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Sunday, August 25, 2002  

a rant, a review and a Hynerian

strange what the mind fixes on for anchorage when exposed to trauma. we had a homicide last night. happened on the freeway but the evil chippie wannabes don't take real crime reports because they're, well, wannabes, so we got the pleasure. coulda been gang related, coulda been random road rage, no one should even know what the coined phrase means, but that's another rant, either way though, a man lies on a slab in the morgue.

yesterday was only my second day in my work week technically, but i worked most of my days off, so it was actually day 4, and it was a double shift at that, so by the time i got off duty i felt like warmed over dog dren. the shift blew way before the homicide happened, my so-called partner was...let's just say i would have rather worked with Rygel and leave it at that....then the normal dren that surrounds a homicide investigation got elevated to snafu proportions and then went downhill from there. it would be a gross understatement to say that i was happy to go home at 6 am.

the drive home sometimes offers comfort, but not this morning. when you work in law enforcement, you learn how to compartmentalize your emotions. you have to or it would just end badly for all parties involved. it's not that you supress your emotions, although, to be accurate, the dumbest of us do, it's that you put them on hold so you can do the job and deal with the fallout later. on a good day, later is very later, a few days, a week, but with some calls, later is when your mind is when you're driving. note to self: DMB's "Busted Stuff" is not the best choice for post-ickiness driving. i'm listening to the lyrics of Dave's music, the project that got supplanted by "Everday" and notorious on the web as the "Lillywhite Sessions", and i intrinsically understood why the band wasn't comfortable with it the first time they recorded it. the songs are, complicated, bone-cutting, full of regret and sadness. but what saves the work from becoming one of Dr Kervorkian's top ten hits, are the melodies, the hope, perhaps found as a byproduct from "Everyday." the songs are like chocolate covered candy. sweet and smooth on the outside, hard when the chocolate melts away, and then soft and creamy again in the middle. the lyrics had a haunting poignance on the drive home. "...digging a ditch, where madness gives a bit...digging a ditch where silence lives...digging a ditch for when i'm old....digging a ditch where stories told...where all these troubles that weigh down on me will rise....".

i started to think about the loss, the waste of death. the detectives having to go tell the woman he lived with that someone had murdered him. the sunrises he would never see again. the smell of the Pacific Ocean that follows the fog and graces the inland cities in the early morning. if I die before my time, oh, sweet sister of mine, please don't regret me if I die...bartender, please, fill my glass for me, with the wine you gave Jesus that set him free after three days in the ground.. i spotted my offramp through misty eyes and exited, trying my best not to cry for a total stranger. that thought then struck me as terrifyingly wrong. maybe that's part of the inherent problems with societies at large. we don't remember what it was like when we weren't strangers. so i let the tears come.

i turned on the street that is the tree-lined entrance to the community i live in and smiled slightly at the beauty of those trees, but then i was sad again. he would never see those trees, never again see the mountains that the community is nestled against, never again laugh, or cry...or love.

i looked at the trees more closely as i drove past, realizing i didn't know their names. it suddenly became crucial to know the names of all the trees, 8 and 10 deep, lining the way home. as if my not knowing were somehow taking the precious details of my life for granted. i have a mission find the names of all of those trees, and choose one to honor a stranger.

but, oh God, under the weight of life, things seem brighter on the other side. sometimes, but not today. today is a good day to be alive.


5:38 PM

Thursday, August 22, 2002  
aw frell

i meant to do a VLFN update earlier, but i forgot. must be that whole being awake for 20 hours already problem. note to self: ignore the raise and the retroactive time and a half check back to July. get the sleep instead. yeah right. like i listen to me. i've pondered it all night. all day actually. i spent an entire hour almost completely ignoring my mom's current the-government's-out-to-get-her theory and pondered Act One, trying out different permutations in my head. i'm having trouble laying out the order of the sub-plots. could be that sleep deprivation thing i mentioned. hmmmmmmmmmm. i sense a pattern. gawd, i want that ep finished!!!!

it's good to be loved

the Right Brain tells me that the Hellhound's door watch has begun. tonight's my day off, so i'm normally home to heap lavish attentions on the Speedbump, aka the Hellhound, aka my mutt....all 120 german pounds of her. does everybody's enormous dog think it's a lap puppy or am i just special? don't answer that. so anyway, when i'm home late from work, or i work an overtime shift on my day off, the Hellhound gets all anxious and camps herself out with a heavy sigh right in front of the door. she's bound and determined to stare at the door until mom comes home. that's me, Momus Patheticus. the Right Brain regales me with tales of my pathetic pooch, totally lethargic and melancholy, probably contemplating canine hari kari while waiting for the Delinquent One to return. it's pretty funny actually. she goes all drama queen on us, and we laugh hysterically. okay, so ya had to be there.

