This Blog Is Engaging and Perfect

“The ideal reading length for a blog post is seven minutes. That translates to roughly 1,600 words.” – Content writing advice offered by marketing experts.

Seven minutes? That makes sense. I haven’t timed my eyeballs or my brain, but spending seven minutes on a blog seems right. If you want an engaging blog, it should take seven minutes to read. However, here we are at the mere 70-word mark and, whoa boy, I’m not sure I can make it to the full 1,600 with this little blog. Right now, it’s more a greeting card than a blog. And we all know how non-impactful (impactless?) and non-viral (healthy?) a greeting card is. I don’t want this to be a willowy and weak greeting card. This is a powerful and mighty blog! This needs to be something big, something substantial, something you can print out and nail to the wall with a railroad spike!
Continue reading This Blog Is Engaging and Perfect

An Android’s Dream: The Legacy of Blade Runner

Released in 1982, Blade Runner remains a pillar of science fiction standing shoulder to shoulder with the Star Wars series, The Muppet Movie, Tremors, Lawnmower Man and Jumper as being one of the greatest sci-fi worlds ever visualized on screen. With the release of the long-awaited sequel, Blade Runner 2049: Blade Runnest, it’s time to look back at director Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece to find out how it was made and why it remains a beloved film.

A Novel Idea
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which itself was based on the Presbyterian hymn “Jesus Don’t Make No Robots,” the movie took audiences members on a tour of the future and dared to asked the important question: Are flying cars filled with helium?

After the success of Star Wars, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz, Hollywood was chomping at the bit to make another fantasy science fiction film, and Dick’s novel, about a futuristic cop and a surf contest to save the old library, was perfectly suited for the big screen. British director Ridley Scott, hot of the success of Alien was brought on board to bring the project to life.

“Before that, I had never heard of Blade Runner,” said Scott in a graduation speech he was rehearsing in front of a mirror. “I had never heard of it because the term ‘Blade Runner’ isn’t in the book. In the book, the cops are called ‘Gun Boys’ and so we had to come up with a new name. And just then my cousin’s toddler Benny came in and he was trying to say ‘Parade Plumber’ — I don’t know why — but he was trying to say it. But he had a speech thing because he was a toddler. So it sounded like Blade Runner. And I paid him $4 for that idea, which is a lot of money for a toddler so I really don’t feel bad about that.” Continue reading An Android’s Dream: The Legacy of Blade Runner

Pitching “The Three Little Pigs”

At a pitch meeting in the early 1800s…

Author: And so we have these three pigs, and they’re brothers. The first two pigs are a little lazy and they build their homes out of straw and twigs. And the third pig is very diligent and works hard and builds a home of brick. Everything is fine until the Big Bad Wolf comes and he blows down the first two houses easily. But the pigs are safe in the third house, the one made of brick. And the wolf sneaks down the chimney but the pigs boil him in a cauldron. And the moral of the story is to work hard and plan ahead.

Executive 1: Love it! Love all of it. Love the pigs, the wolf. All of it! Great stuff.

Author: Thank you.

Executive 2: So what happens in the sequel?

Author: Sea? What’s a sea-quill? Continue reading Pitching “The Three Little Pigs”

Wow, Bob, Wow! A Spoiler-Free Review of the First Two New Twin Peaks Episodes

There are four episodes of the new Twin Peaks available right now for streaming from Showtime. I’ve seen only the first two. I’m tempted (so very tempted) to go ahead and binge episodes 3 and 4 but I will do my best to keep those episodes floating above my head in the WiFi…for now.

I need to savor this.

Writer/director David Lynch is 71. It is a very real possibility that this will be his last major filmmaking project. I hope it isn’t. I hope he keeps making movies well into his 100s. But…this could be it. Lynch’s previous film, the impenetrable but interesting Inland Empire, was released 11 years ago. Do the math and check the calendars. This could be it. It might be the grand finale of his decade-spanning career. So I don’t want to waste it.

If you can’t tell by now, here’s the review of the first two episodes: I love them. For two hours I watched Lynch (and co-writer Mark Frost) ooze out a surreal mystery that was familiar and strange. It was scary and funny. I’m still thinking about it. All of it. I don’t get it. I don’t really want to get it. I just love it.

People will look for meanings to the imagery, and there are meanings…and double meanings, triple meanings, etc., but there’s also a joy in letting each scene play out like its own short film. If you have trouble understanding it, that’s okay. At the risk of sounding like a hippy: Just let it wash over you, man.

People may not like this new Twin Peaks. It’s not like the old show. Some people just want the show. And Lynch understands that, in his own wonderful way.

Without spoiling much of anything, there’s an early scene in the first episode of two people watching a glass box waiting for something to happen. Something happens to them. If you can’t see the metaphor and subtext of this scene, get out now. This is not for you. IT’S FOR ME!

