Wednesday, December 31, 2008

in this installment, james posts a video about his mountain-climbing boss.

My boss climbs mountains and makes YouTube videos about it. What does YOUR boss do?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

in this installment, james kills christians with a machine gun.

Worst. Movie. Ever.

But check out the stud that appears at time code 3:50.

My favorite memory from working on this horrible film as a 1st A.D. was when the director as adamant that some local kids in the far background were "too young, they wouldn't be on Earth after the 'rapture.'"

This attempt a theological (in?)accuracy forced me to sprint across a not-quite-dry river bed while shouting over my shoulder, "fine, but I'm am amillenialist, so you owe me!"

Ah, eschatology humor.

My second favorite moment while filming was when the writer/director's wife walked on the location and found that the city's attempts to divert the flooding river from washing out public roads was actually flooding our future set. She began to pay out lout that God would "stop the hands of the devil." Which basically means, we prayed that the Lord would destroy public property so that their crappy movie could be made.

This is why I love Hollywood so much.

Friday, November 28, 2008

in this installment, james goes scuba diving.

in this installment, james meets up with a friend he hasn't seen in almost ten years.

I hadn't seen Jeff in about nine years. He intern at my high school church in Washington when he was 25 (two years younger than I am now!) and I hadn't seen him since. We emailed about once every quarter decade or so, but that's about it.

Then, thanks to the miracle of Facebook, we reunited digitally and I learned he was ALSO teaching English in Korea. So after a month of laziness and working out schedules, I finally braved the bus and train system the four hours south to Gwangju where he works.

He met me outside the bus station and two things were immediately clear. He was now 34 but hadn't aged a day, and we immediately picked up where we left off nine years before.

I love that.

Back immediately were the rapid fire theological discussions and ridicuolous anecdotes. You think I talk fast? You should see me with Jeff.

For all that the internet drives apart, there is a counter reaction in modern culture. If not for Facebook we probably would have never seen eachother again. It's very bizarre to think about, that in another decade a large portion of my friends would have simply disapeared by this point. I remember people my parents were friends with when I was younger and realize our family hasn't heard from them in years. And I wonder how my parents lives and friendships would be different if they'd had the technology we have today. And I wonder what my kids will have in the future.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

in this installment, james shares a movie trailer.


Word on the street is this independent film is quite incredible. Apparently it's a solid, artistic Western with a historical eye for period detail ... that has monsters in it. See as one of my goals it to make a series of historically valid Westerns with supernatural elements, I either love this guy or hate this guy in advance. Either way, watch for this flick, it's supposed to be fantastic:

The Burrowers

Saturday, November 1, 2008

in this installment, james eats a buttermilkboy

Hiya, back in South Korea now and absolutely loving the fact I can see my breath in the morning!

My last three days in Cambodia were spent in bed, not because I was horribly sick, but because I had a sore throat and could feel myself on the brink of something big. After two days in colder weather, though, I seem to be feeling MUCH better, so I think it was accumulated dehydration. I really have no idea how people survive in that climate.

Anyway, now that I'm back at my laptop there will be more videos coming, but at a slower rate than last month. I have a fairly heavy writing schedule now, and thus far it's working out well. The great thing about Gimpo is that everything is within a stone's throw away. So, within three city blocks (ok, I can't really throw that far) I have a jogging trail, movie theater, bowling alley, two coffee shops, and a mob of incredible restaurants, pharmacies, and convenience stores. So I plan on being on a strict schedule of exercise, eating, and writing ... which, thus far I've managed to keep for one day, then drank coffee too late and had insomnia and couldn't drag myself out of bed to go jogging.

Tomorrow, though, TOMORROW will be the real start date, right?

Good news is I am writing a TON ... one third of a short story and five pages of a screenplay in one day ... I'm really hoping I can keep up the flow. 2009 is too much of a watershed year career-wise not to have at least one finished screenplay to lead the assault.

In other news, I've decided that it's possible to fall in love with any country you visit, given the right amount of time and circumstance. For me, I fell in love with Cambodia on the taxi ride from the airport, which consisted of me juggling my large backpack and American fat on the back of a tiny motorbike as the driver wove through rush hour traffic while talking on his cell phone. Thailand took a bit longer, since my first impression was Bangkok. But a week on a secluded paradise beach tends to win you over. As for South Korea, on my first pass through I wasn't really won over. Kind of like a first date that doesn't really go horrible, but you didn't feel any sparks and are debating whether a second date it worth the time and money. For me, the lightning struck in the coffee shop yesterday, when I sat in a warm patch of sunlight next to the window and watched the afternoon rush push down the sidewalks with scarves across their faces.

