Archive for January, 2008

Apples…

Or, should I say “Macbooks”? I was looking at the Apple site earlier today, and they had a message stating, “Check back for big news, coming out later today.” And I did. This is just too cool. A super thin notebook, that is practically wireless. Sweet.

The only immediate catch to the device is ports & drives. There is only one (1) USB port, which is easily solved with a hub, if there is that much of a need for multiple external devices at one time, and there is no optical drive. It would have to be an external drive.

But, the cool thing about that problem is that the external drive can either be directly wired (using the USB port), or through a (wireless) network connection to another computer. Yes, I said using another computer’s optical drive. For installing software as well.

As I said, though, if there is “multiple device juggling”, the one USB port is going to get old, or it’s going to get a port. Personally, I know it would get a little problematic for me if I am doing a lot of stuff on my iPod. I have an external hard drive that I keep my media on (over 80GB in music, over 200GB if you include everything else – podcasts, shows from iTunes, etc.). Or printing. But, I imagine I can get around some elements that those problems could incur – especially the iTunes issue. Have a small library, a “travelling” library that lives on the laptop, and the “master” library on a home computer.

But that is me thinking way ahead of myself. The $1800 price tag (with $99 for the external optical drive) is enough for me to not rush out and get one yet, but it has earned a spot on my “cool list of things to check out and consider in the future”.

A side note. One of the items that they rolled out at the same time is a new feature through the iTunes store: movie rentals. That, they say, is another reason why they don’t have issues removing the optical drive. Instead of carrying around DVDs, you can just rent movies from iTunes, and carry them on the computer. Once they are watched (as often as desired, within 24 hours of starting the movie), or after 30 days, whichever comes first, they disappear. But at $3 a pop… that’s part of why I quit renting movies.

The cost gets to be crazy after a while, and difficult to justify. $3 for what basically amounts to a single viewing. Now, I have Netflix. Yes, it technically runs about the same cost per movie, the potential is there for it to, very easily, be less – should I lock myself away for a time and watch a lot of discs. But there are no late fees which, with busy schedules, can get tacked on fairly quickly. All Netflix has to do is get the “View on Demand” compatible with the Mac OS, and things will be truly great with the Macbook Air.

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Returning to the Classroom

Classes started (for me) last night. There is a line from a song in Avenue Q, aptly titled “I Wish I Could Go Back To College” that goes: “But if I were to go back to college/… I’d walk through the quad/ and think, “Oh my God…”/ “These kids are so much younger than me.”

As I sat in class last night and briefly glanced around at the rest of the students, I would guess that the average age would be around 22 or 23 – a full eight years younger than me. During a break, I walked down the hall and passed a couple of rooms. One, a corner room along the outside of the building was labeled “Do not leave room unattended. Lock door when not in use.” And I remember when it was actually used as a classroom. I remember sitting in there for Intro to Fiction Writing, and in a similar room on the other side of the building for Intro to Poetry Writing.

I was looking at buildings as I passed, thinking about the classes I had, and remembering the buildings before rennovations were done (adding elevators in some, adding wings in others). I have walked around campus before, but this is the first time since Spring 2003 that I’ve walked as a student.

Talk about “old” feelings…

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Steady as She Goes…

Things have been steady at work the last few days… a lot of calls, and between calls, I’ve been trying to get myself ready to return to the classroom. I am actually a little nervous about going back. I will be taking two classes, due in part to a computer error that I was able to capitalize on, instead of my originally intended one class.

Here I am, 31 years old, going back to school for the third time. This time, though, I was able to stay in the “real world” for… wow, over four years before going back. And I am still, technically, going to be in the real world, since I am only going to be a part time student.

Besides my nerves, though, I am looking forward to the classes. One, in particular has held my attention for years since it was originally being brought into the curriculum – after I initially graduated, naturally. Script writing. I know virtually nothing about the format (other than the bits and pieces that I have read on structure, or while reading scripts for Theatre and English lit classes) – but nothing as far as writing within the form.

Fiction is (theoretically) easy. Start at a point, and can move freely between time and space within the confines of the story, painting pictures as thick and detailed as is desired during each scene. There can be pages of descriptions and details, various stages of activity, between lines of dialogue.

Poetry is also (theoretically) easy. Blank verse is unformated. With a little work, a book of forms/styles can be found at a book store, or sample formats can be found online. With those forms, words are arranged to form a certain meter and sound pattern, a certain amount of repetition or rhyming patterns, and a fixed length. Picking the right words may be difficult to present the desired thoughts or images, but there is a defined form to work with.

Scripts, to me, are more of a mystery. Maybe it is due to the specialized nature. They are unique. They are discussed in school, much like prose and poetry – disected in literature classes, or from the vantage point of a diector, determining how to stage a production – but there is no real disclosure of the process. Growing up, writing stories and poems used to be part of the curriculum – even if they were only written in response to the lesson at hand (using this authoras an example, write your own poem about the topic.)

Maybe it is because a script is a general term. The format changes, based on the plans for a project. A TV script will look different than a movie script, which is different than a stage script. Stage scripts are the most often seen and discussed script forms, but even then discussions revolve around the content (or the production aspects, in theatre classes), not about the composition.

