Tag Archives: writing

The Return of “Twin Peaks”

The past couple of months around here have been totally surreal and packed with enough weirdness, heartbreak and family drama to fill a whole season’s worth of episodes, so, it was kind of strangely appropriate for this to be the week that Showtime announced that they would be airing a nine episode “third season” of Twin Peaks in 2016.

That’s right, the show that brought dark, daring, non-linear storytelling to network television is finally returning to the airwaves. Hooray! I’ve been waiting for something like this for years, and though most die-hard Peaks fans expected a return to the Peak-a-verse via another movie, graphic novel or a spin-off series featuring new characters, no one was expecting co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to reunite for a third season of the original series! Wow, Bob, wow, does it get any cooler?

News is still trickling out about the casting and such, but, if the clip Lynch and Frost released is any indication, I imagine, we, like Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper just might be seeing Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) again as well.

I know it sounds geeky, but, I remember totally flipping out when the scene in the clip above aired on the original series. “‘I’ll see you again in 25 years?!’ What the hell does that mean? Is she coming back to life?!” And while I relished discussing the meaning of that scene (and almost every other aspect of the show!) back in the day, the thought that it might actually be clarified literally twenty five years later is downright thrilling!

To steal a quote from a fellow, diehard Peaks fan: can we just skip 2015 and get to the good stuff already? So excited!

 

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Welcome home, Dad!

The best thing about being away for a week is that the ladies in my life really, really miss me when I’m gone. And even though all three of us had a weird stomach bug all week — nothing like being sick in a hotel room! Fun! — Mrs. Yeti and Greta have been crazy nice to me since I got home.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the super cool sign that was waiting for me on the back door when I drove up. In case you were wondering, that’s our gardener José on the left with the three eyes. Greta said he is mowing over a giant red worm in the grass with his lawnmower. I don’t know what that means, but, man, it’s good to be home!

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Quote of the Day: James Gandolfini

I was never a regular viewer of The Sopranos when it was on, but, I saw enough episodes to know that it was, like Twin Peaks or The X-Files before it, totally game-changing television. And though I loved James Gandolfini on the show, I think I loved him even more in some of his smaller supporting roles in movies.

For instance, I don’t remember one goddamn thing about that piece of crap Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts movie The Mexican except that I loved Gandolfini in it. I also loved him in more recent stuff like Zero Dark Thirty and that crazy-good TV movie Cinema Verite with Diane Lane. He was one of those guys who just walked in, read a few lines and totally stole the movie. But, even better than that, I liked watching him on interviews where he seemed like a genuinely humble regular dude who just happened to fall into massive Hollywood fame. Guys like that don’t come around too often, and when they leave us at such a young age, man, it makes the loss even greater.

So, for that and for the fact that I totally agree with what he says about people who like to meet up for breakfast (unless it’s a late breakfast at noon, can’t stand em!), I salute the late, great James Gandolfini in his own words. RIP, Mr. Soprano.

“I read [The Sopranos pilot]. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought they would have to hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David [Chase] for breakfast at nine a.m. At the time I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy’s going to be a pain in the ass.'”

Location:Los Angeles

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Sleeping Standing Up

Hello again, blog friends. Sorry for being away for so long. This time I have a great excuse, I was working my butt off! So much so that I actually fell asleep standing up one day. Yep, like a horse. Except horses usually stay standing. I, on the other hand fell like a ton o’ bricks and hit the back of my head on a cheapie IKEA desk we have in our hallway. I survived the fall with a trip to the emergency room and a couple of staples to the back of my head…the desk, however, was not so lucky and had to be trashed.

And though I fell in front of Greta the first thing she said when she ran over to check on me was not “Oh, my God, Daddy! You’re head is bleeding!” or “Are you alright?”. Nope, the first thing she said was: “Wow! Look at that desk!” Actually, it was quite a site. Black particle board pieces and books scattered all over the hallway. Me sitting on the ground with blood all over my hand and a dazed look on my face, and Greta just staring at that broken desk.

Anyway, the bleeding stopped almost immediately, but, wow, there’s a lot of blood in the back of your head! Who knew? So, I called a 24-hour nurse hotline that we have on our insurance and talked to a lovely certified nurse named Susan. After asking me a bunch of really gross questions (“Is there a yellowish-red discharge oozing from your ears?”, “Are your pupils the same size?”, etc.) she told me I was probably fine but that I should head to the emergency room just to be sure.

Luckily, Mrs. Yeti was able to ditch out of work and hurry home to drive us (for some reason Susan thought a man who just fell asleep standing up and was bleeding from the head might not be the best driver, crazy, huh?) to the ER. Where we waited and waited and waited until they finally pulled me behind a curtain, stapled up my cut and send me packing. Good times.