Of course, it could just be it reminds me of Seattle ...

*Author's Note*
A Buttermilkboy is a brown sugar bun filled with butter sauce. Yeah, you heard me right.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

in this installment, james decides he has to suck it up and read/watch alex garland's "the beach."

Millions of the world's population are now mobile. Not just ready to bolt if the need arises, these folks live as nomads who journey as far as possible from their cultural ties. Not just frat boys on an international sex quest or artists searching for inspiration outside the commercial glare of America, there is a very large subculture of life-long travelers.

I met one on Koh Tao, and over the course of four days we struck up an ongoing conversation and hopefully friendship.

Originally from New Zealand, he got his first taste of travel life in his college years. Ingrained in Kiwi culture is the belief that young adults need to travel the world to gain a better perspective on life - this is also true in Australia - and he set off like so many of his school mates.

Only he never went back.

He now makes his home in London, missing New Zealand but unable to return after his experiences around the world grew him a bit too large for the small bowl of Kiwi culture.

He was in Berlin in 1989. He has two chunks of the wall in his London flat and was at the famous Pink Floyd concert.

He was in Rawanda when it imploded and hid for two days with his travel companions while entire groups of people were hacked into pieces right outside their hiding place. Then they finally snuck out and crossed the border, they broke into two groups. He fell into the first, the second was kidnapped and executed.

He finally settled in Israel. He traveled there with a girlfriend to work at a Moshev, but soon they broke up. He loved the culture and decided to stay while she moved on. After a while he began to date an Israeli girl. She got pregnant and he decided it was finally time to plant roots. When the son was four years old he was killed when the Moshev was bombed. The parents survived, but the pressure was too great and they split up despite his protests. Her family demanded she now marry an Israeli man. He found his way back to London.

I met him in Thailand, where he was spending a month reading and smoking hashish. He gave me a copy of Shogun to read and is heading to India for six months.

He's 46 now and won't be back to London for over a year. And when he's there, he still won't be home, because he's tried twice, and each time the world swept him back into its current.

Monday, October 20, 2008

in this installment, james fights fire with a french canadian rastafarian buddhist who plays the harmonica and makes monkey noises.

There's nothing better for escaping the midday heat of Thailand than lugging enormous jugs of water up vertical steps to put out an inferno that used to be a bungalow.

We were strewn out over the restaurant tables like cats, not reading, not eating, not talking, just trying to doze to pass the time and heat. The quiet guesthouse had been inundated with Spaniards and Germans in the late morning, and now they too were overcome by the sun - though a few still bobbed in the water.

Then a boom, and screams, and running around the corner to see a staff bungalow - grass roof and driftwood walls - is not a box of flame. It spreads instantly to the hut next door, then quickly to a tree that will lead to more buildings.

A few sat in their seats and watched (French, enough said). Two ran to grab cash and passports then headed to help (myself and the French Canadian), and the Spaniards (mostly women) instantly formed a water lugging assembly line up the hill. The men spread around the fire and began to toss pitiful amounts that evaporated before contact. There was no saving what was burning, so we began to douse the third bungalow and trees.

Fifteen minutes later, the two bungalows were ash, but otherwise nothing was damaged. I got some footage, but not much, since I felt guilty every time I pushed REC ... this is why I'm not a documentarian.

Well, that's all I'm gonna write now. I'll post video when I'm back in Korea. I have to sleep. I just got back from night diving with a giant jellyfish and tomorrow morning I'm doing my deep dive with sharks!

Friday, October 10, 2008

in this installment, james almost faints in the jungle.

Ok, so I wanted to get to a more secluded place to do some writing, swimming, etc. And there was this place listed in Lonely Planet that sounded good, but the number was out of service, so the only way I could get there was to hike across the center of the island, about four miles, 1,000 foot elevation at the peak, 95 degree weather, through the jungle, on a road about four feet wide lined with coconut shells to keep it from washing away completely during the rains.

I almost passed out, twice.

