Friday, February 23, 2018

A Post. Crazy Times.



They brought my dad home on Monday evening. (or was it Tuesday? It's all a blur)

Went over to see him. It's nothing short of amazing how much progress he's made in only a couple of days. He's dressed normally and walking very close to regular. The only time you can really tell that something has happened is if he tries to talk. It's mumbled words that don't make sense.

And when he tries to do something with his hands, it gets dicey. But face it--this was him on Friday:
And then this is him at home on (checking) Tuesday at home with one of his newest grandkids:
It's insane, in a good way. They're working on getting a speech therapist for him, so we're all hoping that within 6 months this can all be just a very bad memory.

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Sent the Ttory2 wrap to the composer. I keep second-guessing myself. Even after watching it with Zig, I keep seeing things I feel like maybe I should cut a little tighter.

-------

Maybe I buried the lead a bit. Tonight I went out with Malfi again. Met him at a restaurant he knows the owner of not that far from me. Super nice guy(the owner, not that sonuvabitch Malfi)--says he owns like 3 acres of land, all woods, if we wanna shoot something there, or shoot in the restaurant if we want.

Malfi had asked me if I was interested in shooting the music video for his band's first release, which would be cool, but nowhere near as cool as the next thing he dropped later.

He's like, "Hey, remember we talked about (name of my favorite book he's written)?" and I'm like, "Yeah." He's says, "Not sure if you were serious, but what do you think if I write the script and we try to raise the money, and you direct it?"

And I'm like, Fuck. Yeah.

So he's gonna write it in the next couple of weeks and shoot it to me. I'll make any little changes I think are necessary, then break it down so we can figure out if we can possibly do it justice on a budget of around $250K.

By far my largest budget, but right in the ballpark where I think we have a shot at making real money.

It'll be a lot of pressure on me, because as much as I don't like to fail on my own stuff, I DEFINITELY don't wanna let him down, and turn his great story into a piece of shit.

I think I'll go into fully believing--and not just cuz it may be true--that this will be the last film I direct, so I'm gonna put everything I have into it. Leave it all on the field, as they say.

Pretty exciting, though.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Bad Couple of Days

Not looking forward to this post, and I'm foregoing the usual T&A meme because I don't want to make light of it.

My wife never shakes me awake. She just calls out my name and I'll wake up eventually.

Only time she'd ever woke me up by shaking me was on 9/11.

Until Friday afternoon. I awoke to her shaking me, still groggy from a few hours of sleep, and said, "What?"

"Your dad's had a massive stroke!" she said in a panicked voice. "You have to get to the hospital now."

Quick backstory cuz I just searched, and I guess I never went into it, but about 10 years ago my dad had a heart attack. They had to do a quadruple bi-pass on him. When I went to the hospital to see him, it was insane how old and frail he suddenly looked.

He was taking something for his high blood pressure, but had stopped because when he smoked(which he wasn't supposed to be doing) it made him sick...so naturally he stopped taking the drug rather than stop the smoking.

Swore up and down he was done with smoking, that this was the wake up call, that he'd almost died and that was it.

Anyway, months later he took up the smoking again in secret, but if you're a non-smoker then you know how easy it is to tell when a smoker gets near you. He regained his strength and look for the most part, and you'd never know he had the heart attack.

Back to me waking up groggy. I throw clothes on and bolt to the emergency room--which luckily is the nearest hospital to me. I get there, get a visitor bracelet and head in and here's the fucked up part. I honestly don't remember who in my family was in the room with my dad at the time, or what was said, or anything.

Other than how my dad looked again. Not only old and frail, but the right part of his face sagged unnaturally, very disturbingly. A doctor or nurse or somebody asked him if he knew where he was, and gibberish came out. Like, actual words, but none of them made sense, and all with only half a mouth because the right side of his face just drooped.

(and my thought is along the lines, "Oh Jesus, he's like insanely smart, the smartest person I know, please don't tell me he's brain damaged now...")

They asked him the date. More nonsense. They asked him his name. More nonsense, and a desperate look in his eye because he couldn't say what he wanted to say. They started asking him if his name was Bob--he shook his head. Was his name Mary? He shook his head. Was his name Paul? He nodded.

At some point my memory comes back. They'd only let two of us in the room at a time, but it's not like you really wanted to stay there. He couldn't communicate with you, and it was hard to put on a brave face and smile.

I went out in the hall to talk with my sister in law, then found out the scoop from my younger brother.

My mom is out of town visiting my sisters in Wisconsin, and helping one of them out because they have a new baby.  My aunt--the one with cancer who's been living at the house for a couple years now while my dad basically takes care of her--she was admitted to the hospital a few days earlier because she's having pain and mind-addled issues.

