Oysters. They’re awesome.

This is pretty late, but hey, better late than never, right?

Anyway, this weekend I went to the Milford Oyster Festival in Milford, Connecticut. This is a pretty cool little thing for a little New England town. There’s a carnival for the kids, there’s live music, and there’s food. Oh you better believe there’s food. First off, there’s the things the whole thing is named for. The oysters I had were pretty damn good. What happens is that you have some oysters from all over the east coast (especially the New England area) and they’re shucked and served on the half shell, which is what I think is the way they’re served at restaurants.  They also had a booth if you just wanted a quick dozen of oysters and don’t care about stuff like the way the look…and the only thing you care about is how they feel in your stomach.

The other things they had were fried seafood, lobster rolls, burgers and hot dogs, soda, water, beer, and what’s now become my go to when it comes to fairs…FRIED DOUGH!

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Yes, fried dough. And the way I get it is with tomato sauce and Parmesaen cheese, so wat you have is like a pull apart pizza, except I guess the whole thing would be one big crust. Trust me, it tastes better than I’m describing it, and you can also get it with cinnamon and sugar, which is the other big way I’ve seen it offered.

For me, the big thing I enjoyed was the oyster shucking contests. This was a contest to see who could be the quickest to shuck two dozen oysters. A race to turn this:

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Into something ready to eat that looks like this:

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Judging was done by looking by how clean the whole thing was and a whole bunch of things I’m not well versed in because I don’t even eat oysters that much. I also was a timer for one of the shuckers during one of the heats (and I had to make a trade for a green stopwatch because green is my favorite color):

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There was also an oyster eating contest, where it was a race to see who could be the first to eat a dozen oysters. And while Joey Chestnut wasn’t there, the mayor of Milford was. Aside from that, I also got to see a demonstration of police dogs and all the things they do, from detecting drugs to clearing obstacles that could cause any other dog to tread away, to chasing criminals and showing how they will not let go once they have their teeth locked in. If you’re a criminal and you have a police dog chasing you, may God have mercy on your soul.

The Milford Oyster Festival is a fun thing I’ve been going to for a few years now. And I’ll think I’ll keep going to it for as long as I have the opportunity to live in Connecticut.

End Of The Road

This past Tuesday, my screenplay Wrath was named one of the top 6 screenplays for the action adventure category of the Las Vegas International Screenwriting competition. And yesterday, the category winners were announced that would go on to be in the running for the top 5 overall feature screenplays to compete to be the overall winner.

And the winner of the action adventure screenplay is…not me. That honor went to a screenplay called The Devil’s Gun. I didn’t make one of the two runners-up positions either, which went to the screenplays Black and Blue and Devil’s Valley Justice. 

The one thing that was noted was that in each and every one of the categories, the difference between top and bottom was separated by only a few points. In the action adventure category I was in, the difference between number one and number six was 3.5 points on a 100 point scale. That means, for example, that if the winner got 100 points, the #6 winner got 96.5 points. But that’s just an example. I have no idea what the actual scores are and I just wanted to give an idea of how close the scoring is. And while I have no idea what the winning scripts are about, I have no doubts that they are incredibly good.

So, what does that mean for me? Well, I feel pretty good about my performance in this competition now that it’s all over for me. I went a lot further than I thought I would. And what does this mean for Wrath? Well, I’m going to finally get a chance to look at it and see if I can apply some feedback that I received from another contest to fine-tune Wrath, though my thoughts on that endeavor could be another blog post entirely.

Anyway, I would like to sincerely thank every single person who has congratulated me and supported me throughout this entire contest. It feels great to have people who think the stuff I write is really good.

And now, I return to working on other projects.

Vegas Update

Hi, everyone. Remember when I said that my screenplay Wrath was selected as one of the Top 100 screenplays for the Las Vegas International Screenplay Competition? Well, the next threshold of achievement has come: the top screenplay in each category. And now for the point you’ve been waiting for with this post:

I have been named one of the top screenplays in the action-adventure category.

Yep, I have moved on to the next round. All that’s left in this little adventure is hearing if I won my category and if that happens, I’ll be waiting to hear if I’m one of the top five overall scripts in the feature division.

So what happens now? The category winners will be announced on Saturday, and in the meantime, I’ll work on my other projects.

If you want to read the story that’s making a path for itself and actually holding its own pretty well in Sin City, you can buy a copy of Wrath on Amazon.

 

As always, thank you all for your support! And I guess I’ll see you guys as soon as I hear about Saturday’s results.

Making an Impact

This past Monday, I had the privilege to go down to Drexel and be a part of a luncheon held by the Drexel Autism Support Program, or DASP. It’s a great program and it helped me a lot when I was at school. So, of course, I was excited to jump at the invitation.

As for the lunch itself? It was the director of the program Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul, faculty members Dr. Jim Conell, and Jessie Day-Watkins, and current students or are involved with DASP. Great bunch. I saw their plans to help Drexel students on the spectrum by way of providing support and helping the students develop goals to achieve in their time at Drexel, whether it’s academc goals or personal goals such as making friends.

My thoughts as an alum and a past participant in this program? I think their path is pretty good. The thoughts I shared were that DASP should work to introduce themselves and their services to incoming students, such as being involved in Drexel activities such as New Student Orientation. I was lucky enough to get Rebecca’s card, so hopefully, we can stay in touch in the coming months and possibly years. For two months, September seems a long way away for some reason.

