Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year, what can I say? Been a long time and I see from my stats that some folks are still carrying a torch, still hoping that I might find my way back to the keyboard and here I am. Much has happened in the last few months and part of why I haven't posted is I've felt overwhelmed by how much stuff I had to write about. Well, one step at a time. I don't know if I'll "catch-up", but I will try to pick back up on posting something. Here's the latest African Mask drawing I'm working on. It's nearly completed and I hope to finish it off before the ball drops tomorrow night and we roll into 2008.

This is from the Kra in Liberia, a small (4 inches) brass lost-wax casting.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Walter Gets Cred and More

Happy Walter has gone legit with an official IMDB listing. That gives me my second acting credit, may have to get a head shot and pay the money to post it there. IMDB is the standard and the first place people go to research films and filmmakers. Folks know you're "for real" if they find your work listed there, so this will only help Zoje in her efforts to get HW screened else where.

Speaking of which, the other big HW news is the film has also been accepted into the The Directors Chair Film Festival (Oct. 4-7) at Staten Island, NY. Apparently they screen the festival selections on Staten Island Community Television, so for those in that part of the world you wouldn't even have to venture out of your house to attend the festival. Not sure if I'll be able to attend, but I will try and hit it if possible.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

July hiking report

Thought I should get the July hiking report in before August was over. Summer is a miserable time for hiking. At least I think so. I'd much rather hike in 28 degrees F (and have) then 88 and above. Nonetheless, the goal taunts me, so heat and humidity be damned. Through the sweat and the bugs I stomped down 50 miles in July bringing my year-to-date total is know 332. I'm still 18 miles under 350 miles, or the average of 50 miles per month. So far August has been much better, I've managed to get off my butt and lay more miles down, so I'll eat some of that deficient up and get back on track. Will I make the goal of 600 miles for 2007? Stay tuned.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Natural State

Recently got a call to do some carving on a theatrical stage set production for a show called "The Gypsy". It's been two years since I've done any work for the scene shop. Two years since I've done any sculpting of any kind. Two years too long. I got lucky in that the job was fairly small and simple, something good to warm up on and get the blood flowing. The job was to carve in styrofoam (the medium of choice in the stage production trade) a column of stylized leaves held together by ties of fabric. The column is eighteen inches wide and ran around a large portal about 18 feet high by 30 wide. The first day of work I was a little nervous that I'd forgotten how to shape the foam, but in no time I knew that the hands didn't forget and the foam started to fly. I had not realized how much I've been missing sculpting and working hard and physically with my hands until I was doing it again. My day job is mostly sitting at a computer, so to crouch and sweat and make art in the muggy heat was a joy.

By the end of the first night, I was working two-handed, a blade in each hand, blurry samurai dreams in the back of my mind and a deep sense of satisfaction rolling through neglected parts of my soul. Sculpting and art-making is a natural state for me. Too often I forget this as my life is consumed by job and house duties. Having said that though, I don't feel the urge to try and make a living from my art as I once did. I found it is a tricky balance between commerce and art; the demands to sell my creative efforts often smothered the good feeling of just making stuff. For now, I'm glad to have an outlet for my creative urges. In the future, when life is soft and grey and slow, I need to remember my natural state and pick-up the pen or knife and get down and create.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Happy Does NYC

Happy Walter had it's second public screening at the Two Boots Pioneer in Greenwich Village in the fair city of New York. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but Zoje Stage, the fearless writer/director of HW was on hand and recounts the experience on her own blog. It sounds like it was a fine time and congrats to Zoje for the getting some attention from a production company. I am still working on getting a screening here in Virginia and will post with the news ASAP.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On the Rot

Just added a link in my film stuff section for Karma Critic a web site started by disgruntled former On the Lot contestants. One of them wrote an open letter to AICN detailing the problems that contestants had with the corporate powers-that-be and decided to create something real, hence Karma Critic. The only thing that surprises me about this whole drama is the fact that Spielberg allowed himself to be associated with such a disingenuous and artificial "competition" served up as entertainment. Apparently, as the season rolled on and the ratings plummeted FOX decided to slash the budget, so the filmmaker's presented films made before the show was ever produced. Now I have no problem with that, as long as they were honest about what was going on and not imply that the filmmakers were still being given tasks that they were supposedly responding to. Frankly, one of the few positive things that could come from this mess is the producer getting booted Off the Lot.