That's a whole other story(and she's literally in the same hospital a few floors up from him when he's brought in. Someone went upstairs and told her, "Your brother in law had a massive stroke and is on the way to the hospital", and she says, "Can you tell him to bring my pajamas?"  And this is the fucked up part about how she's been since my parents took her in--we're not sure if she said that because her brain is addled, or that's just how self-obsessed she is)

Friday morning--coincidentally my mother's birthday--she gets a call from my dad, but he hangs up immediately. She calls him back, and the phone just rings and rings, and finally he picks up. But he's making no sense talking to her.

She hangs up and calls my brother Mike who lives 5 minutes away. "Call an ambulance and get over to the house--your dad's in trouble."

He calls an ambulance and jumps in his car, and is surprised to find the ambulance at his house BEFORE him.(nobody else had called them) The paramedics are outside looking for a way in, so Mike lets them in.

My dad is sitting on the floor, his back against the wall behind his recliner. The two dogs are standing in front of him, barking ferociously at the paramedics, who wouldn't approach my dad until the dogs were gone. Apparently they even growled and snapped at my brother, who they know because he's always over there.

My brother got the dogs away and the paramedics checked him and rushed him off. My mom booked the first flight home, which wouldn't arrive until 9pm that night, and she was bringing my sisters.

Back to hospital time. The doctor comes out to talk to all of us. My dad has had a massive stroke, and there's a clot in his brain. They think he's a candidate for a procedure they do at the university in Baltimore where they will insert some sort of device into his crotch, take it all the way up into the brain, grab the clot, and pull it out.

Sounds insane to me, but the doctor says it's actually a procedure with an extremely high success rate, and on top he tells us that a high percentage of the patients will literally walk out of the hospital the next day, and you might not even know they had a stroke.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

The doctor says they're just waiting for the university to approve him as a patient for the procedure, and if so, they'll rush him off in an ambulance to Baltimore.

He gets approved. We're all going to meet at the university. I go home and grab a shower and a bite to eat, figuring I'm probably going to be up there for a while and I literally haven't eaten anything in ten hours. I get to the hospital pretty quick to find my brothers in the waiting room eating pizza.

My older brother says that he went in when they originally got there and there was a doctor testing my dad. He said that the doctor tested my dad's right hand and it moved some, which they found strange.

There's no word on what's going on yet. The doctor's going to come out soon and tell us something, and damn if he doesn't. He's Indian, and looks like he's twenty. He purses his lips oddly.

He says the clot has been breaking up on its own, and it's now too small to operate on--this is bad news. Because again--if they could get it out, perhaps 100% recovery. The doctor also says they can definitely see the stroke damage on the left side of his brain--hence, the sagging and non-movement on the right side of his body.

He gives us this news in a peculiar way. Like, if you took your dying mother to the hospital and the doctor came out and said, "Well, she's not dead but we had to cut off both legs and both arms. But she's not dead." Like, I guess we should be happy?

He says right now they're going to try to get him in a room a few floors lower(we were in the ICU but we'd be going to MICU which is medium intensive care unit I think).

We wait. And wait. We exchange turns going in the room to hang out with our dad, who mostly just sleeps. On the occasions he opens his eyes and stares at you, it's bad. You can see the frustration behind his eyes. He tries to say something and out comes nonsense, and he just grimaces and shakes his head.

They keep telling us the room is getting ready, and soon they'll take him up. Mike tells me the ambulance driver on the way over said that they would tell us that he'd be moved to a room, and they'd keep saying it, but they'd never move him. They said be prepared for that.

Dudes weren't far off. They moved my dad into a room on the fourth floor around 9pm that night. Weird part is that the sag in his face wasn't as noticeable by that point. He also had surprised the doctors by moving his right arm, holding it up for 10 seconds, and also moving his right leg.

My older brother told the story of this other Indian doctor who came in, thinking my dad couldn't move the right side of his body. He said to my dad, "Hold your right arm up." and my dad would hold his right arm up.

The doctor spun his head to my brother with an astonished look. Back to my dad. "Raise your right leg." and my dad did it, and the doctor spun to my brother again, like, "See what I did! I told him to do it, and he was suddenly able to!"

Anyway, my dad can't stand so they keep having to put a catheter in him to drain his bladder. He also can't swallow, so they tried to put a feeding tube into him twice. They failed both times, and I watched one of them, and let me tell you--you do not want a feeding tube put in you while you're awake. The sight, and the sound of him choking as they tried to jam a plastic tube down his throat is not something you're getting out of your head any time soon.

My mom eventually showed up. They were finishing up a catheter, and they pulled the curtain aside, and she strolled in and started singing, "Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me." My dad looked at her and grimaced, and I said, "Want me to put her back on the plane for you?"

