Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Walk to the End of the World

On Sunday, I joined my friends Leslie Vermeer and Nicole Brenda for the annual MS Walk. I raised $120; not as good as last year, but hopefully enough to help. This year’s t-shirt is fire-engine red with a big yellow diamond in the middle, populated by shadow people. Nifty.

Midway through the walk, Leslie went running through some unsuspecting homeowner’s lawn sprinkler to cool off. She attempted to do so a second time at a different address, but she was foiled by beer-swilling sentries.

If her courage hadn’t failed her, I wonder what could have happened…

EXT. A city street in Edmonton, Alberta. A warm, sunny morning. NICOLE, EARL, and LESLIE, each dressed in an MS shirt, are walking purposefully down the street. LESLIE breaks away and dances through the spray of a lawn sprinkler, much to the shock and horror of two BEER-SWILLING SENTRIES.

LESLIE: Tra la la, whee!

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #1: Tarnation! That gal is plumb jumpin’ all over our fresh green lawn!

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #2: I reckon we gots to teach her a lesson!

LESLIE: Oh oh!


EARL: D’oh!

LESLIE, NICOLE, and EARL run for their lives. The BEER-SWILLING SENTRIES give chase.

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #2: Y’all walked on m’grass! Come back for yer whuppin’!

LESLIE: No way!

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #1 trips and falls, barking his shins against the curb.

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #1: MY SHINS! Oh no, I barked ‘em good! MY SHINS! Jumpin’ banjos, MY SHINS!

EARL: Good Lord! (choke)

NICOLE: That’ll teach you for wearing sandals when you’re giving chase to sprinkler-hopping fugitives!
BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #2 stops to aid his fallen companion. He shakes his fist at the retreating trio.

BEER-SWILLING SENTRY #2: You haven’t heard the last of this!

EARL: Nice of you to invite us to your little SHIN-dig! Ha ha! Losers!

FADE OUT as the triumphant walkers continue their quest.

Well, it could have happened.

Monday, May 12, 2003

A Venomous Comeback

Yesterday was Stephen Fitzpatrick’s birthday, and the night before, a few of his faithful friends gathered at Steve’s to celebrate.

I was, as usual, the first to arrive. Stephen and his wife Audrey have two daughters; the eldest, Fenya, is four. It was she who greeted me at the door when I arrived.

“This is a cobra,” she said, wielding a purple plastic snake. “It’s really mean, and poisonous.”

I played along as Fenya showed me the signature hood and the deadly fangs.

“Well,” I said, somewhat condescendingly, “You’d better be careful – you don’t want to get bitten.”

She gave me a look full of exasperation and rolled her eyes. “It’s only a toy,” she said.

Now I know why W.C. Fields didn’t work with kids. They always get the best lines.


It was a pretty busy weekend all around. Friday night Sylvia and I went to Ikea; she bought me a picture frame and a lamp. The picture frame is for the bathroom; she wants me to hang something that will go with my film noir shower curtain. I thought maybe I’d create a single enigmatic question mark to place within the frame, to hang above my toilet. Or perhaps the word “OBEY.”

Sunday was Mother’s Day, of course, and Staff Photo Day at Hole’s. Routine is comforting; Mom and Dad came out for brunch, I gave Mom one of Hole’s signature hanging baskets, and then I came home to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Wouldn’t life be so much better if we coexisted with cartoons? Maybe then, we’d realize how absurd the whole affair is.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Curse of the Bloody Skeleton

I'm a big fan of horror movies, including an important sub-genre: the cheap 80s slasher film, in which teenagers are punished for having sex, doing drugs or simply spitting on the sidewalk. Here's the beginning of a screenplay that I hope satirizes these tropes with sufficient whimsy.

1. INT. the funhouse of a haunted amusement park. Precocious teens RICK and ELAINE are hunting for clues in the empty, run-down funhouse. ELAINE comes across a box, filled with what she thinks are circus peanuts.

ELAINE: Rick, look - this box is full of circus peanuts!

RICK: Could this be our first clue? If we can solve the mystery of the Spectre of the Sideshow, the other members of the Junior Detective Squad will finally take us seriously.

ELAINE picks a peanut out of the box and pops it into her mouth.

ELAINE: If I can determine the freshness of this circus peanut, we can deduce how long it's been since this funhouse has been occupied. Hmmm, chewy. And I think it's gone stale.

ELAINE, chewing, begins to look concerned.

RICK: No one just abandons a box of perfectly good circus peanuts.

ELAINE: This isn't a circus peanut - it's a styrofoam packing peanut! I'M CHOKING!

ELAINE'S hands fly to her throat, and her eyes bulge.

RICK: Good grief! Elaine!

RICK, panicking, punches ELAINE in the stomach, hoping to dislodge the peanut. ELAINE doubles over, clutching her stomach, face twisted in pain. She continues to choke.

RICK: Oh no, oh no! What do I do? What do I do?

ELAINE: Gak! Choke!

RICK wets his pants. ELAINE drops to her knees, her face turning purple.

2. EXT. the funhouse. A shadowy figure steps into the frame, cloaked in black robes. The being gazes up at the funhouse, listening to the cries within.

3. INT. the funhouse. RICK is pulling his hair, wide -eyed, as ELAINE's limbs twitch and spasm. At length, she goes still...dead, her tongue lolling. RICK, blubbering, turns and runs.

4. EXT. the funhouse. RICK exits at a run, arms windmilling. He spots the cloaked figure and screeches to a halt.

RICK: You've got to help me! My girlfriend - she's in there - choking on a styrofoam peanut!

The cloaked figure lifts a hand to pull back his hood. The horrible visage of the BLOODY SKELETON, a skull caked in wet, dripping blood, is revealed. RICK recoils in horror, but it's too late - the BLOODY SKELETON wraps bony fingers around RICK'S throat and throttles him to death.


Tuesday, May 06, 2003

At the Movies Again

Go see X2. Do it now, because it rocks. I love intelligent science fiction. I love stories with integrity. And I love perfect casting. Even non-geeks will love this film.

What a find at the video store - not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Mad Mission films - all in one spectacular DVD box set!!!!! :-O I didn't even know there were four Mad MIssion movies!

Mad Mission! Mad Mission! MAD MISSION!!!!!!!! It's mad, I tell you! MAD!!!!!

There aren't enough exclamation points in the universe to express my glee.

In other news, Sylvia and I cooked a steak tonight. This whole cooking deal isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Take that!

Work on the Chaos/Order database continues. I'm working on Minion #63, Smoking Gardener. This is turning into quite a job.