Oh, did I mention that having staples put in your head hurts like hell?! Well, it does and let me tell ya, I owed Greta’s bad word jar a hefty chunk of change when we got home. I’m sure the truly sick and injured people in the ER loved hearing me swear up a storm too. Sorry, sickies, but that shit hurt!

The good news is I’ve been trying to get more sleep on a regular basis, and, believe it or not, I do actually feel more rested. Funny how that works, huh? Anyway, this whole getting enough sleep thing is still an ongoing project — changing your up-all-night writerly ways at my age ain’t easy, folks! — but, it has been working out nicely so far. We’ll see how easy it is to stick to when I have a bunch of deadline at the end of the month…

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I also traveled to Hamburg, Germany for work (which was crazy fun) and churned out a record number of stories for work, I wrote two features for APEX magazine, two mini-features for a new magazine I’m working on, and a handful of stories for the APEX Editor’s Blog. Sadly, that left little time for blogging or, obviously, sleeping. But, it did feel awesome to be writing so much about stuff that I’ve really come to love. So, that more than makes up for it. That said, I do promise to be a better sleeper and blogger going forward, so, stick around.

Oh, and if anyone has an old desk they can spare, we’re on the market for one, so, let me know! 🙂

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Date Night TV: “Girls”

I should start by saying that up until about a month ago I had sort of a love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham, the writer/director/creator of HBO’s hit series Girls. And though I know it’s never cool to judge a filmmaker by their personal life — if I did I’d have a hard time stomaching Woody Allen movies too, which I love! — but after watching Dunham’s feature film debut Tiny Furniture on DVD about a year ago, I couldn’t stop hating her. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was great and explores many of the same issues and even character types as Girls does.

The problem I had with Dunham’s movie is that it was released by my beloved Criterion Collection, whose main objective, as I may have stated here before, is to release “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films”. Yes, Tiny Furniture is contemporary (it was released in 2010) but I think it’s still a little early to tell if it’s “important.”

And then I learned that Dunham is from a family of New York art world superstars — her father is a painter and her mother and frequent co-star, Laurie Simmons, is a well-known photographer — who no doubt circulate in the same hip, underground crowds as the Criterion Collection execs do. So, then I hated her even more. In my mind, Dunham was nothing more than a privileged rich kid using Mommy and Daddy’s connections to make so-called “indie films” that debuted on the freaking Criterion Collection! Urgh…so lame!

Lena Dunham on GIRLS

GIRLS cast

The problem was though, I still loved the movie. And then Girls came along and I loved that too. Correction, I more than love it. Mrs. Yeti really likes it too, but, I’m kind of obsessed with the show right now. And then I started reading and learning more about Dunham and I realized that, parental art-world connections or not, she really is talented as all hell. So, when we finally got HBO last month, I put my own professional jealousies aside and started watching season one of Girls from the beginning. And it was fucking hilarious!

Sad, funny, goofy, dirty, real, authentic, it’s one of the best-written shows I’ve watched in a long time. Dunham and her amazingly gifted cast are a joy to watch each week, especially when one (or all) of their lives are spinning wildly out of control. Oh, man…it’s fantastic. And season two, which started three weeks ago has been even better. I have actually taken to writing down memorable quotes from the show on my iPad. Yes, I’m that kind of fan.

The only problem that I can find with Girls so far is that it is not even remotely kid-friendly. In fact, the other day Greta came into the room while I was trying to watch it and even before anyone said or did anything profane, Greta said: “Daddy, I don’t think I should be watching this show.” Ha! And she was right, the next scene would have required way too much explaining to a toddler. So, I put on The Princess and the Frog for the twentieth time instead.

But, if you and yours happen to have a night to yourselves, one of those cherished “date night-ins” that have become so chic of late, then pop in the first season of Girls and go to town. Seriously, you will laugh your ass off. Truly groundbreaking stuff!

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The New Normal

If I’m lucky some of you have probably been wondering where I’ve been for the last few weeks. So, for the hearty few that have stuck with my poor, ill-fed blog lately, I’ll fill you in. First off, I had a number of crushing writing deadlines to meet in the month of December and that kept me a little busier than I liked. Come to think of it, it was probably the hardest I’ve worked since I made a go of this whole stay-at-home-yeti thing three years ago. Seriously, it was a pretty punishing schedule for any time of the year, but, when you toss in the holidays and all the craziness that that entails, well…lets just say I’m glad it’s over.

And though Greta was devastated at the fact that we couldn’t leave our Christmas tree up all year long, I’ve never been happier to put it all away. I know I sound like an old Scrooge, but, the clutter of Christmas really stressed me out this year. All I wanted for Christmas was a clean, clutter free house to work in…and an iPad Mini. Preferably in black.

