Saturday, May 27, 2017

Meet Bob

           This is Bob. Bob is a mechanical murder beast akin to Stephen King's Christine, but without the benefit of being a cool classic car. When I bought Bob off of my brother, I knew that there had been some issues with the oxygen sensor that supposedly had been fixed and that the cruise control would straight up try to kill me if it was used it on a road that wasn't completely flat. However, this is Colorado and I needed a 4WD or AWD vehicle that I could afford. Despite being an '03 model, it only had 90 k miles, so I thought it would be alright. I was wrong and have been paying for it ever since.

Bob getting new tires that are nicer than he deserves. 

           My brother drove Bob across the county after a supposed "thorough check" that focused on the engine and new tires. When he got here, we tried to go on a short road trip and were met with a strange, unpleasant thumping noise emanating from the wheels. As it turns out, they hadn't been properly ratcheted down and were about to fall off. The brakes also didn't feel right, and when I had them checked out not long after, it was discovered that the brake line had rusted through and broken off leaving the vehicle without functional rear brakes. A fluid leak led to a cracked radiator and leaky manifold, and the engine...  well, the oxygen sensor wasn't the only problem. The distributor has been replaced, but the fuel injection system is still waiting for a new spider. It hasn't happened yet because the front sway joints and the brake booster needed done first, though I did manage to get a couple of individual injectors replaced to bandaid the problem. 

         So far Bob has only officially murdered my bank account, but the failure is not due to a lack of effort. I have a deep set desire to set the bastard aflame. A day will come when I will be able to afford to do so, and when that day comes, Bob will absolutely be replaced by something that is not a Chevy as they are absurd to work on at home. I hate Bob. Bob hates me. #neverchevy

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Project

I love movies, but I'd never considered the possibility that I could be a part of making one. I had considered a lot of other things - photographer, writer, wilderness guide, ski instructor, scientist - but hadn't taken any large concrete steps toward any of them. There have been some baby steps, dipping my toes into them all, but never committing. Living my life like I have 300 possible years instead of a mere 80 or so, if I'm lucky. At some point, you have to stop talking and start doing if you are to have any hope of achieving anything of value. 

So the husband wrote a screenplay and together we started Makeshift Film Group, LLC. I gradually got my old DSLR the repairs it needed and have begun carrying it around again instead of just using my phone. I've begun submitting pitches to magazines and working on a short story. My FAFSA is almost ready to submit, just to see if grad school is even a possibility. I'm even teaching skiing again with the goal of PSIA certification and eventually a renewed WFR cert so I can get back into guiding, too. Basically, we've decided to do all of it at once, for better or for worse. 

I've spend the past 10 years working either directly in academic scientific research or in research support, so film is a pretty serious leap in a totally different direction. It's not just the art of film I have to learn about, but the business of it, as well. Actually, as the acting Vice President of the company and Production Manager of our first feature, it's my main focus. That and learning how to budget and schedule both a proof of concept and a feature film and teach myself how to use the associated software, write business plans for the company and film projects, somehow figure out how to calculate something resembling an ROI for the feature despite the elimination of affordable data acquisition (fuck you, Gracenote, for buying Baseline Studio Systems and jacking up the price of your data beyond our reach), and figuring out how to reach potential investors. 

Meatwad analyzing my preliminary BLSS data before I realized we couldn't afford to buy what we really needed. 

As film fans, Nick and I are both pretty frustrated by the endless parade of sequels and remakes and, increasingly, films based off of video games and even apps (Angry Birds? Really?). We intend to make a project that hearkens back to the goofy, fun movies of our youth - an homage/parody of those films, that recognizes the style and themes of the time while still acknowledging the realities of the business side of the film industry. This will not be a niche film, but rather a fun space adventure, that builds off of the past while maintaining it's own unique identity. Ultimately, it should be a lot of fun and make enough money that we can keep making films. That is the reality - if you are fortunate enough to find investors for a film, they have to make money off of your project if you ever hope to make another. 

Business first, art later. 

So, that's the goal. Or, goals. Thunder Lord is the feature, so keep an eye out for it. We'll be putting the proof of concept for it together first and maybe I'll even get something published along the way or teach your kids how to ski or maybe even take some nice photos that are of value to someone other than myself. 

One thing I know is that I won't give up. The time for a passive existence is over and the time for active achievement has begun. 

