Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The People You Meet

Not saying this is a come back of any type, but after farewelling my darling friend Jeffrey today, I felt the overwhelming need to blog.  Met a weird Japanese/American dude five years ago. Blogging and creative writing led to Skyping, constant contact and the developmlent of a strange and lovely friendship. He's just finished visiting me here in Australia for five weeks, the third of our contacts during that time. We began 'road tripping' first in 2011 along the New South Wales Coast along the Great Ocean Road, again across the US from LA to MA and back via New Mexico and all the bits in between, and more recently down from Sydney to Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final and into the red outback of Coober Pedy. So much has changed. A man I barely knew has become my best friend. I've sold my house and am liquid for the first time in 25 years. I am living alone for the first time in 25 years. My children are settled, happy, mortaged and a whole wealth of opportunities are presenting themselves. I've met many of my international bloggers over that time, and not one - not one - has disappointed and I have so many more to catch up with. 

I know this is a little weird and a little obscure but, blogging, although I have done little of it recently has introduced me to people who I now consider absolute friends. ABSOLUTE. People I've met, once, twice, three and even four times despite the tyranny of distance and a few that for circumstances unseen, I haven't yet been able to connect with. You know who you are. One particularly, has become my favourite travelling companion. A continent apart but always close.  Thank you all who have read, followed and joined me more recently on Facebook.  You have made my life richer. Thank you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's Australia Day/Invasion Day/Citizen Day or whatever you want to call it here so that means a long weekend and an opportunity to catch up on some blogs and even write a post of my own. It's been a while and for some reason, Picassa has deleted all my blog pics since I synched my gmail account with my bloody Android Phone. So, here's a few pics to let you know what I've been up to since November. Although I don't think many of my former followers visit much these days. 

Happy belated New Year, I have a good feeling about 2013 and wish you wealth, health and happiness.

Managed to get a Photography gig at next Year's Avalon Market Day

This year we had a very "Sparkly" Christmas and I won a trophy for the most sparkly


Bainbridge Family Christmas with the In Laws

On of our chickens was eaten by a fox. Not Shirley thank goodness. The other two now live with my sister. No more chicken poo in the house.
Avalon Beach on New Years Day
Friend Steve ...sailing on New Year's Day

Oh. I went to New Zealand, this is the view from the guest room window at my friend's house. I woke up to this every morning

Friend Kenton about to go surfing at Te Aeri Beach North Island
Gorgeous friend Kenton and his family on Muriwai Beach

Weird mirrored art installation at Auckland Art Gallery

Windsor International Sand Sculptures     

Well that's it in a nutshell, other than I might have inadvertently become an Executive Producer of a short film. Might do a New Zealand post later.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Essayons...That's All You Can Do

It was a tough lesson to learn and one that cost my friend dearly. One that I lament also, because three years of almost daily contact is about to slide into even fewer Skype encounters, texts and calls. Contact reduced largely to a friendship via Android until he gets back on his feet once more.

Yes he's able to spoil every photograph - quirky, arrogant, eloquent, intelligent, tipsy, argumentative, rude, creative, frustrating but...

He’s been in LA for almost two and a half years. The first year, dedicated to cementing relationships, getting on his feet, finding his bearings, honing his craft, writing furiously, engaging with contacts, producers, actors, mentors, and generally getting himself established; itself a full time job. This man is a fine storyteller and a very good script writer. The second year, after a visit to Australia followed by prolific production and a short period of ill health culminating in an operation, he realised that if he’s going to make it in Tinsel Town as a writer and producer, he needed to get his skates on. And a flurry of activity began.  Poetry and prose were traded for scripts, his beloved Tenth Daughter of Memory blog closed. A novel he’d written turned into an amazing feature screenplay and things were beginning to buzz. Lots of contact with old friends and new, creative like-minded souls, red carpet openings and the apparent interest of producers famous and unknown. 10 Short film scripts, negotiations with SAG actors and crew, furious networking and the seeking of mentors. By July 2012, he was buoyant. Running out of funds but frantically busy. One of which held such promise as a recognised Hollywood producer. Most of all, he was happy, positive, optimistic; everything was coming together. Our conversations were varied, he was funny, intelligent, chatty and I looked forward to racing home each evening to catch up on the events of his day. So exciting compared to the banality of mine.

