Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"And I'm in pain...and I'm still hysterical!"

Well, I went to the hospital yesterday morning for my chest pain. After a number of examinations (blood work, X-rays)...I found that I can't die from what I have: musculoskeletal pain.

According to WebMD, my condition is defined thusly:

Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, along with the bones.

Muscle tissue can be damaged with the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to an area (jerking movements, auto accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle) also can cause musculoskeletal pain. Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, overuse, and prolonged immobilization. Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may bring about spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, therefore causing other muscles to be misused and become painful.

I have been having back problems as far back as December. I'm not above thinking that the two may be related. I'm taking medication to ease the pain, and failing that...I really don't know.

Thankfully, I'm still alive.


Saturday, March 29, 2008


For the last few days, I've been feeling a pain in my chest. It's just below my heart. It could be the onset of heart failure (I do eat a lot). It could be appendicitis. It could be kidney failure. Whatever the diagnosis, I'm going to the hospital today.

If you don't hear from me again after this...I'll miss you, too.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

30 days of might.

One of several links at the IMDb pointed toward a website: Script Frenzy. The main thing of it is that writers the world over challenge themselves to write a script of, at least, 100 pages in thirty days. The challenge is for the month of April.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I dabble in screenwriting, hoping that something will get published.

The time frame is that of a month, and since I've seen writing time of my scripts steadily shrink from a couple of years to nine months to three, a script completed in 30 days is far from impossible...even though I drift in and out of various projects. Still, with the preparation I give to my work, I have confidence in my goal.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gone baby gone.

I don’t know if people have noticed this, but I have a tendency to...complain about things. No. It’s true. Part of this comes from the unrelenting stupidity of nearly everyone I encounter. Another part stems from an inability to accomplish the goals I set for myself, and still another part comes from, funnily enough, today’s topic.

Now, I just know there are things that everyone misses that they end up thinking about; things that meant quite a bit to certain people. Not television shows, however; I’ll be here all day talking about that stuff. I mean particular items that seemingly snuck up on me and became very special to me…for a while, at least.

Things I really miss:

Banana parfaits - It’s not like I could walk into any store and get these; they were available exclusively at my store. Unfortunately, the makers were unaware of the danger of introducing such an addictive substance to an impressionable gourmet. I often search various locations with very little (if any) luck.

Ben & Jerry’s Milkshakes - The makers of the famous ice cream took three popular flavors - Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia - and sold them in milk form. I can’t really speak for the latter, but the first two were, to put it bluntly, flavor orgasms. The chocolate and banana flavors were as rich as one could possibly imagine. Why is this no longer being mass-produced?!

Go Bananas Snapple - True to the 'they found out I liked it, so they stopped making it' (apologies to George Carlin) spirit of this post, this flavor was discontinued. I tried it once and, like a number of 'banana-flavored' items, it’s an acquired taste, but a good one...and a damn sight better than Snapple Pie.

Hostess crumb cakes - It used to be that you could walk into any store and pick these up. Not so, these days. The Drake’s brand cakes are tasty enough, but, to quote the classic song, 'ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby'.

Little Debbie Tiger cakes - The spirit of this item lives on in the 'available at various, non-holiday periods of the year' Snack Cakes, but...there was nothing like walking into a store before (or after) high school and munching on them.

McDonald’s Spanish omelet bagel sandwich - Not only was this my favorite breakfast menu item at Mickey Ds, but I dare say that it was their best menu item, period. A fluffy egg folded over with peppers, overlaid with cheese and sauce and stuffed into an ever-so-greasy bagel. If one had to have their arteries clogged with fast food product, then, dear God, let it be this.

Quiznos - There were restaurants popping up all over town, featuring the chain’s unique toasted subs. (I am quite partial to the Turkey Bacon Guacamole.) And then...they disappeared, one at a time, except for one in Lancaster. I admit that this thing is much less scarce than the other items listed here, but, all the same, it seems...ludicrous to travel all those miles on two buses for a fucking sandwich! (...but what a sandwich!)

Sudoku instant lottery tickets - Really. For a time, the deliriously challenging game in the newspaper was also a scratch-and-win lottery ticket. Within the year or so it was available, I saw people come in and turn in those tickets. However (shock and awe!), no one actually played the fucking game, preferring instead to scratch off the solution panel and match the numbers like that. And a lot of these people actually walked away with money. Typical: some people like to be mentally-challenged, but they don’t like to be challenged mentally. (Variations of the ticket are, apparently, still on sale in New Jersey, Michigan, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado. Lucky dogs.)

