Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gypsy Curse

On December 23, I broke two fingers while cycling through Hollywood. I was coasting downhill on the streets of L.A., when I hit something in the road that sent me and the bike down hard. I heard the crack of bone, but during the long and painful ride home (along which I debated whether or not to go to the E.R.), I talked myself into thinking they weren't broken. It wasn't until the next night, Christmas Eve, that I realized I definitely needed to see a doctor.

I waited until Dec. 26 and headed to an Urgent Care. From there I went to a hand specialist. This bright guy put a splint on the middle finger but told me my index finger wasn't broken and I needed to keep bending it or it would get stiff. Though painful, I tried this until my follow up visit. I waited over two hours in the waiting room before he finally saw me. He glanced at the middle finger, said it was fine, and was getting ready to leave when I stopped him. I told him I was worried about my index finger since it had been two weeks with no improvement. He scheduled an appointment with his colleague.

Two days later and another hour long wait in the cattle-like waiting room and his colleague shocks me with the news that I need surgery! Looking at the new X-ray, I felt he was right, but after enduring the mis-diagnosis of his colleague and feeling railroaded into the surgery, I decided to get a second opinion. Regardless, I wasn't going to let these people handle my surgery.

I asked for referrals and found a very good doctor who was also covered under my health plan. He confirmed the need for surgery, but he went over several different procedures and we discussed which would work best. I felt much better and scheduled the surgery. (Without surgery, my range of motion was only ten percent and I was in permanent point. With surgery, I should regain 70-100%. I'm hoping for the hundred.)

Two days before surgery, I got sick and had to delay for another two weeks! I finally had the surgery last Tuesday, six weeks after the initial accident. I won't lie, it was painful. I'm writing this entry very slowly with my left hand while I'm high on pain meds. Forgive the typos.

Because I splintered the bone, they had to remove the bone fragments and replace the missing bone with a piece from my wrist. So my entire hand is a grossly misshapen balloon.

Meanwhile, it seems as though everyone I know is falling under some kind of gypsy curse. One of the few things I was really looking forward to was shopping around my new horror comic that I created with artist Garrett Eisenheim. Last week Garrett informed me he was diagnosed with throat cancer.

As if that wasn't depressing enough, my friend Joe's father had a massive coronary on Monday morning. Fortunately, he was rushed to the hospital in time and is recovering as well as can be expected. Then last night Joe fell on black ice and may have broken two or three fingers on his left hand.

Also in the past two weeks: my friend Angie discovered she needed emergency root canal and my buddy Mark threw out his back.

I don't know which gods I've angered (Scientologist's demi-beingTom Cruise?), or which gypsy overseer I may have slighted, but whatever I've done, just let me know and I'll offer whatever sacrifices are needed to appease you. Only please... make it stop!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Apologies for "The Deal"

Even though "The Deal," a film I co-wrote with Nick Angelo, was filmed two years ago, I didn't have a chance to see it until last night. The film had only been released in Europe. Nick Angelo secured a copy from the UK and a region 2 player so we could have some friends over and watch it.

Let me start by saying this to anyone who's seen it: I'm sorry. I assure you, I'm a much better writer than this. I've often said, there are things you do for love and there are things you do for money. This was done purely for money.

While the script was never meant to be brilliant or even exceptional, I can assure you the original draft was much better than this. It was competent. It made sense.

Most interesting about watching the film was seeing the very bizarre flashback sequences and the new scenes that Angelo and I had never written. However, that's still no excuse. I knew that the final draft of the script was worse than where it started.

If nothing else, I will always be honest with you. If I write something that doesn't turn out well, I'll be the first to admit it. In other words, Don't watch this movie!

I'm happy to have a produced credit (important in Hollywood) and to have been paid. But I'm much prouder of my comic book projects as I have creative control over them. And, perhaps in the near future, I will get another screenplay made that ends up as a better product. When I do, I'll let you know. Until then, skip this movie.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Politcal Predictions (Super Tuesday)

This election year has seen a lot of predictions. Only a few months ago, people were saying that Giuliani would win the Republican nomination. He was in the forefront of the news cycle and then... he disappeared. During the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, Giuliani became a ghost and that's where he ended up, briefly haunting Florida long enough to concede and endorse McCain.

Fred Thomspon received a lot of hype when he announced his candidacy on Jay Leno, but his campaign had all the sizzle of a damp sparkler in rainstorm.

More recently, the media seemed convinced Romney would win Florida since McCain couldn't count on the independent voters who helped him win New Hampshire. But against all conventional wisdom, McCain still won.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was initially considered "inevitable." Obama's win in Iowa quickly changed that causing those same pundits to assume she was out of the race completely! New Hampshire had them again turning 180 degrees, thinking that Obama might have been outflanked -- until he won in South Carolina.

If this race has proven anything, it's that the conventional wisdom of the pundits, pollsters, and analysts has often been consistently wrong.

I think their incorrect predictions are caused in part because they believe their own hype. Instead of examining the (let's face it, very fickle) mood of the people, they report on polls, spin, and what they hear from their colleagues (who are reporting on polls, spin and what they hear from their colleagues).

I certainly don't have any extra prescience here. However, I did correctly predict (here) that McCain would win New Hampshire when everyone else seemed to think it would go to Romney. I further explained my reasoning in a short column called Republicans Hate Romney which sparked a debate between myself and Nzingha Clarke who pointed out that Republicans also dislike McCain. While it's true that some Republicans consider McCain a "liberal," this is primarily the far right, religiously fanatic, overzealous Rush Limbaugh wing. About the only positive result of The Bush administration is that it's finally moved the party away from the hard right neocon agenda that spent eight years destroying this country.

At any rate, with the neocons out of favor the Republicans have been forced to choose from a more "moderate" list of candidates. Given the choice between Romney and McCain, I think most Republicans are going to rally behind McCain who will most likely take a solid lead tomorrow.

On the Democratic side, I'm surprised to say that it's far closer. At the beginning of the year, I felt that Republicans, having a longer list of potential candidates, would still be up in the air at this point while one of the two leading Democratic nominees would have pulled ahead. Interestingly enough, tomorrow could still find the Democrats exactly where they are today -- divided. My own prediction has gone back and forth during the writing of this column, first Obama, then Clinton. However, I think that is my prediction: tomorrow will bring us no closer as both candidates will remain in a dead heat.

Jumping even further ahead, here is my current prediction on possible outcomes in November. Keep in mind that anything could happen between now and then that could sway my opinion in a different direction. But at this moment in time, here are my match ups (and although I don't think Romney will get the nomination, I'm still going to give him the benefit of the doubt and include him):

Romney vs. Clinton - Clinton wins.
Obama vs. Romney - Obama wins
McCain vs. Clinton - McCain wins.
Obama vs. McCain - ? (This is the most interesting race.)