Best of 2016 : Year of Division

What a year, right? 

Each year I try to name this “Best Of List” after the mood and attitude of that year, whether it was a year of setting stones or just being happy, of endings, or change. This year was about division. Of course, this most suits the political atmosphere where there is such a huge disconnect in what people believe and what is true. There is division in our country and across the world. Brexit. Trump. Celebrities left us. 

For me, there was a division in what I saw as my future as a creative. For as long as I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I had pursued filmmaking, but as that avenue and goal felt harder and harder to achieve, I’ve felt floundering. In 2014, I got more excited about other ways of being a creative and artistic expression in the form of tabletop game design. But, throwing my hat into that ring wasn’t the right moment. Too much to learn and not enough patience for the “craft” element of it. 

These stumbles are what led me to write a book this year. And boy was that something. 

I wrote the first chapter the last week of March, the first week of April and then I wrote the 2nd chapter. Then I sat back and outlined seven books before delving back into another chapter… and another. And then, ten weeks later, I had finished the first draft. It was so — incredible. I was so… accomplishing. Even if it never gets published, if people don’t like it, if no one reads it (save for a few close friends) I wrote a fucking book. How awesome!?

This year, I’ve thought more about dying. Not that I want to depart anytime soon, quite the opposite. I’ve been more aware of my body and how it’s changing. How I’m in the thick of my mid-30s and have yet to accomplish the things that I want — and how I feel about that. The biggest takeaway is that it is important to leave behind who I am. Who I was. I want to die knowing that people can look through my artistic works and understand me. Whether it be a random poem, I wrote on this blog or whether it is a series of seven books about the adventures of an old man. Whether it’s an experimental art film about my experience with HIV or my thesis short from college. Each work of art I’ve created has been who I am at that moment, what I’d like to say about the world, about my life, about my thoughts. 

As much as I’d love to have a kid and a family, there’s a part of me that feels that may never happen. My work, my art, my writing, these forms of expression are my “children” to sound a bit hockey. They are my legacy.

In any case, I’m rambling. About 2016:

I bought a tee-shirt that has a “2016 Dumpster Fire”. Was everything terrible? Not especially. Many great things happened: I took my first real vacation EVER. I traveled to London to sightsee and check out the Harry Potter play. I had consistent work, not as good as 2015, but enough to pay bills and continue to “smarten my home.” 

In arts & entertainment, it wasn’t a great year for movies, a few gems, but all in all pretty lackluster (especially for popcorn films). Video games as well had some early indie splendors, but nothing in the AAA department blew me away. Instead, I replayed the trilogies of Bioshock and Mass Effect. Which, upon my 2nd play through, surpassed Red Dead Redemption as my favorite video game series. Bioshock remains up there but has lost a bit of its replay value, I think, once you know the story reveals.

TV once again was fantastic, especially on FX. My top five shows were all on FX. But it was music this year that shined. So much great music. One of the best years for singles. I listened to so much this year and expanded this year’s list to 30 songs and 15 albums. 

But, you’ll see all that here and below:

*MOVIES - CINEMA*
1. Moonlight
2. Jackie
3. La La Land
4. Arrival
5. American Honey
6. The Witch
7. The Lobster
8. Silence
9. Manchester by the Sea
10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
        *Special Mention to “The Greasy Strangler”
        *Special Mention to the 120fps 3D of “Billy Lynn” — I’d love to see a Pixar film in this format

*MOVIES - POPCORN*
1. The Nice Guys
2. Rogue One
3. Zootopia
4. Kubo & the Two Strings
5. Batman vs Superman
6. Dr. Strange
7. Jungle Book
8. Hail, Caesar!
9. Ten Cloverfield Lane
10. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
    *Special Mention to “Hardcore Harry”

*TV*
1. Atlanta
2. American Crime Story: People vs OJ Simpson
3. Americans
4. You’re the Worst
5. Baskets
6. Better Call Saul
7. Stranger Things
8. Better Things
9. Daredevil
10. Vinyl
11. West World
12. Walking Dead
13. American Crime
14. Good Wife, final season!
15. Black Mirror
16. Expanse
17. Survivor
18. Downton Abbey, final season!
19. X-Files
20. Documentary Now

*VIDEO GAMES*
1. Uncharted 4: Thief End
2. Firewatch
3. The Witness
4. Gone Home
5. Inside
6. Oxenfree
7. Gears of War 4 (DNF)
8. No Man’s Sky (DNF)
9. Elder Scrolls Online (DNF)
10. Neverwinter (DNF)
11. Layers of Evil (DNF)
12. Quantum Break (DNF)
          * Special Mention to Twilight Princess HD, Bioshock, & Skyrim
          * And Especially the Mass Effect Trilogy - you are amazing.

*TABLE TOP GAMES*
1. SeaFall
2. D&D 5e “Rage of Demons” & “Princes of the Apocalypse” 
3. Pandemic Legacy
4. London Dread
5. Twilight Imperium

*MUSIC - ALBUMS*
1. Phantogram’s THREE
2. The Avalanches’ WILDFLOWER
3. Doombird’s PAST LIVES
4. Radiohead’s A MOON SHAPED POOL
5. A Tribe Called Quest’s WE GOT IT FROM HERE...
6. M83’s JUNK
7. Frank Ocean’s BLONDE
8. Lewis del Mar’s LEWIS DEL MAR
9. Car Seat Headrest’s TEENS OF DENIAL
10. Mica Levi’s JACKIE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
11. David Bowie's BLACKSTAR
12. Justin Hurwitz’s LA LA LAND ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
13. Peter, Bjorn, and John’s BREAKIN’ IT
14. Dyan’s LOOKING FOR KNIVES
15. Kanya West’s THE LIFE OF PABLO

*MUSIC - SONGS*
1. “Wow” by Beck
2. “We the People” by A Tribe Called Quest
3. “Forget It” by Getter (ft. Tree)
4. “Same Old Blues” by Phantogram
5. “Overflowing” by Doombird
6. “To Move On” by Alex Izenberg
7. “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” by Car Seat Headrest
8. “Days Upon Days” by Dyan
9. “Such Small Scenes” by Lewis del Mar
10. “Five Minutes” by Her
11. “Wings of Love” by liv
12. “City of Stars” by Justin Hurwitz
13. “Breaking Point” by Peter, Bjorn, and John
14. “Open Your Eyes” by School of Seven Bells
15. “Execution” by ANOHNI
16. “Pink + White” by Frank Ocean
17. “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow (ft. Run the Jewels)
18. “Lazerus” by David Bowie
19. “Starboy” by The Weeknd (ft. Daft Punk)
20. “Masterpiece” by Big Thief
21. “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead
22. “Like Eye Did” by Fil Bo Riva
23. “White Flag” by Joseph
24. “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” by PUP
25. “Shivering” by Holy Fuck
26. “Chasing Shadows” by Santigold
27. “When the Tequila Runs Out” by Dawes
28. “Drag Queen” by The Strokes
29. “Do You Wanna Get High” by Weezer
30. “33 ‘GOD’” by Bon Iver

*BOOKS*
1. Hero of Ages
 *Writing a book took out my desire to READ books. Not a good thing.

