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    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Film School Journal

    A random entry from the journal I kept for the firt two years of Film School.

    Date: 01.24.98
    Time: 12:22 am (01.25.98)
    Location: Apartment

    Movies Watched: Fallen Angels *** 1/2 Dir Kar Wei Wong-As usual, Wong delivers one of the most visual stunning movies. The story is trademark Wong. Two stories, one about a hitman and his partner, the other the story of a mute ex-con trying to make it. The characters cross each others path only on the very periphery.
    TV Watched:
    Books Read:

    Breakfast: coffee,
    Lunch: grape nuts, coke, gold fish
    Dinner: shrimp chow mein, egg roll, fried rice, wonton soup

    Places Gone: Dodge, Film Forum, Hell, The Belmont

    Entry: Woke a little after 11:00 am and got ready. Went to school and started editing/ Had to re-digitize so I read DARK TOWER book two. Worked on it for a couple of hours until Tom showed up. Sarah and Sarah were with him. The said they were going to see FALLEN ANGELS at the Film Forum. While Tom shows his sister and her friend around I looked up the show times on the web. They decided to go to the 4:40 PM SHOW. I Thought about it for a few minutes and decided to go with them.

    Needless to say, this was the start of a long and fruitless day. The subway at 116 th was shut down so we had to catch the bus and ride it to 96 th. We caught the subway and headed downtown. It was already 4:00 pm when we boarded the subway. We got to the Film Forum a little after 4:20 pm and bought our tickets. We got one for Stuart even though we weren't sure if he would make it. The only seats left in the theater were on the front row. Stuart showed just before the movie began.

    After the movie we walked to a little Chinese/Cuban restaurant on eighth that Stuart knew of. After dinner we walked to the meat-packing district and went to a bar called HELL. We were basically the only people there since it was just before 8:00 pm. Tom made some phone calls to Manuel, Jessica Wing, and Todd. Jessica and Manuel both showed. We sat around drinking and talking as the bar around us filled to beyond capacity. Stuart actually knows the owner. Jessica left an hour after she got there to meet a friend to go dancing. She tried to convince Tom to come. Stuart also had to leave to meet a friend at THE ROXY. Tom, Sarah, Sarah, Manuel, and Stuart were all waiting outside for me as I waited next to the bar trying to get my credit card back.

    It took about ten minutes, but I finally joined them outside. Tom wanted us to go with Manuel to The Belmont. Stuart had worn a sued jacket so he and I switched and I let him wear my yellow all weather. Stuart started walking to THE ROXY and the rest of us crammed into a cab. Normally cabs aren't allowed to take five people at a time, but we had just extricated his cab from a pothole so he returned the favor.

    It was raining and snowing as we stood on the sidewalk waiting to get into the club. We were getting wet so Tom, myself, Sarah, and Sarah decided to leave. We were about twenty feet down the sidewalk when Manuel called after us. We returned and got into the club. I had run completely out of cash. Tom bought me a beer with Sarah's money and we stood around drinking in this “hip” crowded space. At one point we saw Keanu Reeves with his head shaved walking about like any lone male in a bar would.

    We left the bar about forty minutes later and caught cabs uptown to the film school party. It was a little after midnight when we arrived. I ended up staying until a little after three when the guy whose apartment we were using closed the party down. I was drunk to say the least and walked home weaving like a drunk. Got home and got ready for bed as best I could. There was a message on my machine. Stuart had left the keys to his apartment in the jacket he had allowed Sarah to borrow. I passed out on the bed and slept.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Breaking Eureka

    This is probably only of interest to me, but John Rogers, one of the driving forces behind the Global Frequency pilot lays it out on his blog. He was hired in as a freelance writer on Eureka before they even shot the first episode beyond the pilot. It's pretty standard if you want to know how a drama show is broken, more specifically a Sci-Fi one, especially if a freelance writer is involved.

    PART 1
    PART 2
    PART 3

    He Tells Me

    Lying down there, stiff and cold,
    He tells me stories new and old.
    He tells me things he shouldn’t know,
    He tells me as his muscles show.
    He tells me through his rotting face,
    He tells me of a special place.
    He tells me how to get in there,
    He tells me why and how and where.
    He tells me of the things I’ll find.
    He tells me how to kill and bind,
    The things that ate his hopes and dreams.
    The things from which all darkness streams.
    The things that live down in the earth.
    The things that writhe and still give birth.
    The things that smell of retched death.
    The things that give off rotted breath.
    The things that used to be like me,
    The things that I will soon set free.

    [© 2006 Greg Bunch]

    The Hole

    The hole is dark, the hole is deep,
    The hole is where the Angels sleep,
    The Angels from a distant place,
    The Angels from the darkest space,
    The Angels who will lead us to,
    The places that we never knew,
    The places where the Evil lies,
    The Evil with a thousand eyes.
    The Evil that will bring us to,
    The truth that we are evil too.

    [© 2006 Greg Bunch]

    Within This House

    Within this house, upon this hill,
    Within its rooms where walls are still,
    Within the walls the things are breeding,
    Within themselves the cells are seeding,
    Sowing something new and dark,
    Sowing something bleak and stark,
    Sowing something full of bile,
    Sowing something black and vile.
    Something that will soon appear,
    Something that will feed on fear,
    Something that will spread like lies
    Something that will bring the flies,
    The flies will lay their eggs on you,
    Your body rigid, fearful, blue.

    [© 2006 Greg Bunch]

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Below Something Rages

    Beneath the stars, beneath the sky,
    Below the buildings watchful eye,
    Beneath the lamps, beneath the streets,
    Below the ground, where something sleeps.
    Beneath the tunnels, beneath the trains,
    Below the sewage pipes and drains,
    Beneath the water, beneath the rocks,
    Below a thousand ages, Knocks
    Something trapped within a cage.
    Imprisoned here before this age.
    Something made of timeless stuff.
    Something breathing deep and rough.
    Something full of ageless rage.
    Breaks again, against its cage,
    Breaks against the smooth hewn walls,
    Against the runes and magic scrawls,
    Against the spells and bloody curses
    Against these very stone etched verses.
    Against the walls that sprung from fear,
    Against the wall, where cracks appear.