I shall no longer merely abide. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Living a Mile High

In the days when I had visited Denver, but not yet moved there, I concluded that it was the Columbus, OH of the west. Both places are incredibly flat, suburban, and spread out, with I-70 running through them, and are filled with residents that have an affinity for football. The chief difference it seemed, was that one could easily escape Denver for the mountains, whereas in Columbus you would be stuck in the center of Ohio, surrounded by a wasteland of suburbia and corn.

Seriously, this isn't far from Denver. 

Upon moving to Denver, I found that the affinity for football is significantly less profound than in Columbus. People like the Broncos, but they have every major team sport at their disposal, plus a number of smaller ones and skiing and other extreme sports in the nearby mountains. The interests of Denver sports fan are less concentrated on one team. something I find to be more bearable. In no way does it bother me that other people like sports, but it does bother me when I get re-routed halfway around town and can't get where I need to be because of sports. That's just obnoxious.

I love some sports. 

When the husband and I moved there in 2012, the cost of living was pretty reasonable and comparable to where we had moved from in Louisville, KY. That didn't last long, but at that time we were able to live right in the center of town in Capitol Hill near Uptown & Downtown. I prefer to live either in the heart of a city or in the middle of nowhere as there's something about the suburbs that depresses the hell out of me. I think that the thing that to some people represents stability and comfort to me represents stagnancy. I also have a borderline irrational hatred of shopping centers and their traffic control methods.

I think that the tall buildings are a part of my attraction to cities as to me they act as a sort of artificial mountain, making flat terrain more interesting and inspiring a similar feeling of awe and smallness. An urban mountain, if you will.

I'm sure the feeling isn't the same for everyone. 

Denver has a lot of things going for it, what with the large number of music venues and all of the glorious sunshine. There are some solid restaurants as well, though overall I feel like Louisville, KY has Denver solidly beat in this category. Denver does some things really well, craft beer for example, but also tends toward relatively uninspired fare and has the unfortunate tendency to put green chile sauce on absolutely everything. A lot of places in the area also think green chile sauce is a soup, something I severely object to.

That sunshine is no joke. 

Denver has gotten incredibly expensive, no doubt for several reasons. There are a lot of jobs in certain fields, particularly tech, or so I'm told. Recreational pot is a thing, something I'm not sure I'll ever be entirely used to. I also suspect people have discovered how nice the weather frequently is here. 

I need to share more pictures like this. 

We could never have afforded a place in Denver, so we bought a house in the mountains. It means a lot of commuting and less convenience, but it's one hell of a lot easier to hike and ski. Also, rent is about as much as our mortgage, so there's that. When we moved out here, we drove across the country with a car full of whatever stuff we could fit and three drugged cats. We had no job and nowhere to live and we worked it out. I can't say I'd recommend that now. In fact, if we hadn't come when we did, I'm not sure we would have been able. 

The two remaining felids - R.I.P. Poe...

I love Colorado, particularly the mountainous part (a lot of people forget that half of the state is basically Kansas) and I like Denver, despite it's flaws. I don't know if we'll be here forever, but we both find the area to be significant improvement on Appalachia and the Midwest - better weather, more interesting terrain, way better skiing, and a more developed film industry. The relevance of this will be discussed more in depth later, but we started our film production company here and are working to get our first feature financed. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It Happened Again

I've moved again, this time to Denver, CO. I like Louisville, but I've always wanted to live where I can enjoy all of the outdoor stuff that I love a little bit more.

More to come later.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

World Equestrian Games

I first learned of the impending World Equestrian Games several years ago traveling from Ohio to Kentucky via I-75. The sign advertising the event has been in place since at least the late 2000s and, as an equestrian on hiatus, I always took note of it, though I scarcely expected to attend.

As fate would have it, come 2010 and I am living in nearby Louisville, KY. When an old friend decided to visit Lexington for it I made the trip and a mere hour-and-a-half and $45 later I found myself meeting her there.

I badly miss riding and horses in general. I grew up working with them, but horses are expensive and poverty is my lot, so I've drifted away. Horses are an escape, especially when there is wilderness to escape to with them. Classical dressage is an art. I am fond of both. Along these lines, dressage in some form or another occurs at the WEG so I was hoping to attend. As it were, ticket prices ranged from $42 - $140 for that event and with the "affordable" dressage events all scheduled for weekdays, I elected for a $25 grounds pass only (note: ticket only actually $25 if purchased at gate to avoid nearly $10 in ticketmaster fees). I expect major events to be pricey, but this was rather more than expected, particularly with the $20 parking fee (note: carpool). I figure that the this is probably the only time the WEG will be in my vicinity so I dismissed my normal frugal misgivings and allowed myself to be filtered into the trade show.

