Happy New Year!

Hey, everyone.  It's been awhile.  Feels like we haven't touched base since last year (I never get tired of that one).

I know we have a lot of catching up to do.  I promise to dish on all comings and goings in short order.  Today, though, I just wanted to say hi and I'm back.

While you're waiting…Over on Facebook, this "25 Random Things About Me" list thing is all the rage.  I got suckered into it, too.  It was kinda fun, and I thought I would share my list here as well.  Enjoy…

1. I had both a pet squirrel named Frosty and a pet crow named Sidney when I was growing up.

2. I grew up on an 80-acre farm nearly three miles from the nearest tar
road and about 13 miles from the nearest town. Most people don't
believe me when I tell them this. They think I grew up in some suburb.

3. I have eaten field mouse fricassee, courtesy of my wildlife management college roommate, Pat.

4. I am a convicted thief. It's a long story.

5. My first name is not William–it's Wilmont. And to the best of my
knowledge, my grandfather, my dad, and I are the only people in the
world who have or had this as our first name. (update! my friend Brett informed me that there is an NFL player with the first name Wilmont.  I am NOT ALONE!)

6. I spent the better part of the first day I met my wife, Robbye,
avoiding her at the harvest party we were both attending because I
thought she was too young for me.

7. I lived in my car for a month when I was 19 because I wanted to experience what it felt like.

8. When Robbye and I got married, I changed my middle name to Austin,
after my great-grandfather that came to the US from Ireland.

9. Although I went through most of my life as "Wilmont James True III",
my birth name was really "Wilmont James True Jr.", the same as my dad.
My dad didn't want me named after him, so my mom named me after my
grandfather when my dad was away at work. As a result, the Social
Security Administration thought my dad and I were the same person for
many years. They still think my grandparents are my parents.

10. I turned down an offer to perform off-Broadway when I was 20 in the
Tim Rice rock opera, BLONDEL. I'd been the title character in the US
premiere, and Tim liked my work. I moved to LA instead to pursue an
offer to attend the screenwriting program at USC, which I never ended
up actually attending.

11. I was a 7th level letterman in choir in high school (my only
letter), and I think I am still in second place for highest number of
letter points achieved in the history of my school (the highest number,
10 more than me, was achieved by my friend Deb Berndt the same year).

12. I was a store manager for Radio Shack in the late 1980s. At the
time, in fact, I was the only part-time salesperson every promoted
directly to store manager. I attribute this distinction more to the
fact that no one wanted to manage the store as opposed to my mad sales
skills.

13. I have been general manager for two small retail chains: one for pet supplies and the other for Black Hills Gold jewelry.

14. My two high school jobs were working on the City of Isanti
maintenance crew (where I painted all the fire hydrants one summer and
managed the city sewage plant the next) and playing drums in my
parents’ country & western band.

15. I am allergic to horseradish.

16. I begged Robbye to take me to see THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING
PANTS 2. And, hell yes, I cried…just like I did over the first one.
(“Why did Bailey have to die?!?”)

17. I am red-green colorblind. But it’s a rather insidious disorder,
because I can see certain shades of red and green but not others. I
have oft bought a piece of clothing I thought was grey only to find out
later that it’s the crappiest shade of green. No wonder why it was 70%
off.

18. I don’t like the sound of my own voice.

19. Amy Jo Johnson (the Pink Power Ranger, who was briefly considered
for the role of Carly in RUNAWAY) was afraid to meet me in person after
she read the script for RUNAWAY. When we finally did meet, she couldn’t
stop laughing because it turns out I was “just a suburban soccer-dad
type.” She is, btw, the only celebrity I’ve met that truly excited my
kids.

20. I unexpectedly aced the ACT (35 out of 36), getting a perfect score
on (of all things) the math section. The Physics and Math departments
at my college both offered me scholarships to study in their fields.
But I was a theatre major.

21. I finished the Twin Cities Marathon in 4 hours and 10 seconds. I
would have made my goal to finish in less than 4 hours, but in a moment
of K-2 proportions, I ran 50 yards back to retrieve my running partner,
who had stopped running.