    [© 2006 Greg Bunch]

    Falls Past

    In looking toward the coming fall, for which I will have no delight here in LA, I proffer a moment from 2001, or there abouts, written while house sitting for my parents. It is from before the planes, so it must have been from the month of August.


    I like to read on the deck. The wind blows lightly across your face as the sun warms you. The light reflecting off the pages of the book is just right when viewed through a nice pair of sunglasses. So, since I’ve arrived here in Tennessee, that is exactly what I’ve done. I even positioned one of the nice cushioned outdoor chairs into just the right spot. In doing so, however, I made one crucial mistake. For above my chair protruding over the roof of the house was a very large limb of a very large Oak tree. Now as most people know, Oak trees have acorns. Who loves acorns? Squirrels of course. What is the rate of acceleration of an object in free fall? 9.8 ms2. Or at least that’s what I remember it to be. I got a “D” in Physics in High School. It is one thing to be Isaac Newton and have an apple fall on your head, which inspires your deduction of gravity, and it is quite another to be trying to read while you are rained upon by half eaten acorns dropped by voracious carefree squirrels.

    You would think that with winter coming they would deftly cleave from each seed all the nutrients it can provide. But alas no, they simply tear it open take a few bites and launch it downward. Sometimes their simple scurrying alone can unleash a deluge of carpeting assault. I stand, or sit actually, my ground as all around me echo the TINKS, CLINKS, CLANKS, and THUMPS of acorns as the ricochet off the wood decking or the glass topped table to my side. I hold firmly to my book, endeavoring to connect each word in its appropriate order and make meaning of its underlying truth, while listening in an effort to avoid being thunked in the head. The one good thing that has come from this is that I now have a keen ear for acorn acceleration. If they hit the roof first, I can predict whether I need to duck or not by the sound they make ramping down the overhang. Even with this newfound skill, if this keeps up I’ll have to unleash my secret weapon.

    As I have mentioned in previous musings, my cat Pascal enjoys being outside. He also, like most cats, enjoys killing small rodents. While I am against killing for pleasure, I do appreciate the way the squirrels react once I have unleashed my furry response to their incessant onslaught. To accurately capture the sound that squirrels make when alarmed by the approach of a predator, one would have to use the word “bark”. This is uttered by the lookout, whose job it is to, well, lookout; this is usually accomplished by turning upside down on the tree, so as to keep an eye on the enemy, and unleashing a series of staccato barks. Once this is accomplished all other squirrels in the vicinity head for the nearest tree. Once everyone is accounted for they all follow suit and begin barking. I have to wonder if this does not give a small rush of power to my cat. I know it would to me if I was to walk down the street and have everyone around me run to their roofs and begin barking down at me “Go away, we are afraid of you.” I have to assume my cat feels similarly. The cat firmly positioned on the deck in repose, still within any given squirrel’s sight line, I can return to my book. After a few pages the incessant barking of five or six squirrels becomes merely background white noise which is easily tuned out.

    Now some of you might say that I simply could have moved my chair and avoided all this in the first place. To you I say “Are you not willing to fight for what is rightly yours? Are you not willing to prevail in the face of free falling partially eaten acorns?” It is my belief that you are and would indeed do so. Illiteracy in this country shall not be governed by greedy cheek stuffing rats, who wish only to take as much as they can to survive the winters of their lives. I shall not be daunted by this rodent campaign to dumb down America. So, here I sit having weathered the most vicious attacks. There are still a few errant sniper situations on occasion, but the greater threat has now passed. The furry little buggers now scavenge the ground in an effort to finish what they have started, but here I sit, book in hand, occasionally dodging to the left or right as need be, engaged in the activity I find most gratifying, reading.



    I miss Tennessee, I miss the fall and most specifically the squirrels.

    [© 2001 Greg Bunch]

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Double the pleasure

    I am overwhelmed with joy. I just cooked my first pound of bacon in California. Puuuuuuuurrrrrrrr! -and - My mom sent me a care package full of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

    Acting Out

    Four acts, five acts, six acts a peso, all for more ads, stand up and say so.

    It’s getting more complicated every day for new writers to stay on top of the shifting act structure of American television, or at least American television of the four major networks. If you wrote a spec scrip for say CSI, you wrote it in a four act structure with a teaser on the front end as a hook. However, if you send that around it isn’t going to the people at CSI, it’s going to people at shows like Numb3rs or Criminal Minds, because no one reads specs of their own shows. They read specs of shows that are in a similar vein to see if the writer knows basic structure and can adhere to the characters of a given show. The problem with this is that Numb3rs or Criminal Minds are using a five act structure imposed to garner more commercial airtime. So, does this mean that they might be unsure your capable of adding another “:don’t turn the channel” act out to a script you’ve fine tuned to only have four? This very basic element changes the story. Where you might have had a nice scene of character building in say Act 2, you would have to split that up and change the whole story, adding another piece of “peril” that wasn’t there before to conform to the new act structure.

    Now, the new five act structure works somewhat OK in action driven series, and in some cases this still isn’t enough. Shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives now employ a 6 act structure, ABC has actually mandated all its Dramas now use this structure regardless of their “speed”, so that the more character driven shows get hacked up and are less effective by it. Luckily there are still a few hold out to this. According to a USA today article from last year,, “producers of CSI, Law & Order and ER refused to go along. Fox uses it only on Bones.” And it would seem David E. Kelley is also not convinced for very good reasons, which he expressed in the same article.

