Friday, October 24, 2008

Production Meeting... At the Beach

California coast

Alex and I have been talking about ideas for our next Atlantis fan film for some time now. Since today was a rare day that we were both going to be home in the afternoon, we decided to film our new movie. But then we got distracted by the beach, so we decided to hold a production meeting on the sand to plot out who will be in which scene with whom (the most important part of filming our movies, actually, since there's only two of us)!

As you can see, we were ready to really get into it.

Haha! You totally thought I'd post a picture that revealed some of the plot, didn't you? Okay, fine, you're right, we're so unimportant that that never even crossed your mind...

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Just a minor glimpse of my retardation

We were working, okay?


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A quiet day at the beach

Unfortunately, however, we only got a little bit plotted out. And we didn't even have time to film anything today? Why? Well, it could be because I decided to make chocolate chip pecan cookies (and stuck a few marshmallows on top of some just to see what would happen) and then had to finish some grading I'd neglected, but I'm going to blame someone else. This guy. I don't remember his name.

His football "happened" to land right in front of us. I hope he never reads this because then he'll know that he noticed us looking at him in the first place because we were laughing at him. We saw him run towards the water, pose like he was about to dive into a wave, then decide against it. We're evil little shits and all we do in public is spy on people and make up crap about them (why we love Costco so much -- it truly is a magical place). So I guess we weren't really laughing at him not diving into the wave, but rather at the character we built up around him within seconds.

"Cómo estás?" He asked.

I automatically replied with, "Bien, y tú?" He blinked and stepped closer. I think I threw him off guard. Remember that post I did about "what is white?" This is stereotyping, but I think he had assumed I was hispanic, then noticed my coloring and was surprised that I answered in Spanish. One of the first questions he asked was "Where did you learn Spanish?" in Spanish, of course.

He had a seat on the sand and introduced himself and we chatted in Spanglish and learned that he is from a city two hours from Mexico City and that he has a little girl who, on her first birthday, plunged into her cake when he told her to take a bite. Adorable story. But he seemed content to sit there and ask me personal questions in Spanish (which he assumed my mom and sister wouldn't understand, but of course they did. California used to be Mexico, after all). At least I could honestly tell him that I couldn't go out with him or anyone tonight because I would be stuck home grading then watching my favorite TV show, Stargate Atlantis, that is for nerds.

And true to form, I graded until 9:10 pm. Luckily we have Comcast digital cable so we could pause the show and wait until we were all ready to watch it.

So I blame a random Mexican for our movie not getting done on schedule!

Here are some random shots. It was a gorgeous day!

A prety bridge with pretty, fecal coliform infested water below.

Beautiful restaurants that I'm pretty sure only tourisst eat at. I never have.

Wharf

Other part of wharf.

Cliff

Water

Friggin lens! At least this one turned out kinda cool.

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Pretty coast

Oh yeah. I talked to a producer yesterday. He said, "How would you like to work on a picture with me?"

I gushed that I'd love to. He said I should come down to the set. I have no idea what I've gotten myself into. I guess if I suddenly want to back out I can say, "Oh... I thought you meant you wanted help drawing..."

Today's music selection isn't one of my favorite songs, but is one that I've had stuck in my hear ever since I first heard it. I think the raw quality of Justin Nozuka's voice combined with the subject matter work well. And the kid wrote it (he's 20, I can call him a kid) and has talent and is making his own way. Good for him!

"Save Him" by Justin Nozuka



Mackenzie's Momma -- Hmm... maybe I should've mentioned that the radio station I'm going to be on is a pirate station, operating illegally for a decade or so, I think. ;) It's one of our area's pride and joy... that sounds so gramatically incorrect but it's late and I can't think straight! Ooo The Pricess Bride = one of the best movies ever. I was Buttercup for Halloween in Kindergarten. :)

Mo -- Ducks? Haha that's awesome. Maybe McKay/Aberticus was one of them... I've never been on the real radio, only fake shows we made for class for my Radio/TV/Film minor. ;) Ooo if you guys do start making fanvids, you have to share! You'll be like me, I act, edit, film, and direct. My sister also acts, films, and provides directing input all along. And of course, we come up with the insanity together. She's a genius. But since I'm the one who edits, the workload is a little lopsided. But it's a labor of love. I do it just as much to hear my family laugh while watching it as to put it on the web. And I was in the same position as you for ages -- my family's income was too high to get help from the government to pay for school. Then I hit 24 and all the sudden I was legally an independent, and now I get some help!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Funny Dreams

Oh, I crack myself up.

