Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Monday, September 30, 2013


And depressed. Half because I don't feel good, thanks to a bad green pepper in my omelet, and half because of what's about to happen in Washington. I can't even handle it, right now, so here's what the looniest of those loonies in the GOP said --

Michele Bachmann "very excited" about gov't shutdown, says it's "exactly what we wanted"

By Aaron Rupar Mon., Sep. 30 2013 at 8:05 AM

If the federal government shuts down at midnight tonight, "large sections of the government would close, hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed without pay, and millions more would be asked to work for no pay," the New York Times reports.

RELATED: Bachmann: Miracle from God will force Obama to sign Obamacare repeal [AUDIO]

That doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, right? But in comments featured in a Washington Post report, Michele Bachmann said she and her Republican colleagues in the House are "very excited" about the prospect.

"It's exactly what we wanted, and we got it," she continued.

Bachmann's belief is that voters appreciate conservative Republicans' effort to derail Obamacare, even if it does result in a government shutdown. And she also seems to think voters will ultimately blame Senate Democrats for being unwilling to pass a House budget bill "that would delay the full effect of President Obama's health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday," in the words of the NYT.

If the House GOP stands firm and refuses to play ball with the Senate, "people will be very grateful," Bachmann told the WaPo.

Contra Bachmann, 60 percent of respondents to a CNN poll released this morning agreed that Congress should "approve a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown."

"According to the poll, which was conducted Friday through Sunday, 46% say they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown, with 36% saying the president would be more responsible and 13% pointing fingers at both the GOP in Congress and Obama," CNN's summary of the polling continues.

In sum, regardless of what she says, Bachmann once again appears to be on the wrong side of public opinion.
It's so fucking stupid, you'd think it was written for The Onion. It wasn't; she really is that deluded.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back behind the plow...

Today I got more done in my quest to reach the end of The Vanishing of Owen Taylor. I'm at a point where Jake's got too much going on for him to be worried about him and Antony, like getting busted and beaten by some homophobic cops and dealing with a night in jail that nearly causes him to freak it's moving a bit faster. Whew.

I'm finally back to a stage where the story's going to be what it's going to be. I've found the theme is exactly what I thought it was -- why do people stay together, even when they've done horrible things to each other? Why does anyone put up with bad behavior by people they love? I pretty much state it in the opening sentence, which has not really changed since it got laid in -- "Why do you stay with Tone?"

Initially, Jake can't answer it except to point out what Antony did for him and how he loves the little twerp. And feels loyalty for him. Like a pet dog. But as the story goes along, he comes to understand the "why" has a deeper least, I hope he does. And when he does, I hope he'll tell me. Because I don't know yet. I just know I'm on the journey with him.

What I find especially interesting about this story is how Jake and Tone are not turning out to be a queer version of Ozzie and Harriet. I've read a number of gay novels and the relationships seem to be either sweet and wonderful, like Tim and Don in the Donald Strachey series of mysteries, or heavy into kink and hurt, like some things I read in The Depraved Minds club I belong to on GoodReads. It's more like Ozzie and Sharon Osborne. Which I don't mind. I don't begrudge my guys the rocky road, so long as it's more like the ice cream and less like the highway to hell.

I had an odd thought, last night, as I was lying in bed. November 1st begins National Novel Writing Month, in which you write a 50,000 word book in 30 days. I'd been thinking of doing that for The Alice '65 -- turning it into a novel. But this weird idea hit me -- to see just how far I could go if I wrote Carly Kills as a book, instead. I could probably get away with a lot more. Sex. Violence. Rock and roll with a Spanish guitar. And make it adverb-less, in a Stephen King style. Could be my straight version of How To Rape A Straight Guy.

So...think the world needs that?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A writer's tools of the trade...

Tostitos. Salsa. Beer (in a Tostitos Salsa jar). A tube of Icy Hot. Plenty of scratch paper. And a laptop with Microsoft Office on it. That works.

I finally figured out I needed to raise the stakes for Jake, without seeming to raise them. And so I have. I think. It meant restructuring Chapters 1 and 2 for the umpteenth time, but it's finally getting close to what I want. The beer helped loosen me up...unless it was the tabasco sauce on top the salsa. I love that shit.

I just hope I'm not making Jake come across as weak in any way. He's not. He's got the heart of a wolf in him and knows who he is and what people are like. But even a wolf likes to play and nip at other wolves, now and then. Get its ears scratched if it's been raised around humans. All creatures long for the touch of another of their species. The connection fills a need.

I'm also having fun trying to keep Jake from seeming to be a gossip, or too easily revealing secrets. I've run into that problem a couple of times in the story and sort of found ways to dance around it, but this takes a lot of work. He'd never tell all, no matter what. It's not who he is.

It also helped that I expanded Tone's part in the first couple of chapters. He was a bit too much in the background; something of a hanger-on instead of a partner to Jake. Now he's got a life of his own that's parallel to his guy's without being unrealistic. Better balance.

Of course, this is the story of my writing -- I set out to make a simple mystery and wind up writing a book as complex as James Joyce's Ulysses. God only knows how many people will read it, now. but the story is what it is.

It also helped that I watched High & Low, again, and marveled at the precision of Kurosawa's directing. He should've got the Oscar for Ran.

Maybe I'll do repeat of today's details, tomorrow...see what that long as I don't have a hangover.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Damn, addiction is easy...

I'm hooked on my iPhone, much as I hate to admit it. I can check e-mails and get texts, and if I'm in an area where there's WiFi, I can go online. The keypad isn't the easiest to use, considering the size of my fingers and how screwed up I get on a regular-sized one, and I have yet to figure out how to turn off iTune Radio except by turning off the phone, but suddenly this is my best new friend...electronically speaking, of course. Of course.

