Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Stuff

Colonel Jack O'Neill of SG-1

Okay, so I'm a little obsessed with the Olympics right now, but there is other stuff happening on our mountain. For example, the other morning began with a dance fest that resulted in catastrophe.

"General Hammond" Takes a Spill

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Alex had a birthday. As you can see, I went a little overboard in the gift department.

We caught Tumnus on the roof of his house.

One day there was a bit of sun, so we decided to go outside and play dinosaurs in the sandbox. But then the Communist kept bothering us, so we put him in time out.

Commie in a cage

Here he is being guarded by none other than Daniel Jackson

He could've escaped any time that he wanted, but I think he enjoyed it. He was purring all the while.

Repent!

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Dr. Fraiser

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I also got the final prints from the photographer. They're pretty awful. I guess I'll put them up later.

Mackenzie's Momma -- Let's hope we can avoid walking into things. ;) And yes, the Olympics this year, despite the tragedy, have been wonderful. I always enjoy them more than the summer Olympics. That's cool about your aunt! I guess that means she knew David Faustino!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winners!

Go Chunkles!

Our athletes are doing amazing. On Saturday, Apolo Anton Ohno raced in the 1000m short track and earned his seventh medal, making him the most decorated winter Olympian in history. Way to go, Apolo! What's even more amazing, is that a bad pass sent him from second to fifth place in a manner of seconds, and he managed to catch up to snare the bronze. I look forward to watching his upcoming races.

Though I'm still pissed at the judging call that took Apolo's teammate, J.R. Celski, out of the semis. A Frenchman grabbed his hips from behind (I kid you not, I couldn't get that out of my head, either) and when JR flung his arm back to bat him off and keep skating, Mr. French lost his balance and crashed. Okay, so the guy is actually Canadian, but his name is French. And the ref called the foul on JR and disqualified him. Maybe it's my ignorance of the rules of short track, but how the heck was JR the one fouling? Did he make a bad pass? Are you not allowed to swat Frenchmen off your ass?

Just five months ago, JR's own skate cut his thigh and he nearly bled out on the ice. Now he's got a bronze in the Olympics!

We'll see you at the rest of your events, JR!

And yesterday, Alpine Skier Bode Miller had the ride of his life in the men's super combined. His downhill time wasn't the best, but his slalom run was phenomenal, and he won his first Olympic gold. More importantly, he felt that he earned the gold because he gave the run his all, and worked so hard for it.



Awesome job, Bode!

Olympians aren't the only ones setting records. For the second year in a row, I have won the national BEA Media Arts Festival Student Screenwriting Competition for my script Daughters of the Wind. On top of that, I also took Best in Festival out of all the screenwriting categories. This is a big deal for my university, which continues to show its writing dominance over expensive film schools like UCLA.

I was excited to go to Las Vegas for the festival until I realized it's on the same weekend that I have to take my MFA exam. Luckily, my screenwriting professors are rallying behind me and have been pressuring the program director to let me take the exam earlier, so we'll see what happens.

In related news, I've been having some great conversations with a manager and am about to start work on an outline for her. If all goes well, I'll write the script, she'll sell it, and I'll sign with her. I'm also working with an agent at one of the top 6 agencies to pitch 10 ideas for TV shows. This isn't the first time I've started down this path, and I've learned not to hold my breath. I've just never shared the news publicly before. I guess I was superstitiously paranoid that I'd curse it. Or maybe it's like a pregnancy and you don't want to tell anyone till you're sure all is going well. At any rate, now you all know. What comes next is anyone's guess!

All right. That's it from me today. Enjoy the last week of the Olympics. I should get some writing done!

Mackenzie's Momma -- Yes, thank the gods for DVRs! I'm so glad you were able to watch the skating. I hope my blog didn't spoil the results for you! And you saw Apolo? Like, walking by? How cool! I would've stared. And walked into things because I was staring.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Batman Beats the Russian King!


Evan Lysacek wins GOLD!

I get as obsessed and tense about figure skating as other people do about football and hockey and other sports. To me, the men's free skate last night was pulse pounding. I don't know exactly what it is about figure skating that so enamors me, but the agility, grace, composure, and artistic expression (especially in men, which we don't see a lot of public outlets for in this country) always snares my heart and hopes. I literally become breathless with each set up for a jump.

All of the figure skaters did wonderfully, including American Johnny Weir who got a shockingly low score. The internet was immediately on fire with "he was robbed because he's GAY" posts, and while I wouldn't 100% rule that out (especially with international judges), most people crying "foul!" on their blogs have no knowledge of the sport. It's a combined event. His scores in the short program were low, so even if they were great in the free skate (which he was), he'd score lower than guys who -- yes -- fell on their asses. I love Weir's individuality and kinda hoped that he'd somehow win gold, just to see the look on Plushanko's face when he realized he'd not only been out-skated by an American man, but by a gay man.

