Friday, October 31, 2008

For my next birthday...

I would like for someone to make/buy me this cake.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What have I gotten myself into?

Well, November is shaping up to be a very busy month for me. I could have prevented some of it, but no, I am accepting challenges that come once a year. Maybe I didn't have a choice.

First of all are all the things I continue to want to do: begin and complete the Web site design for my film work; begin gathering interviews for my documentary project; try to raise funds for my documentary project; finish my script for my screenwriting class (my next draft is due in three weeks - meaning if I want a complete draft I will need to write around 60 more pages); continue pre-production planning on two short films; write a script for another short film; complete the "mockumentary" of my first video editing project (a music video for Jimi Hendrix's "Red House"); record a commentary for that video; record a commentary for my short film "The Obituaries"; plan webisodes for "The Obituaries"; and on and on.

So, with all that on my plate, guess what I went and did... I entered two contests that have very stringent deadlines this month.

The first is a short film competition sponsored by Apple called the Insomnia Film Festival. It is a 24-hour contest where teams of filmmakers have 24 hours to shoot, edit and upload to the Interweb a 3-minute short film. Oh yes, just 24 hours. I have roped in some friends of mine and we are going to do it. Of course, it isn't quite as daunting as you might think. Everything can be in place prior to the designated 24-hour period: writing, gathering equipment, scouting locations, securing crew and actors, etc. But the actual filming and editing must take place the day of the competition, which is 9 a.m. November 15 to 9 a.m. November 16. This is going to be fun.

The big gonzo crazy thing I've gone and done is registered for the National Novel Writing Month competition. The quest here is to write a 175-page (50,000 word) novel between November 1 and November 30. Talk about daunting. Especially since I've never written a novel before. That's about 1,700 words a day. The goal, according to the Web site, isn't to write a masterpiece. The goal is to write. Just write and write and write. Complete the novel. Then, if it isn't any good, you at least have finished a draft that you can go back and fix later. The creators' contention is that if you don't push yourself, you'll never do it. While there is no true prize, there is the knowledge and relief and probably joy you will feel when finished. I think it's a great concept and I intend to complete it. I have the idea in place and on November 1, I will write my first words. And by November 30 I will have written 50,000.

So, what have I gotten myself into? I think a lot of cool stuff that will make me better than if I just sat around and watched TV for a month.

And that makes me feel good.

Photo of the Day - 10/28/08

Downtown Lexington from the rooftop of a parking structure at UK.
Lexington, Kentucky
October 28, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recent Project

Hello there. I don't normally write about my film work on this page since I also have a film blog at; however, I wanted to post this video here for those of you who may not read that blog.

This summer I directed a short film called "Previously Viewed: 2-Day Rental," the sequel to a short my friend Eric made while we were in film class during the fall of 2007. I filmed some behind-the-scenes footage during the shoot. The video below recounts the first night of filming.

The short film itself will make it's debut in December, time and location to be determined.

Hope you enjoy. (And be warned, it has some adult language.)

"Previously Viewed: 2-Day Rental" Director's Diary from Brad Duncan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photo of the Day - 10/22/08

The Moon at Noon
Monday, October 20, 2008
Lexington, Kentucky

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What kind of son am I ....

that I was home for three days this weekend and it didn't occur to me while I was there to go visit my dad at the cemetery?

Please Lord don't let me forget him.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Festival Fun

It's that time of year again, so I headed home this weekend for the Evansville, Indiana, Westside Nut Club Fall Festival.

What makes this festival so great is the large, and I do mean large, amount of food available for consumption throughout the event. Four blocks of Franklin St. in E'ville are blocked off for six days. Along one side of one block of the street is the Midway where kids of all ages can spend their money on cotton candy, candied apples, rides and games to win crappy prizes. It's a grand time.

But the other three blocks and the four blocks on the other side of the street are where the real magic occur. This is where all the local groups set up their food booths to raise money for their organizations.

What I like to do when I get there is to walk the course and check out the items I might like to munch on while I'm there. In doing this, not only am I checking out the goodies available, but since a lot of items are available at different places, this allows me to find the cheapest prices. Maximizing your spending here is crucial.

However, I didn't arrive until almost one o'clock. Since I had had nothing to eat today, I decided to go ahead and get something quickly. The one item I had on my mind was the Texas Tenderloin. This wonderful sandwich is a fried pork tenderloin that hangs off of a regular sized bun by about an inch all the way around. A huge sandwich. And like I said, I was hungry. So I picked up one of these bad boys at the first booth I came to. I was too hungry to take a photo. I had to eat it right away.