Finally, after an hour I peaked, then saw ocean through the trees on the other side. I quickly decended to sea level and rounded a corner and ... I'm not even joking, this place looks ripped out of a Pirates movie ... bungalows botted on the hillside, linked with intricate criss-crossed stairs, some wood, some cement. And all lining a private cove.

I made my way down to the water and found the restaurant and office ... on a patio that ENDS at the water. I ordered food and drink and relexed before my walk back ... but not before securing a room for two weeks.

Within 200 metes of the restaurant there is cliff jumping, trail hiking, and snorkeling in a shark pool.

I'm not even joking. It's so amazing ... and for, get this, $6/a night!

The boat picks me up in an hour. Thing is ... no internet for two weeks. So this is going to be my last blog for a while!

There's a chance I'll make it back over to this side in a week or so,but if not, expect be on the interweb around the 26th or so.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

in this installment, james swims with the fishes, but not in the gangster sense.

First off, Happy Birthday to my Father, who is 40-years-old today!

Second, I got to swim in open water today, and get right next to the most amazing assortment of coral, fishes, and worms. The best were Christmas Tree Worms, which are those weird fan things that stick out of coral and jerk back incredibly fast when you try to touch them. The move so fast they just seem to disapear.

I was completely in love with diving before I descended, just looking down the buoy line that disapeared into the vague shape of a rock, swarming with blue and yellow fish, was enough to fall in love. Although, lots of those fish enjoy coming up and biting you, which doesn't hurt so much as freak you out.

Unfortunatly for me, they seem to like leg hair.

It turns out that Crystal Dive Resort, where I'm staying and taking this course, is the second cheapest place in the world to get your scuba certification. It's very very tempting to drop the cash on two more days of training, then I could dive up to 30 meters (100 feet!) instead of 18. Being able to go lower would mean I could see sharks around the island (safe sharks, not flesh eating Spielberg sharks). I have the time but don't know if I have the money ... I could always some back, and for any of you interested in a vacation, you can get here for $1,000, rent rooms for between $4/10 a night, and meals also rangs from $3-10 depending if you want local cuisine or Italian (there are TWO competing Italian restaurants, one owned by an actual Italian man, NEXT DOOR to each other on a 21 square km island!).

Oh well, even if I can't afford the extra training I plan on snorkling like every day!

This place is gorgeous, but I havn't had a chance to explore just yet. I've been too busy diving!

It's a bit more expensive for internet here, so I'm signing off. Miss you all and can't wait to see you in December!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

in this installment, james gets taken for a ride ... to nowhere

Bangkok was ... interesting. My "room" was a closet with windows that wouldn't close so I could hear the perpetual roar of tourists all night and a window to the hallway with no drapes so I had florescent light shining on my face all night. No television, free soap, or room to move. Oh, and it cost a third more than my room in Cambodia which could hold an entire soccer team.

So in the morning I rushed around, trying to find this Israeli travel shop that everyone raved about. I finally did ... and got a cheap flight to the big island (Koh Samui). Then I had hours to kill so I thought I'd browse around the city. Ten minutes later I caught a bus to the airport because I'd rather sit for four hours in the sterile, uncomfortable world of an airport than hang around Bangkok another minutes.

It's horrid.

Then my flight was delayed, and rather than walk onto the plane, at the last second they detoured us to the tarmac where we got on a shuttle to a completely different plane.

The flight over was incredibly beautiful. The sun was setting behind cloud formations that I've never seen in real life, only in magazines.

I landed on Koh Samui and was really impressed with the scenery. I asked to be taken to a particular port village so I could head to Koh Tao (the smallest of the three islands, where all the diving is) in the morning. My driver wanted to take me to HIS hotel, and when I refused he stopped the van so I could get off. Told me I could take my pick than, but this was the village.

He lied. After walking around for an hour, looking for the cheap guesthouse listed in my Lonely Planet, I found a confused motorbike driver who finalyl figured out I was in the wrong village. I had to snag a room at the cheapest place here (twice the price I could have gotten at the other place) but at least it was a TV so I can listen to Sarah Palin on CNN and take a dip in the pool.

I made my deposit for diving with a British diving company. If there's room I'll start tomorrow. And I'll be on an island that's only 21 square kilometers, so I'm hoping to spend most of my time there snorkeling with the free equipment I'll recieve from the dive company! Got I hope it workd out. The two bigger islands are a lot more touristy. The middle one is better (can't remember the name, it's VERY Thai) but every full moon they have a party that attracts tourist and locals alike from all corners of Thailand. Basically, the beaches are shoulder to shoulder with drunk people. I kind of want to witness that, but I don't think it's worth the trip price over to get annoyed with idiots.

