Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
I returned from the ancestral home to attend mny housemate's party. It was OK, if messy; there's still some unidentified red sauce on the carpet, and I can't kneel down to clean it up. On Sunday I attended auditions for the feature I've been working on since June, and the Director/Producer was there. As one of the three writers on the the project, I had been trying to persuade him to come to a production meeting that night, and he had wound me up with some of his texted replies. Finally though, he was there, and ! reiterated the importance of this meeting. the rest of the auditions were hit-and-miss. I felt that his actions were extremely unprofessional (after a long period of doubting his professionalism), and by the time he left I had no confidence left in his ability to turn a damn good screenplay into a passable movie. So we had the meeting, and as writers, we told him we were leaving the project. Naturally, as we had written the screenplay, he told us he'd find a new script and a new crew, and left.
On Monday he sent an email to the production company, telling them that he'd uncovered a conspiracy and sacked the writers. He wanted negotiations to continue with the script he had copyrighted. Uh-oh. Luckily we had already been in contact with the production company for a while, as this guy had successfully annoyed them so much that one of us had been forced to step in and handle correspondence with them a month ago. They were encouraging, telling us that they felt we had done the right thing in leaving his company (which we weren't official members of anyway) and to leave things to their legal team.
Since then he has been accusing people of incompetence and collusion, claiming that the script was his, and announcing that he has taken his film to another production company. The original production company is now taking him to court for slander, copyright theft and breach of contract, and has taken us (the writers) on their books to form a unified plaintiff. It's all a great big mess, and the film could be indefinitely shelved due to this one guy's actions. However, I've heard promising murmurs about this company I'm now signed to, and they clearly have long term faith in us. Watch this space.
My knee is still on the mend, and I can't yet climb stairs, but I have the plasters off now, and I can finally have a shower! I had circumvented this problem at the weekend by fashioning a waterproof curtain from a binbag, but it wasn't ideal and I felt very silly. I have three tiny scars, tenderness and some swellling, which I expect to fade in due course. I have found it amusing that walking around with the crutch has prompted people I know to ask "What have you done?" although it proves to me that no-one was taking my injury as seriously as they should have before the operation.
There have been more things happening, but I'll save them for another day. I think this post is large enough!
I wasn't looking forward to the operation, but it was the next necessary step on my journey to double-leggedness. As such, I accepted it with that inevitable resignation.
And then I chatted to Mel online. I'd been having a couple of low weeks, and as a result I'd written her a love letter which turned into a cathartic unloading of all my personal woes. I decided that I'd give it to her anyway, with the caveat that I was quite down at the time, and she might as well see me warts and all. To lighten things, I wrote another one, which waxed far more rhapsodic.
She told me she'd read the letters, and she'd sent me one back (by email, as I would be at my parents when it arrived). I joked that I hoped it wasn't a Dear John letter, and she didn't laugh. I realised then that it was but that didn't soften the blow.
Not one bit.
It's perfectly understandable; her baggage and mine were simply incompatible, like trying to plug a jack into a phono, or trying to connect an aardvark in a sack to a pillow. In the end, she told me that she'd been pretending to herself that her aardvark was enough like a pillow for it to work. I spoke to her later on, and any thoughts I'd had that we could make it work were dashed there and then. I'd got on better with Mel than with any other woman I've met, she was smart, funny and sexy, and we had a real connection. I've managed to get over the worst of it fairly quickly, and I think we'll be able to stay friends, but being without her is going to be hard.
