Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So low-key, I was nearly snoozin'

I turned 60, today, but instead of going to have dinner at Tony Roma's on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, I hit traffic and didn't feel up to battling that and then crossing the bridge and then walking to the restaurant so wimped out, came home, made a sandwich from some left-over brisket from an okay BBQ place in Rochester called Sticky Lips and watched an old movie. "The Scarlet Pimpernel", with...

Leslie Howard and...

Merle Oberon.

It was made in 1935 and is about a British aristocrat helping French aristocrats escape France immediately after the fall of the Bastille. Very anti-rabble and pro-aristocracy. It's based on a book by the Baroness D'Orczy and was a huge hit...but it's an odd film. All the action takes place off-screen.

Seriously, near the beginning a family is being taken to the guillotine but one cart blocks another cart and people are yelling at each other and then a man climbs onto a roof and cries, "Long live the king" and everyone goes after him...and the next shot is the family being smuggled past the gates of Paris. Not on moment of the actual rescue is shown.

That happens several times throughout the film, so it was hard to take, that way. BUT...some of the imagery was amazing. There's a dungeon of aristocrats waiting to be called up for their execution, and children are playing blind man's bluff as men have a game of chess and women prepare themselves to look their best. One shot of a woman reading a book is almost like a portrait from the time, it's so exquisite...and heartbreaking in her acceptance and strength in the face of death.

Leslie Howard was fun to watch as both a hero and a foppish twit. Merle Oberon is lovely but not of the same calibre actor as him. Nigel Bruce is funny as the Prince of Wales and Raymond Massey is a wonderful villain.

It made for a nice, easy evening.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finally off and away

"Inherent Flaws" is en route to a publisher for consideration...and I feel free. Because there's a strong possibility they'll publish it. The guy I wrote the book for wants to do it, and it's his story, so it's up to him and them, now.

This GIF fits the situation too well for me not to post it. Only question is, am I the pusher or the pushee? Guess we'll find out.

My left eye's been bugging me, all day. Red and itchy, and the treatment I was told to do for it ain't doing much except sort of keeping it from getting worse. It did its thing of waking me at 4am, and it took a while to calm down enough so I could go back to sleep. Funny how it didn't break down like this till I got back from NYC.

Anyway, now I need to figure out my next step. I want to work on OT because the people who published LD are interested in it, but things keep coming up that may push it back, more. NaNoWriMo is happening in November; maybe I'll use that as my impetus to get the story completed.

Or not. That may be planning too far in advance.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stasis over...for now...

I've spent the last two days going through "Inherent Flaws" for typos and inconsistencies. I need to get this book off my plate and the only way to do that is to get it published. So...a friend of mine sent me a link to an ad, looking for books that have been adapted from screenplays. I contacted them...and I know exactly how what they want to do works.

A guy who's presenting himself as an agent (though I don't think he's licensed) is connected to a producer and to a publisher (who may be the same person, or not). What they're proposing is, basically, they work up a cover, reformat the book for transition to online publishing and publish it through Kindle and Create Space, with Amazon. They say they have contacts to let people know about the book, and if it does well enough, they'll try and get a movie made from the script.

I'd shy away from this because it's pretty much like what Nazca Plains did with my first books. And any promise of money depends on book sales, so that can't be taken seriously. And sure enough, they've asked me if I'm willing to adapt more scripts into books...for a percentage of the book sales. Nothing up front. Not so sure about that.

BUT...and this is a big one...the agent says he's an ex-cop. Like the guy whose story I adapted. So I put them in contact with each other, and they seem to like each other, and since this isn't really my project...I'm willing to go along with it. See how it works out. Who knows? This might be the way IF gets to the right people to get considered properly. God knows me being careful and cynical hasn't worked. And that might segue into projects of my own being considered.

Of course, that meant I got nothing else done this weekend. Not even laundry. And I'm still keyed up from the trip since I haven't had any real down time. Tomorrow means back to the office, and I need to get groceries and iron so I'll have clothes for the rest of the week (I have a pile of ironing I haven't done in a month). Tuesday, I'm going to Niagara Falls, Canada for my birthday dinner.

I'll get back onto OT later in the week.

Oh, word of caution as regards rental cars -- buy the collision waiver, or make damn sure your insurance or credit card will cover every aspect of the car being repaired, including down time. And inspect that vehicle like you're buying it.

When I returned the mini-van to Enterprise, they claimed it had damage. We went out to look at it, and they had to point it out to me so I could find it. There's a small crack and some minimal scraping to the lower right corner of the front bumper that I would not have noticed when I rented the vehicle. I think it was already there, but I had to sign an incident report making me responsible for it, even though I knew I hadn't done anything.

Fortunately, I'd bought the insurance $12 a day. They'd just raised the price and I was thinking I'd blow it off, next time...but now? No way in hell. My auto insurance has a $500 deductible, and my credit card will only cover repairs, not missed income while it's unavailable for rental. So I got off easy.

But next time, I'm using a magnifying glass and going over every inch of the car...especially the bumpers.

And I bet you fifty bucks they don't even get it repaired, it's so minimal.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Coolest James Bond opening ever!

This was just perfect -- the Queen of England accompanied to the Opening of the Olympics by Daniel Craig, AKA: James Bond. The one posted on YouTube is horrendous; this video link shows it from beginning to end, in top quality. about product placement.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back to the pad

I think from now on I'm going to avoid driving through Pennsylvania, if I can. I thought their governor was one of those "I don't want any federal stimulus from Obama" types, but it seems no matter where I go in that state, there's some kind of construction going on along the highways. Driving to DC a couple weeks back, I got caught in a nasty snarl near Pittsburgh that took an hour to get through. Today, driving back from NYC, I ran into a 10 mile long backup just north of Scranton that took 2 hours to get through.

Yes, that's 5 miles per hour for 10 miles, and it would've been longer but the road crew was picking up the cones that cut the freeway down to one lane when I reached the end of it. And since it was hot and slow, this nearly new minivan I was driving began to overheat, so I had to get off the road and check the coolant. It seemed to have plenty, so maybe it was a sensor problem...but I went through a fair stretch of road with no AC before I reached an exit.

I'd planned to come up towards Albany and connect with the 17 then take that to Binghamton. It's a lovely stretch off country; I took a very similar route a couple years back when I was checking out the logistics for LD. Wish I'd followed my instincts.

