Monday, October 30, 2006

The Departed

I saw Scorsese's The Departed last night. Definitely one of his best. If he doesn't grab the Oscar for this one, then the Academy is a bunch of idiots. And I'll even go out on a limb here and say that this film may be better than GoodFellas. Go back and watch that movie; it's not as good as you remember it being.

And all of the actors did a fantastic job, even Marky Mark. This is the best work he has ever done, even better than when he whipped out that 13" muppet in Boogie Night.

I've been thinking of this movie all day. As a matter of fact, I'm been playing The Dropkick Murphys's I'm Shipping Up to Boston constantly. I hope like hell that this film wins Best Picture this year. It would make up for that Crash over Brokeback Mountain bullshit from this Spring.

After seeing this movie last night and thinking about the Sarah Weinman's post the other day about who writes what types of violence, I've been thinking about the depiction of violence and the reasons why people watch or read about it. More on that later.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back In the Groove

OK, it has taken me a few days to get back into the writing groove. (Granted, most of that time was taken up by a sick three-year-old and a constantly hungry baby.) After hitting a snag on Sunday with the current short story, I couldn't find enough energy to rewind and restart, even though it only involved about 750 words. The problem was that I realized that the main character had turned into something he is most definitely not: a uber-hero capable of taking down Schwarzenegger. It was a little too much. It was like Dan Brown's Angles and Demons where the college professor is able to fight with one of the world's greatest assassins and is able to hold his own. Yeah, right. So, I turned it around and had the character get the shit kicked out of him. But now that I've been able to make the fix (and grumble that I had to throw away about 700 words), I was able to move forward. I've actually written over 1700 words today. I'm finally in the home stretch. As long as I'm able to keep going, I should be done with the shitty rough draft sometime tomorrow. I had originally thought that I'd be able to finish on Monday, but an extra few days isn't that bad. Now I have to find some kind souls to read this draft and tell me what's wrong with it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brick Wall

I hit a brick wall today. Not literally, of course. I'm talking about the writing. I've been sailing right through this latest short story, but I came across a problem with the character's development: he suddenly became some Jack Reacher, uber-hero. So, now I have to backtrack, which I hate. So, basically it will take me most of tonight and tomorrow to re-write the last page and a half, and then grumble about it for at least a half-day while watching re-runs of Flava of Love. FLAVA FLAV!

Patrick Bagley is the Dawg!

I have to say that Cartman in this clip looks a little like this guy.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I am having a great writing day. It is only 2:00 in the afternoon and I've done over 1600 words already. I think the current short story will end up being around 8000 words, so I'm halfway there. I have no idea where I'm going with it, but it feels right. Nice and moody and violent. Gotta love it. I've stopped for now because I'm starting to realize that I can only go in spurts. I feel like I write myself into a tight corner and the story doesn't go anywhere if I push myself. It's suffocating at times. But taking breaks between 500 or 1000 words is working really really well. I'll probably finish the shitty first draft of this story by Monday morning, if I keep up this pace. Not bad considering I started writing it Wednesday night.

Another factor in the productivity is finding an internet radio station that plays nothing by trip-hop. It's funny that such a moody, and thumping genre is bringing out all the good noir stuff out of me. And the story is most definitely noir. Sometimes I'm a little selfconscious of the name of this blog and wonder if people think I'm a little presumptuous with calling myself a noir writer, and declaring it in such a way. To tell you the truth, I never expected anyone to read this thing. I have no problem deluding myself - I do it everyday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sacrificing for My Art

I haven't taken a shower yet, but that isn't the sacrifice. No, that's more of a waiting for the baby to go to sleep long enough for me to jump in the shower. I have a character in a new short story (because I wouldn't want to finish anything I've started) who is a little hygiene deficient and I needed an honest description of his...aroma, shall we say. So, I did a Mary Katherine Gallagher. Very method. To my surprise, it didn't smell like roses.


I've set myself a goal (reasonable to be sure) of 500 words a day. Not a hell of a lot, but when I only get two hour stints between bottle times, most of which I use for sleep, I thought it would be a motivator. In fact, it is now 1:00 a.m. and I have already written 500 words. 508 to be exact. So, I've reached the goal for today. Anything else is pure gravy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What Do You Mean Flash Gordon Approaching?

I have another flash on Tribe's Flashing In the Gutters. And That Ain't the Liquor Talkin' is part of Tribe's Twanging In the Gutters. For the last two weeks in October the only flashes he is publishing are those inspired by a country song. Mine is based on Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw) by Jimmy Buffett. I love Buffett, even if he is on Ecstasy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I just flew through 1200 words in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not too bad. Of course, it wasn't for my novel or any of the stories I'm currently in the middle of. It was something new, but it came out pretty quickly. Too bad I don't have any more time to work on it today, but it definitely has gotten the juices flowing. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll actually work on something I've already started. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mr. Mom

Today is my first full day in my new role as Mr. Mom. I'm exhausted already. Much of that has to do with the fact that my three-year-old's pre-school is closed today. He loves his sister, so he won't leave her alone - and he won't stay out of trouble. Oh well, I'll feel better when my wife comes home from her first day back to work; then I can go back to bed. I'm going on two hours of sleep.

