Fall Games (I like sports!)

Ok, so I’ve been a lifelong sports fan. No surprise there. However, my excitement for certain sports kind of ebbs and flows depending on a multitude of variables. Are we competitive this year? Is there a particular player I’m excited about (oh Jimmy Gobble, how I miss thee)? Have I/will I be able to attend any games? Is there any new storylines throughout the season? The list goes on. Some years I’m overflowing with excitement for some sports, other years I keep a passing interest.

There have been some constants; win or lose, I’m invested in how the KC Royals do. I try my hardest to attend at least one Sporting KC game a season. I make it a point to receive updates on the Chiefs. I’ll always keep myself involved in KU bball. Yet, of the four I’ve mentioned, KU, SKC, and the Royals are the only ones who I have consistent rabid interest in, year over year. That will continue, but this fall, some other sports have (for some reason) come forward as my main focus during the cold months.

Since the NBA championship of 2015, I’ve gotten back in to NBA ball. I think that has a lot to do with where I was while that series was going on. The Golden State Warriors were on their way to winning their first title in years w/Steph Curry leading the charge. I was actually in San Francisco and Oakland at the time for work. So when I was done for work for the day, I made it a point to head to a bar or restaurant where the place would be packed with Warriors fans. It was a bit awkward at first; I was usually walking in wearing a Royals hat or shirt and the previous World Series was won by the Giants over my Royals in Game 7…in KC. I thought at first I would get razed pretty hard and eventually they would forget about it. Turns out, I was wrong. In a good way.

The first night I went to watch a game I found a high top table, kept my head down, ordered some nachos and beer, and prayed I would be left alone. 5 minutes later, I get a tap on the shoulder, and the following chat happened:

Me: Yeah?

Stranger 1: You from KC?

Me: Uhm, yeah, just in town for work…

Stranger 2: Cool! We went to KC for the WS and just gotta say, you guys are a great fanbase! And the town was pretty awesome!
(Side note: In San Fran, KC is considered a “town”, not a city)

Me: Thanks…(cautious, waiting for the razing to start)

Stranger 1: While we’re glad our Giants won, we’re pulling for you guys this year! You guys deserve a title!

Stranger 2: Let us buy you a beer!

And the night continued to be a great time of us cheering for the Warriors, reflecting on the best moments of the 2014 WS, and bonding on how much we all hated Joe Buck. Sadly, I don’t recall their names, otherwise I would have made it a point to stay in contact. The reason I bring this particular story up is because I realized something that night with the Warriors fanbase; they were a lot like the us. For a long stretch of time they had struggles and embarrassments. They would see hope and then have it squandered away. Then, some “young bucks” get on the team with a new coach (Mr. Steve Kerr, my 2nd favorite Bull of all time) and there is a sudden culture change. An air of positivity is surrounding the team. And finally, they are in the Finals competing for a championship. I could relate, especially in 2015.

Since then, my interest for the NBA has come back. I mean, in the early to mid 90s, pro bball was my jam! I was a Jordan fanatic (I still have my red Jordan jersey!) and I could not get enough of the Bulls. But once Jordan retired for a 2nd time(!), I started to walk away from the sport. There was this time where I thought there wasn’t anyone for me to follow. Even when Jordan came back for a 2nd time(!), I couldn’t enjoy it. He was a shell of his former self. I mean, yeah, he’d have flashes of brilliance, but it wasn’t the high-flying, tongue-wagging Jordan of yesteryear. His best days were far behind him and I just couldn’t enjoy it. He finally retired (for real!) after the 2003 season and I too stepped away from the game. Even the arrival of “King James” didn’t bring me back; heck, it probably pushed me further away from the game. Everyone was claiming how he was the heir apparent to the throne Jordan had vacated years ago and it just made me mad. “How dare they say that! There can be and will be only one His Airness!” I would scream at the commentators on Sportscenter.

Then when Lebron bolted Ohio for Florida I knew then I would never enjoy pro ball again. The era of the “Super Team” was upon us. Boston did it, Miami did it…hell, last year Golden State did and now OKC has done it. Yeah, the Spurs and Mavericks were the anomalies who found success by just having great coaching and good all-around teams, but most championships were going to whoever could sign the biggest all-stars. And another thing…wait, I’m gonna save that for another post at another time.

