Painting With Shotguns XVIII: The MMX Edition

Ahh, the first Painting With Shotguns of the new year. I can smell the acrid tang of gunpowder still hanging in the air.

Let’s not mince words. We’ll just get on with it, then.


Park City

In case you missed it, hey! Sundance is coming up, and so too is the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.

In fact, it’s next week. I leave at the end of the week, and am off to the wild snowy peaks of Utah (or, spoken like a Jawa, Ootini-tah!), which at present is actually warmer and sunnier than goddamn Pennsylvania. Still, I know I’ve got to do some walking about to do, especially since I’ll be hanging with the festival for a handful of days after the lab ends. I’ll be shuttling my icy ass from showing to showing, absorbing what will likely be an insane and abnormal number of films.

Some great films, too — Howl, Splice, Shock Doctrine, and like, a billion more. As I’m only there for a few days, I’ll only be able to catch a slicey-slice of what’s going to be there, but I’m just geeked about the experience.

Further, we’ll be training under some awesome screenwriters responsible for some great movies, and we’re also in great company with the other Lab attendees.

While I’m gone, I’ll be sure to toss some quickie updates up on the wall here, as I did with LA. Possible too I might write a few in advance and have the Scheduling Robot kick them into your eyes.

That said, any of you actually been to the festival?

Any advice?

Any survival guides I should be made aware of?

Since I’ll be frozen, any advice on dressing warmly? Not just the “dress in layers,” but what layers to include?

Anybody I should try to track down?

Anything at all?


Some Things Are Just Too Big

I hear some big thing happened with Doctor Who this week?

I’ll confess: I’ve really never watched it. Well, I watched a little of it on PBS when I was a kid, and I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Robots and some British dude in an afro and… a phone booth? Sounds fascinating now, but when I was young, I’d rather just swing a lightsaber around or pretend to be piloting an F-14 Tomcat into a dragon’s mouth.

To be honest, I still don’t actually understand the show or even what it’s about. Without really meaning to, I’ve kept the entire property in a very deep blind spot for all my life. Even though I wasn’t  a Star Trek fan (well, not until TNG, I guess), I still kept it peripherally on my radar. But Who, not so much.

Part of me thinks, “Well, a lot of people are very excited over this. I’d better check it out.”

But then I think, “Holy crap. I’m going to have to wade through decades of material. It’s already weird. What are my chances?”

And thus I put it aside, assuming it’s simply too big a beast to hunt.

It occurs to me that I find things like this overwhelming from a “pop culture time management” standpoint. Everything I’ve ever heard about The Wire tells me that it is the best show ever, and yet, I find myself unable to wade in. I feel like it’s too late. Like it went 60 hours and for me to properly get my teeth around it I’m going to lose a lot of my time doing so, and further, will probably just end up getting behind on other dumb-ass shows and books I shouldn’t be absorbing in the first place, and that’ll start some kind of desperate chain reaction where I’ll be atop a watertower with a suitcase nuke, a Christmas sweater, and no pants. It’s happened before.

It’ll affect how I approach a book series, too. Very recently, the George R.R. Martin A Song Of Ice And Fire series came up as a recommendation, and one more, I feel overwhelmed and threatened by it, like it’s a teetering dark monolith ready to crash down on my head. I’m dizzy just thinking about it. I feel like, were I to try to suddenly digest Dr. Who, The Wire, and A Song Of Ice And Fire I’d never see the sunlight again.

Which is ridiculous, of course.

Any advice on coping with this? Should I just bite the bullet and parcel it out? Is Dr. Who actually worth a shit, or is it just the same British bizarre-o-show that I barely remember from my youth when it aired on public television?

Bacon And Sugar

I’m pretty sure if I take bacon, and I cook it with equal parts in weight of sugar and a leeeeetle bit of water, and I let it crystallize, I’ll have a bacon I could comfortably make a toffee or nut bark with. Further, the leftover sugar would then be bacon-infused sugar. Not that I know what I’d do with that. I mean, besides shove it in my mouth and die from bacon-flavored diabetes.

The question is — cook the bacon first, or let it cook during the hour that the sugar crystallizes?

Or, just dip hot pieces of bacon in real maple syrup and eat those and call it a day?

And yes, that image is of ladies with bacon bikinis (bakinis?). Ahh, the Internet.

Food, Inc.

Speaking of food —

I won’t go too deeply into it, but please believe me when I tell you that you are mandated by yours truly to watch the documentary Food, Inc. It’s an even-handed look at corporate food and factory farming. It’s not anti-meat, and when it finds mass-produced products that don’t suck (Stonyfield yogurt, for instance), it gives them a place on the pedestal. But all told, it’ll ideally make you really rethink the shit you shovel into your facehole. It’s got solid contributions from Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan.

More Michael Pollan, right here —

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Pollan
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Oh, and Food, Inc is also on Netflix streaming.

Oh! And the other night was the Alton Brown Good Eats “Holy Crap, Alton Brown Lost A Lot Of Weight” episode (actually known as “Live and Let Diet“).  If you’re looking for a loose breakdown of his non-diet diet, you can get one right here (thanks to the wifey for finding). We’re going to try sardines on his recommendation. Wish us luck.