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    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Yowling Cats and CELL

    Outside I can hear the cat yowling. It is a butterscotch yellow and white like a soft chew candy. I wish I could do something for it. It doesn’t seem hungry really, just kind of lonely. The yowl is that low hurtful one that rips through the rest of the sound of the night. It’s been raining and when I looked out at him earlier he was soaked, but ran from the front porch lights. The problem is that I can’t really do anything. If I feed him, he’ll become dependent. I’m sure there is plenty of food, within almost any cat’s ability to catch, here in the woods. The sound of its yowl just kills me though. Sometimes you can hear two of them fighting with those high-pitched yells and screams. I’ve often thought that people should be tortured by listening to the sound of cats fighting.

    Currently reading Stephen King’s CELL, which is really relentless in the tension. I’m not sure how good it is yet, but it has put me on edge and made everything around me seem potentially threatening. That’s a good thing, but being a Zombie story by nature, it will need to pull a few more punches than just gore and tension. The first 60 pages are really nice, but the meat, no pun intended, is definitely yet to come. You do have to respect him for just starting right at ground zero of the story and moving from there. There is mayhem by page 5. This is of course the way of the ZOMBIE mythos, although 28 DAYS LATER did have a nice slow start after an incredibly vicious Prologue. I think in the end it will be pretty standard 70s-80s King; scare and gore in equal parts strung together with a plot like severed ears on a string.

    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Storm Stories

    Anyone interested in seeing the video of the storm that almost killed my parents a year ago can tune into The Weather Channel tonight at 11:00 PM for "Storm Stories.' I actually think the bit about Semester At Sea is 11:30PM. It showed earlier tonight at 8:30 PM, but by the time I got the message from my mom, it was too late to notify. I'm sure they'll show it again. They don't give all the credit they should to the crew of the ship, especially the captain, but they play it for high drama, which I'm sure it was at the time. I'm not sure if anyone will see this in time, but there it is none the same.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Prepare Yourselves

    I'll be in town this weekend starting around 5:00 PM today. Make sacrifices and enact the appropriate tribal chants. Bring slaves to place before me and make sure there is plenty of beer.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    MP Smackdown

    Congrats to Michael-Paul, who is now the proud father of Adeline Grace, who came in at 5lbs. 7oz. and 18 1/4”. All of which makes her sound a bit like a large mouth bass, but she is in fact a baby. This is Michael-Paul’s first foray into fatherhood, which he finds to be confusing and possibly life altering. There is little doubt that even at the tender age of two days, that young Adeline has daddy firmly wrapped around her little finger. Good-luck MP, cause man you’re going to need it. Oh, by the way, it’s too late to run now.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    WB and UPN give birth to CW

    So, Time Warner and CBS have joined forces to eradicate the two fetal networks spawned in the 90s to compete with the burgeoning FOX, WB and UPN respectively. Their great idea, split 50/50, will be a new network called CW. No one seems to know what CW stands for yet, but I have a few concepts I’m working on; Can’t Watch, Could Work, Can’t Wait, and Crappy Waste. The thing is, that their going to move the best of the shows from the two networks and combine them onto one. These shows luckily include some the best TV on today such as Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars. But it will also include the ever popular, for many reasons that escape me, SMACKDOWN. There was a reason these Channels were formed in the first place and that was to compete with the big three and eventually the big fourth networks, to drive all of them to produce more creative content in an effort to not go the way of the Dodo, and it worked for a while. By combining two into one, they’ve just lessened the amount of content non-cable subscribers have access to. Each of the stations that subscribed to WB and UPN still have to choose if they want to join the CW network. In larger markets such as NY and LA, some poor channel is going to go out of business or redefine its model as a all day Paid Programming channel.
    Now granted, neither of these networks has really been turning a profit over the years, but minus a few really good shows, a lot of that had to do with the decisions of the programming directors who didn’t know a good show from a piece of flotsam after their morning constitutional. Now, what we’re going to get is another network, that starts off strong and then grows a set of, what it thinks are mighty, testicles and then it will start choosing shows again and canceling the ones that made it work in the first place, and the whole thing will start all over again. Obviously I’m going to give it a chance, as soon as I have access to this kind of broadcast TV again, because it will come fully formed with two of my favorite shows already in it. However, I will be the first to grin madly and shake my head at it in an arrogant, “I told you so,” manner as soon as I see it Jump the shark. Well, as soon as I see it jump-the-shark the next time. Hey, I wonder if they’re already looking for new content. I think I have a few things lying around I could show them.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    I need a Cigarette

    It really is important to hook-em early. Studies show that the older you get the less likely you are to pick-up the habit. Of course, for this three year old, there's nothing like a good stress reliever after a hard day. It's too bad his cigarettes are substandard.