It's amazing how quickly inanimate objects become indispensable to us. Having a computer with spell-check has done more to make my writing readable than all the years I worked on a regular typewriter. Now I can't even fathom working on a Selectric, again. Same for finally buying a laptop. I got it because I needed it to do free-lance packing jobs...and now it's so important, I'm already planning on how to replace it once it's no longer able to keep up with the demands of upgraded programs.

And cell phones? I got my first one because my mother moved in with me and we needed some way for her to call me when she was done working on one of her music videos or movies. That's why I walked down to the Sprint store, a couple blocks from our apartment, and she got to where she could use it pretty well.

Prior to that, I had a pager, and before that, an answering machine. I'm now at a point where anybody can get hold of me at any time, anywhere I have a phone signal. But do you think people call? The more connected I get, the fewer calls that come in...because it's easier to e-mail and text. And I'm not innocent in that; I tend to keep to myself, anyway, so having multiple ways to contact people just made me more of a recluse.

What makes my phone especially fun is, all the music on my laptop is now connected to it. I listened to a Loreena McKennitt album while working out, today...well, riding a stationary bike for 20 minutes. I'm nowhere near like Ah-nold, yet. Or even Alex Minsky. Just out to build stamina, remind my metabolism it should still be working, and strengthen my legs more than anything.

What was nice about it was, it let my mind disengage, and I think I may now see the problem I'm having with OT. Jake talks a lot about Antony and him, and there's a hint of intimacy between them...but while he expresses confusion and hurt over Tone's actions in the story, he never actually seems to feel close to him. There's no sense of casualness to their relationship. Nothing to make him want to fight to keep it. I have to see if I can slip that in while maintaining Jake's persona.

By that I mean, he's not gushy. He won't wax eloquently about Antony's golden locks or thick lashes or ruby-red lips or any of that crap. The intimacy has to come from fleeting moments he lets out without realizing it.

God knows how I'm going to pull that off.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A dash of truthiness...

I've come to the realization that the only way I'll have time to do all the things I need to do...write all the stories I want to to stop eating, give up my apartment, go homeless, steal power and WiFi from Starbucks when I'm able to beg enough money for a Chai Tea and cookie, and not work. At all. Just hold up a sign at street corners -- "Starving artist writing the next great American novel set in Ireland -- please help."

I guess I could live in my car instead of on the street; it's got an AC adaptor. Just walk away from my debts and double-dog-dare 'em to find me. Take bottles in for for redemption to fill the tank and the belly. For sure I'd lose these extra pounds. Not being able to buy Dunkin Donuts means you don't get to eat 'em.

I may wind up that way, anyway, when I hit 66, since it's entirely possible the GOP will do away with Social Security before I have a chance to touch it. That party's become so psychotic, it's actually scaring me. You can't reason with the insane, and a democracy's participants need some ability to reason in order for it to function. My youngest brother's at that point, jobless and close to homeless, and my younger brother refuses to lift a finger to help him. Well...if he joins me then I'll need to get a bigger car. A Civic ain't got the room for two.

Meanwhile...I'm missing something in ...Owen Taylor, and I cannot figure out what it is. Maybe I'm too close to it. Or burnt out. Or too blind in general. I don't know. The story flows but I don't sense much in the way of undercurrent...and it needs more than this surface placidity to bring the reader in. But I can't figure out how to do it. Can't see what little jolt would help the story work.

I think I'll break out the booze, this weekend; maybe that'll crank up the volume enough to blow away the shadows in my brain.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rebooted meself...

I've spent the last couple of days restructuring some of  ...Owen Taylor to fit the new background that's building up. I'm aiming for clarity and it seems the only way to get it is to work through this, slowly. Page by page. At least it's getting rid of some redundancies...but it is tedious.

Most of my life is tedious, right now. Same old thing over and over. I work. I write. I do damn little else that doesn't absolutely have to be done. I'm a typing machine whose dyslexia is getting worse. That or I'm just losing what little control I have over my fingers.

I'm trying to get back to reading fiction. I've got a second hand copy of "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas. It's nearly 900 pages of very small type. And I have a copy of "Sense & Sensibility" by Jane Austen, that I've had for years. I'll dig into that next. I figure I'll start with some classics I haven't read and go from there.

I can't seem to read modern fiction. I get the feeling it takes itself way too seriously...not that I don't. But I try to keep my writing human and natural. Maybe that's why I like writing in first person; it's more like you're telling someone your story than you being this omniscient god-like being relating something of supposed meaning in third person.

I'm headed to Seattle for the book fair, again, this time flying Delta instead of Jet Blue or Southwest. Their fares are ludicrous and the service is so limited, it's irritating. With Delta, I leave at 5pm instead of 5am. I like Seattle, but I'm not there long enough to really enjoy it, so little will get changed in my daily routine.

Then come Toronto, Boston, and Hong Kong (tho' I doubt I'll be going there; the fair's way too small to justify the expense). There are some other packing jobs coming up, and there's transporting 26 pallets of boxes of books we packed, earlier in the year, to their new home. We don't install those...I hope.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm blank, so here's Paul Krugman...

September 24, 2013, 11:48 am

The Depressed Economy Is All About Austerity

Right now the official unemployment rate is 7.3 percent. That’s bad, and many people — myself included — think it understates the true badness of the situation. On the other hand, there are some reasonable people (like Bob Gordon) arguing that at this point, possibly thanks to long-run damage from the Great Recession, “full employment” is now a number north of 6 percent. So there’s considerable uncertainty about just how depressed we are relative to potential.

But we’re clearly still well below potential. And we’ve also had exactly the wrong fiscal policy given that reality plus the zero lower bound on interest rates, with unprecedented austerity. So, how much of our depressed economy can be explained by the bad fiscal policy?

To a first approximation, all of it. By that I mean that to have something that would arguably look like full employment, at this point we wouldn’t need a continuation of actual stimulus; all we’d need is for government spending to have grown normally, instead of shrinking.