Where was I? Oh yeah, San Francisco 2015. After having spent some time with those fans and being reminded how fun cheering for an NBA team can be, I started following again. I was in an interesting position because while I did feel a slight connection to the Warriors, I really didn’t have a team I could call “mine.” So I would watch or keep tabs of games that had interesting matchups or fascinating storylines. During the playoffs I would be watching for a great series from both teams rather than picking sides. Then when the 2016 Finals ended and the Cavs finally earned that first ring, I realized I gotta start picking a team. Because I saw how amazing it was as a Warriors fan to win a title (and experienced as a Royals fan when they took the WS in 2015), I knew I needed to find a fanbase I could connect with. But who? Do I want to stick with the Warriors since I kind of already have a connection to them? Do I give Lebron a chance in his twilight years? Do I invest in “the process” in Philly and cheer on the young upstarts they got over there (where KU is represented)? I’m not sure. But I will say by the All Star break I hope to have it figured out.

What other sport has caught my interest? Well, Cycling of course…

What, no one believes that a big guy like me can enjoy a sport like cycling? Why I outta…ah, forget it. Back on track.

I don’t remember what exactly got me interested in cycling. I know part of it was my sis-in-law who does triathlons so that’s part of it. I just remember I found an old bike in my shed and I started tinkering with it, trying to get it back in to riding condition. I started doing research on what I needed to do and I fell in to a YouTube hole on cycling. Several hours later, I was overflowing with information about the sport and bicycles. I learned about things like Trek bikes, “sportives”, and a “peloton.” I was blown away by the fact that cycling can be a team sport and that there is a ton of strategy involved. I ended up going and watching replays of this year’s Tour de France and would get lost in the spectacle of it. So now I’m all in. I plan on devouring the rest of the UCI season, maybe even forking over the money for the NBC Gold package to watch all of the various championships and tours. I’m saving up for a Trek Verve 1. I’m attending cycling classes until then to build up my strength and conditioning. I’m gonna dive in and make some memories.

And with the cycling, I promise I’m going to do as much updating as I can on it. I’ll tweet, I’ll use instagram, Facebook, and this blog to share my ups and downs. I hope that’ll keep me on track for both blogging and riding.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

J

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“Dead Hearts” shoot starts tomorrow…

And I’m excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, over-joyed, etc, etc, etc. All of the emotions one could feel before such a big day, I’m feeling’em. This short film has technically been in the works for 10 years or so now. How do I mean? Well, check this…

To Recap:

2005: While at community college (don’t knock it, I highly recommend it as a great place to get a higher ed), I watch two films for the first time: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Classics. I’m blown by how…cool each film is. The dialogue pops, the jokes hit perfectly, and the shocks are big. I was instantly in love. These two films coupled with my affection for Clerks (which I saw my sophomore year of high school) made me realize that film could be a possible career path. Well, I could at least try and make films, even if I never made it in Hollywood.

Late 2005: Still feeling the affects of those QT films, an idea popped in my head for a movie scene. Well, less an idea and more a small seed. And not really one scene but rather two. It was at first the question of “What if the roles were slightly changed for Jules, Vincent, and The Wolf?” From there, I started writing down little pieces of dialogue, snippets of visuals, etc. in my head. It was hackneyed, horribly written, formatted incorrectly, and I was writing it in a little 3×5 Mead notepad on my lunch breaks from work. But it was something.

2005-2008: That notepad followed me to my (2nd) brief tenure at KU, to Wisconsin, and to Minnesota. (Note: As a matter of fact, I believe I still have it somewhere in storage.) There are scribbles, changes, new *unrelated* ideas, and it’s all together awesome and bad. But I proceeded forward until…

Late 2008: I am promoted with the retail big box company I was currently working for. I went from being a simple hourly employee to a salaried manager. I went from working just 40 hrs per week to 60 (by my choice honestly.) I had no social life where I lived in Minnesota. Went on a few dates but nothing more. Most of my time was spent doing most of the following: A) Work B) Work from home C) video games D) watching movies at home and E) watching movies at the run down theater the small town I lived in had. It was during this time I gained a crap ton (that is an actual measurement in my opinion) of weight and started to suffer from severe depression. That little notepad I had? It just sat in a box, never being touched. I would talk about it sometimes with people, but that was it.

