Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Marley Was Dead, To Begin With

Seasoned Greetings! We have paprika, rosemary, oregano, and there’s thyme around here somewhere.

This is a good time to remind you that Vpstart Crow’s production of A Christmas Carol opens this Friday at the Cramer Center in Manassas! Directions are available upon request. (And those of you who know me, the geographically-challenged thunderdunce that I am, will wisely throw my directions away.)

I have been promoted, sorta, and am now playing both Charles Dickens and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Spoooooky. More than one person has commented on the anticipatory (Yeah, it’s a word) delight I’m feeling about scaring all the little kiddies in Stave Four. Bwa ha ha ha ha.

This production is brought to you by Teach’s Haberdashery: “Nothing says Victorian England like swarms and swarms of top hats!!”

Please come. Good times will be had by all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Pair o' Lone Fiddles

(And Yes: I am fully aware that you cannot have a pair of lone anythings. It's poetic. Let 'er rip.)

A Pair o' Lone Fiddles
So here we sit
Just You and I
A Pair of Lone Fiddles makin’ song
We got no words
The tune’s a game
You start and I play along.

Now we been separate
A plenty long time
Of that there ain’t no doubt
Yet here we are
A Pair of Lone Fiddles
Playin’ our miseries out.

A job where being

Too good stinks
Like a candle burnin’ too bright
And a special old gig
That in half an hour
Feels a waste o’ half the night.

The thing about us
(Here I mean you and me)
is we can both play alone
but thing of a pair is
what I’m hopin’ you’ll see
it makes it a whole nicer goin’.

When the strings have been set
And the bows are in swing
Skippin’ up the arm and down
I gotta confess
(Between you and me)
It’s harder to wear this frown.

A Pair of lone fiddles
What we’ve got, you n’ I
Is a song that beats on truth
When we’re both playing
There’s just one song
And I don’t need more proof

The notes we’re playin’
When mad or in joy
They sound real good either way
Where the song goes next
I don’t rightly know

But I’m glad all the same we can play.

Times Like This, I Wish I Were Tired

Well, crap. It’s 1:17 in the morning, just now, and I don’t think I could close my eyes for more than a blink if I tried. Which is just going to make waking up tomorrow for work that much more difficult.


I’m trying to learn not to say things in anger. Holding my piece until I can withhold unfair oomph (Yeah, it’s a word) to a statement that would, otherwise, sound pretty effing cranky. Freaking lava. But I’m not going to say anything at the moment on it. If I mention it later at all, it will be with much filtration.

(Of course, this is how we go about making espresso, a stronger, bitterer [also a word] liquid that at a fraction of the volume achieves the same effect. Let’s think about that for a second.)

Regardless. In another minute, I’m posting a new piece that isn’t exactly slam, or anything else. It rhymes, which is only the second time in a long time that I’ve written anything of the kind. Still, it deserves its own entry here. So mote it be, people.

More to follow. Like, now.

Monday, November 28, 2005

This I Did Not Know

Evidently, my fraternity uses Geico! Saved me a buck or two. Excellent...

OAS AAS LLS. Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!

"I didn't get a harrumph outta that guy."

"Give the Governor a Harrumph!"

Today On Shortpacked...

There are no words for how great this is. There are no words.

*Casey is speechless; Beelzebub grabs a cardigan as Hell begins to freeze over*


They're Digging In The Wrong Place

It should come as no surprise that I’m a guy who likes his movies. My collection has been growing for years. On a night I have off, I’ve thought to myself: “Well. I’ve seen most of these several times by now. When am I going to want to watch them again? Any of ‘em?”

That question was answered tonight.

For the first time in far too long, my brother and I got to spend some time mano a mano. And what did we do? We watched a movie. Raiders of the Lost Ark to be specific.

And there are some flicks in my collection he’s never watched. The same goes for his collection, via vice versa. He expressed an interest in seeing The Thing, which is fine with me. Hope we can do it again soon.

Later, all. Hope you had a good weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Upgrades, So Forth

Happy Birthday, Andy. I’m glad it was a good one. I’m also glad I could be a part of it. Who loves ya?

Dear readers, you may notice to the right of your screen I have finally installed links. Glorious links! Links galore! Woot!

With all thanks to Bob, a description just didn’t do the trick. Dave and Leta, returning home from their Thanksgiving trip, agreed to come over and assist with my linkage lack. All it cost me was lunch from China Harvest. (Yes, I had the Kung Pao Chicken. Creature of Habit, this one.)

So: After scrumptious Chinese, we set down to tackle the riddle of HTML. The Sphinx had an easier brain-teaser, and she ate people that got it wrong.