    In an unrelated story, here is Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui doing what some believe should be outlawed in most Southern states. I believe it is known as the reverse cowgirl.

    Tonto

    I met my first raccoon here last night, or more specifically this morning. I was out on the screened-in porch enjoying a smoke at 2:00 AM. I only had the porch light on. I heard a thump just beyond the screen door, so I reached back in and turned on the back deck lights. There, peering just around the corner, with his paws firmly on the first step, was the little bandit. He looked at me, and I looked at him. I then realized he had probably been attracted by my fish rag, which I let dry over a chair on the porch. I use it to help hold the fish while I remove the hook. We stood this way for a moment more and he took one furtive step toward me. I flicked my right wrist twice in his direction as a sort of Shoo maneuver and said, “You really should be on your way, there is nothing here for you.” He looked at me a moment more, then slightly beyond me with longing and turned back and ambled off. I really wished he wasn’t wild. I would have enjoyed a bit of company. I also had an almost uncontrollable desire to scratch him behind the ears like a cat, but I do like my fingers and had no desire to have him scamper off with one of them before washing it in the pond and having a nosh. I shall call him Tonto.

    [Editor's note: Here is Tonto upon his return visit. Evidently bird feeders aren't just for birds anymore. Little does he know it, but he is now a superstar, and this paparazzi for one is going to blind him with my flash every chance I get. Although I don't think I'll open the screen door. You never know, he could have the Russell Crowe reaction to my attention.]

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    Weekends Where His

    OK, not that anyone really cares, but from this point on, all single panel idiocies produced by me will only occur on a Monday-Friday basis. I'm taking the weekend off from this day forward. It's become too difficult to produce daily, especially now that I've increased the number to three pieces of stupidity a day. It shouldn't affect many if any since the blog readership drops by over half on the weekend, which is expected since most of you do your surfing while at work. Cheers.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Sanitize Before You Send

    It would seem that The NSA would like for you, well actually it's really just internal, to sanitize your WORD documents before you turn them into .pdf files and send them across the nefarious internet. So, they've created this nice little document to simplify the process. I don't know what disturbs me more, the fact that the general NSA person creating sensitive .pdf documents doesn't know how to properly scrub them or the fact that the creator of this document left the cute Microsoft kitten in the screen grabs. Someone should let them know that Acrobat 7 has better encryption tools and other properties that are useful. Of course version 7 has only been out for over a year and it really is hard to keep everything up-to-date. This does not inspire confidence in me for the maintaining of sensitive information. I hear they're good listeners though.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Down from the mountain

    Things I've seen when I come down from the mountain for a few beers.


    I’m sitting across from an Elvis impersonator. He’s changed his cloths into a t-shirt and jeans with a black leather jacket and a baseball cap on his head. His sideburns are unfortunately too real as is the remnants of the gel he used to get his hair into character. He’s drinking a light red or zinfandel wine from a small wine glass. Minus the overall package of sideburns and black hair, his face is quite faithful to the transformation. But what finally gives him away as n impersonator over a fan is that he’s left two of the rings on. If he’d been a fan he would have left them all. He talks to no one but the bartender and seems lost here in this place that isn’t a stage.

    A coaster thrown across the bar hits me in my left tit. It’s meant for someone else. I guess I’ve been initiated now. The thrower apologizes and I yell back at him that there had better be a twenty attached to the coaster. I tell them I only allow things to be throw at me if there is a twenty attached. One of the women with the group tells me I could get a good whore with a twenty around here. I tell her I’d rather collect more so I can go somewhere else.

    Sitting across from me a man orders a small can of tomato juice from the bartender. There is already a small empty bottle of V-8 in front of him. He cracks the can and pours it into his three-quarter full glass of a “red” beer. He then hits it with some Tabasco. After he’s left I tell the bartender that I’ve heard of this practice before, but had never seen it. She tells me he was using the wrong kind of beer. I agree except I don’t think he should have been using beer at all.

    There are three large biker types sitting across from me. They’re wearing what could be described as false colors since I don’t think they belong to a gang of bikers of the pulp movie variety. However, they are large and press against and stretch the very limits of their cloths. One of them is Bald and has an extended goatee that’s more of a beard without the mustache or any facial hair above the lower lip. He’s sipping a white wine, which either makes him braver and more dangerous or shows something that his clothing hides. It makes him seem thoughtful somehow and I wonder if he quotes surrealist poets while he starts a barroom brawl.