BUT...the job I did yesterday doubled in sized and suddenly wound up including 9 framed pieces of artwork that needed to be crated for transport. So instead of taking them to a warehouse by JFK to be put onto a pallet and shipped out, I took them to an art transport facility in Orange, NJ and stayed the night in a Courtyard Inn instead of a Best Western.

It's amazing what an extra $50 a night gets you -- top-notch WiFi, a spacious room, a quiet AC unit, everything working. Then again, it was in West Orange (I think) and the entrance back onto the freeway was so poorly marked, I missed it...even when I realized I'd gone too far and had to turn back around. Meaning yes, I missed it going the other direction, as well. There was one sign posted halfway down the entrance to the freeway that told me what it was. Nothing else that I could see, anywhere.

Of course, I could just be getting blind and senile in my old age.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm too old to have a new crush --
Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters. I watched the official "Let's Have A Kiki" video and he's in lavender pants rattling a tambourine. Just plain adorable.
Closer shot of Del? Right here.

Too pooped to post

I took this off the coast of Inish Oirr, one of the Aran Islands by Ireland. I was next to an old manor house that had long since fallen to ruin and saw it and snapped it on regular film.

Wanna go back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is the new face of Dracula?

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers!? Just kill me now.

I first saw this man in a TV remake of "The Magnificent Ambersons" and he was so bad and so shallow and so irritating and childish and every other thing you can think of along the same lines, I refused to watch the rest of the program. Unfortunately, I didn't do so in time to prevent my brain from being scarred by the image of him eating something in a way that could show a cow how to chew cud while his mother tried to talk to him. It's the first image that jumps to mind when I hear his name.

I've seen him in a couple of other things; he damn near ruined what were, otherwise, decent movies. So now I avoid him. Meaning I never watched "The Tudors" where he was Henry VIII for some god-awful reason. The closest I came was catching a glimpse of Henry Cavill's naked butt while being threatened by the father of a girl he was screwing. Almost made me reconsider, because Henry's got talent and charisma and screen presence to burn and is a hundred times better looking.

See what I mean?

But JRM is cyanide to me. He can't act; he poses and moves his eyebrows and purses his lips, and none of that really changes his one-note expression. Yet a lot of gay men think he's to die for. Why, I have no idea. All I know is, I'd rather see Daisy Duck play Dracula than this poseur.

BUT...this is emblematic of Hollywood, today. Packaging is all that counts, no matter what the project calls for. Sometimes it works -- I can see Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in the musical "Les Miz", and Matt Damon turned out to be a great Jason Bourne; it's just, 9 times out of 10 it's crap.

Okay, truth is there's nothing new about it. "Out of Africa" got made because Robert Redford played Denys Finch-Hatton when he was brutally wrong for the part, and Humphrey Bogart making Audrey Hepburn fall for him in "Sabrina" was just plain silly and a bit sick, nor did it work any better with Harrison Ford in Bogie's role...tho' that could have been because the actress laying Sabrina was another one who had nothing on camera and a one-note range.

Of course, it could just be proof of how well the casting couch works. You want me? You want me in your movie. Or you ain't got me.

God, I'm in a bitchy mood.


You gotta love just how STUPID people in that state can be!

DALLAS, July 24 (UPI) -- Dallas police said they arrested a man whose gun accidentally went off inside a Walmart store, injuring two other customers.
Todd Canady, 23, of Waco had allegedly bolted from the store in the Lake Highlands district Monday night when he was confronted by an off-duty police officer about the shooting, which left a woman and a 5-year-old child wounded.
Police told the Dallas Morning News they grabbed Canady after a short foot pursuit and booked him on charges of injuring a child and evading arrest.
KDFW-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth, said Canady, who has a concealed-weapons permit, was reportedly reaching for his wallet in the checkout line but grabbed the pistol he was carrying instead. The gun went off, wounding Canady in the buttocks. The bullet then hit the floor and sent fragments into the other two victims.
An off-duty officer saw the incident and confronted Canady, who allegedly ran off.

Read more:

Of course, it's the woman's fault for being in the WalMart to begin with, considering some of the cretins who shop there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Justice is still perverse and prejudiced.

I wrote a book about male on male rape and how destructive it was to the victims ("Bobby Carapisi"), but it also pointed out that the criminal justice system is just as destructive to the victims thanks to prejudices and unwillingness to accept that everyone is supposed to be protected by the law. I had a couple of people insist things aren't like that, anymore.

Well...I call bullshit on that, now. Here's a story about a 16 year old girl who was fed what sounds like a date rape drug and sexually assaulted by two older boys. And from what I've read about it, the prosecution deliberately blew the case with the assistance of the judge...then to make things even nastier, the judge ordered the girl not to discuss the plea deal the boys who raped her were given, or give out information about them.

The girl basically flipped the system of justice off and Tweeted the boys' names, thus at least giving other girls a warning about the two little shits, and now she's facing jail time. And her attitude is, "Fine, put me in jail." And the boys' attorneys are trying to get that very thing done. Obviously, these attack dogs are very well paid.

I have a moment in "Bobby Carapisi" where Eric, the gay man who's raped in the book, is confronted by his attacker's lawyer, and he knows what the man is all about. He's like Pit Bull whose sole intent is to protect his client, and if that means clamping his jaws on the neck of a 5 year-old, well...that's what it means. His client is his sole concern and if you happen to get in his way, it's your own damn fault you don't move before you get trampled.

What's really appalling is how some of the commenters at the bottom of the page think the girl was wrong to ignore the judge's disgraceful order. They discount the fact that she was, first off, victimized by two randy brats who couldn't control their dicks and were given a slap on the wrist for it, and second, was refused the right to tell her own story, thus being victimized by the system of justice, itself. There are strong suggestions a good-ol'-boy thing was at work here, on top of it.

And she's a WASP girl from a good family. Imagine how women without her advantages or skin color or background are treated. Then consider how men who have the audacity to admit they were raped are viewed by our so-called system of justice. Attitudes about sexual assault haven't really changed all that much in the last 50 years; they've just been muted.

Rape can be a soul-destroying experience. Even in my books told from the rapist's viewpoint, I make clear how damaging it is to the victims. But now when anyone suggests my view of how the system of justice is just as abusive as a rapist is overdone, I'll point them to this story.

