Sorry, Farrell, but you're no Douglas Quaid.

I heard recently that the sci-fi classic (yes, I said 'classic') 'Total Recall' (1990), was going to get one of these 'reboots' or 're-imaginings' or whatever the current turn of phrase is. They've got Len Wiseman, the helmer of the 'Underwrold' franchise and husband to ultra fox Kate Beckinsale.  So far, the only not-quite-solid confirmation is that Coin Farrell is to re-imagine the character originally crafted by the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh, Arnold, it sounds pretty much like it's spelled CALIFORNIA. I'm pretty sure you can gather how to say it right BY PRONOUNCING THE LETTERS CORRECTLY. And don't gimme any crap, Arnold. I can't ever be president either. 
The rumor mill says Beckinsale is in talks to play one of the two key, female roles in 'Recall'. And while I'm all for Beckinsale in anything, except perhaps an Adam Sandler movie as his love interest. Seriously, dude, I know you're rich and famous and you got clout, but IT'S NOT BELIEVABLE. Anyhow, this talk about reboot got me thinking about the original and I remembered that I had picked up a $10 Blu-ray copy from Target a few months back. It was still wrapped and organized (by my wife) in alphabetical order in our movie library. So I excitedly grabbed it and announced to my wife that we were about to watch "a cinematic classic". Being a film buff, Denna was looking forward to it, but apprehensive since she knows my eclectic taste in films (from Cannibal Holocaust to Casablaca). And much to her dismay, I presented 'Total Recall'. I did my best to pitch it to her, but no dice. So, maybe I can pitch it to you. Let me give you a little background on the film.
Considered by many to be one of the most prolific and influential writers of the cyber-punk movement of the early to mid 80's, the film is based on the work of author Philip K. Dick. His subject matter, which has always been a topic I've come to explore in my own writing, tackles the struggle with duality. Dick's characters are intelligent and flawed and torn, but silently hopeful and always snarky. He paints with a dark palette, often causing things to come into glaring relief. And they aren't always things even we, as the viewer, can ignore about who we are.
Get Yeh Azz To Mahz.
Based on a short story called 'We can Remember It for You Wholesale', the movie deals with construction worker Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who toils at the job site, by day, but dreams of a life on Mars at night. His wife, Lori (Sharon Stone), can't understand why he dreams of being on Mars, when he's never been. And she quietly chuckles at hearing that each time Quaid visits Mars, in his dreams, he is side by side with a mysterious brunette (Rachel Ticotin). But each time he dreams of Mars, Quaid wakes up screaming and in a cold sweat.
After watching a commercial for an outfit named 'Rekall', a wholesale memory dealer- yes, as in "I remember when…" kind of memories -where you can go and get memories of a vacation you'd otherwise not be able to afford. He makes an appointment, shows up and buys an extra special package. He's not just gonna take vacation; he's gonna take an adventure.
The fast-talking memory salesman (Ray Baker) talks Quaid into a special perk: you don't go on vacation as yourself; you go as someone else. Among the assorted identities you can pick, the salesman pitches 'secret agent'. "You're a 007-type who's in deep cover in the Mars resistance. You'll fight your way through their ranks, quell the rebellion and get the girl." Its not word for word, granted, but you get the gist.
Excited about his "trip", Quaid sits in the chair waiting for the procedure. Several minutes later, the salesman is in the middle of a pitch when the attending technician calls screaming about a botched procedure, they come to find out that he's already had one. Before long, Quaid finds himself in an automated taxi, one of the film's great gimmicks ('Welcome to Johnny Cab'). He has no clue how he got there and the robot driver ain't much help either. Soon, he discovers that he's not who he thinks he is. In fact, he's actually a secret agent named Hauser and he's on a mission to liberate Mars. As with any work by Philip K. Dick, this is where you turn the story on its ear. And this is where what was real meets what was just a…memory. And by the end of the movie, you're not sure if Quaid was lobotomized or if he truly is the secret agent he thinks he is.
I could have gone on and revealed the entire plot, but even though I know this is a film that millions of people have seen on cable and bought at the discount rack at Wal-Mart, I'm gonna spare the few who have yet to enjoy this film. That's just my policy.
Anyhow, the movie has stood the test of time, considering it comes from a period in film that was mix of late 70's B-movie action mixed with a slasher film mixed with something out of a Troma movie (geek reference). A cleaner, more stylized grindhouse movie. And while many might dispute my next statement, I think its very true, for this film: 'Total Recall' is among modern science fiction's most important classic & cult films. While it solidified Schwarzenegger's status as action star, it also highlighted a period in sci-fi films where they weren't afraid to tell the story, even if they had to break a few eggs or kill a few hundred people. Sort of reminiscent of the films of the late 60's and early 70's. 
I had to get rid of a bunch of discs a while back and sadly, my tin, special edition, so I was looking forward to taking this home and popping it in the BD player. The picture doesn't pop like I remember. Maybe it was a transfer issue. And the audio doesn't have much snap either. Its almost tinny sometimes. I expected way more from the ultimate movie format than what this disc delivered.

