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Call for Entries for the Vail Screenplay Competition, open to feature and short screenplays in all genres. Winners get fully-paid trip to the 2007 Vail Film Festival, March 29 - April 1, in Vail, CO. Winners get all-access festival passes, 3 days of skiing, meetings with established film producers, announcement at festival awards ceremony, and inclusion in national press release. To submit, go to www.VailFilmFestival.org
To add a good note: I used to live in Vail and by far, the very best skiing there is in the spring (April is great!!!) and it is one great place to have fun.
I skied in Vail on two broken legs.
Yeah. We used to fix fallen skiiers like Terry by tying pine saplings to their busted legs so they could ski the rest of the day and made sure to get all their money spent before they left town.
Sorry, guys. Terry and I have a bad habit of hijacking threads. Still, Vail is a great place to go skiing and now even better if you can enter the screenwriting contest. Good luck!!
I really did ski Vail on two broken legs. And I skied Arapahoe Basin with four Playboy Bunnies.
I was buying it until you came up with the four Playboy bunnies part.
I been had.
Both events are true.
I skied on two wooden legs, blindfolded, to demonstrate for 500 ski instructors that a blind double-amputee could ski. My instructor was a few feet ahead of me telling when to turn and which direction. At the end of the run, I fell over and cracked both wooden legs. We taped them up with black electrician's tape and I skied for the rest of the day. Without the blindfold.
Joanne Ditmer, a columnist for the Denver Post (newspaper), arranged for four Playboy Bunnies to ski with the amputees from Fitzsimons Army Hospital. Since I was the only double-amp and the rest were one-leggers, I got to ski with two Bunnies in the morning and the other two in the afternoon. What was really fun, though, was what happened the next time I had lunch at the Denver Playboy Club (my stock broker was a member). The number "eight" ends the story.
All true, folks. Reality is often far stranger than the fictions we create. For example, my mother started a firefight in Vietnam. True story.
I'm from Texas.
Good thing I wear Cowboy boots.
Gettin' deep in here.
Your mother joined you on patrols in Viet Nam? They wouldn't have allowed that in my unit.
Com'on. Now you have to tell it all;)
I was a grunt in A Company, 2nd 502, 101st Airborne. Summer of '67, we were moved into the I-Corps (northernmost part of South Vietnam) to a coastal city called Chu Lai. We were getting our butts kicked by the NVA, so when we would get back to base camp (Chu Lai), everyone was mean. My mother regularly sent me boxes of chocolate chip cookies and hot sauce. My whole squad expected to enjoy this perk. One time, when we got back from the boonies, my mother had sent a box, and everyone gathered around to get their share of cookies. But, instead of cookies, the box contained two packages of green plastic toy soldiers and a wind-up ballerina doll that played music, like a music box. Having dropped out of college and volunteered for Vietnam, I as already a character under suspicion, like the Charlie Sheen character in "Platoon," but this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Some guys were ready to stomp me, but my fireteam partner, "Tom," said that my mom was just trying to help us up our body count. We set up all the toy soldiers on the bank of the stream at our perimeter, then lined up the whole platoon with M-16s, M-60 machine guns, and M-79 grenade-launchers and we blasted the toy soldiers. Apparently, there were a couple of VC on the other side spying on us because they stated shooting back, thinking we were shooting at them. The entire camp perimeter broke out in fire, even the artillery! No one got hurt, but our platoon racked up about 40 dead enemy toy soldiers and I got shit-burning duty for the incident. My mother started a firefight in Vietnam. True story.
By the way, my mother thought I would be able to trade the wind-up ballerina doll for romantic favors, like GIs with stockings in France during WWII (according to legend). We didn't shoot the doll. I didn't find out my mom's intention behind the doll until I got back from Vietnam.
Hey, that's funny stuff! And your Mom really sounds like a cool gal--especially the part of trying to help you out with the local girls.
Hey, you're from Lafayette, CO. I'm from Denver.. Don't listen to guys from the 4th Marines like DJ. They'll laugh at anything..
Ron HQ 26th Marines and B/1/9 67-68
Hey, Ron, you and DJay are both Marines. Aren't you supposed to "Semper Fi" and grab each other's crotches or something? I just wish the Army had left the I-Corps to you tough guys!
Anyway, I'm gonna enter the Vail contest. I'd love a paid vacation to a film festival in one of the top ski resorts in the world. If you're a skier, you really should enter. The skiing is awesome! And it's a beautiful community. And you can drive to Aspen and take a scenic glider ride in the Valley of the Maroon Bells, an adventure you'd never forget. That's where I had my first glider flight, back in 1977, and it changed my life.