    "There's no opportunity to develop any kind of storytelling momentum," Kelley says, fearing that quiet scenes of dialogue will never hold up to increasingly loud — and frequent — commercial breaks. "High-octane shows, or puzzle shows, will be immune to it.

    "If a knife is plunged into someone's sternum, you pay attention," Kelley says. "But for shows that don't depend on violence or melodramatic scenes, it's tougher to compete in a six-act show than in four acts, or in 41 minutes instead of 45 minutes. You have to be a little more aggressive with them, musically or filmically, just to get people's attention back."

    Karen Woodward, in the Weekender edition of the Cynopsis newsletter, which is an e-mail newsletter and daily overview I get in my inbox, looked at this a while back.

    “In the past, shows have been structured into four acts, but now they’re being structured as five or even six. The constant breaks are frustrating, but it’s more than that - this new structure affects the whole art of storytelling. “Moving to the five-act structure not only cuts the amount of time we have to tell the story, but changes the way we have to tell it,” says one writer on a popular drama. “More things have to happen in each act.”

    “In a four-act structure, the 2nd act break (at the half-hour mark) has to have the strongest hook: “That’s when they arrest someone,” says the writer. “But if you move to five acts, the 2nd and 3rd act-outs would have to both be really strong, which complicates the story.” Essentially, the 2nd act break would provide the twist, and then the 3rd act break has to put a twist on that twist. “[For example], at the end of the 2nd act, the person being arrested would end up to be a transvestite, and then at the end of the 3rd act they’d have to die… and you have to do all that in less time then you had before.”

    I felt like I was missing the boat on this since I don’t have a TV and oddly didn’t notice it on shows that I watch like Lost, probably because I’m still a fan and don’t structurally critique a show unless I’m doing it specifically. The other day I was reading Jane Espenson’s blog, which I do daily or by post, and she mentioned having run into the five act structure with Tru Calling and The Inside and now again on the script she’s currently writing. I’m assuming it’s the Battlestar Galactica script she’s working on. However, even for a prolific TV writer such as herself, she made no mention of the new six act structure, so even she’s been awakened to it I dare say at this point.

    I’m feeling a bit torn about all of this. The new spec pilot I’m working on adheres to the old 4 act structure plus teaser, like all of me spec pilots do. Now I’m thinking I may need to go back on the rewrite and cut it up into five, which seems to be what Sci-Fi Channel is looking for these days and this is something primarily designed to pitch to the likes of them. Now, maybe I’m already using the five act structure, if you count the teaser, but I really don’t know. Maybe I’ve written everything in a five act structure and was just ahead of the curve somehow. I have to get a hold of one these scripts to find out. I don’t think I am. The old four act structure use to have a teaser, four acts, and a tag, like Homicide.

    Bottom line is that network television is allowing advertisers to once again control the nature of the stories being told. The networks wonder why they can’t make solid dramas anymore and it’s because they’re competing with the likes of the HBO and Showtime which give viewers what they want, a one hour drama that plays like a movie where the action is inserted for reasons of story and moving it forward just when it needs to and not just when it needs to go to commercial.

    My brain hurts now. Must break life into smaller digestible bits so that it doesn’t stick in my craw. Espensen turned me onto this fact so I started looking things up. It would appear every one knew about this a year ago. So much for hiding in the cabin.

    [UPDATE: Jane Espenson just followed up her post of yesturday about 5 act structure with this bit today: "In other news, a follow-up on yesterday's five-act post. I've received two emails from working writers with completely contradictory information on the future of episodic tv structure. I am informed both that Bones has gone back to the four act structure after an attempt to work with five, and that new ABC drama pilots are being written with SIX acts (although with no teaser)! Well! So, I guess, the wise thing is probably to let your story dictate your choice! How many times does your story turn? That's how many act breaks it can have!"
    So, I think I'll just stick with what I know for now and try not to fret.]

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    Review: Dexter

    I’ve finally seen the pilot for the best new show this season. It’s DEXTER. That’s right, I finally turned everything off on my computer that was pulling bandwidth so I could watch it. Showtime has finally gotten off its ass and started giving HBO a run for its money. Don’t get me wrong, the also have WEEDS, one of the best shows right now on TV, but this would seem to mark the first time they’ve created a worthy drama as well. Michael C Hall, formerly the gay brother on SIX FEET UNDER over on HBO, is pitch perfect as a blood splatter expert/serial killer of killers. It’s dark and funny and almost mesmerizing in its delivery. No turning away, this show. It gets right to the meat and shows the bone. No funny CSI gimmicks, just real people in situations so disturbing that it makes me giddy with delight. What makes Dexter so compelling is that he has no emotions, unless you count awe, which is considered an emotion. He finds himself truly in awe of the main serial killer in the premiere episode, a creature so devilishly clever that when Dexter figures out how to find him, he’s already uncovered Dexter. He sends Dexter a message at the end of the episode and Dexter not only gets it, he wants to be a part of it. Dexter wants to play. This is the kind of stuff that makes TV worthwhile and also the kind of stuff that makes Congress tighten its collective butt cheeks and start spouting how these sorts of things lead children to do funny things with animals. We can only hope. What’s also nice is the flashbacks of Dexter as a young foster child talking to his adoptive father after his father’s found the neighbor’s dog in a grave. He asks Dexter why he did it and Dexter tells him it’s because the dog wouldn’t stop yapping all day and it was bothering his foster mother who is sick. The father, a cop, seems to understand even when he reveals to Dexter that the grave was full of more than just the one dog. A later flashback of Dexter as a high school age kid has the father confronting him again and, having found a nice roll-up of knives, and thinking they’d solved Dexter’s issue, Dexter is supposed to come to him when he has feeling like this. Then, the father makes the most wonderfully chilling and beautifully realistic statement. He loves his son so much that he wants to find a way to channel his “needs”. He says Dexter is still a good kid because he’s never killed a human. Then the father says they need to work on making sure Dexter hones his skills and follows certain rules, because the cops can’t always catch all the bad guys, not the really bad ones, and this may be the outlet Dexter is looking for.