Luckily for me, I got both, and once the tree and stockings were packed away in the garage. My daily workload shot way up. So, yay for me. Of course, anytime I get a lot of work done I can’t help but feeling guilty for ignoring Greta. Yes, she loves to play alone in her room with her Barbies and My Little Ponys for hours…but, I still feel bad anytime I’m knee deep in work and she’s craving attention. So, we worked out a little deal most days. “Let Daddy work for thirty minutes and then I’ll come play Barbies.” I’d say. “That’s not a good idea.” She’d say. “Here’s a better idea…FIRST you play Barbies in my room, then you work.”

You can guess who usually won that argument.

Anyway, despite the distractions, I did manage to meet all my deadlines and even squeeze in a very last-minute, whirlwind trip to Dubai and the Maldives to cover the inagural flight of flydubai’s new non-stop service to the Maldives. The trip was amazing and though I’d like to say I got loads of sleep on the beaches there while the Indian Ocean lapped at my feet, my time on the beach was limited to a few dips in the water and one long nap on my private deck. Yes, we had private decks with full ocean access…swanky, huh? And though the trip was magical and it was strangely liberating to not have to worry about carseasts and sippy cups for a few days, I came home with loads more work, so, it’s back to crazy town any day now. Actually, the deadlines are a little more evenly spaced this time around, and there’s not that pesky old Christmas/New Years crush to jam me up. But, we do have loads of birthdays, an Oscar party and Greta’s fourth birthday party to plan, so, the next couple of months promise to go by in another crazy blur of activity.

So, if you don’t hear from me for a while, know that I am juggling the twin joys of my life (parenting and writing) the best I can and that somewhere a Barbie is being played with.

Oh yeah, and about my new iPad Mini. It’s wondrous! I don’t know how I lived without it all these years…almost makes me want to add it to my list of “joys in my life”. But, then I think Mrs. Yeti might start to feel a little bit slighted. Aw, screw it, I’m adding my Mini to the list, Mrs. Yeti too. Who says you can’t have four joys in your life?

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Date Night Movie: “Cloud Atlas”

The other day I realized that Hollywood award season is almost the only time of year that my wife and I see movies outside of the house. And when we see movies, we see a lot of them. Like, a whole year’s worth in two or three months. Then we’re burnt out and don’t see anything on a big screen again until summer. Thank God for Redbox!

So, I decided to highlight some of the movies we’ve been seeing lately in a new, hopefully regular, series I call “Date Night Movies”. Here I will blog about movies that I think are not only worth seeing on the big screen but, also worth dressing up and hiring a babysitter for. Now, before I get to the main event, let me touch on something we saw last month…

A few weeks back, Mrs. Yeti and I went to a screening of Argo and it was incredible. The acting, writing and directing was all first-rate and not only was the whole movie edge-of-your-seat thrilling, but it was also funny as hell, even if you don’t get all the insider Hollywood jokes. So, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you like to see all the possible Oscar nominees — judging by the reaction so far, Argo is sure to snare a Best Picture nod — before they get nominated.

That said, the movie I want to talk about today is Cloud Atlas. My brother and I went to a screening of Atlas the other night and, despite a few flaws, we loved it. Actually, I think the flaws made me like it even more because they highlighted the colossal effort it took to make something this bold. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot, but, as you’ve no doubt seen from the trailer, the movie is as big and epic as Hollywood movies get these days.

The acting is great, the writing and cinematography is gorgeous but the real star of the movie is the theme. Much of the pre-release chatter about Atlas has focused on the fact that Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and the rest of the cast play multiple parts in multiple time periods, which is cool, but, the message at the heart of the movie is much more interesting. The movie theorizes that everything is connected, love, hate, good, evil, life, death, every single thing we do in our lifetimes touches someone else’s life in ways we could never imagine.

I know what you’re thinking: great, an essay about life from the creators of The Matrix Trilogy and the guy who directed Run Lola Run. Well, in a way that’s kinda true. The movie is an essay, or, a love letter if you will, about the eternal, transcendent power of love. I know that sounds corny and mildly student-film-ish and maybe it is a little of both. I mean, honestly, there is a lot going on in this movie, and it does require a bit of patience on the part of the viewer. Hell, up until the half-hour mark, my brother and I were so confused and annoyed that we were ready to bolt. But then something happened — it was a different scene for both of us — that changed everything and from then on, we were caught up in the whole crazy-beautiful, time-tripping swirl of it all.

I don’t want to ruin the experience for you guys, so, I’ll stop gushing about it for now, but, if you’re on the market for a deep, heartfelt, truly original movie about ideas and emotions and the power of human connection, then this is the date night movie for you. As I said before, it might not be for everyone, as it is a little weird and challenging in spots, but, man, if you’re up for a little three-hour, mind-bending adventure, Cloud Atlas will rock your world!

Oh, and make sure you budget in some post-movie chat time afterwards because this is definitely a movie you’ll want to discuss. My brother and I have been dissecting it for two weeks now and our heads are still swimming!

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