I might attend since it's only two hours from Denver. We were in the " Crotch, " but I don't recall grabbing my crotch since 67 after a brief visit to Okinawa's BC Street. The Club Alaska, as I recall. Can't remember the gal's name. It was a very brief relationship ($3.00) and we didn't do much talking - if you know what I mean. There was also some drinking involved. Wouldn't want my mom to know about this..
Terry you're killing me!!
Have you written any of these stories into your scripts? It's great material!!
So as long as we are telling true stories, I got two for ya. And I actually used both stories in a script that is being looked at.
My father had his face ripped off in a car accident before he ever met my mother. So my whole life we only knew what he looked like after the accident. He also has a fake eye because of it. He used to take his eye out and pop it in people's drinks at parties. When we were kids, we used to try to take our eyes out too cause we didn't know any better.
My mother hates when my father pops his eye out, or if it's looking in the wrong direction. So he purposely turns it crooked just to piss her off. Then she says, FIX YOUR EYE! and he says, "maybe I'm looking at something over there." I could go on with eye stories but the blow up doll story is waiting in the wings.....
My parents are the cheapest people on the planet. Any deal they can get, they take. So at my cousin's bachelor party, they had a blow up doll floating around. They were getting ready to pop her with a pin at the end of the night when someone told my father how much she cost. It was like 80 bucks or something. He didn't get the fact that this was a sex doll, all he cared about was that it was worth 80 bucks!
So I stop by the house the next day and there is my mother, sitting on the couch, dressing the blow up doll in my old clothes from highschool that she will never throw away!
So I ask her what the hell is going on and she says, "She's an 80 dollar doll! and they were just gonna throw her away!" (picture archie and edith bunker if you will)
Then she says, "besides, the dog is afraid of her, so if we leave her on the couch, the dog won't jump up on the couch anymore." Then my dad would put the doll on the patio in a lawn chair to piss off the neighbor.
Eventually my dad began to talk about taking the doll out to the dog path where he walks the dog and throwing her up in a tree so people walking by would wonder how she got there. Mom was afraid of him getting arrested, so the doll mysteriously vanished one day.
All true, unfortunately lol.
My R&R was in Tokyo. Five days with Tonya. She visited me in the hospital in Tokyo, twice, after I got wounded! My mom did know about Tonya.
Do you know what kind of script this contest is looking for? Cheap indies? Open budget? Do they favor any genres? Or is it just the best read?
That's some rich stuff! No pop-out eyes in my family, but my dad used to like to stick his tongue out at people under his bottom dentures. It was a really disgusting thing to see, but nothing like the pop-out eye. Did you happen to share that story with Terry Rossio before he worked on "Pirates of the Caribbean"?
My mom was the worst cook in the world. The first time my wife ever had Thanksgiving dinner away from home was at my mom's house. When dad carved the turkey, it bled! Another time, mom made us Swedish meatballs for dinner. She cooked the meatballs, packed with uncooked rice! When my mom made fried chicken, she'd cook it on one side until that side was black, then serve it, the other side still raw. The food in our house was so bad that when I saw a sign on a restaurant saying "Home Cooking," I thought they must not want customers. Who wanted "home cooking" when you could have restaurant food? It didn't make sense. Until I joined the Army, my favorite food at home was a can of Hormel Chili with beans. The first time I tasted pot roast made with potatoes rather than turnips, I cried at the table. Needless to say, that was not at my mom's house.
This has been the very best hijacked thread within the last 5 years. Man, this is really entertaining! And no logline explanations necessary!
Vinyl girlfriends, fake eyes and all!
I think we should award to Linda:
The Golden Thread Award.
I can't imagine anything topping the pop-out eyeball and the blow-up houseguest. (Imagine the stories we haven't yet heard!) When you have a family like that, you're doomed to be a writer.
My buddy Gourley shot a flare into a whore house on Okinawa because he thought they stole his wallet, and we all ( 300 18 - 19 year old marines just into to Oki off the USS Okinawa after making two landing in Northern I Corps ) had to chip in to pay back the mamasan. 70% of us were on VD restriction with two days of arriving, and I was arrested for chopping down the palm tree in front of the base mess hall with a bananna knife. One guy shot up the barracks because he thought someone sole his beer. They called in the base fire department to hose us down. The sight of the little Oki firemen with american sized fire helments, with fire hoses, screaming Oki and hosing down three hundred completely out of control marines, was something I will never forget. Our Sgt Major told the bewildered base commander that were were just acting like young Marines should. A week later, a bunch of HMM 262 CH 46's picked us up, and we were on our way back to the boat, Nam.. and Khe Sanh..