Of course, this happened on Sunday evening, so I didn't sleep a wink on Sunday night. I ended up killing time on the PC until my dad arrived to take me to the hospital. I sat in the ward for a couple of hours, reading The Handmaid's Tale, and found myself getting mellancholy at Offred's (as in "of Fred," geddit?) plight, more than I suspect I would had I not been unexpectedly single again. The consultant came and went through the expected events, before drawing an arrow on my leg, pointing to my knee. It's standard procedure to make double sure they don't lop off an arm by mistake, but it's still amusing. I then signed the consent form, giving him the right to footle around as much as necessary. It was like being the Queen; every five minutes someone else came to where I was sat, and I shook hands witheach one and asked "And what do you do?" I met the anaesthesiologist, the physio nurse, a couple of other nurses, etc. The ward was split into two. I was in bed 2 of the first four, and the next four were across the aisle. It became clear later that there were two lots of operaations happening that day. In beds 5, 6, and 7, the patients were having facial moles removed, and they were all in and out of surgery before the guy in bed 1 came back. They collected me around 10:20 and I walked down to anaesthetics. I lay on the bed, they stuck a needle in my hand, and next thing I knew I was coming to, back in the ward.
The sensation was similar to waking up after fainting; I was extremely lightheaded, and my movements seemed exaggerated. I was also surprisingly happy, and I could only feel a dull ache in my leg. The surgeon came and spoke to me, giving me the piece of cartilage they'd removed in a small plastic phial. I have absolutely no idea what he said, but I nodded like a dope. I hope I didn't drool. The anaesthetic wore off, so the longer I sat, the worse the pain got, although it settled at a low throb. I could have had some morphine, but I thought it would be overkill, frankly.
I was brought back to the ancestral home by lunchtime, and I've spent the intervening hours hopping around on crutches and nodding off in front of the TV. It's not much of a playboy lifestyle, but it will suffice for now. This morning I removed the copious bandages, and frankly, I was disappointed to find that my knee hadn't become invisible. Instead I saw three plasters arranged at the points of an isosceles triangle, each matted with black, dried blood. They'll be fun to take off! My knee's a bit swollen, but already I can walk around a bit without crutches. With luck, I'll get a definite prognosis at my Friday physiotherapy session.
Milky Thursday is going to be shown at the 2007 Exposures Student Film Festival, and the programme arrived yesterday. I took a look through it, and I'm the only filmmaker from my university with a film there. It's a shame really, I worked on one or two that won't be seen by the general public. On the other hand, it's gratifying that all the effort I put into making the film has had such good results. I was expecting to find MT in the drama category, although there was some doubt in my mind, as they had originally told me it was in the experimental category. I duly found it where I expected, but it was a bit of a shock to also find it in the "Best of the North West" category. It put a spring in my hobble for the whole day, and I'm still grinning about it now. There are a series of prizes on offer for the judges' choices, plus an audience award, although I'm not expecting to win anything. Had I managed to improve the sound and visual effects, then perhaps. Still, everyone who attends should vote for me anyway...
This will probably be the last entry I make before the arthroscopy. I'm going in on Monday morning for 8AM, and afterwards my Dad's taking me back to the ancestral home for recuperation and convalescence. All being well, I'll be back on my feet in a week, and able to go upstairs again at last.
Mel and I took a trip down to London this weekend. Twenty-five years ago, the UK acquired its fourth TV station, Channel Four, and throughout the year there have been retrospectives and celebrations all over the place. To coincide with these festivities, the British Film Institute held a back-to-back screening on Saturday of both series of Spaced, one of C4's flagship programmes.
For the uninitiated, Spaced was an alternative sitcom about the adventures of two friends, Daisy (Jessica Hynes nee Stevenson) and Tim (Simon Pegg), who pretend to be a professional couple in order to rent a flat in London. It's very silly, very funny, and filled with in-jokes (For example, a running joke in series two is about Tim's hatred of The Phantom Menace - "Jar-jar makes the ewoks look like...f***ing Shaft!"). It's also notable in that Edgar Wright (who directed the series) and Simon (who wrote and starred) went on to make Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and Jess (the other writer/star) has been in things like The Royle Family, Doctor Who and BBC drama Learners (which she also wrote).