Amazing...she's stronger at 17 than I've ever been.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I has returned

As I drove into Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel, I popped the CD of "Topsy-Turvy" in and just as I exited onto Dyer Drive, the overture blared forth and I entered the city with a show tune blasting out the windows. Then got stuck in traffic. One thing about NY -- they do love to cut major thoroughfares down by two lanes to do some kind of work or other...or just double and triple park for no reason -- thus snarling traffic. Add in pedestrians who think a stopped car means walk across the intersection whether you have the light or not, and you've got a good idea of what madness comes from driving in this city. That's why Daniel hated it so much; it's easier and less maddening to use mass transit to get where you need to go.

Not that the subway was better. I was meeting my buddy, Brad Rushing, for dinner at the Pig & Whistle on 48th by Rock Center. My hotel is a block from a station that would drop me right by the restaurant...but this weekend no trains were running through it into the city. Couldn't even get down to the platform. You can get OUT of Manhattan on the F line; you just can't go in unless you ride two stops in the wrong direction and transfer to another line that lets  you off 5 blocks from where you want to be. Moan.

Still, we connected and went to a different P&W that had a better selection on its menu...and he got them to agree to make him a Penne alla Vodka that they didn't have but was offered at a different P&W. Seems these joints don't have a standardized menu. But we sat on an outdoor balcony and drank beers and talked and dissed the right wing and religious fanatical scum and let the day turn to night before trying to find a potato chip hut built by Lays in Times Square for some competition.  Nothing to be seen...except for crowds out the wazoo milling about and taking pictures and talking in a thousand different languages.

One thing about NYC -- if you live here, it won't let you get complacent. The second you think you have it figured out, it'll snap something new at you and you better be ready.

Such is life in the big city.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Graphs and games and mindless, oh my

Off to NYC in the am, so today was spent getting ready to make sure I have everything I need for three different jobs. I've got a mini-van loaded up to the roof with materials and boxes of things I've already packed, but I didn't have all my info together, yet. I'm still not sure I do, but I was close to mind-melding with a Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 so I finally stopped.

I finally learned to do my stuff in pencil so I can erase it when it doesn't work out right and redo the bits that need redoing then fill them in by pen instead of having to start from scratch; that way the damn thing looks decent when I'm done.

What's going to be nice about tomorrow's drive to NYC is, the van has cruise, I can use EZ Pass to get through the toll booths, and it has a CD player. I know I should just break down and get myself an iPod or something and load my music into that, but I'm too damn broke and too damn cheap to do it.

OT's been on mental hold while I focus on these jobs, but I can tell Jake's getting restless. He doesn't have as long a history with me as does Brendan, so he doesn't know how I work...and don't work. If I do get to take some time off in August (not my favorite time of year to do anything) I'll try and get a first draft of the book finished.

I am going to say...Jake will not have a pistol or any sort of weapon. This is understood between us. After the horror of what happened in Colorado, I can't add to the religion of the gun. And that is what it's become, in this country. The NRA is the new religion, partnering with the right wing nuts and Tea Party scum to bring their brand of communism to the US -- one that uses so many of Stalin's tactics, cloaking them with Christian commentaries and a fetishistic focus on the 2nd Amendment, like this is what God wants.

And the fact is, if God himself came down and told them they were full of shit, they'd call him a commie-socialist-pinko-fag-lover. Which he is, if they'd actually pay attention to the Bible.

So Jake don't get to blow nobody away (no puns intended, here). He just destroys them. No...annihilates them.

THAT is what makes someone a bad-ass -- not needing a gun to prove you got a dick.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Crappy voices sell on KCRW

I'm listening to an archive of Raul Campos' program from yesterday, and this woman is singing a cover of U2's "One" and doing it so badly, I almost think it's supposed to be parody. Her voice cracks and waves, and she goes off in directions that add nothing to the music...and it's not the first time I've heard this version.

It's by someone named La Santa Cecelia, and I'm stunned into silence at the understanding that they think this cut is good. Needless to say, I ain't buying nothing of hers.

Of course, Bob Dylan's hardly a great singer, but he knows how to write great music and can phrase with the best of them. Even Paul Simon and Madonna have voices of limited range, as did Marilyn, but they kept within their limits. Plus as good as Barbra Streisand is when it comes to vocal ability and range, her renditions of songs come across as soulless and cold, to me.

So it's not that big a deal not being able to sing. Rex Harrison made a major career out of it with "My Fair Lady" and won both Tony and Oscar for it. But this rendition of a beautiful song was like something out of a high school musical in a backwoods town in West Virginia.

But she got air time. She has an album. While I got eight books out there that aren't exactly burning up the bestsellers lists. You have to start to wonder if it's not people like Santa Cecelia who're untalented, but it's yourself who is and it's because your sense of taste is skewed totally wrong.

That or it's just plain fucking luck, of which I only have the bad or indifferent kind. And not even my Dragon or Lion selves seem able to change it.

I'd roar, but what's the point? If I am a cat, all that'd come out is a nice long yawn...and then a nap.

Hmmm....sounds good.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hectic times call for hot tea

Despite the heat...and we're talking Houston heat in friggin' Buffalo...I've been drinking lots of hot tea, with honey and milk. It's my power drink. If I don't have a cup by me while I'm writing, I don't feel complete. Only problem is, it makes me pee like crazy.

It hasn't been much use the last couple of days, however, because I'm swamped with packing jobs. Off to Rochester in the morning for one, driving down to NYC on Sunday to do one on Monday, followed by another one on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by ANOTHER one on Thursday in New Jersey on the coast, followed by one more on Friday...maybe. Depends on how things go.

I like having the work, and it's actually beginning to look like I'll be working through August instead of  the office shutting down and me being without a paycheck for a couple weeks. I keep trying to get on top of that, but too many outside expenses keep screwing me up.

What the hell...Van Gogh was crap when it came to finances, too, and only sold a couple of his paintings in his lifetime. Maybe I'll wind up that way, albeit with both my ears...though I did have one pierced, for a while, if that could count.

A lot of artists are crappy when it comes to making a living. Edgar Allen Poe died penniless. So did Mozart. It may be hubris on my part to hold myself in their company, but I've been working on my ego, again, and this is good sign.

For a narcissistic megalomaniac.
Atfer all...this little saying fits me to a T. Hee-hee-hee.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I HAVE to post this...

I'm a redhead, too...or used to be until nature turned me friggin' blond. Small wonder "Funny or Die" brought out the hate of red. I'm proud to be a redhead...once......