*STUFF THAT HAPPENED*
1. "AJ" Shoot
2. "The Service” Pitch that Never Happened
3. Disneyland in the Rain
4. “Phased In” - FMPDX, Phased Out Month Later
5. Slow Slooooow Start to Work Year
6. Double Dipped with Work & Dating
7. Twilight Imperium
8. Started "Land Old, Untouched"
9. Trip to London
10. The Cursed Child
11. Gen Con
12. John Williams
13. Worked on VR Productions
14. Saw High School Friend in San Diego
15. First LA Rams Home Game (since 1994)
16. Delusion & Creep LA
17. Austin’s First Birthday
18. No Work November
19. Getting in Better Shape, Stuck at 38"
20. Replaying the Mass Effect & Bioshock Trilogies
21. Finishing “Advent of the Roar”

*NEWS NEWS*
1. Death of David Bowie and Prince
2. Lead in Flint Water
3. Primary Season
4. Zika Virus
5. The Panama Papers
6. Shot Gorilla (Haramba)
7. Brexit
8. Mass Shootings: Orlando, Dallas
9. Black Lives Matters Heats Up
10. DEM & GOP Conventions
11. 2016 Rio Olympics
12. Hurricane Matthew
13. Trump Tapes
14. Dakota Access Pipeline
15. Trump’s Surprise Win
16. Whitelash
17. Ohio Stabbings
18. Russian Interference / Hacking of Election
19. Trucks as Weapons of Terrorism


5 Answers to Questions to I Wanted to Ask Myself on January 2017

1. Did you write more on this blog?
Not really, but I have a feeling, I'm going to do this more. 

2. Did you get your screenplays out there? Did you enter contests? Did you get Representation?
Not a screenplay. Instead -- I wrote a book & just sent it out, so I'll take the win here.

3. Did you get closer to your game?
I did not -- again, book took over the entire year. Perhaps, I'll tinker away a little again this year.

4. Did you lose that weight… FINALLY?!
January of last year, I was 10 pounds heavier. I've actually gotten into a great rhythm and I have a great feeling that 2017 is the year I'll finally have the body I've wanted for quite some time.

5. Are you happy?
In many ways -- yes. Everything isn't perfect, but isn't that the pursuit of every year?

5 Questions to Ask Myself January of 2018
1. Are you happy?
2. Did you take a vacation that wasn't going home and longer than a week?
3. Did you get your credit cards paid off?
4. Did you finish BOOK 2? 
5. Are you making strides in getting BOOK 1 published? 

Special Thanks
Nina, Victoria, Eric, and Kelly for taking the time out of your busy life to read my book. You friends are amazing. Huge thanks to everyone who comes to the Oscar Party & the New Years Party. Thanks to Pano for being my London flatmate. Chris & Jesse for hosting (and paying for) all your fancy game nights. And to Hillary Clinton for doing what only one other American has every been able to do: inspire us to vote for you more than any other politician in US History. Despite your loss, I truly believe in the words of your campaign: we are Stronger Together.

 

It's the Economy, Stupid

What we saw this week was not the death of America but a wake-up call to the Democratic Party to recognize that without education, without intellectualism, our country will move in the wrong direction. And in the end, Jimmy Carville said it best, "it's the economy, stupid."

What we need to instill in others moving forward is that America's greatness has for the past 150+ years been at the hands of liberal policy. A belief that the likes of Fox News and Conservatives have successfully undermined, confusing the electorate as a means to regain or maintain their power.

I'd like to back this statement with facts and a small history lesson, but before I begin, I must suggest something that may seem a little radical to some: capitalism for all that is exceptional about it, is inherently destructive. And with unchecked capitalism, with unregulated capitalism, the majority of those under it will suffer beneath its cruel and reckless nature. Capitalism seeks to earn capital which in turn sparks innovation, creativity, and progress. However, when it is unrestricted, it can also ravage the ones on the bottom. Detroit didn't lose its factories because of a bad trade deal, they lost them because their Unions were busted by Reagan's policies.

This is not to say that I believe in the other extreme: communism, a system that in itself could never work. Humans, by nature, require freedom and mobility. They need the plus and the minus that a "free society" gives you. They demand a system that is only choked by the dark red cloud of communism. But there is a middle ground, and that is capitalism restricted by our social contract. By socialist ideals and protections against the powerful. 

If we begin in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln, we find what modern historians might consider -- a liberal. The first of the modern liberals. 

Lincoln was a liberal, who believed that the Government and the nation were being corrupted by unchecked capitalism and one of its most egregious symptoms was slavery. This radical idea leads those in the South to believe Lincoln was infringing on their American rights. Which begins a centuries-old debate about the role of the Government. Lincoln deemed we must use the powers of the government to protect all its citizens. Even if that meant that some, the ones with the power, must give up what they considered their freedoms. This was the seeds of modern liberalism. The "fair share." Lincoln didn't want to destroy people's economy, he wanted to protect the rights of all Men, regardless of race, color, or economic background.

After Lincoln's Civil War win and his subsequent assassination, the country attempted to undo the policy and positions that he had taken. In the reconstruction period after the Civil War, we had nearly 60 years of Conservative control. Which, though did not revert to the pre-Civil War policies of slavery, took on the current conservative stance of self-reliance and pro-capitalism. This pervaded both parties, Republican and Democratic under Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley.

McKinley was a conservative, who brought in the modern conservative era. In his three years (before being assassinated) the biggest law that he enacted was the Tariff Act of 1890, which raised the taxes on imports. This was a means to promote "domestic products" and reduce foreign influence.

Following McKinley was the conservative Theodore Roosevelt. Who's best known (not just for his national parks) but for ushering in the "Progressive Era" whose primary objective was to rid the government of its corruption. This idea that the government was inherently evil is the mainstay of Lincoln's Civil War.

Coolidge was a conservative, who believed that regulation stifled business and lower taxes helped promote it. He passed the Revenue Act of 1924, with GOP-controlled branches of government. Five years later, with another Republican at the helm (Herbert Hoover), the markets crashed, and so began the Great Depression.

Roosevelt was a liberal, who believed that the Government, like Abraham Lincoln, was meant to protect people, that every American should have a basic safety net so that the greed of the few did not destroy the innocence of the many. The 1935 Wagner Act helped strengthen labor Unions, the best and, frankly, only effective way to protect workers from the evils of unchecked capitalism. With strong Unions, everyone wins. Employees are happy and have more money in their pocket, and corporations succeed. Yes, with less overall earnings (as they're giving much of it away to its workers) but, it becomes a long-term, sustainable system. With Liberals in control of all branches of government, FDR signed in the New Deal and, with the added benefit of the economic boom of WWII, brought us out of the Great Depression.

Truman was a liberal, who attempted to continue to steer the country out from World War II and into a new "peacetime economy." The economy had been propped up on the legs of WWII and needed a new piece of legislation to help this transition. So, Truman passed the "Fair Deal" but with a lack of liberal support since FDR's death and conservatives steering Congress, the "Fair Deal" was gutted (see: Obamacare) and was unable to prevent the 11-month recession of 1949. The conservatives were able to use this failing economy as a means to regain power, and in 1952, Americans voted for their first conservative in nearly 20 years. An outsider. A man who had never held public office.