    I watch a man pick-up a saltshaker and think he’s going to apply a small bit to his coaster to keep it from clinging to the bottom of his glass. Instead he salts his beer.

    There is a man here with a turned-up cowboy hat that’s seen more life than me. He’s skinny and his jean jacket folds over his shoulders. He has an eye patch and Willie Nelson hair that folds it’s blonde/brown/white length across his back and stops six inches over his chest. It turns out he’s the pinch hitting singer for tonight. As he starts to play his voice betrays his exterior. His rendition of “Piano Man” is pitch perfect and harmonic and somehow more dignified and sad than Billy Joel could ever hope for. It’s like watching a cowboy from the 1870s on display in a museum, except he gets it. He knows how to dissolve and disappear. It’s all in his voice.

    An older woman with her crippled husband try to come up to get seats at the bar while they wait for a table. Just before they make it, three feet away, but her husbands movements are hitched and delay their approach, two guys in their (20s) blow past them and take the seats. She quips to her husband that Chivalry is dead. I can’t stand this and tell her that’s the most vulgar thing I’ve ever heard and offer her my seat. I tell her that it will never be dead as long as people don’t allow it die. She takes the seat and thanks me. Later as she and her husband are leaving she tells me that between the time their table was called and the waitress got them to it, the same two boys had taken it without being seated. I know she’d right because I had watched it happen. I tell her they’ll get what’s coming to them one day. She smiles and says that she knows they will.

    J.T. LeRoy's Life Hustle

    The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, parts of which were shot two years ago in Knoxville, was the first of a number of movies to fall from the writings of J.T. LeRoy, an erstwhile street hustler turned literary provocateur. It came out to mixed reviews, and I never saw it. I do know a number of people who have read the works though and they generally praise them. I haven't read any of the work, so I have no opinion about it as fiction. The problem is that J.T. LeRoy may not actually exist. From reading the New York Magazine article, I'm fully convinced he does not. Either way it is an interesting look at writing, marketing, deceit, art, and the inevitable gullibility of people when a sad story is on the line. Anyone ever hear of a A Million Little Pieces? While there has been a long tradition of literary hoax, one has to wonder what these do to the actual reputation of the memoir as literary form. Luckily J.T. LeRoy writes "fiction" and evidently lives it as well. I think this is a job for Charlie Kaufman. The movie needs to be about all of J.T. LeRoy and everything it implies and I think Mr. Kaufman is the only one who can do it. Spike Jonze, if you're out there, we could use your help as well.

    William Gibson's thoughts on the subject:
    I guess this is the literary equivalent of phantom limb syndrome, but now that I'm pretty much convinced that J.T. Leroy never existed, I catch myself regretting never having met him. I think that might mean that he was America's first idoru, in the fullest Japanese sense, paradoxically manifesting mainly on our oldest mass-media platform, the printed word.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Edgar Allan Poe 1809 – 1849


    "Sleep, those little slices of death, how I loathe them."

    Jing Jing Sees you

    In a move toward producing Manga friendly Communist icons, China has decided that cute is the way to go when spying on their populace who use the internet. Why can’t W get behind this? Who wouldn’t respond well to being warned that you’re being watched by a little Manga cutie? It's so much better than the rude "click" on your phone while your making an overseas call. It could pop up on your cell phone and do a little "I'm watching you" dance. Of course they'd probably charge you $2 everytime they downloaded it to your phone.

    Derek Kirk Kim has a new online comic "Healing Hands" that starts today.

    Whatever you do, DON'T look at this.

    London discovers that it still hasn't advanced as much as it had thought since the Romans left. They're trying to keep the sludge of daily constitution from causing gagging reflexes during the Olympics. Luckily they have until 2012 to do something about it. I recommend they change their diet to something other than all meat.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Drip...Drip...Drip...Drip...Drip

    It’s raining here; a nonstop deluge of wetness. It’s loud enough to fill the cabin with a rumble that sits low on the high registry and resonates through your skull. Normally I’d not mind, but it’s distracting. I can’t leave for my Tuesday pizza and beer night like I do every Tuesday. I should be working, but I can’t get into it today so I did other things (find them if you can). The new path for PL is currently trying to set-up like a cut-rate flan in my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d already gotten 3” of rain up here. If it’d been snowing I would have been getting out for weeks. Luckily the temperature is still in the 50s. I think the rain is making me depressed (shut-up Cruise) but maybe it’s just me. It sounds like the foundation could be washing away. It isn’t going to happen, but that’s how hard the rain is coming. I can hear one of the squirrels trying to find a dry place under the eve of the roof. It isn’t possible, which means he’s out there soaked to the bone. I shot rocks at him twice earlier today as he tried to nibble on the house during breaks in the rain. I don’t know why he chews. Is it a nervous habit? Is there something in the wood he craves on some basic level? Is he just a vandal trying to tell us he was here first? What drives that little squirrel brain of his? I wish I knew. Maybe he just wants to get out of the wilderness and into a house. He’d still be dry if he’d just hang out on the front porch. I think I’m starting to feel sorry for him even though I realize he doesn’t even think twice about getting wet, for all I know he likes it. For all I know he melts away in the rain and gets reborn under the soft bed of fallen leaves. Then he tries to climb back up to the roof before he melts again. He does this until the rain stops. I have no proof.

