Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

End game

My mother is being brought home, tomorrow, to finish out her days and be cared for by hospice.  I'll be trying to figure out the funeral and probate issues over the next week, since mom has next to no money, no insurance and no will.  Meaning my sister and I will be paying for everything.  In fact, she and my little brother are doing all they can to help deal with it.  Other members of the family...they're doing exactly what I figured they would so they are immaterial.  Right now, mom is the focus.

There's a good likelihood my little brother will wind up living with me in Buffalo since he'll have no place else to go except the street.  He has emotional and developmental problems and really cannot fend for himself, anymore...though I have to say, he really stepped up and took care of mom during her last two illnesses.  Even people you've known all your life can surprise you.  But we'll have to see how he does with a winter up there.

Great birthday.  At least my sister brought me an angel food cake with fresh fruit and Cool Whip as well as a card that plays to my "Star Wars" nerdiness, and I got a phone call from a good friend in LA.  I also have notes on my Facebook page so need to look those over.  Be good to be brightened up; I'm pretty damned exhausted, right now.

Friday, July 29, 2011

If not God, who?

I'm having a battle within, right now.  I don't believe in God in the Judeo-Christian or Muslim sense -- a sentient being manipulating the world according to his, her or its whims.  That thought is so ludicrous, I can barely even accept the idea of it...because I have so consistently seen proof it is just plain nonsense.  Look at any time in history (let alone how the world is turning, these days, thanks to the selfishness of the rich and the scum they own) and you'll see how preposterous the concept is.

That said...there is SOMETHING more than just this plane of existence.  I've caught glimpses of it when I'm writing, because I cannot even begin to explain how I was able to capture some of the things I've put into my stories and scripts.  Charlie's suicide attempt that turns into murder in "Wilderness Rule".  Curt's psychotic break in HTRASG.  Daniel's argument with his ids in the shower in LD.  The manner in which Charl's sister drives Mitch into giving up on life in "5 Dates".  So many others.  And I know I'm repeating myself when I say this, but it's too ingrained in my being for me to ignore.  And that's where the confusion lies.

I was raised Presbyterian till mom shifted us to Episcopalian, so that old time religion was seared into my soul...and I cannot completely escape it, as much as I might want to.  Which is especially troubling right now as my mother slowly, slowly drifts into death.  She BELIEVED, something that caused me a fair bit of grief until she accepted that I didn't choose to be gay...and while it was never screaming or vicious but more the tearful "I don't want you to go to hell" kind of thing, it still tore at me. But by God, she believed and had faith and all the attendant nonsense...and to see her suffering like this infuriates me, even as I can see how it's just the way of life...see that in mind if not in body.

And...just to prove I'm probably more than a little psychotic...see that this inspires me in POS.  Brendan's fight with his religion and his relationship with his mother are both being colored by this, as is another betrayal that's become part of his story.

This almost sounds like I think mom's death is meant to help me write a better book.  I won't deny that feels like a small part of it and I feel both shame and exhilaration at the prospect.  Looks like there's a touch of the demon in me...and maybe that's what lets me dive head first into the darkest waters of my soul to find the truth of my characters.

Maybe that's my religion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rollercoaster

Going back to tatters, it seems.  I'm beginning to feel like I got the financial-disaster aspect of Mozart down pat but somehow forgot to include the genius part.  I hate it when that happens.  But that's me all over, again.

Mozart wrote brilliant music for over 30 years and changed the course of symphonies and operas...but he never was able to make a living at it and wound up being buried in a pauper's grave.  At least his music lives on.  Me...I'll be lucky if I even get buried when I die, and I doubt my work will be read as classic literature in a hundred years.

I whine about this because if my mother dies, the funeral and burial will cost over $6000...and that's for a cheapie.  She doesn't even have half that much put back, has no insurance and Social Security only gives $255 towards a burial.  She can't die, yet, because we can't afford it.  And everyone who owes me money is pleading poverty so can't (or won't) pay up.  My own damn fault for letting it get to that point, but still...

Maybe mom sort of realized the situation, because she's begun taking her medication, again, and went to see her kidney doctor.  And she's agreed to let them put a feeding tube into her stomach so we can get some nutrients into her.  Total turnaround from two days ago.

I got all this just before I left for Chicago.  I'm only here the one night; if all goes well, I'm slated to leave at 9pm tomorrow evening.  BUT...thunderstorms are expected late in the afternoon.  I can just see myself getting stuck here overnight, again, like I was at O'Hare.  I don't think I'll be nice about it, because my younger brother's complete indifference to what's going on with our mother is driving me close to murder.

Helps to have a vicious book to write and vent into.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Subject over quality

I'm reading a very badly written book about a hideous time in a Catholic boys' orphanage in Dublin back in the 50s.  It was run by the "Christian Brothers", who seemed to believe the old adage "Spare the rod; spoil the child" meant vicious beatings and sexual assault.  The writing level is barely livable, but I'm reading it for information more than anything else and in that, it's providing.  But it's obvious the author still has difficulty dealing with the subject...and considering the environment, I can't blame him.

I've been reading it while sitting in a room with my mother for hours at a time as she fitfully sleeps.  Sometimes she wakes and needs water or to be shifted into a better position.  And I try to be there when her lunch and dinner come to get her to eat something, and when her therapy is scheduled to get her to do it...but she fights against both.  the only food I seem able to get down her consistently are Rice Krispies and Kentucky Fried Chicken Mashed Potatoes with gravy, though this evening she did eat a little chicken.  And she did do a few leg raises and foot moves.  But other than that she sits and dozes and reminds me of my grandmother towards the end of her life.

I'm torn here.  Sometimes I want to force her to eat and exercise so she'll get better.  Other times I can see it won't work.  She is too deep into her immobility to be able to get back to where she was when I was here back at the beginning of the year.  And I don't want her final days to be filled with pain, turmoil and tears.  Dying is a part of life, and she's already told me she does not want heroic measures taken to extend her existence on this planet.  I intend to honor that wish.

So I go from moment to moment dealing with each new situation as it arises, pushing mom as best I can without making her life hell.  Dunno how it's going, but decisions still have to be made.

To which Brendan responds, "Do they?"  And I know exactly what he means.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Hell with it -- here's HUNTER



A small part of the growl of a story I've sort of been working on to let off steam.

-------

“His name’s Tony.”