We laughed, we blogged, we watched The Political Landscape, the student film from last winter. Good times.

And naturally, for their assistance, David and Leta rock. Not that they’re getting married any time soon, so my promise to dance at said nuptials will go unfulfilled.

This is a relief for all parties concerned; as when I dance, people get hurt. Serious injuries.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Well. That's Funny.

This is fairly disturbing.

A few files on my computer are empty. Some of them were quite full, yesterday. And now they're empty.

Nothing but a donut hole within. Zip. Zilch. Nada. They DISAPPEARED.

This does not bode well.

I have no idea where the files went. I didn't do anything to them. I installed some new software on my computer in the last 24 hours, other than that I have no clue what happened.

Nothing I can't live without, but all the same. I'd like to know where they went.

While One Turkey Was Pardoned, The Other Truly Deserved To Die

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m enjoying the days off, boy howdy.

Last night, I was able to relax for the first time in far too long. Not just unwind the knots, not recuperate in anticipation of another day, but actually relax. Gave my batteries a re-charge and laughed my head off doing it.

The project-that-shall-not-be-named is coming along. It’s off to a better start than I’d hoped.

Regardless. I feel damn good. Aside from a slight case of turkey-coma, I’m feeling great.

Happy Birthday, Andy, and Happy Thanksgiving, everybody else.

More to follow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lights, Camera...


Sunday (ALL DAY Sunday), I spent the day at American University for the Student Film, MacGuffin. It’s a film noir homage piece. And for the second time in three independent movies, I’m playing a dirty cop.


The gentleman to the right (my left) is Steve. We starred together in Political Landscape, though we technically never worked together. The guy is just a blast. He’s got a show opening at the same time as Christmas Carol, over at the Warehouse Theatre in DC. Steve was very easy to work and relax with. Great guy.

He also bears an uncanny resemblance to Blake Clark, stand-up comedian and frequent Adam Sandler co-star. Well. Minus a few pounds, Steve’s not that big.

Also, yesterday, I finally received a copy of Political Landscape and Pinot Mort, the 48-Hour Film Project from this past spring. I’d never seen Landscape, and I laughed by tail off last night watching it. The actor playing the lead (I’ll put his name in here later!) did a fantastic job playing an unsavory, child-hating landscaper trying to run for PTA president. Hilarious stuff.

We finish the shoot (knocking on wood) two weeks from Monday. I’m liking this. I’m liking it very much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fairy Tale Career Woman

A friend of mine, Amanda, works at a hospital in the field of Occupational Therapy. In an email, she mentioned this morning that a patient of hers with Alzheimer's mistook her for Rapunzel, due to her blonde hair. It’s too good to pass up. So, for your reading pleasure, I submit the following:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your sweet splint!
My hands, they were smashed betwixt granite and flint!
My digits are stuck in a most painful splay,
(And I’d hoped to recover my typing someday.)

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, assist with my hands,
That no longer point, snap, or help with hand-stands.
Create, if you will, a device for these mitts.
These misshapen claws are really the pits!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, my fingers are pained!
I fear my sign language will not be regained.
Sweet Patron who, with locks of such glamour,
Swear not to hurt me with your OT hammer?

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, assist if you can.
A guy who can’t clap isn’t much of a man.
My wrists are in agony, my thumbs, they are worse.
No wonder I’m begging assistance in verse!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, my hands need your help.
Deign to assist so wretched a whelp?
The keyboard is useless, my hands are too sore,
Not that I played the piano before.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, I’m begging for aid.
For your timely service, you’d be well repaid!
The anguish I feel is almost past endurance…
Oh wait, never mind, I’ve no health insurance.

Still Wish I Could Draw

I will never cease or waver in my respect for artistic talent. Especially my brother’s.

I can’t draw. Well. I can pick up a pencil between my index finger and thumb and press it to paper; but the problem is, it never looks like what I’m actually trying to draw. Either from a subject (inanimate or otherwise) or from my imagination. My brother’s the complete opposite.

I’ve seen him whip up sketches, cartoons, well-proportioned characters, doodads and figments in less than ten minutes. With a pen. He makes it happen. He just freaking rocks.

Why am I bringing this up? The thing is: You can have a favorite piece of art. You can take one look at a painting or a drawing or a mural or whathaveyou and be completely frozen by it. “Holy Shit. That’s damn good artwork there.” Maybe it’s a beautiful woman. Maybe it’s a breathtaking sunset. Maybe it’s just a damn bowl of fruit. Even a figure screaming on a bridge with an inverted pear for a head can catch your attention and keep it. With one glance.