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

St. George

Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful. But I have no desire for fame and power anymore.

Actual quote by George W. Bush...and treated as if it's filled with wisdom and meaning and worthy of respect. After all that man has done to this country.

I still can't wrap my head around the absolute stupidity of today's media. They are no longer journalists; they're stenographers.

I was once offered the chance to meet George and Laura, and I turned it down. I had this image of me spitting in his face and being locked up by the SS for the rest of my life. Now? No spit; I'd slap the MFSOB, and the hell with prison.

This has been a difficult day, with me finding out I have Blepharitis in my eyes, and it's going to be a problem for the rest of my life. I now have to wash them out every night in a certain ritual and put a drop in each one because if I don't, they'll swell up and itch and go red and make my life hell. Seems the Norwegian side of me is susceptible to this, and my having had acne along with the measles, mumps and chicken pox made it even more likely.

My skin's always been an irritant. I'm so fair, I've gotten second-degree sunburn through a t-shirt (my first week living in Hawai'i). Most of me is pink, with freckles the closest I can get to a tan line. I once had a condition on my hands that caused them to dry out so badly, the skin would crack and bleed and scar. I stopped that crap by soaking my hands twice a day then slathering on Neutrogena hand cream...but it took a while. And still use that cream on my hands every night. Or else.

But I will say, I probably have the softest hands of any guy in New York state. It works on heels and elbows, too.

Don't ask why. Just accept.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quick share of Dion in OT

This is SOOOOOO Dion (AKA: Rose of the Golden Girls, or Donald Rice). I think I'm gonna make a scrapbook of all my characters' looks, the ones that best personify them. If I ever become rich and famous (instead of piss-poor and infamous; my writing has been banned, you know), I'll publish it as a key to connecting all the dots and dashes.

The photo is actually of David Chlopecki, a menswear designer in NYC under his own label, I stole it off his FaceBook page. Be warned, his stuff ain't really suitable for work...but if you're buff enough and slim enough and young enough, you'll look like a porn god.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

To be or not to be?

 Okay...I got a nice little dilemma going on here. Jake finds out a guy named Lemm knows his uncle and may be the last person to see him before he vanished. He also learns the guy is telling people he's being stalked. So he needs to meet Lemm and get his side of the story.
Well...this is Lemm, short for Leonardo. He's from Chile and is illegal. He's known Owen for 4 years, since he was fifteen, and that's playing into the story. Right now, I don't know if he's a good guy or a bad guy or somewhere in the middle. What I do know is, when Jake sees him for the first time, he becomes tongue-tied and his face tingles.

Wonder why?

Doesn't matter. Yesterday and today I added 20 pages of Jake and Lemm...and for some reason I'm picturing Mary Astor in "The Maltese Falcon", where you never know what she's up to. Not a bad template...but I hope Lemm winds up on the side of the angels. I'm just that shallow.

Here's a taste.
So we got to Dion and Ton’s place about nine-thirty, and it was dead quiet. Dion crept in to find the twins in bed, sound asleep, while Ton and I checked on Joel. The boy was also asleep, but on a corner of the bed, a small flashlight clutched in his mouth, sat this guy who couldn’t have been more than nineteen, working on a jigsaw puzzle depicting Niagara Falls. He heard us peek in and looked around, and I was hit by the sweetest, most open face I’d ever seen in my life. Big brown eyes. Gentle smile. Good clean chin with a hint of stubble on it. He was close to ideal.

He dropped the flashlight into his hand and put a finger to his lips then carefully sipped off the bed, and I saw he had what I can only call a male-model body. Not one of those skinny guys who look like they live on the thought of food, but muscular and lean and clean and in just the right proportions, under a Polo shirt and Dockers that only added to the flow of his body. He whispered over to us and closed the door behind him, and his smile widened to reveal neat, white teeth.

I damn near hated him, he was so perfect.

“Joel wanted to talk,” he said, his voice carrying a bit of an accent. “So I sat on the bed to listen and advise as he told me of his problem. And he tried to stay awake. He drifted away only moments ago.”

“What’s the trouble?” asked Ton.

“He only wanted to know if he should tell you of a problem he has at school. More than that, I can’t say.”

“What d’you mean you can’t -- ?”

Dion put a hand on Ton’s shoulder and cut in with, “What’d you tell him?”

“He should speak with his fathers.”

“Thanks, Lemm. We’ll give him the opportunity.”

Then Lemm turned his eyes on me, and I felt my heart begin to pound and my face tingle. Dion jerked and put his other hand on my back.

“Sorry, Lemm, this is Jake. Old friend of mine. Nephew to Owen.”

Lemm just smiled and nodded a greeting.

“Hi,” was all I was able to come up with.

“May I have a ride home?” Lemm asked Dion, his voice nearly musical. “Then you can fill me in on the meeting.”

“I’m headed back,” I said, and it popped out of me faster than I could think it. “And I’ll fill you in. Uh, in fact, uh, Lemm, I’d like to ask you a few things, if you don’t mind?”

“It’s fine. But can we leave now?”

“Sure,” I said.

Dion slipped a couple of bills into Lemm’s hand, saying, “Thanks for helping out, baby. You’re a lifesaver.”

“I enjoy being with your children.” A slight cloud crossed his face as he continued, “They are such happy little things.”

We headed outside, Dion walking us to my car, and Lemm’s casual walk was so catlike and elegant, I almost stopped breathing. So I jolted myself with, “Lemm, you – uh, you’ve been having trouble with a guy, right?”

He looked around at me, his dark eyes narrowing, slightly. “Yeah.”

“What does he look like?”

His wariness turned into a frown. “Why?”

“Please? It might make a difference, later.”

Lemm looked at Dion, who said, “Baby, you can trust Jake as much as you trust anybody. More, even.”

The guy took in a deep breath and said, “Thirty. Not much hair. Round face. Sloppy, but not from being poor, more from not caring...except for his hands; they are manicured. He is not as tall as me. And his eyes are green. His clothes are cheap, and he has a small black book in his back pocket. I think it’s a bible, but I don’t know for sure.”

“And you’ve never seen him before? He just appeared?”

“I worked at a grocery store. I think I saw him there a few times before this began, but I don’t really know.”

“Where’s the store located?”

“Marimba Drive.”

“At Nassau Boulevard,” said Dion. “They have great produce.”