Vermin told me that when we parked the car on a street in one of those LA neighborhoods off mid-Venice where you don’t want to be out after dark. We’d found a spot in front of this old bungalow that looked abandoned. I wasn’t crazy about this, but Vermin’s ideas’re usually good so I was willing to follow...to a point.

“Looks like gang-banger central.”

“Hermanos Mayan.”

“Are you fuckin’ crazy?” I muttered. “They carry machetes.”

“Who doesn’t, these days?”

“Us! Vermin, this is NOT the pace a couple of whiter ‘n shit guys oughta be this time of night.”

“That’s why I brought these.”

He handed me a black hoodie and yanked his own on. I slipped into it and he led into the abandoned house’s yard.

“What’re we doing?” I asked, getting really nervous.

“I just wanna show you -- .”

“This is somebody’s place -- !”

“The bank’s. They foreclosed and tossed the people rentin’ it out. Then they gave up on it.”

“Bullshit.”

“Nope. The fuckin’ bank’s in Germany and hthe loan’s covered by the Feds. They don’t give a shit about LA.”

We entered the house and sure enough, talk about neglect; if it’d had copper pipes or wires anyplace, they’d been ripped off by people scavenging for craps to sell, for sure, considering how shredded the walls and floor were. I heard rats and cats and all kinds of skittery noises and nearly fell face forward twice thanks to crap scattered all over the floor. I’ve never been so relieved as when Vermin led me into the back yard and over to an opening in the left corner of the fence. He put a finger to his lips and slipped into the yard, next door. I followed.

We crept up to a decent-enough stucco bungalow. Not much grass for the yard. Toys for a toddler scattered about. Folding chairs set up near an old cable-roller used as a table -- I never could figure out what those things were called. A couple of plants hung from hooks screwed into the eaves and were barely alive. The narrow windows had bars with vines growing up and over them, and a ten-year-old Corolla sat in a driveway barely big enough for it.

Vermin stopped and smiled then pointed to an ear. I listened but only heard a shower running. He grinned and nodded then whispered, “Right on time.”

“You’ve been here before?” I barely whispered back.

He nodded and held up three fingers.

Fuck, Vermin was a peeping tom! Why didn’t I know this about the little snake?

We slipped over to a window, my heart pounding. Never in my life would I have thought of me capable of sneaking a peek in somebody’s private home, but here we were, aiming to do just that. He held me back and looked in, first, carefully moving vines aside to do so. I heard the shower cut off and gripped his arm, but he all but jiggled with excitement. He motioned me over and stepped back.

I held my breath and looked inside. It was a small bedroom jammed with a queen-sized bed, dresser, chest of drawers, end tables and a couple of straight-backed chairs. A closet door was open and clothes hung from it. A pretty Hispanic woman sat on the bed, cross-legged, her hair long and black, her skin tawny, reading a folder of papers. She wore nothing but panties and a t-shirt.

I glanced at Vermin, pissed. Women were NOT on the menu, idiot. He frantically indicated I should look back so I did -- and a moment later caught a good look as one very naked Latino male exited the bathroom, still drying his hair. But I didn’t need a glimpse of his face to see that he was built almost exactly like what our client wanted, had next to no hair on his torso but a nice amount swirling down his legs and had a nice hint of that macho swagger. But the best part was, swinging from a thick bush was a long, lovely dick and set of balls to match. He was uncut, but experience told me he had the kind of foreskin that’d stop showing halfway into his erection.

“That’s Tony?” I whispered to Vermin. He nodded.

Then the guy took the towel off his head and my breath whispered from me. He had what I call a Tele-novella face -- all square cheekbones and bright eyes and perfect lips with a chin to make any man envious. Vermin punched me in the arm to say, “Told you so.”

“Your turn,” he said in Spanish, but without a Mexican inflection.

I frowned at Vermin. He whispered, “Colombian.”

“Is there hot water left?” The woman spoke in regular English, and not like it was her second language.

Tony nodded. “You still work?” No question English was his second language, and recent acquisition, probably.

“Gotta be ready for tomorrow’s meeting,” she said as she got up. “Gonna be a real winner, this time.”

Tony grabbed one of her breasts, playfully, and said, “I’ll help you to be less tense,” in Spanish.

She swatted his hand away, laughing. “Tomorrow. Not tonight.”

“You say this yesterday night,” he said in a seductive voice as he spooned her.

“I told you, not till after the meeting,” she giggled, pulling away. “Tomorrow night, okay?”

He sighed...and I nearly sighed with him, because he’d started to get a boner and what a lovely one it would be.

She vanished into the bathroom and he flopped back on the bed...and his dick flopped back with him. He started to play with himself and I wondered if he could hear my heart pounding, it was so loud. But then Tony dipped down next to the bed, showing his exquisite ass off, reappeared with a pair of basketball shorts and yanked them on.

Vermin nudged me and we backed away from the house. 
-------------------
Dunno what's going on with this story, right now; just using it to be pissy in a way that'll make life down here easier.

Concentration

Not easy to come by.  Caring for my mother.  Helping my little brother get back in the job-search game.  The non-stop nastiness of the heat.  Hell, even dealing with the ridiculous way San Antonio has designed its streets...I swear they searched for morons to handle traffic flow and such.

For example, I found out a Starbuck's is open till midnight at The Forum, a wide-open shopping area of minimal tress under the baking sun at Loop 1604 and I-35.  But somehow the four corners of this apocalyptic freeway quadrant are seen as separate worlds or something.  The planet I needed to get to is the northeast section, and I was coming from the south along I-35.  Should've been no problem, right?

WRONG!

The first time I came out here, I wound up halfway to Randolph Air force Base (to the east) before realizing I wasn't gonna get to where I needed to go, committed an illegal U-turn and found my way back onto 1604 and headed for I-35...and I was halfway to Nacogdoches Road (to the west) before realizing you can't turn from here to there to get to where you wish you were from where I did.  I finally managed to turn around, get back on 1604, find the frontage road that sort of works and make it off to this road that rounds The Forum...and has stop signs every 50 feet, but that lead me to the Starbucks.

So I figure, "Okay, now I know where it is, I'll find my way better next time."  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  I wound up on 1604 going East and had to turn around and get back on that same damned road of non-stop stop signs.

This time I found there's a trick to it.  You get on the frontage road by I-35 going north at O'Connor, go through two stop lights, stay on the frontage road past the I-35 entrance and pass the Randolph exit and head to get onto 1604 West but don't do it.  You get off the entrance onto ANOTHER frontage road and that takes you to another light which puts you just past the Starbucks...so all you have is two stop signs to go through before you get to it.

