Category Archives: musings

Autumn, Nostalgia & Mixtapes


It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.

There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game.  I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of  a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.

Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.

My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.

Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment.  After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.

I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.

Happy listening.


Filed under creativity, Curtis Andersen, general, happiness, high school, iTunes, music, musings, rambling, songs, Uncategorized

The Joy of Paper


Our modern world offers wonders of technology that would boggle the minds of people even just 30 years ago. If you would have told 8 year old me that I could have every Iron Man comic book ever written stored and readable on a device the size and depth of an actual comic book I don’t think that I would have believed you. Likewise that there was even something like the internet! All of these new devices and machines make jobs easier, have brought about changes in entertainment unseen since the television revolution, and keep us all connected.

But, for all that, I find that I have been going back to an old technology: paper.

That’s right good old fashioned wood pulp paper. And pens, a wide variety of pens.

My paper habit really got going again back when Rene and I got married in 2010. I was looking for groomsman gifts and was having a problem finding something that I thought would be A) not cliche and B) something useful. That was harder to find that you’d think. My search ended with me at a Borders Books by my parents house (like I said, 2010, before Barnes and Noble was the last big bookstore). I didn’t know what I was looking for while I was there so I just wandered around hoping that inspiration would just fly out and hit me in the face.

It didn’t…

…until I was walking out of the store when a spinner rack by the door caught my eye. It was full of journals in a few different sizes. Mostly the size that would fit in your pocket, but some larger. They all had a funny name: Moleskine. Moles-kine (with a hard “i”)? Mole-skin? Moly-skiny? However it is pronounced (and the current CEO of the company stated in an interview on NPR that he doesn’t care and pronounced it three different ways during the interview) it is apparently famous!

Moleskine® is the heir of the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by artists and
thinkers, from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
The anonymous and essential little black notebook, with its unique rounded corners, elastic
closure, and expandable inner pocket, was originally produced for more than a century
by a small French bookbinder that supplied Parisian stationery shops frequented by the
international literary and artistic avant‐garde. This trusty, pocket‐sized travel companion held
their sketches, notes, stories, and ideas before they became famous images or beloved books.

Well, I liked the idea of using things that Hemingway and Picasso did, even if it felt a little pretentious. I liked the feel of the books and since all of my groomsmen were in creative or technical fields I knew they could all use a  notebook to jot things down in. So they each got one and I got a notebook for myself, but I didn’t use mine until months later. It was December 29th, 2010 when I made my first entry, which was all about how I wasn’t sure if I would even use the book at all. In mid-January I forced myself to put words down that ended up being a rambling mess. But then we went to Sundance that year and the little notebook became invaluable.

We had a series of meetings and sessions where I needed to be able to take notes and having a legal pad, like so many others did, was just unmanageable with the coats and gloves and everything else that goes along with a cold weather festival. When I took my notes I felt agile and quick, ready for the next bits of information. I also felt small, like I took up very little space. Which was handy since there usually was very little space to be had. I still keep that original notebook on my desk for reference.

That’s when my habit formed, and my brand loyalty. Moleskine is not paying me for this post (although if anyone at corporate is reading this and feels like throwing some swag my way…) so I can say, just from my personal use and opinion, I really like these notebooks. I am on my third pocket book, an Evernote branded one that came with a three month premium subscription to Evernote, and have a project book, story journal, wine book, plus a few others that are just waiting for things to fill them.

Even though I feel like my “addiction to paper” is new, really, when I think about it, I’m just going back to my old habits, before the smartphone and tablet. When I was a teenager and full of hormonal rage I filled book after book with the rantings and thoughts of my brain. I recently found that trove of tomes in my parents storage facility and, hoo boy, I was definitely a teenager. Have you ever wanted to reach back in time and smack yourself? Go read your old journals and  you just might. Although I no longer compose bad poetry and ponder the existential existence of Bat Boy, writing is still the best way for me to get an idea out of my head.  Even though I can 3D render things on the computer or dictate notes to my phone, there’s something satisfying about the scratch of pen nib on paper that makes everything feel more “real.”