Dwight Eisenhower was a war general. However, little did the conservatives know that he would run the country as a centrist. He was tough on Russia and even threatened the nuclear bomb to end the Korean War. At home, however, he expanded social security, opposed Republican rule in Congress (specifically the likes of Joseph McCarthy), created the International Highway System, began the process of desegregating the Army, and appointed two relatively liberal judges to the Supreme Court (Earl Warren and William Brennan). The 1950s ended up being a moderately prosperous era in America. One that conservatives sometimes aspire too (without understanding that it came after over 30 years of liberal to centrist policy).

Eisenhower's vice president, Richard Nixon, was not so liberal and when he appeared on television as a sweaty, old school politician, even though he came from the popular Eisenhower administration, he was defeated. And once again, we had another liberal running the country in John F. Kennedy.

This was 1960, and the country was still being threatened by Russia, and the Cold War was at its peak. JFK and Lyndon Johnson got into a military quagmire that made us more concerned about the rise of communism than about continuing the success of Eisenhower's America. 

The 1960s was a period of great upheaval. With America feeling great from a decade of economic prosperity, we began to feel more confident that we were the superior country. We had finally recovered from the Civil War and became a country ready to move on.

However, the specter of communism loomed over the country. A fear of losing all that we had created in the 1950s, struck fear into the hearts of Americans and we allowed ourselves into the quagmire of the Vietnam War, begun by JFK but lead mainly by Lyndon Johnson. With the one-two-three punch of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and MLK's assassination, with the escalation of the pointless war in Vietnam, conservatives, the party who thrived on people's apathy of the government, once again were able to take back control.

Nixon won on his ties to Eisenhower who led an economically strong America as well as a strong military strength in foreign policy, something the old administration lacked. But Nixon was drummed out of office because of his corruption. Another blow to American's belief in the government as a whole.

Ford, Nixon's VP, was a terrible president who was faced with a post-war recession and attempted to solve it the way conservatives always solve it: cut taxes. His ineptitude as a leader made America once again switch back to the Liberals, but unfortunately, Carter was also terrible. 

Signing the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, lead to further erosion of the power of labor unions. The reason to sign the act? "The government is wrong for private industry and stifling profits." This was the response to the stagflation that faced the nation since the end of Vietnam. When the economy is dying, the response (the wrong response) is to shrink the government. FDR knew this and we got the New Deal, why have we so easily forgotten this? 

This reaction makes no sense as what worked in the late 1940s and 1950s was building up the American safety net. Encouraging growth and strength of Unions. Instead, Ford, Carter, and eventually Reagan were tricked into believing the secret to American economic success was deregulation or essentially: "trickle down economics."

Reagan was the king of "Trickle Down Economics" known better as "Reaganomics." This economic policy which promotes: deregulation, lower taxes, and smaller government, has a satisfying short-term economic boom. When you lower taxes, people suddenly have more money. It looks and feels fantastic in the very very short term. But it does not invest in American companies or correct the issues that tax cuts seemingly fixes. Instead, it's like the old adage: give a man a fish, and he can eat for a night, but teach a man to fish, and he can eat for a lifetime.

The thing that Reagan did do, however, which made him the icon that he is today: he presided over the symbolic end of the Cold War. He restored what had become a decades-long disenfranchisement of the presidential office. He was cool, well spoken, "scandal-less." He was not the guy presiding over a fruitless war (Johnson); he was not a crook (Nixon); he was not a bumbling idiot (Ford); and he was not a pussy (Carter). Reagan represented what America wanted. Someone to look up too. Someone to believe in. 

Reagan's greatest and most lasting effect: his destruction of Unions. Beginning first with finishing what Carter had started with the Airline Deregulation Act, firing 13,000 air traffic controllers and destroying their Union. He then appointed a majority vote (3 of 5) in the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw bargaining and union representatives which lead to nearly half of the complaints raised by Union members being ignored or untried. This allowed companies to continue to dismantle and untangle the firm grip of the Unions.

Reaganomics and its immediate success helped bring America out of the recession of 1982. It helped Reagan get re-elected and helped George Bush get elected in 1988. However, with the deregulated Unions, the corporations running amok, there was a brand new recession in 1990. 

When Reagan took office in 1980, the top 1% of income earners had an effective tax rate of 70%. Reagan lowered this to 28%. Clinton, in his term, raised taxes back to 39.6%. Clinton did other things to help fix the economy and with the support of conservatives signed NAFTA, which effectively helped companies move from the likes of Detroit and the "Rust Belt." This will come into significant play over 20 years later during our current election.

Clinton's economy did very well, due to many false indicators: free trade (businesses boomed), the internet bubble of the late 1990s, and balancing the budget by raising taxes on the wealthy. However, Clinton did nothing to support the lower and middle class. He didn't do anything to help build back the Unions, didn't do anything to regulate private industry. With NAFTA, Clinton made an enemy of the lower and middle class who saw George W. Bush as a new Reagan. Al Gore represented Clinton's NAFTA program.

And George W. Bush delivered as promised, bringing back Trickle Down Economics and deregulation. He also continued to support free trade but with the added cost of the Wars on Terror, the economy could no longer sustain itself. The lower and middle class just ran out of money, even as the private industry continued to make more and more and more and more. 

With nearly 30 years of Reaganomics, of conservative economic ideals, America faced the greatest economic disaster since Great Depression. 

So, of course, we moved back to a new version of FDR: Barack Obama, who took the lessons of these failed policies and worked to reverse them. First by raising taxes, then by regulating private industry, and latest (and most importantly) help strengthen Unions again.

These small, incremental effects did not have the sexy initial boom of Trickle Down Economics. However, it makes our country stronger and more prosperous in the long run. We've seen steady, upward mobility of our citizens, a rising stock market, and all around strength and confidence in the economy. Something nearly unheard of after such a devastating crash.

And how did we follow that up? 

Attempting to elect Hillary Clinton, who bears the name of the guy who helped destroy the Rust Belt. Hindsight is 20/20, but it actually makes perfect sense why she lost these voters. At the end of the day, social causes are important. Safety of our citizens is paramount. But for the capitalistic society that we live in, paychecks speak more than the rights of transgender bathroom rights. 

Hillary Clinton lost because her husband signed NAFTA. Trump knew this. Trump may be a misogynist, he may be wholly unprepared for the Office, but it doesn't matter. If you are thought to destroy a whole town's economy, if you were complacent: anything is better. 

When we elect our new leader of the Liberals, we must be sure that their drive is not only the rights of its citizens, but someone who understands how to explain liberal policy is better for the economy than the conservative's.

Troubles with Louis

Curious why my FB feed was suddenly bombarded with clickbait comedy, I wandered over to a new page I had apparently liked entitled "Humor Feed." It was here I found it was a renamed and refocused page from Louis C.K. populated by low bar, clickbait articles.

I wondered if this page was ever actually owned by the comedian and if it was, the recent change in tone and purpose feel like something he might do or at least my imaginings of what he might do.