You can't blame this on the cow trails that designate the older part of this damnable town; this is all brand new and preposterous.

BUT...I got just as lost and confused in New Jersey trying to find my way to a La Quinta by the Meadowlands back in November, so I can't say it's just SA.  It's just people being fucking stupid and not taking into account that all these little twists and turns and directions they sort of post are being read by people driving by at 50 and 60 mph and having to make split-second decisions on what to do when they haven't the slightest idea of what is and is not right.  There's no need for it.

Venting done.  Maybe I'll use this in a remake of "Duel", but instead of a guy in the middle of nowhere being attacked by the nameless trucker, it'll be him and this trucker caught in the spaghetti bowl from hell in the ugliness of San Antonio's northside.  True nightmare that.

Right now?  Working on getting a durable power of attorney to handle mom's affairs and prepare her for a nursing home.  Meaning I'll be here the whole month of August.  Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There's a reason I don't live in Texas

The friggin' HEAT.  It's always been hot as hell between mid-April and late October, but this is ridiculous. 100+ every day I've been here, except day before yesterday, when some late showers rolled in and lay a nice long dousing over the city.  Then it got down to 80.  With 95% humidity.  Makes winter in Buffalo seem very appealing.

Yesterday I stayed with mom for 10 solid hours, getting her to do her PT and take her meds and eat something, and she's doing better than she was but still is not anywhere near where the doctors think she should be.

I have to add...hell is a rehab/nursing home.  Not because of the staff; they're doing a better job than I've ever seen before and seem genuinely concerned about mom.  And are happy that someone from the family is there to help get her to do the things she needs to do to get better.  You still have to make sure things get done, at times, but some of the CNAs do come in to check on mom, and she does her level best to not be a bother, even when she absolutely needs to be.

But some of the other people there...Jesus, God.  One emaciated elderly lady lies in a wheelchair and every five minutes begins weeping about how it's no good.  I have no idea what she's referring to, but she's heartbreaking when she does it.  Another old woman just glares as me when I pass by, her lips locked in a half-sneer-half-snarl.  An old man sees me and smiles then looks away, shaking, tears drifting down his cheeks.  And others just...just sit and wait and God only knows the thoughts in their heads.  I've seen very few visitors to any of them.  Man...I do not want to wind up like this.  A bullet to the brain would be kinder.

But...just to seem shallow and callous...this is helping me with a moment in "Place of Safety" when Brendan is with his mother in the hospital, after he's returned to Derry.  I have a feeling this moment will cause me massive trouble when the story is published, but it fits too perfectly with everything.  Meaning, I wound up doing more on the story, since I was here even when she napped, focusing on the step outline, and I actually got a spine worked out.  Guess that's the positive aspect of a dark, quiet room -- no distractions except the general noises of the staff doing their thing and the occasional cries of the abandoned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quickie

San Antonio is HOT.  As expected.  My sister drives a tank, which I'm borrowing while here to the tune of probably $100 a week in gas.  Mom is nowhere near dementia; makes you wonder about doctors.  She's in rehab now...of the physical kind, just to make it clear; not the Amy Whine-house kind.  My flight to SA was packed with blond high school kids headed for Laredo for some Christian group thing, half of whom had never been on a plane before.  Quite entertaining.

During the trip I had an insight into "Dair's Window" and suddenly found the voice to the piece.  Now I just need to figure out what the book is really about.

I have 5 books dealing with POS with me that I've sworn to read before I return to Buffalo.

The GOP is still acting like a bunch of babies, and the Dems are asking them to stop screaming to get what they want.  Like the usual 5 year-old, they aren't listening.

Now I'm off to visit mom, again.  Tomorrow will be busy.  Ah, vacation time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blogging grows light and occasional

I'm headed for San Antonio, tomorrow, so will be doing little blogging for the next month or so.  My only contact with internet service will come from Starbuck's and occasional forays to North Star Mall.  I do not look forward to this.  They're talking about transferring mom to a rehab facility, tomorrow (which I'm hoping will be postponed a day), and one of her doctors has decided she's got dementia, which strikes me as odd.

I used to call mom every Sunday to see how she's doing and she's always been fine.  Then I'd been speaking with her 1-2 times a week since she got out of that "rehab center" she was in (the one that hires high school kids to help with patients) and she was consistently lucid.  Tired a lot and weak, but if she was rested she and I could talk for an hour, easily, and she never did not make sense.  We'd even disagree on politics and this political-religious zealot she follows so avidly (who shall remain nameless), so this idea of her going senile all of a sudden makes no sense to me...unless it was brought on by her illness.  Which I guess is possible.

To be fair, dementia does run in my family, on my mother's mother's side.  My great-grandmother Cora suffered from it, as did great-granduncle Jesse.  And it's known to skip generations.  So the DNA is there.  However, on my mother's father's side, the family tends to live into their 90s and be sharp as a tack till the end.  My great-grandmother Marie in Albert Lea, MN used to cut out stories from "Reader's Digest" and various other magazines then hand-make books with them to send me on my birthday and at Christmas.  She'd have lived to be a hundred if she hadn't slipped on some ice and broken her hip.  She died at 95.

So I don't know.  It's just, I'd always thought that indications of dementia show up and that it advances slowly.  Yet I saw no changes like that in any of my visits home; just her age catching up to her very quickly.  But I may be misunderstanding what my brother's telling me...or he may be misunderstanding the doctor.  I'll find out tomorrow, I hope.

This also means I'll have little time to do any writing, so I sent the last, best draft of LD off to the publisher.  This way, if things do get crazy, LD will be ready to go.   I wound up with over 62,000 words, to my shock...and also discovered that Microsoft Word's grammar checking system cannot figure out the proper use of "whose" as opposed to "who's".  TWICE it wanted me to change to the incorrect usage.  "Strunk & White" would roll over in their graves.

Now off to pack.  I'm taking two suitcases, a box and a satchel.  Good thing Southwest lets you check 2 bags for free.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grrr....

Seems the second I'm ready to dump Firefox because of the trouble it's giving me, I find out the IRS has their site configured for that or Internet Explorer, only.  So if I want to start paying my back taxes online, I have to keep FF or get IE.  This does not put me in a happy place, no sir.  But I tried Safari and it won't recognize any info input.

