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    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    October Country

    I'll let a writer much better than myself give you something to chew on this Halloween. Neil Gaiman's OP-ED for The New York Times.

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    4:51 PM

    Eye of the colon

    Banks and more banks

    Another week of bank surveying. Luckily the weather here is going to hold in the high 60s to mid 70s this week, which will be a nice change of pace from standing outside in high 80s to 90s. It should allow me to be a little more productive and a little less sweaty at the end of the day. Would like to say there is more going on here, but alas it is job through February. Hopefully something will break before I do.

    I do need to get a lamp though. I find that by 6 PM it's too dark in my apartment for me to read. It seems the old I get the more light I need flooding into my eyes. The overheads aren't bright enough and I'd feel too wierd turning on the heat lamp in the bathroom to read.

    Oh well, off to the races.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Saturday on the town

    Last night turned out to be a nice change of pace from my ordinarily dull life. My friend Andrea came in town to visit one of her best friends from college, Ernie. I met them out at The Abbey where there was much deep thrumming dance music and overly wrought costumed revelers. Being as The Abbey is one of the more popular gay bars in West LA, there was also things such as people dressed as “Mark Follee”, name changed to protect the guilty, putting stickers on people’s crotches. With Ernie, often to his chagrin, being like a bug-light that unfortunately did not kill off all of the flies it attracted. The poor fellow is evidently what a great number of people are looking for. But, instead of getting welcomed bump-and-goes, he seemed to attract the “lingerers”. One of them was an all right guy, wearing sunglasses to hide his obvious previous ingesting of something illicit, which was most likely X since he had a need to touch everything. Unfortunately the later one followed him from the urinals, so one had to conclude he was more of a “drain fly”. Of course, with it being the Saturday before Halloween, a great deal of the revelers were decked out in costume, but being LA, it was impossible to tell which ones were doing it for the holiday and which ones were simply wearing what they normally did for a night out at a gay bar. Andrea of course flittered about doing what she does best, which is start trouble. It’s the good kind of trouble though. Get a few drinks in that girl and she’ll ask anyone anything. It’s also the first time I’ve been anywhere and had liquor since I’ve been out here. I’ve strictly sticking to beer, but it was a nice change of buzz.

    Well, we wrapped it up around 1:00 AM and I finally found the bus stop and got a little taste of late night bus riding, which wasn’t too bad really. Reset the clock when I got home, but woke up at 8:00 AM anyway. I’ve been drinking coffee and catching up on TV ever since. Watched ep 4 of Studio 60 and ep 11 of season 2 of Weeds. I really should write more about what I’m watching. Then again I really should be doing a lot of things I’m not.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Six Word Stories

    Wired did it, so why can't I?

    I hit her, she hit me.

    I lose my future, tomorrow. You?

    Think dammit! It all ends now.

    One bullet is never enough anymore.

    I opened my coat. Worlds collided.

    Engage. Sir? There's a Super Nova.

    Six word stories aren't that easy.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Internet was down

    Sun Oct. 22 2006

    Writing this while the main Internet connection is down. I’ll post it as soon as I have a new or old link back. I didn’t even know it was a Holiday.

    The first week of work left me a bit thin. I didn’t quite hit the 20 site mark I’d hoped for. Only got 15, which was more than I needed to but not as many as I’d promised. Of course they did send me on a 5-hour “fool’s errand” that killed a chunk of time I should have been surveying. I think I wasn’t ready mentally or physically for the new contract to begin. I should be up to speed this week though. Once in the groove, I need to carve writing time into the whole week, even if it’s just an hour a day. Don’t know when that’ll be, I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m hoping to take Sundays off, which shouldn't be a problem seeing as how there is a security issue at the sites and I would rather be turned in to an employee who’s manager knows I’m there rather than to the cops. That could be a pain in the ass. Today I paid bills, read comics, and talked to the parents, which is how Sundays should be. Sometime next week I’m going to have to get new break pads as the squeaking has begun which means there’s metal making love near my wheels. There’s also a funny noise from the steering column, or at least it sound that way. Hopefully it’ll be solved with the break pads as well.

    Mon Oct 23, 2006

    “RHI has cut a deal with Sci Fi Channel to produce up to 10 monster films over the next two years, title which Sci Fi will have license to for a period of seven years. According to Variety, RHI will maintain all home video, new media and VOD rights of the films. The upcoming titles include Blood Monkey, Eye of the Beast, Maneater and Grizzly Rage. While termed as being "low-budget monster films", each title is expected to be produced with a budget exceeding the usual $2.2 million because of the additional rights RHI will maintain.”