Writers… we’re not so lucky. We have to hook you. Keep you reading long enough to get a flavor for what we do, at which point you decide if you like it. No one glance is going to snag your attention to a piece of writing unless it’s the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

A picture is worth a thousand words. And I can put together a thousand words for you; just give me fifteen minutes, if I’m hot.

I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t doodle and have any desire to keep it when it’s done. I took art lessons. I was able to hone a bit of precision in it, but I’ve never drawn a single picture I’d call art.

And I never will.

That’s okay. At least I can recognize what I’m missin’ out on. Beats not being able to define it all, in my view.

The short of it is… my brother rocks. And I might not have taken up a keyboard if he didn’t.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Moron Seeks Lessons In Leaving Well Enough Alone

There are times, people, there are times that I wish I could just take to my brain with an ice-cream scoop and start removing bits left and right.

I think too much. I read into things. I over-analyze. I get bogged down in details. I lose sight of the big picture. I can’t leave well enough alone. I’m a pretentious git and occasionally proud of it. I cannot, for the life of me, stop thinking.

That is the issue of the hour. It is not the first hour spent on this, and it won’t be the last. For the moment, it’s what is on my plate and damned if I can get rid of it any way besides devouring it whole.

Part of it is in getting the last word. Part of it comes from an old fear of being misunderstood (one motivator behind becoming a well-spoken guy). Part of it is a chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth.

It’s a work in progress. I am getting better at knowing when to stop my mouth on a particular running gag, or similar attempts at entertaining whoever I’m talking to. I know I don’t have to do that, to be ‘on’, but the habit’s engrained. It helps pass the time sometimes.


There must be a way to engage the brake. To come to a stopping point, and just not continue thinking about random topics well past the mark of rationality. To stop discussing a topic with another human being when its been exhausted, or should have been.

This is not to say that every notion is a profound one, or makes a great deal of sense, either. Depending on how much sleep I’m operating on, complete random batshit will come fluttering out of the recesses and just baffle me. But they nonetheless occur to me, and have their moment (or five) of observance.

Another way to look at it would be like watching TV and never turning the set off: Depending on the time, you could have something decent to pay attention to, or utter crap not worth watching in the slightest.

The option that facilitates things as well as any other, is writing about it. Getting it on paper. Cataloging the damn thing so you can at least try to move on to something else. God forbid I take a breather and relax.

I recently finished a new script, Writing Sucks, and asked a friend, Amanda, for advice on how to move to the next project. She suggested I take a step back and actually relax, take note that I’d done something and pause for a while. It had never even occurred to me.

Right now I’m trying my damnedest to fully develop a plot I’ve been working on for almost two years. It started as an actual dream, and exploded into detail from there. You either know what I’m talking about or you don’t. I don’t want to risk speaking of it directly, lest I find out it’s been optioned as a three-picture deal. Fate’s been kicking my ass lately like that.

In any case: the plot, while approaching completion, is defying my efforts to give it a recognizable form: Effed-Up Children’s Story, Novel, Epic Poem (That one’s not gonna happen), Screenplay, something. Something I can share in a fashion besides just narrating it over a cup of coffee to those with the patience and/or interest to hear it out. To those who have listened, thank you.

That’s the bastardly (Yeah. It’s a word.) aspect of any story: It wants to be told. I couldn’t let it sit if I tried. And I’ve tried.

Okay. Enough of this. Thanks for the ear, people. I’ve got work to do…

Friday, November 18, 2005

All Of Our Snacks Are Belong To Them

I’ve just been robbed! And not at gun point. No sir. Not by a long shot.

There’s a vending machine not far from my office. It sells cheddar-flavored popcorn. I like cheddar-flavored popcorn. I put in my dollar, it spat out my change and dropped my bag of popcorn, where it promptly got stuck. Good and stuck. One end of the bag caught on the lip of the trap door, the other end caught on a slot of Rice Krispy treats.

Sazza Fragga. No amount of shaking or smacking dislodged it, and thanks to today’s advanced vending machine technology, there’s a trap door installed to make sure one doesn’t reach up into the machine and snag what’s rightfully his!

I thought, okay, I can just buy something else to fall on the popcorn, and presto. I probably shouldn’t go with more popcorn. It’s so light, it might just get stuck on top of the first bag, right?

So I thought, fine, I’ll get those Snackwell cookies. They look like they’ve got some low-calorie heft, might knock it good and loose. Presto, popcorn and cookies, right??

WRONG. The fraggin’ machine ate my dollar. First it mocks me by holding onto my popcorn and then it just blatantly robs me. I pushed the button to get my dollar back, nothing doing. Freakin’ Lava! No popcorn. No cookies.