Here’s a comparison of two series. One is actual government purchases of goods and services since the Great Recession began (this is at all levels; most of the fall has been state and local, but the Federal government could have prevented that with revenue sharing). The other is what would have happened if those purchases had grown as fast as they did starting in the first quarter of 2001, i.e., in the Bush years.

As you can see, the gap is large and has been growing rapidly; it’s currently at about 400 billion 2009 dollars, or more than 2 1/2 percent of GDP. Given reasonable multipliers, this suggests that real GDP is somewhere between 3 and 3.75 percent lower than it would have been without the austerity. And given the usual Okun’s Law rule of half a point of unemployment per point of GDP, this in turn says that without the austerity we’d have an unemployment rate well under 6 percent, maybe even under 5.5 percent.

I don’t want to pretend to spurious precision here. Instead, I just want to make the point that given what we know and have learned about macro these past five years — and given the modest recovery that has taken place — we’re now at a point where, to repeat, to a first approximation the depressed state of the economy is entirely due to destructive fiscal policy.

The austerians have a lot to answer for.

My feeling about this -- The GOP has become the party of evil. Them threatening to crash the economy and withhold money from the military so it cannot function in order to thwart a program that's already happening (Ted Cruz actually DOES want to use military funding as part of his was against Obamacare) proves their psychosis is beyond measure...and past the point of healing. This is now America. I hope the Tea Party scum are happy...and truth is, they probably are. The animals.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two steps forward...

Fourteen back, it seems. By taking out the Mormons, a lot more had to be adjusted than I'd thought. Maybe I'll put them back in just to cut down on the need for rewriting.

Naw, it's working better this way. And Jake's being more forthcoming. He talks a little about his time in prison, now. And it ties in. Everything's beginning to tie in. My only question is, will I ever get done?!?!?!

I can now see why Earl Stanley Gardiner kept to one specific formula for his Perry Mason mysteries. He'd put in just enough detail to build a hint of the character in the reader's mind, then leave the rest up to them. After that, it's all narrative, clues, and dialogue. No inner workings. People were either good and hard-working or bad and avaricious. No sex. Minimal violence. I think I read forty or fifty of them before I grew bored, but I was lot younger and less discerning, then.

Same for Agatha Christie. All story and clues, nothing seriously psychological. I think I got my first taste of a killer's inner workings...or detective's...with James M Cain, because his stories were told from the viewpoint of someone guilty of a crime. Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels were good, too. One of my favorites, King's Ransom, was made into a brilliant Kurosawa film called High and Low.

It's not the best trailer...but it gives you an idea of how intense the film becomes. It starts quietly, simply, and builds and builds...and the moral dilemma behind it is amazing. The scene on the bullet train is nearly heart-stopping. I think this is what I'm actually reaching for.

No harm in aiming for perfection, I guess.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Watched the Emmys...

Watched it for Neil Patrick Harris. Glad Jim Parsons, Bob Newhart, Steven Soderberg and Michael Douglas won. The rest...I know nothing about them.

Outstanding Drama Series
Winner: "Breaking Bad" (2008)
Outstanding Comedy Series
Winner: "Modern Family" (2009)
Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie
Winner: Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Michael Douglas for Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Ellen Burstyn for "Political Animals" (2012)
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Winner: Behind the Candelabra (2013) - Steven Soderbergh
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: James Cromwell for "American Horror Story" (2011)
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Winner: "The Hour" (2011) - Abi Morgan
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
Winner: "The Colbert Report" (2005)
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Winner: Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn for "Project Runway" (2004)
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Winner: "Saturday Night Live" (1975) - Don Roy King
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
Winner: "The Colbert Report" (2005)
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Winner: "House of Cards" (2013) - David Fincher("Chapter 1")
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Claire Danes for "Homeland" (2011)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Jeff Daniels for "The Newsroom" (2012)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Bobby Cannavale for "Boardwalk Empire" (2010)
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Winner: "The Voice" (2011)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Anna Gunn for "Breaking Bad" (2008)
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Winner: "Homeland" (2011) - Henry Bromell("Q & A")
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Laura Linney for "The Big C" (2010)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory" (2007)
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Winner: "Modern Family" (2009) - Gail Mancuso("Arrested")
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "Veep" (2012)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Tony Hale for "Veep" (2012)
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Winner: "30 Rock" (2006) - Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield("Last Lunch")
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: Merritt Wever for "Nurse Jackie" (2009)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lemm kicked out the Mormons...

He didn't mean to, but it worked out better. I had a whole sub-plot working in OT about the Mormon Church and its massive financial backing of Proposition H8 in California. They formed an unlikely alliance with the Catholic Church and a number of Protestant ministries to flat out lie about what gay marriage meant, and won. Scared the hell out of people with the idea the fags would run rampant by being allowed the same protections as straight married couples. Kept going until the Supreme Court told them they were full of shit...sort of.

I was going to have them as part of the problem Jake faces in Palm Springs, but then Lemm changed the parameters in a way that it just doesn't work. I knew he'd be trouble the second he showed up, but I didn't expect him to start dictating plots. And yet, that's exactly what he's done. And Jake's backing him up.

I've got 181 pages reworked...which is almost halfway through what I have, so far. Clarity is forming within it, fortunately. That's one reason dumping the Mormon subplot was good; it was clouding the issues. Jake hated letting it go, because it let him remember a fling he had with a blond missionary...but he wants the story to work as much as I do.

If I gotta sacrifice, so do any characters in the windmills of my mind.

Wolf howls...

Jake's back to being focused. I'm up to the point in the book where he's being arrested, and its rhythm is building in me, again. He doesn't look at me, now, Jake doesn't. His eyes are sharp on the page and I'm following him, close. Trying to be just as sharp.