And, of course, this means no writing today. Well, except for this little post and some e-mails.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'd Pay Money To See This

It's just a matter of time before movie studios start putting this together.

White & Nerdy

OK, fanboy rant. X-Men 3 sucked ass, big time. I'm so glad I didn't see it in the theater. Brett Ratner should be taken out and shot. Stay with the Rush Hour movies you dumb shit. He completely destroyed the Mutant universe. Arrgghh! 20th Century Fox better not fuck up the Silver Surfer next summer, or I'm gonna be really pissed. OK, geek post done.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Takes on the Bush Administration

Insurgencies, suicide bombers, torture,secret prisons, denial of habeus corpus, bad guys who use religion to further their evil efforts. Hmm...seems like some sci-fi writers having been reading the news. Now, is it just me or is this the first time someone has had the balls to tackle these subjects in fiction, of any kind? I mean, taking the suicide bomber and making him a good guy? That takes some serious balls.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Call Me When You're Sober

Jesus, I have that song in my head all the time. Is it me, or is Amy Lee like the cutest goth chick ever? I think it's the dimple. Plus, she's an epilepsy adovate. I didn't know that until about ten minutes ago. I think it's funny that people still need to know that people with seizure disorders can live full and happy lives. Huh? We're like everyone else, except the flopping on the ground part. You know who I feel for is those poor bastards with no arms and no legs. :)

Anyway, update on the head. Meds are now in the system. The pissing match is over.

Also, I have to say that my wife was not pissed at me, but simply frustrated. So I deleted that part of yesterday's post. Sorry, honey.

As for the insecurity rant, well, that happens from time to time with writers. Doesn't it? Or am I the only one? It's only me, isn't it? Man, I'm such a loser.

The 15,000+ word limerick: That's going to be my masterpiece. I'm going to be like Milton with Paradise Lost.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm so fucked up right now

OK, it's not even noontime, but it isn't what you think. No alcohol, no drugs - actually that's the probably, the lack of drugs. My nuerologist and my primary care physcian are in the middle of a pissing match about one of my meds, and while they duke it out, I get to go without. Yippee. The trouble is that now that my system is washing this shit out, all the fun stuff my brain tumor does is reeking havoc on me. Basically there are little nueronic (is that a word? Should be) explosions going off in my head - sort of a brief spark of an anxiety attack, but they don't amount to shit. Actually, it feels pretty fucking neat - but it wouldn't be good if I drive a car right now. I'm a little off balance. SO until they stop and I get back on the meds, I'm pretty much going to be in this weird -whats the word?- paradox of pleasure and anxiety. Could be a couple of days - who the fuck knows. Brain tumors are fun!

OK, I still have my regualr seizure stuff in my system, so that's good. No fun convulsing on the floor while chewing your tongue up. No fun at all .Believe me. But I'm really messed up. I'm surprised I can type this. That is if I am typing this. Could be I;m just hitting the keys and posting something illegible.

[Deleted text] I want to listen to Pink Floyd or watch Parker's The Wall. Maybe The Doors - awesome movie. See, she wants to do all these errands, but I'm not gong to be much help this adfternoon, because of the thing here. Well, too fucking bad, nothing I can do. I di have a while bag of Buffalo wing falvored chips for breakfast.

So, what else is fun and exciting. Thank god no one reads this friggin' thing, I'm not even sure anyone reads anything I write. Delusions of publishing grandeur (is that spelledriight?). Should be working on thebok, but that;s sort of been on the back burner right now. I have it in a gray binder looking at me right now - constant reminder that I'm a loser because I'm not doing shit about it.j

As much as I need the meds, I wish I didn't need any of them. They certyain cost a lot and I have to have them on me at all times, cause you never know when the seizure fairy is coming to visit. And surgery is not a real option becuase of where it is - left porital cortex, or something - do you know what;s in the area of the left porital cortex? The comunication section of the brain. One slip and oops, I'm trapped within my own mind with no way of connecting the the outsdie world. Of course ont he bright side, no one would be exposed to anymore writing. Should have gone to law school - but imagine me in the current state while arguing a case in court - disbarment! Christ, I can't even be a pretend lawyer without this thing fucking thngs up.

I should try a story. I wonder what it would be like? SOmething fucked and weird and incomprehensible. I'm sure there's some literary jourtnal out there thta would love that. How many words should it be? 5000, or go fuc king bat shit and write somethign like 15,000 + of illegible "post-modern" literary fiction. Start witha Limerick:

There once was a man named Steve,
Who couldn't write with his brain on leave,
words he teased and lured,
but they ened up being turds,
and now he's in a state of grieve.