Of course you realize... this means war. Kaplahr.

Say It Five Times Fast

The tortoise taught us the porpoise's purpose.

On Mickey Mouse, & Other Cartoon Enemies Of Fascist Regimes

On this day, November 18th, 1928: Steamboat Willie had its premiere. A mere eight years later, Adolf Hitler declared everyone’s favorite cartoon mouse an enemy of the state of Nazi Germany. I am not making this up.

For the life of me I cannot begin to fathom why Hitler, fun-loving yukster that he was, would have a vendetta against Mickey Mouse. Perhaps it was the buttons on his pants (Mickey’s, not Adolf’s)? Or the fact that he wore pants? Did the Mouse introduce some sort of subversive element to Germany, like whistling? I don’t know.

Did he just… run out of other forms of racist oppression? How the heck did that statement go down with his followers? Not that I speak much German (okay, ANY German), but I think I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall at that meeting:

“Und one final zing. Ve have to do somezing about ze subversive influences of a ruzless enemy of ze state! Schnell!”

“Uh, who vould zat be, mein fuhrer?”

“Ze infidel known… as Mickey Mouse.”

Himmler, sipping a drink, spits it across the table.

I don’t recall Stalin ever taking steps against Bugs Bunny. Or Donald Duck, for that matter.

How in the heck do you even declare a fictional character an enemy of the state? What on earth would it accomplish?

I can see the secret meetings now: Mickey hosts the committee to slip anti-nazi propaganda into his latest cartoons. Bettie Boop gets a second job with Rosie the Riveter. Meanwhile Goofy is politely asked not to assist with weapons payload, as he can’t even manage a flight of stairs without dropping everything in his hands. “Ga-hyuk. Gawrsh.”

Man. Some days it just doesn’t pay to be a cartoon rodent.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not That I Can Compete With Gonzo's Performance

Don’t know why I didn’t mention this sooner, but: I was cast in something!

Vpstart Crow’s production of A Christmas Carol opens in another few weeks, December 2nd. It runs through the 18th. I will be playing Charles Dickens, and narrating. Yeah, that’s right: Yours truly. Speaking at length before an audience. With an accent.

What a shocker.

I’m looking forward to it. The drive, she is a pain, but it’s worth it. Manassas is the farthest I’ve driven to perform, which may well confirm my status as a crazy person for undertaking the commute. Still, I’ve been wanting to work with McCall and this guy Jay since I saw them in Bell, Book & Candle. Jay plays one of the charitable gentlemen, as well as the Ghost of Christmas Present. (Technically it should be Christmas Eve Present, but that doesn’t really work, does it.) McCall is playing Mrs. Cratchitt.

The bee-sting here is that I don’t think Dickens interacts with either character. If I’m onstage with them at the same time (we’re still in rehearsals, I don’t know yet) I will be pleasantly surprised.

While I’ve got your attention, I also want to mention my fraternity brother Rick: He was cast in Noises Off!, which goes up at the very same Cramer Center only a few weeks after our show is done with! Can’t wait to see him perform again. In two words, he rocks.

That’s all I’ve got at the moment, people. More to follow.

Old Yeller, She Ain't

Yesterday, dear readers, I received quite a surprise as my car refused to start. Wasn’t a battery issue, either. The car, she was dead. (Yep, the car’s a girl. Named her Claudia, after the character from Interview With The Vampire, they both have had their share of abuse.)

The good people of Goodyear were able to breathe new life into her courtesy of a fairly expensive starter, and now she’s running again.

A similar problem happened two years ago. Point of fact, the same problem. How I handled it, however, that’s a different story.

Two years ago, I flipped my lid. I was just effing furious, and there wasn’t a blessed thing I could do about it. Not a thing. Yesterday I was ticked off, but I remained calm. Because there was nothing I could do about it.

Then, I had no savings whatsoever and had to borrow money off my dad in order to pay for the repairs to Claudia. Yesterday I had enough saved over from the Pendemonium gig to take care of it, and then some. Granted, my savings have taken a hit, but the fact that I have savings for just such an emergency (or other things) feels good. Well, not good. But better than a trench of debt to refill con mi poppa.

Growing up? I hesitate to use the term, as there are plenty of people I know that won’t hesitate to remind me of my childishness in other arenas. But I have picked up a lesson or two in responsibility. So there’s that.

Course, if it happens again any time soon, I don’t think I’d be held responsible for taking the car out back and putting it out of my misery. There’s that, too. I’m just saying.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Notice anything different about me today?