Over the past three months the reality of ‘making it’ in a town full of false promises, shallow people and abject vanity began to show. The mentors weren't forthcoming, deals fell through, contracts were dubious. The slow reality of becoming known as a paid writer, gave way to mounting debt.  I watched the enthusiasm fall from his face. I saw the disappointment in his eyes, the exhaustion take its toll. There was a palpable change in his temperament from uplifted to jaded, something few of his Hollywood friends recognised despite a barage of not-so-subtle hints on Facebook. Most of all, I recognised the familiar apathy returning  as he said “I don’t care…” More often than I cared to hear it.

Finally, totally out of funds and in more debt than he can service, (most of it inherited from someone else) he’s had to pick up sticks. Two short films have been scheduled. One already shot and
in post production, the other in pre-production and ready to film on 8th December with an almost impossible completion deadline of 3rd January.
His crew and co-writer working frantically to put it together as an entry in Australian Tropfest. 

He couldn’t be leaving at a worse time. Hopefully, the global village that we are, will allow him to stay in touch via internet and phone and to help drive this project forward. It was a labour of love and I’ve seen with my own eyes, the level of effort that has had to be made to bring it this far. Jeff, is beyond exhausted. The film, "Imaginary Friend" has just reached it's minimum target, but if you're interested in seeing this dream fulfilled, feel free to lob a few bucks at the boys. I have a selfish interest in as much as the Director/Producer get to travel over for the festival if they're selected as finalists.

I love this man, because he is my dearest male friend (other than my son of course), because for three years, he’s been my constant companion on Skype, and for a while in person. I am devastated that he has to leave. Then leaving isn’t the big thing for me. Wherever he goes, he’s still on the other side of the world. The devastation comes from his inability to service his debt quickly so he’s looking at the most high risk occupations because they offer the highest and fastest returns – the fastest route to sating the appetites of voracious creditors. 

In another life, and long before I knew him, he was a soldier, a combat engineer, a paratrooper. He’s now seeking contract work detonating land mines in Afghanistan and I can’t tell you how that makes my heart bleed. Especially, since at one point this year, he was coming to visit for three weeks over Christmas. I still hold a vain hope that he might make it, given that the timeframe for this application might take a couple of months. I know in my heart it’s unlikely, very unlikely, and I fear I won’t see him for another year, or at worst, ever again except via my computer screen. The attraction of high risk jobs in warzones? Tax free income, food and board and a quick ass way to reduce debt, for those who have the right skills.

On Thursday, he heads home to sort his affairs. Drop off his gear, go through the motions of becoming suitable for such work and worst of all, finding homes for his beloved animals. I know how much that’s going to hurt. I’ve seen it before when he  had to leave two of his dogs behind to go to LA in the first place. Even though they’re well cared for, he misses them. Misses them dearly. The job in a dangerous place isn't a given but it's his best hope getting back on his feet. Besides, what boy doesn't like to blow shit up!

Part of me wants to hug him, braid his hair and tell him it will be alright. Part of me wants to berate him for not getting part-time work while he was in Hollywood. Part of me wants to slap him and tell him not to put his life at risk, and part of me knows that he needs money, fast, and that a dangerous occupation is probably the only way he can do that without losing everything. Probably the only thing he’s really highly qualified to do, other than write. Part of me also knows that he has a craving for risk and adventure and mountains and travel, this way he satisfies those lusts.

I know he'll keep in touch. I know he'll message and Skype me when he can.  

So Jeff, keep your wits about you, your spirits up and know that you are loved across the pond. It'll be interesting to see how much of Tinsel Town stays true. 

Tonight he told me "...most will stay friends for a week!' 

I didn't respond but I know which ones will. Not I, my friend. I'm here for the long haul. Then with most of my evenings free....perhaps I'll join a drum circle, or start blogging.

This is not so much a lament but a warning to those who venture in to Hollywood with stars in their eyes. It has little to do with how 'good' you are, or even who you know, it's about having the financial backup to fulfill your dreams and persist. Perhaps he'll go back, perhaps it's time for a whole new start.
Essayons Jeffrey, things will work out fine. I know you feel bottom of the barrel right now, perhaps that's what draws us together. 