Awaiting the scores for his free skate last night

Note: this is all speculation because Weir doesn't comment on his sexuality, so I'm making the same assumptions here that many others have over the years. Maybe he's just a really flamboyant individual. Either way, Plushanko would not enjoy being bested by someone who skated with a pink tassel on his shoulder. And yes, Johnny, you so rocked the tassel.

Rocking the tassel in his short program

Who we were really rooting for, however, was Stephane Lambiel, The Little Prince! His artistry and musicality always far surpass his rivals, and he delivered both in his short program. Unfortunately, he was a little too tense in the free skate, and his personality didn't come through as much. Yet 4th place in the Olympics is not bad at all! We got to see Lambiel perform when the stars on ice show came to town back in 2007. I hope it happens again! We love the Little Prince!

For whatever reason, pictures of him performing last night are almost impossible to find at the moment, so here's a shot of him in his super snazzy outfit from Torino.

Check out how gorgeous the end of his short program was here.

And then came "Batman," as we call Evan Lysacek. His coach, Frank Carroll (Alfred to us), also coached Michelle Kwan and Timothy Goebel, two amazing skaters who never won gold. Like Bruce Wayne, Lysacek is obsessed with what he does. He's determined to be as fit as possible, and his coach often has to tell him to stop practicing. In his own words, he works so hard that he can barely make it to bed every night.

Batman

Batman and Alfred

...I don't know how that one got in here

And at 71, Carroll knew that he shouldn't have his hopes too high. But then Lysacek cut across the ice with a strength and fluidity largely absent that night. He skated in a dark outfit to dark music, and nailed every jump. As soon as the music ended, the sheer joy on his face was priceless. No matter the outcome, Master Wayne had done his very best.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!"

And Plushenko... his name has been commonly-spoken in our house since his debut Olympics in 2002. I remember going to 4-H snow camp that year and making a snowman of him (to knock over). His nose and his string cheese hair are like no other. His attitude tops both, however. I'll never forget him discussing his 2002 rival, Alexei Yagudin, saying "I will crush him beneath my skates!"

In Salt Lake City, 2002, with Alexei Yagudin and Timothy Goebel

Ever since Plushenko stood on that podium, refusing to look at Yagudin (who won gold) as the anthem played, I have loved him. Not a stereotypical type of love. A love to hate type of love. The same love I have for Michael Shanks and David Thewlis and all manner of other people. But anyway, Plushenko is an extremely talented skater. There will never be another like him. His short program was nearly flawless. His free skate was nearly strained. His cockiness was palpable.

Talk to za hand.

I knew he couldn't hold it in when he lost the gold. He's already saying that if a man doesn't do a quad in figure skating, then it's not figure skating, it's dancing. He also ran onto the podium and pretended he won the gold for a little while. Yes, I wouldn't love him if he wasn't so annoying and had the promise of being a terrible loser. And though he's 27 (old age for a figure skater) I'll bet he'll be back in 2014. The games are on his turf then, and he'll be looking for a way to win another gold.

I vin za gold! Or... maybe not...

This might not be it for Lysacek, as well, for in an interview this morning he stated: "I love skating. I can't at this point imagine my life without it. I know I'm 24 … but I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. … And right now, pending any other major events in my life, that's my plan … to keep competing." If anyone can hold their own against younger competitors in 2014, it's Batman. And what an achievement it is -- to win gold in such a fiercely talented, competitive generation of skaters, possibly the best there's ever been. That is no small feat.

Awesome job, Evan! We're so proud of you. You earned it!

Woo hoo!

You can check out his free skate here.

Other athletes I'm rooting for are Alpine skiier Bode Miller who has returned to his third Olympics with a new attitude -- way to go, Bode! And, of course, my love: Apolo Anton Ohno. His race on Saturday will be a thing to see, for certain. I mean, obviously it's a thing and if you watch it then you're seeing it, which could be anything, like two ants walking on a piece of cheese, but never mind. It should be epic, is what I mean.

Go Chunkles, go!

the other amanda -- Thanks, hun! The Smeagol ones were the funnest to shoot, so maybe that's why they turned out best. ;)

Mackenzie's Momma -- Too hippy to be a stage model? Pshh. You'd be doing them a favor -- most of those girls don't have hips. That's great about your play -- how exciting!!!

Tracie -- Thanks so much! Unfortunately, I think I'm too little too late for the Hobbit casting, but since they needed people with New Zealand work permits and visas, it was a super long shot anyway. But oh well, at least now I have a head shot in case anything else pops up!