I'm just doing a spell-check and shipping LD off to the publisher's as final.  I have no idea what's going to be happening in San Antonio (though it sounds like my sister and little brother have things back under control), but I don't want to get into a situation where I have to do that, anyway, and at the last minute.  Besides, I can rewrite a story to death...so it's better to cut it off.

A friend raised the question of how I would feel if someone wanted to buy the film rights to LD and make it into a movie, since I first wrote it as a screenplay and then a play.  What's been interesting about the process of turning the story into a book is...how crappy my original script seems, now.    I've gained a hundred times more depth in my characters and their relationships with each other by digging into them on the page, and I feel like I've only just begun to do them justice.

I mean, granted, I wrote the script to be done on the cheap...but I didn't realize just how cheap my writing was and how locked into a rut on the story I'd become.  Now?  Now I can let it go because I know it's strong...and no matter what happens with the movie, my book will be available to show what's honest and true about the characters.  So...now I'm picturing Charlie David as Daniel, Chad Allen as Van and Cheyenne Jackson as Tad.  Not too big of a dream, is it?

Writing is a fascinating way of re-imagining the world.  I've done that in art, down to the point of abstract-expressionism, but always liked a polished form of near photo-realism, the type where it looks like a photograph on first glance but is revealed to be painted.  I guess I've worked my way into a narrative version of the same style.  A lot of what happens in LD is hard and cold, but at the same time other aspects are farcically over the top and I think they work well together.  Simply because life swings from despair to joy to fear to power to beauty to calmness to disrepute to anything else you can imagine...and this book reflects Daniel's life to perfection.

That said, I miss the addition of music and image to fill the story in even more, but I also enjoy trying to make those two aspects a part of the reading experience, anyway.  And I think I caught it once or twice.  Guess we'll see when it finally hits the stores.

Oh, dear...pink eye may be watering, still, but part of the wet on my face is tears at realizing my baby is all grown up and about to go out into the world on his own.  *Sniffle*

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Even my eye is pink

Today got blown thanks to a nice case of pink eye.  Had to go to the doctor to get some drops for it, because if I hadn't I'd have started looking like the monster out of "I was a Teenage Frankenstein"...from the neck up.  Arrrrr....

Mom is doing well enough to drive her roommate crazy from talking so much.  They're still running tests and plan to keep her for some physical therapy, so she'll probably still be in the hospital when I get there.  Which means some peace and quiet for my youngest brother.  He's even planning to go looking for work while I'm in town.

Looks like the Republicans blinked on the budget talks.  I won't believe it till they've done their duty and raised the ceiling...something they were refusing to do, like a bunch of five-year-olds who don't want to eat their peas.  Swear to God, I could almost hear them stamping their feet and saying crap like, "No, you can't make me!"  If Obama'd been a man instead of a schoolteacher, this would have ended months ago, but he let things get to this point and now it's the poor who will suffer the most.  But that's the way of the GOP...and faux Democrats.

I don't think I'll be happy till the GOP is no longer a political party.

That's it.  My eye's bugging me, too much.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Steamless

Just gonna post part of "The Lyons' Den" to show the final version. This is after Daniel's agreed to rework the scripts and be driven up to Bradleyville, where the cabin is located.  No HUGE changes, just enough to make it an easier read, I hope.

---------------------

THAT -- my guy went along with. Dammit. So as Tad worked his magic in getting him off the schedule at his jobs (without him getting fired), and called the intern, and wrote directions to this cabin, Dan-O skimmed the first script...and damn near backed out of the whole deal. It was worse than crap; it was flat out dog-meat.

“Shit,” I whispered in shock, “he’s got me soundin’ like Mickey Spillane on acid.”

“With a dash of Marquis de Sade,” my guy muttered back.

Say what?!

“Oh, dude, write that down; we gotta use it.”

“Already did.” And he was only barely paying attention to me, at this point.

“When?” I asked.

“’The Cadillac Criminal Mind’.”

“Aw, Jeez, we’re repeatin’ myself?”

“No, Carmen,” he muttered. “It was her line.”

Oh, right, when she referred to this rich-but-nice-guy idiot who wanted to be a detective but got the patois down so backwards and bad, it almost got him killed. And she said it as only a girl New Yawk born an’ bred could say it, “Listen, ya little shit, ya wanna play De Sade or Spillane? Make up yer mind an’ stick wit’ it for a day or two.”

“Don’t tell Carmen I did that,” I said with a grimace. “She’ll freak times ten.” Especially since her English really is better than that.

“It is, so I won’t,” my guy smirked, reading my thoughts, since they’re his own.

Then he and I both noticed Tad watching us, trying to keep a smile off his face as he said, “Merde, Danny, tu es si mignon quand tu es fou.”

You are so cute when you’re nuts? Seriously? Back-handed flattery of the condescending kind in French 101?! When you’re asking for a fucking favor?!! Now I knew the bastard was up to something.

So it was all set and Dan-O went to buy provisions at a drug store on the next corner. He exited with a nice full bag just as this skinny big-eyed kid named Paul pulled up in Tad’s Cadillac SUV (the kind that looks like an ice-breaker, of course). His-Gloriousness insisted my guy ride in the back, like this was a cab, then only agreed to have Paul swing by our apartment because we needed to pick up the laptop.

“Okay, I guess you do need that,” Tad grinned. “But shit, Danny, couldn’t you have picked someplace to live that’s more convenient to the freeway -- ?”

“Don’t diss my pad, Tad,” my guy snapped. “It’s the best I could afford.”

Tad laughed, closed the door on Daniel and yelled at Paul, “Go forth, James! Quick on the pedal!”

To which Paul, in his infinite capacity for awareness, replied, “Huh?”

Tad just waved him on and waved us bye-bye as we screamed into traffic, making five yellow taxis honk at us and drawing a torrent of nasty words from a couple of bike-shaws. Needless to say, Dan-O buckled himself in, tight.

That’s when I nudged him and muttered, “Y’know, you really oughta write down that ‘diss my pad’ line. Wasn’t bad.”

“It only works if I put someone named Tad into one of your stories,” my guy muttered back, “and there’s no way in hell I’m doing that to any of my books.”

“OUR books.”

“Whatever.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

That’s when we noticed Paul looking at my guy in the rear-view mirror, his eyes getting big. Dan-O just sighed.

