This?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Think So

I tuned in for the final - I'd say 2/3 - of Obama's speech. And I have to say, it is true - the man gives great, rousing speeches. Even if you're not in a particularly rousy frame of mind. For the first time in quite awhile, I came away from a State of the Union (which it was in everything but name only) feeling hopeful. Which is pretty damn remarkable, since things are worse domestically than they've been in a couple of decades.

Anyway, good talk, Mr. President. Walk the walk, now. I know you can.

D.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lest I Not Insult You With Mine Sharpie

Did a caricature gig tonight, for the first time in quite some time - certainly in over a decade. There was a brief period in 1992-93 where it was my sole source of income, mostly (intermittently and with great difficulty) from Hiram-Walker as part of a Drambuie promotion.

Tonight was for a better cause - although I'm hard pressed to tell you exactly what it was. An awards dinner for an organization that prevents kids from getting splinters, or something. The award winners were Jim Doller's two older sisters, a fact which I hadn't known until I pretty much arrived there. A little odd, since Katie Doller was the one who hired me for it - you'd think she might have mentioned that she was the honoree.

As far as job performance, I'd give myself a B-. I started to find my rhythm by the end of the night, but I'd forgotten how to stay focused on the drawing while simultaneously shmoozing the posers. There was the usual parade of older women, asking me 'not to draw all the wrinkles.' One couple wanted me to draw their infant daughter from a photo on their Blackberry (side note: my first time handling a Blackberry). I did caution them that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do it right, which I think they took as nerves. It's not nerves - it's that you can't really caricature a baby, since they don't have anything like developed facial features, yet. You need things like bent noses and crow's feet and baggy eyes to make a quick cartoon look like someone. Ever wonder why all cartoon babies look the same? It's because all babies look the same.

Anyway, given all that, I still didn't draw a particularly good generic baby, which I guess means it was nerves.

D.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pile/Re-Pile

I did exactly nothing on the revised Copper Man site today, opting instead to really dig in to the long overdue basement clean-up. Last Thursday, Karl was kind enough to lend some help and electrical confidence. I'd say 'electrical expertise,' which he does have, but the wiring was of the type that I can do myself easily - but I just feel better when someone else is there who can look at what I just suggested and say 'sure, that's fine' or 'yeah, that's gonna be a fire.'

Still, Karl actually ended up doing most of the wiring, with me doing the unwiring. That is to say, anytime we found a line that we could take out, we'd cut the circuit and break the line at a reasonable source point, then he'd close that off or add a new outlet or switch while I tore out all of the old stuff. The point being getting rid of old, bad and/or complicated wiring, and also being able to get rid of the remaining framing that was down there from the old rooms, since the outlets and switches were attached to various studs. In some cases, the shielded wire ran right through the studs, so tightly that it was difficult enough to extract that we just tossed the studs with a little wire left attached.

But that was Thursday. This week, I'm trying to finally get a handle on the massive unsorted pile of junk down there that comprises my archives. In a way, it's great, because the contents of the basement really represents the last gasp of the wild, untamed Dave spore. And In a way, it's sheer hell, since organization is last on my list of skills, right after teleportation and hedge fund management. Still, it's nice to see that it's gotten down to a relatively small, hence theoretically manageable, amount. This is actually the end of a project that (no shit) goes back to about 1997, when I first started looking into my boxes of crap from the attic. Those boxes went with me to Pearl River and then came back here, largely unsorted and pretty much just shifted around. Still, very slowly but very surely, it's evaporating and sifting into something resembling order.

I only wish there was more to throw away or give away,* as the stuff that does get kept sometimes can be hard to really justify.

The whole point of clearing the basement - beyond just getting closer to Godliness - is in advance of the basement rebuild. At least for the time being, while my own job situation is extremely sketchy and the future is spooky/scary (like a Werewolf Bar Mitzvah), it makes great sense to have renters. We've rented a room since November, but that's the upstairs room next to ours and it's a little tight. Rebuilding the basement means that the renters and Yesenia and I can live like adults, which is something you want in your eighth year of marriage. But you also want financial stability and insecurity, and my crappy job isn't providing that just now. So while I work on Plan 'B,' Plan C is going into effect: rent!

