journal page 22

august 23, 2002
"Self as would adjust yourself!
now have you spoilt mine days"
i have gotten rather good at killing the gnats in here by merely snatching them out of the air. soon i will be able to kill with my very thoughts. the tiny seas will run red with the tiny blood of my tiny vengeance. the plants have been freaking out all lusty in the apartment's awful humidity, and are suddenly growing these gigantic yellow mushrooms and the orchid now looks like it has some sort of obscene jolly vegetable scrotum. meanwhile the kangaroo fern's tentacles are weirdly crawling all over the walls and are now long enough for the plant to pull open the cupboard and make itself a sandwich.

i've been playing quite a bit of chess again. you know what really bothers serious chess players? when you refer to the knights as horsies. as i grow impatient with the publishing world (already!) it's becoming more and more plausible that my next project might actually be in adapting the book's main story to animation and putting the book part of it on hold. the film would need to be close to a half hour to tell the story properly, but relatively easy to animate. i don't know, but so seems increasingly likely that a film version of the anesthetics thing may be birthing first. i will need to see if the bits that work best on paper can translate to the screen but it's a story that i want to put out there sooner than later and the book stuff has not been moving along as smoothly or spontaneously as i'm used to working/.

somebody sent over a bad computer translation of a swedish message board currently discussing this website and it's sadly quite a bit funnier than anything you will find here:

This page had vart with formerly! But the is right schysst so =). devil?? Did not get economize film 'rejected' un self log, so self crying. Find the nån as vet if vart husband sheep pull on biterfilms as wmv? Day be able devil nots initialised better!!: Ooh , this page am arriving self ihåg. Had for me that it was self as hint if Ah L'amour once in terms. Fraught down the kick tail. If the is any as vet if the am going that fraught down Lily duck Jim anywhere? Equal good self am correcting myself entrance any other is doing well is the any as should conviction had began with. : Self as would adjust yourself! Now have you spoilt mine days. : For very text for that husband bark stool read. : Now is the Christmas again show in Rejected. Few biscuit.

august 9, 2002
i'm so close to wrapping up this giant chunk of animating that's taken up the past 2 years i can almost smell it. and it smells curd-y. i've probably written about this a thousand times but now it's true, i'm really almost there. maybe a month to go now and then on to the rest which should at least be more fun to work on. and it never fails, at exactly this "almost there" point in a project i always get suddenly flooded with very immediate, visceral plans for another film. i started toying with something out of nowhere a few days ago, talked to some friends, it changed a bit, and now it's exploded and will probably demand a place next in line. it will be bouncing around in there for maybe a year, but at the moment it seems like it will be a very long piece but a lot of fun to make. writing will probably begin in about a month whether i like it or not. i scribbled notes on my desktop a couple of hours ago so that i would remember what to write about here but they got all smudgy from working and the bottom note now reads something like "twine lepue" and i have no clue of what that.. wait... oh yeah, "time lapse"... for a few nights i've been shooting a bit of time lapse footage around the desk while animating, and it's been coming out kind of interesting. it's scary, watching me work. i just wrote a guy trying to get the music rights for something that i only need a 10 second clip of and he just wrote back saying it was 2500 dollars and well that's the end of that plan. my back hurts. time for bed. i'm a year older now by the way. i am all musky and wrinkled.

here's another available open writing assignment:

GIRL MOST LIKELY TO (MGM / Marc Platt producing / Robert Luketic directing)
An ugly girl undergoes plastic surgery and becomes beautiful. She then takes revenge on all the people who mistreated her when she was ugly.

july 22, 2002
shooting wrist pain. kind of dizzy., oh to never have to ink this film again. the large woman at the video lab with the gold chains whom i'd never met before said i should go see a doctor about the circles under my eyes. that was kind of depressing. at least i've lost some weight through all this. the weather's finally cooled off some, so it's a bit easier to work but i should try and scale back my hours again.lately i've working til 7:30am and waking up at around 3... if i keep pushing it i guess pretty soon i'll just have completely wrapped around the clock and will be back on regular human hours again? just a little further to go now... i was studying a lot of classic old title sequences this weekend.. up until the early 90s, titles were shot on animation stands virtually identical to mine and they used to pull off some amazingly inventive and tricky stuff with next to nothing (that part is also identical). i guess these days almost all titles are made digitally and not many people care or know too much about optical mattes, double exposures, trick photography, and such. have also been studying old harryhausen films again, in spots. i am dying to get to the camera and try some new tricks with this film. meanwhile, i had probably what ties as my worst-ever pitch meeting with a studio guy the other day for something i was potentially going to write for them. my previous worst-ever pitch was many years ago for a guy at dreamworks who literally just stepped off a plane from france, limped into his office jetlagged to just get his mail and go home, but realized he was stuck with a meeting to listen to me talk. so this was just as unpleasant, but at least it was over the phone. so very tired.

speaking of studio movies, these are actual open writing assignments from my agency's mailing list:

MARIA POPPINS (Warners / Robert Lawrence producing):
Present day Latino MARY POPPINS about a Mexican housekeeper and her relationship with the American family she comes to work for. Looking for HARRY POTTER in tone