“Tell me, Lemm – was he usually in black pants and a white shirt? Tie?”

Lemm nodded. “But he was always clean, so I think he had more than one set of each.”

“What the hell, Jake?” Dion asked. “You think he’s a Mormon?”

I shrugged. “Uncle Owen thought so. He mentioned a guy like that bugging him just before the trial. Told him he’s going to hell and all that...but he didn’t sound Mormon.”

“What does one sound like?”

“Perky. This guy sounds more like a bible-thumper.”

“What’s that?” Lemm asked.

“A fundamentalist Protestant who believes the bible is literal and absolute, and damn the facts. We got ‘em all over the place in Texas, and they’re half the reason the state’s falling apart. No teaching anything that isn’t god-based; no discussion of birth control or family planning; no acceptance of anyone who doesn’t see the world as they do. They want to take the country back a hundred-and-fifty years, come hell or high water, as my Gramma’d say. Did you notice if he had a car?”


“I think he’s a closet case,” Dion snorted. “Got his little self fixated on Lemm and is acting like an eight-year-old boy over it.”

“I can see why,” slipped out of me faster than I could censor it.

Lemm smiled at me then turned to Dion. “Let Joel come to you with his trouble.”

“I’ll keep Ton under control.” And Dion’s eyes twinkled when he said it.

“You’re over in the condo complex, right?” I asked, already knowing the answer, of course.

He shrugged an affirmative, told Dion goodnight and got in the car. I slipped behind the wheel, trying like hell to ignore Dion’s smirk as he closed the door on me.

“Drive safe,” he said, his voice carrying way too much meaning.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Green Party has a nominee

Dr. Jill Stein, of Massachusetts. She makes a hell of a lot more sense than Obama...and makes Romney sound like a blithering idiot.

And I quote -- "We need real public servants who listen to the people — not to the corporate lobbyists that funnel campaign checks into the big war chests," Stein told applauding supporters at a Holiday Inn in Baltimore. "That's what brought me to the Green Party, the only national party that is not bought and paid for by corporate money."

Green Party:

I've been thinking...

...and am starting to consider the idea that, as much as I dislike Obama's ass-kissing with the Republican Party of Madmen and Women, and even though he's still allowing the anti-American crap started by Bush to continue (and has, in fact, expanded upon)...I'm close to thinking I'll vote for him just to stick it to the Right Wing. I guess this means I'm having one of those "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" moments. Never thought I would...but the older you get the more you realize how little you know about the world and yourself.

Paul Krugman gets to the real reason why the GOP should be despised in much better fashion than I ever could.

What keeps me from falling completely into hate and despair is my writing...and finding beauty like this to work into my stories. Bernardo's a Brazilian model and actor I've referenced before, thanks to his amazing face. He's joining OT as the personification of Lemm, one of the guys who rents one of Owen's condos along with three other dudes.

I'm not sure what point they're serving in the story, yet; but Jake's new honesty makes me think Lemm's needed (and do not ask me why his name has two Ms in it; it just does).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Still too damn true...

Using Frances Trollope’s infamous and very funny book, “Domestic Manners of the Americans”, as its springboard, this essay about America’s “religion of denial” is classic, and just as true under Obama as it was under Bush. Perhaps more-so, considering how Guantanamo is still open and the combination of law enforcement with military enforcement and domestic spying has only grown stronger under Obama even as the GOP and Tea Party have exhibited verifiable signs of insanity. of the definitions of insanity is doing the same action over and over, always expecting a different outcome. And what had the House GOP done for the umpteenth time? Voted to rescind Obamacare, even though there is no chance their bill will pass the Senate or not be vetoed by the President. It's no longer theater; it's just fucking stupid.

I so despise the GOP, I think I'll make them the bad guys in OT. If Jake'll let me. Thing is, he's too honest to pull that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wrong direction

While doing the last of the packing, today, I zoned a bit and realized I have the ending of OT going a direction it should not go. It was making Jake seem a bit dumb and having the answer almost fall into his lap. And I wasn't comfortable with it, but was still working things towards that end...and then today I realized I was doing the usual "last detail falls into place" cliche of most mediocre detective novels instead of it being an accumulation of evidence to show what happened with Jake's Uncle Owen.

But Jake's one mean-assed little SOB...and I hope lovably so. Or, at least, understandably. Because he doesn't want to reveal what the mystery is till just the right minute, and that means being a hard-assed, vindictive little shit. But considering how he's been treated, the last eight years, it's to be expected.

If I say anything more than that...well, I want to see if I can pull this off and keep anyone from figuring out the ending.

Dion/Rose of the Golden Girls figures into it. So does Matt. Antony, of course, is part and parcel...but the incident that makes Jake's mind up stems, dammit! I'm not going to reveal any more of this story! The best way to kill a mystery is by being too coy.

Let's just say an image like this fits into the finale. Hee-hee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I sat by the pool to eat lunch, and it was warm but not viciously so, not like Houston would be. The house it belongs to is Mediterranean-style...narrow and tall, with the main living on the first floor up. This is the kind of home where books are not furniture but have a purpose. Some old. Some new. All meaningful.

The beauty of working on a library like this is, you're reminded of the tradition of writing and the exchanges of ideas that were happening long before you were born...and how many of those ideas are still being debated today. Like how to deal with poverty (called pauperism in many of these books) and juvenile crime and even birth control (from 100 years ago).

Some questioned the morality of religion during a time when God was far more real than he is now. One man sold his house so he could finance the publication of a sociology book he knew would change the world...and I could not tell you his name, right now. There's a book by Anthony Trollope's mother, Frances, about her travels across what was the US in the 1830s, something that supposedly gave de Tocqueville his idea to look into democracy and Americans, thanks to her fun descriptions of the people she met. It's called "The Domestic Manners of the Americans" and I actually ordered a copy to read.

So I took my break by the pool, outside of the books, and let the whole idea of them soak in. I'm not the smartest or best educated guy in the world; a lot of what ability I have in English comes from reading, as does what I know of history. I got little of it in formal education. I've worked around books most of my life and even so, I'm barely knowledgeable about them. But I'm pretty sure my awareness is above average when it comes to knowing about the history of writing...and yet there was so much I just did not know, until today.

I saw tiny pamphlets about how we'll live in the future that had been published by major houses like Putnam and Holt, Reinhardt. Not just one but several. I saw a couple hundred different books that had been published by the author and apparently sold quite well.