Sadly, we were unable to get tickets for the cast Q&A session, so Mel and I hung around outside watching the Lord Mayor's firework display. We did, however, get to watch both series, with Edgar and Simon sitting in to watch it themselves (and heckle at opportune moments). On the Sunday we were at something of a loose end, so we popped in to the Star Wars Exhibition at County Hall. It was pretty good, and Mel was arrested for cupping a stormtrooper (well, almost), but I couldn't help thinking that it could have been so much better. Oddly, I had the same thoughts about Phantom Menace.
On the whole, though, it was an excellent weekend, and a nice way to take my mind off the upcoming operation. A lot have people I know seem to have had an arthroscopy without any ill effects, but it does concern me that I'm pinning all my hopes on this surgery. If I still can't walk properly after this (and the accompanying physiotherapy), I've no idea what I'll do. Then again, if it does work, I'll face the very real problem of having to get a job. I've had the luxury of being able to continue with various film-related activities whilst being signed off sick, but I doubt I'll get such leeway if I'm back to 100% fitness. Well, 50% fitness. But I'll be able to exercise more. If I get the time...
It's Bonfire Night tomorrow. For the uninitiated, Bonfire Night is the informal name for Guy Fawkes' Night, when the British traditionally celebrate the foiling of a terrorist bombing by setting things on fire.
I remember the old days. We'd eat toffee apples and have "Penny for the Guy", a form of sanctioned begging, where kids would construct a dummy using old clothes, which was intended tobe an effigy of Guy Fawkes, the Lee Harvey Oswald of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. They'd then drag it around door to door collecting money. Once the local had been fleeced enough, a large bonfire was built, and the effigy was thrown atop it. This was accompanied by tremendous fireworks, which apparently represented the gunpowder-fuelled catastrophe that had narrowly been avoided. We'd occasionally have fireworks in the back garden, but they always tended to be relatively rubbish; brightly coloured paper affairs which squeaked a bit once they were ignited. The very best firework displays used to be held in the grounds of the cricket club, organised by the local scouts, and there's be an enormous bonfire, twenty feet tall. My dad used to help on the barbecue, and my mum on the drinks stall.
Nowadays things are different. It seems that the increasingly draconian attitudes towards fireworks have been nothing short of disastrous. You used to be able to buy fireworks for a month before November 5th, now you're allegedly limited to a week before. Furthermore, there's now an age limit, so you have to be 18 or over to buy recreational explosives. Incidentally, it's interesting that toys resembling guns are now illegal, whereas bombs that look like toys are available in newsagents. All week I've been barely able to help myself think because there only seems to be one sort of firework available now, and that's the banger. A series of loud bangs, with little in the way of light emission, and it puzzles me that everyone seems to love them. There have been so many over the past week that I keep wondering whether I've been transported to Basra in my sleep.
Every year it's worse. I watched the news on All Hallows Eve, and there was a news item about someone in fancy dress who had thrown a box of lit fireworks into a newsagent, just a couple of miles from where I'm now writing this. A baby was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. Every year I threaten to tape up my letterbox, in case someone sticks a firework through on Halloween (or the new trend in Mischief Night now taking hold in the UK), and I know that the day I have to do that is fast approaching.
Yesterday was Hospital Day. Not only did I have the follow-up appointment at Thoracic medicine, but it was my first meeting with the lower limb specialist at Orthopaedics. Luckily I'd taken some means of entertaining myself, as I ended up spending a lot of time sitting around waiting for one thing or another. First of all was Orthopaedics, and I almost expected the half hour delay. What I didn't expect was the consultant to be personable, professional and friendly. A friend who works in a hospital told me that Orthopaedic Surgeons are like carpenters, just mending physical stuff, and they aren't generally blessed with social skills. No offence to carpenters, you understand. Certainly, my previous experience of orthopaedics bore out this theory. However, this chap was great. I had a further wait while they fished out my MR scan results from a drawer somewhere, but I finally got to see them, the little mini-x-rays which showed all the bits and blobs floating around the general knee area. He read the notes, consulted the X-rays and MRI, and recommended an arthroscopy, exactly the opposite of the last guy's advice. He said, "The thing is, without looking inside, it's difficult to know exactly what's causing the problems. It may be that the arthroscopy won't show what's wrong, or show that there's not much I can do, but at least you'll know." Ah, music to my ears. This was precisely why I'd been pressing for one in the first place. He arranged the arthroscopy for the 19th November, and I went in for pre-assessment. Everything was fine, although I am shorter and fatter than I remember. The whole thing took about an hour and a half. Then the thoracic medicine appointment. This took as long, but only because there was an interminable wait. Eventually I went in, did a peak flow test, and left. I have another checkup in January. Job done.