My mom went with me and luckily she was hungry, too, so she spotted a Walking Taco that she thought would hit the spot.

And according to her, it did. Now, the Walking Taco is interesting. As you can see, the variety she got was the paperboat filled with Fritos, taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. There actually are two other varieties: the kind that is served in the Frito bag itself and the kind that is served in a cone made out of a taco shell.

Mom prefers the open boat. Also, there are things called Haystacks, which are the same as walking tacos. Go figure.

As always, there are many things to eat and drink. I didn't get photos of everything, but here is a sampling of the unusual offerings: Pig Lickers (slices of fried bacon dipped in chocolate), Gator Gumbo, YooHoo Milkshakes (I did try one of these, and oh my was it good), BBQ Grippochos (Grippo's BBQ chips covered in BBQ -- didn't try this but really wish I had), Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (I really wish I had tried that, too), and, of course Brain Sandwiches. Yes, I said brains. No, I did not eat one, but the two booths that have those usually have the longest lines. Here was one:

Yes, the sign up top says: Daughters of the Nile Brain Booth. For just $6 you could have a pile of fried pork brains on a bun to devour for your pleasure.

Also, you can get just about anything fried: candy bars, Twinkies, pickles, green beans, green tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms and macaroni and cheese. And don't forget the staples of any fall festival/festival-type gathering: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, lemon shake-ups, ice cream, nachos, onion rings and french fries.

I don't usually get that kind of stuff because I can really get that anywhere. However, one thing that has always confused me is the Corn Dog and the Pronto Pup. They look the same but I've never had a PP and have always wondered the difference. According to Wikipedia, the difference is this.

In addition to my Texas Tenderloin, I also had a double-sausage burger with pickle.

Mom had the funnel cake. Also a solid choice, but I passed on that for the Yoo Hoo milkshake. I also had some cherry cider.

Yes, apple is good, but if you like cherries and have never had cherry cider, you really should try it sometime. And this was locally made. Even better.

Oh, and I can't forget the mutton sandwich I got to bring home.

As for sweets, we also bought a couple of bags of French Waffles. No, these are nothing like regular waffles, and I don't know what is so French about them. They actually are made by dipping a shaped iron into batter and then dipping into hot oil to fry it. The cooked batter then slides off the iron and is heavily coated in powdered sugar. My grandmother used to make them when I was a kid.

But the ones we bought didn't look like that. My mom is a great bargain shopper and the lady selling these had two bags that had broken. So she gave us $2 off per bag. We aren't picky, and you have to break them to eat them anyway, so no problem for us.

After we had walked around a couple of times, eaten some good food and had some good drink, we were ready to roll. And this is what I felt like:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

21 Nights

This book I got in the mail today tops anything I got at this past weekend's Mid-Ohio Con.

Geeking it Up

I'm a bit of a geek. Anyone of you who really knows me will know that. If you don't really know me, then maybe you'll learn something via this post.

As I said, I'm a bit of a geek. And this past weekend I cemented my geekness by attending my first comic book convention, the Mid-Ohio Con. It is one of the closest cons to Lexington (Adventure Con in Knoxville is probably a little closer) but it has always been on Thanksgiving weekend prior to this year. Thus, I was never able to go. But earlier this year, the owners decided to sell it and the new owners decided to change the date. And because of that, I was able to go.

A few months ago I mentioned it to my nephew, PM, and invited him along. Over the past few years I have gotten him interested in comics. He reads some superhero stuff (Ultimate Spider-man), but really likes zombie books, especially Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. I, on the other hand, love almost anything Batman. I don't know why, he's just my favorite superhero. I think a lot of it is that he has no super powers, so he's a little more grounded in reality. I mean, Superman is an alien... what's that about??? But beyond Batman, I do like a few others like Daredevil and Spider-man.

However, I do read a lot outside of the superhero genre. My favorite series of all-time is (was) Strangers in Paradise, which ended over a year ago after a very long run. I found out about late but when I did finally start reading it, I devoured it. Then when the end came, I decided not to read it as each issue came out. I wanted to wait so I could read the final story arc in one sitting. I still haven't done that. But I really need to...

