum of zero.

I spent the better part of ten years working for J.J. Abrams.  Again, not a bragging thing -- just a fact that is relevant to the story.

I started on Felicity, which no one watched.  Then Alias, which more people watched.  Then Mission: Impossible 3, which a lot of people should have watched, but a certain star's trampoline act on Oprah's couch was only the beginning of an avalanche of bad press and sentiment that was tantamount to a kick in the balls for the success of the film.  Well, fuck me, I guess I'm being glib.  Matt Lauer and I -- party of two.

And then And then there was Star Trek.

Now I performed a number of jobs throughout the years with J.J. -- from office p.a., to set p.a., to writers' assistant, to second assistant.

On Star Trek, I was asked to be the researcher on the film, which means I was possibly the first person in history who got paid to become a Trekkie.

Again, very sexy.

So I watched every episode of the original series.  I read a bunch of books.  And then I stood by at the ready via Instant Messenger, waiting for the moment when one of the writers would call upon me to do some researching.

Now I'm not going to lie, that was pretty fucking cool.  When Damon Lindelof, one of the the brains behind LOST, asks you to write a report on the Romulans, you...well, after you get over feeling kind of silly for what you were asked to do...I mean, I went to college for this, which sure seems like a great investment now, huh?  Mom and dad must be sooooooo fucking thrilled.  After all that, you realize that it is Damon Lindelof who is asking you to do this -- and let's be honest here -- he's a fucking god.  And a Stephen King fan.  Now that's a separate sentence -- but not really a separate thing -- ultimately it's all a part of his godness.  I know that if I was a Stephen King fan (which I am), and I wrote a show that Stephen King said was his favorite thing in the world (which I didn't, and fuck you very much for bringing that up), it would pretty much be evidence of greatness.

Cool sidebar (as if this wasn't already too fucking long): Entertainment Weekly did this story where J.J., Damon, and Carlton Cuse all went down to Maine to meet with Stephen King, ostensibly about a story about great storytelling.  When they got back, Damon had a present for me -- a copy of Stephen King's book, On Writing.  Written on the inside cover was To Sean --  Best, Stephen King.

I just about fucking died.  Is that not the coolest thing you've ever heard?

Which is why, when I read these hatemongers on Ain't It Cool News, or Deadline, or any of the movie sites talking shit about Damon, I just want to tell each and every one of them to be grateful that I don't know where they lived, or I would be getting all George Stark from The Dark Half on their fucking asses.  Get me off my chain and I can be the ultimate high-toned son of a bitch.

Anyway...

Star Trek.  Researcher.  Not exactly something I would be eager to mention on my Match.com profile, but a cool job nonetheless.

I also got to work closely with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the writers of the film, and you would be hard-pressed to find a nicer pair of guys.  Oh, and they're amazing writers.  If you doubt that, and feel compelled to spout some jealous shit on hatefilmsite.com, fucking kill yourself.  Or I will.

Um, Sean?  Hi, sorry to interrupt another one of your perilously on the edge of defining mental instability with a penchant for violence tangents, but I'm pretty clear you said this blog story was about you actually being in Star Trek.  Not that we're not highly entertained by your fantasies of rending some Terrence Stamp The Limey-style justice (and you wonder why your dating life is so sad and empty), but I just wanted to make sure you still had the plot.

Quite right you are.  Thanks.

So once the movie was written and greenlit by the studio, my job segued over to handling the script.  See, the internet can be a bitch, specifically how high-profile films can get leaked to it.  So my job became the guardian at the gate for the script.  We had a dozen scripts locked in a safe, literally.  A safe.  And when the show was in pre-production, I would take out one of the scripts, and bring it to the person who had to read it.  Then, after they signed a shitload of non-disclosure agreements, I would hand them the script to read -- while I sat there, and waited for them to finish.

Yeah.  Another thing for mom and dad to be proud of.

