Archive for August 2007

Supa-Tennis Dayo!   Leave a comment

I can taste the salt on my face, and I know i’ll need to take a bath tonight. For some reason I had an urge to play Tennis today. I happened upon a small knocking session recently, and I thought “why not?” i’ve been playing Tennis for twelve years… why stop now. I have a torn left ACL which makes certain kinds of physical activities a little scary… and when I was playing with this fellow today, I was leading 4-1 in our third set, I felt something twist in my knee and I knew the game would have to end soon. I’m competitive though, and I finished the set. The end score was 6-1, 0-6, 1-6 in my favour. It feels good to be ‘back’.

As i’m walking home though, I realize my knees are both really hurting, so that means ixnay on the ennistay for a while. My laptop has been really acting up, crashing and so forth, which has really interfered with my ability to write at night ( the lab is five blocks away… shrouded in nighttime darkness with the creepiness of DC everywhere) but I’m still trying to maintain.

Already I’m feeling the effects of…

(a) writing 4-6 pages a day for my book
(b) having long classes that require a lot of attention

(c) being required to draw a cartoon (or two) for the paper each day for virtually nothing
(d) trying to eat, sleep and excercise properly between that.

Nonetheless, I plan to buy a new harddrive for my main machine this weekend, which should make life much easier in terms of my graphic design requirements for the paper. Then that machine is more stable, so I’d be able to write easily as well. I had some interesting observations to write yesterday…but I woke up with none of them in my mind…. bloody laptop! I might head to a poetry thing to night, but I still have my 4-6 pages to write, plus other stuff… wish me well.

Posted August 31, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

One Hundred Pages!   Leave a comment

It’s 1:15 a.m and I’m doing my daily addition to the “Three Weeks and  Hurricane” Project. I’ve hit the enviable 100 page mark. I feel somewhat okay, because I feel like my efforts are paying off (sort of ). This is the second time this year i’ve hit the 100 page mark, and offically the fourth time I’ve hit it while working on manuscripts. This is a very brief blog, as I’m about to go to sleep. The book still needs a good twenty-five to thirty pages, but it feels good to hit 100.

56,084 words and counting. May I dream of accolades and panties in my mailbox.

Posted August 29, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Bolex & Screenwriting days…   Leave a comment

The bolexI’m a bit uneasy today. Not because i’m feeling strange…. well I am a little bit. Returning to school is like doing a school play when you’ve never acted before ( or at least that’s howI fele right now). I’m going through the motions of attending my hellishly long classes ( two of them are over two hours) and trying to figure out which classes will be easy, versus hard. So far, it looks like I will have one easy class, because I took the professor before, but everything else seems like a ton of work. I’ve just recently returned from my Cinematography class, where I fiddled with a bit with loading up a Bolex camera. The camera is sweet–it looks like something straight out of world war two, but its a standard issue semi-grade learning curve camera for basic film

The class looks like it will be both challenging and interestng. My teacher is from
Europe but went to school in L.A so she has that mixture of L.A film-jaded sensibility and a hold-you-by the balls sort of dialogue. That’s the best way I can describe a teacher who uses the word ‘fuck’ in the same sentence as ‘Optimus Prime’. Profanity aside, things are really starting to shape up. After this semester i’ll only have five really classes that i’ll be doing, then its on to the big, wide world. I’m still thinking of grad school but i’m not sure what path to take. I really want to write, and film seems a bit… ‘involved’ as it were…but I’m reserving judgement. Today my screenwriting teacher seemed overly pleased to have a class of young black men doing screenwriting…which is weird because Howard is a black school…but I initially felt a little annoyed that I had to remove my hat..”You are men, ” she told us. I dont’ like that aspect of Howard…where certain professors put there own little philosophies on dress code and “what constitutes real manliness” upon the students. I live in an apartment, I pay thousands of dollars in tuition, I do NOT need a teacher telling me that I must take my hat off, or that if she heard ‘bad things’ about me that I must leave her class.