Took a while, I have to admit. I slept till after 1. Guess I needed it. That or the Zyrtec is taking over. I don't know. Don't care. I felt rested when I got up and didn't even eat for a couple hours. Instead, I cleared off most of the files from my desktop and laptop, putting them onto thumb drives.

I've made some decisions about my other books, as well. I'm pushing Nazca Plains to pay me what they owe me. I'm only asking for through 2011, which is all I can prove. I have yet to get an accounting of 2012's sales. If it goes nowhere, I'm taking my books back. I've been too weak about this. I'm tired of it. Tired of supporting people and being nice and trying to help and only getting taken advantage of or spat upon.

It's my own damn fault, I know that. I know what it stems from, lot of which will always remain hidden deep within. That's the Antony in me -- the shadows and closets hiding secrets...some of them even from me. What I never got was his psychotic refusal to compromise or accept; I'm not sure where that comes from.

But it's the Jake in me talking, now. The guy who don't take shit off nobody, but who's also smart enough to know when to fight and when to just roll with it. He knows who he is and accepts all he's done, and if you don't like it, too bad.

I wish I could figure out how to be him all the time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Talk about stupid, short-sighted people...

To do anything that makes kids not want to read is just plain wrong. I got this off Yahoo News:

Beloved Librarian Claims She Was Fired for Defending 9-Year-Old Contest Winner
By Ali Swank

It may be a quiet place, but the public library in Hudson Falls, New York (population: 6,927), is buzzing with drama these days, and the story has all the components of a good novel (albeit a novel set in a library, featuring librarians and a 9-year-old reading-contest winner as the main characters). That 9-year-old is Tyler Weaver — the self-proclaimed "king of the book club" and one of the library's most frequent visitors — who will be taking his book business elsewhere, now that a longtime library aide who stuck up for him in a contest controversy has been fired.

"The kids call her Gram. That makes it even worse," Tyler's mother, Katie Weaver, tells Yahoo Shine. "Gram" is Lita Casey, a library aide who spent 28 years working at the Hudson Falls Free Library. But Casey says that the library's board of trustees let her go without reason this week, a month after Casey defended Tyler, who won the library's summer reading contest, "Dig into Reading," for the fifth time by reading the most books in a six-week period.

"I’m not very happy. I was not ready to leave," Casey, who's also a former preschool teacher, tells Yahoo Shine. "I loved my job, and I loved the little kids." Weaver explains that the library controversy started when she called the local newspaper, the Post-Star, asking if they would feature Tyler’s win in the paper. "I called the paper because I was proud of Tyler," she says, "not because I wanted to complain."

The publication then reached out to former library director Marie Gandron for a quote on Tyler's reading success. Instead of praising Tyler's effort, Gandron told The Post-Star that Tyler "hogs" the contest every year and he should "step aside." (And if you don't believe a grown woman would say these things about a little boy who reads a lot, check out the story the paper published.) "Other kids quit because they can't keep up," she told The Post-Star last month, adding that she planned to change the reading program's rules, suggesting they draw names out of a hat instead of awarding prizes, such as Tshirts, water bottles, and atlases, to kids who read the most books. (Gandron has not returned Yahoo Shine's request for comment.)

Disagreeing with Gandron's proposed rule changes, Casey stepped in and stood up for Tyler, who read an impressive 63 books in just six weeks, which made him the clear winner, fair and square. "I don't think it should be a lottery," Casey explains. They all had the same amount of time." The contest only requires kids to read 10 books to participate, and there is no word on how many books the runner-up logged.

And the plot thickens: According to Weaver, Gandron then left her position at the library, never having apologized to Tyler. Michael Herman, president of the library's board of trustees, confirmed to the Post-Star last week that Gandron was no longer employed by the library but wouldn't say whether she had been fired or quit.

According to Casey, a member of the library board called her Monday evening to let her know she'd been fired but wouldn't give her a reason. Casey, not surprisingly, is convinced that her firing is related to the controversy over the library's reading contest, but she hasn't been given a chance to speak with the board since and isn't happy about the whole thing. "I would say I don't deserve this. I don't know what it is. I wasn't going to quit with all of the  flak," she says. (The librarian at Hudson Falls Free Library who answered Yahoo Shine's call said she could not comment on the situation, and Herman could not be reached for comment.)

Weaver doesn't agree with the board's decision, either, and points out that Casey has dedicated her life to encouraging kids to read. "I don’t know what the board was thinking," she says. "For them to let her go and not give her a reason, that's wrong. Someone who stands up for kids, stands up for what's right — those are the kinds of people I want in my kids' lives."

Casey says she's received many calls of support, but she won't be frequenting the Hudson Falls Free Library anymore. "I'm going to miss it," she says. This story could have a happy ending, though: If there's an opening at a nearby library's children's room, she'll happily begin a new chapter there. And Weaver says that she, Tyler, and a few other families will be following suit. "We'll be going to another library with her," she says. Why? The answer is simple, according to Weaver: "She's so sweet."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I am what I am...

I have a very bleak, cold view of life, and sometimes reading my blog is akin to slashing one's wrists. This is according to someone I know. I should try to focus on that which is good and let the bad just pass me by. It would probably lighten the tone of my writing, and I'd be a nicer person to have around...because who wants to be pals with someone who's always seeing the negative.

Really. I was told that. Not by someone in the same room. Fortunately. The expression on my face, alone, would have probably started world War 3. It was online. A place where people who haven't walked in your shoes feel it's their right to tell you what size those shoes should be...and style and color.

I've had other people do something similar, albeit not so bluntly. I get irritated when that happens, but I can usually pass it off. Or just snipe a little. In this instance, I cut the motherfucker out of my world. I don't need that shit, not when they've got zero idea of the life I've survived.