I've always found Louis C.K. to be a cut above the rest when it comes to comedy and art. The recent headlines about troubles financially with his self-financed web series "Horace and Pete" makes this new "low bar comedy" page a sort of "FUCK YOU" to the internet.

Louis, it seems, thought that self-financing a piece of art, with no studio interference and total freedom to create the art that drives him could easily make its money back once he released it through his site, a business model he's been using with his stand up specials. It seems however, this was not the case and he's lost money and, from what I’ve read, a ton. I would venture to say the worst loss here may be a lack of desire to take on other financial and "risky" artistic projects. A reaction I read into when the next thing he brings to his audience is “Humor Feed.”

A friend of mine once pointed out this same reaction to their art happened with Weezer. After the success of the “Blue Album”, they released “Pinkerton”, a relatively less successful outing. Rivers Cuomo felt that the album’s failures came because he “went too far” emotionally. Their music has really been the same since.

For many years, I've watched Louis C.K. and have been a fan not just of his stand up, but his filmmaking. His 13 minute "Ice Cream" short is still one of the best shorts I've seen. Hilarious, strange, and sad. A precursor to what was to come from him with HBO's Life with Louie & more directly the incredible “Louie” on FX.

In any case, his troubles (and frustrations, it seems) resonate with me. I've lived in LA for almost 10 years now. I’ve had my own (very mild) success. Playing shorts around the world, highlighted by a lifelong dream to play Sundance. These “successes” never actually amounted to anything and why, is my great question.

I moved out to LA in 2006 and by 2008, I was ready to make it happen. And then, it all just sort of fizzled away. I blame a mix of many things: an artistic voice that never resonated with larger audiences, the shock of testing positive for HIV, and in a much lesser way the Great Recession. Money was tight and experimental, unknown voices weren't going to get a chance they might need. 

I was also stubborn, unwilling to bend to something that didn’t feel right. This isn’t to say everything I’ve made is good. So much is SO BAD. My “2 28” web series was so fucking personal and interior that it only makes sense to me. An achievement that I can only be personally happy about. It's not something I think others should seek out or watch. Seriously.

Art is an odd and beautiful thing. The best of it comes from our darkest, deepest selves. The pieces of our souls we’re most afraid to share. And some of the time art, truly personal art, isn't very entertaining. But... when it is. Wow. When you’re able to share your artistic self, your unfiltered thoughts and perceptions – and then also entertain? Wow. The great balance.

Louis C.K. is this rare breed of artist. One who should be cherished and encouraged to create without filter. The always supportive FX has given him this freedom. “Baskets” is the best new show I’ve seen this year.

In any case, I hope that “Humor Feed” is just a momentary statement. An artistic reaction to financial failure. It’s brilliant, as usual.

If, however, Louis C.K. never owned his own Facebook page, well then – this whole blog is a big winded piece of shit.

Best of 2015 : Year of the Setting Stones

Wow.

10 years I’ve been doing this. Quite the experience. This year (2016) feels special. Something about it has a special-ness to it. Maybe it’s because we’re getting a football team. Maybe it’s because it’s 10 years of living in LA this year. There’s an air of excitement to it. When I first moved to LA, I had all the aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. In fact, the first few years felt like it was all inevitable. I was playing film festivals, I got a manager, I even managed to play Sundance (a life long dream). Then I found out about HIV and things just sort of spiraled. It took a lot out of me. It made me re-evaluate what I wanted. I second guessed my abilities. I burned bridges with people who cared. I made a relationship more important than it needed to be and in so many ways undercut it. From 2008 until a few years ago, I lost myself in the temporary. In the “now”. In instant pleasures. In the past few years, I’ve slowly recovered from that. I’ve ordered my life and gotten comfortable in this city and this year, this year feels special. 

Since 2006, I’ve been outlining what that year meant and here’s a quick look:

2006 Big Change
2007 Foundations & Beginnings
2008 Recovery
2009 Endings
2010 Big Leap
2011 Stall
2012 Happy Laziness
2013 Productivity
2014 Changing Perspective

& this year — Setting Stones. This year was a year I felt I have everything I could want except the whole reason I came out here. I came to Los Angeles to make films. To create. In the last few years that desire evolved to board gaming. I think back on my life and realize that my attraction to movies was the idea of presentation. The idea of creating — adventure and surprise. A great board game is that sort of experience. I don’t like performance. Doing things on the fly. Doing things live. But instead creating things in isolation or collaboration that’s then presented as a whole to an audience. Films. Games. These things fit that.

So why Setting Stones? This year, I went to GenCon. It was… eye opening. I visited a world I wanted to be a part of. Games have always been a part of my life and it was exciting to see that people have made it more than just a hobby. People could create and design an experience. It felt — obtainable. Or at least I could see a path with the right project. And so I started to design a board game. Unsuccessfully at the moment, but learning the process. The procedure of game theory. The intricacies of game mechanics. Cooperation vs Competition. Logic. It was a puzzle.

I also felt more reflexive in 2015. It was the first year I felt… older. Before then, even when I turned 30, I always still felt a guy just out of college. Going into 2016, it’ll be 10 years since I’ve graduated. It was the first year I would look at my face and wonder what makes it look older. Why do I look older? I thought about aging. Not about dying or death, just… being older. This wasn’t a depressing, sobering thought but a reflexive one.

In any case, I felt all the other pieces of my life are set. I’m happy. I’m comfortable with the way things are and now, I can focus on the things that are not satisfying. I like work, but I’d love to create for a living. And so on. 

With all that said, entertainment wise, there wasn’t anything that REALLY stood out this year, beyond Star Wars. I really dove into the myth & lore of that place far far away. Starting in about August, I watched the prequels, watched the surprisingly amazing Clone Wars series, Read some Star Wars novels (new Canon) good and bad, and obviously all the new stuff. It was a fun and engaging experience. 

The entertainment universe definitely loves to create worlds now. Entertainment is all about Franchise and World Building. And, I’m totally into that. Another world I got into was Mistborn — and look forward to continuing that into 2016. 

Things I’m also looking forward to in 2016? Going to London to see the new Harry Potter play and Star Wars Celebration. Going to GenCon for a 2nd year with a very close to finished game.

And seeing my new Nephew on his first birthday. 

So, without further ado, my Best Of Lists & (being a 10 year anniversary) my favorite films of the past 10 years (2006-2015). 

Movies - Popcorn (2015)

  1. Star Wars: Force Awakens
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Inside Out
  4. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  5. The Visit
  6. Jurassic World
  7. Spy
  8. Trainwreck

This year was not so exciting for big popcorn films and in all was pretty disappointing (beyond some highlights).