Thanks' to Scott Eggleston's blog Film Flap for the great post that brought his thing to my attention.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

June hiking report

June was a good month for hiking, offering up some wonderfully cooler, spring-like days that made it easy to get a few miles down. I tacked on another 52 miles to my total, bringing my year-to-date up to 282, just 18 shy of the 300 mark where I should have been for the end of June. We are halfway through the year already. It'll be fall before you know it.

Get out and hike.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Look what I found...

That's right, it's return of "Dead Thing on the Beach". Check it out:

Does anyone know what kind of fish this is? I think he has a cool profile:

He/she was around one foot long. Oddly, the seagulls stayed away from it.


PS-- Hello Lucy!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

May Hiking Report

I'm little embarrassed to be posting my May Hiking Report on June 17th, but sometimes that's just the way it goes. May was a good hiking month for me, reaching the 64 mile mark, my best single month total so far in 2007. That helped dig me out of the hole a far bit, but I'm still 20 miles off the average (230 ytd and I should have been at 250 by the end of May). June's looking very good and I should eat up more of that deficit.


Monday, May 28, 2007


I recently found this cool site to upload video clips called "VIMEO". It's slightly different from YouTube in that the posted clips have to be original, no old TV shows or clips from Hollywood films. VIMEO clips lean more towards the "Artsy-fartsy" end of the scale which is fine by me. So far I have posted "ZANK" and the trailer for "Happy Walter" and "ZANK" has really taken off with 427 "viewings" (the quotes are because I don't know what constitutes a viewing, clicking on the page? clicking the play button? does the video have to run until the end?) in the first two weeks. Compared to YouTube, where "ZANK" was uploaded four months ago and has only been "viewed" 127 times. I'm afraid the HW trailer hasn't caught on much yet with the either site with only 3 viewings on VIMEO and 9 on YouTube so far. Check out the clips:

ZANK from Weaverwerx on Vimeo

"Happy Walter" trailer from Weaverwerx on Vimeo


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Off the Lot

Just watched the first episode of "On the Lot", the new "reality TV show" for filmmakers from Spielberg and Burnett and I give it a thumbs down. Too frantic, too many contestants and too closely modeled after The Apprentice for my taste. They never stay on any one person long enough to allow the audience to get to know them, so when the ax starts swinging who cares? There may be an assumption that the audience has done their homework by reading up on all the contestants on the web site before hand, something I did not do. The three judges, Gary Marshall, Carrie Fisher and Brett Radner are charmless and forgettable and I got the feeling that their most honest and entertaining comments were cut. Comparisons to "Project Greenlight" are inevitable, and from my perspective PGL at least felt sincere and authenicate, where Lot just seems like the typical hyped-up Hollywood horseshit. I watched this hoping to feel inspired or maybe learn something and actually I guess did learn something. I need to turn off the TV and work on my own films.



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Walter to screen in the city that never sleeps...

Recently got word from Zoje that "Happy Walter" will be screening NYC in June. For those who haven't been reading along up till now, "Happy Walter" is Zoje Stage's feature length mocumentary about a famous, fictional artist named Happy Walter. I played the lead. Here's more information on the screening from the last Masterbuilder Films newsletter.


My feature film HAPPY WALTER will be screening at the
Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York City - Monday,
June 25 @ 7pm!!!

This is my first ever theatrical booking (as opposed
to a fest or screening series) and as such I need to
grow my own audience. PLEASE COME OUT and see the
film - it promises to be a fun time!

Please forward this email to everyone you know, and
please ask them to forward it to everyone they know -
especially if they are in NYC and/or love independent
film! If you have a website or blog - or know anyone
who has a website or blog - please post there as well.

The Pioneer Theater strongly prefers that people buy
their tickets ahead of time:
In fact, if 94 people buy tickets within the next week
I will be guaranteed a second showing of the film!