One day I had to bring a script to casting.  Now, I've known the folks in the casting department since Felicity.  Good people, one and all.  I walk in, and sign them out a script.  I'm ready to go when April Webster, the head of casting, says, "Hey, would you read something real quick?".  I say, "Sure.  Why not?".

Here's where it gets strange...

(too late)

Shut up!

When April asked me to read, I honestly thought it was part of an elaborate crew joke that was being played.  See, at that point in time they hadn't found Chris Pine, who would become our Kirk.  As a bit of a funny ha-ha, casting was taping members of the crew giving their best Shatneresque Kirk reading.  So I thought that's what this was.

I was wrong.

So they fired up the videocamera, and I read the lines, which was a bunch of yelling and screaming.

Yes, I know -- typecasting.  Thank you again for that.  Your confidence and kindness is what gets me through the day.

I finished my reading, and went about my day.

Later that night, I received an mail from J.J.  It simply said, Dude, you rocked the audition!

I'm sorry -- what audition?

And, somehow, I got the part.  Which is still, to this day, just fucking crazy.

And then...

One day I went to wardrobe -- again to drop off a script.  One of the costumers asked me if I was the one who was actually going to be in the movie.  Proudly, I said yes.  He asked me which ship I was on.  I said The Kelvin.  He smiled, winked, and said "Oh, the flattering costumes".

He points to a sketch on the wall of the costume in question.  It is sausage-casing tight.  Just the human body dipped in spandex.

Holy shit.  What have I gotten myself into?

Now I was in pretty good shape. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the only reason I even got the part was due less to my acting chops than the fact that I would fit in the costume.  But even being at my fighting weight, the next three months because a revolving lazy susan of steamed fish and vegetables and grilled chicken.

A couple of months later, they needed to do a camera test -- at which time they decided it would also be a perfect time to have a costume test.  And guess who they picked to wear the costume for said test?  Oh, you betcha.  Lucky me.

First, I had to go get measured.  That was actually kind of cool.  You go to this fancy costume warehouse, where three or four people flutter around like hummingbirds with tape-measures, covering every square inch of my body.  I can only imagine it's how the insanely rich men of the world get their tailored suits made.

Two weeks later, I had the initial fitting.

I go into a room at the costume shop.  There, on a hanger, is the costume.  It's blue-green.  Okay.  There are some boots.  Black.  Okay.  And then there's a...well, I didn't know what it was.  What it looked like, was a tan...coin purse...with a couple of string on it.  For some reason, this has captured my attention, undoubtedly because it was the only thing that seemed really foreign to me.

A moment later, one of the costume ladies knocked softly on the door, and poked her head in.  She asked me if everything was okay, and if I had any questions.

Funny she should ask.

"As a matter of fact," I said, "I do."  I picked up the hanger with the tan mini-purse on it, and asked her what it was.  "Oh," she said, "that's your dance belt."

Still not quite understanding (or admittedly in the throes of fiercely screaming denial), I asked her to explain what that meant.

Basically, it's a jock strap.  A padded jockstrap.

See, she explained to me that when a one wears a costume as flattering (again the cursed word) as that one, it is important to minimize unsightly lines that would occur by sporting underwear, or cockandballs, under the costume.

I immediately turned a shade of green only a tad paler than the costume.

So basically, I had to wear a piece of attire that rendered me a Ken doll -- and as an added bonus, it is held in place by a g-string that crawled uncomfortably up my ass.

Ladies, I have soooooo much respect for you right now.

You laugh.  I assure you that I wasn't.

A couple days after that initial fitting, which for some reason I have blocked from my memory, there was the camera test.

Weeping, I donned the dance belt -- and then the rest of the costume.

I walked onto the stage.  A stage filled with grips and electricians.  Many of them I know from Mission: Impossible 3.  They are trying, and failing, not to laugh.  Quite a few of them turn away, staring at something...anything...that is not in the direction of the turquoise bratwurst ambling across the stage.