Super Donuts - I know I’m not the only person who encountered these in school breakfast lines. Available in plain or chocolate, these sticky, sweet pastries were likely to induce sugar shock if one were to eat enough of them...and I defy anyone to tell me it wouldn’t be worth it. A shining example of how we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. And they were supposed to be good for you! How do you like that?!

The works of KentuckyBootleg - First, a little background: like a lot of people (but, apparently, not enough to justify the Weinsteins not chopping the film up for DVD and cable release), I checked out Grindhouse last spring. Planet Terror and Death Proof were decent-enough programmers, but - like a child eschewing the shiny new toy for the packaging - I was drawn more to the bumpers and, particularly, the trailers. Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the SS was okay, but Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving and Edgar Wright’s Don’t were, without question, the highlight of the experience. My eyes were opened to the wonder of trailers from long ago. Not coincidentally, I was on YouTube searching for trailers to the film Tourist Trap a few weeks later. It was then that I found a rare thirty-second ad for the film. It had been scattered amongst other horror thriller previews from the period. The user who posted the trailer suite...KentuckyBootleg. For the next few months, I eagerly watched stretches of rare ads (taken from the original 35mm prints, which really helps the viewing experience) that he posted. He even uploaded (in eleven parts) a made for TV thriller that I hadn’t seen in ages: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow". I had hoped to settle in and be transported to my childhood. Sadly, this was not to be. In November, KentuckyBootleg and his videos were gone. For some reason, the links to his posts remain, cruelly taunting me. The result upon clicking on a link: 'This video has been removed by the user', which manages to sting even worse than if he’d been kicked off the site; this was a conscious decision. I’ll always miss his posts (esp. a trailer mix that included, for my money, one of the finest trailers ever cut: a 60-second spot for Theatre of Blood), and I’ll always wonder a) what he’s up to, b) what caused him to leave and c) if he’s ever coming back.

God willing, I'm not the only one who misses these items and, on occasion, grouses about not currently having them.


Sunday, March 16, 2008


Yeah. Every other Sunday, I bitch about something. Deal with it.

After a delicious breakfast (which my younger sister paid for), my family and I headed for a nearby Big Lots. I'd passed the place hundreds of times while on the bus, but I never went in.

As I stepped in, the smell hit me. Nothing overly unpleasant, but just...insistently clean, as if it was overdisinfected. That smell strikes me in a number of places, mainly Family Dollar and various 'everything's a dollar' stores. My family saw the place as a supply of useful - if marked-down - items, but I saw it as a dollar store that managed to occupy a larger space.

The home furnishings were fairly dusty, and the whole experience was off-putting. I'll tell you this much: unless there's a gun pointed at the base of my spine, I'm never entering one of those stores again.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Released in August of 1996, Matilda, based on the book by Roald Dahl, told the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a young girl whose intelligence goes unappreciated by her boorish parents, Harry and Zinnia (director/co-producer/narrator Danny DeVito and real-life wife Rhea Perlman). Her desire to go to school is met in the form of Crunchem Hall, a foreboding institute run by the cruel Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris). However, Matilda finds a kindred spirit in her teacher, Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz). The same off-kilter style that DeVito brought to Throw Momma from the Train and The War of the Roses is in full flower here, from Stefan Czapsky’s cinematography to the music of longtime collaborator David Newman.

Newman (whose birthday it is today; yep, I did it again), for his talent, occasionally hews a little close to the temp-track (witness the opening of The Nutty Professor), but, in this score, he makes it work for him. Borrowing from Rachel Portman’s A Pyromaniac’s Love Story, he created a bustling main theme that ably captures the wide-eyed feeling of childhood. "To the Library and Beyond" shows this theme at its most lovely.

Another temp-track borrowing (and another beaut) is "Hair Tonic", which takes none other than brother Thomas’ theme from The Player and runs it through a wringer of electronics, percussion and piano. The result is a nice bit of quirk that amusingly underscores Matilda’s attempt at pulling a prank.