Well, Tad’s freakiness must’ve worn off on the kid, or maybe it was just his Wisconsin roots, or maybe Paul just gets antsy about double-parking...because when we got to Dan-O’s building and we had to do that, he whined about it so much, my guy just ran upstairs, grabbed the satchel that held his laptop and notepads and was back down in two minutes, flat. Meaning, he’d be stuck in black slacks (old but nicely worn in), white cotton shirt (no “T” under it; too clich├ęd), the comfy loafers he always wore and a knee-length parka for the weekend. And while that look gave him a level of coolness that almost matched mine, it felt too much like a uniform and was not factoring into his happiness quotient.

As for me, well, I can change on a dime. So I was wearing the latest in cool-detective trench coats over your basic casual travel attire, which helps me feel like I’m on top the case. Being fictional has its advantages.

The second we scrambled back in the Caddie, the kid gasped, “Parking enforcement!” and punched it into warp speed, nearly sending my guy to the floor along with his things. And the way we weaved in and out of traffic, it took half an hour to pull laptop and groceries back together. Then in the so-called two-hour drive (that took over three hours because Little-Lord-Perfect told Paul to stay on the 287 instead of follow the 87 north, which none of us figured out until we were halfway back to the city), Dan-O uploaded the last six scripts to his laptop, scanned through them and flew into what-the-fuck-land at the lunacy of how our babies had been abused.

For example, a bit was added where Carmen gets an anonymous tip in the “...Madam” portion and races off to look into it without telling me. In direct violation of detective rule number one-oh-four. Which, of course, turned out to be a trap and wound up making her a hostage of the badder-than-bad guys, forcing me to risk life and limb to save her in a spectacular gun battle that belonged more in “Die Hard” than one of my mysteries.

“Are you fuckin’ kidding me?!” my guy growled, “now she’s dumber than dumb.”

It got worse. What did the Cheeto-eater have for Carmen’s last line in the script? “You can be my private dick anytime!”

That was too stupid even for porno and set ME to growling, “Okay, Dan-O, who can we contract to remove this dickhead’s fingers so he can never type again?”

“Gregory might know someone,” my guy said, giving my suggestion a moment of serious thought, then he kept reading and murmured, “Man-oh-man, no wonder Tad needs help.”

“That, or a fall guy.”

“It’s not my fault the scripts were written by someone with the emotional maturity of an aardvark.”

“It will be if this don’t work.”

“Ace...ANY-thing I do’ll be better than this shit.”

And boy was he right about that! Still. “You’re talkin’ a re-do of three-hundred-and sixty pages, Dan-O.”

“I can make it.”

“You just gonna cut and paste from the books?”

“On the first pass...and second...then polish.”

“Rinse and repeat.”

Dan-O looked up and blinked, asking, “What’s that from?”

“An old commercial for shampoo. Saw it on Comedy Central.”

“At the bar, right. Meaning use the shampoo twice as fast for no effect. Talk about advertising to waste resources. That guy should’ve been throttled.”

Of course, that’s when we noticed Paul eyeing us in the rear-view mirror, again, his wide eyes even wider, his hands gripping the wheel so tight his knuckles were white. So Dan-O popped off with, “Don’t worry; I’m only borderline psychotic.”

“I know,” Paul squeaked.

You do?

“How?” my guy asked.

“Mr. Bentley told me.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Plans keep changing

I'm off to San Antonio on Saturday.  My mother's in the hospital, again, no thanks to my younger brother.  When he was asked to take her to the ER instead of her doctor's appointment, he tossed a fit and stormed off.  So mom had to go by ambulance to a hospital she doesn't like.  So I'll be down there for a while.  I'm not going through what I did back in November, when she wound up in a nursing home and my sole understanding of what was happening was coming from four different directions (I include my sister-in-law here).  I bought an open-ended ticket so can come back to Buffalo when the time is right; my only problem is with my mail and the fact that I'll have no income for the next two months.  But we'll see what happens.

In the midst of this, I finished another polish on LD and will do a spell-check then send it off to the publisher as the final version.  I could rework any story until I'm dead and not get it exactly like I want it, which tends to change from day to day, depending on my mood.  But I think it's solid and ready to go.  All the moments seem real to me now and I can let go and wait for the proof to verify it.  So I'm drifting back towards POS.

Hm..."Lyons' Den" is the story I worked on during NaNoWriMo back in November 2010.  Somehow this book seems directly connected to my mother's health or something.  Weird.

I've been shifting all my tabs to Safari.  Firefox is giving me too much trouble, now, and my system won't handle an upgrade to 4.  It's an irritating thing to have to do when you use one system exclusively on your computer.

It seems Obama finally said in a news conference that cuts in Social Security and Medicare were offered to the GOP...and the bastards STILL won't agree to raise the debt ceiling because the deal includes removing tax breaks for billionaires.  A "Democrat" has offered to start the destruction of two of the Progressives' signature acts, all to protect tax breaks for peopl,e who barely pay taxes at all...when they do.   I'm beyond angry about this; I'm into numb.  It's like we have nothing but business-slaves in office.

If Obama's going to be nothing but another Republican, I'm voting green in 2012.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I don't get it

I was glancing over the political blogs I follow, trying to figure out what the Democrats are going to do now that the GOP has said tax breaks for the rich and mighty are more important than the world's economy and are threatening to let the US default on its debts as of August 2nd, and I'm finding people still fighting over the 2000 election.  And still blaming the loss on Nader in Florida!  That's ridiculous.

Just to make it clear --

1. Gore ran a crap campaign.  I said at the time it looked like he wanted to lose, he was doing so badly at it with his whole "I'm one of you" comments.  On top of that was his distancing himself from Clinton and his near refusal to really go after Bush on his weaknesses -- for example, him being a businessman who couldn't find oil in Texas, him really being an Ivy League brat, his deplorable actions in the Texas Air National Guard.  Hell, Gore did so poorly, he didn't even carry his home state.  He did not want to win.

2. Florida threw 40,000+ voters' names off the registration lists because their names "seemed similar" to convicted felons' names.  Not that they WERE, but only that they seemed like a criminal's name.  And 90% of them were minorities, who normally vote Democrat.  Of course, all of them were restored...after the election.

3.  Florida's deliberately confusing butterfly ballot gave Pat Robertson, as anti-Semitic a politician as one can be without being called a Nazi, more votes in the Jewish districts than Nader got.  Even Robertson said that was ridiculous.