Movies - Popcorn (2006-2015)

  1. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part I (2010)
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
  3. Star Wars: Force Awakens (2015)
  4. Wall E (2008)
  5. Dark Knight (2008)
  6. Casino Royale (2006)
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  8. Prometheus (2012)
  9. Gravity (2013)
  10. Attack the Block (2011)

Movies - Cinema (2015)

  1. Sicario
  2. Steve Jobs
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Hateful Eight
  5. What We Do in the Shadows
  6. It Follows
  7. Anomalisa
  8. Revenant
  9. Big Short
  10. Beasts of No Nation

Movies - Cinema (2006-2015)

  1. Zodiac (2007)
  2. Tree of Life (2011)
  3. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  4. Into the Wild (2007)
  5. Drive (2011)
  6. There Will be Blood (2007)
  7. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  8. Birdman (2014)
  9. Little Children (2006)
  10. Social Network (2010)

Television (2015)

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Getting On
  3. The Americans
  4. Mad Men
  5. Hannibal
  6. Veep
  7. You’re the Worst
  8. Master of None
  9. House of Cards
  10. Halt & Catch Fire
  11. Mr. Robot
  12. Broad City
  13. Man Seeking Woman
  14. Walking Dead
  15. Daredevil
  16. Last Man on Earth
  17. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  18. Better Call Saul
  19. Man in the High Castle
  20. Star Wars Rebels

Honorable Mention: The Jinx, Good Wife, Scream Queens

Television (2006-2015)

  1. Sopranos
  2. Mad Men
  3. Lost
  4. Getting On
  5. Breaking Bad
  6. Battlestar Galattica
  7. Good Wife
  8. Louie
  9. Legend of Korra
  10. Comeback
  11. Leftovers
  12. Community
  13. Walking Dead
  14. Homeland
  15. Veep
  16. You’re the Worst
  17. Boardwalk Empire
  18. True Blood
  19. Archer
  20. House of Cards

Video Games (2015)

  1. Fallout 4
  2. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
  3. Until Dawn
  4. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  5. Life is Strange
  6. Minecraft (again!)
  7. Pneuma: Breath of Life

Video Games (2006 - 2015)

  1. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
  2. Bioshock (2007)
  3. Uncharted 2 (2007)
  4. Mass Effect (2007-2012)
  5. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
  6. Limbo (2010)
  7. Minecraft (2009)
  8. Journey (2012)
  9. Walking Dead Telltale Game (2012)
  10. Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)

*Portal, Borderlands, & Batman: Arkham City are Honorable Mentions

Table Top Games (2015)

  1. D&D 5e
  2. Twilight Imperium
  3. Stockpile
  4. Mysterium
  5. Codenames

Music - Albums (2015)

  1. Bob Moses' DAYS GONE BY
  2. Tame Impala’s CURRENTS
  3. A$AP Rocky’s AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
  4. The Weeknd’s BEAUTY BEHIND THE MADNESS
  5. Alabama Shakes’ SOUND & COLOR
  6. Kendrick Lamar’s TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY
  7. Beach House’s THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS
  8. ELO’s ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE
  9. Sufjan Stevens’ CARRIE & LOWELL
  10. Ryan Adams’ 1989

Music - Albums (2006-2015)

  1. Beach House’s TEEN DREAMS (2010)
  2. LCD Soundsystem's SOUND OF SILVER (2007)
  3. Kanye West’s 808 & HEARTBREAKS (2008)
  4. Vampire Weekend’s MODERN VAMPIRES IN THE CITY (2013)
  5. Bottom of the Hudson’s FANTASTIC HAWKE (2007)
  6. Chvrches’ BONES OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE (2013)
  7. Arcade Fire’s REFLEKTORS (2013)
  8. Radiohead’s IN RAINBOWS (2007)
  9. Peter, Bjorn, & John’s LIVING THINGS (2009)
  10. Bob Moses’ DAYS GONE BY (2015)

Music - Singles (2015)

  1. “Let It Happen” by Tame Impala
  2. "Tearing Me Up" by Bob Moses
  3. "Opus" by Eric Prydz
  4. “Don’t Want to Fight No More” by Alabama Shakes
  5. “Feel the Lightning” by Dan Deacon
  6. “All of Me Wants All of You” by Sufjan Stevens
  7. “I Can’t Feel My Face” by Weeknd
  8. “Teenage Talk” St. Vincent
  9. “Ruins” by The Mary Onettes
  10. “Freedom” by Pharrell
  11. “Dreams” by Beck
  12. “Cream on Chrome” Ratatat
  13. “TV Set” Spoon
  14. “In Films” by Chromatics
  15. “Frail” by Crystal Castles

Music - Singles (2006-2015)

  1. “Sailing by Night” by Department of Eagles (2008)
  2. "Let it Happen” by Tame Impala (2015)
  3. "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem (2007)
  4. “Magic” by Ladyhawke (2009)
  5. “10 Mile Stereo” by Beach House (2010)
  6. “Another Love (Zwette Edit)” by Tom Odell (2013)
  7. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele (2011)
  8. “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes (2009)
  9. “Tether” by Chvrches (2013)
  10. “Futile Devices” by Sufjan Stevens (2010)

Books I Read (2015)

  1. Mistborn: Well of Ascension
  2. Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
  3. Star Wars: Tarkin
  4. Star Wars: Aftermath
  5. Star Wars: New Dawn

Books I’ve Read (2006-2015)

  1. The Harry Potter Series
  2. The Mistborn Series
  3. A Song of Ice & Fire Series
  4. Ready Player One
  5. Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
  6. Age of Miracles
  7. Star Wars: Tarkin
  8. Hunger Games Series
  9. Gone Girl

Top Stuff That Happened in 2015 (Chronological Order)

  1. Jody & Shane's Wedding
  2. The Freedom Music Video Shoot
  3. GenCon
  4. D&D
  5. An Autumn of Star Wars
  6. Escape Rooms
  7. Game Haus
  8. Twilight Imperium Win!
  9. Birthday Spy Party
  10. BABY NEPHEW AUSTIN

News News

  1. Charlie Hebdo Shooting in Paris
  2. ISIS & Yemen
  3. Gay Marriage Legal
  4. Apple Watch
  5. Start of the 2016 Presidential Election
  6. Nepal Earthquake
  7. Baltimore Riots
  8. El Nino
  9. Caitlin Jenner
  10. Greece’s Economy
  11. European Migrant Troubles
  12. Paris Attack
  13. Santa Barbara Attack
  14. Trump Trump & More Trump

Hopes Goals from 2015?

  1. Play Test My Game & Go to GenCon — these things, kind of happened. I learned a lot and I know this year, will be the year I make it happen.
  2. Keep Healthy — I plateaued, nothing special. 
  3. Read More Novels — I actually got better at reading, but not necessarily MORE
  4. Get a Dog — not yet

5 Questions to Ask Myself on January 2017

  1. Did you write more on this blog?
  2. Did you get your screenplays out there? Did you enter contests? Did you get Representation?
  3. Did you get closer to your game?
  4. Did you lose that weight… FINALLY?!
  5. Are you happy?

This year, I’d like to thank Austin, my little nephew. I’d like to thank GenCon for giving me a new outlook. I’d like to thank all my friends for coming to all my little parties & games. I’d like to thank Eric for putting together that Birthday Scavenger Hunt. I’d like to thank Nathan for giving me all that work. I’d like to thank Apple for putting real money into Music Videos. I’d like to thank my Mom & Sister. I’d like to thank George Lucas for Star Wars. I’d like to thank Nina for being so damn amazing at getting tickets when they’re practically impossible to get. I’d like to thank the universe for making all the things happen.