This'll be the second "friend" I've had it with, just this year. Both of them people I strongly supported. The other one's a born-again who started quoting the bible to me, about me being gay, focusing on the verses in Leviticus that say I should be put to death. Oh, he meant it as a way to bring me back to god and keep me out of hell, I'm sure...but shit! If I don't become his kind of Christian I should be killed? Fuck that. If there really was a god, W would have choked to death on that friggin' pretzel a few months into his first term, then Cheney would have died of a heart attack and we might have had someone halfway intelligent running the country when 9/11 approached. Horrible things to say, but those two were downright evil in what they did to America.

One thing I've noticed about getting older is I have no more patience for the crap people love to hand out. I can be polite. I can try and find gentle ways to deal with the idiots. I can hold my tongue, even when provoked...usually. (I excuse myself from being nice to Tea Partiers because they are too stupid to know they're stupid.) But you gotta meet me halfway. Otherwise, I become an asshole and you lose meaning in my eyes.

I'm starting to see why I'm having so much trouble with OT. I didn't want it to become a polemic about Christian haters and the betrayals they cause. I've been pulling back from that, thinking I should keep in mind there are a lot of decent Christian people. Have some balance. Big mistake. It's being dishonest to the story...and not really even-handed. You can't have balance when confronting maniacs, and those good "Christians" don't really argue back against the scum who use the bible to line their pockets and build their throne of power.

One good thing about this moment of clarity is, I'm past that, now. All it took was some condescending twerp thinking he knew me better than I did. I know I'm not easy. I know I'm inconsistent. I know more about my faults and foibles than anybody else. So don't you dare fucking lecture me; all you'll get is a spit in the face.

So...ready, aim, fire, Jake; it's your story to tell...let's tell it, and the hell with everything else.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm just a slave to my demons...

One of them being technology. After much toil and trouble, I still cannot get my new keyboard to work at 100% with my Mac Mini. I've gone into the Mac store and gone online asking for help and tried everything, but it just will not let the function keys work right. So when I want to increase the volume on a video I'm watching, I have to do it with my mouse.

My iPhone is better. I can now get into my voicemail. Don't know why it didn't work, because when I went into the AT&T shop, it took the guy five minutes to correct it. So now I can listen to messages sent me and connect with my e-mails and on and on.

On top of it, the ticking clock video I did and saved in 4 different viewing formats will not upload to be seen correctly on an iPhone unless I specifically keep it within certain parameters, so I'll need to go back through my images, resize them, and redo everything in the way of lettering.

But I can't do that till I clean some crap off my desktop, because I don't have enough RAM available to run Photoshop.

And now the control-funtion keys are acting up on my laptop. I can't handle this crap.

So I finally gave up and got back onto Owen Taylor. Just to get away from it all. I made it through the first 2 chapters and will keep going the whole weekend. I'm taking Friday off from work and indulging in the beer. See if that helps me get past this meandering sensibility of mine.

Maybe that's why writers drink -- because the fates keep pissing on them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oddly enough...

I said a few days ago Carly Kills wanted to be a screenplay...but it seems Carly's changed her mind. Typical. She's thinking of a good, scary, sexy book with her in control every step of the way. The story's pretty much a revenge one -- her sister's a lesbian who was raped by some scum, treated like shit by the system of justice, and finally killed herself. With the help of her sister's lover, she plans to slowly torture to death every one of the men who did it. But she doesn't know who all of them are, yet...and Zeke complicates things by running with that crowd and making Carly fall for him. He's got tattoos and scars and a prison past and soulful eyes that go with his pain and suffering...

What's becoming even more fun is, Carly's decided she's an ex-Marine who was court-martialed for breaking a superior office's instep when he groped her breasts. Her defense? "He was behind me so I didn't know he outranked me. If I had, I'd have just kicked him in the balls." So this story is even more than personal revenge; this is catharsis. And my goal is to tell it like it's a horror story about Carly the crazed-killer...someone who makes you empathize with her as she slaughters some very bad boys. If she goes as far as I rather suspect she may be better to make this a book. Don't want no NC-17s going on.

I think what got me going on that was remembering a movie I saw back in the early 70s (dating myself, here). It was about an upper-class girl who infiltrates a gang of drug smugglers, or something, and may have been called Ginger, but it had full-frontal male and female nudity and an infamous moment where a naked man who's tied to a bed is castrated by a pissed-off woman who's wrapped his genitals with piano wire. That's Carly...or maybe her mom.

Funny...the early 70s had a lot of movies like this -- sexploitation things. Gay. Straight. Bi-curious was the order of the day. Men with men; women with women. Titles like Licorice Quartet, Trader Hornee, Behind the Green Door, Myra Breckenridge, Fortune and Men's Eyes (which killed a couple of actors' careers), and the infamous Deep Throat. Men were seen as sex objects just as much as women. They ran at mainstream movie houses and I'd go to them with my friends. Hard to believe things were so casual back then. Especially in San Antonio.

Now? I can't imagine them even getting made except as porn videos, even in LA.

Hell, especially in LA.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jake's hard at work...

He wants me to finish this book. And the truth is, I should. Hell, by the time I'm done with it, it'll be close to a third draft. The only part that'll need a fair amount of polishing will be the "big reveal." That hasn't been written, yet, but it can't be until I have everything else set. So beginning tomorrow, I'm going through what I've got from beginning to end and making it consistent...and then I'll kick that out.

Thinking back on it, I took four or five years to complete HTRASG, and a good three years to do just the first two books of BC. So I guess I'm not all that slow. LD was a fifteen year project, if you include the initial screenplay and play. I can lose sight of what really happens when I write, because every book is new and different in how it comes together. Thusly, I convince myself that I'm having the worst trouble ever and it's never been this hard, before, and on and on and I wind up overindulging in the drama queen aspect of my life.