Speaking of making myself laugh, check out our new short video where Gary and Olson discuss the meaning of life:
The Dinner



Where did this come from? What's the point? Why'd we make it? I wish I knew. It's just one of those mysterious "art" things, and makes me laugh, so there you go -- the reason for its existence!

The other night I had a pretty funny dream with a poignant moment in it. In the dream I was The Joker and had been arrested for a crime that I, swear to the gods, did not commit. The commissioner kept demanding that I admit my guilt, and I kept denying it. In the end he held up a frame from a security camera's footage that showed me at the scene of the crime, smiling, as if I'd just gotten away with something.

"But.... I always look like that!"

They didn't believe me.

Later in the dream I was myself (or so I assume) and on a crowded beach, heading for a building on stilts. I noticed Heath Ledger in the crowd of beach goers, pretending to be a homeless man, kind of like Robin Hood in the Disney cartoon. I watched him for a moment then smiled when he looked at me. I inclined my head and winked, letting him know that I knew his secret -- that he wasn't really gone, that he was pretending, that he was acting, having fun. He smiled back then continued his charade and I continued on my way. It was comforting!

And speaking of funny dreams, here's a hilarious one I had a year or two ago starring two of our favorite characters from Stargate Atlantis: Teyla and Ronon.

Teyla had come to visit. I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to hang out with her, talk, show her around... but we couldn't get one-on-one time. Why? Ronon, the big lug, kept following us everywhere. At one point he even took my spot on the couch! When I asked him to move he just ignored me with this smug smile on his face so I tried to shove him off. Of course, that didn't work, so I tried to shove him off with my feet, but the fatty wouldn't budge. I was so enraged because he was physically so much bigger than me that there was nothing I could do.

I think this comes from having an annoying older brother who has always been stronger than me, and playing a game with my grandpa where, as a toddler, I tried over and over to shove him off the couch... or maybe it's because Ronon sometimes looks like a smug fatass. Don't tell Jason Momoa I said that. Having my insane Scotsman older brother chase me was bad enough, much less a tall dreadlocked actor. Yeah, and we all know how actors are. Shit, wait, I'm one, too. Never mind.

Back to the dream -- I decided to take Teyla berry-picking with me, but once again, Ronon followed us. I finally asked Teyla if she could ask him to leave us alone, and when he protested she scolded him and put him in time out. We laughed as he sat there on an overturned bucket, peering over his shoulder at us every once in a while, wishing he could come out of time out. But nope.

When we started picking berries I had Teyla try one, hoping that she'd get really excited to help me make a pie out of them. She took one bite and scrunched up her face, shaking her head in empathy.

"...You don't like them?"

"No... sorry..."

"Oh." I tried to hide how crushed I was. Why I was so crushed that she didn't like California blackberries, I have no clue. The berries must symbolize something. Like my libido. "They taste different in a pie, sweeter or... sourer..." I added. She still looked mildly disgusted.

Well, that's all that I remember of that dream. I know I've had more SGA dreams but can't recall any at the moment... have you guys ever had any?

Oh, and look! I have two "Followers"! Minions who disguise themselves as beautiful women!

And holy butt monkeys! Last night I had a moment of seizing horror where I stared at the computer screen in shock as I realized that I am probably no longer in my "early twenties." Shit. I have to do something with my life! One of my good friends from high school is already becoming a daddy. People I went to school with are married.

Whoa, hold up there. Yes, these are thoughts I have but don't worry -- I'm not going to measure my success by my ability to reproduce. Or by marriage. Or by... um... Hey. Did I mention I'm going to be on the radio soon? Yeah, I am. I'm gonna read a story I wrote!