    Obviously this show isn’t for everyone, most notable those who don’t like gore, killing, serial killers, brilliant character driven TV and it could possibly be harmful if your disillusioned, disaffected, or pregnant.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Review: Traveler

    [from the ABC site] “How well do you know your friends? Would you bet your life on it? It's not what we share with our friends, but what we keep hidden that defines what kind of people we are.

    After spending every minute of the last two years living, working, and partying together, Jay, Taylor and Will are departing on a summer journey. But being together ends today…simple prank to rollerblade through one of New York City's most famous museums has made Jay and Taylor prime suspects in the terrorist bombing that destroyed it seconds later. The guys hope Will can help clear up this misunderstanding, but he's been missing since the explosion and they think he might be dead. Jay wants to talk to the police about finding Will, but quickly realizes they can't even prove Will exists – in every photo for the last two years, Will managed to block his face. He was their only alibi.

    The F.B.I. confirms a man matching Will's description died in the explosion, but also learns the explosion was triggered by a call from Jay's cell phone. It's a highly suspicious coincidence that may prove Will, the glue in their friendship, may have meticulously planned this betrayal for over two years. Perfectly framed and on the run, the friends must rely on each other to get away from the F.B.I., and try to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that has destroyed their future. But what can they do when they're merely pawns in a game of global intrigue?”

    So here’s the thing about TRAVELER, it’s completely lacking in anything that is worthy of logical belief. However, that’s what makes it kind of nice. You no longer spend time wondering if the technology portrayed exists, or whether it’s really all that wise for an FBI agent to chase a perp while wearing heals, you just watch and enjoy the fact that no one has time to sit down on this show. Well, some people sit down but not for long. This isn’t a groundbreaking genre cracking show, there’s nothing really new here, ABC even describes it as a combination of “The Fugitive with Enemy of the State in a taut, tense thriller of innocents on the run.”

    What I do really like about this Uber Conspiracy filled “Flight Show” is that it moves so quickly that you don’t have time to question whether or not it works properly, nor do you care really. It also uses the old LOST paradigm of obfuscation, which makes sure that what ever you think is going to happen is not what is going to happen. I also like that in this world of sleeper cells and constant betrayals, that this show looks at how a friendship dynamic can be completely destroyed and questioned after a betrayal of one of its members. All in all, in this world it's probably better you don't let anyone get too close. Don’t get me wrong; this is a show in the vein of ALIAS. This isn’t THE WIRE, but is a distant cousin to 24, this is blockbuster entertainment done with at least an interesting set-up. I still think the lead FBI agent should wear more comfortable shoes, and the main leads were less obvious as a Law graduate and Venture Capitalist, see they'll always have money, which makes running a bit easier in the end.

    Whether or not the viewing public is ready for yet another show that you have to see from the beginning to understand what’s going on or not is yet to be seen. If I can get a hold of them I’ll watch a few more episodes to see how it’s going, but this isn’t something I just have to see, but it is by no means un-watchable like the pilot to VANISHED was, because this series knows it isn’t a procedural with bad procedure. This show is a “Flight Show” and all you have to do is sit back and watch the poor bastards run. This alone makes it perfectly enjoyable on those nights where you don't want to think too much, but do want to be entertained.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006


    Showtime has the complete pilot episode up for viewing for free on their site.

    [NOTE: Password is "sneak peek"]

    Based on the books by Jeff Lindsay.


    He's a charming monster . . .
    A macabre hero . . .
    A serial killer who only kills bad people

    Dexter Morgan has been under considerable pressure. It's just not easy being an ethical serial killer—especially while trying to avoid the unshakable suspicions of the dangerous Sergeant Doakes (who believes Dexter is a homicidal maniac . . . which, of course, he is). In an attempt to throw Doakes off his trail, Dexter has had to slip deep into his foolproof disguise. While not working as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, he now spends nearly all his time with his cheerful girlfriend, Rita, and her two children, sipping light beer and slowly becoming the world's first serial couch potato. But how long can Dexter play Kick the Can instead of Slice the Slasher? How long before his Dark Passenger forces him to drop the charade and let his inner monster run free?

    [NOTE: Oh well, my connection can't stram it fast enough. Hopefully someone out there can enjoy it for me.]

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Small Update

    Here is a small update of what I’ve been doing since last I posted. Wednesday and Thursday were spent whittling VALENTINE down to a more lean workable package. I also finished the third act of CA on Thursday. Friday was spent trying to re-imagine FABULON using the mythology but changing everything else. Since a certain HBO show, it isn’t very salable anymore. So I came up with something called THE LONG HAUL and sent it to the person I working with on this stuff. He thought the protagonist should be younger to give it a better chance of generating interest. So Saturday I reworked the whole thing again into something tentatively titled SECRET HISTORY. The protagonist is now young, and a girl (which is always better) and I pulled the main character of TLH in as a supporting character. Wrote pretty much all day on that which generated an overview and a rough beat out (3000 words or so) of the first episode. Today, I’m working on excel spreadsheets and filling out forms to keep the student loan company from being nasty again. After I’m done with that I’ve got to map out tomorrow’s work-for-money trip. I’ll also be working Tuesday and going to San Diego on Wednesday to train someone on the same stuff I’ll be doing on Monday and Tuesday. Well, that’s about it really. I’d hoped to be done with first hour of CA before now, but with the computer crash and the subsequent other stuff, it was not to be. I’ll look at it again on Thursday when everything quiets down again.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    wee bit-o-excitement