It feels great to be able to have something to support at your alma mater once you graduate. I think I found the way I’ll support Drexel.

What WWE can learn from Nathan’s

So, this past 4th of July, I went to Coney Island for the 4th of July tradition my mom and I have had for the 4th of July: watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Miki Sudo won the women’s contest with 41 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and in the men’s contest, Joey Chestnut won his 10th contest with 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

As I watched the proceedings and enjoyed the live entertainment, a thought came to my mind: this is what WWE could be if it could be just plain fun and didn’t even try to take itself seriously. It’s kind of hard to explain in a blog because this contest is something you have to see and experience live and in person.

Let me explain: throughout the day you’ll have music and entertainment beforehand, but what really sets this at another level is George Shea, the MC of the whole thing. He is what you would call a “large ham”,  ESPECIALLY when it comes to introducing the participants. When you hear him talk about how competitive eating is the ultimate battle of good and evil and going on about how Joey Chestnut is an American hero by eating a lot of hot dogs, you can’t help but laugh with him. It’s like one big joke, and everyone on the corner of Surf and Stillwell is in on it. It’s amazing.

The reason is why I say that this hot dog eating contest is like WWE is if it didn’t take itself seriously is because it’s kind of in the same boat as WWE. They’re nowhere near the level of popularity that the NFL or NBA have, and it’s a safe bet to say that they may never will. However, the people at Nathan’s know this and they just have fun with the contest being its own little thing. WWE, on the other hand, tries to tell stories through promos and put on great feats of athleticism that may be less appreciated by the fact that the result was organized beforehand. And while the results are unpredictable in hot dog eating, when you hear George Shea make things epic, such as banging a gong ten times for each time Joey beat his competition like the bear beating Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (George’s words, not mine), you know it’s all tongue in cheek and in good fun. And even then, the results can make for shocking moments, like when Matt Stonie beat Joey Chestnut in 2015 to end Joey’s streak of 8 straight wins. Being there, it was like seeing Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. It was a shocking sight to behold. The MegaToad had beaten the mighty Joey. And that result would go on to be referred to in future contests.

I can’t imagine what the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest would be like if they began to take themselves seriously. You may read an article online about how competitive eaters train or how many calories worth of hot dogs Joey Chestnut has eaten, but that’s about it. Never do you hear a serious attempt about the supposed artistry of eating as many hot dogs as you can in 10 minutes, mainly because there’s probably no way you can get someone to appreciate that feat without them being disgusted first. If this contest were to start trying to be bigger than what it is, such as trying to sell tickets, I don’t think that it would be as magical as it is now. WWE is trying to tell compelling stories on a weekly basis, and whether or not that endeavor is a success is up to debate. It’s also up to debate if they should just loosen the tie, let their hair down, and just go all out and make things out to be the closest thing we can have to a live action game of Marvel vs. Capcom (preferably Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes or Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes). I’m also not sure if the fun Nathan’s brings is something that can translate well to WWE, or if the seriousness WWE has right now is something like a safety harness.

Okay, this may have sounded like unconnected rambling, but I honestly think that I may be onto something. At the corner of Surf and Stillwell on Coney Island, there is a hot dog stand. and on the 4th of July, there’s a hot dog eating contest at that stand. And it is the site of what I think is some of the most fun you could possibly have in your entire life. And you should go there and experience that at least once in your life. And when you leave, ask yourself if WWE could benefit from their shows and in ring product being its own unique brand of hammy, tongue in cheek, uniquely entertaining spectacle.

I get a win in Vegas!

So, it finally took a while for me to post about this after it was announced, but I’m happy to report it now. My screenplay Wrath has been named as one of the top 100 screenplays at the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition. I am so happy right now. It feels really amazing that somebody actually thinks my work is some of the best out of God knows how many entries is pretty freaking awesome. What happens next? Well, at the end of this month, they’re going to name the top entries out of every category, but just making it this far is a win in my opinion.

If you want to support Wrath, you can buy it on Amazon. 

 

And to everyone who’s supported me: THANK YOU!

Getting Personal

See that picture? That’s me on my high school’s Senior Night after we beat our rival Palm Desert. Why am I showing you a picture of me as a high school senior? Because I think it’s relevant to this post.

Remember when I showed you the first paragraph of what I’m calling Welcome to Life in California? Well, the reason I’m doing it is because that story is based on something that I went through: moving to California from Virginia with my sister and my mother in 2002. I’m not going to say that everything that’ll go down in the final product is based on that move because it isn’t. I also won’t say WHEN the story takes place because I feel that if I put it to a specific date I’ll probably run the risk of limiting myself and I never considered myself to be the best when it comes to references or the technology of a specific era of time. So, there’s a sense of having some freedom to write. In addition, my experiences in those ten years is helping out a lot when it comes to writing things out; for example, I went to my high school’s website for help in figuring out how to write a scene and to see if there were any specifics I needed to mention.

And for the big thing: No, I probably won’t be “opening old wounds” or however the cliche goes. I don’t have the skill nor anything resembling intimate knowledge to justify putting that kind of stuff in. I will say that the fact that I’m doing something kind of personal and creating a story that the anime community would probably classify as “slice of life” means that it’s pretty easy to write and I can just knock it out of the park sooner rather than later and get it to editors and hopefully publish soon.

And then I can say something I never thought I think I’d do when I was in California.