What about you? Are you a paper person? Are you all tech all the time? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under books, general, musings

First of the Year Dash!







I would be lying if I didn’t cop to having these feelings. Every January is the beginning of a new year, it feels like the slate gets wiped clean, and since most people have time off it is really easy to start new things or try to make new habits. This leads to gym memberships, hobbies, playing musical instruments, writing, the list goes on and on. Just last week I posted a half assed resolution post about getting re-focused (which I’m totally sticking to, by the way).

But here’s the problem, by March a lot of resolutions and plans all fall apart, or at least show signs of cracking. After I wrote that post about focus I started thinking about what that was going to mean for the rest of the year. 2015 is kinda’ spoken for as of now. Fun Size Horror 2015 is going into early prep, there are shows to do, and I’m mapping out my teaching/speaking schedule. That doesn’t even include any acting opportunities that may pop up. If I’m 100% honest with myself, that means that I have very little that I can safely commit to and the new year is just starting. First World problems for sure, but I’m the kind of guy who is going to be upset about having to say “no” even when it’s the responsible thing to do. So I had to take a pretty hard look at myself and what I know I want to accomplish this year and examine why my best intentions in previous years always seemed to drift into trouble.

I am not going to speak on how this affects people in a general sense, I don’t have the qualifications for that, so everything that I talk about in this post refers to me personally. Looking at my past, you don’t even have to go that far back to see good ideas and habits get dropped – perfect example: 52 in 52. Not managing to stick with this actually upset me quite a bit. It’s an idea that I was/am really excited about. I was pleased with how things were going, but a story a week ended up just being too much. To be fair, the things I gave it up for; Fun Size Horror and all the shooting we were doing; were absolutely worth it, but it still stings.

I won’t lie, my gym membership has been pretty useless for a while now too. I just don’t make the time for it. I should (who shouldn’t?) especially since I spend so many hours in a chair, but my discipline is bad when it comes to the gym. And eating better. I still eat like I’m in college. Rene has made some noble in-roads and had some effect, but I still love me some cheeseburgers.

So how does it come to this? What gets in my way to keep me from achieving the desired goals? Goals that pretty easy to achieve in a practical aspect when it comes down to it:

  • Rene is willing and able to prepare better food for me.
  • I have the gym membership – it’s even close by.
  • The work that I do to earn money is both varied and flexible so I can make the time to do the things I want to do.
  • I have an amazing network of friends and collaborators who are willing to help me achieve what I want.

These are not small resources. But then I take an honest look at what gets in the way:

  • Feeling like there is a lack of time.
  • Getting distracted by the “shiny things.”
  • Trepidation at trying something I have no experience with.
  • Lack of funds.

Most of these I can get past. Lack of time usually translates into lack of rest. Instead of doing the things I’d like to do when I’ve completed what I have to do I fall down an internet rabbit hole of YouTube videos and random Wikipedia research because my brain is tired. A quick nap is usually the best fix for this or turning in early if I can manage it. Distractions are tougher, but that’s what this year is about fixing. For example, I should have completed this post hours ago, but I got distracted by an episode of “This Week Tonight” and ended up marathoning about ten episodes. Avoiding distractions is going to take a little practice. Trepidation of trying something I have no experience with, more commonly known as “fear of the unknown” or “resistance” by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art (which I highly recommend for everyone and have a link for at the bottom of this post) is something that I prefer to face head-on. I find that once you realize that everyone has to do something a first time it’s actually just a matter of girding yourself up and charging forward. The War of Art suggests a lot of great ways to achieve this. I can’t recommend it enough.

Lack of funds – this is the big one. Money is such a sensitive thing. There’s a certain amount of investment that you need to make into anything you do, that’s just an economic reality, but I hate parting with any funds unless I can “see” the return or a way to recoup. This only makes me pinch pennies more when  those envisioned returns don’t show up. If I had unlimited funds (c’mon lottery!) or a benefactor (c’mon mysterious uncle who won the lottery!) I would probably feel differently about this but, put on news announcer voice in these trying economic times, it’s a tough thing for me to get past.