I.  Want.  To.  Die.

I want to shoot it, and get the fuck out of there.  But before I can, the stage door opens, and in comes the Paramount brass -- all the heads of the studio.  They head over to J.J. -- shake hands and exchange pleasantries.  Love your work.  Thank you.  No, thank you.

J.J. introduces them to our costume designer.  He is a genius.  He also designed the costumes for Blade Runner, and Se7en, Panic Room, Fight Club.  At the moment, all I can wonder is how far I could twist his genius head around until I hear something pop.

Our costume designer turns...and leads the Paramount brass toward me.  I freeze, thinking, if I don't move, maybe they won't see me.


Yes, I know -- sooooooo fucking sad.

I stand there like some weird performance art mannequin, as the designer explains the costume to them.

Then it happens.  All of the Paramount brass converge in front of me, and their eyes drop, down past the neckline, over the chest, over the abdominals, until their united gaze stops right on my crotch.  Over three hundred million dollars worth of studio executives are scrutinizing my junk.

See, considering that Star Trek would be released on IMAX, what they don't want is a thirteen foot high dickprint scaring the children.  As a result, I must endure the discomfort of their stare.  I lock my hands behind my back, and try not to cry.  Again.

Months later, in November of 2007, I donned the costume for a full week.  First at an old electrical plant in Long Beach, and then on a stage at Paramount.  I yelled.  I screamed.  Shit was on fire.

It was awesome.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

If Dealine.com is to be believed, and I have no reason to think their reporting would be inaccurate, and estimated 7.6 million people watched last week's Jersey Shore season finale.

7.6 million people.

I have never seen an episode of the show, and I'm not going to lie -- I am very proud of that fact.

I have no interest in watching those guido shitbags strut and slut their way along, somehow failing upwards and occupying an alarmingly large chunk of public consciousness.  And despite that I have never seen the show, it is damn near impossible to not been assaulted by the stupidity of Snooki, J-Woww, and The Situation -- the very fact that their names are known to me only illustrates how widespread their infamy goes.  Their whoreific bullshit is inexplicably the stuff of actual news reporting, which means genuine, dyed-in-the-wool journalists are involved.

Snooki.  J-Woww.  The Situation.  These are names that everyone seems to know.

Here are three other names.  See if they ring a bell.

Joan Gaudet.  Jerry Mundy.  Bill Knight.

Anyone?  Raise a hand if you have a clue who I'm talking about.

If you have some time (and if you're one of the folks who tuned in to the Jersey Shore finale you clearly have TOO MUCH fucking time), check out the documentary The Way We Get By, and then you'll know who these three folks are.

Ms. Gaudet, Mr. Mundy, and Mr. Knight are three senior citizens who in live in Bangor, Maine.  At the time of the film, Mr. Knight was 88 years old - Ms. Gaudet was 76 -- and Mr. Mundy was 74.  Not exactly the age range the hip kids tune in to see, right?

Bill Knight is a WW II veteran.  He is stricken with cancer.  He is drowning in debt, and navigates the barrage of calls from creditors on a daily basis.

Joan Gaudet spent most of her life raising her eight children.  After three knee operations, she now must use a walker to get around.

Jerry Mundy suffers from heart complications.  He still mourns the loss following the tragic death of his son.

What makes them so special?

Bangor International Airport is the first major American airport encountered by airliners approaching the United States from the east, as well as the last major airport for airliners heading towards Europe -- which means that most of incoming or outgoing military transports find their way through Bangor International.

Joan Gaudet, Jerry Mundy, and Bill Knight are the Maine Troop Greeters.  At any time of day or night, they make their way to the airport to greet the troops who are returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Sometimes in the dead of night, during the bleak and brutal winters of Maine, they show up to provide a friendly face, a handshake or a hug, and more importantly, a "thank you" to the soldiers who have bravely served.

They have greeted an estimated 800,000 soldiers.  And you didn't know their names.

Please tell me, what have Snooki, J-Woww, and The Situation done to earn you attention, while Joan Gaudet, Bill Knight, and Jerry Mundy are utterly unknown?

