City of Roses
*********Saturday, November 15, 2003*********
Exhuming Rand McNally
I do declare...I'm as happy as a wound-up eight-day egg timer. A week from today I'm headin' out again on another cross-country escapade to good ol' Cape Giradeau, Missouri! You remember when I talked about this good ol' place, right? So for just a week Captain Archipalego is on vacation here in the next best place to Margheritaville, but fear not, as I'll be coming back with a barage of new footage, live from the backseat of the green Dodge mini-van within the next seven days, and keep an eye out...a suprise guest feature may pop in unexpectedly to greet you live from my journal from the co-pilot's chair. Who said you can't have guest appearences in a journal? Everyone has a story to tell, this is my biography, and surely there are many who love me who have something to say also. I like to think of this journal as an Inside The Actor's Studio meets Decameron. Encouraging us all that we are all our own celebrity, for all those out there who vicariously live like James Lipton, getting to imagine having conversations with the Hollywood favorites, that we are all made of stars and the world is a stage with life the theatre. So come on down and drop me a line, throw a rose on the stage, boo, whatever you want. It's all fair game!
Time and time again I have re-designed my intuition and pictured myself as a celebrity. As far back as I can remember, as young as six, I loved drawing comics all over padded paper, inspired by old Sega Genesis videogames I used to play: Phantasy Star II, Turrican, Sonic the Hedgehog, James Pond, games like that! I was addicted to videogames back then, and still get around to playing the Sony Playstation every once in a while with my mom's best friends' son Ryan (I'll tell you more about him and these comics in future journal entries!). And after writing a bunch of comics I still keep and many goofy short-stories throughout my rough elementary school years, I developed a deep love for making home movies. In fact, I have nine Sony 8 MP Standard Grade cassettes full of my own original material.
Let me talk to you about one particular show I made, which is also my favorite. Back when I was a freshman at Denver Academy, a year before I made my poetic debut, I had Mr. Ernewein (my hero) as a teacher, but it wsn't in English, it was in algebra. We did one particular project on measuring width and height, and built model staircases from different materials in determining height and width to make them sturdy and stable. I created mine from styrofoam blocks, rainbow popsicle sticks, metal hinges and crazy super glue. I was playing around with this board game called Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel, playing with the figurines like action figures, and then thought looking at the staircase in its completed state: "Hey, this would make the perfect prop for a home movie action series!". (picture of game box can be found below)
This day was March 21, 1999. I took some figurines from the box, two of them being the blue ninja and commander on the box, and gave them new names. I thought of a name for this new show, then it came to my mind: "Justice Offbeats". It was a squad of four warriors: Yocemento the blue ninja, who lost one of his arms in a battle against the Dark Legion, Phat Fatty, the red commando with a playful attitude and his plasma cannon, Adrenaline Man and his grave character, and The Forgotten Soldier, who is often taken for granted because of his social anxiety yet a wise soldier. Then, I took one of the evil Nepharites and, thinking of Austin Powers, named him Immoral Man (God, I'm such a dork, LOL!)
Then I gathered up all his Nepharite troops and monsters, and made them Immoral Man's henchmen, then took two spare styrofoam blocks, drew them faces and costumes, placed rainbow popsicle sticks on them as arms and ski-legs, and made them his bodyguards Styrofoam Sam and Styrofoam Cedrick. The plot of this fabulous pilot: the Justice Offbeats are rebelling against the Evil Empire before the flag is lowered and Immoral Man becomes emperor to bring wrath upon the citizens of Megalopoville. So the action is on! Only I don't believe in violence so I kept it tame and simply made it like some kind of Mel Brooks comedy, spoofing other action series like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and anime.
I got addicted to movie-making and kept creating new characters. In the second episode, I created my own labyrinth called Craytown, an amusement park ran by a Atchafalaya cajun native whose DNA was altered from leeches and became Mandrill, wearing his Lazarus Cape and the Crown of Cyrus, who challenges the heroes into escaping the labyrinth alive. In the third, Logan Log was created, an Aussie barker who attempts to ambush them in the Great Beyond which I filmed down in the greenway next to my house, and introduced Yojimbo, a tough-talking soldier presumed lost in combat but escaped alive who assists them and introduces them to the Tsunami Squad, a trio of renegade factions rebelling against the Evil Empire. Then I made Frigid Fred, an Irish gnome who was crygonically frozen in a snow globe and can create snow, Tinkertoy Troy, Mr. Mafia, Oberuce (the master of time and space, used an N. Tropy action figure) Kumo Lissente, Professor and Mini Harmful, and many other characters to bring balance to the stories.