It was frustrating enough to play this movie on my plasma and not feel like it was the best possible transfer or remastering of this film. Then I discover that there's only one special feature on the disc. It's called 'Visions of Mars' and it has nothing to do with the movie. Rather, it gives you some history on our quest to understand and, someday, conquer Mars.

I'm really upset that they've decided to "update" this movie. I'm not particularly happy about their directing choice. Although, it would bring the ever hot Kate Beckinsale into the fold since she's married to Wiseman. And I'm not unhappy with the choice of Colin Farrell either. I like him. He can be over the top sometimes, he could pull off the Quaid/Hauser thing. And I'd loooooove to see what they're gonna do with Kuato. That's one of the best things about the original. Its the kitch in the action, the incredibly obvious animatronics (head to and look up 'Total Recall' clips, then find the one with the fake head) and the always unintelligible dialogue delivered by a younger, grittier Schwarzenegger. And I guess I shouldn't complain about the quality of the DVD since I only paid $10 for it, but I think this is a great movie and there should be a good, quality restoration available with a mine full of terrific features. Okay, Ah-nold. You're not governor of Ka-lee-four-knee-ah anymore. Why don't you see what you can do about this otherwise kon-zidah-diz-ah-divouuz (consider this a divorce).


Full Circle

Oddly enough, Full Circle use to be the company name I'd given my fledgeling graphics business. That was many, many moons ago.

I won't tell you the Jack/Flores "Go Get Him" story cause, well, that story has gotten a lot of mileage. Jack? Yes. Jack Waldhelm. Jack was the advertising manager/production manager for the Del Mar College student publication, The Foghorn, which I was a member of for many, many, way too many years.

Jack was an old school newspaper man from way back. Manuel Flores, my journalism advisor, knew him from his days back at the Caller-Times, I think. Anyhow, without bogging you down with too much back story, Jack is responsible for the work I do today.

Jack use to measure things on the computer screen– with a ruler. First rule of pagination, don't trust anything you see on the screen. And never- NEVER -measure anything on the screen with a ruler! Jack ignored such rules. The man could measure off the screen with a ruler and get it right- EVERY TIME.

Jack gave me an education. He schooled me on design and digital pagination. He taught me to believe in myself. To be creative. To be bold. And in the process, he saved my life.

I knew, from everything that Jack taught me, that I'd be in this business for life. And after I was laid-off from the Express-News, I really thought my time in papers was done. But now, sitting in my chair as the Production Manager for the San Antonio Current, I realize just where I've been. And I also know where I need to go. I look at the two designers that work for me and I see myself. They're both young and hungry and they love the work.

Thanks, Jack. Thank you for everything.



The previous blog posts, the ones about Sawyer, were the first in a very long time. I was once commended by a coworker in Arkansas about how diligent I was with my writing.
"Just a sentence." I said. "Just a couple of words. But do it everyday."
Well. Since uttering those fateful words, I have written very few sentences in even fewer days. These days, everything and anything can wedge itself between me and the keyboard. And I have a blog app on my phone, mind you.
Typing has been replaced by sleeping and laying about when I should be working on the edit to my last film and finishing the one that's been dodging me since late 2007.
Its like when I lose my keys. I feel lost and pissed off for losing them and then suddenly they re-appear (well, they were always there, I just finally saw them). After I find them, a feeling of satisfaction and security because you know all your shit is safe. That's how it feels to be back on the keyboard. And I'm happy.
I've been feeling the stirrings to come back and write, but I made it all to complicated. I made too many excuses. I turned my back on, well, me.
I wanted to sit down in Vegas and blog something, but I decided against it. Instead, I took photos. I guess I got thousands of words in, huh?
I've got scripts to complete, films to finish, edit and score.
I've got a lot to do. And some of it, I'll share with you.


@Unholyleek introduced me to this.

While this says it's "the end of the world", but this is just the beginning.

Did You See The 'Apollo 18' Trailer?