SHORTY (Universal / Marc Platt & Master P producing / Jesse Dylan directing / Lil Romeo starring)
A midget alien is stranded in a Los Angeles 'hood. He becomes a rapping, hip-hopping partner with a 12 year old who wants to win an MTV talent contest.

these are not the writing projects i was pursuing. though maybe that's where i've gone wrong.

i might actually go see the new submarine movie this week. as long as harrison ford punches somebody and runs around yelling i'll be ok

july 10, 2002
we went to a hidden lake this weekend and fed ducks and saw some wild rabbits. the dolphins have also been back along the coast jumping out of the water. steady progress animating, trying not to slack off. still well on track to start photography in the fall which amazingly will probably only amount to about three or so minutes of finished footage after all this time. i'd thought these animation papers would have gotten absolutely thrashed by now considering how much work has been crammed into each page, but they've been holding up remarkably well. this apartment has been hotter than a screaming antelope and the news says another heat wave is on the way. there's no ventilation in here so it's all mildew and humidity and more sweating walls. i think i've been grinding my teeth sweating at night because my tongue is all chewed up. i'm sitting here in nothing but army shorts at 5 in the morning with fans going and i still want to crawl into the refrigerator's vegetable bin. there is something scratching on the other side of my wall. ward kimball died, which was sad to hear. i was lucky to see him present a retrospective of his work in 1996 and from what i gather he was one of the most inventive fellows on the disney lot

it looks like i'll probably start animating yet another cartoon, albeit a very short one, around the same time i'll start photography on this one, but which will actually get released first. was that a proper use of commas? it's just a little thing that will need to be finished and in theaters around next january or february already. rob and i will probably do the voices and rush through it over the holidays. so a new film from us already in february. well not really a full film. but sort of. maybe

still not much progress with the cartoon network, unfortunately... we were thinking "rejected" would air in july but it reached yet another snag in their legal dept and now we're looking at october. ironically, three weeks ago a guy over at the cartoon network in spain (owned by the same turner company) e-mailed us out of the blue with an offer to license three films for the summer. the deal was worked out and agreed upon in two days, the paperwork is now being completed and the spaniards will enjoy the films already this month, couldn't have been easier. and meanwhile here we are, a year and a half into a gory ordeal still struggling to get just one film on air in the states on the same network. i just read back the beginning of this paragraph and to be honest i guess that's not really irony at all, is it? although maybe that sentence there was ironic in itself. let's just quit while we're ahead

the ad on tv says their product provides a "lifetime of temporary relief." brilliant!

june 11, 2002
"the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain"
my cereal box came with a free cd of xmas music. is it not... june? one of my plants began to fall apart and i found that it was all black underneath and crawling with little white bugs. i guess the plant can contain more joy now. these other plants are multiplying so i've had to start making clippings and giving them away to friends. a couple weekends ago we went to the beach and came upon a dead seal washed up, surrounded by bird skeletons. a couple weeks before that we had found a big dead manta ray and then seconds later another one washed up right beside it.

general attitude is good towards the animation, really starting to feel the beginnings of the home stretch at least with this hellish opening chunk. it's a bit deceiving, as even though this may amount to just a minute or two's worth of screen time, the animation is so dense that it will still take months to finish. i have at least three other little films in mind that i'd love to start work on but can't

i saw the tyson/lewis fight and it was really kind of sad. my pillow smells vaguely of maple syrup.


may 18, 2002
spent the week in LA doing this and that, while animating at a surrogate art desk. the film follows me everywhere i go like a little lamb. a little biting lamb. made up of thousands of wrinkled animation pages stacked in plastic bags, cotton gloves, sharpies, and a plastic pegboard. it shambles after me and goes blaaaahhh as pink pearl eraser shavings and dirty pencil stubs spill from its face.

the daily animation grind has gotten so routine that there is, again, nothing new to report. i know i say that every time but my life in this production is a broken record. pretty much anything that amuses or distracts from these lower trenches of filmmaking is growing in importance. maybe we'll do another charity auction over the summer to liven things up around here. or boil some rocks.

the other night i dreamt that we had a cat who was going after this mouse, only the mouse wasn't really a mouse as much as just an oversized mouse head that slowly bounced around the furniture like a rubber ball going, squeak squeak. the cat finally caught the mouse/head but it was so large it could barely fit it into its mouth, like a giant gumball, just big enough that it could not chew it. the head kept squeaking miserably inside of the cat's mouth as the cat desperately tried to chew and then i had to leave the room. i want to go on a cruise

this is an impressive free little program that seeks out and removes all corporate spyware and hidden tracking devices from your computer that you never knew you had running: ad-aware

april 30, 2002
you smell like all sorts of stuff and your pants are wet
steadily powering through a big pile of drawings that still need to be inked. arm is numb, blood is sugared, shooting pains in mywrist. inking is still terrile. it seems like if progress continues at the current pace it looks like i may be shooting the first roll of film around autumn, maybe. it would make me feel a lot better to get a solid chunk of this work safely photographed so that i can stop worrying about it all catching on fire. and then the final scenes might possibly be shot around the holidays. the past two years have gone by incredibly fast because of all this, yet i seem to have aged 15 years. it would be nice to have some manner of deadline for next year but every time i set a date for these sort of things i end up missing it by several months and get unnecessarily depressed. i think i already wrote about all this before.