That was real nice of that gal commin' to visit you in the hospital. Surprised you didn't bring her back to the Big PX.
Thank you Terry
BTW, I am a professional Chef so if you're ever in the neighborhood, I'll show you what home cooking is all about LOL. My mother is also a bad cook, had to over cook everything so we wouldn't get worms. Whatever that was all about.
So I'm gonna top the eye popping with a pooping.
Because the fake eye never closed, when my father slept, that one eye would stay open. And because he had lost his real nose, he couldn't breathe through it so he could only breathe through his mouth.
So my mother was going to church and I was about 2 or 3 and she told my dad, "keep an eye on the baby while I'm gone." so I'm sitting in my playpen which in itself was a death trap and dad says, "I'm watching you." and he proceeds to close his good eye and take a nap. But I had no idea cause that one eye was just still looking at me. But his mouth was hanging open and growling like a lion cause he snored.
So I'm frozen scared in my little cage and suddenly I crap my diaper. Back in the day when we had cloth diapers, no pampers yet. So I pull out a crap ball and smear it all over my face and try to eat it, cause I had this thing about putting everything in my mouth.
So mom comes home and dad is startled awake and mom looks at me and becomes hysterical and says, "What's wrong with the baby?" Dad takes one look at me and says, "Oh...I gave her a cookie."
If this stuff doesn't make you a good writer, I don't know what will.
BTW, I am currently producing a documentary about my family. I'll keep ya posted. LOL
Linda, at least you ain't hurtin' for material! What do you have in the way of brothers and sisters? Are your aunts and uncles as colorful as your mom and dad? Did you have trouble adjusting to the world outside your house? Are you constantly answering the question, "Did you take your meds?"
Ron, Tonya was an attractive, young, Japanese companion earning $100 a day untaxed, and getting most things bought for her on top of that, like dinner and jewelry and such. She was really enjoying her life. No way would she have wanted to come home with me! I was operating waaayyy above my natural level for those five grand days. It was like having a classy girlfriend for five days. We did everything I would have done with my girlfriend in Tokyo if she had been there (and a few things my girlfriend probably wouldn't have done--she dumped me while I was "in country"). It was kinda like "Roman Holiday" but in Tokyo, with Lucy Lui instead of Audrey Hepburn and Screech instead of Gregory Peck. The kind-hearted hooker takes pity of the skinny grunt with jungle rot on his ears and hands. You know, there's a movie there: the Vietnam war from the point of view of a Tokyo hooker, dealing with the youthful carpe diem wildness of her GI clients, but also suffering emotionally from dealing with their fears and their desperate attempts to live a full life in five days. It must've taken its toll on them. I should hook up with some Japanese writer, mortgage my soul (I don't own a house) so I can move to Tokyo to co-write the script, and get Sophia Coppola to produce and direct. Hold it, now I'm sounding like Ben!
Yes Terry, I have an interesting family and a lot of my material comes from them. But then my other material comes from life experiences once I escaped that house. I have lived an interesting life.
I have an older brother who is an ICU nurse and my younger brother is a therapist LOL thank God. So between the two of them, we keep my parents medicated lol.
My grandmother had 17 children. She was pregnant every year of her adult life until she could no longer have children. So we have lots of colorful situations for me to get material from.
I bought a house a block away from my parents so I could "keep an eye on them." My brother bought them a cell phone a year ago because they both kept coming up "missing" from time to time.
My mother talks into the phone upside down because she doesn't get it. The funniest is when she accidentally speed dials me when the phone is laying on the dashboard when the two of them are driving home and I'm not home but I come home to this huge message left on my voice mail that she had no idea has happened. And it's usually a ten minute conversation about cheese that he forgot to get at the store and then somewhere in there is, "fix your eye, it's looking funny."
Another childhood thing that messed with us is that my uncle was blown up in Korea. He had a wooden leg, two glass eyes cause he was left blind and he had a fake hand because he only had a thumb. so when he came over he would take off his leg and lay it on the floor by his chair and take his hand and lay it next to it.
so as little kids, we just thought everyone could take parts of their bodies off and ya didn't get anywhere near that hand because ya knew it would come to life at any moment and start chasing you around the house.
Oh, and Terry, to answer your question about dealing with life outside the house...
Nothing phases me at all after growing up in that house. Because my dad was irresponsible we were all put in life threatening situations when left alone with him, almost falling out of moving cars, choking on a caterpillar..etc..So the real world is a picnic.