Putting all of these things down on “paper” makes them feel manageable. Putting them out in public makes me want to take ownership of them. Knowing that this makes me vulnerable to scrutiny makes me want to be responsible. Sometimes it takes the possibility of looking like an idiot to motivate you.

…Of course you can always end up looking like an idiot anyway, but if I let that stop me I wouldn’t have had a career.

How are you doing this far into the new year? Let’s talk in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under Andelon, art, artist, business, challenge, commentary, Curtis Andersen, doing new things, evil plan, general, in real life, insight, inspiration, learning experience, making movies, marketing, money, musings

Travels & Stuff!

It’s been over two weeks since my last blog and in that time there has been so much going on.  they include:

  • Business stuff I can’t talk about yet, so I’ll stop mentioning it.
  • A trip to New Orleans Louisiana for business and pleasure.
  • Super cool stuff for the documentary.

There is an opposite side to this coin, but they are such first world problems:

  • My to do list continues to grow faster than I can check things off.
  • There’s not enough money for all the cool shit we want to do.
  • There is too much cool shit that we want to do!

 We had a great time in New Orleans!  Rene’s family hails from the Crescent City and I have always wanted to go there.  Even though the effects of Hurricane Katrina are still very obvious, the city has a magic that no natural disaster can wash away.  In addition to enjoying the local flavor of the town (including the food, drinks and even the touristy stuff) we also stumbled on to a couple movie sets that were filming down there.  Here are some select pics of our trip:

Looks like we may be able to do some business in N.O. and that is VERY exciting!  Whether it is business or pleasure I can’t wait to get back!

Since I’m catching up I’m going to go off and write a few more blogs about some of the other stuff I mentioned earlier – spread them out over the next few days.  The next one will be published Monday, give you something to read at work that might be slightly less boring than what you should be doing.

See you tomorrow… err, Monday!


Filed under making movies, musings, rene, travel

Frankie the Wonder Dog in The Fists of Furry!

Rene bears the brunt of the abuse in the Andersen household through no fault of her own.  The abuse I speak of is from our darling dog child Frankie and this abuse happens in the night as we sleep. 

Frankie sleeps in the bed with us.  This is not creepy or bad dog parenting.  If you have a problem with it I don’t care.  Normally this is fine, he sleeps, we sleep and sleep is had by all, but there are times – lately more than normal – where he has a nightmare or stretches and his little paws go flying and they tend to fly right into Rene’s back or face.  There has even been a time or two when a paw will end up in her mouth – these times are particularly unpleasant.  Rene told me about her ordeal and politely asked to switch sides with me in bed to help her get some sleep.  I agreed, because I want to be a good husband.
That night Frankie jumped into bed with us and slept on the side I was on, just as Rene had hoped.  The first few hours must have gone fine, since I slept through them, but then Frankie had a nightmare and I awoke to the quick repetitive pounding of Frankie paws into my back as he “dream ran” chasing or running from whatever dogs dream about.  I was able to adjust so that Frankie was no longer doing his impression of Bruce Lee into my back and I fell back to sleep.

A few hours later I was shocked awake by another attack – this time to the face!  His front paws whapped into my head like it was a bongo drum in Matthew McConaughey‘s house.  In my horror I opened my mouth which was promptly filled with a Frankie paw.  I was forced to grab him and flip him over so that his paws would be facing the other way.  That got me through the night.

The next day I could sympathize more with Rene’s plight, and she appreciated that.  I agreed to bear the burden of the offending side of the bed where Frankie prefers to sleep…

…Unfortunately for Rene once he figured out that she was going to stay on the other side he decided that he likes sleeping by his mother more, so her torment has begun again.  Rene has started taking eight different kinds of kung-fu so that she can defend herself.  I’ll keep you updated with her progress.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under Frankie, kung-fu, musings, rene

There’s Only One Space?

I just heard, through a friend so I haven’t verified it yet, that the MLA – the folks responsible for English language grammar –  have changed the number of spaces after a period from two to one.

I did not know this.