He smiled on one side of his face then shook his head, so that was good to see. But then my mom starts whispering to him about what happened that morning, and she says, "I don't know how you answered the phone. God was with you that morning. That was God working."

Now don't get me started on that fucking notion. Like, you're saying God was there to push the answer button on his phone? Man, fucking shame he couldn't have been there when, you know, my dad had a fucking stroke. I mean, obviously God GAVE him the stroke in the first place, right?

But all I say is, in a half-kidding voice, "Or it was a triumph of the human spirit. You know, an amazing will to live."

She got pissed at me.

I left around 10:30pm. My mom was spending the night. I said I'd be back the next day.

----

Saturday

Got to the hospital in the afternoon. I go into the room and am instantly surprised--pleasantly--at how my dad looks. There's definitely more life in him. He's sitting up, for one. (he didn't have the strength for that the previous day) His face isn't sagging as much. If his mouth didn't bend down on the right side, you wouldn't know anything was different.

Still nothing but gibberish for the most part, but at one point that night Paul(my older brother) asked him if he could go the bathroom on his own or if the nurse helped him, and he said, "I can't go the bathroom on my own."

We were both like, "Woah..."

Paul said he was trying to see what my dad could understand. He held up the remote control for the TV and said, "What's this?" My dad said, "Phone." So my brother held up his phone and said, "What's this?" My dad said, "Phone." My brother held both of them out and said, "This is a phone?" and my dad nodded. He held up the remote again. "And this is a phone?" My dad nodded.

But then he held up the remote and asked my dad, "What's this do?" and my dad pointed at the TV. It was weird, he said.

We took shifts. Paul left after a while and I stayed with him by myself until Mike showed up. I had my laptop, so I streamed some Netflix for him. We watched a couple of original Star Treks(he's the one who got me into it when I was like 6). Watched a couple Flash episodes. (he's never seen the show, but loved the comic as a kid)

He can answer yes and no questions. Everything else he simply can't reply to correctly.

My mom spends the night again.

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Sunday

Went back today. My sisters were there, and they're a whole 'nother brand of ridiculousness. They'd been there for hours, so they took off after I got there. My dad looked about the same, but apparently he'd gone to the bathroom on his own. Standing and walking already(though the walking is with assistance) was a good thing.

My brother Mike showed up, so we watched another two Star Treks. During the break, my dad stood up and shuffled into the bathroom to piss. Shuffled back out and got in bed on his own, though really slowly.

The nurses don't know much, and there are no doctors around. (they come in every couple of hours to test him or inject him with something or take a blood sample, and he's attached to one of those machines by like 8 wires.

What we hear is that the doctors come in tomorrow, and they're hopeful that my dad can get into rehab by Tuesday or Wednesday. Though we don't know if that's a place he stays all the time, or he goes home and we take him there during the week. We think probably the first, since he's still in very rough shape.

But it's encouraging to see how much progress he's made in only two days. I told him my AC unit is going to need some work done on it soon, so he needs to get better, and he chuckled and shook his head.

More later. But if I go MIA for a while, this is why.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another Week



Man, was a busy week. Got another hard drive. Formatted it. Partitioned it. Started copying everything from my current hard drive to it.

Then started installing all the programs I use on a daily basis. Chrome, Firefox, Opera. Office. Adobe Suite. (the old CS5 one--I really only use photoshop on this computer) Moviemagic.

Then logging into the million emails/web sites I log in to, figuring out which password I used, and saving it to my computer.

Had a boatload of stuff to pack for eBay. I've been selling actual LOTS of comics to try to get some of them out of my house, and they've actually been selling.

Went back to looking at the Ttory 2 stuff. Tweaking. I'm gonna deliver the wrap to the composer late this week or early next week so he can get started. Then I may send the Pump Trail to the other composer as soon as I'm okay with that. (and the short section with Stewie, since that style fits here better than the other, classical composer)

Saturday went over and watched the fights, and then Molly's Game. A pretty solid feature--very entertaining and well written. Hell, it's Sorkin so you'd expect it.

Tonight I went up and saw Malfi playing guitar, then also singing, in a studio as the mixer worked. It was pretty interesting. My kid would love it there.

Then after we went and drank some beers at some place called Hellas.

Gotta figure out when I'm getting out for V-Day with the wife. We never go ON the day, cuz it's insane. I usually like going the Monday or Tuesday either before it or right after it.

Things I've seen recently:
Tragedy Girls--finally a movie on everybody's best-of list that's not bad. It's not GREAT, but certainly entertaining and well done. With some weird parts for semi-big actors that you wouldn't expect to see in a movie this low budget.

Most of Phillip K. Dick's Electric Dreams--Most of them are pretty good. A couple are definitely in the Black Mirror league.