Either way, that aside, the rest of the class was intersting. We’ll be doing a 30 page treatment of a movie idea we have, as the goal for the semester. As a guy who’s written 37 pages in one day, that seems like a cakewalk. I’m glad to have the opportunity to get inside knowledge on the techincal side of the writing, and it gives me an excuse to pen this really cool movie idea I have.
Now i’m thinking of heading to this place called Bus Boys and Poets. They do poetry on Tuesday nights…I think, and I feel like checking it out. Therefore, I am out.

I went to the lab and wrote four more pages of “Three weeks and ahurricane”. I plan to finish the book in the next week and a half. I’m losing the vibe that comes with writing a new project, and its harder since i’m in the states and the book is based in Jamaica. I dont’ want to get mentally warped by school before I finish the proj.

Posted August 29, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

First day of school: Return of the Mac (again)   Leave a comment

Its the first day of school and as usual, I wake up feeling more tired that I really should, even though I made sure to get a solid eight hours of sleep in preparation for today’s classes. It looks like i’ll be taking 18 credits, which seems daunting to most… but two of my classes are only once a week, so I think it should be pretty manageable. My first cartoon of the semester was published in today’s paper. I do the editorial cartoons, and the topic for today’s essay was “Welcome to HU, let the games begin”. I drew a guy jumping into the air shouting “Freedom! hahah!”. I’m not sure what the reaction to that cartoon will be, but hopefully it makes the incoming freshmen feel good about having that artificial freedom that college life provides.

The most interesting thing that has happened to me today, which I ABSOLUTELY can’t ignore, is the return of my ex… again. I’ve mentioned before that my book, “3 weeks and a hurricane” speaks about my attempt to pick a path for myself for the near future. Then, as I wrote about my perceptions of life, (Jamaica being a huge basis), I found out that I was writing a lot about my ex girlfriend as well. (In the book, she’s called “Mac”). It wasn’t easy writing some parts of the book, because I was writing the book in real time, and there were some things that happened that wrenched my heart around a bit… some dodging here and there, and a few strange e-mails and restless nights. But today, I went to my first class, Telecommunications Policy and I was shocked.

My teacher looks EXACTLY like my ex-girlfriend. Well, not so dead on, but everything was there, from the skin tone, the characteristic sloping of the nose and eyes, and then the catch: Her hair. A few years ago, Mac cut off all her hair, and sported a Mohawk for a little while( I write about this fondly in my book by the way), and then, as her hair was growing back, it was a boyish fluff of brownish hair that looked a certain way. Today in class, my teacher has that exact same hair…down to the colour of the hair and the style. It was weird watching her speak, because even her body type is similar to Mac’s. She was tall, with a slim figure, slightly wide hips. I couldn’t tell off the bat, but she seemed as if she was of mixed ethnicity too.

There was a moment in class she spoke about teaching at a certain school in Pennslyvania, and mentioned that it was a school filled with “Rich white kids.” I don’t normally hear a white person say “rich white kids” so for now i’ll assume she’s mixed. Then, she went on to describe her career thus far, and its like seeing a future Mac sitting in front of me. She went to Africa a few times (like Mac), did research in Europe (as did Mac) and she now specializes in Telecommunications Policies that affect developing countries.

After I left the class, I headed to the school lab to type this blog… I’m not sure what to think. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Is this some weird sign that I should contact Mac? Or is the universe trying to torture me mentally, showing me that in the future Mac will be an attractive, accomplished woman who ends up teaching at a college? Oh, and here’s the catch ladies and gentlemen, her husband is JAMAICAN.

I kid you not. During the whole “let’s get to know each other” period which happens in every new class, when I said I was from Jamaica she smiled in a very comfortable way. “Good man.” she said, “My husband’s Jamaican.” Then she asked me if I had dined at a certain restaurant because they serve the best Ackee and Saltfish in Dc. (Ackee and Saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish). I was a little shocked. If anyone has seen “The Secret” this is a super-freaking Secret moment if there ever was one.

