Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NJ vs NY -- apartment hunting

In the process of apartment hunting for our move. Unlike previous moves we're not going to rent a place based on photos -- so we're dragging all our stuff there then going to scurry around looking at places.

Because Jaru has many very good friends in New Jersey, we're looking at Highland Park. There have been 15 apartments advertised for Highland Park over the last month and we've set up three appointments for next Tuesday to look at them.

Because Jaru's school is in Brooklyn we're also going to look in Brooklyn. There are 100+ apartments advertised per day in Brooklyn and the only guy who replied to my email for an appointment wants God to steal my money.

Brooklyn apartments also frequently want your tax returns, copies of W2s, three months of bank statements (shouldn't have bought all that porn on the ATM card!), and a colonoscopy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rental Scams

I saw a Craigslist ad for a $1,000/month apartment in Brooklyn -- photos too good to be true. I'm willing to risk a little spam since gmail has great filters -- here was the response:

Hello Dear,

Thanks for the email. My name is Green Gin,I own the 1 bedroom apartment address 8 Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215. The apartment is available for you to move if you are serious about moving in and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that makes me my wife and Son to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent ,so we are looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in west Africa, our new house.

I personally wanted to Sale the apt before but I and my wife decided to put it out for rent.If you could promise us to take very good care of the Apt,the you can send an email with the information required. One Mr. smith called me about the apartment,I told him that I cant give him the apartment because he is married with 4 kids ,I do not want his children to get my property damaged.

If you are still interested, Note that the rent is going to be $1000 Inclusive Utilities.I will like you to give me a call on this effect to know how serious you are.
below is my phone number
0112347032367105 or +2347032367105

Your information

1) Your Full Name
2) Your Full Address & Phone Number
3) Age
4) Marital status
5) How many people will be living in the house?
6) Do you have a pet?
7) Do you have a car?
8) Occupation?
9) Duration of lease/Rent
10) Gender
11) Your Picture if available

I personally will actually come visiting you at September as our new tenant.
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you. Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys of the house to you.
If you are still interested, kindly let me know so that I can delete the ad from from crigslist...

NOTE THAT THE KEYS WILL BE SENT TO YOU via FED EX to your personal address
As a man of God please I am giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words, I am putting everything into God's hand, so please do not let us down.

Green Gin

If you whore out your supposed religiosity enough perhaps you'll be able to steal a little extra money!

Cleverly, the crook merely mentions "God" without going into specifics regarding religion. Being New York, you don't want to accidentally offend marks who follow a different faith.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Must remain strong, will weakening...

I'm moving in 24 days. There is no need to cart around an additional 3 heavy hardcovers. I can't even play a game in lord knows how long.

But, still...

UPDATE: Willpower lasted until 6 o'clock. Anyway, I can use the exercise when moving.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Heart of the Story Is Emergent

I'm finishing up the first draft of a new assignment, a low budget action movie (for more info on low-budget (but higher budget than mine) action movies read the excellent Bill Martell's blog).

One thing about assignments is that the outline and structure is far more fixed than when you're doing things yourself. The people buying it want to know pretty precisely what they're getting.

I'm also working with the director on this (in fact, it's his idea I'm developing) and he wants it to have theme and character arc, some real moment of drama that we can pull out of it -- the heart of the story. So we bounce around some ideas and lay in the sketch of that for the outline.

But it's not until I'm halfway through the first draft that what feels like the correct heart starts to show itself. And it's not until I'm fully through the first draft that I hit the full theme and character drama that makes me feel this can really work.

And these are things that just never emerge, even from a detailed outline (for Marlowe the outline was over 20 pages, and the script was only 95!).

Which makes me think that the heart of a story is an emergent thing. It is not so much something that you put in there the way you put set pieces and characters and reversals in there. It is something that arises in the interstices between those bigger pieces of structure -- small moments of character, small changes in dialog, and so on. And when I did hit on the heart of the story, what I mainly did to bring it out was mainly go back and make subtle alterations to scenes.

In a real sense, the plot didn't change at all -- just some flavor bits around the plot. Which is frankly a bit nerve-wracking because I think the story felt quite a bit worse before, and that means that the difference between a good story and a mediocre one could be nothing more than a pageful or two of words out of the 100 pages of script.