22. I am known for coming up with horrible titles for my own works
(e.g., RUNAWAY was MICHAEL’S LETTERS, INCARNATION was THE ANGEL ON THE
HORSE).

23. The only fan letter I have ever written was to Elvis Costello (via his website). And I was thrilled when he answered it!

24. I only recently realized I love sauerkraut, thanks to my wife, and that my favorite sandwich is a Rueben.

25. I almost died at age 17 from chickenpox, as they threatened to grow
on my central nervous system. I missed nearly six weeks of school
because of it and had to finish my junior year at the same time as I
was starting my senior year of high school.

I don’t know what to think anymore

The problem, of course, is this…
http://www.youtube.com/v/lmJO3ppLBsk&hl=en&fs=1

What am I supposed to think?

A friend of mine sent me this link about a week ago, saying, “Just saw it again online.  As someone commented, ‘Looks sucktacular’. Couldn't have said it better myself.”

I know that as a card-carrying movie cynic I should feel the same.  But I don’t.

I found it…erm…fascinating, reading in a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter, “Despite ‘Trek's’ indisputable cultural brand and avid fan base, the filmmakers and the studio hope to bypass two potential obstacles on the way to blockbuster box office returns: the MySpace generation's unfamiliarity with the series and genre and the franchise's typically anemic performance in the global market.”

That struck a chord with me.  Then I realized they’re right.  My kids grew up with “Star Trek” meaning Captain Picard and then meaning that kinda lame series of shows and movies, most of which were over-fixated on this “Borg” thing or time dilation.  And it was never really a factor in their lives, save for the fact their dad was kinda kooky over it.  They liked it because I liked it and because they enjoyed enjoying things with me.

But that’s not what “Star Trek” means to me.  I was born into it.  The real thing—the universe of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock—was high drama of Shakespearean proportions as far as I was concerned, and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  It felt real and a little scary, and, by god, it was, wasn’t it?  It was the future!

For me, “Star Wars” was the upstart usurper.  Yep, it captured my attention.  Yep, it eclipsed “Star Trek”.  Yet, its eclipse was of the “second love” variety.  Bigger, better, but always second.

You never forget your first love they say, and the 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek” series were that for me.  Pretty much everything else, save for “The Wrath of Kahn” movie, felt a little like a white lie.  We nodded and called it “Star Trek" because we wanted more, but we knew…

Then I caught a glimpse of these photos on IMDb, and something stirred inside me.

I looked at them, and I felt it…”Star Trek”.

Then I watched the trailer, and I felt it again.  Yep, updated.  Yep, slicker.  Yep, bigger.  But there was something there.

Funny…I didn’t even completely process until my second watching that the actors in the trailer were different than those I remember from TV.  I got it.  I bought it.  Done deal.

My friend, Mike, says that this new “Star Trek” looks like a community theatre production.  To which I say, “I know.  That’s part of what I like about it.”

It’s all the things I mentioned above and just hokey looking enough to feel familiar.  To feel real.  To wake up my inner eleven year-old and let him take a turn at the controls for a change.   And, of course, to believe.

But here's the rub: I don’t trust it.

By the way, the answer is "Yes": I know that I investing far too much energy and thought into all this.  Yet, I am not only familiar with the “Star Trek” universe, it is part of what defines me.  It’s important in the way that all cultural icons are important and more.  I was not only raised on “Star Trek”, but because of the nature of what it was—the morality play nature of it all—I was also raised by it.

If it’s true you can’t go home again, I am setting myself up for a fall.  Then these pictures and this trailer are like memory ghosts, idealized visions of the way things were and might have been.

If Mr. Abrams and co. aren’t as good as everyone claims they are, and the 43 year-old isn’t entertained alongside the eleven year-old…  Because that’s Abrams' challenge here, isn’t it?  It isn’t just connecting with the MySpace generation, which isn’t the real target audience (save for opening up opportunities for sequels) anyway.  It’s two audiences—eleven year-olds and 43 year-olds—caught in a situation of “Star Trek” proportions themselves…they occupy the same body.  And if this production can’t adequately deliver to those two audiences…

I don’t even wanna think about it.  Thank heavens it’s still six months away.  I can hide my head in the sand till then.