    I had a meeting yesterday with a really nice guy one of my friends put me in contact with. Actually it’s was the second meeting, but the first time was more of us meeting rather than us having a meeting. He’s a director and producer of various things over the years. Anyhow, he read my stuff and I went to his office to talk about it. He gave some great feedback, so I spent the rest of yesterday, well until about 6:20, slashing and burning the first part of VALENTINE to get rid of the extraneous bits and remove all the “passive” tense stuff that I’m too keen on putting in. It reduced the first half by 5 pages, so I assume it’ll do about the same to the second half. It was really quite fun once I got rolling on it. Anyway, he’s going to take it to some people he’s meeting with next week. We’re also going to try and pull the spine out of FABULON and shove it into a new body. The overall setting has already been done by those bastards at HBO so it’s little more than a writing sample these days. We tossed it about yesterday and I think I may have tapped an idea that’s already beginning to run across my brain like a bacterial infection. I’ve tentatively titled it THE LONG HAUL, but that’s all I’ll say. I’m going to attempt to write up a quickie on it and finish the first hour of CA by Sunday. I have to work Mon-Wed next week, which is when he’s meeting with these people, so I need to get it all done before then. Even if it doesn’t work out, it was nice to have someone even take the time to read my stuff. It’s at least given me a short burst of focus and a wee bit ‘o excitement, which I’ve been sorely needing here, so for that alone it’s worth it.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Review: Vanished

    Didn't like this show at all. The cast lacks any chemistry. The very plot points in the pilot that set-up what will be an overall 24 type of story are just not good enough. I had a few specific problems with the pilot and here they are. Waist your time at your own risk.

    Head agent says he needs 20 instead of 4 glue pellets so he can pull latent prints off of a chair, which he does in the dining room because someone has provided a portable plastic “bubble” they can surround the chair in. I’m pretty sure you still need a machine to do this, not just super futuristic “tablets” that you can crack in a cellophane tent. Also, there is a liability with him performing it over the CSI unit.

    The primary FBI agent is assigned to find the Senator’s missing wife. His last assignment, even though we later found out he protested the inclusion of a sniper in, led to the death of a young boy. OK.

    The Senator’s daughter finds that her boyfriend has hidden bloody clothing and a bag full of money, next to and inside the washing machine, clever, and her reaction by the end of the episode is to take it and not report it. The mystery mounts? Come On.

    The Senator’s son by a previous marriage cares for his step mother so much that after we find out the step mother and mother met in public, the mother was supposed to be in Europe instead, he IMs her. Like she’d know ho to IM.

    The lead FBI agent is not only catty, but snarky with his superior. Yeah right.

    The Senator is snarky with the President. Yeah right.

    The primary detective, seems to be the only one who knows that the missing woman’s BMW, or whatever she drove had a GPS tracking device. Of course the rest of the FBI task force missed this bit.

    There is too much added science and futuristic tracking capabilities, even for the kidnapping of a Senator’s wife.

    At the end they find the recently thawed wife of another politician, who went missing ten years before, but the perpetrator’s note in the form of a “Saint” card is directed at the current investigator. I guess the perp was saving up peoplecicles until he had a reason to use them.

    When they finally find the car belonging to the “perp” who must of kidnapped the Senator’s wife, it’s driven by a guy who said he found it in front of his apartment with the keys in it running, so he took it, and they believe him. This is of course after they find the man they are looking for in the trunk of same said car having received a bullet between the eyes. Of course the bullet turns out to be too “heavy” in grams to be a standard 38. Bom Bum Ba.

    The primary FBI investigator also knows the weight difference in grams of a 38 caliber round leading to a “rare” gun that there is only one registered in the whole state. We have to wait until the next episode to see how this evidence works out.

    RIP: Grace O'Malley's

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    One small step

    One small step on Mankind, One giant leap backward for Humanity.

    Review: Jericho


    “JERICHO is a drama about what happens when a nuclear mushroom cloud suddenly appears on the horizon, plunging the residents of a small, peaceful Kansas town into chaos, leaving them completely isolated and wondering if they're the only Americans left alive. Fear of the unknown propels Jericho into social, psychological and physical mayhem when all communication and power is shut down. The town starts to come apart at the seams as terror, anger and confusion bring out the very worst in some residents.”

    I love Post-Apocalyptic stories, I always have. I probably comes from the dirge of them while I was growing up. Everything from the fantastic like MAD MAX, to the attempted realism of THE DAY AFTER to the TV variety of DAMNATION ALLEY has stuck in my brain and formed a sort of personal survival guide that’s sprung directly from the fear tainted zeitgeist of the times. I grew up during the cold war, so I spent a lot of time thinking about what would happen if everyone got really stupid and pushed a button. As far as TV shows are concerned, there’s been little to show for it as a genre. Of course there are really only three types of post-apocalyptic stories. There is the Nuclear fallout one, ala we are responsible (mostly handled in movies and books rather than TV series), and the one based on some sort of biological pandemic, where once again we are responsible (SURVIVORS, TRIPODS, JEREMIAH), and finally the “It-came-from-outer space” one where either aliens or asteroids, or possibly both if you really want to hit the summer blockbuster by force some day, which also has few television examples with maybe V coming closest even though that was more military state than post apocalypse. In each of these scenarios, either a great deal of the population is wiped out, or just the adults and “society has to rebuild itself. There’s been shows like the Saturday morning show ARK 2, but most of the stuff was from ITV or the BBC, until now. You see though this is going to be about JERICHO, there is another one out there that I haven’t seen yet called THREE MOONS OVER MILFORD (this is the space one, where the moon has split into three bits and is causing people to behave strangely until the earth gets screwed from the lack of the moons pull and stuff, on the ABC Family channel. What’s different about these two shows to the standard PA scenario is that they both take place just as the event happens, and what we see is what is almost never seen in these kind of shows which is what happens to the first people to survive. Granted, the pandemic shows generally dealt with this but the nuclear ones of the same ilk haven’t really been made until now. So, is Jericho really any good?