OK, I have to add another story. When us kids were in our twenties, we were having dinner with my mom, my dad was off watching a game. So we were talking about my dad and something stupid he did and my mom says, "well ya know he has brain damage from the accident." Now this was news to us. I mean I knew he did crazy stuff, but brain damage? So then we started to treat him like he was kinda retarded ya know, letting some things go cause we figured he couldn't help it.
This went on for about five years until I busted my eardrum while scuba diving. When I came home from the Islands, I went to the local ENT who was about a hundred years old, to have my ear checked. I then realized he was the doctor who was called to the ER the night of my father's accident over thirty years before.
so I asked the Doc about that night. He got this look on his face and said, "to this day, that was the worst accident I had ever seen anyone survive." He went on to tell me how my father's face was smashed in and he had to go in an pull his nasal cavity from the middle of his head.
So then I say, "so what about the brain damage? How bad is it?" And he looks at me like I'm nuts and says, "brain damage? Your father doesn't have brain damage, all the damage was done to his face there is nothing wrong with his brain."
I didn't tell my mother, cause she might kill him if she finds out he's just a pain in the ass. Because anytime he does something really stupid she just looks at us and whispers, "the brain damage." with a totally straight face. I can't ruin that for her.
Some of those girls are hard to forget even after all the years that have passed.
In the short time I was on Oki I met a girl named Yoko, who had plenty of money, had her bar tab paid off, and a great apartment. She was only 19 and I would wait for her until her bar closed. We were like a couple of kids, had a great time together, and I'll always remember her. Very likely a grandma now. But she'll always be young in my heart.. You're right: There should be a movie about all those girls from the good old bad old days who softened our hearts when we needed it. A lot of my wounded buddies went to the hospital in Japan.
Hey, two of my home town friends were grunts with the 101 in 67: Doug Rhodes, and Tony Sanflippo. Another guy, Richie Curro was with the 173rd. We called him Moose because he was small, always smiling, and wanted to go airbourne.. He jumped in Operation Junction City, and got hurt real bad on Hill 875 at Dak To in late 67. After all that, when he came home he was killed by a drunkin driver. Wonderful guy.. Great loss.. Never forget him..
I certainly badmouthed my mother enough! But, she was also a great inspiration in my life. She was a painter, an amateur actress, a pianist, a piano teacher, a writer, and a theater director. She lost most of her hearing when she was seven or eight, and the family thought for awhile that she was retarded, but she just couldn't hear. She regained some hearing (vowels, mostly) and learned to read lips and facial expressions. You couldn't lie to my mom and get away with it. When I was twelve and in love with Cheri Richards, my mom would critique the poems I wrote to Cheri before I polished the final drafts. Cheri and I "went together" for about three weeks, then she dumped me, but it wasn't because of the poetry. When my mom was an amateur actress, I used to go with her to her rehearsals, so I grew up with one foot in the theater. That, and Latin, and because when I came back from Vietnam all the girls were in English classes, was why I ended up an English professor. My mom also did astrological charts and read palms. When I was sixteen, I came home from a date that went rather poorly and mom asked if she could read my palm. I told her to leave me alone. She insisted, so I let her. She said, "Pay attention." She read my palm, then asked me if I could remember everything she said, and I said "yes." She said, "Now, you have the best excuse in the world to hold hands with girls for the rest of your life." I actually thanked her, because I knew she was right. And she was.
I was wounded in August '67. The only reason any of us survived was because it was pre-Tet. They were saving their arms and men for the Tet offensive coming just five months later. Otherwise, we would have been overrun. As it was, they killed 6 and wounded 18 of us, out of 24. All of us! And the overran another platoon, which we were trying to save. As it turns out, I was lucky. They guys who weren't wounded badly enough to get medivaced had to stay in the field, and most of them were killed or seriously wounded over the next two weeks. Then, those survivors ended up on Hamburger Hill, I believe. So, I consider myself lucky to have gotten out of it as well as I did. Especially considering that "Doc" told me in the field that I was going to die. I survived. He didn't.
I think this Tokyo prostitute story could be really good. I see her starting out as a department store mannekin. They really used live girls as mannekins! She goes out with a girlfriend and ends up dating a GI on R&R. She has a great time and doesn't even realize that it's a paid date until he gives her money. The money's so good, she ends up doing it on a regular basis. But, as she "dates" more and more GIs, she deals with a widening and deepening variety of problems. Not hard-hearted like many prostitutes are depicted, she's emotionally affected by the fear and grief of the young men, usually only 19, and in the end she's back in a department store, a mannekin, detached from humanity. I don't know, is this fresh, or is it a rehash of some familiar but forgotten movie of the past? It feels good, but then so does scratching my ass!