Well, you might not… seeing as how, you know, this is the internet and you can’t actually see me. Um.

Regardless, something is different. Namely, I’m at home. My car wouldn’t start this morning.

Wasn’t the battery. Just didn’t start at all. Damn. My car has since been towed to the local Goodyear auto shop, where they’ll be happy I’m sure to tell me what’s wrong with it.

And it won’t be cheap. It never is.

I’m not holding my breath, here. We’ll see. Sazza fragga.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Canvas On Your Brain, Or Why Nuns Walk With Rulers

Some time ago, I came across Standing Room Only. I summarily forgot all about it. The owner and author, a well-spoken gent named Hugh, who speaks with wit and wisdom. I like his stuff.

In reading it today, something occurred to me that I hadn’t really put into such a perspective before: Pain Educates.

[I’d like to state for the record that I am neither depressed or in pain of any kind (except for a pinch in my hands, but that’s not the point); this just happened to be the topic of thought this afternoon. Glad we got that out of the way.]

It does. It has a remarkable power to inform, pain. Granted, 96 out of 100 times the lesson learned is “Don’t do that again”, but still. They’re the lessons, ultimately, that last as long and longer than any other. (If my high school calculator had come with spiky buttons, or thumbtacks of some kind, you can bet I’d remember more of my algebra.)

It’s why Nuns smack the hands of their students; so they don’t do it again. Pain educates. And the lessons that come with it; physical, emotional, or otherwise… well. They’re just hard to ignore.

The thought evolved to the point that I saw the human mind as a great, vast, endless canvas. A dull, untouched white. We all do something different with our canvas, don’t we? Some of us write on them. Some of us paint. Some of us hang photos and degrees. It’s the manner of the marks, after all.

And granted, some stuff we learn goes on that board like chalk: It’s there, but give it a good rinse (or enough time), and it’ll be gone. Or likewise, just fade into the background with everything else that’s been written over it. It’s only powder.

The stuff we care about, the favorite stories or the lessons that involve something we give a crap about; that’s when we use the good stuff: Paint. Bright, vibrant, it matters and we can spot it from a mile away, if we have to. It is a big canvas, after all.

And that’s right and well and good and all. But you get to a lesson of any kind having to do with pain, and look out. The paint is sticky and wet, the kind that doesn’t dry out. Not to mention that paint glows in the dark, and doesn’t fade without a fight.

You can guess what the glowing paint spells out, if it’s been used to write warnings against further harm. They're pretty universal: FIRE BAD. MEN ARE JERKS. GIRLS CAN LIE. FREAKING LAVA.

In addition to warnings, you can sometimes paint a quick picture of someone who done ya wrong, or just the face of a nemesis in general. Not too many of those on the ol’ canvas, but they’re there. Finding yourself looking at those paintings and those warnings in a different light… can change everything.

On the other hand, the most painful lessons can be the most enriching. When you’re at your lowest, that snapshot in day-glow paint also includes the person who’s got an arm around you, trying to be there for you. They might have a box of Kleenex, a bottle of something good and strong, or just a pair of ears for the listening. You find out who’s got your back, and that’s a good lesson too.

It’s that pain that makes you remember the lessons. Keeps them fresher than Tupperware, they can take you back to the day of the lesson in a flash, reminding you of the mistakes you made the first time. And it doesn’t hurt nearly so much today to remember what hurt you then.

Finding yourself looking at those paintings and those warnings in a different light… can change everything.

Hell, I don’t know. It’s just a thought. It’s possible I’m full of shit, with too much time on my hands to think.

Nevertheless, feel free to discuss. I’ll be around.

Shortpacked: Long On Appeal

It’s a weak pun, forgive me. It’s late. For… some people. It’s late for me tonight.

Regardless. I like smiling, as most people do (even if it makes your face ache), and something that makes me smile every time I read it is Shortpacked. Take today’s comic. I’m a confessed Star Wars geek, and David Willis (brilliant and elegant mind behind the strip) knows from funny. Especially when it comes to Star Wars.

Geeks, dorks, fools and various other not-cool-as-they-are people, check it out. This is what happens when you go mistreatin’ on Natalie Portman. You end up limbless on the bank of a river of molten freaking lava. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s never a pretty sight. Jude Law’s character in Closer? Limbless, screaming, by a river of molten freaking lava.

The aliens from Mars Attacks who tried to zap her to kingdom come? River of molten freaking lava. Gary Oldman! Trying to get rid of her in her first movie, Leon! Lava! A freaking river!