I’ve always thought that it was funny that my Blackberry, when the space bar is tapped twice, automatically adds a period and then only skipped one space and not two, but didn’t delve too far into it.  I just figured it was a text space saver.  But now my mind is mildly blown!  Even just now – just now – I still put two spaces after a period!  I can’t stop!!!!!

Can anyone confirm this for me?  Do I need to change my writing habits? 

Also, check out my recent eBays auctions.  Here’s a picture of the detail of Thor’s hammer from one of the lots:

Bid lots!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under ebay, English language, general, musings

Inspired By Hipsters

Rene and I had lunch in the Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir today based on a recommendation from our friend Peter James Smith about their grilled cheese sandwiches.  It’s right in the heart of Downtown Fullerton and I’ve passed it several times but never actually stopped in or even really noticed that there was even a cafe there.  Technically it is a coffee shop that serves food, but that is hardly a bad thing.  It is something that I like to call a “Hipster Haven,” a place where things are cool for the sake of being cool and the folks who frequent it are the kind of folks that “get it.”  Bloom’s totally fits the bill.  The 40’s noir theme is wonderfully executed across the board right down to a faux radio cover for the air-conditioning box.  As soon as we walked in we noticed two things: 1) it was as quiet as a library and 2) everyone had Apple Power Books (the Hipster accessory of choice).  We felt a bit out of place.

I used to wonder if I would ever be a hipster.  I like obscure things, there was a time when “I liked things before they were cool” and I pride myself on “getting” things but I can’t grow facial hair (it’s physically impossible), I don’t wear glasses and I never wore vintage clothes.  It’s a bit of a toss-up. Being in the cafe today kinda’ confirmed for me that I’m a bit past the point where I could reasonably be a Hipster.  Regardless of my personal “hipster-dom” and for how quiet the cafe was, the food was great!  We got the grilled cheese with provolone, tomato and pesto with a side of pasta salad and “classic soda.”  I got the Faygo Root Beer (a drink that until today I thought was bottled by and for Juggalos) and Rene got a classic ginger ale.  Both were delicious!  The real draw for me, though, is the decor.  between the 40’s music playing in the back ground and “Max Bloom’s Desk” in the corner there is plenty of eye candy to occupy your whole meal.  If you need a cup of joe or a bowl of soup and you don’t mind a taste of hipster then I highly recommend Max Bloom’s Noir Cafe.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under adventures, food, musings, rene

Good Day. Shooting Day. Creative Day.

Today was a good day.

It wasn’t particularly extraordinary, but it was a good day.  

Today was the first day of shooting for “Enter the Wolf”, the show that we sold to Syfy, and Zeke was our man on the set.  I stopped by to check in and everybody, the crew, cast – everybody – were great!  I’m very excited to see how the rest of the week goes.

I was also doing a bunch of scheduling and paperwork for the documentary today.  That’s more of an experience than something that is interesting to write about, but it did take up a good portion of my day.

The thing that made the day truly “good” though was that I felt creative today – still do actually.  I had inspiration to write and images and new ideas popped into my head and I suddenly had a need to be in a book store.  Or a cafe with coffee and cheesecake.  Or a piano lounge in New York.  Or Tokyo.  Some place with atmosphere where I could pop open my Moleskine and jot ideas or a story or build the site map for the re-design of (which is what I ended up doing).

I have so many ideas flowing through my head that it’s actually hard to concentrate.  I’m listening to the Creative Screenwriting podcast right now so that my brain can focus as I write this.  Still I really want to get the ideas out.

I had a new idea for a novel today.  I’m trying to decide if I want to hand write it or type it.  I should also probably try and find out when I could make the time to write it.

These bouts of inspiration usually come when a win hits, and even though the Syfy show could still implode it’s still a pretty good win!