I can't wait to explore in the daylight, from the air these islands look like the places I used to stare at for hours in National Geographic.

No, not the topless tribe women. Sheesh.

Friday, October 3, 2008

in this installment, james buys some sweet cambodia coke.

Today after the temples we voted to take our driver's advice and visit the "floating city." Matt was good enough to front the cash (outside my daily budget ... which is sad since it was not expensive by American standards!) and we headed south of Siem Reap.

The road was build on a sort-of levy that stretched far out into the water. I thought were were at the lake, the lake our driver told us was the largest body of fresh-water in South-East Asia, but it turns out were were still "on land."

Further out, the road was lined with shanties and full-blown houses, all resting on rickety wood poles about five inches in diameter. The front walks were a patchwork of twigs and planks that seemed to stretch magically and sans support from the house to the road ... often times lined with multiple motorbikes.

This place is loved by tourists AND locals, who head out to fish. It's SWARMING with people, living and traveling multiple directions on a road not much wider than a single vehicle. As usual, Mopeds and Tuk Tuks abound.

Eventually side by side buildings stop, replaced by boats. We hopped into one and cruised out through the wide channels that cut through the tree tops.

Yes, I said tree tops. Those patches of dense foliage that you just assume are relative to seaweed? No, they're trees. Wood trunks, abundant green leaves, the usual. Thing is, these trees can survive completely dry or completely submerged. Don't ask me about the science, I don't have a clue, especially since even Lily Pads need a floating solar panel. But that's what he told us and that's what we saw. Imagine if your yard flooded and your apple trees disappeared up to their highest branches ... it was quite something to realize.

For thirty minutes we weaved around single-person boats, floating schools, floating houses, floating ball courts (not even joking ... imagine one of the smaller gyms at your local Boys and Girls Club floating in the middle of a third world country with metal grate instead of cement walls) and a floating restaurant and gift shop.

Just before we cleared the village for open water, a small boat snuck behind us, crossed our wake, and paced out speed. A five-year-old girls leaped to our boat, toting a plastic pail filled with Coke and Sprite and Angkor Beer (fast becoming my favorite - like Asahi, with a smack of ancient stone ...). She was adorable and precocious and wasn't leaving our boat til we bought some. This is standard fair over here ... kids will follow you up to a quarter mile begging you to buy trinkets, drinks, flutes, t-shirts (and don't bother pretending to speak only Spanish, they are multilingual when it comes to selling!), but never before have I been cornered while in a moving vehicle!

So I bought two, gave one to Matt, and the girl leaped back to her own boat. The whole experience was very surreal.

Turns out the legendary size of this lake was not exaggerated. Like the Great Lakes in the American North, the horizon ends in water for 180 degrees at the river mouth.

The lake is enormous but only 40 feet at its deepest, making it a constant state of Sediment Brown and making it quite easy to totally and utterly pollute!

We made out way back, stopping at the floating gift shop of course, where our guide pointed out other awesome things on a map and we got to watch their tank of live Crocs, and then hit the road back to Siem Reap.

It was an awesome adventure, and already added to my list of life goals that grows more expensive every day, is to fund a floating English school that I can visit when I want.

The place was impossible to describe, and unfortunately even though I shot some video a 2 megapixel camera cannot do it justice. For the best idea of what it was like, watch Waterworld. Just take out the lame ending, fishmen, and the anti-smoking campaign, and that's pretty much what it was like.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

in this installment, james chats with brits over the sound of chanting buddhists

Up at 6am for breakfast and conversation with some other guest house patrons: a chatty South Korean, quiet Brazilian, and beauty-pageant qualifying couple from Sweden. The Korean was in the final two weeks of a seven month tour of the world, the Swedish couple was two weeks into a 9 month tour of the world. Great folks.

On the way out I noticed that the grizzled Australian that is ALWAYS drinking iced coffee at the same table every night and morning was climbing into a truck for a local demining company (Cambodia is still littered with land mines and it's unwise to tread off the beaten path).

I'm hoping to strike up conversation one of these mornings and maybe volunteer some time in exchange for a great story!