"Let us try!" That's all we can do.

On the set of his soon to be completed short film "Dog" with the 'model' who played dead dog Starbuck.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Week of Weirdness and of No Particular Interest to Anyone

It's been a strange week. I have a visitor who's been working on Cruise ships but originally from the US. He's young,love-sick and depressed over a recent relationship breakup and killing time before heading home, or on some other adventure. It's hard to mend a wounded heart, especially when there's (in my opinion) little hope of short term repair. I feel very sad for him and just want to hug him all the time but don't want to make him cry. Anyway, I'll keep him busy until he heads, moves forward or whatever.

I've been estranged from my brother, 2 years my junior, since he moved out six years ago. Yesterday this lean figure wondered up to the shed, fiddled around a bit, then strolled back. It was him. Older, shakier, thinner. The once long mane of chestnut hair, cropped and balding. His moustache and goatee, decidedly grey. He's finally completing the house that he started six years ago, up in the blue mountains and checking out some furniture he'd left behind. It was a reconciliation of sorts. Uncomfortable, awkward but we exchanged numbers, I gave him a warm hug and I promised to visit once he'd moved in about three weeks from now. I hate family rifts and mine's been rifting for a variety of reasons over the past few years. It was good to connect and hopefully, the start of a better relationship between us. I thought he'd 'divorced' his family but I think he's ready to somehow rekindle what was once a close relationship. Hope floats.

We had a baby. Well my nephew's wife had a baby. They live next door and today, Charlie Dunn (also my father's name), all 8.1lbs of him comes home to cause havoc. He took a while to reach the world as his mum was induced on Tuesday night, then had a caesar the following Wednesday but all worked out in the wash and my youngest brother and his wife are now the first grandparents in our generation. I'm just glad it wasn't me!

Had an intense meeting with a large developer who banged on about joint ventures and putting powerlines underground. All it would cost is $165,000. My reaction? "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......" Yep, I left the meeting early before I burst into tears at the apparent hopelessness of selling this bloody block. Then had a call from a real estate agent who has an 'offer'. I'm not holding my breath, this particular agent is very naive so we'll meet on Monday and I'll give him the lay of the land so to speak. See if his buyer is still interested.

My laptop USB died. This is a problem because I can't upload photos or use my wireless headset when I'm talking on Skype. So, Bill the local computer guy came and fixed it. The $210 quote ended up being $407, more than the damn thing was worth so I went crazy on credit and bought a new desktop. I know, silly purchase given my financial situation but hey, I'll claim it on tax somehow and finally have a stable and reliable platform for my online shenanigans. I miss the discipline of sitting in front of a screen, in a stationary position. I haven't written a word since for months so hopefully, the regimen of just getting into position will get the juices flowing. Bring on November and the return of The Tenth Daughter of Memory...it makes me write, it makes me happy.

Finally, my company has designated a three week compulsory leave period over Christmas. This is awesome and problematic. It will use up my entire paid leave entitlement at a time of year when everyone seems to be on holiday or out of the country. But, if a certain person pulls his finger out and comes to visit. Could end up being a delightful summer break.

So...enough about me....how's weirdness in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

And....We're Back...sort of

A few months ago, I closed a site that had encouraged me to write - about everything - due to waning interest. Constraints of time, dissatisfaction with the format and well, some imagined intimidation at being 'judged' for your work (which I like actually) caused interest to dwindle. Since then, a few of us have been flailing in the world of writing and miss the challenge and contributions. My point? The Tenth Daughter of Memory is returning and this is as good a place as any to let you know that JeffScape has decided to attempt a relaunch of sorts.

However... things have changed.

The new system in mind provides longer periods of both submitting and voting, as well as limits the types of entries a specific Muse will accept.  The system, so far, looks wonderful on paper, but it is obvious to those involved that said system will undoubtedly run into problems.

Which means what, exactly?

Which means that, starting in November, The Tenth Daughter of Memory is going to launch a 3-cycle "beta test" to try out the next system, with the hopes of having a full relaunch in time for the "4th Annual River of Mnemosyne"  challenge.

