We are getting new textbooks this year and I had to attend a week-long class.

Here’s why:

The students will get a lit book, a grammar book, and a work book, all of the rest are mine. I have about 12 additional books filled with support material including tests, handouts, overheads, and additional assignments. I also get CD’s, video tapes, and a CD-Rom for making tests.


This is in addition to teaching Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and Inherit the Wind, an editorial, and a research paper.
It’s going to be a busy year.



We’re Back!

Well, we are back from Wisconsin. It was a great trip, once we got
there. There were tornadoes and thunderstorms on the day we were
supposed to arrive so we had to spend the night in Phoenix. Yippee! We
found out the next day that America West was the only airline to cancel
flights, something that they do all the time.

The tornadoes touched down about 15 miles from my grandparent’s town of
Janesville. We went and looked at the damage.


What’s in your queue?

I love Netflix.

I have one Netflix friend so far and am looking for more people to share movies with.

If you would like to join my friends list, drop me a line with your email and I will add you to my list. Or send me an invite using the email in the sidebar.

I look forward to hearing from you.


If you see Gus, I want my $10 back!

I went out to L.A. the other night to meet up with my long-time friend, Brian. After dinner we decided to catch a movie. We decided on Last Days, written and directed by the afore mentioned Gus Van Sant. The movie is inspired by, if not loosely based on the suicide of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain.


I am not big on reviews, so I won’t write one, but damn that sucked!

Two Three things:

1) 2 minutes of the camera watching a Boys II Men video, full screen. No dialogue in the background.
2) 2 minutes of the camera watching a bush.
3) Repeating scenes. (And not in a Tarantino Kind of way to show different perspectives. Just showing a scene again)

There was plenty more to dislike.

Now to be fair, I had been up since 5:30 and had to get up the next morning at 5:30. Maybe there was something that I was missing



Oh, so THAT”S why movies aren’t doing so well.

Bill Leonard, former California State Assemblyman and current member of the Board of Equalization, regularly writes “The Leonard Letter.” His most recent issue explains why the box office is in a slump. You will be pleased to know that it is not because movies suck. Oh no. It is because of our strong moral compass.

Here is his theory:

Lackluster Blockbuster

Have you seen an article or listened to a television report that movie box office numbers are down? A few weeks ago, before the summer movie season began, Hollywood executives were hand-wringing because people did not seem to be going to theaters as much anymore. They suggested the reason was that people are enjoying the comfort of their home theaters and perhaps not willing to pay the high price of movie tickets these days. Both of those things may be true, but I suggest the movie execs also consider a study from earlier this year that was sponsored by the Christian Film and Television Commission (http://www.gopwing.com/print.php?sid=691). It concluded that movies that contained very strong moral content earned six times more than movies with strong immoral, negative content or very strong pagan, humanist, socialist, homosexual, occult, or anti-religious content. The movies based in strong morals also performed substantially better at the box office than movies with graphic violence, foul language (more than 25 profanities), sexual immorality, nudity or criminal acts like stealing, kidnapping, etc. If Hollywood wants to boost its box office, it not only needs to re-examine its pricing policy, it also needs to get back to telling good stories with good, uplifting values. If they film it, we will come.

So, what do you think?


Rewriting Help

Okay. I am going to get this second draft done.

I think that this script has potential, but it needs some serious tweaking. Where do I start? Right now, I have a three-column list labeled keep, lose, and add. I am trying to figure out what stays, what goes and what else I need.

A big problem in the first draft is character motivation. Halfway through, I realized it needed to be stronger so I made some changes. Didn’t work. I am probably going to lose half of the story and my dark comedy is tuning into an ensemble comedy.

If anyone has some words of wisdom on the rewriting process, I would love to hear them.