The temples are astounding. Ankgor Wat is tourist crowded, of course, but the grounds are so large it's easy to spread out. Bayon is much, much more awesome because you can climb over every nook and cranny! Matthew almost fell, it was awesome.

Time for cold water. More later!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

in this installment, james learns english from matthew.

in this installment, james freaks out.

Unlucky for me, the only English-speaking TV station is CNN.

To everyone in the States, we're praying. I hope everyone is thus far unaffected, but I'm sure the real repercussions won't show up immediately.

I wrote a whole blog about living in a commune on the Burnson's property, but erased it because it was more scary than funny.

Who knows, this could all be smoke, and likely overblown in our minds. But I'm sure there was a similar reaction in 1929.

God bless all of you, and to a lot of the folks that read this blog who all are friends and see each other semi-regularly, I'd like to say that in the very near future you all may be called to depend on each other in ways we're not used to. Assuming things get as bad as the media seems to think they can. If anyone needs anything, let's not be afraid to ask. I'm not sure what I can or could do, but I include myself in there as well.

Here's to hoping I'll look back at this blog post and laugh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

in this installment, james gets an offer he can refuse


Right off the plane you're handed a pamphlet that reads SEX WITH A CHILD IS A CRIME.

It makes me wonder, if someone needs reminded, is this really going to stop them?

The streets are third world-glorious, rotting garbage in random corners, parked motorbikes spill into the street and force you to walk in traffic, and most corners are dotted with beggars and peddlers ... of which, one make offered me a blow job.

Now, I find this disconcerting. Not that I was offered sex on the most infamously sexual land mass on the plant, but that I was only offered once. By a dude.

Is it simply neurosis to wonder why this is the case? Cause it sucks, for ego alone.

So far the heat has gone from unbearable to strangely lovable. I think it's like an abusive spouse: it pounds you into submission until you believe you love it. On my first day I took three cold showers ... today I took two, so that's an improvement.

I also got a look at the parts of Siem Reap that are NOT on the main drag ... shanties on rickety poles above the river, peddling strange meats and jewelry. It was here that Matthew promptly turned towards the side of the street and vomited water ... scared us for a bit, but seems it wasn't food, just didn't drink enough water to prepare for the heat. It really is impossible to describe unless you've been here.

Anyway, he's fine now. We ate and drank (enormous entrees $2, a half liter of beer $2, so I eat for about $10!) and feel much better. We also slept away the heat of the afternoon, so God help us on the temple climbs tomorrow!

Miss you all - the strangest part of all this (the Thailand stretch, anyway) will be not sharing it with anyone. If anyone wants to go, I'll be glad to come back here, so far it's pure, filthy magic!

Friday, September 26, 2008

in this installment, james goes hiking in a graveyard

in this installment, james finds almost free internet, in cambodia

Well, I'm in Cambodia ... safe and sound, relatively speaking.

Matthew will be here in a few hours and I'm a bit worried he'll find me, the guest house we agreed to meet at has changed its name from Green Park to Green House ... my driver seemed to know the name had chaged recently, so let's hope Matt's driver does as well.

My driver also wanted 20/day to drive me to the temples, regardless of me telling him over and over that we couldn't fit two of his on his bike, and that MY friends had gotten a car for $7/day, and he balked. Dammit, I hope prices havn't risen that much in a year. I doubt it.

The country is beautiful ... absolutely stunning. The energy is unlike anything I've ever experienced ... I hopped on the back of a Moped right out of the airport and we jetted down the main highway during rush hour ... mororbikes EVERYWHERE.




It impossible to describe, really. No helmet, no jeans, just bare legs and bare head clinging to a mike that weighs less than me, swerving around buses, pedestrians, bicycles, and a hot Cambodian girl in high heels driving a Vespa.


I can already tell this will be a challenge for me. I hate, hate, hate bartering and sleazy dealing with money. To the very core of me I've never understood why anything, even poverty, needs to lead to shady dealing. Easy for me to say? Maybe ... my family's been on pretty hard times ... not third world hard times, but pretty damn hard. And I hear so many stories about poor folks across the world that are generous. The church I staid with in Mexico was incredibly poor, but they were kind and trustworthy.

Ugh. I hate it.

One woman begged me for money and I refused, so she followed me down the street, demanding her toddler scream and shout and beg to make me feel bad. They followed me for a block and I could have socked her in the mouth. What kind of mother does that to her child? Ever. Ever. And at the same time, my heart broke to hear that from a child, even a child that was obviously well fed.