    I’d have to say that I liked it. It stars Skeet Ulrich as a wayward son returning home for a quick visit to his grandfather’s grave, and to ask his father (Gerald McRaney) to sign off so he can get the money his grandfather left him. His father, played wonderfully and stoically by McRaney, whose been totally reborn in my eyes as an actor after his portrayal of Hurst on DEADWOOD, is also the town’s mayor who is running for re-election. Well of course, Skeet doesn’t get out in time, becomes a reluctant hero and all that good stuff and the town starts to tear itself apart, and all because a nuclear explosion wipes out Denver, which they can see from their small town hundreds of miles away. Things get even hotter when they also learn it isn’t isolated, because Atlanta is gone too. But, that’s all we know. We as an audience don’t know any more than they do and that’s nice. What we’re left with is a sort of social experiment (sure, I know LOST) where hopefully what we’re going to see is how people deal on a day-to-day basis after being effectively cut off from society. I’ll be honest, there’s some treacle in the dialogue, but you’re going to get that and it isn’t that awful. The performances are nice, the cinematography is beautiful, and the real reason I know I liked it was the fact that the copy I watched was corrupted and the image would stop every now and then and pixilate, and I’d have to jigger with it to get it to work again. I guess, as far as the pilots I’ve seen so far, this has really good potential to become something creepy and humanizing, and who knows, if it lasts to the second season, we might even get to see something really disturbing like the US Military invading one of its own towns to “rescue” (read regain control) of the country bit by bit. Who wouldn’t love to see it turned on its head ala Steinbeck’s THE MOON IS DOWN. I sure would.

    {NOTE: I'm sure I missed some tv show examples from the past, but this is a fluffy review not a Masters Thesis.]

    Review: Studio 60

    So I’ve been able to watch a number of pilots for shows this season thanks to the interwub. I’m going to give a few brief opinions here about the ones I’ve seen so far.


    This is the one NBC is hoping will be its backbone for the season. It’s Arron Sorkin’s latest foray and like his other two shows SPORTS NIGHT and THE WEST WING it is a behind-the-scenes affair. So far the reaction to it has been mixed to say the least. One of the main reasons for this is that the characters are quite broadly drawn. While I personally don’t mind this in a pilot, especially one so complex, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for future episodes. If the characters maintain their current paths it may simply turn into some sort of farce. The three standout performances are definitely by Mathew Perry, who can be a subtle and serious actor when he wants. His episode arc on TWW is proof of this. Another is Bradley Whitford, a TWW alumni and who played one of the most engaging and manic characters on the show. The final one is Judd Hirsch who has a breakdown on camera, ala NETWORK, where he rails against the unintelligent cesspool that television has become. He does this knowing that he will be fired. It’s a nod to Paddy Chayefsky, arguable one of the great writers of film. But at least in the pilot, all we see is the internal fallout and a relatively unresolved issue with his character. From looking around at other reviews, there seems to be a consensus, with which I agree, that Steven Weber’s character of Studio head Jack Rudolph is practically Snidely Whiplash sans moustache and in a nicer suit. Amanda Peet, who plays the young and recently hired head of programming Jordan McDeere, is a little more difficult to pin down. Some other reviewers have made reference to the fact that it appears that she seems to be acting in an entirely different show, and well out of sync with the other performances. I agree with this to a certain degree, but didn’t always find this to be so. Yes she is “doe-eyed”, and at times does deliver lines with an obtuseness, but I sort of liked that and wrote it off as her character’s way of handling a situation, days before she’s even set to take the position, by keeping everyone off their guard. The major concern with a show like this is its behind-the-scenes nature. Sorkin is basically going to show people what it takes to make a TV show. I’ve got to wonder if part of the magic of the whole affair will instill in the audience a more critical viewing of TV. The problem with that is that it kills some of the magic of watching shows. Trust me, once you start to ruminate on the very architecture of a thing, the thing itself becomes less enjoyable. Plus, if you really want to tear it apart, all you have to do is look at Sorkin’s history and suddenly you realize that the character played by Bradley Witford is Sorkin himself, cocaine habit, failed production, back surgery, etc. which makes the whole thing a bit too autobiographical for my taste. I’m going to give it a chance of course. One of the best things about the episodes that follow a pilot is the joy in watching it really come to life. Sorkin wrote what he knew would sell. They chopped it up in the editing room, evidently the script was so long there was no way it would fit in a hour, so that it runs like more of a perfect exercise in television editing than in writing. It is true, that I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, but I generally feel this way about above average pilots and only look to their faults once they are over. Over the next few episodes, it will become apparent whether or not things can settle down and be a bit more realistic, and the characters can feel less pressure to twirl their mustaches and appear as more than Spiegel catalog models, but I’ll just have to wait and see. Of course there is one more problem, its been rumored that the show isn’t making it’s deadlines, and NBC has already shut it down once to be retooled, so the truth is it may not make it out of the gate unless Sorkin stops twirling his mustache and lets other people take a hand in helping him get this behemoth up and running.

    There is also this little tidbit:

    "Studio 60" will be one of the most expensive first-year shows ever, with episodes costing nearly $3 million and NBC backing the launch with a $10 million marketing campaign. The network wrestled "Studio 60" away from CBS by agreeing to a list of perks, including giving Mr. Sorkin a say in determining the show's placement on the schedule.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Korgoth of Barbaria

    Korgoth of Barbaria on Adult Swim. First episode viewable for free online.

    "In a dark future wasteland, the cities have fallen, primordial beasts have reclaimed the globe and thieves and savages populate sparse, dirty towns. Korgoth emerges from the frozen north, and his merciless savagery may be his only key to survival."

    [NOTE: It may just be my connection, but it loads a bit slowly.]

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    This is what...

