Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Part of history

That's me. I just supervised the move of Henry Kissinger's archives to Yale University. Valued at $18m, if I recall the volumes of paperwork right. We got the last of it unloaded and into the vault half an hour before the rains came to New Haven. Talk about timing...this one was totally in my favor.

Jake and Antony are beginning to reveal the new story in more detail...and Jake's not worried about seeming bland next to Tone's insanity. "You don't compete with a psychotic," he says, "you just hold him close and let him know he's safe. And enjoy it when that craziness helps you out."

There's going to be a fair amount of craziness in this story; Mormons have made an entrance, including their vile habit of baptizing the dead into their religion. Talk about total fascism, where even someone who's died has to believe as you do. Now I know why they run the largest genealogical resource center in the world. What scares me is my grandmother on my mother's side used their resources once, so now I wonder if her memory's been confiscated by that cult.

An ex-gay man factors into it, as well. This little beastie's gonna be fun, fun, fun. But considering how I've already been labeled a pornographer, once...and almost twice, I guess I should be happy for that.

Now comes the question -- how do I work in some serious sex? That's not something Jake would talk about. "It's between me and Tone, buddy." And he's the one telling the story. Antony loved detailing it, but he enjoyed more the idea of pushing your face into what went on than anything else, and in book 2 of RIHC6 he became more reticent after his and Matt's least as regards himself.

Hm...what would Jackie Collins do?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perfect timing

That's what today's been, nothing but perfect timing to screw things up. I worked at the Library of Congress, today, supervising the building of 420 boxes onto 14 skids to go into 2 trucks. We got 10 done and down and in the truck so only had 4 left...and ten minutes before we were done, the one and only freight elevator in the entire building broke down.

After waiting a couple hours to get it fixed, we commandeered a couple of regular elevators and sent the skids down on those, with the pallet jack going in a separate elevator. Took twice as long, but the freight elevator was still not working when we finally left at 3pm.

I hadn't had lunch, so I stopped to have an overpriced burger (with some excellent fries) before leaving DC...and got caught in traffic, of course. My goal was to be in New Haven by 9:30 but when I got to the George Washington Bridge to cross on the 95, it got shut down for half an hour just as I hit the toll booth. Apparently they were going to do some work on it so closed off two lanes on this inside, and no one could be on the bridge till they were done setting everything up, I guess. Then when traffic finally got moving, again, it was going so slowly it was like almost going backwards. So I finally arrived at 11pm.

Normally I like driving, but this time was a chore.

At least I got more notes written down for "...Owen Taylor" while waiting at the bridge. Jake and Antony wind up going head to head with a homophobic DDA in California, and Jake learns just how much of a scorched-earth personality his beloved Tone has.

As the joys of having notepaper and a half-hour to kill in NYC.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I have to make this fast before the unstable WiFi signal in this Holiday Inn Express fades out, again. I appreciate them working with me and changing the reservation to today, and it's a nice hotel, overall, but I can't answer e-mails or do anything online for more than five minutes at a time. I recall having a similar problem when I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express over by JFK, so it must be something endemic to the hotel. Never have this problem at La Quinta and rarely at Best Western or Motel 6.

I started work at a quarter to nine and left Buffalo at 1pm then drove 8 solid hours to get to DC, so I'm beat. And tomorrow's going to be a long day -- packing and driving another 300+ miles. On this trip my mind's been blank when it comes to creative things. I was trying to work out something for Jake...I'm suddenly afraid of making him seem bland in comparison to Antony's psychotic behavior...but not one note in the whole 440 miles.

Didn't help I ate a nasty burger at a Wendy's outside Harrisburg; I need some milk.

I will say, I'm looking forward to having some steady 9-5s, again, so I can get back to my writing, consistently instead of this catch as catch can stuff. I have too much to do to be so scattered.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

No animals were harmed...

That was actually in the credits. Amazing.

I'm impressed a silent black & white film won Best Picture and think it's good Meryl was finally put out of her misery. And it was only 3 hours and 10 minutes long. A record.

Not done with taxes, though, so that's not a good thing. Dammit.

Not really unhappy

So far Christopher Plummer's won, as did the Iranian film, "A Separation." Not impressed with Alexander Payne...but Angelina's leg made up for it, and I'm not even interested in that. So far...just a bit tedious and yet, not boring. Yet.

Michel Hazanavicius just won for director. I guess I'll go see "The Artist", now.

Oscars, tonight...

...And I haven't seen a one of the movies, yet. The one and only film I saw in a theatre this year was "The Woman In Black" with friends in LA. I meant to, really I did. But I didn't do it. So I have no real favorites or care who will win all that much...except I do have a soft spot for George Clooney and his Cary Grant grin. Dunno about the movie; I wasn't all that crazed about Alexander Payne's last film, "Sideways".

But we'll see if tonight's any fun. I have my chips and bean dip and way too much Dr. Pepper, so I'm set. I'm even doing my taxes as I watch...well...prepping for my taxes. We'll see how that goes.