Mid-2010: I move to KS for work and Cuz R (who is my actual cousin and #BestFriend4Life) moved with me too. It was during our time living together that I would mention my story sometimes while also throwing other ideas back and forth every once in a while. But we were both so focused on our jobs and had no idea how to actually make a movie (at all or in the middle-of-nowhere KS) that if never became more than just talk.

Mid-2015: I know this is a 5 year jump, but not much progressed with this film during that time. However, at this time in the story, I had been talking to my wife a lot about actually making that idea from 2005 as a short film. I was working a job that had me on the road 95% of the time, I was miserable, and I was not enjoying life at all. The wife asked what would make me happy; I told her, “Honestly, getting off the road, working a part time job at a bookstore, and making my short film.” She could have been logical and rational and said “I wish you could, but we need to be able to provide for ourselves and the kids we want someday, so lets just find you a job in your field closer to home, etc.” But, that’s not how my wife rolls.

9/21/15: This day is specific for a reason: this is the day that a phone call between my wife and I would change everything. I was in St. Louis for work, having just completed an assignment, and I had seen her only a couple days over the last month. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall I had just stopped working at and I was crying. Literally crying. So of course she is too. There’s a break in the blubber-fest and she says “Why not? Why not come home and make your movie? What is stopping you?” It was at this moment that I fell even more in love with her and also realized that the answer of what I should do was right in front of me. So I literally called my boss once I got off the phone with her and put in my 2 weeks. Was it slightly foolhardy? A little irrational? Yes, oh god yes. Yet, it was the best decision for me to make. (Spoiler Alert: Our movie shoot is taking place almost exactly 1 year from this day.)

Late 2015-2016: So after I got off the road, I started hammering away at the script. It was too long, bloated, had plot holes galore, and just wasn’t that good at all. But putting those words on the page was the most thrilling rush of excitement; it was like riding that awesome new ride at Walt Disney World for the first time again and then riding a bazillion times after that, each ride better than the last. Knowing I couldn’t do this all alone, I sought the help of some trusted confidants.

Durka: To produce and push me to make this project an actual project, rather than a crazy fever dream.

Cuz R: To help rewrite, redraft, and redevelop the film. He became the official co-writer and my partner in crime. The film went from being a silly idea by me to a true vision for both of us.

The wife: She says she only wanted to handle craft services, but she really wanted to be in show biz 🙂

9/15/16: We are less than 24 hrs before we are on set, calling action on the first shot. I have so many worries going through my head. I am bouncing back and forth between extreme confidence to utter despair. But I wouldn’t ask for anything different. The call sheets for tomorrow have been sent by the 1st AD. Follow up texts are being sent by various folks to finish prepping for tomorrow. Equipment rentals and purchases are arriving at any time today. A final walkthrough for the biggest scene (the one that started all of this) is tonight at 9 pm.

It’s all coming together. 10 years of waiting finally coming to an end. Once we wrap Saturday evening…raising a kid will be a piece of cake (Cue nervous laughter.)

Let’s break some legs!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

 

I come bearing gifts…

I know I had this whole plan with some amazing structure that would ensure I was blogging daily. Yeah, well, I obviously failed. But I need to do some personal reflection on whether I “failed” or I just set my standards too high. Since changing my job status last Fall (I went from being salaried to an independent contractor for the same company) my schedule has gotten more hectic and off kilter. I’ll have a few days where I am completely free to do as I please and when that happens, I have every intention to work on my projects. But then I let other, less important things get in my way (damn you Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Blag Flag!!!!)