The current season of Vikings--well, the big question was would this show survive the death of one of its main characters, and the answer is a definite yes. This year was excellent. Was sad to see the final episode, because I would have kept watching. Now I have to wait until next year.

The new Cloverfield movie. It was okay. Interesting enough, but pretty clear that all the monster stuff was jammed in just to make it a Cfield movie.




Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Great News! (He said sarcastically)



I have mentioned that I use two computers regularly, besides my edit computer, right?

I have my old internet computer that's mostly used to log into my business A-zon accounts, and to print labels from eBay(because it has the printer attached), and I stream stuff to my Xbox from this computer.

Tonight, that computer's hard drive died. Whole computer froze, and when I rebooted it...there's no boot disk any more.

For me to use this computer again, I had to re-install Windows, then all the drivers for everything on the computer...but I can't remember which one of these CDs goes to this computer. (I've built three of the machines I have)

And the ethernet is one of the things no working right off the bat, so I can't even use the internet to find drivers for stuff.

Then I have to try to re-install all the programs I use on a daily basis--Photoshop, VLC, winzip, winrar, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc. Then try to revisit all my sites and enter in the passwords.

Lot of fucking work.

I'm hoping I didn't lose much on the actual hard drive that went down. It was the old, original Bounty edit hard drive. I had backed it up on another hard drive, so I think the only thing I probably lost were some Word files because Word would always naturally save to the documents folder on the boot drive.

It lasted about 10 years, so I can't complain about the HD life. But now I have to waste what's left of my A-zon credit on another hard drive. (when one goes down, you always order another and start backing up the hard drive you backed the collapsed hard drive on. Always have two copies somewhere...)

But it's really time consuming too. (and I really wanted to order some of the horror blu's that have been on my wish list for a year or more...)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Asylum Trip 2



My brother Mike and I went back to the abandoned asylum, and this time we took our other brother, who also is getting back into photography. You can find some pics plus some of the details at this blog entry of mine:

http://indyfilmmakeradvs.blogspot.com/

We spent about five hours total, because I'd made plans with my dad to go see Hostiles at 3:45pm.

We showed my older brother the building you go through to get to the main building. It's big, and has lots of shit to photograph. Then we took him to the main building(and we located the morgue this time, but it's pretty unimpressive--VERY small, and there's just one cadaver table.)

Then we made our way to the church, which none of us had been to. It's interesting, but not as much cool shit to shoot.

Then we made a bit of a hike to the furthest building. There was a bus there, so I climbed in for some pics:

On the way--which I didn't mention in the other blog post--we came across a building with barbed wire running fencing all around it, and big tunnels of it on the ground around it. And the barb wire looked BRAND SPANKING NEW. Like, shiny silver.

But the building's door were all busted out, so it's not like they'd be using it for anything. It looked like this:

I looked into it when I got home, and apparently they tried to retro-fit this as one building to house troubled girls or something. This was like 15 years ago or so. It didn't work out, obviously.

I wanted to go look, as I figure there might be stuff in there not as busted up, but we just didn't have time.

I didn't mention, but I also took my drone this time. Not to fly, but I wanted to walk it through one of the hallways to see if I could get anything interesting. (Because the drone, even without flying, has its gimbal--so it's basically a steadicam. Here, this is what I shot, and I didn't try to be steady--and the floor was very rough, with shit on it, so I actually stumbled during this:)


https://youtu.be/xRR_TeclBwo

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On the Ttory front, have been testing different coloring schemes on the wrap to see what my starting basis will be. (Once I see a "look" I like, I can tweak everything from there for all the scenes. I've found one that I kind of like, so I'll probably go with it.)

---

Met up with my local author buddy again for beers and chat. I think we offended some of the people near us with some of our talk. (apparently loud talk about masturbation isn't acceptable in today's society. To think.)

We also brainstormed some ideas. I may have talked him into letting me adapt Night Parade into a film. I wouldn't wanna try it unless I could get a six figure budget(even if if was $100K). It's a great book, with a great story--and an AMAZING scene.

But he's definitely open to it. Like I told him--really the only reason he's not selling the massive books of the horror giants is lack of exposure. He's definitely getting out there, but he should be much bigger than he is. He's that talented.

He told me the story of the year he was nominated for the Stoker, and how he lost to a book that was a little less worthy than his.

We talked about a way to get Dante some money to direct another flick, but more importantly, we'd be able to drink beers and hang out with Dante since we'd be producers.

Talked about a lot of stuff. He really wants me to come split a table with him at STC--that convention I used to go to before the drive back through traffic drove me insane. I know it would be hella fun, and I'd probably meet up with some of the other authors he hangs out with.

I gotta keep my eye on this Ttory 2 ball. GET. IT. DONE.