The Evening Mouthful

reasoned splutterings & hasty wisdom

Archive for June 2008

I have a Beard because…

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Currently Listening
Titus: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Arrow of the Gods

  • It defines my jaw line, making it more square and rugged. This way my head doesn’t quite so much resemble a flabby, large, oblong, spherical variety of toadstool.
  • It evens out my complexion. My skin is somewhat sensitive and irritable. My face is prone to red splotches on the cheeks, and the beard (reddish in colour) covers up the whiter areas near my chin and jaw, giving my face a more smooth, uniform appearance.
  • It keeps my face warmer in winter and protects much of my face from sunburn in summer.
  • It makes me look like Ewan McGregor in Star Wars.
  • My employer (a WOMAN) loves it and wants me to keep it. Think of it as job security.
  • It gives me the illusion of maturity. Whether I really am or not, it at least makes me desire to ACT mature on occasion, and nobody’s complaining so far.
  • It gives my hands something to play with when I’m bored.
  • It gives my teeth something to chew on when I’m nervous.
  • It shaves time off my hygiene routine. (Har!)
  • It’s yet another thing that helps me get in touch with that part of me which seems native to the Victorian era. People have told me that I don’t belong in the modern era, and my need to grow a beard (in spite of the startling lack of public support) seems to support this.

I plan on making it into a goatee or something when Autumn comes around, but don’t expect to see my face completely naked again for a LONG time. I tried that style again last May and it was horrible. Made me feel like a two-years-old boy.

Written by Dave Dueck

June 23, 2008 at 8:21 am

Posted in regular

10 Movies I’ve Always Wanted to Make

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Currently Listening
Angels in America
By Thomas Newman

I. The Screwtape Letters
Bringing this wickedly funny and insightful book to the screen would be a VERY difficult chore (it‘s simply not given to visual depiction, it’s a bunch of letters for Pete’s sake) but deliriously fun at the same time. A grand opportunity to play a literal Devil’s Advocate. I would try to make it a genuine 1930s-40s period piece and cast someone like Peter O’Toole as Screwtape.

II. Out of the Silent Planet/That Hideous Strength
The first and third installments of CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy would make for some wonderful allegorical and metaphysical thrillers. Aliens as angels (or vice versa!), Martian chase scenes, resurrected Arthurian wizards, animated severed heads, sombre observations on Human Nature, and impossibly suspenseful  climaxes, along with CS Lewis’ usual fanciful endings, wondrous wit, and sharp diagnostic.

III. The Great Divorce
This would probably work better as a shorter film, but the imagery described in the book would be amazing if faithfully translated to screen. The clear narrative nature of the story would make it a reasonably easy screenplay adaptation, as well. The structure is well defined, and the message is deep, gripping, and life-changing.

IV. The Pilgrim’s Progress
The entire Christian life depicted as an epic journey, fleeing from a damned city of sinners to the gates of the Celestial City! Angels and demons, maidens and monsters! And it’s an incredibly easy story to understand (the allegory is anything but subtle). It puts Christianity in a realistic, gritty light while providing vivid, tangible parallels for all the salient aspects of the faith. This would be a powerful, far-reaching and fantastic film if made with care.

V. The Scarlet Pimpernel
(Musical)
This would be a slightly truncated version of the Broadway production (some of the songs would be omitted and/or shortened), but I’ve always wanted to see a lavish, massive, fantastically gothic and adventurous version of this musical. The music is accessible and wonderful, the story is utterly compelling, and the characters are expertly drawn. I’m thinking there would be peerless singers performing the main parts with a massive orchestra to back them up, with the coolest costumes and most elaborate sets available. The action would be fierce and relentless, and the romance would be as achingly tender and poignant as anybody’s ever seen. I would stand in line for this.

VI. The Ender Quartet
(Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind)
These are absolutely the best science fiction books I have ever read, and they would make killer space operas on the giant screen. Needless to say, they’d be expensive, and if you’ve read the books you know it would be hard to match the movie version with the excellent narrative style of the books. But it would still be great to have a thorough, expansive, epic film examination of the Mind and Soul of Ender Wiggin.