HAPPY WALTER (79 minutes): The daughter of an
eccentric Andy Warhol-meets-Homer Simpson artist tries
to reconnect with her wayward father in this
mockumentary about art, fame, and dysfunctional

For more info:


She has also cut a trailer for the film that I have posted over on Vimeo and, of course, on YouTube, check it out:

Spread word and let's try and fill all those seats.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

April Hiking Report

Found this fish last week on the beach and had to make a photo of it because it looked so much like a cartoon to me at the time. I see lots of dead things on the beach throughout the year, lately more birds then fish. This fish was picked clean by the seagulls and crabs. The eyes always go first.

April was a decent month for hiking. First time this year that I managed to hit my monthly quota of 50 miles to bring my YTD up to 166, still 34 miles shy of where I should be. High point of the hiking month was getting some time with my old hiking buddy Dave C. on the shady trails of First Landing (or as we locals refer to it as "Sea Shore") State Park. Dave lives in N.C. now, so our out tings are much less frequent then in the "old days' when we were neighbors. He's a good man to have on the trail as he usually packs lots of snacks.

I did most of my miles in April on the beach by the house here along the Chesapeake Bay and I've noticed lately that balconies of the million dollar water front homes are generally empty. Many of these places are second or third "homes", so are probably unoccupied 99% of the time, but a lot of them are year round homes. Does TV and the Net win that competition for attention? Do these people have to work hours so long that they never get to appreciate their cool house with the marvelous view? Summer is nearly on us and those balconies will be used for a couple of months, but come September, the deck chairs will be stacked again and the sliding glass door locked until next season.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

I am the Hulk

Found the link to this Superhero Personality Quiz on my buddy Craig Adam's MySpace page and could not resist. Ironically enough, The Hulk was my favorite superhero when I was a kid. Still have a huge pile of Hulk comics in a box in my office that I keep threatening to post on ebay, but never seem to be able to pull the trigger on that. Ah nostalgia. The Hulk actually has a blog, check it out:


Your results:
You are Hulk
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wrestling the slug also known as the March Hiking Report

Alas poor Urick. Yes, we found a large, dead bird on the beach. At first we thought it was an Osprey, since there is a population of them nearby in First Landing State Park, but checking the bird book revealed that it is indeed a Marsh Hawk. Or so I think, my wife believes it's a Red Tailed Hawk. Either way, it was a sad and fascinating find. Also strange in that there was no obvious evidence of foul play. Looks like the old boy (or girl) just cacked in mid-flight.

So, what does all that have to do with slugs or the Hiking Report? Nothing or then he was found on a beach hike. The numbers stack up like this 37/116. I hiked 37 miles in March, which means I have a grand total for the year of 116 miles, so I am now 34 miles behind the average. I got some work to do. That's where the wrestling the slug part comes in. See, I haven't felt much like hiking lately. Been more prone to sit on my ever expanding ass and catch up on Battlestar Galactica (the geek confession). The further in the hole I get, the harder it is to think I'll be able to dig out. But it is far too early to throw in the towel. And April is the perfect month to do some catching up before the brutal heat and humidity of summer. Next month, big numbers! No really, I promise.


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Happy Walter Premiere

Here's where it went down, the first public screening of "Happy Walter" anywhere on planet Earth. Whee-Haw! The Melwood Screening Room is located in a suitably funky and urban part of town, down a street that is more pothole than asphalt. Guess they put all the money into the football stadium. The theater itself has a laidback, academic feeling to it and when we arrived the spacious lobby was packed with folks woofing down the free eats and drinks (as in beer and wine). Zoje and her sister Dev were already there with a group of friends and Pittsburgh-based cast members from HW. A woman I have never seen before walked up to me and said, "Hi, I believe I'm your ex-wife.". This was Vivienne Shaffer, who portrays "Laura Kimball", Happy Walter's first wife and mother of Jr. (Zoje's part). Viv's real husband Frank Carr was there too, also a cast member, he got the plum role of Dave Wisniewski, Happy's childhood friend. I say plum as that character got some of the biggests laughs. Viv and Frank's son, Woody, was there too and when he say me he threw up his hands and yelled, "Happy"! Fun stuff. It was wonderful to finally get to meet some of the other cast members and talk about the film. More and more people poured into the lobby and I was glad to know that the first showing of HW would be for a good size audience of mostly strangers, so for good or for ill we would be able to honestly gauge how it would play. The time finally came to get in the theater, which was a decent size room with good seats and an overall homey feel. It reminded me of some of the boutique style movie theaters I've seen in Europe. The lights went down and the opening short film, "The Loves of S.D. Hawkingson." (director Marc Roman Czornij), lit up the screen. It was a good appetizer before the main course as it featured some quirky humor and art was a major plot element, a good compliment to HW. There was a brief Q&A with the director after the short, then on to the main course, "Happy Walter".