speaking of roman names

the Right Brain and i decided that every official function that involves a rather large gathering of people, must have its very own Quintus. "Gladiator" fans may recall Maximus' right hand guy in the opening battle sequence was a surly looking bloke named Quintus. Surly Boy later betrays Maximus in favor of Psycho Cesar. thus the name.

we've proven the theory twice already. the first was at the Words Into Pictures writer's conference. the geek in charge of doing the intros and laying out the few housekeeping rules was a complete, power hungry freak. thus, Quintus.

the second time actually necessitated an expansion of the name. that Quintus was the geek in charge of the ballroom where all the movie previews and cast/crew panels were happening. he was such a Quintus that he became Quintus Assininus. i realized tonight, when for some insane reason Quintus came unbidden into my mind, that he was insufficiently named, and have now rectified the error. he shall forever be known as Quintus Pedanticus Assininus. test the theory, you know you want to. see how easily "Quintus" rolls off the tongue as a cerebral insult. the average Quintus is actually too obtuse to get the reference, thus avoiding that whole ugly-fight-after-the-insult-is-overheard problem.

4:52 AM

Tuesday, August 20, 2002  
i have a theory.

a theory about the source of traffic in SoCal. and no, it's not the number of people. well, not exactly. so here's my theory. let's call it, the slinky theory. those of you old enough to remember the slinky toy will recall how it moves, much like an accordian, expanding and contracting, slithering like a coiled snake. those of you not old enough to remember slinky toys, take a trip to Toys R Us and do your own homework. so back to my theory. when the freeways were first built, the jackasses (read: Men) that built them, didn't think ahead. the freeways aren't big enough, they're not wide enough, and, a crucial part of my theory, they aren't flat enough.

the first time i took a trip to Mammoth Lakes, with then husband, was the genesis of my theory. there we were on Highway 395 from VisciousVille, er, i mean, Victorville, travelling across the desert. quite happily as a matter of fact, that is, until we encountered traffic. Highway 395 is a two lane highway. it's in the middle of the high desert. there's nothing in the desert, because it's...wait for it...a desert. so why by all that's holy did some jackass (read: Man) decide to only build a highway that is one lane in each direction????????????? hello???????????? you can frelling build whatever you want. it's the desert. there's nothing in the desert but desert and you lacked the foresight to build at least a 4 lane highway????? it's not like you didn't have the space. jackass.

my theory expanded at a particularly ugly part of the drive, that closely resembles a small, obnoxious rollercoaster. the road rolls for miles. up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. up, down, up, down, up down, up down. gawd, i'm seasick just thinkin' about it. so there you were, joe construction road engineer guy, in the desert, the wide, empty desert, the wide empty desert that goes on for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles in every freakin' direction. it didn't occur to you to level the ground out????????????? it's not like you didn't have the space. jackass.

so back to the freeways and the slinky theory. the roads roll. they aren't big enough. for whatever stupid reason, in the land of amusement parks, hills on the freeway freak drivers out. aaiiiieeeeeeeeee, it's a hill! slam on the breaks! we're gonna die!!!!!!!!!!! whatever. it's a hill, jackass, not Godzilla on amphetamines.

add to that, the average driver's inability to drive proactively, and tactically, and you have the slinky theory of traffic.

to wit.

far too many people in SoCal drive like they're on downers. they line up like, well, lemmings, in shiny metal boxes. (hmmm, a song lyric? you make the call.) they slow down behind the cars in front of them instead of safely changing lanes and not adding to the back up. they refuse to significantly exceed the posted speed limit while occupying the fast lane. hey jackass? it's the fast lane. you wanna drive the speed limit, then do it in the slow lane where you belong. and then there's the knuckleheads who are speeding in the fast lane, but won't yield to faster traffic. i guess they figure that they're already doing 85 and don't have to get out of the way for the guy doin' 95. wrong. move over, jackass. (wonder how many times i can use the word 'jackass' in a single blog?) let the faster car go by, then you can get back in the fast lane and keep doing 85.