Don’t mess with Natalie Portman. It’s not that you physically can’t. You can. And she’ll start to cry really heart-wrenchingly. (Yeah. It’s a word.) But the repercussions will not be pretty. You end up unable to clap your hands, stomp your feet, or do any other part of the hokey pokey, breathing noxious fumes including the vaporized remains of your own feet. Freaking. Lava.

From there, you go to the lab. You wake up more machine than man, and by gum, you have to have a really over-dramatic scene screaming “Noooooooo”. Nobody wants to see that, even if you’re voiced by James Earl Jones.

The lessons learned: Shortpacked is funny. And lava is really, really hot. So don’t go mistreatin’.

You’ve been warned.

Monday, November 14, 2005

That's A Wrap!


Great day in the morning, I love mornings like this one. I wrote. Every once in a while, not terribly often I’m afraid, I get in the zone; where my fingers can barely keep up with my brain, for better or for worse.

Don’t get me wrong, there has been plenty of writing going on lately, and I can get a fair amount put away at a good stretch. But today… it was just running off the fingers. More importantly, it finally concludes the first draft of something I’ve been trying to finish for months: Writing Sucks.

It’s for writers. It’s for actors who want to have some fun. It’s for anyone that ever thought about picking up a pencil and starting a project for the sheer hell of it. (And they know there’s plenty of hell in the process.)

Two man/woman show. Very simple set. One act. BAM. In the new year, I’m going to try to get it produced at one of the one-act festivals that go on in the tri-state area. If any of you hear of them as they come up, by all means drop me a line! Can’t wait.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's Gotta Be Five O'Clock Somewhere

The Silver Spring Stage premiered The Cocktail Hour on Friday. It was a very good show! Leta played Nina, the assertive (read: kinda bitchy) older sister to the main character, John. She did a bang-up job.

The family tensions between the parents, the children, and each other, was very nicely wound. Their tongues got a little looser with the alcohol (it is Cocktail Hour after all), and issues (big and small) get the lip service they’ve needed for years.

I don’t want to give away specific details (so you’ll go see the show). The actors playing the parents Bradley and Ann(Bill Branigan and Carol Leahy), were likewise terrific. Bradley and Ann, wealthy WASPs, are wary from the start when their son John (Dan Mont) arrives for dinner.

John, a playwright with a background in publishing, has a knack for being melodramatic and seeing things from a somewhat subjective view. Heather said he reminded her a bit of me.

I have no idea what she was talking about. *Cough*

It was a very good show, and you ought to go. Go! Do it now! (If now is Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Good Samaritan, or Enabler?

Last night, I was out on the town with a friend of mine (Bush-league!) and we decided that Chinese was the way to go, dinner-wise. Had a scrumptious, tasty dinner, good times were had by all. Then potential disaster loomed. It didn’t strike, (which disasters do) but it sure loomed like crazy.

In the corner of the restaurant, the waitress was having trouble with a customer. The diner (a woman) was expecting her boyfriend to show up, and had therefore ordered a few drinks, expecting him to pay when he got there. He never arrived.

The woman owed a little over $16, which she didn’t have. (The waitress insisted it was going to be $20, as she still wanted her tip.) She was also drunk. I’m talking movie-stereotypes drunk. Slurred speech, excitability, the works. She was trying to explain that she couldn’t pay her bill, when the manager said those five magic words; “…or we’ll call the cops.”

The woman was, shall we say, not of a delicate nature. She had some heft. If police had actually been involved, in her state, they could put her on COPS in time for sweeps week. (Is that show still on? Anyone?) The waitress and the manager started talking rapidly. I didn’t catch of a word of it, as they’d switched to Chinese, but they sounded pissed.

I asked how much the bill was. The customer re-iterated that it was sixteen something (and the Waitress reminded me it was going to be twenty). She was so gone that she couldn’t spot me, and I wasn’t ten feet away. She was talking to the room in general.

Wanting to avoid a scene at all costs (or a cost of sixteen something [TWENTY!]), I offered to pay the woman’s bill. She lumbered over, thanked me profusely, and made her way to the door. The manager irately warned her not to come back without money, calling her irresponsible. I don’t think she heard him, or cared at that point. The lady was gone, in more ways than one.

Okay: The question becomes, why’d I do it?

We could have skedaddled at that point, having just paid for our own food. It wasn't my problem. I felt bad for the woman. Getting carted off by the cops when she was already three sheets to the wind had disaster written all over it. It was an embarrassing position to be in. I sympathized with her, a bit.

I enjoy a drink myself, although not that much, let alone without Mr. Bankcard in my wallet. I know I’d be embarrassed as hell if I found myself in public, broke, with a tab to pay.