    For good, bad, or ugly

    Chili Recipe

    1 Large Vidalia Onion (small dice)
    1 Green Pepper (small dice)
    1 Yellow Bell Pepper (small dice) or Orange Bell Pepper
    3 med-large Cloves Garlic (pressed)
    2 lbs Ground Round (browned and drained)
    1-1.25 lbs. 1/4 in. cut Round Steak (1/4in. cubed and browned and drained)
    Kosher Salt
    Fresh Ground Black Pepper
    3 Tsp Chili Powder (I used from a “2-alarm Chili” starter package)
    1/4 Tsp Cumin (I used from a “2-alarm Chili” starter package)
    1/4 Tsp Oregano (I used from a “2-alarm Chili” starter package)
    1/2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
    4-5 dried Chiltepins (small bush grown peppers
    5 (.375 oz ) Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate Cocoa Squares
    2 Cans Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
    1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
    1 Can Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
    3 Cans Diced Tomatoes (2 cans petite diced, one can small diced)
    1 sm Can Tomato Sauce

    I only used one 8 qt. Pot and a few bowls for reserving meat and vegetables. Brown ground beef in pot, then drain off as much liquid/fat as possible and set it aside. Brown cubed round steak in same pot, then drain and set aside with ground beef. Add the onion, green and yellow pepper, and garlic into pot. The residual grease will be enough. Add a pinch of salt an a bit of pepper and let the vegetables sweat until the onions start to become transparent. Add the meat back in and combine and allow to cook a bit. Add all three cans of tomatoes (don’t drain). Allow this to cook for a bit. Add the beans last. Allow this to simmer for about thirty minutes. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, chiltepins, and oregano. You might want to hold back a bit of each spice to add in the last 15 minutes or so to keep the flavors as fresh as possible. Allow this to simmer for about twenty minutes or so. Add the chocolate one piece at a time allowing it to dissolve in the chili. Simmer for twenty to thirty minutes more. Test for salt and pepper content through the whole process.

    Enjoy, or not. Obviously you can make it hotter or milder depending on your taste.

    The reason I used three of spices from a starter kit was I know the one I like and it is only $2.00 and it would cost much more to buy all three spices in jars. I used canned beans, because the last three times I cooked them from dried and was never satisfied with the results. I used Kroger brand red kidney beans, Goya brand pinto beans, and Bush brand black beans. You need a brand that gives good whole beans that can take a modicum of punishment without breaking apart.

    Again...Again...Again

    Here is an interesting piece by BBC radio on Phillip K. Dick who spent the last part of his life trying to figure out if he had, while in pain, experienced God. It’s short, but illuminating.

    The Robot mentioned in the piece.

    Spending the next two weeks tearing PROMISED LAND apart again. It needs to move faster and be nastier. I’ve been writing it like it was a FOX mini-series, or a made for SCI-FI movie. Whole sections have to go now. It needs to come sooner and more like a punch than a slap. But, it also needs to be smarter. Lets hope I can channel someone smart to help with this bit.

    Outside the wind has picked up. From where I sit I can see the trees being pushed back and forth. One of them seems incapable of surviving, even though I’m sure it will. You can hear the wind before it hits, rolling across the mountains and into the valley as though water rushing from a broken dam trying to lap back on stolen shores. It comes in waves, and then recedes back.