I just watched Nick Nolte not understand a word his seriously British interviewer said, and then answer in very off-kilter ways. For example, he had a crow as a pet. Se asked him if he had a crow as a pet. He said, What? Then talked about a crow that was in a movie of his...I think.

And the French actor in "The Artist" was obviously high on life, because he did a soft-shoe as he was being interviewed and had a lot of trouble with his English and his grin was so wide, it was threatening to break his face in half, and he likes the Cinnamon Rolls in LA! Je suis tres heureux pour voir ce homme est trop gentil etre un acteur vrai. Et Il est beau, aussi. Merde.

Now I should try to do this in my just-as-mangled Spanish. HA!

Hm...maybe this will be fun, after all.

The Vanishing of Owen Taylor

The title of my Jake & Tone mystery. I now have 12 pages done.

You never know where the muse will lead you...but woe unto thee if you ignore her. Or him. Does it matter? Oh, man, that's not something I need to worry about, now -- wondering if I've inadvertently offended the muse. They can be very difficult, and demanding.

And just to remind you who Jake and Antony are --
Jake is probably the most decent character I've ever written (after Bobby Carapisi) and the most real to me. It's only right he should have his own book, now. And that he should be in the same mold as Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade and Travis McGee; he's got their abilities down pat.

Antony (Tone to Jake...and Jake, only) is my most fascinating one, to me. The way his love for Jake makes him do things that would otherwise be insane...and are insane, in reality. But there's no question how much he loves his Jake, and no question he's smart...just not smart enough to know that can be a flaw, especially when you can get as one-track-minded as he can.

Then there's Matt, who will figure in deeply...just how I haven't worked out yet. But he's become like the calm counterpoint to Antony and has computer skills that always come in handy, these days. He's got deep shadows...but overall he's a decent guy, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Simmering silent

Something in my soul dances with a shadow
Of what, I cannot say
Movement whispers to my left and I turn
To see nothing but the air in motion
Locked in midnight

There is meaning in this darkness
I know
I've entered it before
Then returned to light with scars intact
And glimmers of truth building homes in my heart

This path is not new or unknown
I remember it from times before
When fresh worlds collided and their shrapnel opened windows
But the sun did not scream in
Only glistening stars and a hint of the moon

A hand now rests upon my shoulder
Urging me forward to the midnight
I know who this is
And I smile

What more is needed to begin a journey?

The perfect shirt

Okay, I have to share this, thanks to a FaceBook buddy.
If you know any German, you know what this word is. And if you don't...the big "B" that's the second to last letter on the shirt is indicative of a double-S, in German.

I learned this word from a Werner Herzog movie, "Even Dwarfs Started Small", which I saw in college. As I recall, it's cast solely with dwarves...and there was this one who would look sort of at the camera, over and over, and say "scheisse, scheisse" and nothing else. Very bizarre, but totally Herzog.

Ich bin SHEISSE!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Not feeling up to writing or talking or anything after a long week. But I got to see Yale for the first time.
The Old Campus
 The Cross Campus, with The Sterling Library in the b.g.
I think this is the Classics Library. I love the old Norman style look of it.
I hadn't realized Nathan Hale was a Yale man, or that he'd died so young -- at 21. This statue is in front of Connecticut Hall, where he lived while attending the age of 13. The building was built before he was even born.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Penne Arrabiatta

Just had a dish of this that at a place in New Haven called Brazzi's, and it was damn near perfection. Add a Peroni...and now I'm feeling full and sleepy. Normally when I hit an Italian restaurant, I wind up leaving a lot on the plate, it's so filling...and I usually get satiated with the taste after a certain point. This time, I cleaned it up. I may pay for it later, but right now? Best meal I've had in months.

It is a LONG drive from Washington DC to New Haven...and yet, it only took me 6 hours. I was lucky with the traffic, not getting caught in any slow-downs till I hit the Connecticut state line. But what was nice about that slow-down was I could scribble readable notes about Jake & Tone...and also, this guy in a Toyota SUV to my right was seriously air-drumming along with some tune I couldn't hear. He had thick curls and tatts on his lean arms and scruff around his chin and looked so much like what you think a rock star would look like, I figured he was really an investment banker.

Anyway...making my notes set another bitch-fest into motion between Jake and Brendan. This new story is flowing along and deepening without much trouble, thanks to Jake's coolness, and Brendan wants to know why I'm paying attention to the guy when he didn't even exist 5 years ago, whereas I've been dealing with Brendan in one form or another for well over a decade. And Jake's casual response was, "I know what I want."

That set Brendan off an a tirade about how he knows what he wants, too, but that I wouldn't pay attention except when it suited me and I kept shifting to other projects to avoid dealing with it, to which Jake responded, "He couldn't do what you wanted when you wanted it. He didn't have the ability."