The beta test will be all-volunteer and done in private, and, well, we need volunteers.

Anyone interested in either participating or administrating, please email us at 10thDoM@gmail.com.

Having written bugger all for the last few months, I for one am delighted that it's being revived. Bigger, better, simpler? Who knows but it's one helluva ride. Come join in the fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who knew? I have a life!

I guess I haven't been blogging that much because I felt that I really didn't have a very interesting life or anything fascinating to say. Until I started filing my photos on Flickr and realised that actually....I have quite a rich life and at least one or two extra curricular excursions beyond heading to Bunnings for house paint or doing the laundry.

 The past month has seen me meet up with bloggers VE and Wifey Poo, who managed a day in Sydney before a two-week foray into North Queensland. Despite the queues for the Ferry to Manly on a beautiful Sunday, we spent a few hours chatting, eating and walking just to keep the poor darlings awake (they arrived at 5:15am and couldn't get into their hotel until after 2!) Sorry, no photos since it was Wifey Poo's camera that took the shots so I guess you'll have to wait until they get back from their ballooning, white water rafting and shark dodging.

Last week met up with yet another blogger but since it's her fifth trip to Australia and the third time we've connected, Jenny is more a friend than just a cybername. Unfortunately, her visit was way too short and minus the lovely Nickhereandnow....next time folks, let's throw an oversized shrimp on the barbie.

Also caught up with a previously unmet friend of a Friend during the Sydney Writer's festival. The festival was rather coincidental but it made the Walsh Bay area in Sydney abuzz with activity and a few famous faces. Dustin doesn't blog but he's a fantastic photographer with a lovely e-book for iPad, check it out if you're into travel and stunning visuals.

On the home front, I've been feeding a skinny horse all sorts of magic potions and have just realised that the best weight gaining potion (as with people I guess) is vegetable oil. He's coming on nicely. Photos later when it's warm enough to bear the trickle of cold water down the inside of my arm - yes, he needs a bath.

Chickens. We have chickens. Not mine but when you live next door to the chicken owner, the birds do not know that my house is a no go zone. They're beyond tame and how a dog or fox hasn't nibbled them by now I'll never know, their only saving grace? Being locked up securely after dark. Shirley particularly, is my favourite.

Of course if you don't live under a rock, you know I've been spruiking the first short film to be made by a friend. It's now in post production and hopefully will be making the festival rounds before Christmas. It's been a learning curve for the filmmakers and a labour of love. If things pan out the way they should, Jeffscape will be bringing my digital copy at Christmas.  God knows they didn't get paid for it but I'm so proud of them and their efforts.

Of course there's been connections with the family. Now that I'm an empty nester, I hate not having my kids at home but they're around regularly or more likely, I'm around at their place regularly. Time for me to spill coffee on their carpet and eat them out of house and home.

So, pedestrian as it is, this is my life of working 9-5, engaging with family, farm animals, lunch and meet-ups. Until next time.

 Circular Quay Ferry Terminal...took VE and Wifey Poo to lunch in Manly. They paid which was rather nice!

Speaking of family connections, my niece in law is due in 2 weeks. How that huge thing is going to slide between those tiny hips remains to be seen!

Lunch at Ripples, Chowder Bay with my best friend in the world who yes, is marginally older than me at 56 already. Sucks to be you Thommo...(Oh hai...that'll be me on the 16th October. How did I get to be so friggin' old?)

 This is Shirley

And this is Dustin, with Clare of course....currently working on cruise ships in the Atlantic
And yes, Adam still cooks while Clare pretends to get her fingers dirty but the Pasta Machine has been getting a workout lately.

And last but by no means least, my beloved Sydney Swans nailed the AFL premiership. Happy doesn't cut it. I'm over the moon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And They're Away!

You all probably are aware that Jeffscape is making a short film. One of many but the first and it's bloody awesome. They underestimated the cost a little and are still appealing for funds, so close but poor man's reduced to eating pot noodles after having invested heavily with money he doesn't have. So take a look at the teaser and please, if you have a penny in your pocket, spare a little for their Kickstarter. I have a good feeling about this, I think it's the beginning of something great.