    Films from 2005 I saw and liked: (No particular order, and obviously limited recently to my forays into town)

    ALL SHOULD SEE:
    Sideways
    Syriana
    Capote
    Good Night, and Good Luck
    Crash
    The Aristicrats
    ALSO GOOD:
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    Vanity Fair
    A Very Long Engagement
    The Aviator
    Baadasssss!
    PERSONAL GENRE FAVORITES:
    Primer
    Serenity
    Mirrormask
    Batman Begins
    Sin CIty
    2046 (Genre only by Sci-Fi elements and not for everyone so it goes here)
    Harry Potter: and the Goblet of Fire
    Kung Fu Hustle
    WISH I"D SEEN (will see on DVD or in theatre)
    Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor)
    A History of Violence
    Broken flowers
    Junebug
    Lord Of War
    Me and You and Everyone We Know
    Mysterious Skin
    Tim Burton's Corpse Bride


    There were many I have yet to see. Some I want to still see and some I plan to avoid like the plague. Don't have my list of films I rented and saw, but there are a few more. There were probably a number of foreign films that I never heard of that were good this year. But, we only get so many.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Life is Good

    The Chili Gnome has taken up residence and seems to feel that everything belongs to him, which is troubling. He's already begun a memoir on his time as a Chili Gnome, and the disastrously sad time from before becoming a Chili Gnome, and says that's he's going to hold no punches. Evidently, before he was a Chili Gnome, life was less than good. He says his life has been filled with abuse, neglect, and what he refers to as "A point of great personal tragedy involving drugs and prison." He considers himself to have grown from these experiences and says he wishes to keep others having to go through what he went through.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Chili Cook-Off

    It is true, I took top prize and therefore possession of the chili cook-off Gnome. It is mine. You can’t have it back. I win. Pictures to follow. Here’s to my 15 minutes. Sad really, but you have to take what you can get.

    p.s. The Gnome is rather Lascivious in its repose.

    Until then, please enjoy Orson Welles trying to correct a poor advertising man about his Peas.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Intelligently Designed T-Shirts





    Also, One-Eyed Kittens make baby Jesus cry.

    Sex on page 63

    OK, so even though I haven't filled in all the bits before it, I thought you'd all like to know that there will be sex on page 63 or there abouts. It goes something like this:

    ANGRY SEX

    ROUGH SEX

    GENTLE SEX

    SLEEP

    It's a cathartic moment. I'll leave the specifics up to the director.
    ---------------------

    From Sullivan's Travels (1941) by Preston Sturges

    John L. Sullivan: I want this picture to be a... document. I want to hold a mirror up to life. I want this to be a picture of dignity... a true canvas of the suffering of humanity.

    LeBrand: But with a little sex in it.

    John L. Sullivan: [reluctantly] But with a little sex in it.
    ---------------------
    You all really should go rent Sullivan's Travels and watch it. It's one of the best scripts.
    ---------------------
    Burrows: Good morning, sir.

    Burrows: I don't like it at all, sir. Fancy dress, I take it?

    John L. Sullivan: What's the matter with it?

    Burrows: I have never been sympathetic to the caricaturing of the poor and nedy, sir.

    John L. Sullivan: Who's caricaturing?

    John L. Sullivan: I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy and then I'm going to make a picture about it.

    Burrows: If you'll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.

    John L. Sullivan: But I'm doing it for the poor. Don't you understand?

    Burrows: I doubt if they would appreciate it, sir. They rather resent the invasion of their privacy, I believe quite properly, sir. Also, such excursions can be extremely dangerous, sir. I worked for a gentleman once who likewise, with two friends, accoutered themselves as you have, sir, and then went out for a lark. They have not been heard from since.
    ---------------------
    Burrows: You see, sir, rich people and theorists - who are usually rich people - think of poverty in the negative, as the lack of riches - as disease might be called the lack of health. But it isn't, sir. Poverty is not the lack of anything, but a positive plague, virulent in itself, contagious as cholera, with filth, criminality, vice and despair as only a few of its symptoms. It is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. It is to be shunned.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Quotes of Writers

    We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. - Anne Lamott

    I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within. - Gustave Flaubert

    Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. - Robert A. Heinlein

    The quality which makes man want to write and be read is essentially a desire for self-exposure and masochism. Like one of those guys who has a compulsion to take his thing out and show it on the street. - James Jones

    A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. - Thomas Mann

    A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it to be God. - Sidney Sheldon

    There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. - Red Smith

    Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. - Jessamyn West

    I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. - Oscar Wilde

    A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. - Eugene Ionesco

    I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit. - P. G. Wodehouse ...after being asked about his writing technique.