Well...that hurt my feelings and got me into the foray, and I huffed and puffed...and Jake didn't budge. "You're getting there, but you ain't there yet, and mine's an easier story. No sociology to learn. No culture to be afraid of. And you read hundreds of mysteries when you were in high school and college and now they've filtered through you enough to where they've become part of your thought process. You'll get Brendan's story told once you're  capable of telling it."

Y'know, I used to think this was just me arguing with myself...but lately I've begun to wonder. Some of my characters become so real to, all of them's like they're standing right behind me whispering the story into my ear. And that's why I can write with some form of clarity. Not much, but some...because they see the path I need to take whereas I don't always.

Maybe I should have myself tested for insanity.

Just for the halibut...

 Let me try this, again. I think Dave Mason (the clothing designer, AKA: House of Vader) looks like he could be a model for Tom of finland. He's got the physique and the "Just you try and keep me from being happy" attitude most of Tom's work holds.

This is the best representation of Tom's work before he became so polished and overdone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Battle brewing

Okay...I'm working at finishing up the next rewrite of "Inherent Flaws" so I can get back to POS, but Brendan and Jake are playing games with each other. Seems both are vying to be the next project I work on and Brendan's making like a trickster to get his way.

How do I know? I stopped for gas just inside Washington, DC and as I was getting out, one sheet of notes for my new Jake & Tone mystery flew out of the van and under it. I got it just in time...but then couldn't find the other sheet. I figured it was in the middle of some other papers that had shifted around, but as I was cleaning the back windows, I heard a shuffle and there went the second sheet of notes across the gas station's pavement.

I caught it and put both back in a place where that couldn't happen, again, and heard Brendan laughing in the back of my mind. He must have some leprechaun in him. Meanwhile, Jake was just standing there, his arms crossed, shaking his head and saying, "Play it your way."

Now I know why I keep forgetting things -- like the sign-off paperwork for this job I just delivered for Johns Hopkins and directions I'd printed out to the hotel I'm staying in, tonight. My characters are taking up what little brain space I have. I have to make notes non-stop if I want to remember things I need to do and triple check myself, I guess, to be certain I have everything I need for a trip. I was thinking it was the early onset of Alzheimer's or maybe a dash of dementia...but now I know it's just psychosis, and that I can deal with.

Anyway, I shoved them both into their respective corners and worked on another 2 chapters of IF. I'm at about the halfway point and there's more work needing to be done than I recalled. As usual. but it's getting there.

Now if I could just figure out why Brendan's pulling this crap, the little pixie.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pooped and popless

Long day packing and meeting with people and driving and not getting a decent meal till 6. So now I'm exhausted and getting irritable. Didn't help that someone, whom I specifically told I did not do spec work, asked me to do a spec script, from scratch, based on a very vague notion to be given to actors between the ages of 16 and 24. I had to fight to be polite as I said, "No."

Right now I'm in New Brunswick, NJ en route to Baltimore. From there it's off to DC then back to New Haven. I was at Yale, today, and it's not at all what I expected. The buildings are tight together, the streets narrow, and in the multitude of Yalies I saw, I also noticed a dozen different accents. And the less said about the four big drums that went rolling past me, the better.

Dammit, I just remembered I have more e-mails to send. so just for fun, here's a picture of what my haren will look like when I win the lottery or sell a script for $5m --

I'm sure this is from some clothing ad, somewhere, but it's so deliciously silly and gay, I couldn't resist.

Now off to e-mail.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Buy cheap, get cheap

At least, that's how it usually goes with clothing and cars...and now hotel rooms. I'm at a La Quinta in downtown New Haven and the people above me are having a basketball party. I can hear just about everything they're saying, and it 's quite distracting.

The drive down was nice, though. Lots of hills and hints of snow still on the ground. The cascading ice along the carved stone sides where the freeway cut into the ground. Snacks between the seats and lots of pull-ins along the way. Took just over 7 hours, and I wasn't rushing. Ford vans feel a bit less stable than Chevy vans do, but it was comfortable and has a 33 gallon tank. I ran all the way from Buffalo without filling up (430 miles) and it took more than $100 to replenish. Ouch. I'd hate to have to do that on a weekly basis.

On the way, I worked out a plotline for a new Jake and Tone novel. Those who've been following my writing know those guys are the heroes of my two-volume work, "Rape In Holding Cell 6". It's told from Tone's...uh, Antony's POV but Jake plays so major a part in it, he's going to narrate this one. So we have it planned for him to fly to California from Denmark (where he and Tone...Antony, now live; damn, the little shit won't even let me call him by "Tone") at the behest of his uncle, who's now disappeared. Currently, it's set in Palm Springs but we'll see if that remains so. No lips are sealed.

Except...Matt's making an appearance, too. He's the "geek" who turned out to be chic and will play a pivotal part in the story, again. I don't know how much sex is going to be in this one; I can't repeat what happened to Jake and Antony in the first two books...that'd be downright vicious on my part, and I like these guys too much. Yes, I know they're fictional, but wait till you read "The Lyons' Den"; then you'll understand.

I'm back to work on "Inherent Flaws". I want to get this draft done by the end of the month.