Others I like include Blankets by Craig Thompson, Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, Breakfast After Noon by Andi Watson, Hepcats by Martin Wagner, Local and Demo by Brian Wood, Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, Stray Bullets by David Lapham, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn, and V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

So, anyway, PM and I were really looking forward to the show. I had told him that he needed to bring along his copy of Marvel Zombies to have signed because the guy who drew all the covers was going to be there. He was doubly excited about that. For the weeks leading up to the show, the Mid-Ohio Con Web site continued updating with the latest news on those from the biz who would be attending the show. In addition to Arthur Suydam (cover artist of Marvel Zombies), David Mack (writer/artist of Kabuki and a run on Daredevil), Lou Ferrigno (TV's Incredible Hulk), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy, the Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four 2, and a couple of characters from Pan's Labyrinth) and Jason Mewes of Jay and Silent Bob fame (Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). In addition, the 1960s Batmobile was scheduled to be in attendance, as well.

The show ran on Saturday, Oct 4 and Sunday, Oct. 5. PM and I had passes for the whole weekend, but to save a little money we decided to drive up on Saturday morning so we only paid for one night at the hotel. On our drive up, I asked PM if he remembered his Marvel Zombies book. He didn't. Then I got to thinking... it didn't occur to me to bring anything for Jason Mewes or David Mack to sign. What a numbskull I am. Finally, I decided it wasn't worth it to worry about, what was done was done. So we arrived shortly after the doors opened at 10 a.m.

What a glorious sea of discount comics, half-price hardcover collections, action figures and artists/writers it was. Granted there are significantly bigger shows around the country, but since this was my first, I was duly impressed. PM and I decided to just start with the first aisle on the right and make our way through. At some point we got separated so I can't speak to all of his experiences but here is how the rest of day one went.

The first vendor I came to had a large number of action figures. I had a few in mind I was looking for and he had the most elusive one, the Movie Masters version of the Joker from The Dark Knight. The key thing about this particular figure is that it is the only one that actually looked like Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker. The Joker is my favorite villain and I felt that I must have him in my collection. It was originally sold in stores like Wal-Mart, but I could never find it and I refuse to shop in Wal-Mart anymore (click here for that story). So the only place to get it was on the collector's market. On ebay it was averaging $20 a figure, a price I wasn't willing to pay on ebay because with the shipping those yahoos were charging, I'd be paying $30-$35 for it. It wasn't worth that much to me. However, $20 at a comic convention was worth it. So, I got it.

I was already forgetting about my lapse in preparation of not having anything for Jason Mewes to sign.

I continued down the first aisle, and since I had scored the most elusive item on my shopping list, I was just looking around pricing things, trying to find the best deal. I got to the end of the aisle and was looking through a bin of $1 comics when I came across one that I knew my nephew wanted, but since we were separated I had to call him to make sure he hadn't found it yet. Well, he didn't answer his phone. I decided to go ahead and get it and hoped he hadn't found it as well. It was for a comic called Bump, and it was issue #1 of 4. But my best find at that table was a comic version of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. As a kid I loved that TV special and because I collect copies of the book by Charles Dickens (I have nearly 40 copies) I had to have it.

From there I made my way up and down a couple more aisles, was reminded that I didn't bring my Daredevil book for David Mack to sign, found a couple of 50% off hardcover and trade paperback bins and searched for more figures. Next to Batman my favorite crime fighter is Batgirl (big stretch, huh?). However, I prefer the Cassandra Cain BG to the Barbara Gordon version, but there are very few action figures made of the Cassandra Cain version. As such, I'm left to get the better versions of the Barbara Gordon BG, and I found two of the ones I was looking for at a very reasonable rate.

Later that day, I came across three of the characters from the comic Preacher: Cassidy, Tulip and The Saint of Killers. Luckily, the next day I found the main character, Jesse Custer.

I also found some books. Looking through a 50% off bin, I picked up a Spider-man hardcover, a couple of Batman hardcovers and I found a hardcover of the third Marvel Zombies story that PM didn't have. Which was very good, because now he has something for Arthur Suydam to autograph.

Eventually I found PM and we walked to the hotel room to drop off our goodies (I had purchased significantly more than he did and those action figures are bulky!). Then, we headed out to lunch. After re-energizing, it was back to the convention floor. Again, we split up.

This time I made an effort to scope out the artist booths and see if there was anything that interested me. There was a large number of folks I hadn't heard of or whose work I wasn't interested in, but I did take a few moments out of my day to stop and talk to Kenn Minter, a Lexington writer/artist who self-publishes a comic called the Experts. I already had all the copies available of that so I purchased his book of semi-autobiographical comics. We chatted for awhile about the show, comics and the odd guy dressed as Nightcrawler, and then I was off again.