    A writer doesn't solve problems. He allows them to emerge. - Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt

    If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. - Henry David Thoreau

    Be like a duck, my mother used to tell me. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath. - Michael Caine

    When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. - Raymond Chandler

    The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. - Ernst Hemingway

    My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip. - Elmore Leonard

    If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster. - Gustav Mahler

    When in doubt, blow something up. - J. Michael Straczynski

    If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have nerve enough to be homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. - Kurt Vonnegut

    Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. - T. S. Eliot

    All good ideas arrive by chance. - Max Ernst

    I hated school. I don't trust anybody who looks back on the years from 14 to 18 with any enjoyment. If you liked being a teenager, there's something really wrong with you. - Stephen King

    When you take stuff from one writer, it's plagiarism. But when you take it from many writers, it's research. - William Mizner

    An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. - Oscar Wilde

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth. - Otto von Bismarck

    I write fiction because it's a way of making statements I can disown. - Tom Stoppard

    First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him. - Ray Bradbury

    It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does. - William Faulkner

    The best way to send information is to wrap it up in a person. - Robert Oppenheimer

    Tension is wonderful for making people laugh. - John Cleese

    All romances end in tragedy. One of the key people in a romance becomes a monster sooner or later. - David Cronenberg

    I write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting myself. - Tom Stoppard

    There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia. - Kurt Vonnegut

    Endless conflicts. Endless misunderstanding. All life is that. Great and little cannot understand one another. - H.G. Wells

    All writing is a process of elimination. - Martha Albrand

    There is no great writing, only great rewriting. - Justice Brandeis

    Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination. - Louise Brooks

    The wastepaper basket is the writer's best friend. - Isaac Bashevis Singer

    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess. - Oscar Wilde

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Pinging the Moon

    In 1946, we pinged the moon with radar just to say hello, and see if they'd help us kick the German's asses.

    "Hello" From Moon Expected

    Colonel DeWitt professed a dislike for speculation of a "Buck Rodgers or Jules Verne" character, but acknoledged that the Army scientists hoped to increase their transmitter's power so that it could be modulated by voice. "We should be able to say 'hello' and hear the moon say 'hello' back," he said. He quickly added: " I hope the moon doesn't answer, 'Good-by.'"

    Their reply caused consternation, so in 1969 we went up there to give them a piece of our mind and leave bags of urine in their yard.

    They've never invited us back, but that didn't stop us, the 70's did.

    Page 37

    I've made it to page 37 with only a little difficulty. I think I've made it read more easily than a Burroughs novel, the cutting and pasting style, but who knows. It gets sticky from here. Have new scenes to write and a lot of old lambs to slaughter. I think maybe I should stick to something other than political intrigue, even if I am making it up. These shady guys are hard to follow, they're slippery you know. Plus I wasted part of yesterday writing a scene that I threw out by the end of the day. I should get my money back for that one. Oh well, it's almost time for the bomb to go off. I going to go round everyone up and make sure they're all standing where they're supposed to be. I'd hate for the explosion to miss someone.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    On NOTICE!

    Take THAT, ya' punks. W says you're ALL on notice.

    Union Jack's 4th Annual Chili Cook-Off

    Saturday the 14th of January 2006. It kicks off at 5:00 PM. If last year is any indication there will be plenty of free chili for everyone. Chili of all shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. So come on down and get your Chili On! I’ll be there, and lets hope that this time my chili doesn’t end up all over the passenger floorboard of my car.

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Karaoke Night

    Well, the voice over has moved from starting on page five to starting around page 27. Of course once I remove the VO bits from the beginning, it will be more like page 25. Of course all this depends on how long the opening is now that I’ve gotten more research about what it takes, as a tourist, to go from Tel Aviv Airport to Bethlehem by way of Jerusalem. I woke up this morning feeling that the voice over was too soon and could just as well served being brought in later so as to not spoil the almost silent opening. I’m pretty sure there will now not be any dialogue until like page 10,11, or 12. There is diagetic (sp) sound, but no actual story dialogue. Hmmmm. Curioser and curioser. Then of course I chose to go out about 8:00 PM and am now useless. I hadn’t been out since Tuesday and needed a break. Of course it turned out to be Karaoke night. I have been taught much this evening. Most specifically I’ve been taught that drunk people should not sing “Stairway To Heaven.” Also, people with nice voices should stick with the Church Choir. Also, if you're going to add tomato juice to your beer, don’t add it the Cherokee.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    8 Fingernails