Of course, The Alice '65 incubated for a while in my head, but it really did shoot out once I started up that comedy writing class. Which apparently did me no good when it comes to writing comedy...except I did finish a first draft of the script in pretty quick time. I have a feeling, once I get back to it, I'll find lots of ways to make it better...especially if I use it as the basis for a novel during NaNoWriMo.

FRT also came together very quickly -- like in a week. But I'd deliberately set out to see if I could write a script that quickly, and got myself rather tipsy -- never drunk, but buzzed the whole time -- as I wrote. And the basis for the story has been consistent; it's mainly the details that changed. I got beer in the fridge; maybe I'll do it, again...maybe with Carly Kills.

So...on with The Vanishing of Owen Taylor and, who knows?

I don't understand...

I pay my bills when I get them. That way I'm not scrambling at the last minute to cover everything. But not every does the same. I just learned a check I'd thought would be in with my mail when I got here hasn't even been sent, yet. Meaning I won't have it until the middle of next week. Nor will I get paid for the book I sold on ebay until PayPal decides the credit card's funds are properly transferred. That may take another 10 days and they're charging me a fee of 5%.

This is so consistent, it's more like a game to see how long they can keep from paying you what they owe you. I've already been stiffed for nearly $8000 by the publisher of my first books. Looks like Donald Trump's business model is the norm -- make 'em sue you then settle out of court for half the amount.

I'd planned to use that money to pay for a Dr. bill, a keyboard and the chair. Guess I shouldn't make plans like that. My cc liked it but my checking account don't.

Doubt I'll get any writing done, today. Jake should've picked a guy who's more financially adept and not so easily distracted.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back to life...

Back to reality. The second I return to Buffalo, I start sneezing. I don't know what it is in this part of the country, but I was fine in Columbia all the way up to New Haven and through Burlington and Syracuse...but last night I had to pop a (real) Zyrtek to control my nose. It's weird.

I've learned the keyboards put out by Mac have some flaw in them where letters will just stop working after 2 or 3 years. That's what happened with my desktop, tho' in my case it's really more like 4 years. I guess I don't use it hard enough or consistently enough.

Today was a meandering day. I got my mail and sort of straightened out the mess I dragged in, last night...and it was a mess, because I wanted to turn in the van ASAP. Papers everywhere, leftover food, tools and materials...and a new chair. I found one at IKEA, right by the La Quinta I stay at, that was only $40. I'd seen it the previous time I was in New Haven and thought I'd get one in Buffalo...but there isn't an IKEA here. You have to go across to the Canadian side...and pay GST of 13%. So, since I was in a mini-van, I brought one home.

The drive was long, again, but this time I came up the 17 (which is also the 6 and soon to be the 86) to use the 81 to Syracuse and catch the 90 there. It was cloudy and wet much of the way, and I loved it. There was a moment outside Binghamton where the mist mingled with some low, tree-shrouded mountains and valleys, revealing occasional barns and houses in a way that made it all seem as alive as I was. Layers of soft grey mingled with deep greens and leaves already beginning to change into their Fall colors. The drive became worthwhile.

I'm having trouble getting back to work on ...Owen Taylor. I think it's just because I've been at it for so long, and now have to go through it to correct some stupid decisions from earlier...and I'm tired. The family situation also still weighs on me, as does the constant rejection I've submitted myself for. And finances, tho' there's nothing new about them being a problem. It's just, after a while you have to wonder why you keep it up. I know it's partly because of habit...and a need to tell my characters' stories, but I also wonder if it isn't also just plain stupidity...or stubbornness.

Well...I can be a truly hard-headed little prick.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Take happiness where you can find it...

I can't think, right now; I've been working on figuring out a massive packing job and brain is off in god knows where land. On top of it, the powers that be are whining about me wanting $40 extra in boxes. To which I answer...Okay, fine. Hope we don't need 'em. I do not feel like fighting...even though I do.

Then I found this online...and it made me smile...
...and happy, because it's so adorable when he giggles.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A moment of grace apart from the rest...

Today I was in two completely different libraries that sit right next door to each other,

This is the Beinecke, and those stacks to the right of frame are antiquarian books, rows and rows of them. The background squares in the wall that look like fire are solid stone worked in such a way that when the light hits them it gently filters through and gives that effect. The building's 50 years old. Heart-stoppingly beautiful.

And this is the reading room for the Yale Law Library. It was built around 1930, during the beginnings of the Great Depression. Italian craftsmen toiled here. Almost gives the Long Hall at Trinity College in Dublin a run for its money.

Even the outside is amazing.

Rant alert

I entered The Alice '65 in 16 screenplay competitions. It got nowhere in 9, so far, but did achieve the following --

Indie Gathering (First Place – Comedy/Romantic)
StoryPros (Quarterfinalist)
PAGE International (Quarterfinalist)

I guess that's good. Better than nothing, right? Wanna bet?

Here are some of the other awards I've amassed (I think I actually have more for FRT and Bugzters but just can't remember them and the info is mixed up in boxes of paperwork I need to go through).

Darian’s Point
Worldfest Flagstaff/Charleston (First Place, Horror)

The Cowboy King of Texas {AKA: The King of the Cowboys}
Houston International Film Festival {AKA: Worldfest Houston} (First Place, And Special Jury Award)

Straight on Till Morning
Houston International Film Festival {AKA: Worldfest Houston} (First Place, Biography)

Pacific NW Writer’s Association (Second Place)

Blood Angel
Movie Deal! (Second Place)
Indie Gathering (Third Place)
Pacific N.W. Writers (Finalist)
Austin (Semifinalist)
Screenwriting Expo (Semifinalist)
Cinestory (Semifinalist)
Blazing Quill (Semifinalist)
Scriptapalooza (Quarterfinalist)
Slamdance (Quarterfinalist)
PAGE International (Quarterfinalist)

