We Pay Our Debt Sometimes

I was up one night watching Fuse, back when it was called MuchMusic, on the day that Layne Staley was found dead of a drug overdose. If you didn't know, Staley was the front man for Alice In Chains. Chains was one of four bands (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Kurt Cobain's Nirvana) to bring the Seattle grunge sound to the mainstream. Just about every music & entertainment channel had run some kind of retrospective about Staley that day.

I was never fortunate enough to see Alice In Chains perform live. I'd always heard that they were one of the best live, rock bands of their era. There were times when I heard Staley sing and thought his voice was just so haunting. Even though I didn't know it at the time, his voice carried with it a great deal of pain. I'm still doing some research on him, to know him better even though he's been gone a while. He died at 34, a tortured soul, an "angry angel." The only time I had ever had a chance to see them was on the Metallica tour that would precede their release of the Black Album. The bill was Alice In Chains, Suicidal Tendencies, Candlebox and headliners, Metallica. Chains had dropped out of the bill before they made it to South Park Meadows in Austin, Texas. They had stopped touring completely, it was said. Reports of Staley's drug use were widely known and most of the people I knew all agreed that the band was done due to it.

But that night, MuchMusic aired a special on Staley that burned itself into my mind. They spoke to several of his bandmates, including Jerry Cantrell, who was shown to break down from interview to interview. It was the evolution of a guy who didn't know what to do for his friend. At first, he was oblivious, almost happy. But by the end, he was stuttering and fearful, maybe even guilt stricken. Fact is, no one knew what to do about Staley. Friends and critics alike all have said that it wasn't something that just came up, they knew it was happening. One music industry insider said, "He's never gonna get off that(heroin) junk." He struggled hard to get clean, from what I read, but it never came together.

I sat there, watching them air clips from their MTV Unplugged special. You could tell from the way his body slumped and the suddenly vacant stare that Staley wasn't well. Inside or out. The voice, even more haunting that before, came through clean and clear. I could see, in the face of Staley, that he wasn't holding on very tight. Another talented soul with a great gift was sent home.

If you've never seen Alice In Chains' performance on Unplugged, you should find yourself a copy.



Yesterday, like a lot of days, I debated on what route to take home. Usually, I take the freeway since it's the quickest way. My trusty truck, Scarlette, downs gas like a frat boy at a kegger. In the spirit of low gas consumption, I usually opt for the freeway, since that saves all those starts and stops.

But sometimes, I'll get on the freeway and the big Lite Bright signs they've posted in certain junctions warn of "Congestion Ahead; Use Caution". With that prompt, I then take the first exit off and take the street. The exit ramp takes me to my street and I just travel down that road until I reach home. The entire ride probably adds five minutes, maybe 10, to my trip home.

Well, yesterday, I decided I would take the freeway. The lit sign didn't warn of any congestion, so I went ahead. Little did I know that after about 10 minutes, I'd be chocking my steering wheel. I should have taken the street.

This afternoon, after waiting for a parent to calm her child down at the checkout line, I decided to take the freeway to work. I like taking the street because it gives me time to think about the work day and plan, but I was running late. Well, I'd be later because there was a wreck waiting up the fuckin' road. Ugh.

It's like Russian roulette but with all the bullets.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 2/3's of the population of this town needs help.

ONE needs to be sterilized. Don't ask you kid if he/she wants to stop crying. Parents shouldn't need to ask. If you ask me, part of the problem parents are considered to be "soft" and why we lose our kids to "violent" video games and films is because we haven't put our foot down hard enough. 50 Cent ain't got shit on my Dad. He whooped my ass good and, as much as I hated it then, it made me a better person. Granted, you can't just smack a kid for any reason, but if a kid don't respect you for being his/her parent, they should fear you for being just that.

TWO people should be tested to see if they qualify to drive on the freeway. My wife, for example, CHOOSES not to drive on the freeway because it gives makes her nervous. Occasionally, for her job, she might take a stretch, but for the most part, she stays off. And she's better for it. There's a cross section of people who, despite how it makes them feel or how ill equipped they are for it, they get on the freeway. I just have one thing to say: stay the Hell off. I was seriously late for work because of an accident on the 410. Of course, I can see how it might have been cause by two people who might have been a little too sure of their driving prowess.

I guess it's just been a shitty day. Car wrecks, congestion on the roads, computer problems at work and I'm just tired.

I can see the cars on the freeway from my window. I dread the decision I have to make when I get into my truck later. Ugh.


Movie In The Works

I'm having a bit of trouble getting to the end of my latest script. My wife gave me two weeks to complete script and I have about 6 days left. She knows how much trouble I have finishing these things. The pressure is helping, but I'm resisting. Ugh.

I'm also trying to do a mad dash to get my Steadicam fixed, get a new mic for my portable sound mixer and try to narrow down my ideas for the resolution of my lead character's motivations. Not to mention that I've done some internet research on the theme of my script and it's opened up the possibility for this thing to go into a full-fledged feature, which I don't want to do because otherwise I won't get it done!!


I've had some writer's block the last few days and today I just feel like crap. Had some broccoli and cheese earlier that didn't quite agree with me. I chased it with some instant noodles and then chased that with a couple of Alka Seltzers. I feel good right now, but now I'm tired and slightly unmotivated. You'd figure that with living in a deadline oriented job I might be better with the pressure, but I'm just not.

I gotta get it together.

I think this project is gonna be great, once we start shooting. I'm gonna do video storyboards this time. My director of photography and another friend are waiting for me to bust out with the script.

I'm feeling better just typing this out. I think I'm working through my writer's block as we speak. I'll update the progression of this film as it develops. I'm gonna start a blog specifically for a diary of this project. I think that will help me too.

Stay tuned.


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