    ...Miller Lite will do to you:

    It’s been a couple of days since I’ve gone into the basement. I want to, but I can’t stand the smell. I tried a mask, but it came through anyway, burrowing into my nostrils. I don’t have one of the good kind, with the filters, just the kind you get three to a pack for $1.99 at Home Depot. I wish that I was stronger, because I want to do something about the sound. It’s like a baby bird who hasn’t had anything to eat; a constant chirping sound. It’s like that but different, I equate it, but I know it isn’t true. It’s more of a moaning, a longing for something that isn’t there. It resonates through the house at night and makes it hard to sleep. I’ve taken to putting earplugs in on top of the Ambien. It still wakes me up though. At night, when I’m too drunk to control my emotions, it’s like a song and makes me cry. I remember her when she wasn’t like this and I just want it to go back to the way it was. I just can’t bring myself to end it.

    I barricade myself each night in the upstairs room just in case they get in. Mostly they wonder around, running into things. They seem to lack any real motivation. I almost screwed up one night and didn’t get up in time. I had gotten a bunch of those battery powered entry monitors off a late night infomercial a year ago. I’d planned to do a cheap bugler system on the house. I’d never gotten around to using them until things started to fall apart. After that I put one on every door and window. They emit a loud chirp that cuts right into your brain when the link is broken.

    One night I was almost too drunk to get up. It was eight hours or so after I’d dragged my wife off the front walk with a large mass of flesh missing from her neck. I’d seen her from the bedroom widow chasing after our son who thought he’d play a game of hide and seek. The mailman got her while I was dragging the boy back inside.

    I knew it was too late, we’d both watched the couple across the street change the day before after they’d been run down by a pack of goth kids. It’d looked like some sort of joke until they tore Mr. Juniper’s arm off and scalped his wife. We just stood there speechless, watching from the bay window with the blinds drawn. We must have stood there holding each other for hours. Eventually, Mr. Juniper and his wife got up and the next thing we knew, they were eating their dog, who’d finally come out from under their car to see if they were OK.

    I didn’t know what I’d do with her; I just couldn’t leave her out there. We’d been through too much together. She’d worked the entire time I was in law school. Hell she’d put me through law school, and to just leave her there was something beyond me then. Plus she’d given birth to my son, and that wasn’t something easily forgotten. It’s not so much beyond me now, but six days can change a man.

    I’d taken her to the basement and I tied her to one of the support posts. She came to half way though and tried to bite me. I didn’t pay any attention to that though, she didn’t know what she was doing. Later that night I got drunk and stupid and cried myself to sleep. When I woke to the chirping, I thought it was the alarm clock and kept hitting it. It took a while to break though the drunken haze. By that time, they were already in the house. One of them was the shiftless lay about brother of the guy who lived behind us. I knocked him down the stairs with a baseball bat. He was so broke up at the bottom of the stairs that his head came off with a follow through any wiffle ball player could have made.

    The other one was still slamming into the door to the basement, I guess trying to let my wife out. I don’t really know. I’d never seen her before, but she looked like she’d been a schoolteacher or something. She still had her glasses on, which made me laugh, but her face was half eaten. I coaxed her out into the living room and gave her the “‘ol fireplace poker through the head” routine. I call it that now, but I have to admit, improvisation is very much the brother of invention. What I didn’t know at the time, was they’d already done the unthinkable, and I can only blame myself for having gotten drunk and not done what I needed to do.

    The next day, I had to kill my son, but that was self-defense. He’d hidden behind the bathroom door and almost caught me off guard. He’d been fine in the morning, but he must have gotten outside. Three year olds are like that. One minute they’re in the room, and the next they’re trying to walk across the street while you look open jawed through the kitchen window confused by the fact that you’d just seen them by your side. I cried as I slammed his little hand in the door. I knew he couldn’t feel it, but it hurt me just the same. I almost went to him afterward, but his eyes reminded me that he wasn’t my son anymore.

    The truth is I had to catch him in a trash bag to do it. There was no way I could look. I knew if I could get him in the bag that I could do it. I could remove myself from the moment. I was right. Once he was in I just started throwing it around, listening to his little bones crack. It was a contractor’s bag, 10 mil. It could take a beating. It was like watching though, as I swung it into the doorjamb and then slammed it onto the floor. I could hear myself laughing in an unfunny way. Nothing has been the same since. In the end I knew it wasn’t good enough and took it outside and burned it with lighter fluid under the noonday sun. I buried it as deep as I could; the ground where we live has a lot of clay.

    I haven’t seen any of my neighbors since I shot Mrs. Forester through the face. I was aiming for her head, but it’d been a while since I’d shot the .380 my father had left me. I didn’t feel relief until I saw the back of her head land in Mr. Morrison’s Begonias. That meant it was over. She’d been a nice person, she’d brought us a cherry pie when we’d moved in and used to take my wife to her doctor’s appointments when I had to work. I never even told her I hated cherries.

    I do miss going to work every morning though. There was something comforting about sitting in a cubical. The white noise around you was soothing. Even though you couldn’t see anyone unless you stood up, you knew they were there and that was enough. It kept you going, kept you feeling a part of something. Sure, they could be annoying at time, or down right a pain in the ass, but that’s life. They were a community, a place to belong. I miss it. It’s only been a week, but I’m lonely. There isn’t anyone to talk to anymore. I used to not mind. I’d come home and play with kid while my wife worked on dinner. She didn’t have to, I love to cook, but she wanted to. It was my time with the little one.

    Won’t be any more of those times, and I know it. I’m down to my last box of shells, and I know the noises my wife makes do nothing but attract them, but I’ll hold out. I know I can do it. There’s still plenty of food, even though the power is out. We’re one of the few houses on the block with a gas stove. Since they don’t seem much on digging, and they’ve not hit the plant yet, I can still cook. It’s mostly beans and rice, but I did manage to get some ice when it all started and I packed the freezer and only open it when absolutely necessary. I still have two steaks and a pack of ribs.

    It’s OK though, it’ll all come to an end soon. I’ll eventually run out of food. I don’t really have the strength to keep going. It’s funny, if you think about it. My wife used to joke. She used to say that she’d married me for my brain. Maybe in a day or two I’ll go see if she means it.