Find Ray T (AKA: Find Ray Tarkovsky)
Emerging Screenwriters (Finalist)
Scriptapalooza (Semifinalist)
American Accolades (Semifinalist)
Screenwriter Dig (Semifinalist)
WriteMovies (Semifinalist)
StoryPros Awards (Quarterfinalist)
Wildsound (Finalist)

Wide New World
Indie Gathering (Second Place)
Worldfest - Houston (Third Place)
British Feature (Semifinalist, The Big Picture)

Return to Darian’s Point
Shriekfest (Finalist)
Writer's on the Storm (Semifinalist)

5 Dates
Screenwriting Expo (Finalist, Suzanne's Prize)
Movie Deal! (Finalist)

The Lyons’ Den
One in Ten (4th place)

Dair’s Window
One in Ten (Finalist) think I can get an agent or producer to pay attention to me? Nope. Wanna know why? I was actually just told I really need to read Save the Cat and apply "those solid principles" to my scriptwriting. I've read the fucking book. I hated it. It's writing according to computer programming, but that is, apparently, the new template for Hollywood to tell whether or not a script is any good. Syd Field wasn't simplistic enough. I actually feel insulted.

On top of it, A65 was dissed by the Austin Film Festival, which then gave one man's script -- one script, not three different ones -- 3 positions in its finalists' lists. Now maybe the script is just that good. I don't know. I don't give a fuck. Because I also noticed that the writer is based in Austin and has worked with the AFF. Helps to be an insider; lets you have the upper hand. Because when I went there in 2007 I read some of those winning scripts (BA was a semi-finalist so I got a free pass to everything), and they were crap.

I gave up on Sundance because it had become incestuous, like this. Their screenwriting workshops -- which would only offer 10-12 slots for writers to come work on their projects -- got to where they would first accept any filmmaker who'd been accepted to the film festival and whatever was left over was what the rest of us would fight for...usually just 2-3 slots.

But I guess that's always been Hollywood's way -- work with people you know have done the job. So I'm not really surprised at AFF's actions. Hell, I should have learned my lesson in 2007.

No, what really pisses me off is, I spent nearly a thousand dollars that I could not really afford entering these competitions on A65, a script I'm damned proud of, and all I've gotten back nowhere near makes up for the spit I keep getting in my face. So that's it. I expect I'll get four more "sorry but you're just not good enough and in the know enough for us" responses. But that's fine, because it's now a case of, Fuck the competitions; I'm done with this shit.

Rant done, too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Doesn't take much to distract me, lately. Or knock me out of my routine. I've been trying to blog every day. I also write in a journal and try to keep up on the info sent my way by various people. But this last couple weeks I've spun out of control. Too many distractions, too much to do and no time to do it.

Right now, I'm in New Haven after driving up here from Columbia, SC. Straight up the 95...well, until I hit the Garden State Parkway and remembered the hell I'd had going from the George Washington Bridge to Bridgeport, last week, so shifted direction and, once I got past the 280 leading to the Oranges, it was straight shot. The highlight of the trip? Watching the Town & Country minivan I'm driving hit 28 mpg while using the a/c.

Do I lead an exciting life, or what?

OT barely entered my consciousness during this second leg of the trip. Instead, Carly Kills began knocking at my proverbial door. Carly and Zeke have worked out their dynamic and stories, and they're ready to be heard. At the same time, it's getting close to the National Novel Writing Month writing challenge, and I want to shift The Alice '65 into book form. It got dissed by yet another competition -- that's eight, so far, out of eleven responses (it won at Indie Gathering and got to quarterfinalist in a couple) -- so maybe it's better to just work on novels.

Except, CK is not interested in being novelized. Shit. She wants the visual.

What's even worse is...the beginning of Darian's Point has begun to rumble. I can actually see the whole first act and a vicious portion of the last act. This story also needs to be told.

Do other writers go through this? Having so many stories pounding at the doorway of their consciousness? How do they handle it? Maybe I can't. Maybe I'm losing my mind and my characters know and they're clamoring to be heard before said brain goes buh-bye. Maybe I'll wind up living these stories in my head once I collapse into dementia.

God help anyone who has to take care of me; I barely make sense when I'm vaguely sane.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kilometers are not miles...

I'm driving a Chrysler T&C made in Canada for Canadians. Its speedometer's in kilometers. I can work it out in my head just how fast 70 mph is (and under the bold numbers are smaller, darker numbers to sort of help), but for some reason it made the 90 mile drive between Charlotte and Columbia seem longer than it needed to be. Didn't help this was through country that's pretty much nothing. Not as bad as between Houston and San Antonio, but not that much better.

Helped that I was listening the Depeche Mode's "101" album on my iPhone. I need to figure out how to make it shift from one disk to the next without me having to tell it to do that. On my laptop, if I start the music at one spot, it keeps playing through the list till I tell it to stop.

Apparently Chili's has changed their menu. I ate at one for lunch, looking forward to a half rack of ribs with Shiner Bock sauce...but they don't offer that, anymore. So I went with the tilapia, again. Not bad but not my first choice.

I'm feeling a lot better about things, now. I dove into OT after I checked in and took a nap; my body does not like rising at 4:30 in the morning to catch a 6:30 flight. But I got the first chapter reworked and toned back, a little.

After rereading RIHC6, both volumes, I realized I'd let Antony's character get a bit too crazy in what I've written, so far. By the end of the second book, he sounds reasonable and aware of his situation and in some control of it. I was trying to make him less in control thanks to changes in their situation a few months prior to the beginning of OT, but now that feels wrong. Instead, he's going back to being secretive and manipulative...which drives Jake nuts.

The story is beginning to take on a bigger shape...bigger theme, I guess. I'm not completely clear about it or how to dramatize it within the framework of this book, but it's growing in intensity. The fact that the whole mystery takes place over the space of 2 weeks, with 80% in the second week, makes it harder to keep track of. I halfway think that's one reason I'm having such difficulty with it all.