4.  On the occasions where people realized they'd made a mistake and asked to correct it, they were told they couldn't, in direct violation of state law.  Florida allows for a provisional ballot to be cast when one is made in error, and those are to be counted if no challenges are brought against them.  Poll workers ignored this and told people tough shit.  Not one was prosecuted for breaking the law.

5.  The Supreme Court stepped in to settle the matter, in direct violation of the Constitution, and anointed Bush as President by a slim majority.  The Constitution allows for the House of Representatives to settle controversial presidential elections by vote in their chambers.  At the time, the GOP controlled the House, so Bush probably would still have been President, so this point may be moot.  But it was still a massive violation of the laws and procedures this country was founded upon.

6.  And this was in spite of the fact that Gore won the popular vote by more than five hundred-thousand.

Yet when I tell people that I voted for Nader in 2000, they tell me I helped put Bush in office.  What they don't expect me to do is snap back that Gore did that, himself.  We had a still booming economy (though is was slowing down and the tech bubble was beginning to hurt) and tens of millions of jobs had been added, and on top of it, we were paying DOWN the US debt.  This should have been a cakewalk for Gore, but he blew it.  And I think deliberately.

Besides, I voted in California and Gore carried that state.

So now?  Now the GOP is out to crush America's democracy and people are just beginning to wake up to how insane they've become in their single-mindedness...and all I can find is how our so-called Commander in Chief still wants to kiss their ass.  And he's the only guy the Dems will run for president in 2012.  It's sickening.

I must be feeling better; I'm not depressed by this -- I'm pissed off.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's the end of intelligence

Some illiterate fool at Macmillan Press rewrote "The Great Gatsby" using only 1600 basic words.  Why did this idiot do that?  Because students are not being taught how to read, so why give them books that they HAVE to read to comprehend?  Why not give them a bowdlerized  "Reader's Digest" version with all the three-and-above syllable words cut out so they can at least get that down right?  After all, schools are no longer about teaching kids anything; they're just day-care with lessons that mean nothing.

I cannot express how pissed off this makes me.  You want to know just how disgraceful this...this rape of a great book is?  Here's the original first few paragraphs --


In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought -- frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don't care what it's founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction -- Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament."-- it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No -- Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.

My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day.

Here is how it now reads --  


"My name is Nick Carraway. I was born in a big city in the Middle West."

In other words, "Meet Dick.  Meet Jane.  See Dick and Jane.  See Dick and Jane walk.  See Dick and Jane talk."

The new ending is even worse.  It's like the bitch who dumbed it down never read the actual book.  I wish I could say it's a joke, but it's really just a desecration...and that it's happening more and more to great works (like "nigger" being removed from "Huckleberry Finn" because it might offend someone, and never mind that the story shows it to be a stupid, disgusting, inhuman thing to say) only proves the US is now on the decline.  I'm sick about it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally...

I feel better.  And got more done on LD.  Up to Chapter 6.  Fewer corrections this go-around, but I'm still finding typos I missed and the occasional inconsistency.  I suddenly discovered I'd reversed the order of two of Daniel's books and that could prove to be confusing when being read.  So I straightened them out and cleaned up Tad's grammar a bit more.

I also cleaned up my computer and started transferring my links from Firefox to Safari.  Firefox has behaved weirdly ever since I tried to upgrade to 4, only to discover the OS on my Mac Mini won't support it.  I may need to get a new desktop in a few months.  My Mini's 4 years old and is being overwhelmed by all the crap that comes with the sites I visit -- like commercials that start without my asking them to and ads that get all gif-y and require more attention to process.  Graphics have also become more intense.

Thing is, all my programs are old, too, so I'd need to upgrade them, as well -- Photoshop and Word, specifically, since those are the ones I use the most.  Big cost on top of big cost.  But all my writing files are in Word, and what I have right now is Office 2003.  Hope I can wait till the end of the year, buy everything on Christmas sale and take the tax write-off for 2011.  I'll need it.

My mother seems to be doing better.  When I get to San Antonio, I'll see how things are.  I'm torn between driving and flying, which are equally expensive.  Plane fare would be about $400 round trip, as would gas for my car to make the 1600 miles, each way...not to mention motels and meals.  So I may fly, after all, and borrow one of my sister's cars while I'm there.

Man, August is not going to be easy.  I will have no income for 6 weeks.  The office is shutting down all of August through Labor Day, and when I do get a payment for services, it'll be mid-September for one week's consulting.  So I worked up how much I'll need between August and October and hopefully will be able to last through it all.  I can live on very little...but not nothing.

Of course, by then the GOP may have destroyed the economy and I won't have a consulting job to come back to.  Won't that be fun?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back to the grind

Worked on LD for a while once I got over my not-so-happy morning blues.  Still don't feel 100% but getting closer.  Had to mediate another "discussion" between my brother and sister.  Not easy to do over 1600 miles.  But they're better now.  They're both upset over our mother's deteriorating health.  At least mom has them around to take care of her without begging for it.

It scares me, a bit...and not for the reasons you'd think.  But how will I be when I'm older and needing someone to help me?  I don't have children or a wife; only came close once and that was in high school, when I was very much in the closet.  I was dating this girl with bad teeth and we almost went all the way...almost.  But I couldn't do it.  I'm completely gay, not a little or sort of or occasionally.  So nothing happened and we broke up not long after.  Then she got pregnant by another guy and had twins.  He had to join the Air Force to take care of her, because of the benefits.  Jesus...those boys would be 40 now.

So I'm pretty much going to be alone and at the mercy of whatever's left of Medicare and Social Security, once the GOP and AARP get done with ruining it with the acquiescence of the Democrats.  I better start taking better care of myself so I can handle all that crap.

Don't mean to be maudlin, but when it looks like your mother is dying, you tend to think about your own mortality.  The deaths of my father and stepfather had minimal effect on me since neither of them mattered much in my life.  I was harder hit by my grandmother's death...and even that I was able to handle all right because she was 79 and handed me a lot of her independent spirit...a lot more than I realized at the time.

But my mother's always been something of a child, dependent on others, always needing help.  She never learned how to drive.  Never worked a job for very long.  Never lived alone but always with someone.  Never wanted much more than to have a place to stack her boxes of junk and have some plants to tend to.  She's never been completely well.  I think the only time she truly enjoyed life was when she was living with me and working as an extra in movies and music videos.

