I Dub Thee Ostrich Tree!

It's a dull grind sitting day after day shackled to a computer making money for a hoard of faceless assholes I will (thankfully) never meet. How the hell can you folks do this?

Five days out of seven. Eight hours out of 24. Why the hell aren't the suicide rates higher?

My current assignment was to have ended Friday (yesterday). But I dragged my carcass back into the beast's belly this morning for half a day of overtime. And then, come Tuesday, I transition into another assignment. It threatens to suck on my soul for two more weeks.

My idea of running off to Mexico for November (National Novel Writing Month) probably isn't going to happen. So, I signed up for a novel writing course at Gemini Ink. It's a small class. Only five students. And I don't know if I'll make the cut. I sent in a short piece of fiction. They demand a work sample to help the instructor make up his mind. If I don't get selected, I won't feel too bad. I'm putting my credit card on the line here, 'cause this class don't come cheap (thought significantly cheaper than even the cheapest month in Mexico, if you take into account the bus ticket down there and back).

The instructor is David Liss. I had never heard of the fellow. I just now — this very moment — put his name into the great meatgrinder called Google. Here is what the gentleman's Wikipedia pages says:

“David Liss (born 1966) is a Jewish American writer of historical novels set in the business world, and of contemporary political fiction. His first book was A Conspiracy of Paper (2001), for which he won the 2001 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He is a vegan.”

Dear me. But I should point out that in the current Gemini Ink catalogue, there is a quote from one of his books. It's a passage of maybe 85 works. A thumbnail, for sure, but a damn well-written thumbnail.

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I'm going to have to squeeze the Adelante Film Forum into my upcoming film weekend. It's going to be a tight fit.

Adelante aside, there is the San Antonio Local Film Festival (aka, SAL). Sadly, I have no film playing (although Carlos' music video titled “evoL,” featuring the band November 2nd, was shot and edited by me. Friday, the 28th, at the swanky Aztec Theater. Cheap at ten bucks. You don't just get the SAL show (eight shorts by local filmmakers), but you also get the world premier of Bryan Ortiz's first feature film, Doctor “S” Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies.

That same evening is the opening night of the Manhattan Short Film Festival, being held at Urban-15. The 12 short films (from all over the world) will all screen three times: Friday evening (the 28th), Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon. The audience gets to vote for their favorite. San Antonio is just one of dozens of venues screening these films: this coming weekend they will show to audiences all over the country and abroad. Check it out. I think I'm supposed to be on a discussion panel. I said yes to Herman, but I don't think he told me when.

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I dropped a miniDV tape off with Oscar Hernandez of LatiFilm fame. He's producing a show on, I believe, LATV, one of the local Spanish language TV stations. He interviewed me the Sunday before last. I spoke mainly about my trip last summer down to San Miguel de Allende and the short doc I made with Deborah and Ramon. But because the section with me will be fairly short, I gave him a copy not only of the 14.5 minute Dia de los Locos documentary, but I also my little experimental piece, El Jardin, which, at 3.5 minutes might be more useful. Besides, it features Rosalinda Coto, and who could say no to her.

We'll see how it comes out.

Oscar is an interesting guy. He's a promoter type through and through. As he told me straight off, “I'm not a filmmaker.” He wants to produce. That's fine, because this city needs producers a hell of a lot more than it needs more filmmakers.

He bemoaned a particular project he had been working on that fell through. I've heard the story from both sides of this project. You bet — it's a very small town. All parties seem relatively unscathed (if not unruffled), and they are all continuing on with their works. And so it goes.

Oscar pitched an idea to me that sounded damn ambitious, yet quite do-able. I told him to keep me in the loop.

I have a project of my own in mind. I need to flesh it out and create a clearly defined proposal before I start getting too deep with it. It seems too choppy to mould into a novel or a feature film. I think a TV show is the only way to go. I think it would play well as a bicultural cross-over show. A sort of Chicano X-Files. Perhaps do as AJ and Rick did with Alamo Heights, SA, and shoot every scene in both English and Spanish, so that both markets can be targeted.

The working title is the Cucuy Club (thank you Carlos). The Cucuy Club is a
southside ice house where Alejandro Carrasco hangs out, drinks, and, with his laptop, writes his popular blog, also called the Cucuy Club. He's dedicated his life to researching the local latino folktales — those quirky supernatural cucuys. The sneaky chupacabra, la lechusa, the devil at the dance, ghosts galore, the ambiguous bulto, and several weirdoes of my own design.

Alejandro meets, of course, Amy Pearson, a post doc student working on her dissertation on South Texas folklore. She's an unimaginative culturalist, who wants her oral histories pure and authentic. However, Alejandro is more concerned with what his readers might most want to hear, and that isn't anything about primary sources and footnotes. The more hits on his site, the more ad revenue, and the easier it is for him to pay his tab at the Cucuy Club.

What intrigues me about this potential project is that it can be used as a showcase for the city. Characters meet in local clubs where local music is played. They talk out their ideas while walking though a gallery filled with the works of local artists. They interact in local restaurants and bars. And all the while the cheesy storylines play out against a cultural backdrop where traditionalism conflicts with postmodern consumerism. Faith verses science. Latinos confront anglos.

See if I can shape this up by the time the Adelante rolls around next weekend.

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Here are some shots of the little park where you can find the Espada Aqueduct. It was a nice day for a bike ride along the mission trail system.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There's this freaky pecan tree in the park that seems to have arched its back, and rooted itself back into the ground.




(click for larger images)

Sadly, it's not doing so well. The midpoint — the belly — is rotting away. I dub thee ostrich tree! All kneel. Kneel, I say!!!!

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