Light Sticking Toward the Wall

Bright bright the morning light, coming through the hall
As bright as light could ever be, shining on the wall

Dark dark the room has been, for longer than it should
How I wish this morning light could lighten up the good

Long long long it's been, that shadows have been raised
And looking back it's been too long since soul's been heavy praised

A swivel in the darkness here, a dance on broken floors
There's nothing left but lonely here, and misting on the Moors

Creep creep through shattered glass, peeking at the light
The wave of all that holds it back, is grander than your might

Say good night to morning light and turn your back awhile
For there's nothing left this morning day, except my timid smile.

- 3/18/2015

To Sleep in Bed Alone

Felix-Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled"

I recently got stood up. 

But not in the traditional sense. I went on a first date, it went fairly well from my perspective (as first dates go), he even brought up the idea of meeting up a few days later during our date. I said that would be great and agreed. Later on that evening, after I had gotten home, I texted him that I had a good time and looked forward to Thursday. No response. 

No problem, I didn't "need" a response, though one would have been nice.

Then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday came. And about halfway through the day I texted, "how's it going?" A little... nudge. No response. 

So, essentially: stood up, but not in the traditional sense.

It's fine. I'm glad it didn't last two weeks and then nothing. Or months and then nothing. It was only one date. But still, don't get my hopes up, right? He's the one who brought up the idea of a second date, not me. I make no expectations in these situations. I would never set up a second date on the first date, just in case it didn't go well and we're both just being... nice. Afterwards, you can find out if it did go well and then make plans and then move forward.

On dating apps, I get emails that I ignore. And others ignore my email. That's fine. I have no obligation to write you back and you have no obligation to write me back. If there's no attraction or interest it should be pretty obvious. No reason to give hope where this is none.

But, that's its own thing. 

What I've been thinking a lot about this year is being chronically lonely. This isn't to say I'm some depressed guy and this isn't to say that I'm looking for sympathy of any sorts, but at the same time, I am envious of those who have found that someone. Just someone to snuggle with at night. Or wake up and look over and see -- holy shit -- this person is with ME! ME! I've been chosen of all the fucking people on this earth. And you're waking up with me!

I've only been in one serious relationship and that feeling was probably the greatest of all the feelings I had in the relationship. There were other issues and larger things going on that made it not work, but waking up and knowing that he was there. That was an awesome, awesome feeling. But, beyond that year and half on again off again relationship, out of the 18 or so years that I would consider myself a dateable age, I haven't had that feeling again. 

There's many reasons. For one, I'm not a very "gay" gay. Now, I'm not saying anything more than I prefer those whose gender role plays more on the "traditionally masculine." This isn't some insult to "being gay" of course, I would be the first to say that I'm about as gay as it gets. It's just... a preference. The same as my preference for guys with dark hair and dark eyes over guys with blonde hair and blue eyes. It's a preference and one that's not necessarily a super hard and fast rule.

I know lots of gay guys. Most of them are awesome. A lot of them play naturally to the more "effeminate" or stereotypically gay. Some of them, I have even thought, I could be attracted too. But, mostly, I just think of them in a very platonic way. I love them as I could love a woman or a straight guy. I can find them attractive, I can find them to be a great and valuable friend -- but I could never see them sexually. I could never be attracted to them in "that way." 

I go on this diatribe mostly to wonder if that's my problem? Am I too picky? Am I being a snobby "gay?" But then, I shrug that idea off, believing that attraction should be real. Innate. Undeniable. Not intellectual. 

And because I think this way, it inevitably makes me think the other way. That guys think the same about me. That I just don't inherently "do it for them." This isn't to say, I think I'm ugly or undateable. I turn down requests on dating apps as much as I send them out, but the idea of finding a mutual attraction just feels... impossible. 

I'm 33 years old and it feels impossible. I look around and see lots of people dating, married, having kids, breaking up, finding new partners, new loves. It seems so easy for them. They're just so lucky. I hope they know how lucky it is. Even when you're arguing about something silly, something inane -- you found each other. And that's incredible to me.

I try not to think about this whole idea of being alone or being single too much. It at times, feels like a great debt collector, ringing your phone and as long as you don't answer it, it doesn't exist. Because, for the most part, I'm very happy in life. I have amazing friends. I have a family that loves me. People that I can be honest with, I don't have to hide that I'm gay. Or I'm HIV+. I have no fear about who I am. I don't like the term "pride" because I think it's odd to be "proud" about who I am... but I just am and that's just fine and those who I care to be with, care to be with me. 

This doesn't mean, however, that not finding someone to wake up too isn't... lonely. I think it makes me quick to anger. I react to things in a very visceral way. And whenever I have gone on a date, I have very instant thoughts about getting married and being with this person forever. Not that I expect that, or would push that -- but just because I haven't had the opportunity to honestly feel that. And I want to feel that. 

I'd like to have kids one day. I think I'd make an awesome Dad. At times, I think my life is sort of coming to a close, that the opportunities and desires I had just even a few years ago, feel more like a fleeting dream. And a kid, in the most primal way, is your own legacy. 

I'm still pushing forward. Still writing. Still designing my game. Still going to bombard my social media mates with requests to support my Kickstarter when I launch it (hopefully) later this year... but, I don't know. 

When I was in my relationship, I was happy with my life as a whole. I felt... whole. It didn't matter that I didn't have the greatest job ever. It didn't matter that I wasn't directing for a living. I was just happy. I could pursue life day by day, rather than living it for the future. My life now is about getting my game done in time for GenCon. The time between now and then is basically irrelevant. 

I veg out on television and play video games to pass the time. I spend too much on technology and other material things, but time to me is getting this game done in July. It's this night and then July. March. April. May. June... there all stepping stones until then.

And as such, life just flies by. I look up and realize, fuck -- I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 9 years. And what have I done with my life? What do I have to show for it? A short I played Sundance seven years ago? An accomplishment I am proud of, but it was seven years ago. A web series I made four years ago that no one saw or should see... probably. 

And then a series of unfunded feature screenplays. One of which I don't even have the rights to do anything with... and even if I reached out and somehow managed to obtain those rights, I don't know the right producers that can raise a half a million dollars or more it would take to make it. And I don't have the right, "go get 'em personality" to pitch it. I'm just... not that kind of guy. 

Excuses? Maybe.

Then it returns to the lack of partnership. I've sent out my screenplay to various outlets, with cold response. The closer the person is to me, the more people seem to like the work I've done. But the reverse is just as true. So, that's not a good sign, huh? 

For a while there, I felt I had something. I had two shorts back to back play pretty substantial festivals, but it all died when I found out I had HIV. My mind shifted to just... reality. And to my current boyfriend. And the decay and loss of that relationship was probably too much. It felt like a complete abandonment of everything I had wanted and done since I was a teenager. 

It didn't help that at this time too was The Great Recession. And adventurous money on new and exciting talent just wasn't possible. I came into the business just after YouTube and social media. My best work, when I had a few dollars to make it, is all in standard definition. A relic. It looks and feels antiquated. Directors I work with now have some of the same sensibilities I had/have, but they're about 5 to 8 years younger than me. Falling into the industry at the right time. The idea of After Effects as part of your storytelling felt gimmicky when I was in school and now feels almost a requirement. 

In all, I feel... lost. 

