Monday, April 20, 2015

Ode to a Fallen Friend


If you walk out my back door, stroll across the back lawn, through the garden spot, and around the shop, you'll find the resting place of a dear friend of mine: my little pink Ford Escort.  This was the car I drove during college.  This was the car I drove on many quests for Star Wars merch.  I had more fun in this pile of junk than I've ever had in a car.  Let me tell you the tale.

I obtained Machi (because the Japanese name for the pink Pac-Man ghost is Machibuse) under slightly sad circumstances.  I allowed my sister to take my previous car, a grey Grand Am, on a fast food run.  She took a corner too fast, and, BAM, I needed a new car.  I test drove several other contenders: a purple Ford Probe that rattled like a frakkin' machine gun and a gold car that looked so much like something a cat puked up that I can't recall the make and model, among others.  I came across Machi as my dad and I were browsing at a used car lot.  She seemed to be pretty well put together, not held together with chicken wire and duct tape.  Dad wasn't crazy about the color, but I dug it.  Besides, he didn't have to drive it.

Machi and I embarked on many adventures.  We went for long drives at night.  We criss-crossed the northwest is search of Star Wars toys.  Sometimes we did it alone.  Sometimes we brought a friend.  We drove all over the empty wilds of Utah.  We traversed all kinds of Idaho back roads.  We got lost.  Most of the time, we didn't care.  With the windows down and the radio blasting, the destination just didn't seem important.

I recall one weekend that I jumped into Machi and set out for Craters of the Moon.  I vividly remember singing along with Ash (the Free All Angels record) and The Ramones (Rock, rock, rock, rock, Rock n' Roll High School) on a beautiful sunny day.  I got to Craters of the Moon and decided I didn't feel like stopping.  I decided to drive on until I got tired of doing so.  With the tunes blaring, the scenery gliding by, and Machi purring like a kitten, I soon found that I was damn near Boise.  I called a buddy and asked if I could crash overnight.  After all, I didn't really have anywhere special to be the next day.

Machi definitely took her lumps.  She was broken into one day while I was in class.  The thieves took her stereo and my guitar, although the joke was on them.  The stereo had died about a week prior to the break in.  Machi's transmission also had some issues.  The linkage slipped meaning the gears weren't where they were supposed to be.  We fixed it, but it was never the same.  Music played at high volume rattled Machi's frame, and her interior absorbed almost as much greasy. nasty fast food as I have.  I was also notoriously bad at changing her oil on time.  All in all, I'd say I was a pretty bad owner.

Machi finally gave up the ghost on the Ucon overpass on Highway 20.  It sucked because I stopped at the top of the bridge and there wasn't a lot of space between myself and the cars whipping by at 65 MPH.  A helpful police officer gave me a push to a safer stopping point and there I waited for help to arrive.  The diagnosis was dire: Machi's water pump had gone out, causing her to overheat and blow her head gasket.  Fixing her would be more costly than it was worth, seeing as how she also had a damaged door lock and the key was stuck in the ignition.  I moved on and Machi was put into storage, first in the shop behind my granpa's house, and then at her current location.  She is a shell of her former self, and I feel a pronounced twinge of sadness every time I pass by her.  I should've treated her better.

As for the future, my dad has been planning for years to fix Machi up so my nephew can drive her.  No progress has been made toward that end, and with my nephew having grown to the roughly the size of a dwarf planet, I'm not sure he could comfortably drive Machi anyway.  If I hand my way, I'd take her out somewhere deserted and I'd set her on fire.  Machi deserves to go out in a blaze of glory for all the happiness she brought me during our time together.  In reality, she'll probably just sit there until someone decides to sell her to a scrap yard.  And that day, when it comes, will be a very sad day indeed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Too Much To Write, Too Little Time

I didn't grow up wanting to be a writer.  Hell no.  The first thing I can remember wanting to be was an astronaut.  I wanted to fly around looking for new planets, and maybe even go on a smuggling run with Han Solo and Chewbacca.  Later, when I was old enough to think playing guitar was the coolest thing you could do, I wanted to be a rock star.  I went off to college wanting to be a doctor, then a newspaper reporter, then a teacher, and then a scientist.  I decided to go to film school, and that's where I first discovered I really like writing, but I didn't look at writing as a career.  Screw that!  I was gonna direct big-ass monster movies.  Um... That hasn't really panned out, either.

After drifting for a long while, I rediscovered my love for writing and decided that whatever my future was, it had to include writing in one form or another.  Ideally, I'd like to get published and get paid to write novels for the rest of my life.  But that's about as likely as Batman becoming a pacifist.  Still, just cuz I ain't getting paid big bucks, that doesn't mean I shouldn't keep at it.  Besides, I looks at it as a way to prolong my life.

See, I have a long list of projects I want to complete before I kick the bucket.  And as long as I still have stuff on that list, I figure I should at least try to take care of myself so I can write all that stuff.  What's on the list?  Well...

  • A Music Album - I've dreaming about recording my own music ever since I was a little shit running around with a piece of molding pretend to be a member of Alvin & the Chipmunks.  That desire only intensified as I learned to play guitar.  I've been slowly pulling together songs over the past few years.  I've got about 60 tunes now, in various stages of completion.  Someday, I'd like to put em on wax.  Nothing professional, just something for me to listen to.  And something for me to prove to myself and others that I can actually do it.
  • A Musical Screenplay -  I actually had an idea for a musical movie that I thought was pretty cool.  I even started writing it, but I hit a snag and haven't, as yet, finished the first draft.  Maybe someday...
  • A Detective Story - I'm a big fan of film noir and I always thought it would be fun to write something in that style.  I'd need to do a lot of planning and pre-production to pull something like that.  That's the problem.  I don't really like to plan when I write.
  • A Western - My dad likes westerns, and I think it might be kinda cool to write something he might enjoy reading.  Cuz, Lord knows, he wouldn't be able to tolerate what I usually write.
  • A Time Travel Story - Because time travel is bad ass.
  • A Story About Kids Making A Movie - I was inspired when I saw Super 8, at least the awesome half of that movie that was about movie-making teenagers. (The rest of that movie kinda sucked ass.)  But it would be fun to do a story about a bunch of people trying to tackle the herculean task of making a movie.  Cuz even a small movie is a ton of work.
  • A Ghost Story - Knowing me, it would probably end up coming off like an episode of Scooby-Doo in space.  What's wrong with that?
  • A Children's Story - I've had a few ideas that I kinda like.  Plus, I'd like to see if I could pull it off.  And it would be a big challenge for me to get through a story without using a ton of profanity.
  • A Memoir Based On My Friends And I Back In The Day - I've actually been dreaming about this project since before I knew I wanted to be a writer.  I just can't figure out how to do it in a way that's cohesive and says something that I wanna say.  But it would give me a great excuse to listen to all that lame-ass music I loved back in the day.  (Not that I need an excuse...)
So, as you can see, there's a lot spinning around in my head.  That doesn't count all the movie ideas I'd love to get shot or the myriad of smaller projects I've been kicking around.  So, that gives me an excuse to stick around for awhile.  I guess that means it's time to stop chowing down on cheeseburgers and hit the exercise bike.  Cuz I got lots to do.