How much direction should be provided? Character descriptions? Settings? What about the oft used “montage”? What about any specific “credit” plans (having a brief scene open the movie, then having the credits cut in as a pause)? All of these are things I am hoping to learn, and tweak, during the course of the semester.

From there, I am hoping to have enough insight that I might be able to develop some script ideas for graphic novels in the future, as well. But first, I must begin conquering the basic conventions of the form, so that I can truly appreciate the differences.

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Wiggling Along…

Hmmm… I’m not quite sure how to take this. I have recently been told that I look like one of the guys from the kid’s show “The Wiggles”. And what makes this really funny, is that I was told that I look like the Yellow one.

Now, here is the back story to explain the humor. Mary Catherine’s favorite color is yellow. Funny point 1. Funny point 2 takes a bit more to explain, and here we go:

I fully believe in the possibilities available in what is commonly classified as “Metaphysics”, but never really knew where to start in terms of asking educated questions. Nor did I really have anyone in my social circle that I could talk to about it (other than “getting feelings” but nothing in terms of specificity). With that being said, I have come to learn that everyone has an aura surrounding them and that each aura has a color (or combination), depending on the person’s mood, thoughts, etc.

The primary color of my aura: Yellow (with a little bit of green). Hence, funny point #2.

Random, I know, but hey…

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Theme Music… From the Clouds

Days like this, when the lighting is just right against the clouds, it tends to bring music to my mind…

Namely, the Simpson’s theme song.

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In swing…

2008 is now a week old, and I just got all of my “In Review” posts finished. It has been an interesting week, with a dent already being started in both my “Movies” resolution, and the “Cleaning & Purging” goals.

Dents, mind you. They are a long way from being anywhere close to being done.

Now, for other updates. I have re-registered for classes, and will be taking not 1, but 2 courses. Yes, I said re-registered. I finally got my admission status resolved, and registered for the Scriptwriting class just before the “pay us or we’ll cancel your classes” deadline. Well, I got cancelled. At the same thime, however, there were other schedules that were cancelled as well, freeing up some seats in another class that I was interested in. So, it all worked out. Now, I’m just waiting for the tuition waiver to kick in. Huzzah! Now I just have to work on cleaning my office a bit more, so I can get myself ready for classes.

Also, I have finished one of the two “hold-over” titles from the reading list (2 guesses which one…) and have started a fresh stack of titles at the same time.

I’m steadily working my way through a pretty heavily recycled “To Do” list… a few things that have been pending for a few days that I want to get finished… So I’m off..

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2008 – Resolutions

I did this a year ago, and listed some of my “public” New Year’s Resolutions. The ones that I don’t mind the world seeing, commenting on, or being the recipients of. Now, again (like last year), these are in no particular order.

1) Get my weight down to between 160-175 lbs.

2) Read between 26-30 new books during the year (meaning – reading a book for the first time)

3) Return to “Book 1” – the project started in November 2006’s NaNoWriMo. Continue the work, trying to push through to about a 1/2 novel… or about 100-150 pages, and shopping for critiques.

4) Write 8-10 short stories/articles/short scripts.

5) Complete 1st draft of a script idea I’ve been working with (working title: Four Corners)

6) Train to participate in the local Biathlon event (working up to around a 7-minute mile pace for up to five miles, and sustaining a 20mph pace on a bike for an hour).

7) Get an “A” in my graduate classes.

8) Clean, organize and purge my office (and keep it clean)… trust me… it is a bigger deal than one may think…

9) Clean, organize and purge my attic space… a big undertaking, considering the attic has become one of the “catch-all” storage spaces…

10) Clean, organize and purge from the guestroom (the other “catch-all” storage space… which has made the room impossible to use for anything else… like, guests!)

11) Travel – at least 2 “decent” excursions, and a handful of weekend retreats – with some actually being “alone time” (read: no familial obligations).

12) Develop and maintain a daily writing routine (starting target: 500 words, or about 1 page a day), a regular blogging routine, and weekly postings to “Fictional Echoes”. Travel journals, and daily notes on life.

13) Return to the “Call Center” project, aiming to complete a first draft.

14) Send birthday and anniversary cards, and regular emails. Send “Thank You” notes in a timely fashion.

15) Learn to write a query letter.

16) Start building a marketing database/list of possible markets and submission locations – my personal version of a “Writer’s Market” if you will.

17) Work on the 2007 NaNo Project – “Fantasy Gilligan” (with or without Chris, but preferably dragging him back into it so he can break out of his non-writing funk).

18) Work with Ben on the “Player” script project (originally his script idea).

19) Finish 95% of my Christmas shopping by early November.

20) Work on my photography skills.

21) To watch at least 100 “new” films/items from my Netflix queue (which, as I write this, is sitting at almost 500 items – a lot are series collections, but still…).

I think I’ll cut it off here, as we are now a week into the new year… adding anything else would start seeming silly… Now, the question rolls to, “How many can I actually work on during the year…?”

I think it’s time to find out…

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