What can I say? From the title shot of Happy rolling some toilet paper into the camera accompanied by Joanthan Young's bouncy, hobo guitar soundtrack to the end credits, "Happy Walter" delivered the goods. The audience laughed in the right places and genuinely seemed to be engaged by the story. Overall, I was pleased at how well acted the piece was, Viv and Frank both did a wonderful job, particularly Viv as her character displays a wide range of emotions, which Viv convincingly pulled off. Besides being my first time on the big screen, actually that's not true as I had a very small part in "Cold Readings", a film that played at the Virginia Film Festival, so to be accurate, the first time with a speaking role on the big screen, it was also my wife Janet's. She plays, "Tatiana Chichikova", an art collector and dealer and she made fine work of the cerebral and spacey dialogue, threatening my role as the "family ham". And what of my performance? I'll leave it to others to judge, but I will say that I am proud of the work I did and it makes me want to do more acting. Look out world! I did find it difficult to watch myself at times and it makes me understand now when I've heard actors say that they don't watch their own films. What winds up on the screen is quite different from the experience of creating that moment on set. The illusion on the screen is both a reminder of that moment, but also, for me seems to lessen the purity of my own memory. The two illusions collide in a weird way , and I felt caught between the two. I got to say that I feel real damn lucky that Zoje gave me this shot, trusted me with such a big role and gave me such useful direction. Where I see other folks try, she has succeed and my hat is off to her. Well done my friend.

So what's next? I hear that HW is being submitted to film festivals and Zoje is working on getting it screened in Rochester, where most of the cast lives. Somewhere down the line, I hope the DVD is available for folks to buy and I'll certainly be posting that news if/when it happens.

And for me, well I've recently found an acting school in my town and I think it's time to get more serious about this acting thing. I would love to do a Sci-Fi or Horror flick, so you never know.

Stay tuned.


Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm Big in Pittsburgh...

In anticipation of the premiere screening of "Happy Walter" this coming Tuesday (March 13, 8pm), there is a friendly article in The Pittsburgh City Paper. Read Article. Is this the beginning of fame and fortune? Shall I quit my day job? Nahhhh, but it's a real hoot to be part of the buzz and it should help with turning more folks out that night. One minor correction to the story, Bill O'Driscoll refers to Zoje's character as "Happy Walter IV", actually she portrays "Happy Walter Jr.".


Sunday, March 04, 2007

February Hiking Report

30 miles last month, so the year-to-date total is now 79 miles. Some of those miles where gathered in while I was back in Ireland for a visit. Here's a photo of my friend Alan and I on the rocky hill above the Cahir Valley. It was a blustery Sunday afternoon and we were hunting for an ancient Celtic tomb that we had found before and wanted to show to our friends. Heavy grey rain clouds moved in from the west and we thought for sure that we'd get rained on, but time-after-time the sheets of rain moved off down the valley and headed out into Galway Bay leaving happy and dry-ish. It's hard work moving over that broken ground. Gaps between the Burren limestone hunger for your booted foot and I could not help but imagine the drama of snapping my ankle if I miscalculated a step. Thankfully, none of us fell to such a fate and we located the tomb and made our way back off the hilltop and headed back to Ballyvaughan to warm up and have a hot whiskey.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

January Hiking Report

Yes, you read that correctly, this is my report of my JANUARY 2007 hiking activities. Figured I better get it in before February is gone. My mileage goal for the year is 600 miles, the same as last year. I've added the additional goal to get out in the woods more, however as I find that too many of my miles come from the old, easy routes, primarily the beach outside my front door. Last month I managed to pound out 49 miles, just one mile shy of the fifty mile average I need to stay on track, so not a bad start. February is shaping up to be a slack month, though I did get a few soggy miles down in Ireland, more soon on that.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Happy Walter" Coming Soon to a Theater Probably No Where Near You

