Saturday, September 30, 2006


So it seems Dr. Uwe Boll, the esteemed director of HOUSE OF THE DEAD, BLOODRAYNE and ALONE IN THE DARK, has had enough. After his films were savaged by internet critics, he wants some payback, so he's challenged five of his harshest critics to meet him in a Vancouver B.C. boxing ring while he's directing his latest opus, POSTAL. Apparently Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery top Uwe's wishlist, but he's also listed a whole bunch of internet critics (all with hilarious pseudonyms) to meet him in the ring.

How punching out his critics will change the tenor of his reviews is hard to understand, but maybe it's all about revenge. And a little idiotic publicity. And that's all I'm saying, since I'm currently in Vancouver and wanna keep my teeth. Besides, I don't have a dog in this hunt, having never been subjected to one of Doc Boll's masterpieces. (But I have a feeling the bouts would almost certainly be more interesting than any of his cinematic endeavors... hey, who's at the door? No, Uwe, NOOOOOO --)

10/1 UPDATE: I should have more thoroughly googled Mr. Boll's bout(s), the fights happened last week. Boll knocked out all four of his critical opponents in B.C., and a fifth in Spain sometime in September. Video of the excitement is, of course, available on YouTube...

The moral of this story: never piss off a German filmmaker. EVER.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm writing this from sunny Vancouver B.C., where I'm spending a few days getting my next episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (season three, ep 14 if you're counting) into shape for shooting next week. As long as I've been doing this, I never cease to be amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of all the people involved in this endeavor. Say something as insane as "we may need an iron lung for this scene" and three minutes later there are pictures and prices on all the rental iron lungs available in Vancouver, along with suggestions on how to alter it so it fits the BG universe. (Do we actually need an iron lung for a scene? Wait and see...) The nuts and bolts of making all this come together is really something to see, a miracle of planning, logistics and the sweat and creativity of hundreds of incredibly talented people...

You know, I have a really cool job...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Name Is Bruce - In Theaters Everywhere!

As has been reported, it looks like MY NAME IS BRUCE, starring the amazing Mr. Bruce Campbell, will be getting a significant theatrical release. Details are still being worked out, but the "loving it" factor is apparently high among those with whom the decision lies. More from your intrepid reporter as it develops...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This Exciting Life

I wish I could whip up some exciting new factoid to that would rivet readers to their chairs, but the truth is, when you're working on multiple deadlines, you're basically... working. When I was first starting out (long before I was making an actual living at this racket), I ran into any number of people who also wanted to be writers, but who seemed to spend a lot of time doing anything BUT writing. They probably had a lot more fun than stick-in-the-mud Mark, who usually spent his weekends polishing up a script for some fly-by-night producer or working on a spec. And, by the way, that's absolutely fine, there's nothing wrong with having fun. But most of these guys weren't really writers...

I attended a large rally for the Writer's Guild Of America last week, over a thousand strong, and the first thing you notice is most truly working writers have little in the way of a tan. Because to get things written, you generally have to sit down and write them. Usually inside a room, since it's tough to see a computer screen on the beach in Maui. (Though I'm sure it's possible, and I'm willing to try!) I have found no magic formula or secret trick to make any of this easier; it's all about face time in front of a computer, working out the story, outlining, figuring out the theme, playing with the language, mulling what makes one line interesting while another is less so, trying to understand the characters... it's about DOING it.

I'm fascinated by the idea of writing partners, because there must be times when stuff really DOES get written without you. And I've actually tried co-writing a few times, sometimes because I wanted to try a new way of working, sometimes because the project was assigned that way. But I've discovered over time that I'm a pretty selfish bastard; the first draft of any project is the only time I get to play in that particular world, and I'd rather not share that with anyone else.

So that's what's been going on in my little corner of Heaven the last week or so... I'm just tryin' to get it down on paper...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Battlestar And Entertainment Weekly

The current issue of ET features a nice cover article on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and some info on the upcoming season. There's a certain temporal disconnect for yours truly, since we started working on season three way back in November 2005, and I am currently working on the outline for the season three finale. Most shows aren't quite this far ahead; during my three years on SMALLVILLE, we were usually working seven or episodes ahead of whatever was airing. On BG, it's a little strange to remember/realize that audiences haven't seen anything from season three yet, while the cast and crew are beginning to eye a pencil-thin light at the end of a long, creatively rewarding tunnel...

BTW, please note that the show has moved to 9:00 PM on Friday, on the Sci-Fi channel. Our first show, on October 6, is a meaty two-hour epic that deals with the catastrophic Cylon occupation of New Caprica. For those who need to catch up on the plot machinations, Sci-Fi's put together a one-hour compilation/clip show that will painlessly bring you up to speed, check the Sci-Fi website for times...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Name Is Bruce Update

I haven't forgotten my blogging duties, but I am currently plowing through a multitude of drop-dead deadlines so free time is at a minimum. However, I've had a chance to review some scenes from the upcoming Bruce Campbell epic MY NAME IS BRUCE, and I am pleased to report that all is well. Bruce is in top form, and the movie just plain looks great. Kudos to director of photography Kurt Rauf for doing a fine job with some delicate night photography, and in capturing some truly majestic moments, as when Bruce plays "Captain Stryker" in our film-within-a-film, CAVEALIEN.