So let’s review : She looks like an older version of my ex, down to skin tone, facial features and hair type. She likes traveling and is interesting in the development of third world nations, sorta like my ex. Then, she marries a Jamaican guy…. and the creepiest factoid of all… my ex’s initials are “M P”, hers are “P M”….

*twilight zone music plays in background*.

All I can say for sure is that when I looked at her, I actually felt a good feeling wash through me. It was almost like a glimpse into the future, or some distorted version of it anyways. I’m not sure what this means, so I guess I’ll ignore it for now. The real Mac is in New York somewhere, having fun and living it up. My teacher’s similarity to her reminds me of the nature of a phantom, it is fleeting and ghostlike…something you rarely see that probably never existed in the first place. So that’s what my teacher is… a phantom.

Not real.

Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Mood Swings + Inspiration   Leave a comment

I have very achey feet. (or is that ‘achy’?). For a few years I didn’t realize that I had been wearing the same shoes day in day out. As time passed, and my feet hurt more ( and then my back) I assumed it was mostly stress… for some odd reason, and relegated myself to a regime of deep breathing mixed with listening to introspective audios. After a while, I figured out it was my horribly flat shoes (complimented by my horribly flat feet) that was causing a significant portion of my back and foot pain. So today, TWO years after realizing this fact, I went to the DSW to buy some shoes. I wasn’t sure which DSW to travel to. There is the one is Silver Spring( a place laced with memories of me and my ex), or I could go to Pentagon City (uglier shoes, other stores to browse through). I decided to go to Silver Spring, because I wanted to pass by Border’s book and see what they had on screenwriting.

Walking to the metro, I realized my mood was already changing since I had come back from Jamaica. The Washington DC landscape is a sprawling mass of land connected loosely by highways, smaller roads and a metro system. The more time I spend here, the less like an individual I feel. I’m one of the American collective, a series of drones that walk around shopping and eating Chipotle every alternate Tuesday. But there is a sense of individuality here( yes, i am sounding a tad contradictory). I think America is a place that truly promotes individuality in the sense that you really have to fight to get a spot in the social circuit. Not to say that breaking in to Jamaica’s social scene is any easier, but the task sometimes seems a bit overwhelming. There are so many millions of people walking around, all with their own agenda, all trying to have fun, work and build famillies, as a young student from another country I realize I float between feeling glad to have the opportunity to be in the states, and then frightened at how alone I can feel sometimes. Sure I know people, and I have family in a few scattered states, but its the walking around, looking at large groups of friends, people who are so unlike me culturally its scary. Racial perceptions, fashion, capitalistic ventures and a bunch of other cultural norms are also things that can swat a foreigner in the face a few times.

In Jamaica I feel content and sometimes even powerful. I know the areas to go, I know a lot of the people and i’m familiar enough with the odd racial tensions there to feel comfortable in my socializations. After seven years up here, I’m getting somewhat used to the system, but its a mixture of race, money and status. The obviousness of classism in America is probably one thing I can say that leaps out at me when I walk up and down sometimes. If I enter a richer area, say Georgetown, I immediatley see a see of people in Khakis and Polos, big cars everywhere and the place is cleaner and more well-maintained. Shoot twenty blocks Northwest and you reach where I live, which isn’t “seedy” but its not as clean and the fashion, the momentum of everything is very different.

Anyhoo, its a thought that can affect one’s mood. Here I’m more displaced, more uncertain, especially since I’m nearing the end of my tenure in the states. Mix that in with nothing to “hold on to” (i.e a serious girlfriend, or a job-offer) and the world becomes one’s oyster. Now all I can truly focus on is the near future and the goals i’ve set. To make myself reach somewhere, I must use my natural abilites of writing and being creative.

Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Writing can be painful: Return of the Mac   Leave a comment

I’m just returning from the infamous Adam’s Morgan. That’s a section of DC that has a collection of shops, clubs and bars where people find themselves on the weekend spending time doing crazy things with each other in dark corners. My friend and I argue about the “fat girl theory” for a while, as most places we go, we notice that ‘bigger’ women are more apt to dance in the middle of the floor, and they usually shadow their cute friends. This phenomenon isn’t always 100% dead on… but its pretty close.