Swaggering horns play under Harry’s underhanded sales techniques in "Wormwood Motors", while "Crunchem Hall" hurries along with horns, percussion and a mock-baroque trumpet solo as Matilda first sees her school. The Thomas Newmanisms that earmarked "Hair Tonic" run rampant throughout "Let Him Eat Cake" and "Brucie Eats it All" (the latter with David’s weird but wonderful orchestral effects building to triumph).

Things get frantic in "Trunchbull Teaches Class" as the music scurries about, growing nervous with its strange percussion and halting horns. As the teacher reveals her life to her prize student, "Miss Honey’s Story" wafts about with warm strings and horns. "Trunchbull’s House" and "A Narrow Escape" follow Matilda and Miss Honey into the spacious home of the film’s antagonist. The former percolates with quivering strings and percussion, intercut with booming, almost violent-sounding music for the shots of the Trunchbull. The latter, however, is a full-on action cue. As Trunchbull gives chase against the intruders, the strings chop away and the horns blare at the characters, 'Get the hell out of there!'.

"The Haunting" sees another return to Trunchbull’s house on an unusual rescue mission. Newman carries the scene on his shoulders with his music: woodwinds, electronics, strings, horns and percussion float about to create an ethereal feel. However, "End of the Trunchbull" is the show-stopper. As Matilda brings her telekinesis to bear on the brutish headmistress, Newman goes from militaristic unease to fluttering harps (for a "ghostly" message) to an explosion of wackiness, uniting, among other elements, big-band swing, the swaggering horns of "Wormwood Motors" and warm strings before leading to a heroic finale.

A jazzy sub-theme on Hammond organ and electric guitars represents the FBI agents (Paul Reubens and Tracey Walter) watching the Wormwood home, appearing in "The FBI" and "FBI in the Garage". The same instrumentation figures in the "Green Onions"-inspired "Home from the Hospital". The game show "Million Dollar Sticky" (hosted by an uncredited Jon Lovitz) is treated to appropriately brassy music.

Once available on a promo bootleg, the score recently received a release from the Varese Sarabande CD Club. As a fan of the composer, I consider this to be one of their finest releases. At this writing, there are less than 500 copies, so if you have even a passing interest in the music, now is the time to get it. An entertaining score from a remarkable composer.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

"They all deserve to die!"

Yet another lousy day at work...and the lead-up is partially to blame.

Snow has been falling on this city since Friday night. Sure, it's stopped long enough for people to get a sporting chance to clear it up, but it felt like even more came down in its place.

As I was hurrying to get to the bus stop (they don't run very often on Sundays), this guy's car was stuck in the snow. I was worried about my bus, but I tried to lend a hand. I pushed on the rear bumper, but he needed the front pushed. A few moments later, I saw him driving down the street. That bit of self-satisfaction was not to last, as the bus was nowhere in sight. Worried, I called my mother to give me a ride in. Seconds after, I see the bus coming up the street. I called home again to stop my mother, but she was on her way, just as the bus arrived at the stop.

Things failed to improve at work. A bunch of carts were scattered in the middle of the driving space, where anyone could crash into them (and with the snow and ice in the parking lot, driving isn't exactly safe). What's ridiculous about this (and about every time the carts are scattered) is that there are caddies all over to put carts that aren't being used. How people could ignore such a simple prospect, I'll never understand.

And then...the customers. This one guy asks me how long I've been working at the store. Like it's any of his motherfucking business how long I've worked there? What possible use could he have for that information? Fucking rockhead. And this other putz, who tries to return a $50 dollar ham (that he didn't even get from our store) with scraps of a receipt that I taped up.

And through it all, I couldn't help but think of a song from "Sweeney Todd":

There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
And it's filled with people who are full of shit
And the vermin of the world inhabit it...but not for long
They all deserve to die
Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why
Because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett
There are two kinds of men and only two
There's the one staying put in his proper place
and the one with his foot in the other one's face
Look at me, Mrs. Lovett
Look at you
No, we all deserve to die
Even you, Mrs. Lovett
Even I
Because the lives of the wicked should be made brief
For the rest of us, death will be relief
We all deserve to die!

I'm not exactly stating that I'm thinking of killing these douchebags that piss me off (with the advent of "CSI" and its spinoffs, I think it's more dangerous nowadays to be a serial killer than a serial killer's victim), but I do consider this a colorful way of blowing off steam.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Back again.

I don't know what's going on. This is the second time this year that I've gone ten days without posting here.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel, but...I really got to start posting more.