She's the nun in Eminem's "Role Model" video.  She also played twister in a feathery jacket in "Purple Hills."  She's a juror in the Coen Brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There" and even has a shot to herself with Tony Shaloub, near the end.  She's a passenger handing over her boarding pass in  Wes Craven's "Red Eye".  She's one of the people stoning Nas in "Do You Hate Me Now?".  And she's been in Steven Spielberg's "Terminal", though I never could see where she was in that.  And she's been in a U-2 video, the remake of "Inherit the Wind", "Nurse Betty" and in the movie version of "Rent", at the beginning.  Hell, the joke was that she was more successful in film than I was.  For sure, she now has a touch of immortality.

She never got paid a lot but she did it more for the chance to be around people and just be herself.  And 9 times out of 10, it was me driving her there and picking her up...though there was one occasion where Wes Craven sent a car to get her because he wanted her in another shot out in the middle of...Ojai, was it?...which may have been the boarding pass one.  She was shocked.

That lasted for 7 1/2 years before she started losing her balance too much to be on the set.  She had a couple of spills that scared people but which she brushed off.  And which I wouldn't find out about untill a couple of days later.  So she finally decided to move back to Texas to be with the grandkids and my youngest brother.  And she still talks about it.  It's too bad she waited so long to get started.  Who knows what else she would have been in?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

That devil sun...

...kicked me around, today.  I got WAY too much if it over the last few days, including some burn, and right now I ache and my stomach is uneasy and I had to take a nap when I got home from work.  I woke up after nearly 2 hours, meaning tonight will be a pain when it comes to getting to sleep...or not.  I may still crash.

THIS is what comes from not following your own advice to people -- wear a hat and sunblock or carry an umbrella to keep the worst of it off you.  But the truth is, I wasn't planning to do as much walking around as I did and before I knew it, I was already too far gone for any of that to make a difference.  And it always takes a couple of days to build up to its worst.  Dumb.

Tomorrow I'm off so will take it easy...except I need to do laundry.  I used to have clothes enough to keep me for two weeks, but somehow that's dropped to 8 days, considering how many have worn out or been ruined at work.  And I haven't bought new clothes since I got up here...so maybe it's time.  New shoes, too...if I can find the brand I like.

I've noticed the "talks" between the GOP and Democrats now includes cuts to Social Security.  Not outright cuts, no...just cuts to cost of living adjustments which will impact the poorest and many of the middle class elderly the most.  AARP's guy said they'd consider changes and sure enough, here they come, right on schedule.  And let's not even discuss what they're planning for Medicare.  What's worse is, the Democowards are going along with it.  Talk about depressing.

My grandmother was right.  Thirty years ago she said Republicans were for the rich man and didn't care about anyone else.  And she ranted at how they had wanted to kill Social Security since its inception.  She worked as a nurse for 30 years and it was only the last 5 years of her job that she made a decent wage; before that, she always had to take extra jobs during her two week vacations, going home with newborn babies and getting them to sleep through the night in nothing flat...which is a trick she knew and never shared.  I don't think she had any real time off till she retired at the age of 70...and she died when she was 79.  It's wrong...but that was the reality.  And the fucking GOP wants to send us back to a time when people didn't even get that much.

I don't know if I believe in hell, but for scum like them, I sure hope there is one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Odd little towns in NY

Ardsley is one of those winding street towns that go on and on and wind up either nowhere or in places that are amazing.  Like today, I wound up with both aspects.  Going one way, this street lead to a tiresome series of other streets of nothing houses and dinky stores, but going the opposite direction, this same street lead me to a winding road that wound up on the Hudson River Gorge with a view of Manhattan and the George Washington Bridge in the distance.  A lovely moment.

Of course, then I tried to get to JFK from there...and got SO turned around and screwed up, it took me twice as long as it did to get out of the city.  The map I had didn't mother to mention that the city has names instead of numbers for its freeways and bypasses, so first I wound up going through the Bronx when I should have gone through New Rochelle and then I was headed back to Manhattan instead of Jamaica...and it only escalated from there.  So I got off the friggin' freeway at Queens Blvd since I knew that would lead me back to the Van Wyck Expressway...only it didn't...because it wasn't NAMED that when I got to the crossover...so I missed it and had to scramble to find my way back.

Why the hell anyone would want to even consider driving in NYC unless they had to is beyond me, but this town's got more cars than LA and drivers that are twice as vicious with traffic that LA would be hard pressed to match.

But somehow I made it then went looking for Coney Island since I didn't have to turn the car in for a few hours...and wound up in Rockaway.  I have no idea how...but at least I was able to backtrack.  And I did get a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean and NY beaches...and they are butt ugly.  I'm spoiled by the beaches of Malibu and Santa Monica; these things were boring and surrounded by berms of grass and fences and people with a hand out asking you to pay $12 for the privilege of sitting on a public beach.  I ignored them and took some photos and left.

I like NYC but I would never want to live here.  Not unless I had a six-figure salary and no bills...because everywhere you turn it costs you double what it costs anyplace else.  Want a nice dinner?  Minimum $30 per person unless you go to a MacDonald's.  Also expect the subway scanners to cheat you out of a fare at least once a week, as happened to me, yesterday.  And there are long stretches of nothing sprinkled with long stretches of everything you could want.  And the tourists will drive you nuts.

But that's just my impressions from the few times I've been here.  And I get the strong feeling I'd have a hard time writing if I was here.  So that's another minus.

But on the plus side... it IS the city that never sleeps.  Period.  And has arts out the wazoo...so I do like that.  LOTS.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Another brick in the wall

I just got word the first ten pages of my script, "Find Ray Tarkovsky", will be acted out onstage at the WildSound Screenplay Festival in Toronto on July 30th.  I was planning to head down to San Antonio on the 29th; looks like I'll be postponing that.  I want to be there for this.  FRT is my most commercial script, after "The Lavender Curse" and "Bugzters", neither of which is going anywhere, and is the one least likely to work as a book...so this is its only shot at being heard in any way, form or fashion.

I've managed to miss all the Fourth of July celebrations...deliberately.  I'm in no humor to give consequence to America's self-congratulation when so few of her people are doing anything to keep the GOP from destroying the country.  Those Repugnican bastards are still tossing their childish fits and refusing to even consider increasing taxes on billionaires while happily slashing help to those who truly need it, and while still trying to cut Social Security and Medicare.  There's nothing new about their wish list; what's new is how many Democowards are jumping ship to help them.