Today’s picture is of Hollywood & Highland when I was traveling between my two destinations today.  I’m hoping to make it to set again tomorrow so that I can post some behind the scenes pics on the Wiggy Blog tomorrow.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under business, career, Enter the Wolf, making movies, musings

Project 365 8-23-2010 Five Guys. Burgers, Not Gay Porn.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, however if you’re in the North Orange County area of Southern California then that’s pretty unlikely, but there is a new new burger joint in town.  It is very popular all over the country.  It is blogged about by people other than me, it is praised in Zagat surveys and it’s even been mentioned in the pages of Marvel Comics.  Five Guys Burgers & Fries has opened in Orange near the 55 freeway and it’s making the same kind of splash that Krispy Kreme and the iPhone made when they first came out. 

There are lines around the block, excitement from those in the line and high expectations.

Maybe those expectations are a bit too high.

Dean and I went to Five Guys for lunch and ordered some of these nationally renowned burgers.  Burgers that, if you believe the hype, are “…better than In-N-Out!”  We ordered bacon cheeseburgers, which come standard as “doubles,” and I had mine with  lettuce, tomato and grilled onions – just like my Double Doubles.  I also ordered the Cajun fries and washed it all down with a root beer.

The result:

I intended to take a picture before it was eaten, but I dove right in.  Dean put it best when he said, “…you didn’t even put it down!”  So as you can probably tell I liked it.  It was a really good burger – but it was far away from being the “best” burger I’ve ever had and that got Dean and I in a discussion about hype vs reality and the Apple phenomenon.

When it comes right down to it I still like In-N-Out burgers better.  There is a taste to In-N-Out burgers, a kind of salty hint, that is what I look forward to when I know I’m getting In-N-Out.  The taste gets me excited!  Five Guys doesn’t have a specific taste.  Dean and I both agreed that it tasted like a really good homemade burger.  Desirable?  Totally, but I know what it tastes like because I make burgers like this at home and when I’m out I don’t want to feel like I just paid more for something I could have made myself. 

I felt kind of tricked.  Yeah, the food and fries were good and made from “high quality ingredients” but it wasn’t the life changing experience that the press had told me it would be.  That’s the downside of hype.  If the product can’t live up to what it has been built up to be then, even if it’s a great product, it’s disappointing.  Dean and I were drawing comparisons to other things that get a lot of hype that we don’t seem to get like Chickfilet and Apple fanboys.  I have never seen why Chickfilet is so popular.  I find them bland and expensive, but fans of the chicken treat it like the white meat second coming!  And I think we all know, or are, an Apple fan boy.  The thing is that these products are good, great even, but do they warrant the price or praise that is associated with them?  How much are you paying for quality and how much for the prestige of the name?  And with the iPhone 4 it had a great launch and continues to sell well, but it’s legacy is marred by “antenna-gate.”  Krispy Kreme had a great shot out of the gate, but since then they’ve had to close stores and they are far from the glory of the late 90’s. 

So it remains to be seen if Five Guys will go the way of Apple or the way of Krispy Kreme, but if you’re in the neighborhood and you’ve got a good two hours to blow stop in a try a burger, just adjust your expectations.  You don’t want to be a victim of the hype.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under food, friends, musings, project 365 2010

Project 365 8-9-2010 Judge, Jury & Jailer

I am a prisoner.

You are a prisoner.

We are all prisoners and our prison is one that we cannot ever escape that binds us in chains that never give.

Our jailer?  Time.

Time never stops, does not care for your excuses and never shows mercy.  Conversely time does not make considerations based on sex or creed and proceeds at a set rate, never changing.  But still there is only so much time per day and no matter what you do you can never create more or sweet talk it into sticking around.  Time moves on, time does not wait and time will leave you behind if you are not caught up.

Time is a bitch and sometimes I feel like it is laughing at me!

I am so grateful for how things are progressing right now: I’m getting married to a wonderful girl, business is (finally) picking up and my plan to be completely out of all debt is coming together in ways I did not expect, but there is a lot to do and time management, as I’ve discussed before, continues to be my biggest struggle.  I’ve taken the only step that I can to ensure that I have more time during business hours and that is to wake up earlier – significantly earlier – which, thus far, has helped.

But time is a cruel judge and even on days when I feel very productive the check list never seems to have enough ticks off of it.  So I saw this:

I saw it as the wooden avatar of time ignoring me.

That bastard!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under business, musings, project 365 2010, the wedding