Actually, I guess I need to start coming up with an organzational principal for my plans. What with the returning to school, the searching for a new job, the scramble for freelance work, making the website and rebuilding the basement, I'm kind of running through the alphabet. Plan Z will no doubt involve putting myself into prostitution or just remaking the basement into a meth lab.

Anyhow, today's mission was somewhat successful, although as you can tell from this Rambler's title, it mostly consisted of taking one giant pile and making several smaller and not terribly well-thought-out piles from it. Work proceeds apace.

D.

*Which reminds me: Ans, I've found an old lyric notebook of yours. I'll hold on to it until the next time I see you.

Under Constriction

All right - the ridings are in, and it looks like version one of the revised Copper Man site is about 30% good. Karl likes the color scheme and notes the size issue; Ansley (offline) also notes the size issue and was less enthused by the overall design scheme, making note of the outline font (Formata, for those keeping score); and Shaun also didn't like the font and the backing photo. For the record, the backing photo was 'temp,' as 'Dave on the beach' is not the image I really should project. Shaun did like the sounds. The sounds were, in fact, probably the most successful part of the design thus far, so that will be continued.

Response to the color scheme was somewhat muted, although Marina liked it, and even though blue is not 'my' color, I think it's appealing to more people than my preferred colors - which are more autumnal (such as the Rambler), auburn, grey and rusted gold. Yesenia also liked the design - but, then, she married me so her aesthetic judgment as concerns Dave must be considered suspect.

Christine, don't think I've let you off the hook. You must go and look at the current draft and share some thoughts, that they can be considered and incorporated in the next draft.

I'll be doing more work on it this week, so all of you are officially asked to continue in the role of feedbacking. And I suspect that the Rambler this week will mostly document that particular struggle within myself.

D.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Deconstructing Hartley

I know I'm putting the curse of the 'Don't Blog About...' Gods on this thing, but I've started to put together the all-new Dave site, and I'd like some feedback. It's on the fast track, becuse I really do now need to have something that makes me look like the man.

All you'll get now is a title page and some rollovers - nothing fancy - but tell me if you think the links encompass enough range to allow me to break the different areas of the site into manageable chunks. Meaning 'Design' would house all print and web design work - and is really the reason for the site to go up, frankly; 'Illustration' would be plain old drawing and all the comics work; 'Music' would be (of course) all things music; and 'Words' would lead back here and possibly to some sort of cache of other written works. Said 'other written works' are admittedly somewhat thin on the ground. Still, given that I've written close to six hundred of these Ramblers (this is number 571 you're reading right now), I think the 'Words' section justifies its existence.

Note that sound is part of it, so put your speakers on... now.

Go here. (Then come back).

There's probably going to be a small series of secondary links under the main frame - contact (of course), site map, about, and possibly a section called 'juvenilia,' which solves the problem of archiving and having too much outdated work cluttering up the main site. It also solves the problem of having people notice that a drawing that I did when I was thirteen is better than something I could do now. Thankfully, at least my music is much better, these days.

Right now, I'm leaning towards each quadrant of the site having a different feel, although trying to keep some kind of thematic unity going. If that's colors, or fonts, or whatever, I'm still working out.

Anyway, critique, please. I know every time I've talked about the revamped site on the Rambler in the past, I've fished for feedback and ideas and gotten nothing but virtual crickets, but a man can dream.

D.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vintage Steam Tales

Lying in bed with the humidifier running on high, in hopes of keeping myself from drying out tonight, while I ramp away from my cold. Whether I'm ramping up into health or down into total crap remains to be seen. Tonight is the cold's pivot point, and that's why the humidifier is so important.

And I don't think I trust it at all. See, it's a cold water humidifier, with a fan that supposedly blows all that good moisture up into the air. But I'm a long-standing believer in the healing powers of the steam vaporizer. In recent years, we've run through a few of those, but they tend to be fragile things, and no matter how often you clean them or how doggedly you maintain them, they eventually get caked up in so much diamond-hard mineral crust that the simple act of removing it breaks the unit for good.

I don't think it was always that way, though. Maybe the water in Rockland - fairly hard stuff - has gotten even harder since I was a kid, when I had a steam vaporizer that lasted for something like a decade. And, man, did I love that thing. Actually, maybe the secret to its longevity was the fact that for years, I only had the top part. The fitted bottom part - the bit the water went in - was nowhere to be found, so I thought it was gone for good. Then, one day, when I was nine or so, I was urinating in the downstairs bathroom, and looked around.