So prepare yourselves, friends. We've got your monsters, your sleazy movie agents, your Romanian actresses who can barely speak English, and we've got Bruce Campbell as "Bruce Campbell", perhaps the least stalwart "stalwart hero" in the history of cinema. Still no word on a firm release date, but I will do my darnedest to keep you posted.

Meanwhile, here's your MNIB quote for the day: "Come on baby, let's swap some spit."

Friday, September 15, 2006

Robert Gordon = Great Singer

Robert Gordon was pegged as being part of the rockabilly revival in the late '70's/ early '80's, along with bands like The Stray Cats, but he has continued to toil in the fields of classic American rock ever since. Blessed with a powerful baritone and wonderful taste in music, his four studio albums (originally on RCA) are all available and definitely worth checking out. Two of those albums feature the late, great Link Wray on guitar, and those are some snarling slabs o' wax. Bear Family in Germany has released a couple of stuffed-to-the-digital-edges comps collecting almost all the RCA tracks + extras, as well as finally putting out Gordon's last, uncompleted RCA effort, which went unreleased for 25 years.

Gordon's most recent studio effort, "Satisfied Mind", was released in 2005 and it's a return to form, well worth seeking out. Perhaps more interesting is a CD/DVD set featuring a live show from 2005, where Gordon is accompanied by longtime guitar hero-buddy Chris Spedding. If you want to sample Mr. G without blowing any dough, check out his website ( which offers a bunch of live downloads, tour info and other cool stuff...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Battlestar Galactica - Season Three

Now that the current issue of Rolling Stone has proclaimed BG the best show on television, maybe it's time to talk about what you WON'T be seeing in season three (starting Oct. 6 on the Sci-Fi Channel, Friday night at 10:00 PM, big two hour premiere episode, be there!)

1): All Musical episode. Sorry, not this season, though we considered changing the opening theme from the evocative drumming to Adama singing REM's "Can't Get There From Here."

2): Black and white episode. Actually, I get a lot of those, since I haven't upgraded my television since 1966...

3): It's A Wonderful Life episode. What would Galactica be like if Starbuck WAS a man? Not this season, sorry...

4): Galactica "puts on a show." Dang it, Deadwood beat us to it...

5): Comedy relief sidekick. Pauly Shore's definitely, DEFINITELY available, but we figure the show's already funny enough.

Even though I can hear the collective groan of disappointment, I think people are going to be intrigued with what we HAVE come up with... check it out!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Arrogance And Don Dixon

Despite the title of this post, it's not a tirade against Don Dixon, one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters. In fact, "Arrogance" was the name of one of Don's earlier bands, a popular outfit in North Carolina back in the 70's and early 80's that recorded a couple of major label LPs, a couple other not-so-major label goodies, then crumbled as members went on to other things. Dixon went on to produce bands ranging from R.E.M. to the Smithereens, but his greatest work can be found on his solo albums. His first, "Most of the Girls Like To Dance", spawned a radio hit in "Praying Mantis", but all of his work is worth seeking out. Genre-wise, we're talking "gritty guitar pop"...

Don married singer Marti Jones (who deserves a post of her own, but is also highly highly HIGHLY recommended) and since that glorious day they've been collaborating off and on. I caught Don and Marti on tour at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano back in 1991, and the show ranks up there with Springsteen in '78 (twice) and Costello in '79 as one of my favorite concert experiences. (Marti's live CD from that era, "Live At Spirit Square", is still available and remains a must have in any music lover's collection...)

Anyhow, Don has a plethora of new tunes available for the devoted. First up is his latest studio album, "The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room." A song cycle revolving around "rooms", at first blush you might detect a whiff of pretension, but trust me, but this is a wonderfully melodic, evocative work. It's available on Amazon, and you should buy it "new" so Don gets a few pennies. "Combustible" made it's digital debut at efolkmusic. com, where you can download the CD cheap, and also find a number of other unusual/previously unreleased tracks from both Don and Marti. I highly recommend the live version of "Praying Mantis" from Don's compilation CD "Notepad #38", a rave-up, horn-sectioned bit of high energy madness. (And when do we get the ENTIRE concert, please?) Finally, Arrogance-the-band reformed a couple of years ago for a few shows, one of which has been put up for sale at It's more high energy fun, and definitely worth the downloading fees...

So join the Dixon brigade! He's got a place over at that lists upcoming concerts, if you get a chance to see him, run, don't walk...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lea Hernandez

Sad news, but we can help. Hope I'm not breaking any blogger etiquette by pulling this verbatim from another site, but somehow I don't think anyone will mind...