VII. Superman
Now THIS is wishful thinking. I can dream, can’t I? What could be cooler than making a movie about a man I’ve dreamed of being ever since I was three?

VIII. The Great Impersonation
I don’t know if they already made this into a movie or not. But it’s one heck of a story and would be a terrific bit of intelligent, escapist suspense. The twists and turns of this amazing mystery/romance would keep any moviegoer riveted. An excellent opportunity to let loose in a Gothic, creepy, nerve-wracking thriller.

IX. A Long Way from Chicago/A Year Down Yonder
These were some of the best children’s books I’ve ever read. They’re hilarious, sweet, poignant and very nostalgic. Think something like a positive ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ with a cranky but loving Grandma in place of Count Olaf, with the story set in rural Illinois in the 1930s. A wonderful tribute to childhood & old-time America. It would make a terrifically soaring, warm Americana fantasy film for all ages.

X. Redwall/Mossflower
The ‘Wind in the Willows’ with epic battle! A medieval animal kingdom, with warfare, riddles, adventure and suspense, and centred around the Abbey of Redwall. This would make a great animated movie or two… or three or four. Dreamworks, listen up!

Written by Dave Dueck

June 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Posted in regular

LIVE from the ABYSS! (Season Finale)

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Currently Listening
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Finale

Having felt rather peckish for the better part of an hour, I made my way to the kitchen and began fooling around: the result being, after five minutes’ worth of rooting through the icebox and pushing buttons on various electric appliances, that I found myself staring down the maw of a superlative chocolate-strawberry milkshake, exquisitely frothy and smooth. It was my ninth milkshake in half a week, and I was beginning to be an expert in their construction.

Of course I am not normally prone to such impulsive indulgence: I usually eat ice cream and other such dessert-related items once or twice a week, on average. But this week was different. I’d had the old wisdom molars finally excavated: a quick trip to the oral surgeon’s office, and the next thing I knew I was at home in bed, chomping down on a mouthful of blood-soaked gauze, with a face so full of novocaine that my chin felt like a dead strop of leather with scratchy hair growing out of it. To boot, a day or two later I developed a severe case of Dry Socket, a malady in which the bone of the jaw is exposed through the empty socket, preventing proper healing of the wound and causing shooting pains in the jaw, extending up into the ear and temples.

The upshot of all this was that operating the mechanics of my face was no longer an easy task. It was downright painful! So any food that didn’t require excessive oscillation of the jaw to consume was fair game in my new diet, regardless of other health risks. Eating also became rather tiring and it was difficult at this stage to keep at it for very long, meaning I was never very full. Hence, my lack of hesitation to eat sloppy junk food at the very moment the thought entered my consciousness.

After looking at my creation for a moment and deciding it was ‘very good,’ I removed myself to my bedroom where I resumed a tedious but not entirely unenjoyable task: copying music CDs to my hard drive. As many of you know, I collect orchestral soundtracks. I had recently done a clean sweep/defragment of my hard drive and had removed most of my music in order to pull it off. Now I was in the process of copying it all back onto my PC as well as consolidating it, and despite the length of the ordeal (I’ve got about 150+ music albums in my collection), I was finding it to be pretty enjoyable. I was re-discovering terrific pieces of music I hadn’t heard in months, and had made a sort of treasure hunt out of the chore. Not a bad way to spend one’s convalescent period, I think. It allowed me to exercise all the senses without requiring much physical activity (forbidden by my surgeon).

So! Nothing wrong with being out of it for a week, it legitimizes all the crazy stuff I usually do anyways. 🙂

***

Memorial Day was pretty fun. We (Joel, me, Mark, Grace and Steve) went to the cabin to put the dock in. Uncle Bob, Aunt Mary and cousin Bobby Bayer were there too, and of course Grandma Johnson. We listened to a few hilarious P.G. Wodehouse stories-on-tape for most of the northward trip, and arrived 12:30 or so.