There it was. I'm not sure how it happened, but the bottom half of the vaporizer had been repurposed as the garbage can. It makes a certain amount of sense - it was small (maybe three gallons), had little feet, was made from a sturdy white plastic that matched the decor. And it had been there for a couple of years, at least, which proves that the industrial design of the 1970's was nothing if not multi-purpose.

I cleaned it out as best I could and reclaimed it for its original purpose, and got me some nice, healing, steam-filled nights sleeps. As to what happened to it after that, who knows? Probably demolished and lost in the great renting debacle of 1980. Or it's been taken to use as a planter, somewhere. But I know that I'll never get a vaporizer as good again. But the sound and the effect is so preferable to the cold water model. Just that quiet steam over the single light - usually orange, for some reason - twinkling in the darkness, just off to one side of the bed. Soothing both physically and mentally.

D.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blah

And on top of everything, I now have one of my very rare colds.

D.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Faith

"Lucy looked along the beam and presently saw something in it. At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an aeroplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. It circled three times around the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow. It called out in in strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them. After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. Drinian steered after it not doubting that it offered good guidance. But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, 'Courage, dear heart,' and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.

In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again."


- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Door Wolves

Shh. Don't let them know you're home. Maybe they'll go away.

D.

10 PM - and then the phone rang...

"Hello?"
"Dave, my car stalled at 92nd and Park Avenue!"

Thus followed action involving Google, a cell phone, a 24-hour towing company, and a late night wife-retrieving drive to Harlem.

Tired? Why, yes.

D.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mumblecore, Screamcore

Over the last couple of days, we've watched Grey Gardens and Hannah Takes the Stairs. The former is a truly disquieting 1975 documentary about an aged mother and adult daughter - cousins of Jackie O. - who have lost their collective mind and are living in squalor in a single room in a run-down mansion in East Hampton.

Edie and Edith tear at each other hour after endless hour. One of their dozen-plus cats shit in the corner, behind an oil portrait of the mother. They peer through crumbling old photo albums and listen to vintage recordings of the mother singing. The mostly bedridden mother frequently goes naked, the daughter rambles on to the camera, confiding endlessly that she simply can't take another winter there and wants to go back to NYC. Talking, talking, while she goes up to the attic with bare lathing, empties a whole loaf of Wonder Bread and an entire box of Purina Cat Chow on to some newspaper on the floor. Not for the cats, but for the raccoons who live up there. They live in the past while it literally crumbles around them.

I remarked to Shaun that the titular mansion is like the house we homeowners find ourselves in during particularly troubled dreams - dark and cold, open to the elements, haunted by guilty sprits on the second floor, plaster delaminating all around, forested in and all but inaccessible, and, of course, impossible to leave.

Roger Ebert calls it a comedy. What film was he watching?

Hannah Takes the Stairs is (I guess) what would be considered at romantic comedy, but the Dogme-ish stylistic conventions of the new Mumblecore movement make it elliptical, episodic and remote. Which isn't to say that it's hard to follow, but it does feel as though you're viewing all of the out-takes from another more conventionally structured film.

First impression? It features way too much nudity from Greta Gerwig, who plays the eponymous character. The film open on a shot of her showering with her first boyfriend, and closes on a shot of her and her third boyfriend in the tub playing trumpets together. And there's far more in between - and not only is it some of the least erotic footage ever shot, but takes you out of the movie to the extent that you almost start feeling that the whole enterprise is vaguely exploitive. Which it's not, but, alright already.

Also, at no point does Hannah ever actually take any stairs.

Will you like either of these films? Who can say? Both exist in a fascinating dreamlike state, the camera floating around very much like yourself as a disembodied participant, moving abstractedly forward with no indication of the time that has passed between scenes - an hour or a month. Both focus on determinedly eccentric and self-involved women at three distinct stages of life, all of whom define themselves by how men react to them.

Both are exercises in which the style and form of the film is the saving grace - the 'direct cinema' documentary style of Grey Gardens acknowledges the presence of the film crew, but mostly just site back in mute, unfiltered and formless observation. It's pretty potent, for something that could have basically become a 90 minute episode of Cops in the hands of lesser filmmakers. And all of the characters and situations in Hannah - if moved one chair to the right - could have made up the worst sitcom of the decade, like the American version of Coupling, only far, far worse. And yet the people are who they say they are, real and jerky and genuinely unattractive, and all the more compelling for that.