And that, as they say, is that.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I blame Tom

Tom of Finland, that is. He was a gay erotic artist who was probably the first man to present beautiful men happy in their attraction to each other. He had a massive impact on the gay community from the 70s on, especially as regards physical attractiveness (Dave Mason, AKA: House of Vader, is only the latest incarnation of a Tom Man). And for a while I wanted to emulate ToF with my artwork.

But that's hard to do, really, when you're an artist. His work was so very specific, slightly exaggerated, and extremely polished, while mine is more raw and naturalistic. Of course, for a while I also wanted to make art like Nagel, who used a few lines and blocks of color to build very glamorous images...but that didn't work for me, either. Much too clean and clear and simplistic for me.

The same extends to my writing. I can't write the simplistic, minimalistic, arrogant style of script that is so prevalent in today's movies, nor can I ignore reality or truth. I actually became physically ill from anger while watching "The Rock", not just because it was a stupid movie, but because it arrogantly thought its audience was dumber than it. And they must have been, because it made a couple hundred million dollars. But not one moment of it was honest or true to the characters or story. The same went for "Con-Air" and "Face/Off" (I only went to see the latter movie because it was directed by John Woo...and I haven't seen one of his movies since).

What finally ended my willingness to even give a movie a chance to bring me in was this vile piece of filth called "Swordfish." It was so dishonest and condescending, from that point forward I stopped going to see films on their opening weekends unless it was something I absolutely knew I'd like. Sometimes I'd go with friends, but only because we were together and that made the bad movies livable; we'd viciously diss them afterwards over beers and french fries and such. Though I did find that while I disliked "Mystic River" for the same reasons I've mentioned, the friend I saw it with liked it.

Of course, that lead me to losing out on seeing some fine films in the theaters. I watched the first Bourne movie on DVD and was sorry I'd missed it...and I was not sorry at going to see the second and third ones in a theater. Plus the only reason I saw "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002) was it was being shown on the flight back from Ireland and I got caught up in Kevin Reynolds' retelling of the story. In fact, I like it more than the Robert Donat version from 1936, even though that one's truer to the book.

I don't know if this comes from getting older or just finally not being willing to accept the bullshit, anymore, but I did used to look forward to Friday nights and seeing what was opening in a theater. Even if nothing good was coming out of Hollywood, I lived in cities that were big enough to have a solid foreign selection of movies, and I grew to love French, Italian, German, Japanese, Argentinean, Russian, Swedish, and Chinese movies. That's not available, anymore, not really, not outside NYC or LA.

I hate that and would love to change it...but the trend seems to be towards less and less instead of expansion and inclusion. It didn't used to be this way. It doesn't have to be, either. But it seems accountants have taken over the world.

I want to rephrase a famous -- "After the revolution, kill all the accountants." And in the meantime, I blame Tom for creating beauty and, as much as I liked it, presenting it as the norm.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sometimes bitchin' works

Not always, but sometimes if you make enough noise about a problem, it gets taken care of. Holiday Inn agreed to transfer the money I'd paid on one reservation to another and keep the room at the same rate for that night. So instead of losing the cash I'm making use of it. I can live with that.

I'm still not going anywhere near one of their hotels, again, if I can help it. I don't trust them.

Something else I should point out is, Amazon did repost my books on their site after removing them, just over a year ago. That took way more effort than was necessary, too, but they did agree my books were not pornography, despite the titles. And what's even better, when some twit in their company had one pulled, yet again, "for review," it was put back up the next day. But then, I'd already begun checking my titles daily because I didn't trust them to really keep their promises.

That's the problem with business in America, today...lack of spine. So many people just give up when a company yanks them around (something I've also been guilty of doing -- giving up, that is) and assume all companies are like that. And the truth is, many are. But if you yell and piss and moan loudly enough, many of the obnoxious ones will back down.

I think what finally made me see that was when UPS basically stole thousands of dollars from Heritage Book Shop. We'd sent a book to a client in Greece and he refused delivery on the shipment; he didn't want to pay the VAT on it...which totaled $2700. So I told UPS to return it. They refused to do so unless we paid the VAT. I told them it was not due because delivery had not been made, that all they had done was guarantee the VAT would be paid. Their Louisville office insisted they actually HAD paid the VAT on our behalf and we had to reimburse them for it or they'd destroy the book...which was worth $32,000.

After days of back and forth on this with people who insisted I did not know what I was talking about, I finally authorized payment of the money so we could at least get the book back. Then I contacted the Greek Consulate in Washington DC and the UPS office in Athens...and learned a) the duties did not have to be paid unless delivery was effected, and b) the duties were not paid; they had only been guaranteed. I told this to the Louisville office and they told me I did not know what I was talking about and refused to return the money. And were as obnoxious as they could be about it.