Bright and early that Saturday morning (10:00 or so) we started raking weeds and muck out of the lake, clearing a space for the dock. We realized after about 45 minutes that simply raking, while effective on dead crud & detritus on the lake floor, did almost nothing against the live reeds, entrenched as they were. So we began trying to pull them up, but they either broke off in our hands (not uprooting) or gave us nasty slivers. So we found a bunch of knives and began cutting the reeds off at lake-floor level. By lunchtime we had a decent area cleared out, and most of the muck hauled into the woods where it could rot at leisure.

The rest of the afternoon was mainly spent making the new 20-foot dock extension fit for human use. It required new support stanchions and a way to connect them to the dock. So we headed into town (Longville) and acquired the necessary hardware. We also bought our fishing licences while we were at it. Once we got back to the cabin, Joel & Uncle Bob attached the stanchions to the dock extension and we wheeled it down into the water. Then we wheeled the main dock into the water. After a good 45 minutes or so, the dock was level and assembled in a freshly cleaned bit of lake. Only one thing left…

…the new pontoon boat! Grandma had purchased it at a nearby marina and we wasted no time docking it and checking out all the great features: steering wheel, sound system, live well, cushioned seats, awning, etc. That evening we took it out on its maiden voyage, and you can see a video of it on foopaux.com or a better-quality version on my Vimeo account. We still haven’t christened the boat: we’re not familiar enough with its peculiar characteristics to give it a fitting name yet.

And the rest of Memorial Weekend? We spent that doing the things we always do at the cabin: reading, sleeping, going on beautiful walks, watching late-night movies, swimming, fishing, stargazing, and more. All in all a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to Grandma for having us up there, and to Aunt Mary for preparing the terrific meals!

Pictures of the cabin trip at Flickr.

***

After we got home, I received an email telling me the big news: I was about to become a published writer!! I had applied for a regularly-paying freelance writing job for Suite101.com, an online variety magazine. After reviewing my submitted works of literature, they accepted me as a contributing, card-carrying member of their freelance team. I wasted no time writing my first article, which, due to my status as first-time writer, is still undergoing editorial scrutiny. But hey, it’s a paying job doing what I love! My contract lasts indefinitely, and I have to provide 10 articles every 3 months (subjects are up to me). I’m excited! Praise the Lord!!

The rest of my time between my last update and this one has been spent doing the usual: job-hunting, growing face hair again, working out, and writing, writing, writing!! Last night we went biking near Lake Minnetonka, to a town called Excelsior, and had a great time. (Except that my front tire went flat all of a sudden and I spent half the ride in a van. Meh.) On the whole, the friends, the bright sunlight, steady breeze, and the Dairy Queen all made for a delightful evening, albeit tiring.

Today I got a haircut, bought a new pair of jeans and some classy black shirts, and went into downtown Minneapolis to visit Token Media, a local bigwig production studio. They told me to bring a resume by next time, but it was a neat place. Classy and clean. Professional. On the way back I had to drive through the ‘bad part’ of town, so I rolled down the windows, put on my aviators, and played classical music very loudly. I’m not sure what the locals thought, but I felt pretty crazy. 🙂 I also applied online for two more positions at National Camera Exchange, a famous digital camera & video retailer. Maybe, just maybe, some idiot will look at my applications and have mercy… maybe…

***

This is the last update I shall be writing until October. At that time, I shall resume their publication, but they’ll probably be shorter, and perhaps in audio form (with music and stuff). I have always enjoyed taking time to write to my beloved friends and family, wherever they may be, but many writing projects which I began are overdue and desperately need finishing, and now that I’m a professional freelancer (is there such a thing?) I’m going to have my hands full with writing projects. Plus, with any luck I’ll soon have a full-time job, which will further restrict my spare time. But I shall be writing a few short Xanga updates every now and again, and if you’re at all like me and don’t have much of a life outside of computer work, you can always follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Now, I’m not removing myself from social activity completely: I still hope fervently to see and visit each of you (and frequently!) over the course of the summer. If anything, this will enhance my social life, because it will result in real person-to-person interaction! But until October, I trust that we shall all learn to survive without my misbegotten, overlong weekly sob stories. May God Bless Each Of You and May You All Have An Amazing Summer!!

LOVE ALL!

Definitely your most devoted friend in any kind of weather,
~David

Written by Dave Dueck

June 2, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Posted in journal