Well, off to wait for Matthew. And a geckoo just climbed down the wall to stare at me, so I think it's time to go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

in this installment, james finds free internet

Hooray for free wireless lounges at Inchion Airport, and for free computers (for 30 minutes at least).

Inchion is, so far, the largest airport I've had to navigate. I'm sure Narita was bigger, but I just popped from gate to gate so it wasn't so bad.

When you walk into Inchion, there are giant islands marked with letters, and there are about 2-4 different airlines in each island ... and you have to walk around them to find which ones. It's really quite intimidating, there are about 8 of them, stretching through the "great hall".

I made it through security ok, it turns out there was a nail file in the shaving kit I bought ... right next to a pair of sharp scissors I also failed to notice.

They took the nail fail and left the scissors. You know, terrorists DESERVE to win.

Oh, and for all of those planning on visiting Korea, it's notorious for being the hardest Asian country in which to use a foreign debit card. Found that out the day before my trip. *sigh*

Luckily all the ATMs in the airport are global.

That's it for now, I'll try and post in Cambodia!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

in this installment, james lays down the law

Just a bit o text for information purposes.

I have made comments available for all users, not just other bloggers. Sorry about that, didn't know I'd selected that setting!

Also, I'm delay posting a lot of videos so that some will play during my absence in Cambodia when I won't have editing software. So if you're following me on YouTube you might notice videos there that aren't on the blog ... they will be, they're just in a holding pattern for a bit but are all scheduled to post in regular intervals.

That's all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

in this installment, james posts the second best facebook ad he's ever, EVER seen.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

in this installment, james needs a power adapter.

I have only 26 minutes before my computer goes kaput, so unfortunately there's no video now.

Last night was an adventure. Which is what I signed up for, it's just that adventures are very tiring.

While my flights and connections to Korea were incredibly simple and error-free, and customs/baggage claim/currency conversion at Inchion airport was also glitchless, I had a great feeling, even though Matthew's first words in his email to me were "I don't know where I live."

Apparently, neither do all the taxi drivers in Korea. I know this for a fact because, whilt driving in circles trying to find the address that Matt typed out for me in Korean, my driver stopped an asked all his fellow drivers where he was going ... when this failed he resorted to asking random people until a woman and her school daughter helped us. They got Matthew on the phone, rolling their eyes when they heard him speak English, and managed to decipher where he was.

All this started because my bus driver let me off at a dark corner that did not seem to be one of his normal stops.

to Matthew's credit, the address he gave me was directly off a business card ... so I have no idea what happened.

All I know is I found Matthew and got to eat "Kimchi" (SP) and walnut ice cream and didn't have to sleep in the street.

Today should be fun, walking around town and trying to find a power adapter for this computer. Hopefully I will and can post some footage!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

in this installment, james battles bad technology with more bad technology.

My camcorder is still dead in the water (get it, cause, you know, the water killed it ...) and chances are slim I'll get it back in time for the trip.

So, since I might not be able to post the awesome footage I took of our sailing trip I thought, well, let's post some photos.

But the website that hosts them won't let me select the ones I want! So here is a limited, but nonetheless completely true account of my sailing adventure last weekend.

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We took off from LA Harbor - Natalie didn't handle it too well.

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We cleared the harbor sea breaks and made it to open water; that's when the drinking began ...

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I fell overboard and tried to swim to shore ...

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... but they baited be back.

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And then we saw pirates. The End.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

in this installment, james fights a cold with his bare hands and swims with the fishes.

Hello boys and girls, I apologize for the delay in posts.

I planned on posting some video but then I hit a snag: my video camera was destroyed. Turns out that "underwater housing" means "a place to house water tightly around your camera so it can corrode the insides and render it useless."

Should have read the fine print. Anyway, I have to ship the damn thing off and chances are it won't be ready in time for my departure. This makes me really, really sad.

Also making me sad is my complete lack of Unemployment checks, which I applied for two weeks ago but haven't received because some government stooge hit the wrong key and told the computer, "James hasn't made any money in over two years."

Oops. Then they wanted proof of my existence before they could cut me checks for the Trump-esque amount of $0.00.

Not even joking, that's what is said on the form.

Thank you California.