These are the kinds of libraries I love packing. Lately, all I've been packing are okay books dealing with military history or art or sets of writers I'm too familiar with. This week...this job...I feel as if I'm in a warm embrace, again.

Doesn't hurt that there's also a couple of massively fluffy cats who want to supervise my progress and force me to pet them, every now and then. When I get back to the office, those two kitties're gonna be so pissed.

Right on!

Monday, July 9, 2012

I miss Marix

Best Tex-Mex ever, bar none. And if you ordered cheese enchiladas, you'd get 'em. Not chicken ones so smothered in sauce you couldn't tell what they were till you bit into them. Killed my appetite.

Killed my decent mood, too, so I'm just posting part of chapter 1 of OT -- this is after Jake's step-mother, Mira, has asked him why he stays with Antony. They're meeting at De Gaulle Airport during one of Jake's layovers en route to Copenhagen.

(One note: I HATE Lion's auto-spell-check-correct and need to find out how to turn the fucking thing off.)

Now...back to Jake:

So here I was, and Mira was waiting for an answer, nibbling at her salad as I chowed on the best damn quiche I’d ever eaten in an airport. All I could do is shrug.

“What do you want me to say?”

“That it is not merely from pity?”

“I don’t pity Tone, Mira. He’d never let me.” It’s funny, but she was the only other person in the world I felt like I could be completely open and honest with and know it wouldn’t get back to somebody. So I didn’t censor anything I said, in honor of that feeling. “I might get pissed off. I might get hurt. And sometimes I’ll get happier than I’ve ever been when he does something that...that just lets me know he cares about me. Like this one time, when I was having problems with this graphic novel I’m working on. I stood out on a balcony in the freezing cold for I dunno how long trying to figure it out and finally just came inside, still lost, and...and Tone had -- he’d made me some hot cocoa with marshmallows and a dark chocolate bar melted in, just as I like it. And I sipped some and he leaned over and wiped the chocolate off my moustache and licked his fingers, his eyes dancing like a happy kitten’s, and I -- I ached for him. I knew right then I’d kill anybody who tried to hurt him. I almost did.”


“When I caught this guy named Rattler stabbing Tone. In that cell. I plowed into him and grabbed the knife away and would’ve cut that bastard’s throat if Matt hadn’t stopped me.”


“Wollitz. A friend of Tone and me. Lives with us. He...he yelled at me not to mess up the knife with someone else’s blood. That’d hurt it as evidence. That gave the deputies time to pull me away was good I didn’t do it. But I still feel that way.”

She nodded and said, “In some ways you are so much like your father, and in others you are so completely different.”

“I don’t wanna talk about him.”

“All right.” And she dug deeper into her salad.

“What’s this really about, Mira?”

“He’s let his therapist share his notes. Has he told you everything he’s done?”

“Probably not. I think I got most of it, but he’s so unsure about himself, he thinks he needs to be unsure about me. He’s healing, Mira, and I’m stayin’ with him. Even once he’s better.”

“Is that wise?”

“What do you mean?”

“Your work is in Copenhagen. You are now a citizen of Denmark.”

“You don’t abandon someone who’s got cancer or AIDS or heart disease, not if you love ‘em. This is the same thing. You still haven’t told me why you’re asking. Is it Uncle Ari? Have you been talking to him?”

“I’ve been listening. He likes your work. His clients like your work. He wants you to become a partner in his business. It is an excellent idea, but you will have to return to Copenhagen to live. Antony cannot leave until next year, at the earliest.”

I just nodded. Didn’t say a thing about next week’s hearing or even mention that I figured she was feeding me a line of bullshit. Uncle Ari hadn’t even hinted about anything more than meeting this client and sending more art assignments my way, and he wasn’t the kind of guy not to talk about his plans. He and my dad may have been brothers, but they were cut from different DNA, because he was open and gregarious and never met anyone he couldn’t like...and couldn’t keep a secret to save his life. So I knew there was something else going on and she didn’t have the nerve to mention it to me. Which brought her down a notch in my eyes, because if she can’t tell by now that I can be trusted, she never will be able to. And that hurt.

And it also pissed me off enough to be blunt. “This is bullshit, Mira. What’re you really gettin’ at? And don’t hand me any more shit about Uncle Ari. You know me better’n that.”

She stopped in mid-chew and nodded and swallowed then took a sip of her wine. Burgundy with a salad; there’s something wrong about that.

“Your mother has contacted your father.”


“I do not know why. He will not tell me. And when your father becomes this secretive, it worries me. I think, if you stay in America much longer, something will happen. And you are better protected in Denmark.”

“Tone wasn’t.”

“He is an easier target.”

“I dunno about that -- .”

“He cares more about you than he does himself, Iacof.”

Which makes anybody vulnerable. Yeah, I couldn’t argue with that. “So why do you think this concerns me?”

“Why would you not think so? As your father tells the story, he and your mother hate each other. Why else would she call him, except about you?”

Phone call, huh? Yeah, that meant way too much. I’d learned how to pinch pennies from my mom, so for her to spring for an overseas call to a man she despised almost as much as I did, instead of popping off an e-mail...well, that was a big deal.

“Neither one of ‘em have even tried to get hold of me, and they both know how. Maybe mom’s asking dad for money.”

Mira rolled her eyes at that, and I shrugged in agreement. It was a silly thing to suggest. So why would she have called him?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Zen drive...with complications

I didn't listen to the radio or make notes or anything during my drive from Buffalo to DC...which was good because it was not an easy one. Stops and slowdowns and a ridiculous transition from a toll road to a freeway that took 45 minutes to happen because in their infinite wisdom, whoever designed this transition makes you go through a 10 lane toll plaza down to two lanes and get onto a city street and stop at a light then turn left to get onto the freeway.

I felt like I was on the 5 in LA trying to go west on the 134; you have to do almost the same damn thing and it's ludicrous. And it San Antonio, where the 281 crosses Loop 410, you used to have to get off on Airport and go through 4 lights to get onto the freeway, either way, until they built some towering access roads to carry you from one to the other...and then stupidly had them narrow down from 3 lanes to 1, in some directions. you have to wonder about engineers, sometimes.

Hell, I wonder about people in general. Like semi-drivers, who decide to try and pass another semi ahead of them, even though they're only going 2 mph faster than the guy they're trying to pass, thus slowing traffic down...especially when they decide to do it while going up a hill with a full load. And car drivers stopping in the middle of the entrance to a parking area in such a way that no one can get around them and uploading a passenger who then decides to have a conversation with someone inside the car.