Watch The Way We Get By.  Consider it a lesson in perspective.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fuck Charlie Sheen

If you're one of the people who helped set a Ticketmaster record by buying a ticket for Charlie's Sheen Torpedo Of Truth Tour, you should be fucking ashamed of yourself.  I mean, what is wrong with you?  Is your life that empty, that you would voluntarily serve up your hard-earned money to give any kind of validity to that asshole?

Chicago, you are the city of my birth, will forever be my home and my heritage, but I'm disgusted that you're a part of this bullshit, this legacy of no shame, this downward-spiral trend of lowest common denominator -- by facilitating a venue for this crap.

Oh, hold on a second -- I can hear some of you saying "well, you know, Charlie Sheen is donating proceeds from the tour to relief efforts in Japan.  How about that?".  I am sooooo sorry, you are absolutely right -- the headline does in fact say that.  But let's look at the numbers a little bit.  Sheen says that he is donating a dollar from each ticket to the relief efforts.  And how much are the tickets?  There are two prices -- $35.00 and $75.00 -- which means that Sheen is donating a whopping 2.85% and 1.3% respectively from each ticket.

Fuck you.

I live in the Los Angeles area, so sadly I have come to expect this kind of vapid nonsense from the predominant culture of celebrity that lives and thrives here -- actors and athletes treated with a reverence as if they are the cure for cancer, while they act with the petulance and it'sallaboutmeness of a spoiled fucking child.

But to see how the Hitler's 1939 Speech to the Reichstag-like meltdown of Sheen has captured the front page attention of a national audience is just baffling to me.

Okay, now I'm going to get some shit about me comparing Hitler to Sheen.  That's fine -- look, I am completely aware that Hitler is responsible for the deaths of millions, while Sheen appears to be only responsible for the death of tigers providing their blood for his consumption -- but the connection I am perhaps lamely attempting to make is not as much a  condemnation of the speaker than of the listeners.  If you are one of the million plus individuals who "follow" Sheen on Twitter, and if you plan on further acts of mindless following by purchasing and sporting a "Duh, Winning?" shirt, maybe see if they come in brown.  I mean, as long as you're going to act like yet another died in the wool lapdog of a loud anti-semite, you might as well dress the part (it's not even so much that he insisted on calling out Chuck Lorre by his Hebrew name that irked me.  I don't actually think he's racist -- I think it's just it's the very definition of hypocrite that Carlos Irwin Estevez would try and throw another guy under the bus for changing his name).

Get a fucking life.  I know you have one, full of people who love you, and who you love in return.  There is an entire world out there full of things that will genuinely bring joy and insight to your lives -- and you would fucking waste the continually dwindling moments of your life by going to the Failing Upward Donkey Show?  Come on.

I don't want to steal a page from Rescue Me, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Name five firemen who died on 9/11?

Yeah, I'm fucking going there -- deal with it.

You can't, can you?  If you can -- that's great.  I'll admit it, I don't know a single name of the 343 firemen lost that day -- but I also am not buying a ticket to Sheen's Shitshow.

Another thing in relation to 9/11.  Does no one remember Sheen's post-nation tragedy ramblings about the 9/11 conspiracy?  No one remembers him trivializing the names of the fallen by postulating the most insane bullshit?  Right, of course not.  He was crazy then, but now it's genius?  Again, fuck you.

And if you're one of the folks cupping a hand around the weak, meager flame of "the proceeds go to charity" nonsense, then you're full of shit.  There's an international organization called The Red Cross, and they are taking donations for charity as well.  And they have a tad more credibility than the adonis DNA, tiger-blood drinking, porn-stars enlisted to simultaneously fuck him and raise his children asshole that you are supporting.