And it would be nice to wake up from it and realize it's not all for nothing. That at least there's someone sleeping soundly, safely next to me. That the next moment in my life isn't in July, but what's for breakfast.

2014 : Year of the Changing Perspective

9th Annual "END OF THE YEAR REPORT" for 2014

The start of 2014 started off pretty slow and fruitful. And then, like any downhill momentum it just sped through and now, suddenly we're a week into the new year. That's not to say that downhill means anything negative. 

Like last year, this was a fairly good year. Though, as the year progressed, I began to sense a coming change. Not sure exactly what that is, but I'm getting antsy with the direction of my life. What is it? Is it just enjoying the day to day job, life and entertainment? I really love living in LA, that's not going to change but what exactly am I doing here? 

The idea of directing feels so daunting and out of reach, even though this year, I actually got paid to direct. After eight years in the city, I finally was acknowledged as a director worth paying. And it turned out, anti-climatic. 

I hope to maybe do some more in the new year, but my newest passion is gaming. Particularly table-top gaming. I designed a simple card game ("Kill Monsters") and I think I'm going to try my hand at that this year. Finishing up some play testing early in the year, then finding an illustrator and hopefully launch a successful Kickstarter with it. That, among all other things, is my greatest goal for the new year.

With that, here's the top ten list... almost 10 years now!!! Crazy crazy. 

Movies - Popcorn
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Intersteller
  3. Edge of Tomorrow
  4. Captain America: Winter Soldier
  5. Godzilla
  6. The Lego Movie
  7. Gone Girl
  8. Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
  9. Big Hero 6
  10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Movies - Cinema
  1. Birdman
  2. Whiplash
  3. Under the Skin
  4. Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Selma
  6. American Sniper
  7. Nightcrawler
  8. Inherent Vice
  9. Foxcatcher
  10. Snowpiercer

TV
  1. Louie
  2. Mad Men
  3. Getting On
  4. Good Wife
  5. Legend of Korra
  6. Orange is the New Black
  7. Homeland
  8. Boardwalk Empire -- great finale!
  9. Veep
  10. The Comeback -- great finale!
  11. Greg Berlanoti's Arrow & Flash
  12. Hannibal
  13. The Leftovers
  14. You're the Worst
  15. Halt & Catch Fire
  16. Walking Dead
  17. Last Week Tonight
  18. Star Wars: Rebels
  19. Teen Wolf / The 100
  20. Brooklyn 99
** So much great television this year, expanded it to 20.

Video Games
  1. Dragon Age: Inquistion
  2. Wolf Among Us
  3. Walking Dead: Season 2
  4. Infamous: Second Son
  5. Alien Isolation
  6. Destiny
  7. Shadows of Modor
  8. Smash Brothers (Wii U)
  9. Mario Kart 8
* This year has been terrible for video games. Besides Dragon Age & the TellTale games, I've been very unimpressed. Next year however, ho boy!

Table Top Games
  1. Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition
  2. Twilight Imperium
  3. Mice & Mystics
  4. HeroQuest
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. Dead of Winter
  7. HP Lovecraft / Fantasy Flight Games: Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness
  8. Co-Op Games: Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, Forbidden Island
  9. Shadows over Camelot
  10. Retro Games: Fireball Island, Fun City, Harbingers (Nightmare VHS Game)

Music - Albums
  1. Singles by FUTURE ISLANDS
  2. Hozier by HOZIER
  3. After the Disco by BROKEN BELLS
  4. Morning Phase by BECK
  5. Encyclopedia by DRUMS
  6. They Want My Soul by SPOON
  7. Ultraviolence by LANA del REY
  8. Misc. Singles by PRINZE GEORGE
  9. Everything Will Be Alright in the End by WEEZER
  10. Sisyphus by SUFJAN STEVENS, SON LUX, SERENGETI

Music - Songs
  1. Seasons (Waiting on You) by FUTURE ISLANDS
  2. Good Mistake by MR LITTLE JEANS
  3. Victor by PRINZE GEORGE
  4. Holding on for Life by BROKEN BELLS
  5. Magic by COLDPLAY
  6. Fall in Love by PHANTOGRAM
  7. To Be Alone by HOZIER
  8. I Can't Pretend by THE DRUMS
  9. Out of the Black by ROYAL BLOOD
  10. Careful You by TV ON THE RADIO
  11. Shades of Cool by LANA del REY
  12. They Want My Soul by SPOON
  13. Alcohol by SUFJAN STEVENS, SON LUX, SERENGETI
  14. 10,000 Emerald Pools by BORNS
  15. Till It's Gone by YELAWOLF
  16. Take Me To Church by HOZIER
  17. Blue Moon by BECK
  18. Ain't Got Nobody by WEEZER
  19. Out of the Woods by TAYLOR SWIFT
  20. Every Breaking Wave by U2

Books (Not necessarily 2013 books)
Some of these books I (DNF) for one reason or another, regardless of whether I liked them
  1. Harry Potter Saga (2nd re-read)
  2. Mistborn: Final Empire
  3. Gone Girl
  4. D&D World / Forgotten Realms
  5. Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit (DNF)
  6. Wold War Z (DNF)
Technology (Apps, Gear, & Internet Stuff)
  1. Pebble Steel
  2. All New Apple Gear: iPhone 6, MBP Retina, iPad Air
  3. Imgur, part of my daily internet along with Twitter & Facebook (Paper)
  4. WeMo Lights, I can't wait for the "Smart House"
  5. Everything Subscription: Apps, Programs, Netflix, etc
  6. Tile, which was cool but not... fully practical
  7. Evernote, Dropbox

A LOOK AT THE YEAR

Some Moments from the Year (Good & Bad):
  1. Re-reading the entire Harry Potter series, watching the movies after every book. A wonderful, awesome experience. One I'll probably do again soon... not so much with Lord of the Rings, as I tried to do the same with it.
  2. All day Twilight Imperium. We did this twice this year. And I loved it.
  3. D&D Group -- got VERY obsessed with this this year and look forward to more in the new year.
  4. Had Jury Duty this year, for the first time. Pretty uneventful.
  5. My "status" holiday, 2/28 came and went and meant really nothing to me. Felt good about that.
  6. Worked for Philymack, had a pretty great time, but soon realized, I was unhappy and quit. Maybe was a good idea, maybe not.
  7. Went to Comic Con this year -- did the overnight camp out for Hall H, something I may never do again but it was fun to do once... but as the days grow closer, I may change my mind.
  8. Had maybe a little TOO much fun in July & September... 
  9. Went to Big Bear with some friends for the weekend. Was both super fun and kinda lonely. 
  10. Had a fun birthday this year. Little Scavenger Hunt at the old abandoned zoo then went to a barcade.