So...I did the zen thing and thought of nothing except how lovely the hills were, being lush with layers of thick trees and occasionally masked by a light haze. And the rivers I drove over being so full and joyous. And the ease of traveling this way without a real map, thanks to the signage.

I'd have taken pictures, but I was doing 80 most of the way (if I hadn't been, I'd still be on the road, I think).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lost in space

Well...yesterday, I missed my train and had to take a later one. Which got off late. Which had no Wifi. Which then got entangled in rail-freight issues so had to stop several times. Which finally arrived in Buffalo at 1:45 am...two hours late. I didn't get to bed till after 3am and had to get up at 8...only I didn't really have to, it turned out; there was a lack of communication and I didn't need to be anywhere until 2pm. Grr.

I should never have said I prefer the train to air travel. Amtrak is going out of its way to make me reconsider. I'm also finding that I have to triple check plans I make with some of the people I work for, because they change them and assume I know.

I missed the train because my packing job got added to at the last minute and everything needed to get completed. What didn't help was, a couple of the people I'm doing this for also came down to "discuss" how things could go better, next time. Like...could I tell them what size boxes I needed so I wouldn't have to make do with the ones they had? Completely forgetting I'd done that very thing. I even had a printout of it in my file. Irritating.

Tomorrow I'm driving down to DC and spending a week packing a collection that's being donated to a university. My rental van is packed with boxes and materials, and I'm not looking forward to it. By the time August comes, I'll need the time off, even if it is unpaid.

Oh, today I also had fun with TD Bank. I have a Visa Card through them and use it for business. A couple months ago, they offered a deal where, if I transferred some of what I owed to another credit card over to them, I'd get 12 months at no interest; just pay the service charge. So I did in order to free up some credit on my Mastercard.

Since I use the Visa for business, I pay off the balance of purchases every month, once my expenses are reimbursed. Usually within a couple of days of getting the statement. According to their rules and regulations, so long as I pay off the purchases within 25 days, there is no interest charged on them.

So today I look at my statement so I'll know what I need to pay off...and the MFSOBs charged me interest. When I called to ask why, I was told it's because I carried an "average balance." I pointed out to them that I'd complied with both rules and regulations as regards the balance transfer and purchases, and they said that didn't matter. Because I had a balance on the card thanks to the transfer offer, I was getting charged interest. And even talking to a supervisor did no good.

That pisses me off. I feel like I was tricked with the balance transfer offer, and I'm retaliating. It's only $7.00...but when a company pulls this sort of duplicity, you know they're going to make things even worse down the road. I can't do anything till I'm back from DC, but then I'm hitting them hard.

What's interesting is, this is a Jake attitude -- a sort of "scorched earth" policy -- i.e., destroy everything in your wake; leave nothing for your enemy to make use of. Sherman used it on his march through Georgia. Jake is planning to use it against the people he's having problems with over Uncle Owen's disappearance. Well, TD Bank's about to find out what that means, too.

I'm finally learning -- sometimes you have to be an asshole to keep from being taken advantage of.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Laziness est ma forte

I know just enough French to get myself into trouble (which I did once, in Paris), and just enough Spanish to get by in Texas if not Mexico. My German is pathetic...but I know if I'd just keep at it, I'd catch on. I just...don't.

It's ridiculous. I've got decent enough basics in three other languages besides English, but I don't do anything to improve in them. I have books that teach you the languages, and tapes or disks; I should work at it. To do otherwise is a waste and really pretty stupid.

I think I prefer to learn French better because when we lived in England it was being taught in class. Off a record. 20 minutes a day. And part of my background is French (mixed with Norwegian). Of course, me saying that drives my sister in San Diego crazy. She says our father's background is German, and since her mother was of German descent, she likes being full-blooded. I say since the family came from Alsace-Lorraine, je suis francais.

You see, I'm too much of a romantic, at times, to accept a Deutsch background, and not at all pragmatic. Besides, it's more fun to say you're French-Norwegian. It sounds...I dunno...elegant. And I'm solid on the Nordic background; my great aunt Irene did a family tree tracing that branch back to 1654 in Norway, and worked up a diagram that shows my mother and my aunt at the very bottom.

I should get that framed, sometime. Just like I should become fluent in French.

Merde, je suis nuts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Casual 4th

I went to Coney Island, since I'd never been.
This is how it looked from the pier. It was hot. I bought a hat for $5 to keep the sun off my scalp. And Venice, CA looks high class compared to this joint. Nothing but non-stop people, all with a New Yawk attitudinal.

It was a long train ride there and back, which I broke up by stopping off at Penn Station to change my ticket home. I'm now set for a 1:10 train instead of a 3:45, and I'll have WiFi.

Right now, I'm pretty beat from the heat of the day. At least the subway cars were air conditioned. So short post. Besides, I have some things I want to input into OT.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jake begins to investigate

This is some of what I wrote on the train, coming down.

Everybody started showing up about seven, my guess is they were there thanks to Connie’s chili, it smelled so damn good. I actually snuck a couple chips full and nearly died from the beauty of it. Chunks of beef so tender they melted soon as they touched your lips. Just enough jalapeno to snarl and kick as it went down. Not even a suggestion of beans. The exact right blend of onions and spices, and I’d almost swear a hint of honey in it. By the time she gave the go-ahead to feast, I was growling from hunger.

I still made myself wait till everyone else had served themselves up; as host it’s only proper. There’s a lot of things I didn’t like about my mother, but she did instill what she called “a sense of propriety” in me. I could ignore it, sure, but when it was needed, it was there. So I got the dregs of the pot, but sprinkle on some cheese and I was in heaven.

This group was one of the most off-beat I’d ever seen. There were some older queens (Ian, Tommy and Frank), a couple of dykes and their life partners (Billie and Beth; Jackie and Annie), a few earnest guys slipping close to middle-age (Cliff, Mike and George), two leather boiz who seemed more interested in each other’s outfit than anything else (Steve and Ned), a muscle freak (Jack), a quiet librarian type in need of some grooming (Rick), along with two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. They all chatted like they hadn’t seen each other in years, even though several were from the condo complex.