    Will someone please tell me why I just made the entire thing more complicated than it needs to be? I reprinted the thing, and was editing it, and now it’s changing again. Admittedly it’s getting nastier and the secret society is not remaining so secret anymore, but it just messes things up. It could have something to do with the fact that I’m watching four episodes of MILLENNIUM every night. It could have something to do with trying to sabotage my own deadline if it wasn’t for the fact that I do think it’s making it better. This part of the discovery process is always nerve wracking. Admittedly it’s also energizing. Occasionally you begin to write and things unfold like flowers you’re simply watching unfurl in the sun. That’s a pretty cheesy metaphor, but accurate. The characters take over and begin to tell their own story. Sometimes they lead you down a dead-end, but they’re always honest, and no matter how far they take you from where you want them to go, they always teach you something about themselves. So, when you put them back where they were before they ran off, you’ve changed them just a bit and this time the go where they should. The biggest mistake in my estimation is to not trust them. I make that mistake a lot. I try and force them into places they don’t belong. Every time I do they rebel and let me know I’m wrong. Even when you get it right though, there’s always someone heading down a dead-end. If you’re lucky you get 80% of the pieces right and no one notices the rest. I think that’s why short stories are so hard to write, at least for me, there’s not enough space to get to know the characters unless you rewrite the story a hundred times. I’m trying to trust them now, and their telling me it all has to change. That now works out to 20 pages a day, which as anyone can tell you is impossible if you’re starting from scratch. Something’s right here though. You know how I know? It’s because I’ve got fingernails again. I have eight of them. Admittedly I’d probably have ten but I’d done some serious damage to them before I forgot to stop chewing them.

    Mucking It Up

    Well, I think I’ve decided to go against everything that was taught to me and include a voice over at the beginning of what I’m writing. Of course it really isn’t a voice over since we will eventually find that it is actually a person standing at a podium giving a sort of “history” to a large group of people gathered in a fancy ballroom for a big event. Originally the information was near the end of the second act or so, but people said it was too late and they didn’t care at that point, which is probably true. The good thing is it will be a revisionist history, which will hopefully unravel and get them into a bit of a mess later on when people discover the truth. Isn’t that always the way. Of course this means I have to change the bit where the bomb goes off and the move it somewhere else, or later. It also means I’ll have to inter splice the whole thing over one of my favorite opening scenes I’ve written and then the whole thing may not work anyway. You see, this is what happens when you try and write a sci-fi thing hundreds of years in the future and have to bring everyone up-to-speed before the whole thing comes apart. Well, at least I feel better about it today, although I’m sure this will change as soon as I begin to cut and paste and then get lost and have to print the whole thing out to find out exactly where it was I mucked it up. I also need to find the “reality” of going from the airport in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by bus, and then walking to Bethlehem, six miles away, and then what it’s like to stand outside then enter The Church of The Nativity in Bethlehem before bring the world to an end. It doesn’t take long, but it’s a bit crucial. I’ll do that later though. HA! I’m bringing the world to an end. Sweet.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    The Sky is Falling

    This first snow has started to fall here. Its not expected to make much as far as accumulation is concerned, but who knows. Realized while working on one of the scripts I’m trying to finish, (first draft), before the chili cook-off, that it’s been over three years since I wrote the initial very rough draft. It’s hard getting back into the story even though it is one I think has merit. It’s odd, that every time I try and work on one, my mind wonders to another that is only in the infant stages. Maybe they’re all the same, the stories I want to tell, which is why they seem to bleed into one another regardless of space and time. One day maybe I’ll have a better grasp on exactly what the themes are that connect them all. For now I’m editing and trying to find which scenes need to go and which need to stay and which need to be added. These things are generally seamless when you watch a good film, but are quite difficult to figure out when one is trying to stitch them whole cloth into something worthwhile. The largest problem with this one was that to finish it for class I wrote thirty pages of exposition rather than completing actual scenes. That’ll teach me. I also can’t quite figure out if it is a morality play, thriller, allegory, mystery, sci-fi epic, or all of them wrapped up in an enigmatic piece of shite. But, I digress. I’m pretty sure the first 61 pages is passable. But if it is, am I willing to watch it for 61 min since a page roughly translates into a minute on screen? I think at the moment it’s a bit boring and moves with the interest of a sloth taking a pee. Well, evidently this blog has finally become my writing bitching ground. Step carefully for there are many skeletons here.

    Geek Porn Friday

    After what seems like three months and is probably more like three months and 12 days, Sci-Fi Friday returns. I'm so giggly with excitement I feel like a little girl. This is probably the finest line-up of Sci-Fi in the history of television. Not that all three shows are consistently the best, with the exception of Battlestar Galactica, but they are all good and back-to-back. Someone please remind me if there were ever three sci-fi shows running new episodes back-to-back for three hours on a single day since the inception of television. Today is also a Firefly marathon, which I will skip, being that I own the boxed set and can't waste that much time today. So, get your porn on geek boys and girls.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Strunk and White

    I've scattered the hay from my mom's porch decorations and thrown the corn stalks into the scrap heap. I've returned the rope that belongs to the man who developed this area. All accounts have been settled today in the mountains. Now I'm going to pull out my copy of Strunk and White and try and learn the English language all over again, at least the grammar bits. Go do something kind today to someone who hates you. Then go do something spiteful to someone who loves you. Keep the balance people.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Time Slowed Down...

