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December 6, 2017:

RAGING FIRES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I got eight hours of sleep and awoke to the subtle smell of smoke in the house. That is because there are huge fires raging and the skies are filled with ash and smoke – and they’re not contained as I write this. Many people have already lost their homes, including a soundtrack label owner who lives to the north. There have been horrid winds, which, of course, makes it all worse. Even here the winds were ridiculous and noisy. So, other than a quick trip to Gelson’s for food and a quick trip to the mail place to pick up a screener, I stayed put. Obviously one cannot jog with such smoke in the air. I’m also supposed to do a book signing on Saturday in Valencia, one of the areas hit hard, so I can’t imagine that won’t be rescheduled.

I answered e-mails and ate some food from the local Gelson’s hot bar – teriyaki chicken, which I’ve never seen there before – I had a microwave pouch of white rice here, so that was my light and airy main meal o’ the day and it was actually very good. Kay Cole came by and we had a very nice chat and she loved the new house. I had a long and fun conversation with the Shermans, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched two more DGA screeners. The first was entitled Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 box-office failure and critical and cult favorite. I kept seeing the hyped “the sequel everyone’s been waiting for” – why? I wasn’t waiting for a sequel. Back in 1982 I saw Blade Runner on its opening day at the Bruin Theater in Westwood. Like most, I felt it was visually inventive, even stunning, and I cared not one whit about the story or the characters. I liked the music, the style, and I didn’t even mind the narration, which made it seem like a Raymond Chandler sci-fi film. I was also a fan of the source novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. Then several years later they unearthed the work print of the original no narration version, with more scenes, and I dutifully saw that and my opinion was the same. Then came more directors cuts and more versions – I lost count of how many are on the original Blu-ray release, and I’ve dutifully watched them all and my opinion was the same.

And now we get the sequel. And once again, it has some nice visual things (but sorry, it’s just not as mind-bending visually as was the original) and some interesting plotting but I’m not a huge fan of the director and the thing goes one for over two-and-a-half hours, which is a good thirty minutes past its expiry date. Ryan Gosling gives his usual performance – he is literally the same in every movie I’ve seen him in – the same expressions, the same line readings, and I find it ever so boring to watch. The rest of the cast is okay, and it’s always nice to see Harrison Ford, who reprises his role from the original film. But in the end, this was a big who cares for me. I couldn’t even keep the plot straight by the end because my mind was wandering so.

Then I watched the second DGA screener, this one with the horrible title of Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. But the film itself is kind of fun and interesting, very quirky and dark at times, with a wonderful lead performance by Francis McDormand, and good supporting work from Woody Harrelson and everyone else. It rarely goes where you think it’s going to go, which is fun, and while it may be a hair too long for its own good, I enjoyed it. It’s not brilliant or anything, but I liked it fine.

I had some popcorn during the film, and a bagel for my snack. I also read the page that I’d written for what I hope will be my new book. I had two pretty good titles for it, but was dismayed to find that both had been used and used fairly recently (this year and three years ago) – very irritating. There’s nothing stopping me from using either, but I’ll see if anything else strikes my fancy or if my fancy strikes anything else. But I liked what I read and I even wrote another paragraph. We’ll see where it all takes me.

Today, I’ll get up when I get up, I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and hopefully one of them will be the missing package, then the new helper is coming at two and we’ll start slogging through the Indiegogo stuff and we’ll start shipping some of that out this weekend. Otherwise, I may unbox if there’s not too much smoke and ash in the air, and then I’ll relax and watch more screeners.

Tomorrow will be more of the same, then Friday is the big birthday and I’m being taken somewhere by Nick Redman and his ever-lovin’ Julie, so that’s nice. There may be another celebration on different days, too. Funnily, someone has always thrown me a surprise partay on the big birthdays, but not this year, which I’m perfectly fine with. I’m doing a book signing on Saturday at a Barnes and Noble in Valencia, but given these fires I’m somewhat doubtful that that is a good idea – and we’ll see if we can postpone a week or two.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, hopefully pick up packages, eat, meet with the new helper, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, wishing safety and excellent vibes and xylophones to those near the raging fires, and happy that I am nowhere near them.

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