sugar packet proof

drivers need to pay attention to the other cars on the freeway with them, and not just the ones in danger of crashing into them. you should be driving 4 or 5 cars ahead of you, always checking for an egress in case of emergency driving maneuvers. if you're aware of what the 5 or 6 cars in front of you are doing, and one of them, or one of their 5 closest friends, does something really stupid, you can get out of the way before the other cars in front of you even react.

you should never, ever, under ANY circumstances, be right on the bumper of the guy in front of you. tailgating is bad. tailgating is stupid. tailgating is immature. if that guy slams his breaks on, even on purpose just to piss you off, and you crash into the back of him, well guess what? you're at fault, not him. why? because you should have maintained a large enough distance to have plenty of room to stop in the event of an emergency.

you need to drive with situational awareness, in three dimensions, always aware of who's in front, behind and beside you. if you can't drive like that, you've got no business having a driver's license. driving is a priviledge, not a right. if you're always cognizant of three dimensions, then you are getting a perpetual stream of intel while you're driving. you can tell if you are being followed. you can tell if the jackass next to you had 5 too many martinis at lunch, you can tell if the guy two lanes over from you is going to change lanes into the same lane you want to, thus attempting to occupy the exact same space and time, which is just going to end badly, you can tell if an evil chippie is trying to be all stealth behind you, just waiting for his chance to sneak up and clock you on radar doing 110. but most importantly, you can tell if you are backing up traffic because you're driving with your head up your ass.

it's YOUR responsibility to pay attention to what's going on around you. it's YOUR responsibility to try to alleviate traffic conditions by driving proactively. do you notice when the lane next to you has a car in it going the exact same speed as you are? you should. because what does that mean? well, go grab a bunch of sugar packets and i'll demonstrate. go on. i'll wait. tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap what? no, it doesn't matter if it's Equal or real sugar. tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. done? whew. i thought i was gonna see my next birthday before you got back.

so now that you have at least 10 packets, you don't have that many, do you? what-EVER, hurry up, start lining 'em up like they're cars, side by side 4 across, one in each virtual lane. now take 4 more and line them up behind the first 4. see what's happening? grid lock. there's no space. if every car drives the same speed, side by side, then traffic starts to back up. if you add to that rolling hills and dips, traffic starts to back up more cuz the knuckleheads at the front of the lane start slamming their breaks on because nobody told them the basic laws of physics.

you can coast.

yes, coast. and i'm not talking about the beach. you can take your foot off the gas, without then putting said foot on the brake, and the car will slow down. why? basic laws of physics. an object at rest will remain at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. an object in motion will remain in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. a downslope is an outside force. take your foot of the gas, and inertia, another snazzy element of physics, will only take you so far and then you will start to lose forward motion. add to that a downward slope and you'll slow faster. neat, huh? yeah, well there's a downside of that too, er, an upside, uhm, well, yeah, part two of the hill. when you are driving up a hill, you have to accelerate to maintain the same speed because the uphill is an outside force. if you don't accelerate, you'll slow down, and then back up traffic. and then you become the loser at the head of the line. jackass.

so where does the slinky come in?

what does traffic do when it encounters hills? it contracts. drivers drive stupid and they all slow down and they're all too close together and then the cars bunch up and come to a screaming standstill. the knuckleheads at the beginning of the line then remove their collective heads from their collective asses, realize that they aren't going to die on that hill, Godzilla really isn't on amphetamines, and they can speed up. traffic then expands. cars speed up, they give each other more space, and traffic unbunches. kinda like your chonies under the right pair of pants. and there you have the slinky theory of traffic.

so how does that help traffic in SoCal?

don't drive with your head up your ass.

10:00 PM

Monday, August 19, 2002  

note to self

must actually be conscious when removing incorrect key from incorrect key ring when going for a morning bike ride, thus, eliminating the need to wake up the roommate after returning from said bike ride and discovering the key doesn't work for the bottom lock. oops.

