Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Random Assortment of My Life

There's been nothing going on to merit a full entry on its own, at least not until later Friday or Saturday, because on Friday morning, my co-author on my book about the making of the Airport movies has invited me along to the media opening of Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, a 400-foot freefall ride clamped to both sides of the Superman: Escape from Krypton tower at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Ever since leaving San Diego and his job at a magazine there, and moving back to Venice, he's reconnected with publications he's worked for, and that includes an amusement park magazine that assigned him to write a profile of this new ride. He has a comp media pass for this that can get him and one other person in, and that's me. He has the ulterior motive of us finally meeting face to face and being able to talk more about the book than we have in past weeks since he's been busy with other writing assignments and working with a '70s actress on her memoirs. Plus, he may still have the Lang family scrapbooks that he's keeping safe for actress/singer Monica Lewis while she moves to a new house. She was married to Universal film executive Jennings Lang who was the executive-in-charge on Airport (he watched the dailies and made sure everything was going ok, but with a producer like Ross Hunter, he had nothing to be concerned about), and then produced the sequels. Lang died in 1996, and according to my co-author, the scrapbooks potentially contain a lot of information that only I might be looking for. He's already pulled out what he wants for the book, but wants me to have a look as well. He goes for an overall view. I want to go in deep. We're a perfect match in that way, also because of his connection to the Lang family, having worked with Lewis on her memoir, which was published in May of last year.

So I get free admission into Magic Mountain, and it's going to be my Third Farewell Tour. I want to go to all the spots I've liked, including Pistachio Park, and maybe, just maybe, up the Sky Tower to the now unfortunately empty floor, freed of all its historical artifacts, which were the one thing that distinguished Magic Mountain from the rest of the Santa Clarita Valley, that acknowledgement of its history. However, it has the benefit of being set apart from the rest of the valley by its location to the extent that you don't feel like you're in Santa Clarita. But that history was still important.

Nevertheless, this is the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to Magic Mountain, to silently give my thanks for the many times it sustained me, helped me keep my sanity in this valley. Plus, I've never been to any media event like this, so why not have a totally different experience at Magic Mountain than what I usually had?

- Next item on my list in Notepad of things to write about is my latest DVD reviews, or at least my DVD reviews since May 31. I can't believe it's been that long since I've posted anything about them. I liked my reviews of seasons 3 and 4 of That '70s Show, and I finally sorted out my feelings about Tyler Perry in my review of his Good Deeds. He would be better if he doesn't push so hard, and there's one scene in Good Deeds that shows a potentially great future for him as a filmmaker. So here's the many I've done since my review of Episodes:

Zero Bridge

Law & Order: Criminal Intent: The Seventh Year

Love is On the Air

Trial & Retribution: Set 5

That '70s Show: Season Three

That '70s Show: Season Four

Miss Minoes


Designing Women: The Final Season

PTown Diaries

Tyler Perry's Good Deeds

The Fairy

Father Dowling Mysteries: The Second Season

- In my reading of all the issues of The Henderson Press, I'm on Vol. 3, No. 3, January 19-25, 2012, I'm happy to say that I can amend my opinion of the weekly newspaper. Editor Carla J. Zvonec has finally stepped back from writing every single article in order to actually manage the paper, and not only are her editorials well-written, but finally the Henderson Press has focus and passion for the area again. There are outstanding reporters in Buford Davis, Guy Dawson, and Brian Sodoma, and the level of silly writing that used to plague these pages has dropped dramatically. Unlike Don Logay at his worst, these reporters realize that the paper is about the city, not about them. I liked Logay for his passion for Lake Las Vegas, but I hated how he was so obviously marketing it instead of just reporting it. The writing is much sharper and the profiles of various people in business and businesses themselves do more than just point out that they're there. These reporters are finally finding out that there's a lot of interesting stories in these businesses.

After Mom and Dad came back from Las Vegas and gave me all the publications I wanted to read (including that week's issue of Las Vegas Weekly, a few issues of Las Vegas Seven, and Friday's edition of the Review-Journal), I found the latest edition of the Henderson Press and was very happy. Henderson won't be my home, but I know I'll visit often and I'm confident of always being well-informed because of the Henderson Press. They've finally reached a zenith from which I hope they never come down.

- Today, in honor of Independence Day, Turner Classic Movies showed 1776, one of my favorite musicals. As I watched yet again the business and arguments of the Second Continental Congress, I came up with an idea that could either be a biography if I can find enough information, or certainly a novel. So much has been written about John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others in that Congress, but there's been very little written about one of those figures. A novel set around that debate on independence from this man's perspective could be interesting. I know that the debate probably wasn't what it looked like in 1776 (For example, Richard Henry Lee said to John Hancock that he had to decline a spot on the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence because he was asked to serve as governor of Virginia. In reality, his wife was ill), but it would still be something to see it all from this one perspective I want to pursue. I've gotta start writing some of these novels so I can keep my list manageable.

- Around where we're going to live in Las Vegas, there's nine Wienerschnitzels, five Sonics, a Walmart, a Vons supermarket, a 7-11, a Smith's supermarket, the Whitney library branch, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other things. Everything's accessible, and it's far back enough from the Strip to feel separate from it yet make you want to go as often as you can.

1776 is the only movie I've watched in full in a while. I'm favoring books more and more now and sticking to it. In the past three days alone, I've read five books, including The Age of Miracles by Karen Walker Thompson and Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt. When will Patton Oswalt write another book? He's got another career in this if he wants it and I want more from him. Also, read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Don't even ask "What? Why?!". Just do it. It may very well be the best book of this year and many previous years, even though it was published this year.