It looked like Dion and Tan weren't coming, so the last to arrive was an elderly woman with short white hair swept back and light, casual slacks topped by a comfortable blouse. She had one of those faces that reminded you of quiet strength and bemusement. Or maybe amusement; it was hard to read. This was Meredith, and with her was a happy, nervous, yappy Sheltie named Geordie, cradled in her arms.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said, her English having a slight accent. “Geordie insisted on smelling every flower on the way. Do you mind?”

Connie shook her head and laughed. “If you think we can hear over him.”

“Oh, he’ll settle down once he’s had something to eat.” Then she pulled a package of turkey bologna from her purse, tore off a strip and let him gobble it down. She set him on the floor and he stayed right by her, waiting for more...which she gave him in little bits. Man, if that was how she fed the mutt, it’s a wonder he wasn’t too heavy to pick up.

“Want some chili?” Connie asked.

I hadn’t dug into mine, yet, so I held it out for Meredith and said, “We saved you a bowl.”

“Oh, thank you but not right now,” she replied. “I never eat before eight.”

“Perfect timing,” Connie said as she pulled another pot of chili from the fridge. “Seconds’ll be ready just about then.”

“God, Connie,” said Ian, “you’re destroying my diet.”

“Part of my evil plot,” she smiled back at him.

Cliff was in the middle of a swig of beer as he looked around the room. Then he asked, “Isn’t that Owen’s fern in the corner?”

I looked at this massive explosion of crinkled leaves feathering out from a clay pot that’d been fire-blasted into a deep jade green.

“Yes,” she said. “He gave it to me a few days before he vanished. Maybe a week.”

“I killed the last two plants Owen gave me.” That was Billie talking.

“You didn’t live with me, then,” said Beth.

“Is he coming?” asked Frank. “I haven’t seen him in ages.”

“Nobody has,” I said. “That’s why I asked everybody to come, tonight. I’m trying to put together what was happening just before my uncle vanished.”

“When was that?” asked Jack, who then downed half his beer. He was sweating from the chili’s bite.

“Not long after his trial,” said Connie. “The last time I remember seeing him was about ten days later.”

“I think that’s when I saw him last,” said Meredith. “It was the argument he was having with that young man.”

“Right. The police officer who supported Owen’s arrest.”

“This was the guy who said he saw my uncle expose himself to that other cop?” I asked.

Connie nodded. “He’d come over to talk with Owen and it did not go well. When I came up, Owen was near hysterics and -- .”

“Excuse me,” I cut in. “What was his name?”

“Roy Harper.”

“Oh, God, it figures,” said Steve, smoothing his hand over the leather on his thigh. “He tried to get me for PI but -- .”

“PI?” It was Meredith asking. Geordie was interested, too.

“Public intoxication, all because this cock ring I was wearing was too tight to let me walk straight.”

“I’ve never walked straight,” Tommy cooed at him.

“Except to bed,” sniped Frank.

Tommy just gave him a But-of-course, shrug.

Okay, somebody was gonna have to wrangle these folks or we’d be here all night.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Need a new bag

The strap came undone on my satchel and I damn near dropped my laptop down the stairs leading into the subway. Fortunately, I was able to grab the handle before it hit the ground...and almost went tumbling, myself. My arm's still a bit achy from it. Not the best way to start the day.

The job was basically okay. I did the 9-6 thing and took time for lunch...but I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be here till Friday to complete it, not counting Wednesday.

I did have that Guinness and Shepherd's Pie. I don't know if it was just me being hungry, but damn it tasted good.

All of a sudden, Jake's revealed a side of himself I wasn't expecting -- something pretty damned ruthless. I'm not sure if this is the direction the story should take...but I'm not going to hold back on it. Nor will I say what it is, yet. I just think it's interesting to find out the one guy I think is the most decent gay man in all my books...well, except for, wait, Van's got his moments of duplicity...anyway,  he's proving to be as cold-blooded as a jackal when he feels it's needed. And that's on top of being clever and aware and as honest as anyone can be.

I don't know where this is coming from, because it's not part of my makeup. I once commented to an associate at Heritage that I could easily have become a serial killer, and she said, "No, you couldn't; you have too much empathy." Shot me down, good. And she's right. That's half the reason I'm a Liberal -- I know what people're going through and it infuriates me that the right wing nuts are letting billionaires get away with making things worse for us all. But even in that anger, even when I contemplate the idea of taking it to the next level and shooting a banker or a piece of billionaire scum like the Koch Brothers -- I'd never be able to do it. I'd be happy to send them to jail, but killing anyone? That's a step too far.

So I'm not clear as to why this is popping up in Jake, unless it's what I wish I could do. Or think I should do.

He's becoming a very complex character in my mind, and far more honorable than I am. I hope I can do him justice.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

184 And Counting

That's how many pages I have written for OT, and I'm maybe a third of the way through. I worked on it as I rode the train down to NYC from Buffalo. It's a long trip -- 9 hours on this one -- and there was no Wifi to distract me...which happens so easily. But I had power for my laptop, and now I have every character I've written into the story named and know where they are and what needs to be added to bridge the gaps. So far. Doesn't help in the clarity department that I've also got a cast of thousands. I feel Cecil B. De Mille...without the reactionary Catholic condescension.

The train was packed the whole way. Seems like this is a very popular trip, I guess because it has a dining car. I had a dry burger and a Brooklyn Brew for $20, including tip. But I have to say, it is not a smooth ride. When I was taking the ferry between Belfast and Stranraer, in Scotland, it was less choppy. One man had to leave because he was getting motion sickness.

BUT...I still managed to pay homage to the dining car scene in "North By Northwest"...even though my table companions were a middle-aged couple from Cleveland.

Tomorrow, I'm working 8 hours. Period. 9-5:30 or 6, depending on how long I take for lunch. Same for Tuesday. I'll be breaking my back enough next week to get that move finished; I don't need to do it every job. Then I'll have a nice Shepherd's Pie at the Pig and Whistle across from Rockefeller Center and Tuesday I'm set up for dinner at a veggie restaurant called Blossom.

Oh...I also learned FRT got 2nd place at The Indie Gathering, for Feature Action Screenplay. Woo-hoo! I'm going to try and attend...but it depends on the cost and possible jobs and a writing course on comedy that I'm taking online near the end of the month. Since comedy's my weak link in my writing, I don't have any problem letting someone else give me ideas on how to make it better.

Guess I'm only somewhat arrogant when it comes to my abilities.