Monday, January 26, 2009

OLD DREAMS DIE HARD

I just finished watching the movie "Sunset Boulevard." It's an oldie from way back in 1950, black & white, starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. A classic. I would imagine most people nowadays haven't seen the movie but have probably heard the closing line and may have even used it while either taking someone's picture or having their picture taken. Or maybe just the fact that I was a photographer I heard it a lot. The line is used quite regularly on TV shows and movies today, although it's often used with humor as opposed to the irony of it in the movie.

They don't write movies like they used to. The dialogue in "Sunset Boulevard" is gritty, direct, yet theatrical.

"It's funny how gentle people get with you once you're dead. They beached me like a harpooned baby whale." — Joe Gillis about being fished out of the swimming pool.

"Sunset Boulevard" is a story written by Billy Wilder. In a loose description, it's about a Hollywood screenwriter who weasels his way into living with a rich, aging, outdated silent-film actress. The screenwriter character (William Holden) narrates the final weeks leading up to his murder and then what happens immediately afterward. On the flip side, it's a story about an aging, forgotten actress waiting on a call from the studio that would never come.

"So they were turning after all ... those cameras. Life, which can be strangely merciful had taken pity on Norma Desmond. The dream she had clung to so desperately had enfolded her."
— Joe Gillis narrating as his killer is filmed by paparazzi as she leaves her house.

I watch that movie, listening to the dialogue, and it ignites my old dream of being a screenwriter and makes me want to pull out my old projects (one of which this blog was originally named) and start working on them again. But with something like 75,000 screenplays being submitted to studios each year, and only about 500 of those getting serious consideration and only a hundred or so of those 500 actually getting produced, it's just an exercise in futility.

I guess it would be kinda like me thinking if I trained hard enough I could win Ironman. Not going to happen. Kinda like the character in "Sunset Boulevard," Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) waiting on that call from the studio. It ain't gonna come.

But still, like doing triathlon, it's not about the end result, but about the journey. That's what's fun. That's what's important. Like in triathlon, getting up off the couch and becoming a completely different person, pushing beyond what you thought you were able to do, getting creative with your workouts and taking this incredible journey just to see where it will lead to.

Writing a screenplay, creating characters that are so much different from yourself, bringing them to life, giving them a voice and letting them take you on a journey to who knows where, getting to know them, becoming friends — or enemies — cheering them on, creating something that is way beyond what you thought you were able, it's all so similar to triathlon training to me, except I tend to gain weight when writing. Why can't you lose weight when you exercise your brain?

"You see, this is my life. It always will be. There's nothing else. Just us and the cameras and those wonderful people out there in the dark." — Norma Desmond talking to what she delusionally thinks is her film crew.

Not today, or even tomorrow, but maybe one day I just may pull out one of those unfinished screenplays and get reacquainted with some old friends, and their antagonists, and begin anew that journey into the dark abyss that is writing. Getting lost in a world full of adventure and fraught with danger. A world where you face challenges head on and come out the other side a better, stronger person, where you must experience the inevitable heartbreak and maybe even find a happy ending or two. That's life in the movies — oh, and in triathlon, too ...

Oh, about that last line in the movie? Check it out below in this video of the final scene of "Sunset Boulevard." (1950)
video

Saturday, January 17, 2009

FAMILY FUN — A DAY AT THE BEACH

Karen, Rebecca and I spent most of the day at the beaches today. Here are some photos from our day. Karen and I also went running along the long beach at Honokohau Harbor Beach. We even came across a monk seal sunning its self.














Sunday, January 11, 2009

WEATHER OR NOT


Today was quite a day for weather in Kona. We woke up to cloudy skies, had a quick hurricane (see video on previous post) then the cleanest, clearest air we've had in a long time, followed by an amazing sunset.

Here are a few pictured from today. Don't forget to see the video on the previous post of our mini hurricane.







OUR OWN MINI HURRICANE

We had a storm blow in this morning about 9 a.m. just as Karen and I were heading out the door to go swimming. It started sprinkling and was a little windy so I told Karen that we should wait a few minutes to see what the weather was going to do since the sky over the ocean was black. about two minutes later this blew in.

video

It only lasted about 20 minutes or so. Now it's dead calm outside. Hardly a breath of wind and just barely sprinkling. It's still cloudy but not near as dark.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A GLANCE OF LANCE ...



These days it's the question on everyone's mind, "Will I see Lance Armstrong today?" Most of us are practically sleeping on our bikes, racking up more miles than most of us do at the peak of our training, but how cool is it to say you rode with Lance Armstrong?


The local blogs are buzzing with "Lance sightings" The first question we ask other cyclists is, "have you seen Lance today?"

One thing I've noticed is that EVERY person out on Queen K on their bike is staring at EVERY other person on a bike to see if it is Lance. Yes, I'm just as guilty, or at least I was until I was lucky enough to have a "Lance sighting" of my own. Now I know what to look for — a blur followed by a chase car.

If I see a solo rider with no car trailing, then it probably isn't Lance. After all, you have to be crazy to ride in Kona without a chase car to protect you from all the crazy drivers here.

Good luck to everyone on their quest for a Lance sighting. And if you are really lucky maybe even a quick conversation.

P.S. I thought I was winning the lottery a couple of days ago when my work said they were contacting Lance Armstrong for an interview. I was the first to volunteer to be the photog for the assignment. Then the next day the news came in through his press agent/manager/assistant that Mr. Armstrong isn't giving interviews while he is here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

TRAINING NOTES 1/5/09

1) don't have a hard weight training session before swimming at masters

2) don't move up to a faster lane at masters after a hard weight training workout

3) sometimes bad things lead to good things

4) strained something in my calf while running after masters 
- note to self: don't run after a hard weight training session and swimming at masters

5) decided to go biking since I couldn't finish my run
- note to self: Biking is hard with a strained calf muscle and after an intense weight training session, swimming at masters, then running a few miles

6) rode 35 miles carrying 10 pounds of weights in backpack

7) did  some hill workouts while biking 35 miles carrying 10 pounds of weights with a strained calf muscle after weight training, swimming and running

8) met a fellow cyclist who is visiting from the East Coast and rode some with him

9) fellow cyclist beats me badly going up cemetery hill (cursed weights, why'd I carry them anyway? Cursed wimpy legs. I need more weight training.) 

10) rode hard out to top of some hill (before scenic) and turned around

11) two minutes later I pass Lance Armstrong going the opposite direction

12) decided I should have biked to Scenic with the guy from the East Coast, then Lance would have caught us  and maybe we would have struck up a conversation

13) would have been too star-struck to talk, better that I turned around

14) Conclusion: today was a hard day. Injuries, sore muscles, disappointment. I'm tired.

PLAN FOR TOMORROW: Weights; swimming; running; biking to Scenic

MID-MAY SKETCHES

Like many sketchers, I have several sketchbooks and watercolor sheets and blocks going at once. A selection of sketchbooks from Dick Bli...