As for the woman, who the heck knows. Is it going to happen to her again? I hope not, but I don’t think it’s unlikely, either. Just sayin’. Here’s hoping she didn’t drive home.

And yes, I left the waitress a tip. I’ve waited tables myself, and putting up with someone like that without getting paid for it? Angries up the blood. We don’t need the blood that’s angered up.

That’s just bush-league.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Premiere Magazine Lists The 50 Greatest Movie Stars Of All Time

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Sure Hope Terry Pratchett Sees It


Discworld fans, take a minute and visit today's Penny Arcade. Gabe and Tycho have had a nice moment when one of 'em starts writing a new fantasy novel. Not gonna spoil it, just go and enjoy.


Today's The Day

Well, dear readers, I've got some good news.

Today I become a published writer. Yep. I'm not blowing smoke or brewing moonshine, I'm published!

Toyfare Magazine is publishing an article of mine in issue #101, which hits stands this very day. It'll have my name on it and everything! Woohoo!

Go! Go buy a copy! Do it now! (Or, you know, any time this month. Whatever works for you.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Dream Of Zombies With The Light Brown Hair

Last night (or more accurately, this morning), I dreamed the world had been slowly over run with zombies. I saw this dream coming a mile away, since I’ve been playing Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green for the last week. I knew, sooner or later, they were gonna pop up.

I wouldn’t call it a nightmare, exactly, as they weren’t terrifying. Creepy, spooky, scary, yes. Wet-your-pants horrible, no. They were just the walking dead. As the dream went on, they increased in number, while I and a few other plucky survivors held out as long as we could with whatever weapons/tools we could find.

It started at my actual house, and the usual zombie-rules applied. Stay quiet, keep your head down, they won’t come in the house. Not everyone kept their heads down, so naturally, the zombies saw the movement and headed straight for us.

Somewhere along the line I spotted a revolver (not being a gun owner I found this quite strange), and used it to dispatch a few of the walking dead. When I ran out of bullets, I just ended up pistol-whipping them over the head. Not the funnest time.

Still, I managed to survive bite-free until I woke up. Which is good, since the last thing I want to dream about is becoming a mindless automaton—wait a minute.

I think my subconscious owes George A. Romero a royalty check.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Help! I Need Somebody. Help! Not Just Anybody.

I'll keep this short and sweet: I want to put up a side-bar on links to other blogs and sites of that kind. All the cool kids are doing it, and I wanna.

I'm not terribly HTML savvy, but darn it, I'll give it my best shot.

Gimme a hand, people. I'll dance at your wedding if you help.

Stubborn Son Of A [Biscuit]

A few blogs ago (two), I cited a problem I've had of late with ideas in popular mediums... and their resemblance ideas I had. It frustrates.

In this case, I’ve been working on a comic book story. And a similar story’s being done in popular comics. Cause my timing is great as always. What can you do?

Well, this right here is what you can do: Keep going anyway. I went back and deleted the specifics from the blog, because in a fit of frustration, I spilled too many beans anyway. One ought not to write when he’s angry.

I still want to finish the story. The characters are my characters. How they respond to… what happens… is going to be different from the mainstream. I guarantee it.

So what’s that mean, exactly. It means I’m going to keep working on it. Developing the scripts. Finding artists who can actually draw. Eventually, making the pitch. I know the ropes, and if I just give up, then what the hell’s the point.

That’s all.

Weekend Update

Long weekend. Full weekend, dear readers, but a long weekend. I saw Ten Little Indians, and finished work on the sock puppet show that will very likely ensure the writer’s place in Hell (I just performed it, therefore keeping me morally in the clear).

Ten was good. I’ve got a soft spot for murder mysteries. Sara Joy did a bang-up job as essentially the only non-morally-reprehensible character in the show: In the book and film, all the characters deserve to meet a grisly, stabby, death-trappy end. But if you’re gonna see a play, you feel the need to root for somebody, so they cleaned up the character a bit to make her more sympathetic. That’s showbiz for ya. Good show. Pip pip pip.

Also this weekend was the 12,000th day of marriage for some very close friends of the family. 12,000 days. Do the math if ya like, that’s 32 years and change. They’re still together, they’re still happy. Got a little choked up. Seriously, they’re one terrific example of how to do it right.

After the anniversary party I headed to Frederick for a really good night of Improv. Great audience, very receptive, and we were on. Shazam. Exhausting stuff, but darn fun all the same.

Auditioned for one show this morning, and got another one tomorrow night. Neither are what I’d call geographically close, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve trekked for a show. And it’s worth it.