The devil’s in the details

Okay…here’s the thing.  My friend, Mike, knows I hate these things.  Oh yeah…and I know he hates them.

Why…then why would he fall prey to one of these insipid Internet lists?  And why…tell me, God, why would he not only inflict it upon me, his supposed friend, but then announce to the world that I was one of the most likely candidates to respond to the f@cking thing!

Because he knows me better than I know myself.

And he knows that as the thing sat in my inbox, it would eat at me like acid, eventually exposing my guilt-ridden underbelly.

He knew I would cry uncle.  It was only a matter of time.

Michael…you devil, you.

———-

Okay…no more drama.  Vote Obama.

Here’s the deal.  You don’t gotta send this thing to anyone.  If you’re up for it, though, show yourself, OLU readers (both of you!).  Cut and paste the questions below, delete my answers, and put in your own.

We wanna get to know you!  According to my friend’s email, "The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about those who know you."

For now, here’s my answers.

Four jobs I have had in my life

1. Grill Master and Drive-thru Wizard at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Burgers
2. City Maintenance Worker, where I painted all the fire hydrants and babysat the city sewage plant in Isanti, MN one summer
3. Salesperson and Store Manager at Radio Shack
4. General Manager for a chain of Black Hills Gold jewelry stores (even though I have never been to the Black Hills)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

1.  Planet of the Apes (the real one)
2   The Commitments
3.  The Dukes of Hazzard (against my will)
4.  The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari

Four places I have lived

1.  Los Angeles, CA
2.  Las Cruces, NM
3   Sierra Vista, AZ
4.  In my car

Four places I’d like to live

1. St. Petersburg, FL
2. Loreto, Mexico
3. New York, NY (Manhattan or Brooklyn)
4. Moonbase Alpha before the big, nasty explosion that sent it hurtling away from Earth at apparent FTL speed

Four places I have been

1. La Paz, Mexico, gawking at a too-fresh-for-comfort skeletal arm that washed up on the beach
2. On a late-night Central Park carriage ride with my baby
3. Hanging in a near-deserted pub with my Canuck "brother", Pigger, in Thunder Bay, ON, unexpectedly tossing back more Labatts than we could count with The Beautiful Girls
4. Perched in scaffolding, 10 feet directly above Prince’s head for two hours (I coulda hocked a loogey, but I demonstrated incredible restraint)

People who e-mail me

1. Dean Hyers
2. Pete Machalek
3. Robbye
4. Scores of people who are quite concerned about my penis size and sexual endurance

Favorite foods

1. Eggs–especially my pickled ones…  Mmmm..!
2. Chipotle burritos
3. Robbye’s lentil spaghetti
4. Peanut butter slathered on pretty much anything

Four places I’d rather be right now

1. The Madeira Beach cottage
2. London, England
3. An eco-resort on the Virgin Islands
4. Snuggling in bed with my wife

Four friends I think will respond

1. Robbye
2. Diana
3. Colin
4. Barack

Four things I am looking forward to this year

1. A week off bumming around somewhere with Robbye
2. Selling another script
3. FINALLY, MAYBE getting to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
4. Speaking in Seattle later this month and in LA in June

Four T.V. Shows that I watch

1. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
2. Medium
3. Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
4. ("Who wants a..!") Clean House (Official Member, Miss Niece Fan Club.  Mmmm Hmmm!)

Now, do you know me better?

And…are ya satisfied, Mike? [wink]

Strange Butt True (vol. II)

Searchpic

I don’t know why this amuses me so.

One interesting function Typepad provides is the ability to track the number of hits on weblogs it hosts. Moreover, one can also see what it refers to as…well…the “Referring Address” for each hit, in the event it came from outside the Typepad system.

When I mouse over addresses that originate from Google, etc., I can usually see the search string the person entered that brought him or her to my little slice of blogsphere. Ever since the change over to Ordinary Life Unordinary, I have been visited upon by this little gem frequently.

Is it simply that the new blog name is catching on, or are folks trying to tell me something?