we went to the county fair this weekend and took pictures of the families devouring corn dogs and a large woman in a trenchcoat was missing a foot. a commercial on tv yesterday was selling beds but referred to them as "sleep systems." another one was for a kids cereal and shows all the cereal bits whizzing around in space. a tiny disclaimer beneath reads, "not a flying cereal."

april 13 or 14

thanks to loren for the bendy banana sculpture!

i can tell the weather is changing because my apartment has gone from unbearably cold to unbearably hot. i live in a giant thermos. had another meeting in la earlier that went really well concerning things i cannot talk about yet. meanwhile fighting off this head cold and spending too much money on e-bay. while on there i noticed this guy is auctioning off little individually preserved squirrel penises in specimen jars. i think i just found amy her xmas present. then i saw another guy on there with his own line of racoon genitals for sale. i wonder if they are like rivals or something. when i shake my keyboard upside down all sorts of horrible things fall out.

back to inking. and i'm getting better at it even though each single complicated frame still takes nearly 5 minutes to ink and touch up. soon will come the day when one of the more busier frames may take closer to 15 minutes to fully ink. i am also still trying to solve that special fx shot so that it doesn't take months to produce... decided i will definitely not be using models though

there's an amber colored sort of sap dribbling down my walls. it turns out that heat causes this cheap sort of paint that they used on these apartment walls to spontaneously secrete weird brown oils and syrups. "that's normal, that's just the walls sweating. don't let that bother you. oh and dear god, don't touch it." also i seem to have blown a color tube or something in my monitor today, the entire computer screen has turned a sickly yellow and it seems that i am typing on urine. otherwise this has been a really good week. the song of the day is "distortions" by clinic

april 3, 2002
when he approaches the counter they all go on break

thanks to haley for the candleholder!

think i've passed the halfway mark in animating the body of the film. maybe. just trying to find more hours of every day to throw at it, always seems like there should be more time to find. i think it's been over 21 months now and it's continued mental hurdles more than anything else. the animation is technically just busy work, but must somehow stay alert and not flip out before crossing the finish line.

my ear was ringing earlier today and then the computer made a long high pitched noise and the two tones were somehow in perfect harmony which was really pretty.

so amy was watching cnn and they reported that since the terrorist attacks, americans have been feeling "increased anxiety" and that they worry more often than they used to, distracting them. so they recommended that people "set aside an hour of every day in their schedule for worrying." because how can i possibly enjoy a pleasant lunch if i'm being bothered by unscheduled grief and horror?

music of the day is "iguazu" by gustavo santaolalla. rather than blearily scrub out the endless layers of mildew in the bathroom every two weeks, i think i've taken to just photographing it. in closeup it all sort of looks like a beautiful rugged alien landscape. must run along now, it's almost time to worry

march 23, 2002
i came up with one of most important shots in the film a couple of days ago in the shower and it's all plotted out in my head now. it's a giant outer space shot and i'm not sure yet how exactly i'll pull it off but it's either going to be half-animated half-models, or some very gutsy experimental animation. can't wait to just finish up this lousy long sequence and move on to something new at least. i've decided once the film is finished and out of my hands i'm going to drive to the grand canyon. i'm not sure why but it's definitely going to happen. i've never been there before and it seems like a place to go. i bought a new lamp yesterday and it made me happy. currently wearing a cowboy hat.

i discovered the hard way that the 24 hour supermarket closes early on wednesdays which is really inconvenient when you've run out of glue stick at 2am. i then learned that 7-11 does not carry any glue at all. so yesterday i finally glued all the assorted sample pages of the "anesthetics" book together and had them bound into a little book for the publishers to preview and the guy at kinkos who bound it sort of flipped through it and frowned and asked if it was a "children's book or something."

march 16, 2002
the big strange downstairs neighbor excitedly alerted me yesterday that he thinks he saw mexicans trying to break into my apartment when i was away. however, after further quizzing i learned that his idea of "mexicans trying to break into your place" is equivalent to "i saw a hispanic guy politely knocking on your door." in other news those are apparently termites having a party in my kitchen walls. i don't really want to have to deal with the whole circus tent/evacuation scenario right now so i think i will wait and see if maybe they go away and hope i don't plummet through the wooden floor before i eventually move out. we have been playing a game for a little while now in which i put tape over their little holes and then they move around it to drill new ones and then i tape those ones up and then they move again and i think they're really beginning to enjoy it. i have just spilled peanut butter on my pants.

i am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the animation... not a big light yet but a tiny little firefly blinking thing. i can't get this peanut butter off my pants. hot water? cold?

i am wrapping up an early draft of the "anesthetics" book this weekend so that can be cleared away from my head for at least a little while. feeling ok. cleaned out the front room of a lot of junk for new furniture and it's always funny how a suddenly more spacious room somehow gives the inside of your head some clarity. have been sleeping less but feeling awake


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