Eventually, I even began to make episodes that were an hour long, and got my cousins, siblings, and neighbors to do voices for the characters. When I went out to see my cousins in Romeoville, Illinois that summer, my cousins Nick and Zackery had heard about my show and were begging to make a movie with me. So I said, "Let me look through your toy box!" and with all my characters present and my trusty camcorder, Zackery had a treasure trove of characters. Then I decided "Hey, let's create a new clan, and let's say desperately, Immoral Man is trying to trick them into being his allies and crushing the Justice Offbeats." There, The Lilans were born, with the leader being Burkoko, a man with mountain sheep horns coming out of his head riding his gallant white sterling. So, mixing all these new characters, comedy, and adventure, it became a tradition we watch every summer together! That was also the summer I revolutionized the usage of "snickerpuss", LOL! Later, I even begged Mr. Ernewein to become a character in an episode, and then, I made him the mayor of Megalopoville, Philippe McPherson, who is absent-minded in his job but loyal to the services of the good side in stopping a hunter named Marmot. That was absolutely hilarious! I got a friend of mine from Denver Academy named Weston Wells to provide his voice for Marmot.
So, as you can see, I am both a geek and a movie-lover! I even made a bunch of other small skits, like Billy the Boxelder, the Fattissues, HCN, Miniature Marvels: The Adventures of Colonel J. Onslaught, There's One In Every Family, and much more. There will be more on this another time, and in fact, I am considering making another episode of the Justice Offbeats in the very near future. Maybe eventually I can leak the tapes mainstream and you can behold the incredible epics...kind of.
But most recently, my latest film project has been live this whole time, filmed from my eyes. Getting to see me through my poetry and journal and my many misadventures take place, exhuming Rand McNally and following him on a wild goose chase that never ends across the heart of the heartland. Solubility is not necessary every moment of the way, as nonsense is beauty all by itself and some adventures truly just are for amusement. Projecting straight from my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind, my subconscious, and featuring cameos from my family, my relatives, my friends, and guests like Clarence the farmer and Texaco Star-Mart check-out employees, you can see everything I see through sepia-tone, sans alka-seltzer precience and Benadryl head trips. Only one is worthy of being praised on these here adventures.....Ricola.........Ricola! Hey, where's my Swiss yodeling horn, how else can I pay homage? Perhaps wear a skirt?
Yep, I have no digital camera and am an amateur at getting pictures on the Internet from my scanner, but once this young grasshopper masters the art of photography publication, I'll add a complementary thread featuring photos from the road. Until then, try to picture my intense imagery and then run the images through your mind like triptychs from top to bottom really fast as if it was a negative film of a cartoon, or looking through a Fisher Price 3D View-Master, with each moment a whole different Reel Card you could slip right in. God Bless William Gruber, he's a true genius. Among all those children's classics out there, the View-Master will never grow obsolete as the films just keep coming! Crreeaaaakkkk...TWANG!!! Slide 1: Oh, lookey, there's me with a pecan log from Stuckeys! Crrreeeaaaakkkkkk...TWANG!!! Slide 2: Hehehe, check out this ladybug that landed on my wrist, bless that good luck! Here, you take it from here!
Well, during the Thanksgiving holiday, I'll keep dotting the i's and lower-case j's and crossing the t's and you can count on a lot more heartland songs comin' your way! As for now, I could use a sitz bath! Y'all take care now, time to chase down Rand McNally across the Mother Road!
This Just In: Rand McNally was spotted talkin' with John Deere. Oh no, you ain't gettin' away that easy, no sir!
Just keepin' it Reel, y'all!
I don't need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sun set and I perceive
[This message has been edited by Mistletoe Angel (11-16-2003 02:44 AM).]