I’m expecting a call from James Cameron any minute…

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It all started a week ago with me in a red thong. No, not for the uh… re-tooling… of the Magic Mike franchise. I’m talking about the making of a video spoof called “Terminator: Nedisys,” which went live this morning. It started as just a crazy idea to have fun with the new Terminator movie, which comes out Tuesday. But then I had an idea about using it as a new kind of an advertising vehicle for our newspaper by promoting businesses through a funny video people would want to share.

Suddenly, our budget expanded exponentially. Special effects costs alone ballooned to a jaw-dropping $12.98.

Still, I’m happy to say our 6-minute film came in under budget in spite of our extensive shooting schedule of: 1 day.

Plus our generous post-production schedule of: 1 day. Continue reading

How I spent my summer vacation (which was Saturday)

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It’s a WRAP! Principal production for Terminator: Nedisys ended Saturday evening. Keep in mind that when I say “principal production,” we’re talking about an iPod, a selfie-stick and a special effects budget limited to recycling my Dos Equis bottles. Still, it’s not every day you get to ask a street and bar full of people to pretend you’re naked because you’re making a Terminator spoof.

Then again, after walking around in a red thong on the dunes to shoot the opening, this seemed almost blasé. Except without the sunburn. Continue reading

It’s official: The strangest 15 minutes of my life (which is saying something)

WAIT! I promise this will all make sense! At least when you consider the source...

WAIT! I promise this will all make sense! At least when you consider the source…

For anyone who reads this blog regularly, it’s no surprise I’ve had my share of strange days.

But when you go from being on the sand dunes wearing nothing but a red thong, to putting out a car fire after witnessing a head-on collision all in a span of 15 minutes?

Even for me, that’s a day you circle on the strangeness calendar.

For those of you who are just now catching up after “…on the sand dunes wearing nothing but a red thong..,” it’s understandable. To be completely honest, after nearly two days I’m still finding sand in places I’m not even sure my physician knows about.

Many of you probably have questions:

Why was he on the sand dunes in nothing but a red thong?
How is it he makes his living again?
Does his wife know?
Did someone please cut his scene from “Magic Mike XXL?”
Was the accident caused by the glare from his [censored]?

After going through the sequence of events in my mind, there’s really no way to explain it other than just tell you what happened. Continue reading

Hey, snoring is the sign of a seasoned journalist

What may appear as sleeping to the untrained eye is actually the complex routine of a seasoned journalist focused on a Pulitzer … or possibly a Putziler.

Some of you may recognize the photo, which is from my About page. The truth is, every journalist has a routine. For example, I always write my column early in the morning.

The earlier the better.

That’s because, generally speaking, I’m not awake yet. Sure, I may be drinking coffee and typing, but if you were to monitor my brain activity, it would register somewhere between an earthworm and the average American watching The Bachelorette (and sadly, I am an average American). Admittedly, my brain doesn’t open for business until about 10 a.m. By then, I’ve been at the keyboard for three or four hours with no real memory of what I’ve been writing.

I assure my editor this unique quirk is the sign of a seasoned professional. And she assures me the reason we need to keep replacing my keyboard is because, at least once a month, she finds me face down drooling on the return key. That may be true, but I tend to do my best work under pressure. And there’s nothing like the pressure of trying to finish a column before saliva short-circuits your keyboard. Continue reading

Don’t do as I drink (and other lessons my father unintentionally taught me)

My father at age 48, the same age as I am.

My father at age 48, the same age as I am now.

My father and I were never very close. I resented him and his influence in my life for many years; he was abusive and an alcoholic who died 20 years ago today. It wasn’t until I became a father that I began to see him differently and, over time, forgave him enough to recognize the things he’d taught me through his own bad example. Even if only unintentionally, he is partially the reason I’m who I am today — as person, a man and a father.

It’s also because of him that I understand and appreciate the difference between the three.

What follows is something I wrote a couple of years ago for the now defunct blog “Black Box Warnings.” Given that the 20th anniversary of my father’s death falls on Father’s Day this year, I felt the need to share it again — for him as much as for myself… Continue reading

I’ve been busy having my butt kicked this week

Are you sure these aren't for horses?

Are you sure these aren’t for horses, Doc?

Let me just say I feel more than a little guilty about posting next to nothing this week. I’ve let you down and I apologize for that. On the other hand, in another few minutes, I won’t care. That’s because I’ll have taken my next round of pain meds.

After that, the only thing I’ll care about is remembering to blink from time to time so my eye balls don’t dry out.

I suppose I can always moisten them with my drool.

It’s been a tough week here and I’m not shamed to admit I’ve had my butt handed to me. Actually, not really “handed to me” as much as thrown at me like a game of Olympic competition dodgeball. Some of you may remember I was the only kid required to wear a helmet when playing dodgeball in middle school. Continue reading

Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill

image Sunday morning I will awaken to sizzle of bacon and eggs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the shuffle of approaching feet as I lay in bed quietly thinking to myself: My God, my wife is leaving me.

Then I’ll remember: Wait — It’s Father’s Day! It’s a day when we fathers are revered for our wisdom, patience and, in a few rare instances, our neckwear. For one whole day I’ll be the perfect father since my wife will be handling everything for me. She does this to help me relax and enjoy my special day. The problem is, it’s hard to relax when, by handling everything herself, my wife makes it clear I could be replaced by a dishwasher and a few extra power cords. Continue reading

This week, I’m looking for YOUR Nickel’s Worth on my book excerpt

image I’ve been talking about publishing my second book, “Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing: Pearls of writing wisdom from 16 shucking years as a columnist” since September. So guess what? That’s right!

It’s still not done.

However, please accept this week’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing as my doctor’s note. The truth is, I’ve been side-tracked by a lot of life-changing events the last few months, including moving into a new home, the latest season of The Bachelorette and the discovery of DubSmash. I’ve also been spending time visiting an old friend — a murder mystery I wrote 15 years ago.

They say for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Following that train of thought, the flip side of humor is drama. In this case, I’ve been delving into the flip side of my weekly humor column to work on “No Safe Harbor,” which has been collecting dust and patiently waiting for its final revision since I put it aside in 1999 to pursue my career as a columnist. I’ve decided the wait is finally over for this manuscript, which I’m preparing the final draft for in hopes of a mid-August debut. Continue reading

Not being taken seriously has its advantages

image At Siuslaw News and newspapers everywhere, editorial and advertising staff are strange bedfellows. Anyone who’s been to our company pajama parties knows this.

Assumning they can remember anything.

But no matter how much one department may feel it’s more important than the other, both know they rely on each other for survival. Without advertising dollars, you don’t get a paycheck; without editorial content, you are… FOX News.

In which case no one takes you seriously, including advertisers.

And maybe even your mother. Continue reading

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into The Bat Cave

I should preface this movie trailer for my upcoming film, “The Shadow of Batman,” by assuring you there will not be any fighting with Superman.

Nor was Ben Affleck allowed anywhere near a Batsuit.

In fact, the lead role is portrayed by a relative unknown. And by “relative unknown,” I mean a family member unknown to anyone who doesn’t already follow this blog. The following trailer offers a glimpse of how we’ve returned to the more kitty gritty, mysterious caped crusader of the orgininal comic book — when the mere shadow of Batman was enough to send villains scurrying like mice…

For more on this, and a brand new music video by the multi-talented blogger Gunmetal Geisha, we have joined forces for today’s post over at Long Awkward Pause!

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