I came across an artist who had a number of prints for sale of sketches he had drawn. But only one caught my eye. As I said I love Batman comics and the Joker is my favorite villain. Therefore, one of my favorite stories is The Killing Joke. The premise is very good and it sets up Barbara Gordon's future as Oracle.

Here is the cover to that book:

I really enjoyed The Dark Knight this summer and thought Heath Ledger's take on the Joker was genius. So, when I saw this print,

I knew I had to have it.

I ended up meeting PM in the next to last aisle. The line was short for Arthur Suydam, so we decided to go ahead and get in line to get his book autographed. While there I noticed he had a number of prints of his artwork for sale. I found this great print of Mary Jane Watson (Peter Parker/Spider-man's love) and decided to pick it up and have it autographed.

I don't read Marvel Zombies, but this print was cool. There was a guy two people in front of us who have a bunch of trading cards, I'd say 30, that he asked Arthur to sign. And he did. Everyone one of them. Which I thought was nice, but come on, 30? You know he was going to put those on ebay or something. So, PM got his book signed, I got a book signed for my friend Kim, and I got a print signed.

Then we moved over to the last aisle where the movie/tv folks were. That is where Lou Ferigno was charging $30 for a polaroid photo (are you kidding me????) and for $20 you could have your picture taken in the 1960s Batmobile. That car is very cool, but I certainly didn't need to sit in it. Also, we ran into Josh and his girlfriend Mel near the Jason Mewes booth. Mewes was mingling with the crowd around his table and Josh and Mel were getting their photos taken with him. He returned to his seat signing items, and I related to Josh that I was upset that it never occurred to me to bring something for him to sign. What a numbskull I was. About that time, someone in line came up to us and said that he was giving the 8x10 photos he had on his table away. At that point, we decided to get in line. I was redeemed!

Now, I must say this... I am not starstruck. I don't fall over myself to get near celebrities and I don't cry at the mere sight of someone whose work I like. But these photos were friend, dude. How could I pass that up? Mel went first and she asked him to personalize it and write "With love." I went next and asked him to personalize mine, as well. Here is what I got:

He was really cool and down to earth, and has this weird eyebrow thing he does when you take his photo.

I then snapped a photo of the Batmobile, and we all moved on.

PM and I were tuckered out from our 5 hours at the show, so we headed back to the hotel to drop our stuff off and take a breather. Now, PM is a shopper. When he has money, it burns a hole in pocket. And his favorite store is Hot Topic. I mean, you know kids today. So we head to a mall a few miles away. Luckily it's good for both of us because I got to go to the Apple Store and drool a little bit. But Hot Topic was where we both actually found something. He got a hoodie and t-shirt, and I found this gem:

Halloween is my favorite movie, so I had to get an action figure of my favorite boogey man, right?

After another hour or so of looking around, PM and I picked Josh and Mel up near the convention center and we all went out to dinner. Good times, good times.

After dropping them back off, PM and I headed back out to search out one of the three Half Price Books locations in the Columbus area. I love, LOVE Half Price Books. If you've never been, you must go sometime. As expected I found a book, one I had been looking for for some time.

And finally, we headed back to the hotel so this old guy could rest his weary, aching back.

On Day 2, we got started by checking out of the hotel and loading up the car. Once that task was accomplished we were off to the convention once again to take one last look around before heading out. We again split up to maximize our efforts. As I made my way around, I passed David Mack's table again and since no one was in line, I decided to just stop and tell him how much I enjoyed his run on Daredevil. As I mentioned before, he also writes/draws Kabuki, a title I had been tempted to pick in the past, but just hadn't ever done it. Since he had the trade paperback of Volume 1 for sale, I decided to go ahead and give Kabuki a try. I also asked him to sketch the character for me.

As we were talking he told me that the new series of Kabuki was a different writing style and a little different art-wise. He had a number of the issues on his table so he gave those to me as well, along with a couple of sketch books. And to top it off, he signed them all. I wish I had know then what I found out later: he is from the Cincy area and lives in Bromley, Kentucky, and he graduated from Northern Kentucky University. So, that made my day.

I wandered around a little more before tracking PM down. We talked about what we saw and did, and turns out he spoke to David Mack, too, and he gave PM a couple of signed comics. Just an amazingly cordial, nice guy.

By that time, we were pooped. We left the con for the last time, headed to the car and went searching for some lunch and the other two Half Price Books stores.

It was a great time, and honestly, I can't wait to do it again.

And like I said, if you had no idea how big a geek I am, you should know now.