Anonymous -- I know you are a robot, I just can't figure out what you're gaining by spamming. With proper punctuation, too. Go away.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Modeling


Well, this is awkward, but on Saturday I was a model. Before I get into the story of the photo shoot, let me start by saying that modeling is certainly something I've never considered as a career. But hey, try everything once, right? It all started because I wanted a cheap head shot that I could use in case I wanted to audition for any acting roles... like, um, as an extra in The Hobbit. Before I realized that the complicated working visa situation meant that the filmmakers would primarily be casting Kiwis as extras for The Hobbit, I felt that I couldn't let the opportunity pass by without trying. So I went about finding out how to get a free head shot. A site called modelmayhem.com helps models and photographers find each other for projects in their area, and I read on a message board that it was a good way to get a professional head shot if you don't want to pay an average $100. In exchange for the head shot, you model for the photographer in a Time For agreement (you get a few pictures to compensate for your time and the photographer gets to add to his/her portfolio).

A lot of the work on modelmayhem strikes me as desperate. I'll never understand why some women are so willing to be photographed in scantily-clad, provocative poses, showing everything they've got. I mean, good for them to be so bold, but we all have an ass and boobs. Why is there the need to advertise them to the world? But I digress. A local photographer contacted me, and his portfolio was artistic and competent, so I agreed to a TF shoot.

My wonderful friend Tanya came along and we met in a public place (I still had a knife in my purse just in case but the photographer doesn't need to know that). Poor Tanya wound up being our pack mule and carried all my changes of clothes, shoes, coat, etc., and got roped into being the photographer's assistant, helping him by holding the reflectors needed to get the necessary lighting. She's such a good sport and curious that she had a lot of fun. I've always loved that about you, Tanya! :)

To be honest, I thought the outfit he picked for me first was kinda cheesy. Black boots, black hat, and a white, strapless dress. I posed in an 1800s set-up by steam trains, water towers, and old buildings, and oddly enough, was sore from the poses. You have to contort your body to look like an "S" and when I told the photographer that I wasn't exactly comfortable, he said "If you're in pain, you're doing it right."

Yeah, those are my riding boots -- Durangos -- complete with authentically bowed-legs from genes and growing up on the back of a horse.

I was supposed to look at the train without turning my head...

I have new respect for models. Especially because I'm sure most of my shots turned out horribly thanks to my pained expressions and stiff stances. But apparently we looked professional enough to gather some attention. I hadn't noticed, but a train had just let off a bunch of tourists, and a rather rotund, polite man approached and asked the photographer if his friends from India could take pictures with his model. "You're asking the wrong person," the photographer replied, and I told them that I didn't mind and posed with each. Maybe one of the lads is in movies and I'll get calls from Bollywood soon... Ha.

A witch with a "fan"

After that location, I put on a dress I wasn't fond of (and thus didn't mind ruining) and we headed into the redwoods for some forest shots. It was rather cold and the sunlight was unpredictable, but I had fun climbing in trees.


My favorite part, however, was when I dragged myself through the mud to get dirty, then posed like Smeagol/Gollum in the hollow of a burned-out redwood. Of course, those were the shots the photographer said I probably wouldn't get a copy of, but it was fun to finally do a pose with some narrative dynamics.



Smeagol with Gollum in the reflection

Afterward, I washed up as best I could (...with water from another puddle) then we took some head shots by some trees. By then it was going on 4 hours and I was more than ready to go home. Unfortunately, I have a habit of wearing my thoughts on my face, and you can see my annoyance in some of the pictures. Oops!

This one's a sample from the photographer... hopefully it's okay that I'm sharing it

I don't have any of the finished pictures yet, but the ones I'm posting are a few that Tanya took while we set up and shot. Modeling is definitely not for me. I didn't mind having my picture taken (I mean, all I had to do was stand there, even though it was sometimes painful) but I'm not fond of looking at the pictures afterward. So it's a little embarrassing to share them... but by nature, blogs are vain and self-absorbed, which means it's no secret that I can be both at times, so I don't know what my qualms are about.

Oh, come on. No comments on my last post about Star-ving? Seriously, people, check it out!

Mackenzie's Momma -- Your mom is so lucky to have you as a daughter. What a fighter you are! :) And yes, we did manage to save our sims. Not that it did my Jonas Quinn sim any good. In the span of 24 hours, he was abducted by aliens, impregnated, and turned into a plant (while he was pregnant). None of those things have ever happened to one of my sims before, so I was both in shock and hysterics. Poor Jonas! And you get to meet Corin Nemec? How cool! You should definitely check out Star-ving then. He seems like he's got a great sense of humor. Oh, and about the weather -- as you well know -- it's not usually the fact that the weather is extreme that makes it worth mentioning, in my opinion, but rather the fact that people like you and I don't sit inside and look at it, but have to go out and labor in it, whether it's hail, torrential rain, 104 degrees, etc. ;)