Holy crap. I was at work the other day and I happened upon a trailer for a movie called 'Apollo 18'. Its what 'Cloverfield' and 'Blair Witch' should have been. I was a little bit scared watching the trailer. Seriously. I mean, I'm not one to be grossed out or at all frightened of the horror movies around today, but this one kinda got me.
I don't tend to watch many horror movies these days just cause I know how bad they are. I reviewed Rob Zombie's 'Halloween' & H2. They were okay. Very viceral, but hardly scary. Same goes for 'Human Centepied' and any of the 'Saw' movies.
If you get a chance to check it out, its available at Apple trailers. Here's the link:
Apple Trailers: Apollo 18



Good morning.
Its been a rough few days. I don't see that changing for a few more weeks. It'll be a while before I can close my eyes and not see Sawyer meowing or standing someplace in the house. I won't confuse noises for him at night. And this pain that seems to well up at the most inopportune times will subside, eventually fading away.
But right now, I can't stop blaming myself for what happened. Denna has been steadfast: "Its not your fault. There's nothing we could have done. We didn't know." And I know this to be a 100% true fact. We didn't know. But when I'm crying and missing my kitty so viciously as I have missed him, I can't see that. All I want to do is apologize to him and tell him I love him and let him know that one day we'll be together again.
And in my pain, things around me have come into glaring relief.
My wife and my son and the rest of our pets are still needing me to be there for them. That's who I live for. For my clan. My wife, son, dogs, rabbit, my parents, my brother and my friends. I would give up my talents and dreams and wants in this life to be able to return Sawyer to us. But that's not how it works and he certainly wouldn't want me to change. He would want me like I am. Always.
So, I've told my wife: we dedicate ourselves and this year, to Sawyer. We will dedicate ourselves to living the life we are meant to live. No more laying about. No more waiting for things to happen to us. We're going to affect change in our lives and make them better.
I think about Sawyer almost every minute of my day since he's been gone. And when I start to fade back to that morning, to see him slipping away from us, I quickly change the image to him purring and being loving and being, well, Sawyer. And that's when I realize that we've got to stop doing what we have to do and start doing what we're meant to do.
"And I just can't keep living this way
  So starting today I'm breaking outta these chains" - Eminem, 'Not Afraid'

Right now, the hardest things about being without Sawyer are the things that we so closely associate with him. All those little tasks that he would involve himself in or that we'd seek him our for. Like going into the kitchen. No matter where you were in the house, if you were going into the kitchen, you were sure to trip over him on the way. He'd RUN to get in front of you. Then he'd meow when you got to the kitchen. He knew that's where his bowl was. So he wanted food, but there was always food in his bowl. Anytime he heard a water faucet on, he'd RUN to find it and then meow till he got a taste.
Walking through the front door has been the hardest. Yesterday, after getting home, I walked into the bedroom and Denna was quietly making friendship bracelets for Thomas' Thursday craft fair. Her expression was sullen and she worked without looking at me. I asked her what was wrong and she said nothing. I asked again and again and again until she told me. And then, part of me wished I hadn't asked. She said, "When Thomas and I got home and walked through the front door, he said, 'Where's my pretty kitty...'" With that, she began to cry. And so did I. I cried for quite some time, walking myself from room to room trying to contain the tears and the pain. I wanted to just choke it down, like I know how to do, but there was no silencing it. The tears were gonna come whether I liked it or not. And frankly, after the last few hours of holding it all in, I was glad to feel the pain. Its been a pain, however, that strikes me to the core. My wails and tears feel like they're never going to end. And all I can say is, "I'm sorry" or "I love you".
But everyday the pain is a little less. And I remember more of the great times we had than any of the few bad times. I have so many pictures of him being a goofy, loony, one-eyed cat. Pictures of him with Denna. Pictures of him with Thomas and me. We have so many great memories. And I think back to when we lost our other kitten, the very young Marion. Marion never got to do or see the things Sawyer did. Sawyer even came with my brother-in-law, Tony, to pick us up at the airport when we got back from Vegas. For a four month old kitten, Sawyer got to see a lot of the world. He knew we loved him and he loved us right back.
So, for the rest of this year, the Cordero Clan has a plan: to live life as well as we can for those we've lost. For Bun Bun. For Marion. For our sweet boy, Sawyer. And most of all, for ourselves.


For Sawyer

They told us he was born Sept. 12th. Course, we didn't know that until after we'd made the trek to the 24hr animal hospital to get him looked at. That's how Sawyer started his life with us.

Actually, he started his life with us with gunk on his eyes in a ratty, old box. He was little and dirty, but he was friendly and talkative.

Back to the animal hospital. When we left there with him, everything seemed like it was gonna be okay. Denna was a little hesitant to fully embrace Sawyer, especially after Marion's passing. When we got home, Sawyer had taken a turn for the worst. His mouth was open and he couldn't hold his head up. Thankfully, I called the vet we'd just seen and they told us to rush him over. 12 hours later, Sawyer was as good as new. In fact, he was better than new. He was walking, talking and playing.

Sawyer was one of the most original animals I'd ever owned. He loved giving kisses. He wasn't weened properly, so he would always suck the toes on his left, back foot. That's how you knew he was going to sleep. After suckling for about 20 minutes, he was usually out.

