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Script Frenzy 2010 is under way and I’ve started working on my script Concussion. I banged off 6 of the 100 pages in just over two hours. So if you figure about 3.3 pages per day to get me passed the finish line by April 30 I am already ahead of the game. Buffers are a good thing, but I won’t be happy until I’m finished. I do tend to be a fast starter though, but I am hoping I can keep this pace up — One word at a time.

I have some assistance though…

On Writing and Prosperity Buddha

I got a new copy of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ in the mail today. I seem to have misplaced my last copy and have a feeling it went to charity with a few hundred other books. Also, Carol Browne left a prosperity Buddha on my desk. These things should help. As does Quiet Riot’s – Bang Your Head (Metal Health), part of the inspiration for my script:

I love watching progress bars move.

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Script Frenzy 2010: The Set-Up

I’ve decided to participate in this year’s Script Frenzy. I considered it last year, even signed up for the site but did not follow through. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I have a funny feeling that obsessive World of Warcraft playing fed by a heaping helping of self doubt and fear had a big part in it. My WoW account has long since been cancelled and I am doing a lot of work to overcome those other difficulties so perhaps this year I might just make it.

Script Frenzy logo

What’s Script Frenzy?

According to the web site Script Frenzy challenges creative writers to “write 100 pages of original scripted material in the 30 days of April. (Screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels are all welcome.)”  It costs nothing to participate and there are no huge prizes other than “Happiness. Creative juices. Pride. Laughter. Bragging rights. A brand-new script.”

Why am I doing it?

Why not? I very much enjoyed participating in Movember by growing a ridiculous looking moustache and rounding up donations to a good cause. I met a lot of cool people doing that. This could be a similar experience.

There’s not a lot of pressure to participate other than that you put on yourself. That I like. I haven’t paid for anything and I’m doing what I’m doing for fun and for free.

After you sign up for the site you are asked to fill out some information about your potential screenplay and yourself. You can choose a home region to connect with other writers who are participating near you. Here’s a link to my Script Frenzy profile. Why don’t you sign up too so we can laugh at each other’s horrific screenplays? OK, maybe they’ll be awesome. Does it really matter? Not really.

My screenplay, taken from an idea I had last year, is called Concussion. It’s about “a slacker is given a gift that could do the world a lot of good; knowledge of the afterlife & the ability to communicate with the dead. He uses it selfishly and things backfire on him” — sort of  The Sixth Sense meets Slackers.

To write I am using a free piece of screenwriting software called Celtx. It’s pretty robust and does pretty much everything you expect from the other expensive screenwriting packages like Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter. I did pay a whopping $9.95 USD (plus 5% GST) for the Writers Pack add-on for Celtx. I wanted the distraction reducing Full Screen Mode as well as the Advanced Session Timer that not only keeps track of my progress but allows me to tweet it using a built in #scriptfrenzy hashtag. I’m not sure I will use the Plot View but I got it just in case. I’ll buy the Art Packs later when I actually shoot one of these screenplays of mine.

I’ve also installed a cool widget on the sidebar of this site to track my progress throughout the month. Also, if I’m not completely spent after writing for practice, work and this project I plan on tossing up a few blog posts about my experience.

This could be fun. I’m already working on my outline using the late Blake Snyder’s beat sheet from the Save the Cat tools page. I can’t wait to see how this story turns out.

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Another photo of Oscar & Donner

Our new addition to the family is adjusting well, after a rocky start. He was a bit skittish and hid behind the couch and hissed at us for the first week. He’s warming up to everyone, especially Oscar. They can be found either playing together, hanging out under the dining room table or cuddled up together on the small couch or the bed.

Oscar in front, Donner in the back

Oscar, seen here in the foreground, really loves his new little brother, Donner. Yeah, that’s him with the giant eyeballs at in the background.

No, we didn’t name Donner. He came with that crappy name. Apparently, he was a “Christmas kitten” at Katie’s Place so they named him after one of Santa’s reindeer. We haven’t been able to come up with anything that fits him any better. It’s sort of appropriate as Carol is a huge fan of Christmas.

I snapped this shot this morning with Carol’s camera. Hopefully I’ll have my own DSLR soon. The old Canon Powershot G5 just isn’t cutting the mustard. I’ll steal Carol’s when I can, but it’s kind of tough to wrangle; kind of like taking a rifle from an NRA member.