We had a rocking and rolling time of it for another four weeks before they realized I was not going away and actually WAS asking the Greek Consulate to have their Athens office investigated for tax fraud. Then they agreed on a refund. They said they'd overnight a check to me. It didn't come so I contacted them and they said it had been sent. So I asked for a tracking number, but they didn't have that. We went through another three days of this before the check showed the regular mail...and the accounting office asked me what it was for.

Prior to this fiasco, Heritage had used UPS for all its overseas shipments, to the tune of more than $10,000 a year. I cut them off and shifted to DHL. At the time, they were a good company; they didn't fall apart till they bought Airborne Express and stupidly fired all their own employees so they could use the non-stop incompetents at Airborne for half the price. Within a year, they'd lost half their business (and DHL is a German company, not American, so you can't say this sort of stupid is limited to the US).

This is also when I began to wonder at my ability to go balls to the wall for other people and not do the same for myself. Seriously, I can become an attack dog on behalf of others but honestly cannot do the same for my own needs or wants. Maybe I need therapy.

Except...I did make Amazon and Holiday Inn back down. So maybe I'm learning. Now I just need to figure out to apply that to my writing career.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Holiday Inn stole my money

I reserved a room at the Holiday Inn in Washington DC and used my credit card to guarantee it. They charged the card for the room and told me I'd gone for a pre-paid rate, even though I wasn't offered any other rate to choose from. Then when the job changed and I wanted to shift the reservation, it was going to cost me another $100, plus nearly 20% in taxes and fees. And they refused to refund the money they'd made me pay, even though I wanted to cancel the reservation a week in advance.

That is theft, plain and simple. It'd be one thing if I'd made the reservation and not shown up; that would've meant them keeping the room available for me, so I could see them charging for that. But Holiday Inn is taking $190.00+ of my money and providing me nothing in the way of services just because they can, and it pisses me off. But after an hour on the phone and talking to half a dozen people, the only response I consistently got was, "Sorry, nothing we can do." Well, Holiday Inn's never getting another penny out of me, the motherfuckers. I get better treatment at Best Western and La Quinta, and for a lot less outlay.

But y'know, it's not just them that's pulling this crap. American Airlines once kept $400 for a ticket that I couldn't use because the job was canceled, and that was with me letting them know 3 weeks in advance. If I wanted to change the ticket, it would have cost an additional $200 just in fees, let alone any difference in air fare. I haven't flown the damned airline since...and I notice they're in bankruptcy now. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of scumbags.

Well I'm tired of dealing with a culture where corporations do nothing but figure out ways to fuck you over and politicians let them do it. Amazon, for example, uses its ranking system to help obscure how they're probably underreporting sales to the authors. Banks charge ludicrous interest rates on credit cards even though the main rate is down near zero, or jack up the rates they've "guaranteed" for no reason (I had the interest on a MasterCard doubled when it was taken over by B of A). Another bank promised me 20,000 points if I signed up with their Visa, so I did...and they refused to give them to me because I didn't check the right box, or something. And arguments went nowhere. So I use that card for business, only, and keep no balance on it. (Having it's part of the reason I've able to start paying that MasterCard down, so I'm willing to let this one pass.)

And don't get me started on the thieves on Wall Street who looted people's savings and investments. I'd long thought it was immoral to own stocks, but they proved to me it's also stupid, because you're trusting sociopaths with your money...hell, your life savings. We can see how that turned out, and our so-called system of justice has done damn near nothing about it, let alone the politicians who helped set this vile system up.

The devil has the world by the throat, and everybody acts like there's nothing you can do. Well the hell with that shit. I'm going after Holiday Inn. No fucking way they're stealing my money without a fight.

UPDATE: After my bitching all over the place, Holiday Inn agreed to honor the rate I'd been charged for on another night. Since I have to be in DC on the 27th, I agreed. While I'd have preferred a refund, I appreciate them doing that much, at least, so I'm not out the cost of the room. But it's still ridiculous I had to go through this to get it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More making like Kerouac

Being on the road and all that, I'll be off to New Haven, Sunday, then down to Baltimore, then down to Washington, DC then back to New Haven, then home. Lots of driving, which turns me into a slug. I drink too much DP and munch a lot of crap and think up stupid stories and just plain enjoy myself.

That's not all of it. The following week, I'm driving down to Baltimore, again, then to DC then to New Haven, again. All to make enough money to pay a third of my salary for the year and maybe get a nice big client to keep using us. Should be fun.

God knows what will happen in March...though right now I wouldn't mind a week off.

I got 5 of the books I ordered for research into Northern Ireland, so maybe I'll get a chance to read them while in my varied hotels.

Right now, I need to find out what ice chests are called in England. Don't ask why.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't Worry, Be...whatever you want

After being bitched at for doing exactly what I was told to do by my boss, I came to a conclusion -- I cannot even begin to please most people. Now this is not a new notion. Hell, I've known for a long time that old saying, "You can't please everybody," is true, to the max. I've learned that from my screenplays and books. Even had some run-ins over it, which anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows all about.