All that aside, things are well. Last weekend I started my sojourn with a sailing trip to Catalina island. On the way back we stopped the boat in dead calm, with no land in sight, and went swimming. It was amazing.

But then I got sunburned. And then I caught a cold. And I've barely had the energy to pack my backpack, so I'm going to sign off and sleep.

See you in Seattle!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

in this installment, james cops out out a real new entry and just posts a video from The Onion

Sorry guys. Getting ready for trip, will have more updates soon!

In the meantime, enjoy, a bit old but hilarious:

The Beijing Olympics: Are They A Trap?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Off to Comic-Con!

So I'm off for three days of Geek Frivolity!

Stay tuned to RedFence for updates from the floor. I'll be taking part in Watchment and Terminator: Salvation talk-backs, so this should be interesting!

Back in town on Monday!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Off to Comic-Con!

So I'm off for three days of Geek Frivolity!

Stay tuned to RedFence for updates from the floor. I'll be taking part in Watchment and Terminator: Salvation talk-backs, so this should be interesting!

Back in town on Monday!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, July 20, 2008

in this installment, James can't sleep on Sunday morning, the Dark Knight is the coolest thing since Neil Armstrong found sexy humanoid aliens on the moon (which didn't happen, but would be the only thing comparable in coolness to The Dark Knight), and wishes that human beings didn't fear their own mortality so much that they won't let him pee on a bush.

Ever ...

Until Comic-Con next week.

So, up til 4am Thursday night/Friday morning to watch The Dark Knight. It was, without a doubt, a film so great it sits in the pantheon with the best of David Lean, Spielberg, and Kubrick. Super Hero flicks get a bad rap, but this film manages to fully understand the power and potency of the costumes and iconography and uses them to full effect. Yes, this is a summer blockbuster. Yes, the main character dresses in a bat suit and fights a sadistic clown. Yes yes yes. But underneath all the make-up is a technical and thematic masterpiece. The risks taken on the narrative structure are astounding. As someone who has studied screenwriting my whole adult life, I was floored. The acting is superb and unfortunately the amazing turn by Aaron Eckhart will be forever lost behind Heath Ledger who, all hype aside, turns in a performance that ALSO sits in that pantheon ... I'm talking the best of Brando, Day-Lewis, and pre (lets make s crappy cop movie) Pacino.

Also awesome are the Cinespia cemetery screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Basically, you show up at 5pm, get in line, meet the folks around you, and start drinking. Doors open at 7:30 and the floodof people is enormous. They lead you to the back of the cemetery, to a large headstone-free field, where you set up blankets, coolers, low chair, and listen to music until 9pm when they project a classic movie on the side of a mausoleum. It's a way to raise money for a cemetery that's always on the verge of bankruptcy.

Just, you know, on the way out, don't stop to urinate on a bush, Because even though 500 drunk people are staggering around in a haze of illegal pot smoke, having just watched A Clockwork Orange, it's much to degrading to urinate in a cemetery. Apparently I was disrespectful to the zombies.

Le Sigh ...

And now, at 7:30am on Sunday, the landlords sent the work crew to finish the rocks they are sticking to the side of our house. So, you know, there's that.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dr. Horrible

Come one, come all, to the greatest web-event since Paris Hilton's sex tape or Chocolate Rain ... hell, even that dancing banana.

Over the writer's strike, Joss Whedon (creator of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) sat around with his brothers and conceived this story. They they called in favors, made it for free, and now it's viewable online.

It will only be free till Sunday, after that they charge for downloads so they can start paying their crew.

Not only is this another step in the evolution of online entertainment, it's about the finniest, most charming thing I've ever seen. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Post Birthday

Happy Day After Birthday to Me

Yeah, so yesterday was awesome and eventful ... not because of my birthday
(which was nice but minimal) , but because of this little bit of news.

RedFence Magazine was  officially SENT TO THE PRINTERS!

For all you folks who like reading, pre-order the magazine HERE.

For all of those who like watching, well, there's always our YouTube Channel.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

In this installment, James makes a joke about Herpes, and learns the value of writing for only two websites.

Ok, first off, is this the best Facebook ad ever? Maybe, maybe.

In other news, I have now signed up to write for the website ... basically, it's Google Ad revenue share if I write ten articles every three months. They liked my writing sample and I'm in. According to the site, payment is determined to popularity, but the number $10/day was thrown out there, which would be awesome, considering that's a livable budget in three of the four countries I hope to visit this fall.