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Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark…

As soon as there was the slightest bit of snow on the ground me and the other hooligans in my neighbourhood donned our snowsuits, toques and idiot mittens and went sliding on toboggans, sleds and/or crazy carpets. The hill of choice was next to the duck pond in my home town. When sliding we had to be careful that we didn’t end up on the ice of the pond if it had not frozen completely solid.

Crazy Carpeting picture by Canadian Veggie on Flickr

Crazy Carpeting picture by Canadian Veggie on Flickr

We saw this kind of incident numerous times. There were never any drownings that we heard about. It usually ended with a crying kid splashing his or her way home in a snowmobile suit that now weighed as much as they did as it was drenched.

There were other obstacles; trees, for example.

One time in particular I hopped onto my dark green crazy carpet an rocketed down the hill. I promptly lost control of the piece of plastic I was sliding on and flipped around backwards. Being a smart ass I waved and grinned stupidly at my friends standing at the top of the hill. They were yelling something at me.

I realized what it was they were yelling as I hit the stand of trees 3/4 of the way down the hill back first. It still smarts sometimes when I have walked a long way, so I might have cracked a rib that day. That was over 30 years ago.

Idiot mittens indeed.

Here’s a video of someone riding a crazy carpet who did not hit a tree:

I’m not sure why this popped into my brain today, but it was there so why not share? Now I want to go crazy carpeting again.

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Like many other Canadians, specifically Vancouverites, I woke up on Monday morning with a sense of loss and a bit of an emotional hangover. The euphoric buzz of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, over less than 24 hours, quickly wore off. It left me with a question that I’m sure many of us are asking, “Now what?”

Photo by kennymatic on Flickr

In 17 short days Vancouver hosted the biggest extended party it has ever seen and, possibly, ever will see. I’m even going so far as to say that a Stanley Cup win by our beloved Canucks would not even come close to the carnival (as fugitivephilo says in a thoughtful blog post about consumerism & patriotism) that we saw. Wow!

A better fictional account of the most dramatic Canadian Olympic games could not have been written.
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Granville Street Gong Show

Carol, always pursuing the next great pin, and me on a quest for an official Vancouver 2010 mug a former teacher braved the crowds and traffic and headed downtown in to the Olympics related madness. It took over an hour to get to the parking spot Carol had for us in the building where she works. As soon as we walked out of the building onto Granville Street, this is what we saw:

There were buskers busking, clowns clowning and men in pink underpants putting on shows all along the usually traffic laden Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. There was a different type of traffic today. No cars. Just a mass of humanity aimlessly milling about watching the mass of humanity aimlessly milling about.

Here’s another shot:

I’ll do a post tomorrow about Carol’s pin mission and my quest for the mug. For more you can read Carol’s post about our day out and about.

I’m pooped, but what a load of fun.

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Stephen Colbert in Vancouver

Yesterday a team of us from DOXA Documentary Film Festival headed down to Creekside Park to see day one of taping for the Colbert Show in Vancouver. We were hoping we would be able to get a camera package for our upcoming EXPOSED! Celebrity Camera Auction fundraiser to Stephen Colbert. We passed our package off to an AD and hopefully Mr. Colbert will get the package and agree to participate.

I took Carol’s camera and got a ton of great shots from my vantage point back stage and running around through the crowd snapping away.

We weren’t the only ones to show up. There are estimates that over 5000 people were in attendance and the patriots were out in force.

The place went nuts when Stephen Colbert arrived and he did not disappoint. I was especially impressed with his improv. He is more charismatic in person than I thought he would be.

Oh look, Colbert must have seen me in the crowd as he waved right at me. He was actually counting down from five, but hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

Here’s a slide show of the best shots I snagged of Stephen Colbert, his guest Michael Bublé and eTalk Canada’s Ben Mulroney, as well as a few other lucky shots from a great day.

Many thanks to Carol Browne for letting her camera out of her sight for the day and to Miss604 for posting a couple of my photos .

Showing appreciation is nice. “And that’s the word”.

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Great coffee shops on Commercial Drive

I have been working at DOXA Documentary Film Festival as the Social Media Coordinator / Blogger for the past two months. The office is on Commercial Drive, one of the funkiest neighbourhoods in Vancouver. One of my favourite things about this block is the number of fantastic coffee shops I have to choose from.