When it gets crazy is when you're told to hand out certain information -- for example, the time and day domestic book dealers' shipments are slated to return from the book fair -- but then apparently you didn't bother reading the minds of the people who told you this and realize there's ONE dealer who's getting his stuff later than that. And no one says a thing about it until after he's called and been assured his books are arriving when he thought they would. So when you mention you told this dealer what you were told to tell him, the response is, "Why would you tell him that?"

This actually pissed me off, and has made me more determined to stop this crap. I'm not really suited for this job; they need someone oriented to a certain level of detail that I'm just no good at. So once I'm caught up with my life, I'm plotting out an exit strategy. Big time.

Meanwhile, I'm planning for three library moves over the next two weeks and am still catching up on mail and e-mails. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Buffaloed, again

I am not going through Burbank Airport again, if I can help it. For such a busy place, you can't find squat when it comes to food. Maybe there was something at the other end of the mile-long corridor that lead to Terminal B, but all I saw was seats for gates and blank wall. Even the magazine shop was a major disappointment.

You see, my flight was at 11, so I tried to get some food to take with me since Southwest has only snacks and I was not changing planes. Couldn't. I could get a breakfast burrito from the one grill that seemed to be open inside the terminal (once you're past a really pathetic security screening area), but I didn't want that. I wanted a turkey sandwich. Sorry, breakfast isn't over yet.

I finally found a pre-packaged one mixed in with the chicken sandwiches so grabbed it and ran. After paying, of course. It was okay, but at LAX I could have gotten anything from pizza to Mexican Food to friggin' MacDonalds, for crying out loud. I know it's fair game to bash LAX, but I actually like the airport. I can find plugs for my laptop so I can save the battery for the actual flight, since Southwest doesn't offer AC on their planes, either. You can get to your plane without walking in the rain (which did not stay on the plain since this was not Spain...though it used to be, centuries ago). It's not the best; Seattle and Baltimore are friendlier. Still, I prefer LAX to Burbank, hands down.

I did get a fair amount of writing done on the trip home, even though Southwest once again packed the plane to the rafters. Not one empty seat, and there was one guy who really should have been in two of them, believe me. Fortunately, he sat down the plane from my row and squeezed in what looked like newlyweds. Great way to start a marriage, right honey?

Still, none of this can take away from how much I loved being in LA and seeing all my friends, again. I know I'm not the easiest person to deal with, nor do I make serious friends I treasure these people and cannot wait to get back to see them.

I read an article in Southwest's magazine that may help me change my directionless life to one of better focus. 'Nuff said on that, right now, but it's part of my brave new plan to get back to LA.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

20 years

I just pulled together the competitions I did well in with my scripts -- my first and best being 20 years ago -- and it's amazing to me how little good all that effort did, because I entered probably 4 times that many contests. Here's a partial list --

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)

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

Return to Darian’s Point
Shriekfest (Finalist)
Writers On The Storm (Semifinalist)

The Cowboy King of Texas
Worldfest - Houston (First Place, And Special Jury Award)

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

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

Find Ray Tarkovsky
Scriptapalooza (Semifinalist)
American Accolades (Semifinalist)
Screenwriter Dig (Semifinalist)
WriteMovies (Semifinalist)

The Lyons’ Den
One in Ten (Finalist, Honorable Mention-4th place)

Dair’s Window
One in Ten (Finalist)

Pacific NW Writer’s Association (Second Place)

Straight on Till Morning
Houston International Film Festival (First Place, Biography)

What's startling is how irritated I am with myself for wasting so much time with this nonsense...not to mention the money for copies and postage and entry fees. And all you get out of it depends on luck of the draw; a script that's a finalist in one competition might not even make quarterfinalist in another, as I found out, because it's all in how the reader feels about your work, and half those readers are damn near illiterate.

I've ranted about this too many times and should stop whining now. It's being in LA that's brought these feelings to the fore. And the truth is, I'd never have changed "The Lyons' Den" into a novel if I'd stayed out here. I was too focused on screenwriting to really consider it. Such is life in the big city...or sort-of big, as regards Buffalo.

Hopefully I'll get back to my daily writing, soon. And blogging. My inner dragon is beginning to fume, thanks to withdrawal from being non-creative. Rrrrrrrr.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Used and abused

After three days in my Motel 6 bait and switch, I'm now lodged in a Sheraton that's twice as much but ten times nicer and in a much better neighborhood (Pasadena as opposed to Sherman Oaks). After hours and hours on my feet and setting up my booth and dealing with nit-picky book dealers, I walked down to Jake's for a Teriyaki Burger on Colorado and now am in my room fighting off a sinus infection. Fortunately, there's a Gelson's a block away for the meds I need -- nasal spray, Listerine, mucho de agua y Dr. Pepper.

I've done no writing, just reading on occasion.

I should explain -- I called Motel 6 that because when I made the reservation, they had an image on the website that supposedly showed a nice looking building with landscaping and a lovely room with a kitchenette. What I got was gang central, a microwave and refrigerator, and no landscaping. The parking was hidden in the back and it was hard to find a space. I'd have been better off heading down to the Motel 6 by LAX, which is $20 a night cheaper and has lots of parking.