Okay, continuing the sharing music theme, here's another song! I should mention that two of my favorite songs have already been posted before on this blog -- "Full Circle" and "Listen to the Wind."

Now it's time for some Country. I love the Dixie Chicks. Here's one of my favs by those spirited gals:

"Long Time Gone"



Mackenzie's Momma -- Wow, that book does sound really good. The stories you've shared remind me of the horrid Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. Have you ever read about those? *gets shivers* And I hope you get to ride again soon! You must really miss it. :(

Mo -- First off, I'm still laughing over the comment you left on "The Dinner." Brilliant. ;) I like your thoughts on McKay/Keller! I keep wanting to say more but have to wait till you're caught up. ;) But it sounds like you have lots of schoolwork to keep you busy! Yikes! And you're right, horses are way expensive. I'm poor, too, but I live with mommy and daddy (at least I don't have roleplay sessions in the basement... yet) and given the crazy economy, I'm glad I've stayed home thus far!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Horseback Ride

Where I belong

A little while ago I promised to take you on a horseback ride. Well, now's the time!

We set out on Mickey (my mount) and Sparrow (Alex's).


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Chee Chee loves bounding along with us.

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We ride in a local quarry, which is great because we have a place to ride in an increasingly fenced-in world, but tough because of the destruction. Like this poor ponderosa pine.


And this hillside, complete with an uprooted oak.


(Yes, that is Sparrow's rabid mouth)

About a month ago, as I was riding by myself (though with Mickey and Comanche, of course) I found my heart akin to Tolkien's, and as I rode past the oak I whispered:

What beasts brought such destruction?
Men of ill-design

Dragon-keepers who sunder root and bough


The dragon was the crane still operating when I covertly rode past.

Then on to place of rest with a beautiful view!



Can you spot Chee Chee?

We as we trotted to our destination (where we could hear the pipes from the local highland games drifting on the wind from the valley below -- listen for it!) Mickey got a little excited and took cuts!

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...Are those... clouds? Yes! We got our first rain!


Mickey's wind blown mane



Mickey and Sparrow rest. This was a rare peaceful shot. Usually she's biting him.

Comanche takes a break

Sparrow's wind blown mane

Mickey eats... a rock?

Notice how that rock is pitted? It used to be at the bottom of the ocean with creatures living on it. Where I live is littered with ancient shark teeth and sand dollar fossils. It was the ocean floor and coast in the Cretaceous!

You can see the little white tents on the green... that's the highland games!


Cousin It likes the wind


I like the wind in my hair, too.

Mae carnen, mellon-nin! (Yes, I do know some Elvish)

Beautiful Sparrow

Waiting for us to get bored and head home

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No wonder Chee was bored. Don't ask.

Turning around

Cheech wants to be first

A cool shot... me, Mickey's butt, Alex and Sparrow's feet

Brave Chee charges the sleeping dragon!

Pretty pond waters

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The reference to "Man Dust"? Um... maybe I'll explain someday. It's kind of creepy.

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Comanche swims

Yep. Our horses have looooong legs.

Alex noticed this... a Wraith hive about to attack!

The moon sliver looks alien.

Sparrow the merry-go-round horse

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Watch the spit fly off her mouth

I've decided to post a favorite song of mine with every blog entry (when possible) to share some great music. Here's an awesome song from an album that I've been obsessed with for the past month: Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge by The Pierces, two amazing sisters. They want their music to sound like "a fever induced, gypsy dream that you have after drinking too much red wine while listening to a cabaret singer in a southern speakeasy that is run by witches." I think they nailed it.

I should also mention that this is the best music video I've ever seen and yes, you have to watch it all the way to the end. Perfect for Halloween, too. ;) These girls share my love of the American Gothic aesthetic. I love them.



Damn. How's that for a twist on femme fatal?