Yes, I can go to the most recognized, corporate shop with the green awning and mermaid in the logo if I wish, and often do. This morning rather than heading there for my usual latté and an apple fritter I was introduced to Fratelli’s bakery by my co-worker Desirée.

While I was eating two ham and cheese croissants and drinking a dark roast coffee at my desk I got to thinking. I realized that some folks, perhaps in town for the 2010 Olympics, may be looking for a more authentic Vancouver coffee experience. So, here I am dioing a quick post about Fratelli’s and the other two fabulous coffee shops nearby Continental Coffee and Café Calabria.
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30 days until the games

Today makes only 30 days left until the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Being in a position to blog as a Vancouverite during the upcoming games is kind of cool. Especially interesting is that these are going to be the most covered games of all time with every second of every event available either on TV or streaming online.

I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to participate at all after seven years of listening political blather about infinite subjects relating to this fast approaching event. All the negativity has left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. However, the closer we get, the more I feel myself being drawn into it. After all, there are thousands of athletes who have worked basically their whole lives to come here to compete. I am looking forward to seeing that.

The road closures start January 15, 2010 for the Olympic Games in VancouverWithout a doubt our day to day lives are going to be impacted. Things that we take for granted like commuting to work, going out for lunch, even shopping and picking up groceries are probably going to change. The sheer number of people coming to the city from all over the globe is going to put a massive strain on our infrastructure. Getting around Vancouver under normal conditions (like most cities) tends to have its moments of frustration for commuters. But this is going to be a gong show.

We’re being told to walk, bike or take transit into work during the games as there are going to be road closures around venues as well as lane closures specifically for Olympic vehicles, all starting on the 15th of January 2010, this Friday. Walking and biking are pretty much out for us as we live far enough in the burbs that transit is the only viable option, unless of course we want to get up and go three hours before we have to be at work. No thanks.

Transit? Yuck. It can have that third world I am a sardine in a can feel on a good day. I am looking at all of this as an adventure. I’m sure we will figure some kind of routine. It is only temporary after all. Maybe travelsmart2010.ca can help to put my mind at ease about the transit situation.

Finances are such that we won’t be attending the Men’s Gold Medal Hockey game (tickets are $2500+ per seat) or any other sporting event. We will most likely head downtown for a bit of fun on a Saturday or Sunday to watch celebrations and maybe meet some people. Carol will be more likely to get photos during the week as she will be sporadically heading to the downtown core to work.

I’ll be blogging during the lead up to and throughout the games as well as, I am sure a bit about the aftermath. There a strict guidelines for bloggers to follow according to VANOC and the IOC, but thankfully places like True North Media House have put a ton of work into providing detailed resources for people like myself who are interested in covering the games.

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A Doggerel on an Old Tombstone

As mentioned in my last post I have been scanning photos and postcards from a very old album that was obtained by a friend of ours at a local estate sale. The album, it turns out, belonged to a woman from Vancouver named Jean M. Story. In 1938, she traveled with one or more people across Canada to Quebec and through Europe documenting her trip with photos and postcards. She saw pre World War II versions of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, England and Ireland.

It has been fascinating following along, but I wondered why, I of all people would be doing this project. Then I came across her photos of Winchester Cathedral in England. One photo immediately stood out. It is of a tombstone in the cemetery adjacent to the Cathedral. The text of the tombstone is as follows:

In Memory of Thomas Thetcher

a Grenadier in the North Regiment of Hants Militia, who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot, the 12th of May 1764, Aged 26 Years.

In grateful remembrance of whose universal good will towards his Comrades, this Stone is placed here at their expence, as a finall testimony of their regard and concern.

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer. Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall,
And when ye’re hot drink Strong or none at all.

This memorial being decayed was restored by the Officers of the Garrison A.D. 1781 An Honest Soldier never is forgot, Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

The Stone was replaced by the North Hants Militia when disembodied at Winchester on 16th April, 1802 in consequence of the original Stone being destroyed.

This is a very significant find for me and many of my friends for personal reasons. Of note, this stone was once again replaced in 1966, making this photo even more meaningful. It would have been standing during World War I when a young American doughboy on furlough was so moved by it that he wrote about it years later in one of the most important books I have ever read.

I’ll tell you privately what it was if you want to ask, and will delete any comments that identify the book or it’s author. Sorry for the mystery but it is in keeping with tradition. It’s easy enough to find out if you are familiar with Google.

Thanks Jean M. Story, where ever you are. What a neat find.

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