So why didn't I do that, one might ask? Well -- to start with, I was tired, and had a reservation that if I didn't use I'd get charged for a day, anyway, and a Ralph's grocery store was only two blocks away, and I knew how to get around...and I was just plain lazy.

It's pretty sad when the tried and true places you've dealt with descend into crappy. Southwest is doing that; Best Western is trending in that direction, now Motel 6 is on the decline.

Life sucks, sometimes.


That's LA. I land here and get on the road and get caught in traffic and listen to KCRW in real time as I move all over the city, anyway...and it feels like home. Even though I'm staying at a Studio 6 that does NOT look like the photo on the website and is in the middle of Sherman Oaks, hardly the greatest neighborhood in the world. All of my friends are here, and seeing them sends shards of ice into my soul. This is home.

I'm moving back when I can figure out how to do so.

I am a bit perturbed about not being able to find a simple, cheap, cotton t-shirt with a pocket. I used to be able to find them everywhere, but this last year I went seeking some to buy...and cannot find them at Penney's (whose t-shirts are made from a nasty form of non-absorbent cotton), Macy's, Old Navy, HM (which DID have David Beckham's undies, and I just about died at the price -- $15 for 1 pair of boxer-briefs?!?!?), Gap, Marshall's, or Target. Guess I'll have to live without. Dammit.

I could make a case for that heralding the change in attitude to blue-collar workers in this country. Used to be, they were the t-shirt-to-wear-to-work guys (truckers, teamsters, assembly-line, dockworkers, that sort of thing), who needed a pocket to hold pens and cigarettes and such. But the rich have decimated America's manufacturing base, sending most of it to Mexico, China, India, and Canada...and did so with tax breaks from the politicians in Congress and the White House. So the demand for usable t-shirts has vanished.

Now it's all about t-shirts that fit tight on young male bodies, none of whom need the pocket because they don't smoke and don't carry pens and it interferes with the line of the clothing; besides, everything's done on their phones. There's one company whose designer t-shirts were fun and I was willing to buy, but who doesn't make them in my size -- XXL -- and who indicated his sizes tend to run small, so I'd probably need an XXXL since I'm nowhere near a size zero.

The vanishing of the pocket t-shirt is the surest sign of the decline of American dominance in the world. Believe me, I know all about this nonsense.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No title

Too busy contemplating the meaning of why I cannot find a single, solitary, plain cotton t-shirt that has a pocket to even begin to discuss the realities of here's a diversion. I have yet to watch an episode of "Glee" -- but I caught this off a news blog I follow...and I just plain liked it. Ricky Martin is fun, and for some reason the backwards chair move hit me as perfect.
Ejo, verdad!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This is better

I got this from --

According to a just-published essay at Rainbow Rumpus, the online magazine for the children of LGBT parents, the Golden Orchid Society was a loose association of women which existed for hundreds of years in imperial China -- according to this presentation, they tended to be involved in silk production for export -- who shunned husbands, married each other, and often adopted orphaned girls. From Rumpus:
The courtship and marriage of two women in the Golden Orchid Society was similar to other couples in China at the time. If a woman wanted to marry another woman, she would offer the woman and her family gifts, such as tea and wedding cakes. If the woman accepted the presents, then the couple was engaged. For the wedding ceremony, the women probably wore traditional red Chinese wedding veils and changed their hairstyle from long braids, which were worn by single women, to buns, which were worn by married women. During the actual ceremony, the couple not only promised to be faithful to each other, but also honored their ancestors and parents.
Once married, the women lived together and cared for each other and their families. In a journal written in 1937, a traveler describes “two women [who] dwell together, always existing as if they were one woman. They are as close as a stalk of grain coming through a stone.”
Apparently all of this info is contained in an old academic tome by Bret Hinsch, entitled Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China. It's now been spun into a children's book called Grandpa Dragon And My Peach Tree Moms, written by Rene Ohana and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic.Grandpa Dragon is a lovely little book written from the perspective of Bao, a young orphan girl who's raised from infancy by an aging dragon and then deposited in the home of two loving lesbian mums. If you've got kids, download the fully illustrated version here.

Read more:

Like any good fascist...

The GOP head of a committee holding a public hearing had a well-respected, Oscar nominated documentary director arrested in a way that would have made Stalin happy. And now he's shut up because, for some stupid reason, it's causing a bit of an uproar.

But in Alaska, journalists were arrested for daring to ask candidates questions they didn't like.

During OWS, journalists were attacked and arrested by the cops for being there and reporting on what was happening. Hell, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, even called the cops his army.

The US is turning into the 21st Century version of the USSR. And way too many scared, cowardly, weaselly slimebags in this country are perfectly willing to go along with it.

If we'd had the same bastards preying on fear and hate and demanding they have complete control of yur every thought, word and deed 150 years ago as we have leading the country now, we'd never have stretched from coast to coast or built the transcontinental railroad or grown to be the breadbasket of the world, let alone put a man on the moon and beaten fascism.