What the hell - I'll go on record as saying I liked both very much. Grey Gardens could actually be viewed as a motivational film, given how skeeved you might feel after viewing. Seriously, as soon as we finished watching it, Yesenia and I made plans to renovate our master bedroom and clean the house once the tenants are gone.

D.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Only Thing Keeping Me Awake

Right now? That would be wondering where to put the damn website blurb on this Audi ad I'm working on. I've got a fairly snazzy diagonal layout going on - a method of trying to accommodate the client's request to feature six cars prominently, but still keep it within the corporate guidelines. A practical solution, yes. But. That darn banner.

Anyhow, the Carol Lay interview is up here, courtesy Ansley's quick coding. Good lunch read, I says.

D.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Appreciation of Great Cartoonists

I've just now finished editing an interview I did with Carol Lay, for the Walrus Comix site. I'm pretty pleased with it, as I think I found a good balance between geeky cartooning questions ("How'd you do the lettering?") and general human interest ("What's it like bein' a girl?"). Lay herself did all of the heavy lifting - my questions on their own were dry and clunky, but her answers were warm and interesting. I'll let you all know when it's up - and unlike some previous efforts of mine, I do consider this one recommended reading.

D.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What's Up, Doc?



One of my personal developing themes of 2009 is the growing list of things that I don't know, but increasingly need to know, in order to just do my job properly or pursue my 'dream' of becoming a physics teacher. Obviously, I knew that going back to school was going to be all about learning stuff I didn't know - that was a given, and I was as emotionally prepared as I could be for it, and did well enough considering the constant stream of anxiety that testing puts me in.

But to have so much of my current job depend on knowing how to do all sorts of esoteric - to me! - web stuff. PHP, ASP, PL, etc. I know I often fall back on this as an excuse, but, goddammit, people, I have a BFA Illustration. How is it that I'm now somehow magically supposed to know how to deal with Unix/Linux Server Side issues? Is it not enough that I write all the radio and direct all the television and implement all the web design and all that other stuff?

Lordy, the stress. And as Karl and I were discussing earlier tonight - a lot of it is that I just don't want to know. Well, that's not exactly right in my case. I'd love to know, but I dread the activity of going through and somehow learning. Furthermore, I flat out resent that I can't just take my already pretty wide skill set and rest on my laurels and have a decent career. Is it not enough that I'm trying to learn Physics, Algebra, Trigonometry and fucking Calculus, but I also have to simultaneously figure out how to apply a search engine to a site and have a form deliver its contents to an email address and set up an e-commerce site?

Thing is, I actually really do enjoy web design. But like everything else in my life, when things get outside of my comfort zone, I seize up like a beaver in a petrified forest. The sites that I've done for my friends have been a lot of fun, even in the areas where I had to gain a lot of knowledge in order to achieve a desired effect. Things would certainly be easier if I could port that voracious need to learn over to my job.

Fuck it. I'd be happy if I could just remember how to do long division properly.

Anyway, I thought you all should know what's with the blockage on the Rambler recently, and that's it: making the mistake of not being born 5-7 years later, so my college education would have featured a good smattering of web design. I didn't even send an email until 1996, three years after I got my diploma.

Ach, poor timing. That's what all of life is - not just being in the right place at the right time, but knowing that you are at the time.

All right. This ends my whining. I'll bring back the entertainment later.

D.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Budget Python (Part 3)

Kronos, the Master of All Time and Space
Conclusion

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
Wide angle shot, up – the phone ‘throbbing’ in the foreground, KRONOS, MOE & EMMETT looking on from a distance. KRONOS, taking the initiative, picks up the receiver.

KRONOS
Talk to me.

KRONOS: A look of alarm crosses his features. He cups his hand over the mouthpiece, gesturing at the phone with his eyes. What’s he implying? MOE and EMMETT don’t get. KRONOS continues, gesturing with increasing assertiveness. They still don’t get it. KRONOS gives up.

KRONOS (cont.)
(a harsh whisper) It’s OVERLORD, KRONOS’S ARCH NEMISIS!

MOE
Well, put him on speaker.

KRONOS presses the speaker button and hangs up the handset.

OVERLORD
Kronos!

KRONOS
See? It's him! We're too late!