    [© 2006 Greg Bunch]

    Act 2 - Funk

    Finished typing and writing to the point of the second act today. The act out is different again but probably better. I still have enough left, once fleshed out, to type in for the third act then it's just a matter of getting the fourth act written. It's taken a great deal of focus to do this because the retyping is infinitely more boring than writing.

    I'm still in a holding pattern for the work to start up again and am looking at the same problem I had in June. Looks like I should have been eating more ramen noodles and less real groceries. Oh well, it should all work out. Hopefully everything will break next week and fill up the coming months. Of course the loan company called again today. I'm off collection agency and back on loan company calls. They're much more polite and understanding, of course this is due to the fact that they don't really do anything but shuffle papers. Should everything go back to 90 days due, it'll just get routed again to the collection agency.

    The death of the computer took all the TV with it. I'm working on getting more and have pretty much watched everything I brought. So, it gets a bit boring at night. Reading only works for just so long anymore.

    I’m in my sixth month here, which I find very hard to believe. Even though I worked every day of June and July and didn't have time to do anything else, it feels like I’ve gotten nowhere. I’m not sure what more I should be doing, can’t get anywhere without the writing and can’t seem to get the writing done fast enough. Should have applied myself more in the cabin while I had the chance.

    Run along now, my funk could be contagious.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Linky Things

    20 Best Japanese Commercials

    Good Magazine Issue 1

    Google Image Labeler (Help google refine their search and have fun doing it)

    Mount Weather is it?

    Pooh(p) visits Deadwood (Not work safe)

    Battlestar Galactica Webisodes (You only get 2 mins twice a week.)

    Mash-up of THE WATCHMEN is Stan Lee had written it instead of Alan Moore.

    Oh well, more typing today as the work stuff gets sorted out by clients and companies. I'm sure I'll get an e-mail around 2:30 PST telling me to get on out there tomorrow. I wish someone would just drop a bag of money on my lap. But, I know I'm not alone in that sentiment.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Yee Haw and Whatnot

    The other night while in the pub I watched a person pull out their laptop, an ibook, and find an unsecured wireless connection. But it would seem that now that I’ve lost mine, I cannot do the same. I was secretly hoping to make the pub my offsite office as it were until I got a connection. However, as I sit here now there is no signal whatsoever, not even one. Which is of course why you won’t read this post right away but rather later when I do find one I can use. I can’t possibly put into words how devastating this is to me at the moment. I guess on the plus side of things, I re-typed 20 pages of my script today. Of course it’s two pages longer than it was and the act out of act one is different, but better for it I believe. I took the opportunity of a re-type to simply do an edit as well. So I’m sitting here in the pub typing away and adding more. Of course the Pub is oppressively hot and so my powerbook is heating up too quickly, which will make this a much shorter session than I planned. Plus I’m sweating like a hog. I’m going to have to spend tomorrow looking for viable connections in and around the coffee shops about. The reason there should be a connection in the Pub is that it is right next door to a Peet’s Coffee which supposedly has an available free network. There is no way the walls are thick enough to shield it. Diminish it yes, completely shield it, no. In the end I may just have to spring for a month-to-month T-mobile account to use the Starbucks down the street.

    Up to page 21 of 38 now, which is only page 18/38 in the original. Which might just make the second act out fall into place better as well.

    Just arrived home and link is back up. This seems to happen every holiday. The last time it happened, was the 4th of July. While I held out hope, I couldn’t be sure.

    Back on line now.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006


    Keeping it simple for now. I've reloaded only neccessary software. Can't find my FINAL DRAFT serial number though so script typing will have to wait. I'll probably just upgrade anyway, but will still need the number. I have all the rest, but can't for the life of me figure out where this one was. I think I had an excel file with all of them in it...oh well. Hopefully the back-up being sent from the safe at home will shed light on this. There still seem to be some possible bad sectors on this disk, so it will need to be replaced. Hopefully she'll hold together through the next round of work. "Come'on baby hold together." Things that I've found that have improved since I now have all new widgets and things are FIREFOX and the GMAIL NOTIFIER which now comes with online schedule. I'm going to use this for now, put all my particulars in webspace so I can access them should things go bad again. I could turn off the function, but I kind of liked it last night when the notifier came on and gave me a preview of the e-mail that had just arrived over the DVD I was watching at full screen. The DVD didn't hiccup and the notifier was nicely transparent, displaying the text over the DVD image. It was almost like some weird future.

    [NOTE: I was bale to retrieve my FD serial number from customer support. Whew!]

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Back Up

    Well, there goes everything. Only fix was a reformat. I could have tried to retrieve the lost data, but since I don't have $1000, I just let it all go. All of projects was backed-up on the ipod, but it's three months old. All of CA with have to be retyped. Luckily I was at the point yesturday where I printed it all out to hand read/edit, otherwise there would be much more weeping. Won't know until much later what was really lost. A lot of painstaking data entry in my personal excel file where I'd done stuff like collect all the gas receipts since I had the car and stuff like this. A lot of loan letters which were my only copies and the like. Oh well, time to start over I guess. All of the really important stuff is somehow printed or uploaded lesewhere. All picutres not on Flikr lost etc. Will need drink later. May need to replace the drive later, but not right now. The work for next week has been pushed back thanks to the client. Not looking too great in LA right now, but I'll muddle through. So here's to spending Labor Day weekend rebuilding my computer.

    Laptop Dead

    Well, the laptop died this morning when I tried to bring it from sleep. I'm at the Apple store at the moment. My appointment isn't for 2 more hours. I believe that the hardrive is dead. So, no e-mail or posting for now. Hopefully it won't take very long to fix. But, you never know. I guess I'm going to be spending all the momeny I make in September today to get this thing fixed. I think my Apple Care has run out, but we shall see.

    Friday, September 01, 2006