Obama has no one but himself to blame for it getting to this point.  He kissed the GOP's asses and gave in to them so many times before, small wonder they think they can get away with it, again.  And this time they're holding the whole damned world as hostage, because if they don't raise the debt ceiling and the nation defaults on its loans in any way, the economy will probably collapse.  And if ours goes, so goes the world's.

Of course, it's possible he's really a stealth Republican, because so many of Obama's actions fit in so nicely with the GOP's preferences and because he's so happily spit on the people who helped elect him to office.  It's almost as if the Tea Party was formed to keep people thinking he's one of the progressives, even though he's anything but.  It's disgusting to even be considering that as a possibility...but the truth is, the right wing's already said they'd do it in places like Wisconsin and Ohio.  Why NOT on a national level?

Man...do I sound paranoid or what?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another one bites the dust-y books' ends...

Which doesn't make any sense, I know, but I like the rhythm of it.  Anyway, I finished the packing job and came back to the hotel to do some info sharing then went to High Line Park and walked the length of it.  Probably not a smart thing to do since I'd been on my feet all day for the last few days...but it was nice and cool and lovely, and the shifting sidewalk was beckoning me to enjoy the conglomeration of plant life under old and bizarrely new buildings and the birds' nesting sculpture and the views of the river and on and on...so before I knew it, I was at 30th Street, where someone had installed a dozen massive ballon figures in a lot on the street level for adults to play with.  Amazing.

I have to say, this little walk is worth the trip.  I was dog tired by the time I got there and my feet will take a long time to forgive me (I actually have a blister on my left heel; my first in years)...but I wouldn't have missed it.  I took so many pictures, my cameral decided to kill the battery so I have to wait till it's recharged before I can share anything.  Unfortunately, I'm in yet another hotel that does not believe in providing ample electrical outlets; meaning, the camera's plugged in on the other side of the room.

Also unfortunately, I decided to walk over to the Empire State Building and have the fish and chips in The Heartland Brewery.  Their usual chef must have been off because the fish they served me was so damn salty I could barely eat it, and then only after slathering it in malt vinegar.  I know I should have complained, but I was starving by this point so just dug in.  What's funny is, the chips had next to none of the stuff.  Weird.

So now I'm back at the hotel and wishing it had a tub so I could soak.  And tomorrow it's up the Hudson to pick up some books for our courier service.  I'm renting a car for that.  And on Tuesday it's back to Buffalo, where I will find my mail crushed and crumpled.  I forgot to put in a hold at the Post Office and this one guy loves to jam my letters and magazines and Netflix DVDs into the slot so hard, you can barely get them out.  Another reason to get a post box at a UPS store.

Man...it'll be so nice to sleep in, tomorrow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

History vanishes

In the summer of 1979 I stayed in NYC because I was planning to go to Graduate School at NYU, in film. But I had an attack of attitude and turned them down and moved back to Texas to go to UT.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  But while I was still thinking about it, I was staying with a friend on Spring Street...and I think it was #25.  It was a hideous basement loft at the corner of Mott and close to Little Italy, that had a tiny shower and toilet area, a hot-plate-style kitchen and NO windows, so when the lights went out, you were in complete and total darkness.  God, I hated that place.

Well, it's gone.  A big, bland, blank, brick apartment building sits there, now, and the area is partially gentrified, with high-end shops and restaurants mingling with funky places and cheesy little bars and food joints.  I suppose I could have taken pictures of the area...but it was boring in an odd way.

And painful.  Because I got caught up in memories of how shitty I was back when I lived there.  Seriously, I ruined friendships with my actions and obnoxiousness.  Like with Mark Rublee, a really sweet guy who was nice enough to let me stay with him and give me support, and I repaid him by being a complete jerk -- ungrateful and demanding...and stupidly enamored with his gorgeous brother, who was as straight as any guy could be.

Poor Mark; he didn't deserve me being such an asshole with him.  I hope he did well.

Sometime I wonder how different my life would have been if I'd stuck it out and attended NYU...but of course, I'm finally at the point where I can see that instead of becoming the next Alfred Hitchcock I'd probably have done a massive crash and burn, mentally and emotionally.  Because the fact is, NYC was WAY overwhelming to me.  Going from sleepy San Antonio to the city that never sleeps shattered all sensory protectors and I was close to freaking out when I got a job doing storyboards for "The Exterminator" and got dissed by the director.  You see, I impressed one producer, bigtime, who actually said he wished I was directing the film thanks to the boards I turned in, something dittoed by the stunt coordinator thanks to the diagrams I gave him for the motorcycle chase and crash.  The director took one look and said, "That's not my movie," and refused to use them.  Well...you can see what movie he turned out.  On top of it all, they didn't give me credit...but at least I made enough money to move back to SA.  And I got a very nice Thank You note from Robert Ginty (the lead) for helping on the film.

It's embarrassing to think about that time...so I left and wandered down Mulberry into Little Italy and had dinner then came home to rest.  I've done more physical work in the last 2 1/2 days than in the previous month.  There's still more needing to be done, but it's almost over.

So tomorrow I may go to the High Line to see what that's all about.  If my feets don't mind too much.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Liking the Village, we are

I had a great Lamb Curry at a small Indian restaurant on Bleeker, between 6th avenue and Sullivan (yes, MY street).  Good Somosas and Naan.  A Kingfisher beer.  And an entertaining companion.  I worked on a script for this guy and it didn't go anywhere so he wants to turn it into a book.  I've been slow in getting to it because of POS and LD and the like, but now that I've finally met him in person, I can see a way into the story.

It's his life from the time he becomes a cop in 1967 to when he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1973 due to attempts to try and point out drugs were being stolen from the police evidence lockup and substituted with fake stuff.  He'd lost a cousin to drugs and I think it started him down the road to collapse.  In the script I was telling the story in a non-linear style -- starting with a shootout in police headquarters then jumping back ten months to a foot-chase that initiated everything then back ten years to when he was working for a mob-connected guy, then jumping back to the foot-chase.

But the way in is simple..."C'mere, I got a story I wanna tell ya."  Meaning first person.  And seeing him walk and talk gave me the tone...something in the jokey, absurdist vein of "Catch 22."  Not that he's that way, but he walks like a guy who's in control but easy about it, which surprised me.  Fact is, when I'd pictured him I saw a short rotund guy slowly drifting towards death, and I could not have been more wrong.  But that's why I feel like I could tackle the story, now -- misconceptions crushed and life begins again.

Hope I'm right, this time.