OVERLORD
(As OVERLORD speaks, he draws out his “I’s” and “You’s” to emphasize he can say them (much like Ben Stein))
Yes, it's me, Overlord, and it was always too late for you, Kronos! God, I hate that name! The time has come for our battle to be joined, my ancient foe. And, since I am the challenger, by right of the eternal laws, you shall have the say of the location of battle.

KRONOS pulls up a chart of possible locations for Armageddon. They include: The Nexus of Sominus, Venus, Lesbos, Kronopolis, The Denny’s off Rte. 17 in Montclair.

KRONOS
Yes, you, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!, are right.

OVERLORD
Don't say that!

KRONOS
Well it's not my mind warp that did it, if you, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! will recall.

OVERLORD
Cut it out, Kronos! Just name the place! Shall it be the Rocks of Eternity?

KRONOS
Well, that's as good a place as any.

MOE
No, wait! Make it your office!

KRONOS
Pardon?

MOE
I, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! said, make the site this office!

OVERLORD
What is this? Kronos, you know as well as I that you will not have a hand up on your home ground. We are equals.

KRONOS puts OVERLORD on ‘hold’.

KRONOS
He's right. No matter where the fight, it is as equals. And I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE, would rather not mess up my office.

MOE
Just trust me on this.

OVERLORD is taken off ‘hold’.

KRONOS (cont.)
Fine. My office.

OVERLORD
Your office, then. I'm coming through.

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
Wide-shot:
VFX: The trio on one side as OVERLORD does a negative “beam-in” on the other side. He’s dressed like the villain in a Republic Serial. He is brandishing a wand. He turns to face KRONOS. MOE and EMMETT clear out to the side.

OVERLORD
It's time. Prepare to die.

KRONOS
Ditto.

OVERLORD
Oh, my. I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! am going to enjoy this.

There is a monumental pause as OVERLORD realizes what he has just said.

OVERLORD
No. No. Not that. It can't be possible. I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! couldn't have said ... SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! can't believe this! Damn, how stupid can I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! be! AAARRRGH!

MOE
(To KRONOS) See?

OVERLORD
You, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! You, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! did this to me!

KRONOS
Well, no need to get so uptight. You, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! made this mind-warp, surely you, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! can cure it.

OVERLORD
Would you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! stop saying that! You, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! know that I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! made the damn thing so that you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! couldn't stop it, so of course it's too powerful for me to cure! Stop laughing, dammit!

ALL OTHERS
Sorry.

OVERLORD
I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! swear, damn!, you haven't won this, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!, may, Damn!!, may have been tricked by you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! and your analogue but I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! am not, DAMN!!, not down for the count. So get ready, for the battle is still joined, and I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! will, DAMN!!!, will prove to be the ultimate victor! This wand is made of pure destructive energy, built for just one purpose; to destroy a cosmic being. I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! built, DAMN!, built it just for you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, and I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! have, DAMMIT! I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! have ... I, OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!… oh, screw it.

VFX: OVERLORD turns the wand on himself. There is a bright flash, and a lame popping noise. When the smoke clears, all that remains of OVERLORD is a charred cape, which lies smoking on the ground. The others stare in disbelief.

KRONOS
Well. (beat) Chinese, anyone?

MOE
No thanks. I’m meeting my fiancĂ©e… Hey! Listen! I. I, I, I! We're cured!

KRONOS
Ah, excellent. Well, Moe, thanks a lot. I not only owe you my domain, but my life as well. You just saved the universe.

MOE
You’re welcome.

KRONOS
Hey, when you die for real, look me up. I may have a job for you.


MOE
I'll do that

MOE exits.

EMMETT
Well, I should be having gone, too.

KRONOS
You knew how it worked out, didn't you?

EMMETT
Yup. You never will had a thing to worry about.

KRONOS
Well, try not to keep me in suspense like that.

EMMETT
Sure. Saw you tomorrow.

KRONOS
Yesterday, you mean.

EMMETT
Whatever.

KRONOS waves the small electronic device at EMMETT again. Another small electronic device type noise is heard, and EMMETT walks backwards out the door, waving hello.

KRONOS
Agnes?

AGNES (v.o.)
Yes, sir?

KRONOS
Kindly see that Mr. Green has a safe flight home.

AGNES (v.o.)
Yes, sir.

KRONOS
Also, hold my calls for the rest of the day. I'd like a little rest for a change.