    And, here is the reason DEADWOOD died. I don’t think it was a fair trade.

    “HBO has ordered 11 episodes of the pilot project “John from Cincinnati” from producer David Milch. The series is about a young wealthy guy, John, who goes to California to surf and stays with the Yost family, a multi-generational and strongly dysfunctional family of ex-surfer champs.”

    Well, it turns out that today is the day I get to take my car in and have the break pads replaced seeing as how by the time I got to the first location this morning the high pitched metal touching metal sound was pretty much a constant and was now occurring when I drove, not just when I used the brakes. Thinking I’d go somewhere after the first location, I turned the corner to find its parking garage closed. So after much mental debate in a McDonald’s parking lot I headed back to 13th and Pico to a brake shop that was recommended to me. Upon arriving thirty minutes later I found it was appointment only and that just wouldn’t cut it. So I went to the only Toyota dealership I knew of in the area. I got there about 9:00 AM and they said they’d get to it by lunchtime and call me back. So I left to take the bus home. Of course I forgot to grab my apartment key off the ring but luckily realized it after only walking five blocks. After I got the key I walked about 10 blocks before deciding that the bus was definitely the right idea. Now at home, 2 hours after dropping off my car I await the call and the inevitable hemorrhage inducing damage total all the while hoping that I didn’t warp my rotors.

    1 hour later

    Oh well, just got the call. While I didn’t warp the brakes, they will need to be machined a bit since there was some metal crunching. “That’ll be four hours from now and $405.00,” please. I asked if they’d throw in an oil change and they said, “An oil change will be $27.99.” I think I’ll go to EZLUBE for that, it’s cheaper there and comes with a car wash. Oddly enough the rear brakes are still at 50%. How does one break wear two times faster than another? I can only guess that the last time the pads were replaced, only the rear ones were replaced. I feel dirty, like someone touched me in my secret money place.

    I’m now monetarily 8 sites behind with the breaks and the advance on the work. Sweet. Maybe something else can go wrong. That’d be dandy.

    Hiding behind comic books until dirty Toyota Dealership Repair Shop guy calls me back to come pick-up my car.

    4 Hours later

    I got the car back. It was only $390.04. So, they must have finished about two minutes before they expected saving me $16.00 in labor. The bonus was that they washed my car, which around here is a $15 - $20 value. The point however, is that everything feels tighter which gave me considerable more driving confidence when I left the dealership and that is priceless. Remember kids, when metal makes love, it’s already too late.

    Sunday, October 22, 2006


    Went to the comic store yesterday and picked up the following, which made me somewhat happier than I was before I went in. Plus, it turned out to be their 13th anniversary so I got 25% off. Can't beat that with a stick.

    I also picked-up the first 5 issues of Matt Fraction & Gabriel Ba's CASANOVA. It's their "dose" take on the 16 page format pioneered by Warren Ellis with FELL, of which I also picked-up the 5th issue.

    Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse
    #3 by Ben Templesmith (unfortunately missed #2)

    Criminal #1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

    Jack of Fables #1-3 A spin off of FABLES by Bill Willingham. It's probably one of my favorite continuing series in years, Fables that is, and I did it all with collected GNs, but alas I do miss getting a monthly issues fix.

    And finally, DESOLATION JONES #7 by Warren Ellis.

    Ah comics. Smile.

    Oh well, there seems to be something wrong with the Amazon Associates html so the pictures don't load. Oh well. What was there was INVINCIBLE vol 2 and vol 3 ans B.P.R.D. Vol 2.

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    I'm boring you, aren't I?

    Sorry there hasn't been anything new of late. Trust me, I'm bored too. Look to the future, there will be something I suspect.

    From CA:


    Professor Nightshade is sitting in a chair enjoying a cup of coffee. He stares at the rest, who have each been tied to a chair. One of the Assassins is just finishing up tying down Edmund, who winces a bit as the ropes are pulled taunt.

    Is this Kenyan?

    You Bloody Bastard.

    (to Johnathan)
    There are ladies present.

    Speak for yourself, Tuffed up like a Judy. I can’t believe I used to make me good stew for ya’.

    Your stew Ms. Dandridge, was always as common as your tongue.

    That will be enough of that Sir!

    Still the loyal lapdog Edmund?

    Prof. Nightshade gives the whole group a good look.

    Common every one of you.