I'm probably not making a lot of sense; maybe I should just leave this now and revisit it later, but it pisses me off that we're now a nation of crybabies and five year olds tossing temper tantrums to get their way.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My "Vertigo" Tour

I have finally hit all but two spots in San Francisco that were in Hitchcock's "Vertigo" -- Ernie's and the Empire Hotel. I've seen Scottie's apartment, Madeline's apartment on Nob Hill, the cemetery at Mission Dolores, Fort Mason Point, and finally, today, the Palace of the Legion of Honor. The rest have either been torn down or never existed except in the movie. I don't know why I'm doing this (it's not my favorite Hitchcock film; "Notorious" is) but I started a couple years ago and every trip to San Francisco I go see another spot or two.

I also eat a dinner at Alioto's, on Fisherman's Wharf. That may change, though; their menu is different and the fish I ordered was just...weird. Extremely buttery and wrapped in an egg batter that I assume was pan fried. Not interesting, at all. But I eat here because it's where I ate the first time I came to San Francisco...34 years ago. Damn.

I needed to do this touristy crap, today, to clear my head of the chaos that was this book fair. Booths that had no names or numbers on them; they were written in chalk on the floor and vanished after about a hour of walking around on them. Porters who were illiterate to the point they could not even read the numbers on the big, bold mailing labels correctly (a shipment meant for 104 wound up in 401, and meant for 200 wound up in 208) or follow simple instructions. Display cases that hadn't been delivered to the booths they were supposed to be delivered to. Dealers having to become their own electricians by getting extension cords from the organizers...and having to pick up their own shelves and shelving units. Dealers shifted to other booths without notifying them. By the time I left, yesterday, my headache was back.

Didn't help I'd slammed a pallet-jack lip on my right foot. If I'd been wearing any other shoes than these Timberland leather ones, I'd have broken a bone instead of just get a nasty bruise. That's all I'm buying the way of shoes from now on.

I talked with a guy I know from the old days at Heritage. He still works for an auction house in San Francisco, and every time I see him he's better looking. Even after fifteen years. A bit shorter than me. Darker. Sloe eyes that seem perpetually amused. An almost wary smile. Rock star hair pulled back in a tight ponytail/bun. A little beefier than before (I almost asked him if he's been working out), but it looks right on him. Seeing him, at least, made my day.

Now I'm having hot tea and Oreos, dog tired. All I did on POS was some reading on the bus and trolley. 'Nuff said about that.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I like flying even less than usual, lately, and Southwest is getting to be a chore. The flight from Buffalo to Chicago was okay since I had an open seat next to me, but to San Francisco was a nasty four hours long. And that plane was packed so tight, they were using shoe horns to get people in their seats. I took an aisle seat, sort of anticipating this, so has a bit of room, but the guy next to me was on the beefy side, as was the woman in the window seat. And I seriously think they've made the aisle-way more narrow, because I got bumped by every person going by.

I still got some work done on POS. I had to rework the October 5th part I'd written to better suit the actual events; I'd compressed them too much and found a detailed description of what happened to help me better situate it. It's still told from Brendan's perspective, so exact details are unnecessary.

Anyway, by doing this, I've bumped up over 52K in wordage.

And now I'm beat. I was scrunched in my seat, using one finger of my left hand to type with while doing most of the typing with my right hand. My neck hurts and I started the day off with a bit of a headache that the pane trip did not help. When airlines reach the point where they think they can take their customers for granted, you know it's the end of the line for them.

Or not. We've become a nation of sheep, so why would we rebel against being treated like cattle?

When I do this packing job in New Haven, I'm driving down. And I relish the freedom of that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I cannot cook steak

I mean, I can on a grill, but not in a pan, and that's all I got, right now. And for the second time I screwed up a decent piece of meat by it being undercooked for me. I like 'em medium well and this came out practically rare, even though it was seriously seared on the outside. But it got me to thinking.

I'm feeling so overwhelmed with POS, I'm dumping the idea of submitting it to the Amazon competition. I don't want to turn in a piece of crap and the deeper I get into the story the more certain I am that I'll need to do a number of rewrites to get it decent enough to even be read by people for feedback, let alone try to get it published.

I'm still pushing through a first draft so I can have the spine of the story set up. From there will come the attention to detail I need and also need to avoid so I don't seem pedantic. I'm taking my copy of Russell Stetler's "The Battle of Bogside" and rereading it. But after that comes Internment and the collapse of societal control and the bombing campaign...and it's just too much to rush through. If they do this again, next year, I'll submit it then. But this was an impossible plan.

Y'know, in "The Lyons' Den" it turns out that Daniel's favorite book is "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha". Maybe it was a Freudian slip, for I'm more like that crazy old fart than I like to admit, tilting at imaginary windmills on an imaginary Rocinante while Sancho Panza rolls on the floor, my mind.