FROM NEWSARAMA.COM, written by Gail Simone:

Early this morning, the Texas home of award-winning writer/artist Lea Hernandez, my friend and co-creator of the graphic novel Killer Princesses, caught fire and burned. Half her house is now gone, and the rest is smoke-damaged. In addition, she lost at least six of her family’s beloved pets, two dogs and four cats. If you knew Lea, you’d know how devastating that is.

She’s lost a great deal of her family’s possessions, including irreplaceable art. She doesn’t yet know the full accounting of what’s been lost at this time.

Most know Lea as the brilliant creator of such works as Rumble Girls and Cathedral Child. She drew the Marvel Mangaverse Punisher book, and has drawn for Transmetropolitan, among many other accomplishments. She is also the co-founder and original editor for Girl-A-Matic, one of the most important venues for female-friendly comics created to date.

She’s also my friend, and it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have a career in comics if she hadn’t asked me to write Killer Princesses for her to draw.

And finally, Lea is one of the last great firebrand hellraisers in comics.

Lea has two (wonderful, amazing) special needs children and right now they need a place to stay and some clothes to wear. More than that, they need
some help, and fast, in the form of donations to her paypal account. Lea’s a proud person so I’m going to ask FOR her. This is important, and a great chance to do a wonderful thing for a creator who has consistently enriched this industry we all love so much. Please, take a moment and send WHATEVER YOU CAN to Lea’s paypal account and help make this time a little bit less painful for someone who would do the same for you if the positions were reversed.

If you’re a retailer, I ask that you set up a donations jar. If you’re a creator, I ask you to think of how devastating this would be to your career and donate what you can. If you’re a reader, I’m asking you to take a moment and hit the paypal link. You’ll be doing something heroic and you’ll feel great about it, I promise.

Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor’s computer while wearing her pajamas at:

Donate (PLEASE) to her paypal account at:

Finally, if I understand the story correctly (as told to me by Lea’s good friend and current Girl-a-matic editor), it was Lea’s daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for God’s sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS.

Thank you so much for helping. Really, any amount you can send will make a difference. That’s all I can say.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Gail Simone

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Webisodes

Ten glorious new "webisodes" for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA are being unveiled starting today at the Sci-Fi Channel's website. There is a nice article in today's New York Times about the project, which discusses everything from the genesis of the project to the thorny issues they have raised between NBC/Universal and the Writer's Guild. Perhaps along those lines, the NY Times article left out one of the most important facts, which is that the webisodes were written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle. Who did a heck of a job, and I mean that in the sincere "not-Michael Brownie" way...

While watching the webisodes won't be essential to understanding the new season of BATTLESTAR, they are compelling in their own right and do set the stage for some intriguing character revelations in season three. And make no mistake, these are full blown, produced stories, with many from the main GALACTICA cast playing roles. Check 'em out!

Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty

I've been a fan of the English band "Dr. Feelgood" for awhile, and EMI UK just did us a big favor by releasing a 2 CD "Collector's Edition" version of their first album, "Down By The Jetty." Originally released in January 1975 in semi-mono, this is a classic slab of bluesy/R & B rock features the late/great Lee Brilleaux on vocals. Dr. Feelgood continues to play to this day, sans Brilleaux, but this is really their stand-out recording. This collector's edition features both the original mono mix and the never-released stereo version, which was rejected at the time for feeling too unbalanced (too much bass on one side, too much everything else on the other) but frankly it sounds fine to me and adds a nice dimensionality to the tunes. There are also multiple bonus tracks, some live, and a nice booklet that discusses the band's history and the recording of the "Jetty" album. Amazon has it!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Best Chuck Norris Movie

LONG WOLF MCQUADE. Some might prefer CODE OF SILENCE, made just after LONE WOLF, and indeed CODE comes a close second. (CODE was originally written for Clint Eastwood, but for some reason he passed.) But LONE WOLF is an early 80's action masterpiece, from the Morricone styled musical riffs to "McQuade's" super-charged truck and Barbara Carrera's incredible, umm, acting. And what a supporting cast... L.Q. Jones, Robert Beltran, Dana Kimmell (from FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3), R.G. Armstrong and of course David Carradine as the evil "Rawley."

Not to digress, but the one section of ENTER THE DRAGON that always left me feeling less than fulfilled was the closing battle between Bruce Lee and the old guy with the replaceable hand. Even with the tiger claw and iron fist gadgets, the old guy wasn't even in Bruce's universe, let alone ball-park. But Carradine actually had some martial arts chops, so the final fisticuffs in Lone Wolf are actually respectable.

Best scene: the bad guys beat the crap outta McQuade then bury him alive, but inside his truck (!). McQuade finds a stray beer, has a gulp, then fires up his truck's supercharger and roars up out of his grave with enough force to run over a bad guy in the process. Sweet.