    Untie me, I’ll show you common.

    Prof. Nightshade laughs.

    I’m sure you could Mr. Montana.

    Prof. Nightshade gets up, placing his cup on the table.

    But unfortunately I don’t have time to dabble in such pleasures.

    He RAPS his cane twice on the floor.

    THROUGH the door a MAN enters in an armor suit with a tank on his back. He has goggles on and in his hand is a long metal staff connected by a hose to the tank. A small flame flickers on the end of the staff. It’s a FLAMETHROWER.

    I’m afraid I must be going now.

    Johnathan is ENRAGED. He struggle against the ropes binding him.

    You have no right.

    Prof. Nightshade turns with a flourish and walks for the exit. He passes the Man with the flamethrower.

    Burn it down. Burn it ALL down.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    Things I've learned

    If you take a "knob Creek" corked bottle top and stick it into a beer bottle, it fits perfectly, allowing you to only drink a bit of beer and still have it fresh the next day. It's not like your bourbon will go bad. So, keep your Knob Creek cork tops for more enjoyable beer drinking. I do!

    p.s. I'll write up a little something about how I got to see the first four episodes of the 3rd season of Battlestar Galactica on the big screen this past Sunday. But not now, I'm tired. EJO was there and so was number 6 (Caprica 6). Suffer.

    Saturday, October 14, 2006


    Just for the sake of showing you how I get where I am going when I work, here is a map of the spider's web of freeways in a roughly 40 mile by 50 mile bit of LA. I live at the bright green dot on the far left of the map just above the 405/2 crossing to the right of the 2, which is Santa Monica Blvd. I've been on all of them now, except for the toll roads and I've been on two of them. Now, for those of you in Knoxville, think about how much better just having the 40 is, even if it is a pain sometimes.

    Leaving a Mark

    Space Porn

    Week in Review

    Well, it’s been a full week here, and by full week I mean I had a great deal to do, none of which had anything to do with writing or creativity, unless you include the creative ways I stayed alive driving the freeways of LA and the writing I did while filling out surveys and scribbling siteplans.

    Speaking of siteplans, they look something like this, although there are no photo points on this one and so it’s like 85% complete.

    Monday Oct 9

    Trained a few people down in San Juan Capistrano. They arrived about a little over an hour late so I sat in my car waiting. We trained on two sites and one of them forgot to wear sensible shoes, so she sat down and had the other person I was training yell the measurements across the parking lot to her. Which was not too bad in this instance since it was Columbus day and the banks were closed. Evidently, most Americans, and especially “new” Americans don’t really have a collective conscience of Columbus Day, so there were about 200 people between the two banks that kept walking up to the entrance doors and yanking on them even though there was a bright red sign on one of the doors telling them it was closed for a holiday. They insisted on yanking the door numerous times to confirm that it was indeed locked before they chose to actually read anything. Once they figured it out, there seemed to be only two possible reactions. Some of them laughed at their forgetfulness of the holiday, the others would get really angry and storm off cursing the bank under their breath.

    Cities visited: San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente

    Tuesday Oct 10

    Had the day off, so I wrote a bit and read the news and e-mailed with people.

    Wed Oct 11

    Switched to the other survey job and did 5 locations. It’s a different deal involving collecting data related to POP shipments for the gas station locations surveyed. One of the major Gas Station chains is converting all of their stores, so once construction is complete, I do these surveys for the marketing company that sends them their ads to post about the inside and outside advertising whatever deals there are or for PSAs about good things like Race for the Cure. These are pretty straight forward and take about an hour with photographs. The problem is that since they are based on conversion completion, the sites have no real relation in distance. So It was over 200 miles of driving to get to the five. A bit of a pain really. The nice thing about doing these is that they all have available restrooms which is the most annoying thing when doing sites like banks, where you have to find a restroom in a mall or a gas station close or something when you feel the need. Plus you can grab a drink or a snack right there when done.

    Cities visited: Riverside, Corona, Rancho Cucamonga, La Mirada, Bellflower

    Thur Oct 12

    This was another training day. I had to go to Bakersfield, which is a little over a two hour drive from LA. It’s up the 5, which is a somewhat winding sort of interstate that gains and loses 1000s of ft of elevation over a few mile stretches. It’s a pretty drive, but there are so many tractor trailers on the road that it gets a little problematic. They have to stay in the right lane and go about 30 miles an hour slower than everyone else incase they lose it on the 6% downgrades. It was a bit ironic that the only place I could smell the left over odor of the Day Fire, one of the largets fires in California History, was for about a two mile stretch before and after the “Smokey Bear Rd.” exit. The mountains in the distance looked like they’d been powdered with charcoal dust and stood out stark and gray against the yellow of the untouched hills and ranges in the foreground.