Thing is, I already write for RedFence and Movie Moron, so I'm a little swamped.

Oh well.

Oh, and P.S., it's my birthday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Uber Late, Uber Tired, Uber Life

So the next couple months are shaping up to be monstrous. In addition to packing and planning my Asia trip, I need to:

 - help set up my business's bank account
 - fix my motorcycle
 - edit, sound mix, color correct, and do one re-shoot for a short film
 - clean my garage
 - edit various behind the scenes blog videos for RedFence Magazine
 - Plan and attend various movie screenings
 - plan my trip and press coverage of Comic-Con 2008

All while maintaining a 50 hour per week job during the daylight hours.

I'm going to die by the time I'm 40.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4th of July Video

This is how I spent my 4th of July ... testing my new Flip Ultra camera and teaching a dog how to swim. I bought this camera for the Asia trip, it's the size of a cell phone, weighs the same as two AA batteries, and uploads directly to your computer via a built in USB port. It's pretty amazing. They sell on Amazon for about $120.

JLH 4th of July from James Roland on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Watchmen, Hot Fuzz, and Cambodia

Today was a good day. While I've discovered that awesome people don't know what RedFence is and their publicists don't care, we can still get into more intimate press talk-back sessions.

Which means, so far, at Comic-Con I've snagged a roundtable discussion for Watchmen and an hour press block with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. WOOT!

*and if you don't know what or who those above mentioned movies and people are, well, you need to polish your pop-culture trivia skills*

And Matt and I have decided to hit up Cambodia together, which means come September we'll be making videos in ancient temples ... and that just seems like the coolest thing ever.

Good day, good day.

Oh, and I ordered my backpack as well.
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Friday, July 4, 2008


Off to camp for three days, gonna be great.

So far, I've lost the address, found my sleeping bag covered in paint, and I've only packed my smoking paraphernalia.

But I AM bring the survival vest, so things are gonna be fine.

Back to civilization on Sunday - Peace.
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Freelance Writing and Dystopias

So I write freelance for, and up and coming movie news and humor website. It rocks, I must say.

Anyway, here's a link to my latest Top Ten List - it's kinda fun:
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weird Dreams

So, a few days ago I was dreaming that my room was swarming with giant spiders. Not very surprising if you've ever done any gardening with me and seen how I react when your average garden spider decides to skitter by. But still, it was a bit dramatic and frightening, even for me.

Here's what it looked like, only with four inch legs.

And the thing is, it was one of those "real time" dreams where you lay down to sleep, actually fall asleep, but then start dreaming that you can't fall asleep ... so I was totally convinced the spiders were real. Apparently I shouted so loud that my roommate opened the bedroom door to watch my murder, and since one of the many symptoms of my narcolepsy is "lucid dreaming," I incorporated him into my dream, and all the spiders turned and swarmed towards him.

So now he's saying, "You're dreaming dude, wake up!"

And I'm like, "idiot, you're about to get sucked to death by giant spiders!" only it sounded like, "aiaghnaighaighuom!"

Needless to say, it wasn't a restful night.

Then, LAST night, I dreamt that I was having nightmares, waking up, telling folks about my nightmares, then going back to sleep, having nightmare sequels, equating these dreams to my REAL LIFE dream about the spiders, then realizing that I was actually dreaming everything, then getting confused since I was aware I was dreaming, fighting to wake up, then I actually did wake up and spent about ten minutes trying to figure out what was real.

I'm not even joking, I had a dream within a dream that had a sequel and I also referenced a different dream from a different night while trying to explain all the dreams to some fictional dream people.

There are so many levels of Meta in that, all my Lit Crit friends but be quivering like excited Chihuahuas.

I think I need to de-stress.
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun Family Fraud

So this trip is off to an ominous start ... 2 1/2 months before I even leave.

Wells Fargo started calling my parents, telling them there was possible fraudulent activity on my account.


Turns out that Big Brother had my back, just the wrong phone number from when I set my account up about a decade ago.

I've been spending more than usual on my credit card to keep the ole cash account padded for my trip (I'm not sure dirt farmers accept Visa, you know - hey Matt, they have dirt farmers over there, right?) and Wells Fargo freaked out. Good to know they're watching, in a pacified Orwellian way, cause what if someone had stolen my card and bought a ticket to Korea three months in advance as an extended getaway plan?