Working Title Speaking of jobs, I still don't have one, but that's hardly news. However, I have been keeping busy trying to keep my hand in. We shot the trailer for the feature film, and I put it together for comments, uploading it to a private youtube account. The director submitted it to the world, against my wishes, so I took the account details off him, much as you would a sticky bun from a naughty child. I've since submitted a newer version, which he hasn't sent out, and which needs some better music on. Hopefully I can sort that out tomorrow.
I should also have a rough edit of the second music video done by then. We shot it last weekend, and it was a complete shambles, as I expected. I've described the composer/producer as a force of nature, and as such, it's extremely difficult to harness his raw energy without gargantuan effort. Add to that the need to get everything we needed shot in time, and it was chaos. We got most of it done, and hopefully we'll have enough for a good video, but I dunno.
If I get time, I'll also throw together a rough edit of the feature film currently languishing on my external hard drive. I feel quite bad that it's been floating around for the best part of a year, but the first half of that was out of my hands. The other half, I have no excuse for. Unless I blame my knee injury.
It's the start of NaNoWriMo today, which means I have a month to write a novel, or at least 50,000 words of one. I thought of doing it unofficially, and doing the feature adaptation instead, but I'm not sure now. Whatever I can get down on paper will be enough. Already I'm most of a day behind.
Yeah, sorry. Whatever. I shan't apologise for the woeful pun used at the top of this post. It is rubbish, but it raised a chuckle when I thought of it. On the other hand, I will apologise for my current grumpy state. I'm feeling a bit bereft, a bit frustrated, and slightly more neurotic than normal. I feel a little paranoid, like people are avoiding me. I know that this isn't at all true, but I can't escape the feeling, and the frustration at feeling like this for no good reason is the cause of my current funk. I've taken to wondering whether I'm suffering from something similar to Veronica Cartwright's character in The Witches Of Eastwick, whose bone marrow gets into her bloodstream and affects her psychologically. Perhaps I've gone mad, stir crazy from being sealed within these four walls, day in, day out. Perhaps the frustration is mainly because of my locking knee. Sometimes I bend my leg and can't physically re-straighten it, and this was one of the reasons I had to stop the physio. It's getting worse now; up to now it has locked every so often, and changing position has fixed it, but this afternoon it locked for ten minutes. Who knows the cause of my sardonic state, but hopefully I'll feel a whole lot better after the operation. In the mean time, sorry. And get knotted, gitface! Or something.
At the recommendation of the locum, I called the orthopaedics department to see whether I can see the chief consultant, who I've only seen once, back in April.
"Hello," I said. "I have an appointment on the 1st with Mr Mengeles. Is he in that day?" The receptionist paused for a while. "Ah, no, he's on a study day that day." I sighed. "well, it's important I speak to him, as things are getting pretty bad with my knee now."
There was a portentious pause.
"Why," she asked. "Is there something wrong with your knee too?" When I asked what she meant, she informed me that Mr. Mengeles is actually an upper limb specialist. There are three lower limb specialists, but I haven't encountered any of them.
I very nearly laughed.
So, I left a message with the locum, and called the Patient Advice Liaison Service. PALS. Bear in mind that when I originally broke the damned thing, it was at their request that I booked the X-Ray through my GP, which meant a needless 2 week delay, which further complicated things.