8:07 PM

Sunday, August 11, 2002  

i love the Bleat

"I love dream logic, but only in retrospect. Last night, for example, I found myself drafted to serve aboard a ship in World War Two. I wasnít exactly fond of the notion, but, well, duty, honor, country, court martial, firing squad, etc."

i couldn't have said it better myself. read the whole thing here

9:25 PM



and in my heat stroke, i forgot to add that the Whole Brain was able to compensate somewhat for the Brain Stem not being able to attend last night's performance. ya gotta love cell phones. *grin*

6:42 PM


in search of pain killers

woke up at 0930 this morning. grrrrrrrrrrrr. managed to get myself to sleep for another couple of hours but was out of bed by 1130. have i mentioned that i have to work 16 hours tonight and i get off work at 0600 tomorrow morning? *sigh* so up i go, wash up and decide to mow the lawn. it threatens to take over the house and i can't stand looking at it any more. that, and the next opportunity to cut the grass would be tuesday evening. ick. so there i go. it's only 1130. how hot can it be, right? 105 degrees fahrenheit to be exact. not one of my smarter ideas. i mow half the yard and then go inside for about 20 minutes, sucking down water and feeling the heat emanating off my clothes. i manage to rouse myself and mow the other half, then spend the next hour watering the lawn so it doesn't burn in the heat.

now that i have a mild case of heat stroke, i'm in the perfect mood to work a double. sometimes, the depth of my stupidity amazes even me.

6:35 PM


the divinity of Man

no, not men, silly human. although, some men can certainly be considered divine. Ben Browder immediately comes to mind. mmmm, shiny. and Peanut Brittle is most definately divine. a guy, not a candy mmmmmmmmmm. smooth, sweet, amazingly tender seduction. huh, what? oh yeah, where was i? man, not men. glub, glub.

Man at his most noble, stretches towards the divine. last night was a joyous reminder of that fact. and yes, i use the universal pronoun. my gender is in no way threatened by its use and i find he/she, him/her irritatingly tedious. as i mentioned yesterday, the Whole Brain attended last night's performance at the Hollywood Bowl. it was....sublime. the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by conductor John Mauceri, played pieces from Wagner, Holtz, John Williams and Howard Shore. *sigh* the theme was Musical Mythologies, and each segment was accompanied by very cool commentary about each mythos by the conductor, who has, by the way, a voice that one could listen to for days. resonant, deep, professionally trained...the guy could make ya swoon just reading the phone book. he spoke of the history of ring legends going back to nearly the dawn of man, including each scheduled piece of music's mythical history, and how, Tokien's LOTR is the only ring story where the quest was to destroy a ring, not create it...."the ring story to end all ring stories."

when i was a little girl, my dad was sober a great majority of the time. a german immigrant escaping the Nazis, dad was a classically trained singer in his youth and he had an amazing much melody and richness in that voice. they took refuge in Canada and dad even spent some time studying to be a Carthusian monk. i had to be one of the only kids i know who's lullabies were Gregorian chants. dad taught me an appreciation for the fine arts from a very early age. classical music, ballet, literature, cuisine...things that sustain me to this day.

so it was with almost gleeful surprise that i remembered "Jupiter", when Holtz' piece from The Planets was performed. i hadn't heard it since i was a child. and Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from Die Walkure was like an old and much loved friend. the first act, so to speak, closed with excerpts from John Williams' score of Harry Potter. ya gotta love a 3 headed dog named Fluffy that has a thing for classical harp music.

the second act was devoted entirely to Howard Shore's mini-symphony he wrote from his own score. i could see the entire film in my head. the orchestra was accompanied by the Paulist Choristers who were nothing less than spectacular. the solo child soprano rang true and clear when the movement reached Gandalf's fall into darkness and i had difficulty seeing the stage through the misting of my eyes. i didn't have to close them to see the look of shock and disbelief on Aragorn's face as he watched his longtime friend and mentor disappear into the chasm....the event so shattering that Aragorn almost doesn't dodge the arrows speeding towards him. the depth of grief darkening Merry's normally dancing eyes as he consoles Pippin on the rocks outside of the mines. the single tear moving unchecked down Frodo's cheek.

the lament for Gandalf at Lothlorien still resonates inside my head.

i confess to having been unable, nor possessed of any real desire, to stop the tears flowing freely when the music reached Boromir's death and the breaking of the Fellowship. one hardcore bad ass proudly reduced to an emotional blob. if i try really hard, i can keep myself from crying when i watch the film, although Sean Bean's acting ability certainly gives my will power a run for its money...but i'm toast when i see the look in Legolas' eyes as he comes upon Aragorn bent over Boromir's battered body, and i was toast when i heard the music from the scene last night. a million thoughts crashed through my head, mixing with the images from the film. courage, loss, honor, the risk that is love, the burden of grief never easing no matter how many times it finds you.

music taps those emotions, tempers them, makes them less transcends language, time and culture, and at its best, gives us a glimpse of what a heaven could be like.

thanks dad.