The grounds pass does get you into more than the trade show. I'll be fair, there are some enjoyable events and clinics. I was unfortunate to be there on an unseasonably chilly day, but I still enjoyed an Andalusian exhibition and a nice demo by Tommie Turley. Many if not all of the things normally available at the Kentucky Horse Park are available for the event. We tried to visit Alysheba in the Hall of Champions only to learn that he died in 2009 (oops), discovered Molly the Three-Legged pony and an odd reining ride which I did not ride due to lack of operator. Also, the equine statues at the park all appear to be anatomically correct. This is notable only because nearly every other equine statue I have encountered in America is not. The Kentucky Horse Park expresses it's brand of rebellion in the form of testicles.

The trade show left me feeling like a different species. In my world, one does not pay $300 for breeches, $1000 for jackets or (gasp!) $65,000 for a saddle, no matter how nicely tooled it is.


Also, check out this silly mannequin.

In the end, I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed spending three hours shoveling horse shit more than this event, especially if I could trade some riding time for it. I'm a pretty reasonable rider. Anyone need a shit shoveler?

PS: Info on the move to Louisville to come later. Thus far, I rather like it here.

It happened

I moved out of Ohio to Louisville, KY. Segue on to next post complete.....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ohio-Themed Diatribe

I live in Ohio and it's no secret to anyone that I know that I'd rather not. It's a mistake I regret. I had lived here before and didn't like it then, but I needed a better job and thought Columbus could provide it.

I do have a better job, but not a great job.

I spend a lot of time with these.

I'd rather be studying aquatic ecology or ornithology or about any species in which there is the potential to do some field work.

Alas. It's something I'm working on.

Ohio doesn't work for me for a number of reasons. A really, really huge reason is football. I've never liked football, but I didn't hate it with the intensity that I do now until I moved here. Ohio State ceases to be an educational institution during football, which is real bad if you have to study or work there on game days (I've had to do both). It's not even the sport itself that's the problem, its the extremity to which football culture is taken here. It's just annoying and dumb. Sorry, can't be nice about that one.

Another really huge personal reason is mountains. I love them and there are none. It was a fun moment the first time I went skiing in the area. About an hour out from Columbus I was really starting to get worried because it was still so flat and then we hit a little ripple in the earth called Mad River "Mountain". Something is better than nothing.

Columbus is the land of shopping plazas and subdivisions. This is great if you like to shop. The number one reason that people who like Columbus give me for liking it is shopping. It's the only town I've been to in which the residents routinely refer to their shopping centers by name. If you are in Columbus and someone says they are going to Graceland, they are not talking about Elvis. They may as well have said that they are going to Target. Do not be fooled by this trickery!

I'm not a shopper. Even if I had money, I wouldn't be a shopper. I'd be a traveler. Personal preference and all.

Along those lines, this place has horrific public transportation. I have a very basic theory that there is a much stronger tendency for flat cities to spread outward faster and to lose their original architecture quicker because it is cheaper to do so. Those hills complicate things. Columbus is a flat city and it isn't a very old city. I'm thinking that a lot of its original character was probably in all the little neighboring farming communities that have been sucked into carcinogenic Columbus. The only current public transport is COTA (the bus system) which lacks the funding to run reliably to the outerlying areas of town often enough to be of use for workers. This is a driving town. It's hard to work here without a car. Not impossible, but significantly more difficult than in some other towns.

A final personal problem is that most bands I like skip here or come here once and never again, because the first show they had drew a crowd of ~20-30. I'm just not in majority here.

In summation, Ohio sucks for these reasons:
1. football
2. terrain
3. sprawl & lack of public transport (problems that go hand-in-hand)
4. consumer culture
5. music scene

I do realize a few things:
1. In this situation Ohio=Columbus. I do not need Ohio residents pointing this out to me. I do realize that southern Ohio has some "hills". The other four problems are mostly still present in varying quantity.
2. For those of you about to point it out, I also like Cleveland and Cincinnati better, but when I move it will be completely out of this shit-hole state. I'm done.
3. Yes, I'm already trying to move. I am job searching and saving money. Do not tell me to "just leave it if you don't like it." I'm working on it.
4. Nowhere is for everyone. Ohio will be ok for some people.

Over and out.