The woman there listened to my tale of woe, and promised to get back to me with advice on what to do.
So, she called back today, and said, "when you get to your appointment, you should ask to see Mr Mengeles."
"But, I was told he wasn't in that day," I replied.
"Oh, she said. "I'll call you back."
I've also had a letter through today from the GP's surgery, asking me to call and make an appointment about a letter they've received from the consultant.
I don't know how much more of this I can take, but given the human's capacity for adaptation, I suspect it's a lot. Definitely a lot more than none, which is how much more I want to take.
Currently watching: Talk Radio Staring Eric Bogosian
I received a rather bulky envelope through the post yesterday. The frank indicated that it had come from the University. I wasn't expecting anything, so I opened it cautiously. Although it's not likely anyone there would try to kill me, you can never be too careful.
Inside was another envelope, also addressed to me, but at the University's address; this one had come from the Cornerhouse in Manchester. I frowned, confused, and tore it open.
Confirmation of screening in exposures UK Student Film Festival. Drama Competitive Programme "Milky Thursday"
Thanks for your entry to this year's exposures festival which will be held at Cornerhouse, Manchester on 3rd - 6th December 2007. The Experimental selection has now been made, and we're delighted to say your film has been chosen from the many hundreds to be screened at this December's festival.
However we need the following from you by 21st Sept..."
Wow, that's great! At last, some critical recognition for my work!
Hang on, experimental? I made an action film, didn't I? OK, it had dairy products and pies instead of guns and bombs, but that isn't very experimental, surely? Oh, well.
Hang on, the 21st September? That's last week!
Sure enough, the letter had been posted to the university on 18th, and forwarded on to me on the 25th. I called the Cornerhouse and they said, "It's OK, you have until the 28th." "That's tomorrow," I replied. "Oh, yes," they conceded.
So I rushed around, gathering together the stuff they need and managed to get it to them today. Thank goodness.
I was even more surprised this morning when I checked my emails and found out that I've won a Bourne Identity/Supremacy DVD Box set just by registering on the Bourne Stunt Simulator site. Nice.
Still, every silver lining needs a cloud.
My knee is still causing me anguish. I visited the consultant this week, who was dismissive about an arthroscopy. I insisted that I should have one to find out what's actually wrong, but because I have an appointment with Thoracic Medicine on Monday, I have to wait until the 1st of November for them to even set a date for it. At least the new locum at my surgery has written me a new sick note for two months. Incidentally, my actual doctor, who I've never met, has been suspended pending an investigation into something or other. It doesn't affect me, as I've never even seen the man, but I suspect it's because he never turns up...
Also, it's a year to the day since Spartacus died. I miss him, but I just think about the good times now; the all-night drinking sessions, the philosophical discussions, the licking between his legs.
I should point out that I used to do the first two, and he used to do the last one.
I stuck my head out of the kitchen door for a little fresh air last night. It was a cool evening, with stars twinkling between the clouds. It was quiet as usual - my house has a back yard whose gate opens onto an alley overlooked by an old factory. Ten minutes later I did the same to be greeted by a raging inferno. The yard of number 10, the house two doors down, was ablaze, and flames stretched over ten feet into the air. I called the fire brigade and they arrived in a few minutes, battling the blaze. In the meantime I introduced myself to my next-door neighbour from number 18 and we discussed the unwelcome excitement. Apparently 10 is empty, and the problem seems to be with 8, whose fence was burning merrily. She told me that the occupants are a bunch of smackheads who have been resisting court eviction notices, and that this could well have been a vigilante attack. As I watched the firemen drag a fire-chewed sofa into the alley, I found this terrifying. I've lived here for three months and kept pretty much to myself. Who's to say that I won't inadvertently incur the wrath of the same people who torched the back yard? I don't know who's worse - the smackheads or the vigilante chavs. It then occurred to me that of all the places I've lived over the last twelve years, deliberate fires have been started within 50 feet of all but one. That's more terrifying.