Fuck, am I pissed today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Training and Travels

Five days a week, monday through friday, the alarm goes off at 4:50am.  On weekends, I sleep in -- which means the alarm goes off at 6:00am.  I get up that early to go to the gym.  I wake up, drink half of a Met-RX Meal Replacement Shake (the second half of which I drink post-workout), which is followed by a chaser of Grape Force-flavored MRI Black Powder, which is a pre-workout kick-in-the-ass.

I go to the gym, work until the urge to vomit is too much to bear, and then shower and continue on with my day.  All of this is to keep age at bay.  It's what I do, and it's pretty much all I have.  I perform this exercise in discipline and self-loathing six days a week.  I can't do it seven days because my gym is closed on Sundays, but that's just the kind of pussies they are.  I'm kidding.

Now, six days a week, I watch what I eat.  After the workout, at say 7:00am, I have the rest of the MetRX.  Then three hours later I have a whey protein shake or Power Crunch Bar, three hours after which I have lunch, and then at 4:00pm I once again have they whey protein or Power Crunch, only to finish the circuit when I have a sensible dinner.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Again and again.  Six days a week.

Sundays, however, are mine.  And that is when my veneer of My Body Is A Temple crumbles away to utter dietary chaos.  And the chaos involves road trips.

There is this great place in Burbank called Chili John's -- it's a classic diner, with a horseshoe bar, and is pretty much unchanged since the place opened in the midst of prohibition.  It serves three kinds of chili at varying degrees of lava, with or without beans, and plain or with rice or pasta.  It is the shit.

I was in there a couple of weeks ago, and was talking with the owner about the place -- that her family moved there from Green Bay, Wisconsin in the 1920s, and started up the place.  Then she showed me this book called Southern California Eats.  The book is all classic diners and coffee shops.  I immediately went home and ordered the book (as well as the second volume) from Amazon.com.

Three weeks ago, I started a new ritual.  Every sunday, I pick a place from the books, and just go.  And in my travels, I eat cheeseburgers, french fries, and milkshakes with the abandon of a death-row inmate consuming his last meal on earth.

I like the ritual because it gets me out of the house, out of my comfort zone.  It gets me out to new places -- and knowing that I'm going to be eating a ton of delicious, yet heart-clogging stuff on a sunday means I need to get my ass in gear the other six days a week.  I train to earn that day.  That alarm goes off in the pre-dawn dark, and any urge  have to hit the snooze bar with a hammer or chuck the clock into the nearest woodchipper is held back by the delicious sounds and smells of my sunday meal -- so it gets me motivated the way I need to be.

And then on monday, my body says "fuck you", as it not so kindly reminds me that my age now starts with the number "four".  And now there's also a "one", which is really just the single, extended middle finger of my age telling me what it thinks of me and my bullshit.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today, as I was on my way home from training, I saw a group of half a dozen young girls, standing on a corner and waving cardboard signs for something.  At first I thought it was for a school car wash or some other fund-raising event -- but as I turned the corner I saw that the signs read HONK IF YOU LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER!!!  All of you should be very proud of me, because what I did not do was follow my first instinct to run the Rav4 up over the curb and mow the little pixies down, honking the horn the entire time.

My friend Renee read yesterday's post, and strongly discouraged me from having any link to my blog whatsoever on my Match.com page.  I have to say that she definitely has a point there.

Last night I saw Battle: Los Angeles, which was a great deal less than good.  Now here's a quick disclaimer about any of my film posts -- any and all is just my opinion, and that's it.  And while I may not like a certain film, what you'll never hear me do is speak disparagingly of the filmmakers involved.  Why?  Because they're actually doing it.  They're not talking about making movies someday, they are up and off their asses, burning lean tissue to get it done.  I, in fact, worked for a few weeks on the film, and know a bunch of the people who worked on it.  All of them are good, hardworking people -- busting their asses to make the best film they can, and I admire them the hell out of them for it.