Anyway, back to life...back to reality...back to the here and now...

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Sometimes research works out. While I was in Philadelphia, I dropped by 30th Street Station to see if it aligned with what I'd written in Bobby Carapisi. Here's Eric's description --

She was right; the train was so easy. I hit Philadelphia just before noon and wandered into a station that is one of the loveliest in the world. Huge ceilings with art deco everywhere and so much space, it was like a cathedral. I mean, I liked Union Station, but it had been changed so much from when Hitchcock made “Strangers on a Train” that it was unrecognizable in the main lobby...except for the statues on high looking out over everything and the painted glass windows. But it could just as easily have been a bus station or airport terminal or even shopping mall, the way it was set up. Philadelphia’s was for trains, without question, and they were damn proud of it.

And here's how it actually looks --

It's like a transportation center, with trains shooting every direction. Someone was shooting a movie or TV show there, when I slipped in, and they had signs posted but also had extras poised to begin their striding and rushing about. It was a bit surreal, because I'm pretty sure half the people in there were regular travelers.

I haven't done anything on OT in a few days, but I'm feeling more like I should get back to it, again, so that's a good sign. And this trip to South Carolina, even though the temp's going to be in the 90s, it will be relatively leisurely. I'll have to get ready to bid on a packing job in NYC during it, but that's just going over a list and figuring out the time, materials and manpower needed to do it right.

I got an iPhone 4G, now, for work. So far...I like it but it's got its quirks. However, I now have all the music on my laptop connected to it, and I can do a lot of things in Cloud and link to my Mac accounts and check e-mails and even surf the web anyplace I can get a signal, so I'm a lot better off.

I guess my next step is get a similar phone with Sprint.

A moment of Paul Krugman

September 5, 2013

Years of Tragic Waste

In a few days, we’ll reach the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers — the moment when a recession, which was bad enough, turned into something much scarier. Suddenly, we were looking at the real possibility of economic catastrophe.

And the catastrophe came.

Wait, you say, what catastrophe? Weren’t people warning about a second Great Depression? And that didn’t happen, did it? Yes, they were, and no, it didn’t — although the Greeks, the Spaniards, and others might not agree about that second point. The important thing, however, is to realize that there are degrees of disaster, that you can have an immense failure of economic policy that falls short of producing total collapse. And the failure of policy these past five years has, in fact, been immense.

Some of that immensity can be measured in dollars and cents. Reasonable measures of the “output gap” over the past five years — the difference between the value of goods and services America could and should have produced and what it actually produced — run well over $2 trillion. That’s trillions of dollars of pure waste, which we will never get back.

Behind that financial waste lies an even more tragic waste of human potential. Before the financial crisis, 63 percent of adult Americans were employed; that number quickly plunged to less than 59 percent, and there it remains.

How did that happen? It wasn’t a mass outbreak of laziness, and right-wing claims that jobless Americans aren’t trying hard enough to find work because they’re living high on food stamps and unemployment benefits should be treated with the contempt they deserve. A bit of the decline in employment can be attributed to an aging population, but the rest reflects, as I said, an immense failure of economic policy.

Set aside the politics for a moment, and ask what the past five years would have looked like if the U.S. government had actually been able and willing to do what textbook macroeconomics says it should have done — namely, make a big enough push for job creation to offset the effects of the financial crunch and the housing bust, postponing fiscal austerity and tax increases until the private sector was ready to take up the slack. I’ve done a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what such a program would have entailed: It would have been about three times as big as the stimulus we actually got, and would have been much more focused on spending rather than tax cuts.

Would such a policy have worked? All the evidence of the past five years says yes. The Obama stimulus, inadequate as it was, stopped the economy’s plunge in 2009. Europe’s experiment in anti-stimulus— the harsh spending cuts imposed on debtor nations — didn’t produce the promised surge in private-sector confidence. Instead, it produced severe economic contraction, just as textbook economics predicted. Government spending on job creation would, indeed, have created jobs.

But wouldn’t the kind of spending program I’m suggesting have meant more debt? Yes — according to my rough calculation, at this point federal debt held by the public would have been about $1 trillion more than it actually is. But alarmist warnings about the dangers of modestly higher debt have proved false. Meanwhile, the economy would also have been stronger, so that the ratio of debt to G.D.P. — the usual measure of a country’s fiscal position — would have been only a few points higher. Does anyone seriously think that this difference would have provoked a fiscal crisis?

And, on the other side of the ledger, we would be a richer nation, with a brighter future — not a nation where millions of discouraged Americans have probably dropped permanently out of the labor force, where millions of young Americans have probably seen their lifetime career prospects permanently damaged, where cuts in public investment have inflicted long-term damage on our infrastructure and our educational system.

Look, I know that as a political matter an adequate job-creation program was never a real possibility. And it’s not just the politicians who fell short: Many economists, instead of pointing the way toward a solution of the jobs crisis, became part of the problem, fueling exaggerated fears of inflation and debt.

Still, I think it’s important to realize how badly policy failed and continues to fail. Right now, Washington seems divided between Republicans who denounce any kind of government action — who insist that all the policies and programs that mitigated the crisis actually made it worse — and Obama loyalists who insist that they did a great job because the world didn’t totally melt down.

Obviously, the Obama people are less wrong than the Republicans. But, by any objective standard, U.S. economic policy since Lehman has been an astonishing, horrifying failure.
I've been following Paul Krugman since before the economic collapse, and so far he's been right and we've agreed WAY more often than not. Too bad Obama's not willing to consider any input from anyone outside his protective cloister of like-thinkers. I never voted for O; I voted against McCain and his Little Miss American Idol Wannabe and I voted for Dr. Jill Stein, of the Green Party, I was so not trusting the man. Looks like my gut was right -- he's just a Reagan Republican masquerading as a Democrat.