How about 15000+ word limerick, like over and over - but a different limerick that will tell a whole story. There has to be a MFA jerkoff who'd think that was a good idea (I mean besides myself) And it's nice to have the piece of paper, what doesn't mean I'm good at this shit. Is there a Master's degree program for limericks? OK, MFA waste of money, or waste of time? Gerry form Illinois!

G:"Well, Steve, you seemed to make a lot of neat friends.
S:You;re right about that. I love them all and I really wish they were closer
G:You were exposed to some great teachers
S:Roland and Jim, Dennis Lehane and Joyce Maynard. That's true
G:I'm thinking worth it.
S:Yes, but the admin of the program sucks ass. I mean really
G: They don't care about the students or alumni. Unless you're up their ass, or at least I should say up the director's ass. Clueless and incompetant to say the least.
S: Good point, Gerry. Are you sure you;re not me in disguise?
G:You got me, buddy
S:Where did I come up with Gerry with a G? Is that part of my MFA pretension?
G: I think it is
S:OK. Talk to you soon, Ger
G:Anytime, any place. I'm in your head after all. More room in here without the extra meds.

What time is it anyway?
Gonna watch something on DVD or something. Or something really fucked up and trippy, like Fox News. Too bad O'Reilly and Hannity aren't on durint the day. I need a good laugh. Maybe download their books from itunes - sort of like watching Reefer Madness - funny in an ironic kinda way.

OK, not that anyone has gotten this far in this post, but I gotta go and do something. Don;t know what yet, but something. Bye bye. Talk to you again when I'm sober - or drugged up - or whatever it is I'll be.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Keeping Gutters In the Gutter

I have a new flash on the Flashing In the Gutters site. Election Day Liability is complete fiction that may or may not have been inspired by something in the news. If you watched Fox News this morning, you probably didn't even hear about it. They were too busy talking about the world's shortest horse, steriods in baseball and a six-year-old video of Al-Queda terrorists. I swear to god, that's what Fox & Friends focused on this morning while all the other news outlets were concerned with something a little more...well, disgusting. I think there was even a story on Mark Foley on Nickelodeon.

Anyway, enjoy my sick mind at work. Let me know what you think.

Books, Movies, etc.

Some of the books I've read, re-read, or finally finished over the past few weeks:

The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Lemons Never Die by Richard Stark
When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Burn by James Patrick Kelly
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Conversations With Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age by George Stevens, Jr.
The Truth With Jokes by Al Franken
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes

Books at the top of the TBR pile:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
WInter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Neon Noir by Woody Haut
Damn Near Dead, edited by Duane Swierczynski
Best Mystery Stories 2006, edited by Scott Turow
Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier
The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

Recent movies (with stars!):

The Wedding Crashers ***
Brick ****
The Proposition ***1/2
The Matador *
Inside Man **1/2
Gun Crazy **1/2
Curious George ***

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The shitters

The following is a comment I left of Ed Champion's blog in response to his encounter with some people a Bouchercon who dismiss literary fiction. This is not a new phenomenon, but one is more apt to find a lit fic person being the dismissive one. He commented on the reaction of his question on whether or not there were other mystery writers, besides James Ellroy, who have used experimental prose in their work.

I have to admit that one of my pet peeves is “lit fic” folks who shit on genre - drives me up a wall. (As a mystery writer in a MFA program, I encountered this a lot. A lot.) But I have met pop fic people who shit on lit fic, which I find completely idiotic. There are varying degrees within each story that pushes them toward different genre walls, including the mystery/literary divide. I say divide, but I guess what I really mean is a gray neutral zone where many books stand - Pete Dexter’s “Train” or Daniel Woodrell’s “The Death of Sweet Mister” are just two examples. But the thing one has to admit is that there are far more lit fic shitters than pop fic shitters, and that will create an anomisity among many people who will go to the mat to forward the progression of genre. Those in the extreme of both sides of this issue can be compared to the extremists in the political divide; people with blinders on who can only see one point of view, and will dismiss the opinions of others to the detriment of the entire cause of literature. What one has to remember isthat the extremists may have the loudest voices, but they do not represent the majority.
As for others within the mystery field who have tried an experimental style, I think you will find that there isn’t a large place for it at this time. A major reason Ellroy was able to execute the style of “White Jazz” was because he was already successful - and the novel worked. But if you had a mystery genre equivalent of John Barth, I don’t know if that writer would find an audience. Personally, I would love to see a new section of the mystery genre emerge in the same way that Slipstream has invigorated the Sci-fi genre. Will that ever happen? I guess that depends on how many people embrace the gray zones of genre.

I've enjoyed Ed's posts on Bouchercon, as much as I've enjoyed the updates of everyone else I've had a pleasure to read while I take care of a very colicky six-week-old. I think in all the pediatrician journals, colic is defined as "can't do shit about it."