4:45 PM

Saturday, August 10, 2002  
*sigh* i love Farscape. nothing is every easy or clean. just like life. the Kemper rocks.

the sounds of Middle Earth

so, courtesy of the Brain Stem, the Whole Brain is fortunate enough to have tickets to the Hollywood Bowl tonight to hear Howard Shore's world debut of his symphony based on the score of LOTR. i'm all a dither in anticipation. sadly, the Brain Stem will not be going with, as originally planned, and i'm more bummed than i can say about that. certain experiences are made all the richer because you share them with your friends, people who's opinions you respect and just love to bits. so here i am pouting hugely because my experience will be missing one quarter of my brain. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. it's bad enough that cool stuff already misses another quarter of my brain because the Amygdala lives in Thomas Magnum's neighborhood, but now the other quarter? i am thwarted. it vexes me. i hate it when i'm thwarted. it makes my Crichton cranky.

the world of Section One

has been occupying my conscious thoughts happily now for the last few days. Act One is busy constructing itself in my wee brain and i keep getting flashes of it, especially while driving, and i'm quite excited to see where it takes me. that whole channeling characters thing that is my writing process, that's my favorite part. it's like i have mystical creatures in my head and they lead me through a dark forest of ideas, and sometimes, they stop getting me lost long enough to show me a grove or a waterfall, someplace magic that has story hidden there. i sound so completely

2:09 PM

Tuesday, August 06, 2002  
introspection is bad

every time you battle the demon, whether you win or lose, it takes a bit of your soul.

introspection is good

angst moodiness makes for good writing vibe.

12:16 AM

Sunday, August 04, 2002  
baby blog bits about the con

got back from Comic-con last night. really late. we were sitting in a thai restaurant in La Jolla discussing the origins of Daredevil for several hours. saw a REALLY groovy trailer for Daredevil that the director, Mark Steven Johson, made special for the con. Ben Affleck was there also, very sweet, and seemed really overwhelmed by the response from the audience when he came out on stage. he got a spontaneous standing ovation and i'm fairly certain he was blushing.

i can't believe how tired i still am, although, that could very well seem worse than it actually is because my first day back to work is a 16 hour shift, which, i'm only halfway through with. blech.

virtually an lfn episode

the Right Brain makes like the genius, yet again, for the VLFN. when writing, it's not always clear whether you're actually stuck for what to write next because you're well, stuck, or because there are other problems with plot (or a lack thereof) or characterization. in my case it was both for Episode 610. we've had the arc for the season plotted out for a while, but just in general terms, so each ep still needs separate plotting. one of the keys is how much of the season arc to reveal in any given ep or if the ep will be standalone for the most part. each ep also requires any number of subplots, usually at least 2, to flesh out the ep more fully and try to move forward character development. so 610 was missing the SOTW part, and when the Brain Bits helped me with that, i thought my "stuckness" was unstuck. there i go thinkin'.

one of the things i'm most fussy about is that the characters are true to what the original writers and actors created. that's all well and good for Nikita and Michael and Walter, but becomes less so for the former "Farm Team" who had all of one episode. i think i've done fairly well with Jasmine and Darwin, and Marco to a degree, as far as fleshing them out more fully, but i've been SERIOUSLY bugged by Jason and Trent. they feel to me like they just consume oxygen and serve little other purpose. bring 'em in when you need tech crap, or an extra body, and then put 'em away. i hate that. it's shallow and lazy and reduces characters to mere plot devices. so over dinner on thursday, while discussing the comments made earlier in the day by comic writer Devon Grayson on characterization, my nagging lack of Jason character depth came up. i looked at the Right Brain and asked her what was "wrong" with Jason. (she has become, btw, officially known as "Story Complicator") she took another bite of her yummy sirloin dish, pondered for all of a billionth of a second and answered, "how come he never got mad?".

it was like somebody smacked me upside the head with a phone book.

well yeah, how come? so we spent the better part of the evening discussing why Jason might choose to not display the anger he HAD to have after being yanked from his supposed freedom into a life at Section. that anger that HAD to have increased after he found out that Section played him his entire life and he had been essentially on a really, really long leash, complete with Section operative watchdog girlfriend. that discussion led to arc restructuring that shored up the logic behind existing arc structure, and gave Jason an actual character and depth and personality. he's so not his brother, and i'm so excited.

and now i have a long, long overdue ep to work on.

just a reminder....however long it takes me to finish Season 6, i WILL finish Season 6. i'm as anxious to see how the season turns out as the next guy.


11:44 PM

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