Coming back from Nam they they dropped us off at Okinawa for awhile to decompress.
I became infatuated with a b-girl, who said her name was "Snatch". I asked her how she got the name and she pulled her top down and exposed her breast. (That's actually when the infatuation started.) Her breast had "Snatch" tatooed on it, with an arrow pointing southward.
Apparently she had fallen asleep one night and a G.I. tattooed it on her with India ink. (I bet it was some Army guy did that, is what I'm thinking.) Anyway, she knew so little English that she thought it was an endearment!
I was just a kid and stupid, but I really ( briefly) considered marrying her so I could bring her home with me. But I couldn't get past how the introduction would go. "Mom, this is Snatch. Snatch, Mom." That was the deal breaker.
I still think about her. (Sometimes alot;)
By the way, my girlfriend Snatch reminds me of Ron's reference to the "Crotch"--which is the semi-affectionate term we Marines used for the Marine Corps, such as "How long you been in the Crotch?"
Taken out of context it may have sounded obscene. (Although, of course, taken IN context it's intended to sound obscene.)
Hey, you guys, I really like the Tokyo prostitute/mannequin. story. Very poignant. One of you should consider using it. It would make a good short story, too.
Something Terry said stayed with me. He said the N.V.A. were always kicking their ass.
When I first got to Nam with the 4th Marines that's all I heard.
I don't think we ever had a firefight in which we didn't take causualties--and yet we almost always caused the enemy more harm than the did us--and sometimes considerably more! Still, we always referred to it later as getting our ass kicked.
At first I would appeal to the veterans on the illogic of it. After a few of weeks I was saying the same thing.
I think that's just the way of war; at least it is for American soldiers and Marines. The enemy's lives were, to us, inconsequential, but our comrade's lives were precious to us.
I would imagine that even in the case of Terry's catastrophic firefight, he and his guy's killed far more of the enemy than they lost. But that likely brings small consolation to Terry.
When we were in the Central Highlands, it was almost a turkey shoot. One or two VC with two bullets and single-load WWI-era rifles. Sometimes there'd be more organized action and more modern weaponry, but we always inflicted far more casualties than we took. But, once we moved into the I-Corps, in the north, we were facing well-trained, well-equipped, highly disciplined NVA, and they inflicted heavy casualties on us in every encounter. The day I got wounded, we were operating in company strength but in platoons, and we ran across a battalion base camp. The NVA left behind a company as a rear guard while the battalion evacuated the camp, and that company hit us with rifles, machine guns and mortars. It was a mortar that got me. Our company didn't even carry mortars. Our heaviest weapon was the M-60. One of our platoons got overrun; I think maybe two guys got out alive, but they were totally in shock. We burnt up both machine guns, used all our grenades and M-79 rounds, and were sharing M-16 ammo when the enemy launched an ambush. They could have walked over the top of us, but chose not to, probably to save their men and ammo for Tet. So, that's what I mean when I say we got our butts kicked.
Terry, and D Jay
Any of you guys ever run into the NVA 325th B and C Division in your I Corps travels.?
You're one very lucky guy. There is no more feared thing in the world for a rilfe company..
Was the lucky lady from Kim Village on The Rock.?
Ron, you're right. She was from Kim Village! I see we plied the same beat. (Although, as memory serves, I was looking for the library.) I don't know what the Rock is, though.
And I never knew the NVA units we were up against. I believe, though, that they had "little rice-propelled motherf***s" some where in their name.
I was a rifle-totin' grunt, not an officer, so I rarely knew where we were until we weren't there any more, and I never knew any enemy unit's designation. Management kept us ignorant on purpose -- you can't obtain strategic information from a captured ignoramus.
Enough Vietnam. Let's get back to screenwriting.
The Kim Village... Library..?
The Rock.. (Okinawa)
Terry's right.. This string is starting to sound like a Vet Center..
Saw WORLD TRADE CENTER last night. Thought it was pretty good..
So has anyone entered yet?
Ron, thanks. I don't remember ever seeing it in the daytime. That must be when the people emerge--I only remember it bustling.
The NVA never caused me to lose my hope for humanity. It was the bar girls that would take our money for a drink orders and never return ;)
When I spent a bit of time off the SLF at HQ 26th Marines Rear at Camp Schwab, this was my chow hall:
Look whose chow hall it is now: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/3611/461.jpg
All right.. Enough of the good old bad old days..
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