I fucking hate aintitcoolnews.com -- I mean hate of epic scale.  But what I hate most of all are the talkbackers -- who lob vitriol over the internet from the anonymity of their parents' basement.  Does that seem a tad judgmental?  Perhaps, but fuck em.  I have the gall to presume my opinion has a tad more validity, but you know what?  I spent over ten years working in film and television, and I know how hard the work is, and how hard the people involved work to get it done.  I know the sacrifices, both personal and professional, that are made to fill the screens in living rooms and multiplexes.  I know that creative choices are often hindered by budget and studio demands, and that everyone worked their fucking asses off to get where they are.  So what I'm basically saying, is that if you've never spent five minutes on a film or television set, production office or writers' room, getting coffee or lunches, or working a twenty-two hour day on fumes, then shut the fuck up.  I mean that in the nicest way possible -- but trust me, you're pontificating from a place of ignorance.  Which is why, I repeat, I will very rarely, if ever, talk shit about the filmmakers.  Unless they are legendary douchebags -- and their rants and ravings have endangered anyone on their sets.  Or unless it's Uwe Boll.  Fuck that guy.  Now I don't know the guy, but when he did that thing in Canada where he challenged a bunch of his harshest internet critics to a boxing match, and beat the shit out of them -- I have to admit that was kind of cool.  No, I say 'fuck that guy' because I have visions of him challenging me to a fight, and then I am forever immortalized on youtube for giving him the fucking beatdown of beatdowns.  That would be cool.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A blog? Really?

So it's Friday, March 11, 2011.  Monday I turned forty-one, which is just...fuck.  I mean, how that THAT happen?  All right, don't get cute -- one word of how in the spring of 1969, my mom and dad...you know... Seriously, I'll punch you right in the face.

Okay, Sean -- so what's your blog going to be about?  What will the tone be?  The subject?  And who do you think will even care enough about your yawn-inducing staggering through the years to spend valuable caloric exertion reading it?

I don't know.

No, really I don't.

I mean, okay -- I've got a few Facebook friends, and on occasion they think my bullshit is funny (or at least that's what they tell me -- to my face), but sometimes I just want to have a little more go at it.  The status updates only give you so much space.  They can be a bit confining -- and maybe I just want to say a little more.

Before I forget, a quick word about the ADULT CONTENT warning you may or may not have seen.

Don't be concerned -- there are not going to be any nude pictures or crap here.  It's just that I...  Well, I tend to swear.  A lot.

Look, I don't drink -- I don't smoke -- I don't do drugs.  I work out like a fiend six days a week, and try to limit my intake of junk food.  So, I think I've earned the right to say "shit" once in a while.  Or "fuck".  Or "bullshit".  And, just as further warning, if I'm talking about Sarah Palin, you'll probably hear "cunt" with alarming regularity.

However, what you most likely won't hear is "queer" or "faggot", or any bullshit like that -- and certainly not "gay" in the genuinely pejorative sense (which means that the word "gay" used in the trailer for 'The Dilemma' doesn't fucking count, okay? I mean, seriously -- if that truly, deeply offended you, you really need to pick your battles a little better).  I'm a lot of things, but homophobic I'm not.  I support gay marriage -- and for the record, if you voted in support of Prop 8, or you think two men getting married is the end of civilization, then you may want to go elsewhere.  And if you're some Fred Phelps fuck who pickets outside of funerals with "God Hates Fags" signs, then do me a favor -- kill yourself.  I'm not even kind of being funny.  I'm dead serious.  Kill yourself.  Because I fucking guarantee you that if you ever show up at the funeral of one of my loved ones spouting your bullshit, I will burn your house down with you and your whole family in it.  Try me.

Anyway...

I also love movies (nice segue, huh?), and maybe I'll be posting my thoughts about them here.  I'm a proud, card-carrying member of the Lucas/Spielberg generation, so my tastes will often hover in that rarefied realm of nostalgia.  I saw Star Wars in theaters the first time it came out.  In 1977.  Yeah, I'm that old.  Did you not read the very first fucking paragraph?

You know what?  I don't know what this will be exactly.  A work in progress -- so to speak.

So have a great day, and hopefully I will talk to you soon.