It's a sweet irony that though I've been noding with considerably less frequency here, my connections to the place have only grown deeper and more valuable.


In September I convinced iceowl to apply with me to the Sundance Institute, specifically the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, which is awarded to a screenplay that explores science or technology themes and begins with participation in the 2005 January Screenwriters Lab. I have some connections with Sloan through some play commissions I've received from them, and I've always loved iceowl's stories of life on the ice in Antarctica, so I thought we should at least give it a shot. So we mocked up the first five pages of a screenplay and wrote a synopsis, and sent the application package down without much hopes that anything would come of it.

In October I got an email from the director of the program telling us we'd made it to the next round of selection and asking for the complete screenplay by the end of the week. Of course there was only one small problem: there was no complete screenplay. I called iceowl immediately and explained that our choices were either bagging the effort entirely or embarking on the rather insane attempt to write a screenplay, collaborating with a near total stranger long distance, in less than week. Without a moment's hesitation, iceowl cheerfully opted for the second choice. Typical iceowl, if you know him at all. Who was I to argue?

It was intense and harrowing, but we pulled it off, mostly thanks to the fact that iceowl has some sort of disorder where he can write reams and reams in a day, and is almost compelled to do so. Me, I'm much more lazy (as you can tell by my dearth of w/u's compared to his). So iceowl did the lion's share of the sheer production, and I did the hyena's share of paring and culling the product into a somewhat standard screenplay format, and adding some jokes, etc. We Fedexed 120 pages down to Beverly Hills just in time to meet the deadline.

We're waiting to hear back. I have my doubts we'll actually get the fellowship, but no matter what happens, I have a new found awe for another writer, and he and I have a damned good adventure/comedy feature property on our hands. I told him we're not selling it for less than Writer's Guild Minimum. So anyone got 45 grand for a screenplay?



On November 13, Palpz, a noder I've never communicated with, chinged my write up Kellie Waymire. I wrote him this note:

2004.11.13 at 15:26 (Palpz) AudieMcCall says "Thanks for the Ching on Kellie Waymire, but please tell me you knew today is the first anniversary of her death, otherwise I'm gonna get chills."

He wrote back:

2004.11.13 at 19:08 Palpz says "... ummm nope. Saw ya chatting in the catbox and randomly read a bunch of your noads, decided to ching one of them. that was it."

I'm no mystic, but I also think that one can foolishly err on the side of skepticism at moments like these. Could it be my dear friend was using an utter stranger as a conduit to say hello on the day she knew I'd be thinking about her most?

Probably not, right?

But think about her all day I did. And when my little boy was running towards me down the hill at the playground, eyes wide, grin wider, running for the sheer joy of it, I thought of her, and wondered if she wasn't letting me see this one moment for what it was, i.e. everything.


On November 14, I was noodling around here when I trotted past doyle's homenode. (Full disclosure: I'm a huge doyle fan, so I often check in to see what he last wrote.) I noticed that there was a picture of an attractive woman, holding a wine glass, obviously enjoying life a little. Now I know doyle is not a woman, attractive or not, so I wondered. . . and scrolled down. . . . to learn that this was Mary Beth Doyle, his sister, and that she had died that day in a car accident.


I was reluctant to bother doyle in this rawest stage of grief, but I wrote him a short note, telling him I'd learned of the loss of a friend on this day last year, and that I was starting to think the day just plain sucked. He wrote me back almost immediately, thanking me for pointing him to the node. 'Thanks for sharing this - - it helps.' I can't imagine how it did, but I'm grateful it did, in any case. Then, a few minutes later, I see that he's chinged the writeup and written this note to me:

2004.11.15@1:58 doyle says re Kellie Waymire: tiny typo line 2 (or maybe it's my browser): 'wither'-->;with her'

Typical doyle. Not only is he, in what can only be one of the most awful hours he's ever known, helping me fix my w/u , he's doing it gently, politely. A guy who knows whole worlds more about writing and science, and well, everything than I could ever hope to understand, and yet he's saying "maybe it's my browser"?

I fixed the typo. Then I closed my eyes to send my heart to fly with this strange wonderful gift of a man to Ann Arbor to claim his sister from the coroner.

Tell me we are not family. Tell me this place is no more than a glorified chat room. Tell me we don't occasionally better each other and ourselves here.



Last, but strangely not least, I was node surfing and I came across krenseby's addition to the green tea node. Basically the point was unless you're brewing properly, you're completely missing the point. Well, this raised my hackles a bit, since I've been drinking green tea for years, and for years I've been pouring boiling water over it just like all the other teas I drink. krenseby was basically calling me an idiot, "green tea needs to be made with hot but not boiling water.... If you choose to go with the boiling water, you're gonna come with a disgustingly bitter brew...."

What did this bozo know? But nevertheless I tried it his {her?} way to prove once and for all there is no difference . . . . and found what I'd been missing all these years. So sweet, such complex subtle flavors I'd never tasted before. I will always brew green tea this way from now on, and from now on my life will be just that little much better. I'm nearly certain my hurting friend doyle would agree: this is no small thing.