Course, I came back home and slept for four hours, because dammit, I was sleepy.

After the show this morning, some cast members and I went to the IHOP. We discussed ways for one diner to break up with her boyfriend for some fairly jerk-worthy behavior. We ran the gamut and heard from Sean Connery (two impressions, Jays and mine), Nicodemus, Lady Enid, just me, and Dark Marker. She’s looking forward to telling the guy off. And now she’s got plenty of ammo.

I have no idea what’s gonna happen this week. It’ll be busy, but I’m not quite sure yet just how busy.

More to follow, people. More to follow.


Friday, November 04, 2005

I Could Use Some Advice. Or Barring That, A Boot To The Head.

The Word is… Kaplahr. It’s a nice word, one full of unvented frustration, and full on head-explodey rage.

*Clears Throat* KAPLAHR.

A few weeks ago, my brother forwarded me this article. A new HBO series is being produced about a world in which vampires and regular people live in more or less harmony. Out in the open. They beat me to the punch. Kaplahr.

Now: I want to state for the record, up front, that I had no assumptions about Nocturne. It was a good idea, and I turned it into a TV pilot and sent it to Scriptapalooza so it could get read by the right people. I didn’t know what was going to happen with it (still don’t), but I had hope. Anything was possible.

Or it was, until HBO planted their flag. They didn’t steal my idea. I’m not so crazy or so paranoid to think that for a New York minute. The show is evidently based off a series of books I’ve never heard of; we both just had the same idea. And Charlaine Harris had gotten to it first.


That was then. That was then, I shrugged it off as best I could, and I threw myself into my next project: another comic book idea.

And that makes two perfectly good story ideas shot straight down the toilet in less than a month.

I’m a bit pissed off. Not at anyone in particular, and certainly not the writers at Marvel Comics. It’s their job to be creative and come up with new story ideas. They did their job. I was just hoping they wouldn’t use that idea.

I’m feeling more than a little deflated. I have no idea what to do next, and the second I do come up with something reasonably new, who’s to say I wouldn’t get beaten to the punch a third time? Or a fourth? What the heck do I do?


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

Yesterday, dear readers, was damned interesting. If for no other reason than the novelty of the entire experience: I was a movie extra.

I’ve belonged with Betsy Royal Casting for a little over a month, and I got my first call Tuesday afternoon. Would I like to be a movie extra? Sure!

The Disney movie, Music High, is being shot on a set in Baltimore. It stars Rachel Griffiths, who is every bit as lovely in person as she is on the screen. Yowza.

I got up at 5:15 yesterday, well before dawn, and set out to make it to Baltimore on time to be on set at 6:30 (including a stop for gas). I got there with no problem, driving home was another story altogether.

They had catering, a guy made me an omelet. I was asked to bring a few different costume choices, for various scenes. They loved the look of the fedora and trench coat, so if you happen to spot that guy in the background of the flick (for all of half a second), that’ll be me.

They’d broken us up into categories of students: Dancers, musicians, artists, etc. The dancers all wore leotards and various other dance paraphernalia, the artists uniformly wore paint-splattered clothes. I was originally supposed to be a costumer, but ended up carrying a violin case for the better part of the day. Rock on.

We walked down the same hallways dozens of times, and the work that went into making this building look like a school was just astounding. A trophy cabinet, art on the walls (it was an Arts school after all), they’d even put up little signs for evacuation in case of a fire. It went on like that; changing out of one costume and into another, making sure my hair was combed, reading a book in the off-times, that sort of thing. They stayed very consistent with the order of the extras, making sure it was the same every time.

One girl’s pants were noisier than corduroy when she walked, and her boots were clumping up a racket. They had her take off her boots, and she walked barefoot trying to make as little zwip-zwop noise with her pants. Naturally, she earned the nickname ‘NoisyPants’ until the first costume change.

It was a bit surreal, having never done it before, but I think the strangest part of the whole thing was the other extras I met. We had loads in common: Actors with day jobs, part-time or otherwise, taking the day to get some blinks of screentime. We had our share of sarcastic wits (got along like a house on fire); humor helped the time go by. A mother and her children showed up, a whole family of extras. She played a teacher, her kids played students. Jay was a cut-up, we had a great time walking down the hallway time and again.

When we weren't shooting, we spent our downtime on the roof of the adjoining building, in a tent with a space-heater. The tables were stocked with food, so nobody went hungry or lacked for coffee.

They kept us over 10 hours, and you know what that means? Overtime! Woot! I should be getting a check in about a month’s time.

The whole day was just a blast. I’d definitely do it again. Shazam.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's The First Of The Month

Bunny Bunny.