I came back home and fiddled with facebook for a while and something has bummed me out slightly. My latest project, which I think i’ll name “3 weeks and a hurricane” talks about a search I have for finding out my purpose in life during a one month stay in Jamaica. During this stay a lot of things happen, including a hurricane hitting the Island. A large portion of the story has to do with my ex-girlfriend, and how our relationship died based on some very strange cirucmstances. Through the facebook grapevine, I just found out she’s actually in the states. (she was in Europe for a while doing school). While writing that project I faced a few obstacles. Its not always easy to write about real time painful things as they happen. There were a few times I sat in front of my sister’s laptop for up to thirty minutes unable to type anything. Pain is something that pokes you in your gut and grabs on for dear life. Whatever the cause, it can cloud your vision and make everything seem more dull, like the buzz a person gets after too much drinking. So, I’ve had a good night so far, but now I find out my ex-girlfriend is back in the country and she’s saying lots of friendly hellos to people who she doesn’t know that well, and clearly, she isn’t going to even think of calling/e-mailing me. I’m somewhat hurt by this, but I was more surprised than anything. I thought she’d be returning to the states closer to the middle of September, but i was wrong. Maybe writing a book that involves mostly her and my life will be therapy enough to deal with losing face in the eye of love. Who knows? Its not that bad. When I was in Jamaica, there were a few days that were so challenging, I felt as if I wanted to cry. For anyone that knows me, the though of me crying is almost like seeing the pope doing the “tek way yuself” dance in a Jamaican dancehall somewhere.

But I already reasoned that I won’t feel sorry for myself in this situation. All I can do (like most people do) is move on. All a person can really do is try their best to make the most of a situation. It takes two people to resolve something. If one person isn’t willing to… then its a waste of both people’s time. I know I feel bad occassionally because I truly loved my ex-girlfriend, but sadly i’m learning what it means to fall out of love with someone as well. Either way, tommorrow is another day. I might do some writing, and go to a mixer they are having for all the returning students. Its called “Temptation Island”… a fitting title. I hope my ex, wherever she is, is having fun and enjoying life. Sad as it is, when you love someone, all you really want is their happiness (after a while), even if it makes you feel a bit awkward, you are comfortable in knowing that your presence isn’t affecting them negatively.

Coincidentally, two friends and I spent the day going all over the city (particularly Georgetown) to go to some “naked protest” one of them heard about on a Radio show. He made it sound more like a naked party [insert image of really hot politically passionate chicks here] and I raised eyebrows at the whole thing. Firstly, the protest started at twelve in the afternoon, and I doubted any significantly hot chick would bare it all for this protest.

Either way, the coincidence lies in heading to the waterfront. That’s an area that has a view of the Potomac river. We walked over there before watching the new movie “Superbad” which was very funny. I sat on the docks and there was a nice, warm breeze blowing. In my mind, I remembered the first time I went Kayaking, and it was with my ex, on the Potomac. Its one of my happiest memories, and its funny how I just remembered that now… sitting here and being a bit surprised that she’s in the states and I didn’t know. Such is life eh?

by the way… nothing is a coincidence. Till I blog again… love safely.

Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Friday again :p   Leave a comment

Its been an interesting time leading into my return to school. I’m very inspired to work hard and make the most of my time remaining at University… but this semester is looking evil. So far it looks like I will have 18 credits… and no life. Its not easy to “wild out” and “hunt” when you have tons of assignments to do, plus a job as the school cartoonist. Either way, I’m ready to start my writing schedule of activities. To make sure I do the best I can i’m going to purchase a few books on scriptwriting to get a good sense of it, and a few books on magazine writing. My plan, hopefuly, is to be able to do 2000 words a day (roughly 4 pages) of writing. This will allow me to do 60,000 words a month, give or take. This should be enough for me to finish my current novel, plus do a few other projects. I’m a little tired, but i’m inspired. I’m also going to make another blog which documents the development of my fashion line, which I will post soon. *Yoda voice* – “trying to make it happen, I am.”

Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Writing Challenge   Leave a comment

I’m in my final year of college, which means I can either go ape-crazy trying to lure gullible freshmen back to my lair of love, or really plan for the near future and set myself up to actually use my degree. So far things are going well, my classes and the whole registration process went smoothly. Howard Univeristy historically has notoreity for bad administration, but this time I had no issues. I logged onto Bisonweb, added my classes and I’m good to go. Add one semi-painful shot in the arm courtesy of the University Health center and I have what I consider a full day. I took a trip to Georgetown today, just to walk around and checkout a sale at Urban Outfitters. I do a little graphic design on the side, and I’m always inspired by seeing graphic tees that remind me how possible it is to break into the logo-tee fashion niche. I also saw some Chuck Klosterman books, which reminds me of my current project, “3 weeks” which is written in that self-effacing narrative.
I think the near future will hold good things, and I’ll detail the processes of my writing. This semester i’m taking a scriptwriting class, which is interesting, because I’ve already penned two full length scripts and a treatment. I’ll get the technical breakdown of the writing process that will take me from amateur to professional. I’ll be doing some more writing for “3 weeks”, which is
pretty much a non-fiction narrative about a guy (moi) who wants to find out what to do with his life in a month stay at home (Jamaica) during this period (unbeknownst to me when I started the book ) I end up partying hard, meeting interesting foreign women (and old flames), go through a hurricane, lose touch with a girl I love and make interesting observations on Jamaican culture and how they relate to my perception of myself and life on a whole… Either way, the project is a departure from my fiction writing, where I like to say I write: “…Like Dean Koontz, but not really.” I was reading On Writing by Stephen King, and he made mention of “in between” writing projects, which allow a writer to breathe before hitting a heavy topic. So, “3 weeks” (or soon to be ‘4 weeks’) was my breather project. A little bit about me, where I’m from and how Jamaica is cool/weird all at the same time. Its a little scary to write it, because it speaks a lot about my personal life, and i’ve always been a little gaurded about my “man-secrets”. Its fun though, and  almost written in the fashion of this blog, albeit with more random references and a coherent story flow. I have to say writing that project (I hit 85 pages after two weeks) was fun, because I had to pace it based on things I was doing. If I wasn’t doing anything, I didn’t write, so it was literally a ‘work in progress’. I took a break for a week, partied hard and had at least another twenty pages of material type up. Then Hurricane Dean hit, and that night I added 6 more pages. My goal is almost achieved. I wanted to type no more than 120 pages for the entire project, and I’m at 91 page now. I belive the story can end after another 29 pages. To balance my effforts, I will try to punch out most of those pages this weekend in my school lab (free paper!) and then do the preliminary editing myself.

I’m planning on creating a group called “10 readers” which is a writing pool of ten people that are set to read one project, give thoughts, observations on errors and writing style, with the intention of polishing the project as best as possible. With ten people, I think opinions and error spotting would be well spread and a project can be fixed up much faster. Plus, a person could brag that they had “over ten people” read their book (they would be number 11). A work in progress.

Time for me to watch some television or continue plotting for my cribs-esque house.

Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Back in DC :p   Leave a comment

I’m back in Washington DC after a grueling 24-hour journey through an unpowered airport, a stop by a friend in Miami, and then multiple planes, crappy food and a slight headache. I’m back on terra-firma, my academic stomping ground. Its interesting coming back. I had so much fun at home that DC almost feels unfamiliar, as if I haven’t spent the better part of seven years here. My room looks like it normally does, a little rough around the edges, but everything works. I turn the A/C on and it hums a little too loudly, my internet connection is up and running and the sky looks like it normally does, a little too gray for my liking.