AGNES (v.o.)
Yes, sir.

KRONOS begins pantomiming casting with rod and reel.

KRONOS
Oh, and one more thing. Agnes, Kronos's trusted secretary who is secretly stealing money from the company?

AGNES (v.o.)
Yes, sir?

KRONOS
You're fired.

End

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Budget Python (Part 2)

Kronos, the Master of All Time and Space
See yesterday for part 1

The door opens, and a man walks in, backwards. MOE looks at him, with shocked recognition. KRONOS again catches this, and explains.

KRONOS
Right. THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT!

MOE
It’s… it’s… that guy!

EMMETT
.retal, laer neeb s’ti, lleW ("Well, it's been real, later.")

MOE
What did he say?

KRONOS
He said "Well, it's been real, later."

MOE
But he just got here!

KRONOS
Not to him, he didn't.

EMMETT
.ti htiw no teG (“Get on with it.”)

KRONOS
Right, we'll get you, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT!, straightened out in a second.


CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
CU: KRONOS pulls a small electronic device out of his pocket and waves it in the direction of Mr. EMMETT. There is a small electronic device type noise. (apologies, D.A.)

EMMETT
Ah, much better.

MOE
Wait a minute ... Have we met?

EMMETT
Everybody gets that with me. That's part of been being THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT!

MOE
Why do they call you THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT!, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT? What does that mean?

EMMETT
Actually, it's a job title. I'm THE INEVITABLE, it's a position I, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT! will eventually held with the company. My given name is WILLARD EMMETT, WHO IN HIS THIRD GRADE CLASS ACCIDENTALLY BURNED DOWN THE SCHOOL BY USING AN IMPROPER SETTING ON THE BUNSEN BURNER, CAUSING HIS FAMILY MUCH GRIEF, SHAME, AND EMBARRASSMENT AMONG FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!

MOE
! (exhales in awe.)

EMMETT
You, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! can see why the honorific.

MOE
So, what do y ... Uh, what does one do as THE INEVITABLE?

KRONOS
THE INEVITABLE, MR. EMMETT! is my primary advisor. See, he lives backwards in time.

MOE
Really.

KRONOS charts.

EMMETT
Not on purpose. I, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT! used to, or that is to say, will one day have worked in the processing department of this fair corporation, where a fellow worker accidentally will knocked me into a wormhole he were trying to repolarize. I, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT! have been this way ever since ... or will have had been, soon. Whatever.

KRONOS
I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, promoted him because, even though I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, can and DO (with pride) know all time and space, he has the day to day perspective on the effect and cause of events that I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, lacked. (beat) Plus, he was threatening to sue.

KRONOS presents new chart, showing a winged dollar sign.

EMMETT
Yes, there was that.

KRONOS
So, what do you, THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT! have to tell me today.

EMMETT
Not much. Oh, yes, just one tiny thing. The final confrontation between you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! and OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS! Will have happened in about three minutes from now.

KRONOS
WHAT!?! How could this be, that I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! would not know of it?

EMMETT
He clouded your time-sight, of course. (to Moe) He can do that.

KRONOS
Well, who wins?

EMMETT
Not gonna tell.

KRONOS
What?!

EMMETT
Suffer with everyone else for once, o, all seeing master of all time and space.

KRONOS
Listen, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY!, I, KRONOS THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, need your aid, and the time is very short.

KRONOS pulls up a chart. The MOECON, again, coupled with an icon of KRONOS (‘krocon’), with clear indicators of their interconnectedness.

KRONOS (cont.)
As my other-dimensional analogue on the planet Earth, the two of us are a part of the same thought of creation. I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! Have foreseen that you, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! will be instrumental in this final conflict.

MOE
No Way! (with dawning realization) I, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! can actually help?

An uncomfortable moment as MOE ponders.

MOE
Quickly, tell me about OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!

KRONOS presents a new chart. The KROCON, and an exact negative of it, labeled, “O.L.”. (The Overlord Icon, or ‘O-CON’).

KRONOS
He hates everything I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE, stand for: order and natural law. He desires pure entropy. He wants me and my hated name wiped out for all eternity. Gone, with nothing left to remind him that I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! ever existed.

MOE
Can he do it?

KRONOS
Yes. As my exact equals and opposites, he is just as powerful as I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! am.