And this scares me. There's a lot more wrong with this proposal than the article lists. Anyone remember this video I made? This program hasn't even been instituted yet and people have already been arrested on trumped up pornography charges for viewing files that they didn't know were illegal. That's right -- you click on a picture that says "cute rabbit" or something and it turns out to be pornographic with someone underaged in it, you just committed a felony. It doesn't matter that you had no way of knowing what it was until you clicked on it. My loved one's lawyer told him there were thousands of households in America that have this crap on their computers and could get arrested for the same thing, but the justice system decided to try to make an example out of my loved one.

And by the way, I got one of the facts wrong in the video: It wasn't a picture that my friend clicked on, it was a video clip, so instead of counting it as one pice of evidence, they counted every single frame of the video as a piece of evidence. And that makes sense... how? Mo -- these people need to take a TV class!

Do we need to crack down on child porn? No duh. Do we need to police everything everyone sends to each other over the net with programs (that f*&^ck up all the time)? Not if we want to still be America.

Mo - McKay and Keller, hmm? You must be happy with last wee's episode, then, as was I. But I won't say more since that was "The Lost Tribe" and you're a bit behind, correct? And if you read the little story I posted, "We Are the Heavens," you'll know that while I'm a shipper, I go for "mild" romance. ;) And "Spanky"... the only explanation I've heard was that since people called John/Weir "Sparky" (because they had sparks/chemistry) someone jokingly suggested they call Teyla/Ronon "Spanky" to go along... and for some reason people agreed! LOL I've heard other names like "Tex" and "Teynon" but yeah... they're all totally bizarre! And I would probably be like you and stay out of the online fandom except that we are now sucked in with our fan films and all, and hey, it's where we get material for such videos as "Shipper Wars." ;) Are you in the midst of mid-terms?

Mackenzie's Momma - Ooo those books do sound interesting, especially the last one. Do you usually read non-fiction? Let me know how they were if you get the chance to read them! Yes, being a non-closet Spanky shipper is great, though since I posted my first Spanky story back in 2006, I don't know that I really do count as having been "in the closet." ;) And if you do get to check out any of my fanfics, I hope you enjoy them! And this is completely random, but I just read a stat that people whose mothers had them young (under 25 - any future children of mine are already screwed) are twice as likely to live to age 100 (theoretically being from better eggs) so go Mackenzie! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spanky

Check it:

Warriors




Okay, I'm coming out.

There's no use downplaying my nerdiness as a fan. As some of you may know from GateWorld or from our videos (though apparently we're good at hiding it), my sister and I are Spanky shippers. Somehow "Spanky" means Teyla and Ronon.

What does this mean?

In season 2 we actually thought Teyla and Ronon were supposed to like each other (and Weir was supposed to have a crush on John, as we play up in our fan films) and were surprised that once we became more "involved" with the internet fandom, we learned that there wasn't supposed to be much chemistry between Teyla and Ronon at all (or between Weir and Sheppard). Season 3 aired, then season 4, during which Teyla and Ronon seemed to solidify their family-like bonds. I see less "romantic" potential for them now than in season 2, but it's still possible with imagination and reading between the lines, as we shippers do.

Yes, I waste time making backgrounds like this... the lyrics are from "Should I Fall Behind" by Faith Hill

To clarify, though, no -- I don't ever imagine the characters becoming sappy sods cooing "I love yous." They're both warriors and individuals of great dignity. But there is a potential of deepening the characters and healing old wounds through furthering their bond (as I think we saw in "Echoes"). For the most part, I see it as a Courtly Love Romance -- the knight faithfully serving the lady he can never have. Oh yes, I am a total sucker for a good love story. The problem is, I'm not so good at writing them without laughing at my own work, (maybe it stems from personal experiences but I feel more comfortable writing about heartache) so when I first conceived of a love story that I felt very passionately about (inspired by Hayley Westenra's rendition of "Listen to the Wind," written by the genius composer James Horner), I decided to try my idea out as a fanfiction before an original piece. You know, to see what people thought of the plot and themes, obviously not the characters who I didn't own (though I admittedly offered up a different view of them).

So I wrote my first Stargate Atlantis fanfic -- Listen to the Wind. I've written about three since, though this one remains closest to my heart, probably because it contains so much of myself within the writing. And my two favorite SGA characters happen to be playing out the bittersweet drama.