    There's a new short story over on TALES. It's rough and bumpy, but the idea is there for now. You have to click on the link to download a .pdf file. I just couldn't get the formatting right to just post it.

    RIP Vincent Schiavelli, 1948-2005


    Raise your glasses, this hole can't be filled.

    01001001

    01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100110 01110101 01110100 01110101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110000 01100001 01110011 01110100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110101 01101110 01110010 01100001 01110110 01100101 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100010 01101100 01101001 01101110 01101011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01100001 01101110 00100000 01100101 01111001 01100101 00101110

    01100100 01100101 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101

    Dangerous Ideas for 2006

    The Edge Annual Question — 2006

    WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?

    [The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?]

    It's my personal feeling that everyone should read this. Start with the names you know and respect then move on to the others. It's 117 original essays and 72,500 words. One essay a day might just change the way you think and react to the world. Then again it may not.

    I’m still fighting the funk. Did get some editing done though. My auditory world is currently filled with the death of the miners (on the tv downstairs). They were all alive but one when I went to bed and were all dead but one when I woke up. It would seem that the truth came just after 2:37 am. It is an interesting study in communication and how easily it can break down, even in a confined space. They gave the families 3 hours of hope and a lifetime of betrayal. We start 2006 with misinformation. Be careful what people tell you, especially if it gives you hope.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    My Nephew Finds You Useless

    Solidifying Brain Gas

    I’m sitting here feeling my brain gas solidify in my head and run into my lungs. I’m dehydrated like I spent the last two weeks in a nursing home or a VA. Luckily a few interesting things have come up like the “Limited Edition iPod by David Cronenberg”. Well, at least I think it somehow came from or was influenced by his feverish imagination. There also seems to possibly be a plot between Google and Wal-Mart to take over the world and put Bill Gates on the run. It's just speculation and rumor at this point, but most things are. Also, it would seem that cheerleading injuries are on the rise, which makes perfect sense because they insist on running around and standing on each other.

    I've got a lot of work to do and have to get back into the swing after trying to reenact as many of the Marquis de Sade's escapades this last week. That would make a great reality show. Ten contestants compete against each other in reenactments of the Marquis vilest escapades. The winner gets a bath, inoculations, an exorcism, a million dollars, and a 1 year sex tour of the world. Well, I'd watch it anyway. I got hail here last night with very strong winds, which caused an odd gurgling in the pond. It sounded like something large was trying to drink the entire thing but kept having to pause due to the hiccups.

    Oh well, back to it...whatever "it" is.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Union Jacks 2006

    OK, here is the link to the photos I took Last night at the party. I was going to edit them down, but decided to make it more of a "day in the life" kind of thing so all 255 photos are up. Don't blame me if you look stupid. Of course I'm the one in the beard holding the camera. I'm heading back to the cabin this afternoon. I really enjoyed seeing everyone. Take care.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    2005 Area Graph

    2005 BLOG ACTIVITY AREA GRAPH


    The Year of Not Sucking

    It’s official. The year of “Not Sucking” has arrived upon us. So far I have to say it doesn’t suck. Lets hope it keeps up. Nothing really interesting has happened so far this new year, but it isn’t the “Year of Really Interesting Stuff,” but rather of “Not Sucking,” so I’ll just have to be happy with what I have. I’ll be heading back up to the mountains tomorrow to try and get something done since I have gotten nothing but revelry accomplished thus far during my stay back at home. I have only a few months left before I head west so there are many things to be accomplished. I hope everyone had a nice transitional New Year and didn’t have to suffer through Dick Clark looking and sounding like a half finished MIT robotics project. But, it’s nice to know that no matter how bad of shape he was in, it was really just a transitional show so his production company could remain the ABC provider.

    “ABC and Clark's production company this year made plans to keep the show alive when Clark can no longer do it, signing "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest as his successor. Seacrest opened "New Year's Rockin' Eve" with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and introduced Clark.” [AP]

    Clark’s publicist Paul Shefrin put it this way: "The man can talk," Shefrin said. "It's not 100 percent perfect. He's still working on it becoming more perfect, but he's certainly capable of doing the show. Otherwise he wouldn't be here. There's no facial contortion. There never was any facial contortion." [Reuters]

    Mayor Bloomberg had this to say:“It just would not be New Year's Eve without Dick Clark," Bloomberg said. "I know I speak for all New Yorkers and all Americans: Dick, we love you. It's gonna be a great 2006."

    This does not bode well for the “Year of Not Sucking.”