    This training went a little better. The guy and his wife were prepared and it went somewhat smoothly. They’d brought their dog “Grim” who slept in the back of their pick-up while we worked. He was some pit-bull mix. The wife sat in the car after about the first half of the first site. She's a larger gal and I think didn't realize there was as much walking involved as there is. They bailed after two sites so I finished the third one on my own then got back on the road for LA around 4:30 which got me back about 10 til 7:00. So it was a 5/7 day. Five hours on the road and seven in the field, which is about average for the sites on the periphery of my range, which is roughly a 135 mile radius.

    Fri Oct 13

    Did two more gas station sites in the morning which took 4 hours of field and drive time. I also stopped at Home Depot and picked up a measuring wheel since I have to get building and street frontage for these things. I then came back to the apartment and finished the paper work and knocked out the invoices which took about 2.5 hours.

    Cities visited: Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa

    So for the week, working 4 days, I put in about 50 hours all totaled and drove about 600 miles. This is why I didn’t really have time to post. So, now that I’ve bored you with my week I shall leave you with the thought that at least tomorrow I get to watch the third season premiere of Battlestar Galactica on the big screen at the Egyptian Theater with at least one of the cast. Which was the only thing I had to look forward to this week.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Three Weeks In



    OCTOBER 10, 2006
    The Programming Insider

    Marc Berman

    Three weeks into the 2006-07 season, here is an update on the new prime time entries (with original time periods in parentheses):

    -The Knights of Prosperity (Tues. 9 p.m.): On hold; will be replaced by benched sitcom Big Day in November.
    -Help Me Help You (Tues. 9:30 p.m.): Declining by about 50 percent from lead-in Dancing With the Stars.
    -The Nine (Wed. 10 p.m.): Disappointing opening performance.
    -Ugly Betty (Thurs. 8 p.m.): The new hit of the season based on two episodes.
    -Six Degrees (Thurs. 10 p.m.): Losing more than one-half the audience of lead-in Grey’s Anatomy, with significant tune-out at 10:30 p.m.
    -Men in Trees (Fri. 9 p.m.): Fading fast.
    -Brothers & Sisters (Sun. 10 p.m.): Losing about one-third of its Desperate Housewives lead-in.

    -The Class (Mon. 8 p.m.): Flipped time periods with How I Met Your Mother; now airing Monday at 8:30 p.m. Weak initial start in new time period.
    -Smith (Tues. 10 p.m.): Canceled.
    -Jericho (Wed. 8 p.m.): Surprisingly potent after three telecasts.
    -Shark (Thurs. 10 p.m.): Losing about one-third of its CSI lead-in.

    -Heroes (Mon. 9 p.m.): Renewed for the full season.
    -Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (Mon. 10 p.m.): Losing steam every week.
    -Friday Night Lights (Wed. 8 p.m.): The lights were dark in week one.
    -30 Rock (Wed. 8 p.m.): Debuting tomorrow.
    -20 Good Years (Wed. 8:30 p.m.): Debuting tomorrow.
    -Kidnapped (Wed. 10 p.m.): Closing down production and burning off the remaining episodes Saturday at 8 p.m.

    -Vanished (Mon. 9 p.m.): Shifting to Friday at 8 p.m. in place of Nanny 911.
    -Standoff (Tues. 8 p.m.): Flipping time periods with lead-out House as planned.
    -Justice (Wed. 9 p.m.): Moving to Monday at 9 p.m. in place of Vanished.
    -‘Til Death (Thurs. 8 p.m.): Waiting for the axe to swing.
    -Happy Hour (Thurs. 8:30 p.m.): Canceled (or, to quote Fox. “on hiatus”)

    -Runaway (Mon. 9 p.m.): Moving to Sunday at 9 p.m. out of the relocated 7th Heaven after two DOA telecasts.
    -The Game (Sun. 8:30 p.m.): Moved from Sunday at 8:30 p.m. to Monday at 9:30 p.m. also after two telecasts.

    Ratings Box:
    What’s Hot/What’s Not

    -Respectable Start for Sci Fi’s Battlestar Galactica:
    The two-hour, third-season premiere of Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica was the top-rated cable series on Friday, Oct. 6, with a 1.8 household rating and 2.2 million viewers. Comparatively, however, that was still down by 900,000 viewers from the season two opener in July 2005 (3.1 million).