I have since re-written it as an original piece, but it's too long for a short story and too short for a novel, so I am thinking of expanding it for both a novel and script, if I can maintain my gasp on the aesthetic balance I'd like to keep.

Nature plays a huge role in my life. When I am out in the forests I feel such an overwhelming peace and sense of belonging that I think, "this must be what a church feels like to some." If that is so, then the redwoods are my cathedrals, the filtering light my stained glass, the animals my fellow faithful. Hey, what can I say? I'm Irish. Adoring all that is green and growing and of the earth is in my blood. Listen to the Wind embodies much of my love of the wild, making Nature a character.

It's a message about life. You know from the prologue that Ronon is already dead (so no, I didn't just spoil it -- it's literally the first sentence!). Since I didn't feel I knew a lot about the character back when I wrote the story, I used Ronon as the vehicle of some of my philosophies, lending him a voice I still believe the character has the potential to possess, if only give the time and space. The story is a series of vignettes, all taking place in quiet, unguarded moments when Teyla and Ronon are alone. The idea was that they're more open without the eyes of others, when they've been lured into a sense of belonging. I guess I should shut up in case you want to actually read it. Or see if this inspires you to check it out (this video isn't one of my best but if you dis the song I will hate you. It's one of my very favorites ever and yes -- I literally do film plants):



In fact, I was going to say a little something about each story, but realized that would take the fun away for anyone who is interested in finding out for themselves, so I'll pull the reins up a bit here.

The next story I wrote was called Where Once Was Gold.


It was more the story of Ronon's emotional recovery after facing his past in "Sateda," than a romance, so I wrote a sequel, Now Is Light, (see how nicely the titles go together? ;)) which was also a small homage to Last of the Mohicans.


More recently, I have been churning out chapters for a story titled Branded Heart.


It's really sad. I've worked on this fanfic far more than I have on my thesis for graduation -- my thesis that is intended to be a publishable novel. I need to get my priorities in line, right? I think it's the lure of instant gratification -- I post a chapter and get instantaneous feedback and insight. I don't have to work to get you to care about the two main characters since they're already loved by the readers. Though I must say, this is the longest fanfic I've ever written, and is epic by my fanfic standards. As a side note, all my fanfic can also be found on fanfition.net.

I have another account on YouTube where I post any music videos I've made (because I'm afraid posting footage from the show will get the vids yanked and my whole channel shut down, fan films and all if I post the music videos there, as happened last time!) like the one at the top of this post. I'm most proud of my more recent vids, which I was able to make more "artistic" thanks to a certain blog reader turning me on to Sony Vegas. ;)

The Bird and the Worm

Basically, Ronon goes nuts in the reality where Michael killed Teyla:

Teyla is dead -- Ronon has lost his best friend. Whispers from his past haunt and plague him. "You're not good enough," they say. "You couldn't save her." And so he begins to lose his grip as his guilt gnaws at him until his reckless actions take him on a suicide mission, after which he hopes to be with Teyla once more.



Nothing Else Matters

Teyla has an erotic dream that reminds her that no matter what has happened, Ronon has always been there for her... and nothing else matters.

WARNING: Some mature content and spoilers up to "Kindred, I" of season four.


An erotic dream? Oh yes, I did stoop that low. ;)



Orchard of Mines

"Just take one step at a time." Two fragile warriors are each other's shadows and while they struggle with their pride, their actions and quiet moments speak to the depth of their bond. Love is not always spoken.

This one was made as I learned the program. Thanks, Mo!





There're a bunch more videos on there, too. Most are SGA, but some are also trailers for the Lord of the Rings stories I've also written.

One I'm particularly proud of is a trailer for a story I never completed: To Roam the Wild Lands Forever. I'll let it speak for itself. (And yes, editing something like this when you only have two audio tracks is a royal pain and forces you to be extra creative!)

To Roam the Wild Lands Forever



I really am a productive nerd, aren't I? At least the writing and writing and writing is building my literary muscles so that when I do go to work on my original fiction, metaphors and imagery flow that much easier.