There will no doubt be dozens of websites popping up that will try to unravel the mystery. There will be YouTube videos of fans picking apart every detail in every scene. And I’ll probably visit these sites over the next few months, if only to catch a better glimpse of a still from an episode or to read the comments. But, and this is important, I’m not sure the whole thing will add up to a reasonable conclusion. I don’t expect that. Then again, Lynch loves to subvert expectations. Who knows? Maybe the final episode of this return will solve all the mysteries succinctly and with sound logic. That’d be different.

I’m letting episodes 3 and 4 alone this week. I’ll watch them later. I’m going to slowly sip this cup of coffee instead of chugging it, because it’s a damn fine cup of coffee but there’s no promise of refills.

For more information on my David Lynch mancrush, read about the time I interviewed Lynch and babbled like a dork. For more information on my Twin Peaks theories, unlock the front door and I will sneak into your bedroom and whisper my thoughts while you slumber.

Everything You Need to Know About the Dark Tower Series

The upcoming movie The Dark Tower hopes to bring Stephen King’s complex universe to an even wider audience. But before you head to the theaters, here are a few important things newbies should know about the books.

  • The books were written in the past tense.
  • There are no magical snowmen in the books. None. So if there is a magical snowman in the movie, know that the movie is deviating heavily from the source material.
  • When stacked on top of each other, the books are not as tall as a normal person. It’s maybe two feet, at best and depending on the editions.
  • The Canadian versions of the book cost a little more than the American versions.
  • One of the books is named The Wolves of the Calla and none of the books are named Snow What: Snow-Fellow Pete in the Minotaur’s Maze.
  • None of the books rhyme, so it’s very hard to sing them out loud at a talent show. Also it will take several hours to sing them out loud so give yourself time.
  • Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About the Dark Tower Series

I’m an App!

If you own an Amazon Echo or an Echo Dot, you can now add me to your daily news feed!

Click here to get the free and wonderful app! (Or just search “Dan” in your Alexa app to find it.)

My brother and I have created our first Alexa Skill (which is like an app…for Alexa). Enable the free app and when you ask Alexa for your daily news, you’ll hear the latest Lie of the Day from the Dan’s Lie of the Day Twitter feed.

It’s a nice way to break up your regular news stories, and in this age of fake news…lying is bigger than ever!!!

If you ever wondered what my random thoughts sounded like as a lady robot voice…this is the perfect app for you!

We hope you like it. It’s silly. It’s free. There are no ads or anything! Just wonderful, daily lies.

Drivers Ed

Around the release of each new Fast and Furious movie, you will notice an increase in the amount of cars (usually “tricked out” 2003 Honda Civics) driven by leaning drivers — drivers who shift their body and head in such a way as to let other drivers know what’s up. Here’s a printable guide to what the lean means. (click to enlarge)

Mastodon: Emperor of Sand (A review…kind of)

I don’t listen to much heavy metal music. I’m not a fan of the Cookie Monster screaming vocals of some lead singers, and the music is usually either too complicated for me to understand what’s happening or so simple that it sounds like someone just got a guitar that has a demo mode.

I’m picky.

In fact, there are only two metal bands I enjoy: Tool and Mastodon. And Tool is more prog-rock than metal at this point (not a bad thing!). That leaves me with Mastodon, a band that is everything I enjoy about heavy metal rolled up into one crazy/scary/cool/loud/creative package. If you don’t like metal music, this band won’t change your mind. But, if you have even the slightest bit of interest in having your face melt off due to extreme rock power, I highly recommend you give them a chance.

Their latest album, Emperor of Sand, was released last week. I like it. I like it quite a bit. There’s a song on the album called “Scorpion Breath” and another called “Jaguar God” and those are perfect song titles. It’s a concept album about a guy lost in the desert and there are ancient evils in the barren landscape. The music is strange and diverse. Instruments pop up for a few seconds and fade away like ghosts. It sometimes sounds like there are monsters lurking behind the guitars and drums, with electronic growls and buzzes. And some of the songs are even catchy, which is rare for a metal band.

It’s not Mastodon’s best album. That would be 2009’s Crack the Skye, which featured 10-minute songs about Russian czars and out-of-body experiences. Since that album, Mastodon has gotten a bit more radio-friendly. (i.e. The songs have gotten shorter/less weird.) Thankfully, Emperor of Sand brings back the weird and wild…though the songs are still too short for my taste. (“Scorpion Breath” is only three minutes! Boo!)

My musical taste is…unusual. My “Recently Played” list on Spotify features jazz great Thelonious Monk alongside Cher, Bob Dylan, Lorde, TV on the Radio, Paul Simon, Chance the Rapper and Tom Waits. And today, after I re-listen to the Emperor of Sand album, there’s some Beauty and the Beast action…because that’s a tale as old as time.

This is my playlist right now. My day is wonderful!

ROCK!