MOE
But, he's called OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!

New chart: the KROCON is gone, and the O-CON is superimposed over the universe.

KRONOS
Yeah, that's one of the reasons that he hates me so much. If he defeats me, he'll have total control of Kronopolis, and beyond that, the physics which govern the entire universe. He'll destroy all my work. He'll probably even change the name to Overlord City, or something equally tacky.

MOE starts to ask a question, when suddenly, a loud, evil-sounding telephone rings, interrupting them. All three turn with a start to look at the phone on KRONOS’s desk.

Concludes tomorrow.



Kronos costume design from aborted film. Click to enlarge.

There is footage of Jim Doller (as Kronos) running around in a really snazzy version of the outfit, which came out better than we'd hoped. I'll see if I can get Karl to slice me off a little so I can post here.

Budget Python (Part 1)

Since this week is also turning out to be a little packed, I think we're going to fall back on some ballast content - in this case, a serialization of a 'comedic' 'play' that I wrote back in 1991, during my year off from RISD and year on at Rockland Community College. This was for a playwriting class - I can't remember the exact nature of the assignment, but this was my solution.

Note that this version of the script is the 'final,' and is actually rewritten as a shooting script, when it served as the cornerstone of a largely unfilmed project from me and Karl called (I think) The Unflappable Moe Green. There are a few additions other than shooting angles and the like, including a couple of suggestions from Karl, but 99% is what I wrote back in the early 90s, when I was killing time at the Rock.


Kronos, The Master of All Time and Space

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
CU – Framed photo of MOE, mid spit-take in front of his TV. Zoom out to reveal: The office of KRONOS, MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE. The camera slowly pans across the wall, revealing a few other shots and posters, then pans down to reveal KRONOS himself sitting at his desk, looking through a computer file. KRONOS looks a bit like a character from an amateur theater production of ‘Flash Gordon’, with an emphasis on nostalgia for the original 1930’s comic strips. Tunic, satin cape, sequined metallic shirt, leather boots. He is wearing several watches, on both wrists.

KRONOS presses a button on his intercom.

KRONOS
Coffee, please.

VFX: A hot steaming mug of coffee appears on KRONOS’ desk.

KRONOS picks up the mug and starts to drink. A beat, then he withdraws a pocket watch and consults it. A chime sounds.

KRONOS
Yes?

AGNES (v.o.)
A gentleman is here, sir.

KRONOS
Ah, that would be MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! Good, good. Send him in.

AGNES (v.o.)
KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! will see you, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY!, now.

KRONOS gets up from his desk and walks over to the window. Parting the venetian blinds, he peers outside.

CUT TO:
EXT. – NIGHT - KRONOPOLIS
VFX: The majestic yet rundown city of Kronopolis. A future metropolis out of the dreams of the mid-20th century.

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
KRONOS opens the door, revealing a very confused looking MOE.

MOE
Who…? What is this place?

KRONOS walks to his desk and sits casually on the edge. MOE, unsure, remains standing at the office door.

KRONOS
I am ... KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, and this is my office. Have a seat. (gestures)

MOE
(A little disappointed) So, this is death.

MOE walks over to the chair, but doesn’t sit.

KRONOS
No, you MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY!, are not dead.

KRONOS types on his computer keyboard as he is talking. He turns the monitor towards MOE. There is a chart, something cosmic, with a little cartoon icon of MOE (‘moecon’).

KRONOS (cont.)
Your essence is suspended inside the second of 7:33:45 P.M., Eastern Standard Time. Your body is currently at home, frozen in time and space while watching Jeopardy. Your mouth is frozen in the middle of saying "Who was Zachary Taylor". Your mind, however, in my office in the 7:33:45 P.M. zone.

MOE studies the chart as KRONOS speaks. Not quite taking his eyes off of it, he sits down.

MOE
Really?

KRONOS
Really.

MOE
No Joke?

KRONOS
No joke. (Stands slowly and majestically and gestures at himself.) For I am KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! Coffee?

MOE
No, thanks. Uh… what’s this about?

VFX: The lighting grows slightly dimmer. KRONOS is silhouetted against the lighted wall behind him. Both KRONOS and MOE are illuminated by subtle underlighting.



KRONOS
Well, to tell the truth, I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE, would like to ask a favor.

MOE
A favor? From me?

KRONOS
Yes, from you, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY!