Sometime I'd like to share a piece of original work with you guys (if I can stop worrying about having my work stolen over the net -- though two stories are registered with the WGA and thus legally protected), but until that day, hopefully sometime soon, I'll post this short SGA fanfic I wrote last spring when I was feeling particularly whimsical. I don't always write in such an ethereal style, but it seemed fitting for such a short piece. I hope you enjoy!

~*~

We Are the Heavens

Author’s Note: Ronon’s thoughts on the events at the end of season four: Teyla’s pregnancy, her relationship with Kanaan, her kidnapping by Michael.

And so it begins.

I watch you grow thin lines between your brows. I watch you close your eyes. I watch your lips part in silent sighs. I see your light.

In the cloistered, cool halls of a city on the sea I feel your shadow. It stalks me, stealing my breath when I turn to face it. It isn’t there. I am lost. Where have you gone? I feel you clinging to me with carrion covered claws. My memory of you is like a ship without sails. The winds have changed but I remain steadfast. I will not let go.

You walked in a fog. You looked away from my eyes, but I could see it still. I always could. You are like me. You hide your dreams. You guard your tearstains. But I see you like a tree rustling in the wind. I see you like a whisper.

I saw...

I kept your secret for you. I didn’t tell them I knew. You didn’t know I could see through you like a shroud in the light. Your life and the life you nourished were your choices. You didn’t know my heart smiled for you. I should have told you. Fear... fear betrays us all.

He was your sheltered pasture and I so wanted for you to find peace. Peace that I could never have. Peace that left each time your eyes stirred my soul... singing in sighs to the raining mist in my mind, beckoning it to cease. Peace that fled with your featherlight touch, for each brush of your fingers reminded me that it would not last... what I could not have...

And now you’re gone.

I’m on my knees.

I wish I were bleeding. I should be bleeding. I couldn’t stop him from taking you. I couldn’t even tell you that I need you.

I will find you.

If you return and live with your lover, I will be happy. I want you to feel the sunlight.

If you return and we continue our dance, I will be happy. A glance with a warm ember in your earthen eyes. A laugh like the tickle of water. A breath reaching my skin, like the song of the moonlight. I live for you.

So I will find you. I will bleed. I will burn. I burn for you.

You are my whispered promise of sleep in starbreath. I am your lion wrought of sunflame. We are the heavens.

~*~

Mackenzie's Momma -- Great post about Palin, and I'm so happy to have helped inspire it! :D And as for your town... mine is actually about the same size as yours! No movie theater. No entertainment (unless you cound spying on the local Omish-like group that just showed up one day and bought 1/4 of the town). The clips were taken downtown in the nearby coastal city, about 6 miles away. I should have specified that, but am nervous about posting location details on the net. I mean, I guess a psycho could already figure out where I'm at by reading and analyzing all my posts, but I try to be careful not to include too many place names. Maybe I'm paranoid. ;)

Mo -- Wow, your Vampire class sounds like a lot of reading. If yo do make it to Twilight, you'll have to share your thoughts. I picked the first one up in Borders last week, flipped to a random page and read three sentences then laughed out loud and the sheer stupidity of the writing. "She became aware of a pain in her temple. Surprised, she realized that someone had thrown something at her." She felt the pain first, which didn't surprise her, then is so slow that she realized someone had pegged her (probably because she's a stupid whiney teen) then was suprised. Even if the story is good, there's only so much bad writing I can take, and when you open to a random page in the middle of a book and already can't take it, that's bad. The disturbing thing is how many people guzzle this stuff up. I'll probably never get published. ;) I'll have to do a post about another popular book that I have been reading for laughs... Your TV class sounds interesting... are you just learning about color chips and f-stops and headroom or do you get to work in a studio?

Tracie -- I didn't. :( But I did see most of what I believe was the first ep way back when it premiered on the net and liked it. :) It was cool to see Amanda Tapping (and so many other SG actors) in a very different role... but Amanda, sweetheart, you really need to work on that English accent. ;)