We were always fearful that something would happen to him. Especially with that one eye of his: kinda washed over, with a growth on one side that would flare up and spew puss from it. But once we'd hit him with the eye medicine, it would clear up and you could almost see his eye. Almost.

For the most part, Sawyer was a sweet, sweet boy. He had his times when he'd just be on a tear through the house. Bounding from the couch to the chairs, next to it, along the wall. At night, when I'd come out to get a glass of water, he'd hear the door open and jump to the chair closest to the entrance to the hallway. He'd poke his head around the corner and give me a crazy look before he'd leap from the chair and run into the kitchen where he'd wait for me and meow.

He meowed a lot. He meowed when you'd be in the kitchen washing dishes. He could have a full bowl of water and food and he'd still sit there and whine at you until you pretended to put more water or food in his bowl. Then he'd be happy. For a few minutes. Then back to the meowing. He always crossed your path when you'd walk through the house. Good goddamnit I hated that. I once picked him up with my foot as I took a step and I flung him across the linoleum and onto the runner in the kitchen.

And when we'd get home, he'd be perched on the edge of the couch to give you a kiss and to get some love from us as we all walked through the door. Denna taught him to give kisses and you could always tell when he was feeling particularly loving. When we did have to discipline him, he would come to me after and be loving and lick me and kiss me. Like he was apologizing for something. Now, I'm not trying to martyr the boy cause that cat was an asshole too. I have the scars to prove it.

He was particular on who he let pick him up. My brother, Mom and a close family friend all tried and he'd just get mad. He was very much a Cordero. His personality was very much like Denna's and very much my own with healthy, generous splashes of Sawyer. Even his name was unique: James Sawyer Ford Cordero. Although his tag only said "Sawyer C".

I won't lie to you. I've been crying all damn day long. Every time I stop to think of him and something goofy he did, I smile and it is soon followed by the quivering lip and promptly by a river of tears. In the car, I screamed for him not to die. I cried and screamed and Denna forced me to pull over and get my shit together. But I couldn't. My Mom was the one who woke up and found him having trouble.

Denna tells me not to feel responsible. And I know that there was nothing either one of us could have done to save him. But I think about if we could have gotten him to the vet in time and I feel like I didn't do all I could. I know that's wrong, but when the tears start, it just feels like I didn't protect my furry, loony little son. If only's have been examined all day long, but there's no use. None of it matters now. What matters is picking up the pieces and moving on with our lives. This time, though, we won't be filling that void both Sawyer and Marion left behind. And until we can all feel more sane and not so sad, I'm going to temporarily remove his pictures from all the places they reside. It's not cause I don't love him. I just cry every fucking time. Like now. I'm sitting in the living room typing and crying because the house is so quiet without him. No more coming home to find him waiting for us. No more meowing in the kitchen. That goofy bastard followed us into the bathroom when we showered he'd stand outside the shower, meowing to be let in. He'd get between the shower curtain and the liner and walk back and forth along the bathtub trying to figure out a way to lick you or drink the water. Sometimes we'd just grab him and put him in the shower with us, protecting him from the water stream. He'd drink some and then jump out, but stand outside again to meow.

He would have died had we not answered that Craigslist ad for the kitten. The two little dimwit's who found him didn't know how to take care of him. He would have died that same day. He crew up strong and funny and proud and loving. Sometimes we think about all the things that Marion never got to do and we are sad. And given how much time we had with Sawyer, he got to do a lot. He got to experience Thanksgiving and Christmas and to feel love from the entire family. Maybe he didn't get along with everyone, but he loved Denna, Thomas and I. We're going to tell Thomas that my parents adopted him because Denna's allergies were getting to bad for us to keep him.

Denna spoke to a friend of ours, Cheryl, and she has had similar luck with baby kittens. Cheryl had told Denna she had sworn off adopting babies because they have all died on her. I don't want to adopt a cat anymore. No one will ever compare to Sawyer.

I don't have a doubt this entire week will test my ability to keep my shit together when thoughts of Sawyer pop into my head. I'm struggling to not break into tears right now. Denna said something that made me both smile and cry: "You know, wherever he is now, he can see with both his little eyes." I know he's in a better place now. But it doesn't change the fact that I wish he was here now. With me. With us.

Sawyer, my baby boy, my sweet, sweet kitten. I miss you so much and I'm sorry I couldn't save you. I was your, daddy and that was my job. I won't blame myself cause you won't let me. But I still want to say that I'm sorry. And I hope that you'll wait for us to be together again someday.

We love you so much, Sawyer and we're so sad that you're gone. Good night, my sweet angel.


Loony, Oned-Eyed Cat watches TLC.

This cat is so weird. The wife adds that he's also got a very similar personality to ours. Just strange.

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