Trips to the states have taught me how to be calm. The first thing I learned about traveling to America as as student: They do not care where you come from. It doesn’t matter if your flight is connecting in forty-five minutes, or if your father owns all the land in Tunisia. If you aren’t American, you can be bullied, threatened and quite easily delayed. As an international student, I occassionally get put in “the room”, which is a cramped space in the corner of the Immigrations Floor in the Miami airport. To verify my documents and my sutdent status, took over two and a half hours. Half a novel and a grumbling stomach later, I was sent on my merry way, not before the person attending to my case said “Damn” after asking me to take my hat off. I was exhausted and not amused. But I wasn’t the most ill-treated person in that room. I saw a man with his family face disgrace when he asked one of the officers a question. All he received was a shrug and the statement “You aren’t American.” Then another officer, with a large gut, military buzz cut and a piggish-nose told them to sit down. Many times he walked around, threating people about their cell phone use, demanding they sit down. I almost laughed when he came near to me to reprimand a man trying to sneak a call. “I cart criminals for my job dude.” He said in his i’m-a-bad-mofo voice. Either way, I ended up missing all the flights leaving for DC last night and ended up going into Miami to chill with a family friend. I believe this was meant to be. I stayed with my “aunt” (we call everyone Aunt in Jamaica) and she had an amazing house. At every turn I half-expected to see at MTV cribs crew lurking in the shadows, snapping footage. It was a beautiful house, with high ceilings, great tiling complete with “big room with flat screen TV”. Being a pair of doctors in America really has its benefits. I was happy to spend the night there, because in some ways, going into that house gave me a glimpse into the future, when I too might walk into my nice Villa-esque house and laugh wiht my neighbours about how my prize horse has a case of the runs.

The hurricane seems to almost be a distant memory now as I write this. The night of the hurricane was challenging in some ways, with flooding issues in the house, a missing window and and an onslaught of mosquitoes. Even though I spent the entire day attending to all things house involved, at the end of the night I wrote six pages chronicling the entire saga, which is currently on my sister’s laptop. Whenever I get access to that document i’ll put some of it in this blog. I’m tired an hungry, but I feel like i’ve achieved a few interesting things recently. I planned to write a book while I was in Jamaica, and currently, I’m almost there. I’ve acheived “basic novel length” which is 50,000 words (50,091 to be exact), I made a few interesting contactws regarding doing some magazine writing and I’ve made some goals for the near future. School isn’t even looking that bad. Two classes in particular i’m looking forward to are, Screenwriting and Cinematography. These classes and a few others will make me decide whether or not i’m interested in doing a masters in something related to film. I still feel a tad light-headed, so until I blog again, ciao.

Posted August 22, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

HURRICANE DAY   Leave a comment

celly.jpgI’m sitting in my computer room, looking outside at sheets of rain that are rippling in the air like wind blowing a towel in the breeze. Its Sunday, August19, and right now I’m waiting on the arrival of Hurricane Dean. So far, I haven’t been watching the weather channel, because they seem to be on a scare campaign worse than the U.S. They keep making references to “Katrina” and Dean, as well as projecting several worst case scenarios. When posted yesterday, I didn’t have any fear in my system, until I saw that should the storm fall and grow into a category 5, then we’d be in BIG trouble. Category 5 storms eat homes and people for breakfast. Yesterda, the Prime Minister issued a nationwide message, noting that power would be shut off in the entire Ilsand by 10 a.m (soon!) and then water would be cut off soon after. So i’m here, hoping for the best, but that’s probably all wishful thinking. We work on a system of phone credit here in Jamaica, and I checked my balance today. In the usual message that pops up on screen, which has the balance of my account, they also have a message. “Prepare for Hurricane Dean and move to higher ground

if necessary.”

You know a storm is bad when the phone company starts wishing you well. My mother informs me the hurricane is moving south, meaning the eye is probably not going to pass over the island. Its still going to be bad, she says, and I think about when the Eye of a hurricane passes over and island. Its like the anteater pushing his snout into a terminte colony.

I made a lot of phone calls last night, and I’m waiting for the power to go out. I wanted a hug yesterday but now I don’t know…I think I need something else, something I can’t have: Security.

See you after the storm.

Posted August 19, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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