Whatever. I’ll take it either way. [twitch, twitch]

Strange Butt True (vol. I)

Here’s an odd little ditty.

Robbye and I were riding in the car someplace the other day. I can’t remember what we were talking about, but somehow this nugget wriggled its way out of memory. I turned to her and said, “I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.”

So… What?

Exactly.

Except…

All of a sudden I had this epiphany. All of a sudden I got it.

So, yeah…I know. I feel like an idiot.

I have lived with this statement for as long as I can remember. It’s one of my mom’s little gems–one of her greatest hits. She says it all the time. I’ve certainly caught the gist of it–at least the spirit in which the statement is evoked: the answer is so apparent, you only need one guess to get it. But the logic behind it has always eluded me.

Because that’s not what the statement is really saying. When you take the statement at face value, it seems to be saying that if I give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count, that means you ostensibly have an infinite number of guesses. Right? On the surface, it’s pretty much an invitation to keep guessing until you land on the correct answer. That’s cool, huh?

I mean, it’s not like I’ve spent the last 40 years pouring over the thing, but… Alright, I admit it. I have spent my fair share of time puzzling through it.

It’s like a sliver imbedded under the skin. Or better…recently, I read an article about this 59-year-old German lady who had a pencil removed from her her head. Apparently, she’d fallen on the thing 55 years earlier, when she was four. It went through her skin and right into her brain. She didn’t die, but she did have chronic nosebleeds and headaches all of her life because medical science wasn’t at a point where doctors could safely extract it.

The “three guesses” thing is like that. Lodged in my brain. A lot of headaches. No way to excise it.

And I feel stupid for not getting it all these years. For not figuring out its painfully simplistic logical framework.

I mean, what’s that all about?

One reason I may have stuggled with it is because the logic is inherently flawed. It breaks down and renders the statement utterly useless.

The machinery behind the statement–the inherent assumption–is, in effect, saying that I am attempting to provide you the correct guess, based on a question you’ve posed to me. Presumably, if my first two guesses “don’t count”, that means you leave me infinite leeway to arrive at the correct answer someday without restriction. In this case, presumably on the assumed third guess. You’ll wait there patiently with me, for the rest of eternity, if necessary, until I say the right thing. Stumble all you want, pal. No problem. We’re doin’ just fine. You take all the time you need. You’ll get it one of these tries. The old “put an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters” routine.

And yet, I make a guess, and it’s discounted. I make another guess, and that one’s discounted. I continue making guesses, and they are continually cast aside. Unaccounted for. No tick mark. Nada.

It turns out I never reach my third (and final) guess. If each answer, i.e., guess, that leaves my lips, doesn’t count, I’m snared in some sort of feedback loop. It goes on forever. I’m always stuck at the beginning. I never make it to square two, much less square three.

Because what if I get the right answer the first time around? The statement doesn’t acount for that. If I nail the thing right outta the shoot? Forget it. That guess didn’t count. I can, in fact, say the same thing again, be bang on with the right answer. Nope. Doesn’t count. What about a third time? Umm…you don’t seem to get it. This isn’t the “third time”. Those other two guesses (What other two guesses?) didn’t count. This is still your first guess. And by the way..? It won’t count either.

Here’s the deal: it never counts. You can have the right answer at the get-go, and it makes no difference whatsoever. Because your answer never goes on record. You’re left screaming at the wall.

Go back to Philosophy 101. The statement isn’t just illogical, it’s non-logic.

Fuck. Maybe that’s why I’ve wrestled with it all these years.

It’s a built-in Catch-22. But it’s more insidious than that. It masquarades as a pleasant invitation to take all the time you need to get it right. The pressure’s off. No worries. Except for one small snag. You accept the invitation, all the while thinking, this is great! And then…

BAM! You’re knocked to the ground by a sucker punch of Sisyphusian propoortions. And to add insult to injury, you’re sucked in FOREVER! You can never pass the test! You can never win.

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Yup… That’s what it feels like. Warm smell of colitas rising up in the air, indeed.

Crap.

No wonder I couldn’t make heads or tails of the thing. It’s a metaphor for my life growing up.

What does that mean?

I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.