    -Friday Night Smackdown! Dominates Among Young Men:
    The CW’s Friday Night Smackdown! finished Friday, Oct. 6 as the top-rated show among men 18-34 (2.0/ 8), according to the fast nationals. It also finished second among men 18-49 (1.8/ 6) and third among adults 18-34 (1.6/ 6), ahead of ABC and Fox. Growth over former WB comedies What I Like About You. Grounded For Life, Reba and a repeat of Blue Collar TV on the year-ago evening was as much as 233 percent among men 18-34.

    -Final Friday Nationals:
    For the final Friday national rating results, click on, then on 1) Ratings Box and 2) Last Night’s Results.

    Source: Nielsen Media Research data

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Why Sci-Fi was born

    Valid or not, I wrote what follows as an automatic writing moment upon viewing the first episode of season three of Battlestar Galactica. Don't worry, I don't know what it all means either.

    It is with the greatest sense of the word homage that Battlestar Galactica looks to the reason Science Fiction was born. It takes the trials and indignations of the present, both personal and political and gives them voice so that they might sing their plight beyond the specifics of any country, culture, or personal dogma. It is to allow the feeble human brain a moment to step back and look at the circumstances of the presnt without the filter of religion, nationalism, or self and see fully, through fiction, the face that stands before us all in the mirror. For this I give them the greatest of humble accolades. Sure, there is some vestige and residue of human interference here, even writers of science fiction can only remove themselves so far, but I believe that they have done an admirable job of weaving the present with the future so that me might still have a chance to see tomorrow. It is what science fiction is for, to allow discussion of things present, masked in the fiction of a place much removed. I hope that it is successful, and begins much discussion. It is better to talk of things even if they are thinly disguised, rather than to let them go by as we turn our heads in shame to our own thoughts. Of course this opinion, like many more can easily be undone, should those in charge falter in their vision. So, consider this a secular prayer to the formless things that lurk between the atoms. May season three live up to the first episode, and may season four be so strong that it shakes the very foundations of fiction, spinning it into prescience of fact. I stand in awe not of what I believe to be something radically new, but of something old, that still wields such power.

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    BG Season 3

    Well, I don't have a TV at the moment, so while everyone else out there geeks out on the first episode of Battlestar Galactica season 3 tonight, I'll just have to wait until Sunday when I get to see it on the big screen with "Hotdog". Living here has its moments.

    [UPDATE: Hotdog just informed me that it isn't until next Sunday, but still.]

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Clouds Finally

    Fall 2007 TV Season

    So, since I have a limited television access situation, it's going to be hard to see everything I want. I have to work for my TV, in a way, so I'm only paying attention to the following shows this year and hopefully will get to see most of them. Some of them have already ended for the Summer season, but I'm still working to see them, if you know what I mean. So, the only shows I consider worth the effort this year are as follows (in alphabetical order):

    Battlestar Galactica
    Doctor Who (When it returns)
    Eureka (Almost Over)
    Extras (Almost Over)
    Gilmore Girls
    My Name Is Earl
    Stargate Atlantis (Almost over)
    Stargate SG 1 (Almost over)
    Torchwood (When it starts)
    Veronica Mars

    I'm sure there is at least one more out there worth watching, but I'll have to catch it on the flip side. On the positive side, you all will probably see them before I will.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    CA First Hour

    Finally finished the first draft of the first hour of CA. It took longer than I thought it would for many reasons that are not limited to computer crash, my inability to type and having to retype, distraction, work, other projects, etc. Hopefully the second half will go more quickly, like this week since I start training some people next week and then start working 6 days a week the week after that until sometime in February or March. Fun Fun Fun. But at least this is done for now. So, moving on then.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    The Proposition

    Just watched The Proposition last night. It's one of the best westerns I've seen in a while, with the exception of Deadwood of course, and what makes it doubly interesting is that the setting isn't the untamed west of the Americas, but the equally untaimed continent of Australia. The performances are pitch perfect and the story is brutal and honest. Written by one of my favorite song writers Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat, whom I've never seen work by, it is an affecting look at brotherhood in a more violent veign of Of Mice and Men. It is by turns both brutal and poetic, some might be turned off by the violence, but then again it is a tone poem to the very violence that underlines that period of Australian history. Definitly not for everyone., but perfect for me.