MOE
Please stop that.

KRONOS
Stop what?

MOE
The thing with my name, like a game show. It's very embarrassing.

KRONOS
Sorry, but I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! can't help it.

MOE
Why not?

Again, KRONOS presents a chart on the computer, to accompany his explanation.

KRONOS
A foul mind-warp has been placed upon my domain by the fiend whom I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! am someday fated to destroy or be destroyed by in a death-duel the likes of which this universe has never seen. It has been prophesied that our battle shall shake the universe to its very foundations!

MOE
Uh?

KRONOS
Some people think there’s going to be a big fight.

MOE
Oh. Well, who is this guy?

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
Very dramatic “Dr. Strangelove” shot, looking up at KRONOS from the floor at a very steep angle.


KRONOS
(more drama than usual) OVERLORD, KRONOS'S ARCH-NEMESIS!

KRONOS pauses for effect. MOE clearly has no idea just what that effect is supposed to be. Beat.

MOE
Um. What’s a mind-warp?

KRONOS, again with the chart.

KRONOS
Simply put, any attempt at self-reference using a proper name or the definite pronoun "I" causes one to refer to oneself in the third person. Consequently, the same holds true of the pronoun "you". (Leans forward, with a sudden tone of dead seriousness) And one must never… NEVER… use… the third person pronoun “THEY”.

KRONOS pushes a button on his desk, and calls MOE’s attention to a T.V. monitor opposite.

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE – T.V.
C.U. of television. A picture comes up, a head-and-shoulders shot of an extremely tired looking man. There is text superimposed: Patient 32-A/02d:11h:17m. PATIENT 32-A is talking, with force, but not conviction.

PATIENT 32-A
GEORGE BENSKY, THE MAN WITH THE PLAID PANTS! (Pause) CHARLENE BENVENUTTO, KEPPER OF THE THREE CATS! (Pause) REED BERARDI, THE PERM LOOKS AWFUL! (Pause) Excuse me.

PATIENT 32-A reaches out of shot for a glass of water, which he drinks from, and puts back. He continues, as before.

PATIENT 32-A (cont.)
MARGARET BERESFORD, WHOSE KEYS ARE IN THE DOOR! (Pause)

As he talks, someone comes in and starts to pad the sweat off his brow. The screen turns off.

CUT TO:
INT. – NIGHT – KRONOS’S OFFICE
No longer the ‘Dr. Strangelove’ shot.

MOE
Now, that's silly. Stop putting me on.


KRONOS
I, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE!, dammit, am not kidding. Try it.

MOE
Yeah, right. I ... MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! (beat) What the HELL!?!

KRONOS
SEE?!

MOE
Well, I, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY!, mean, I, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! Shit, well, you, KRONOS, THE MASTER OF ALL TIME AND SPACE! can't ... AHHHHH!

KRONOS
Frustrating, isn't it.

MOE
I, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! can't stop it! I...

MOE stands, shakily, and clamps his lips together.


MOE (cont.)
MRR HRRRUN, MM MMAA HHUM UHHN HUMMM MMAANN MM HUMMMHEEE.

KRONOS
Might as well get used to it. There's nothing that can be done. It's permanent, too. Can't be gotten rid of.

MOE
Permanent?!? For the rest of my life, permanent?!? (KRONOS nods.) Thanks a lot.

KRONOS
Sorry.

KRONOS looks at his pocket watch. There is a chime.

KRONOS
Would you, MOE GREEN, A MAN WHO OWNS SOME LAND IN JERSEY! mind hanging around for a little while? My next appointment is here.

MOE
(Fuming) Sure.

MOE sits on a sofa, off to one side of the office.
AGNES (v.o.)
Sir? THE INEVITABLE MR. EMMETT! is here.

KRONOS
Send him in AGNES, KRONOS'S TRUSTED SECRETARY WHO IS SECRETLY STEALING MONEY FROM THE COMPANY!, please.

MOE looks surprised. KRONOS notes MOE’s reaction.

KRONOS
Impossible to keep a secret nowadays. Part of that bastard's plan. It upsets my kid most of all, though.

KRONOS presents another chart. This time we don’t see the chart, just MOE’s horrified reaction.

KRONOS (cont.)
He's tired of being called BILLY, KRONOS'S SON WHO IS A CHRONIC MASTURBATOR!

Continued tomorrow.