This Year's Themes:
  1. CHANGING PERSPECTIVE: my desire & passion for filmmaking has evolved into that of gaming and more specifically Table Top Gaming.
HOPES / GOALS FROM 2014 FULFILLED?
  1. GET INTO A ROUTINE (Health, Writing, Social, etc)
    1. Kinda -- been better about going to the gym
  2. Finish Two NEW Scripts 
    1. Not close -- but this year has evolved from wanting to write, though I do have a new script I'm working on.
  3. Get AS SIMPLE AS SNOW out there, in any ways I can
    1. I submitted it out and got lackluster reviews on the ending... so, put it aside for now. Working on something that's probably a little more manageable budget wise (and I actually own rights too).
  4. Raise $$$ for a new project (hopefully of feature length)
    1. No. But that's alright.
  5. Network More, re-engage the Filmmaker
    1. Funny, I've dis-engaged the Filmmaker this year, but possibly for the better?
  6. Keep Hiking & Going to the Gym - make it a HABIT
    1. This I've done pretty good. I hiked a bunch & kept the gym. Though I didn't lose weight just sort of maintained.
  7. New Laptop, Desktop
    1. This DID happen! New laptop, iPadiPhone, and decided I didn't really want to get a desktop. 
  8. Save Save Save!!! 
    1. This I did not do at all. When I quit back in June, that really wiped out all that I had saved. I'm back to "unstressfully" being paycheck to paycheck.
  9. Take Vacation to Somewhere Awesome
    1. Kinda -- went to Big Bear with friends
  10. Reach "500" - only 119 last year
    1. Funny enough, I did all I wanted to do here in this department. Went on a really wild trip and hit numbers I wanted too.
HOPES GOALS FOR 2014
  1. Play Test my game, get it illustrated, and then get it on Kickstarter... this is my biggest goal.
  2. Finish my "Motel" script... seek out a producer / cast it / start the process
  3. Go to GenCon
  4. Keep Healthy / Keep Gyming it Up / Hit the Hike More Consistently
  5. Read More Novels
  6. Get a Dog

NEWS NEWS OF THE YEAR
  1. Michael Brown & Eric Garner
  2. Ebola "Scare"
  3. Ice Bucket Challenge
  4. Death of Robin Williams
  5. Missing Malaysian Plane
  6. Mid-Term Elections
  7. War in the Ukraine: Putin, Russia, Shot down Plain
  8. World Cup
  9. Winter Olympics: Sochi
  10. Nigerian Missing Girls

I want to thank lots of people this year -- in no particular order: my Mom, my Sister, my good friends here in LA, my roommate, my gaming groups (Twilight, D&D), the internet world, those who make all these awesome games, awesome video games, awesome movies -- anyone who creates. You guys are fucking awesome. 

Hugs & warmth to all.

Making It In LA (Or At Least Doing What You Want)

Blogging, journalling, telling the stories of your brain, seems passé. I use social media pretty prevalently: Facebook and Twitter mostly, but Instagram on occasion which in turn becomes my Tumblr feed... which posts to Twitter and finally ending up in the lake of my Facebook wall. 

I'm not sure exactly why I do it, but it's definitely what I would consider to be my OUTward persona. The sort of guy I am online, the sort of guy I'd want to be, if people met me. Things I think about, things I think are funny, news worth noting. It's also my own personal online journal. I can go back a few years and see all things thing I cared about, thought about. It's pretty cool. 

I'm sad Facebook is evolving to be more "news centric" - and less about my friends lives. I can understand when you're a publicly traded company, you have to prove you're worth something and hearing about people's days doesn't exactly bring home the bacon.

Anyway, that said, I'm going to start blogging again. I say, often - but I'm going to do what I did in the beginning and start writing every month, thinking about what I'm going to write and eventually put it to paper. 

The reason, I'm really here is to tell you fellas/ladies about the latest greatest thing: I'm a director.

Now, you may think that seems silly to say. I should always consider myself a director and always call myself a director. That's what you do when you move to LA, you claim yourself to be what you want to be, but I've always felt a little queazy about it. I had to earn that title. Well, this month, I finally did. Or, to say more properly - someone is actually going to give me money to direct. This isn't a short for myself, or to help out a friend, but an actual job I had to write on, pitch for - and get.

It's a music video. 

Nothing spectacular. It's not an artist you would know but they're signed and have graciously accepted the treatment that I wrote for their song. 

The video is being shot this coming 30th, a few days after my birthday (best birthday present ever?) and should be online for public consumption by mid-October or so. It's a video using the same projection technique as Michel Gondry's White Stripes' "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" video. It's still very differently tonally, and I believe has relevance within the story of the video.

Regardless, it's kind of a surreal experience. I moved out to LA in 2006 with the sole priority of becoming a movie director. I thought the easiest path to that would be music videos and so my first gig was at DNA. I was an intern. I chose to intern at DNA because their sister company was UK's Academy, where Jonathan Glazer was rep'd at the time. 

I thought, I could intern for a bit and get in good, move my way up and eventually get the opportunity to direct. Small projects at first, etc.

Well, that dream died quickly and I ended up quitting my internship on my birthday a month later. Having found myself to be completely ignored by everyone in the office by the office manager, and then only treated as free janitorial service. I was dusting light bulbs.

I quit and started a very long journey through production, mostly on music videos with about a quarter of the time working on commercials. I was a set PA, then worked the truck. Then I began to work in the office, eventually getting an opportunity to coordinate. I took a two year detour through reality TV where I started to PM but eventually got fired because, I guess because I just wasn't a "team player." 

In that time, I had a few short films play the festival circuit. 

My thesis film from college was the most successful in that it traveled around the world playing three continents, 10 countries, and winning half a dozen awards, including the grand jury prize at the Seoul International Children's Festival, the Montreal Image+Nation Film Festival, and a special jury prize for Experimental Short at the SXSW festival.

My next short started off even bigger playing Sundance in 2008. A festival I had dreamed of playing since I was a young teenager. It ended up having a much shorter circuit, only playing a few festivals before I just put it online.

I haven't done much after that. I made a deeply personal, yet pretty flawed, web series about my experience with HIV.

Over the years, I've actually grown pretty disenfranchised with the movie business and saw the dream I had since I was in 8th grade pretty far fetched. And yet, it wasn't that much of a heartbreaker. I didn't grow cynical or angry, just found that my desires and heart had evolved into television and gaming. It's not to say that I wouldn't want to make films for a living, I just never saw that dream happening the way the industry is set up.

Yet, gaming (both console and table top) is incredibly intriguing. I find a tremendous satisfaction out of console gaming (from the Uncharted series, Mass Effect, Limbo, The Walking Dead video game, and even Minecraft). And television is now what I believe cinema was in the 70s. 

In fact, this year, I've been putting together my first ever card game. Building upon elements that I've found satisfying in games and using them to create something I'd want to play. 

I've written pilot to a comedy with a friend, and just sort of satisfied my creative needs with projects here and there. 

It's recently that I had an opportunity to write on a music video. A guy I met first as an intern, like myself, working for free and just getting his feet wet quickly become my office PA and then coordinator. And then, jumping me all together to become a producer in his own right. He was now asked to commission a music video and had me, along with a few others, submit a treatment to a little video.

The strange (and odd) thing about the artist was that I had actually worked on her video as a Production Manager a few years back when she was unsigned. 

In any case, in just over a month, I'll have directed something on commission for money in Los Angeles, a feat I was beginning to think just wasn't possible. Is it the start to a budding directorial career? Or just one of the few spots in my life of otherwise entertainment consumption and overall happiness.

In either case, it's a great promise. 

Now I just need to make a sick fucking video.