"Happy Walter" is headed for a big screen premiere in Pittsburgh, Pa. of all places. Zoje Stage, the writer/director/actor/producer/editor/etc of "Happy Walter" has a strong connection to the town and has shown work before through the Film Kitchen organization. I lifted this from the Master Builder newsletter:

"The main news I have to report is that my
feature-length mockumentary HAPPY WALTER will be
screening at Film Kitchen (Pittsburgh, PA) on March
13. Reception with free food & beer at 7pm, followed
by the movie at 8pm -- all at the Melwood Screening
in Oakland. "

My wife, who also has a small acting role in the film, and myself will be making the drive up that day to attend the world premiere. I'm really excited to see the final cut, I've only seen a few bits and pieces and I'm also looking forward to visiting Pittsburgh for the first time. We'll only be staying the one night unfortunately, but I have my sight-seeing priorities and plan on paying a visit to the Monroeville Mall. Now I'm not a mall guy, in fact go out of my way to avoid those places, but Monroeville Mall has history as it was the shooting location for the original "Dawn of the Dead". As a teenager, my friends and I would catch DotD whenever it played at the midnight movies on the weekend. You see this was back in the pre-video days where if you wanted to see a particular film, you had to either catch in the theaters or on TV were it was heavily edited and if Dawn of the Dead ever was shown on TV back then, it would have been about 12 minutes long. I'm sure there's lots of great stuff to see in Pittsburgh, but I'll be checking it out after I go to the mall.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Drawn Into It

This drawing was inspired by a small, wooden carving I saw recently at a show of Mexican art at the Peninsula Fine Art Center in Newport News. The piece looked like it had been assembled from found pieces of wood; a bust of Jesus, a fragment from some smashed alter piece (who knows, maybe damaged in an earthquake?), framed by golden wooden boards decorated with rough-hew stone inlay. The piece is small, just a foot high, an intimate scale that lures the viewer close so they can smell the dust and see the brush hairs frozen in the thick oil paint. I wish I had made that piece. If a particular work of art strikes that chord in me, energizes the urge to create, then it succeeds for me on a soul level, it is nourishment. I drew this little sketch from memory, so the details aren't exact, in fact I gave myself permission to interpret, to allow the thick lens of my mind warp the image and accept this new thing, a melange of the real and the imagined. I have been trying to get back into the habit of drawing again, of making art of any kind, and the sketch fits the time and space I have now. My wife draws constantly, and I admire her fearlessness to experiment and step out of her comfort zone. She recently started a blog called "Daily Drawing" where she actually is posting a drawing a day. Since the first time I saw her art, I have always felt a connection to the images that she makes. There is a deepness and a mystery there like looking at cave paintings by candlelight while listening to a distant, storm cloud opera crashing and booming on the edge of the night. It too is nourishment...


Sunday, January 14, 2007

2006 Hiking Report

Alright, so I couldn't wait to share the news that I hit my goal, so this entry is a tad anti-climatic. But nonetheless here are some year end stats for 2006:

Goal: 600 miles

Final total miles: 605 miles

Month with fewest miles: August (19 miles)

Month with the most miles: Tie between November and December (77 miles each) The Big Push!

Longest individual hike: February 24, in Rochester, NY hiked down the Genesee River past R.I.T. and back to our apartment downtown, 15 miles.

So there you are.

My 2007 goal will remain at 600 miles with the only twist being that I'm going to get into the woods and mountains more often and take some weekend trips out of the city. Virginia has lots of great hiking, unfortunately it's all three hours or more away from where I live on the coast.

It's a beautiful, unusually warm and sunny day today, so if you'll excuse me, time to lace up the boots.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ZANK on Youtube

It's time to put ZANK out to pasture. For those not familiar, ZANK is a short, animated film that I did a few years back for Richmond, Va's Flicker Festival event "Attack of the 50 ft Reels". It was originally shot as an in-camera edit on super8 movie film. The version here has been tightened up a wee bit editing-wise and souped up with an original soundtrack by my good friend Neil Bruce. I entered ZANK in a few film festivals (mostly rejected), but was programmed in The Emerging Filmmakers Series at The Little Theaters in Rochester, NY where it was shown on the big screen. ZANK is a fun little piece for me, but it's time to move on to new things. Enjoy.