However, I finished the biggest distraction recently which was moving to our new house. Only thing now is I have to A) Get my temporary office set up, B) I have a bunch of work stuff for the next 3 weeks, C) I have to finish unpacking and setting up the house, and D) My partner Ryan and I are now entering in to crunch time for editing on the short we are working on for our friend Durka. Crunch time as in we need to get damn close to a final cut pretty damn soon because we have festival deadlines. (Note: This is not a complaint, we are loving working on this project, but it is a realization that things are gonna get tense soon if we don’t start wrapping this bad boy up.)

With all that said, I still think there is no reason why I can’t spend some time each day working on a blog update. I am going to try and get back to working on the format I laid out a while back (Film Friday and the like.) Until then, just bare with me and my randomness.

As a mea culpa for my ball dropping, I offer up this juicy morsel. A new short I came across on Vimeo (a place that I have fallen IN LOVE with) today. I think I’ll be posting more of these as well; link a few and schedule them to be dropped over the next several days so in case I don’t make it a priority to blog, you at least have something to entertain you. I give you:

But I’d Really Have to Kill You by Max Sherman, starring Ben York Jones & Tim Baltz. It is a simple short that does a great job of utilizing the typical office workspace and voiceover narration. The ending really sells it. Great job Mr. Sherman!

But I’d Really Have To Kill You from max sherman on Vimeo.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

 

Been waiting 30 years for this…

So today is an odd day for me. I am going to be partaking in one of my favorite events with my wife for the first time (a KC Chiefs game) and have had a great weekend filled with food, board games, friends, and family. I have no complaints about anything. Except for…

Today is the day I turn 30. GASP! SHOCK! I know right? Today is my birthday and I always figured this would be the one that felt odd. It would feel like I’m finally an “adult” ya know? Like I would wake up and want to buy some khakis, get a mortgage, start an Roth IRA, and observe the market for stock trends…but then I realized that I’ve already done all of those things. I’ve been adulting for a while it seems.

So why does 30 seem like a such a big deal to me? I’m not sure to be honest. Part of me thinks it tied to my sense of mortality and my fear of death; for a good number of people who did not take care of their health at a younger age (like myself), 30 can be the midway point of your life. This could be “middle-aged” for me. In 30 years time I could possibly be lying flat on a morgue slab, having shuffled off the mortal coil. That scares the hell out of me. I’m not going to get in to specifics or religion mumbo-jumbo right now, but no matter what my views of life and death are, dying is the scariest thing in the world to me.

And because of that fear, I feel I’ve missed out on some things. I’ve spent the last two years in mild depression, neglecting my health, relationships, and pursuing my dreams. I was so worried about turning 30 soon that I forgot that I was currently 28, 29. It was infuriating being  constricted by the irrational fear of something that could come in 30 or 60 years, hell it could of come that very day. So I focused on doing what was expected of me; throw all of my energy in to a career/job that I only had mild interest in, come home miserable from the grind, maybe get off my butt sometimes, and try not to upset Mrs. Harris with my whining or depressed mood.

It wasn’t until part of the way in 2015 that I finally started listening to what Mrs. Harris had been saying for some time; she kept talking that she knew that I needed to chase dreams. It was now more important than ever. She didn’t want me to be filled with nothing but regret 5, 10 years from now. After listening to her say this on repeat, I finally agreed to take the plunge. I’ll chase my dreams or maybe fail, but at least I would have no regrets. During this time of transition, while we would get stressed about finances or unsure what the future holds for us, I started to feel the depression slip away. I felt the stress I had carried with me for years dissipate. The growl and scowl I always had was no longer around.

I was realizing that going after my dreams was worth it. Which I was able to do because my wife kept saying “Why not? Why not chase your dreams? We only have one  life, might as well make it worthwhile right?” She could not have been more right. So thank you Mrs. Harris, for believing in me. For enduring my unrelenting complaints and word vomiting of anger, my difficult depression, for believing in me, for pushing me to finally get off my ass and to do something with myself. While today may be my birthday and you have given me a bunch of great gifts, the best gift you gave me was your never-ending belief in me. Succeed or fail, I’ll be happy with you pushing me to go for the stars.

Thanks for the great 30th birthday Mrs. Harris. I don’t know how you can top this 🙂

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey