Archives - November 2003
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November 30, 2003

Movie review etc.

Just got back from watching Gothika. In a nutshell: Not Gothic. Not Scary. Not Good. Save your money. Typical drivel that Hollywood is churning out these days. The trailer was better than the film. Catchy title to attract the young goth set, and what you're left with is a typical ghost-comes-from-the-other-side-to-avenge-itself flick that would have played better as a USA movie than an A-list release from two of the biggest studios in Hollywood. Berry was good, but anyone who couldn't have figured out the basic plot within 45 minutes probably hasn't been out to the movies much in the last few years. If you want to see a really good film of this genre, watch The Ring. It at least contained the creepiness and scare factor that Gothika totally missed.

*****

November 27, 2003

Some Head you don't wanna get

I check out the FBI website at least once a month, looking at their Most Wanted and unsolved case stuff. Came across this little jewel. It's a wanted poster for one Hazel Leota Head, one badass trailer park chick. Here are some excerpts:

UNLAWFUL FLIGHT TO AVOID PROSECUTION

FIRST DEGREE MURDER; ARSON

...she may have gained weight. Head often works as a waitress, hangs out at truck stops, and likes to travel with truck drivers. She is a smoker, likes to drink vodka, and frequent casinos. She has been married several times, possibly to as many as 10 men, and is known to place personal ads seeking men.

Head is wanted for the murder of a man in Benton, Louisiana, in 1998. The victim was shot in the back of the head while he sat in his trailer... In addition, Head has been wanted since 1991 by local law enforcement authorities in Nebraska where she is charged with arson and failure to appear. She is accused there of burning down a boyfriend's trailer.

So if you see Leota hanging around your trailer park, give the police a call. If she's asleep over yonder in your bedroom, run like hell!

Writing stuff

Was waiting anxiously for my people to call me from L.A. about the screenplay. Two full weeks and no call. Bad sign. Calls to them: unreturned. Since I know everyone in L.A. has a cell phone surgically attached to their ear, I know it isn't because they missed the call. But, they are busy...I understand that.

I have a drawer with over 250 rejection letters. And those are just the decent folks who formalized their rejection of me and my work in writing. After all these years and all these rejections, you'd think that I would have become hardened to the process. I guess I have a little, but the anxiety I feel is the same any writer must feel after he/she puts our work out there for review. Here's what I feel like right now: I'm a junior high school girl who got asked to the CYO dance by the popular guy in school. I went, and because he was the most popular guy in school, I let him feel me up. Now, I'm sitting by the phone waiting for him to call. But the call doesn't come.

Should I call? Does my work suck so bad that they can't even call me back and tell me? Or are they at Kinkos making a hundred copies? Should I take my cell phone off instead of wearing it on my hip like a portable defribulator, waiting for it to buzz and jumpstart my life? Why do I give a rat's ass anymore about what people think? What the hell am I doing in this business?

So, I guess I offer my feelings here to all you other wannabe writers like me out there to show you that what you are going through is a universal aspect of our art, no matter how long you've been writing. I'm sure the big boys are just as anxious as we are at times.

P.S. Got an email from the agent out in L.A. who assured me everything is fine, the screenplay is in circulation, and for me to be patient. Whew!

*******

November 24, 2003

Some white trash hapnins...

They don't make klansmen like they used to.

Seems some bubbas in Tennessee were initiating a brother into the klan by tying him to a pole - with a noose - and shooting him with paint guns. Yeehaa! A leader of the group was firing a REAL gun into the air to make noise, and lo and behold, one of his bullets came down and smote that poor initiate right in the noggin. Penetrated right through his skull and came out his jaw. He's in the hospital in critical condition. Personally, I doubt that the terminal velocity of a bullet is enough to penetrate a human skull all the way through; I think it was a ricochet or a cover up to a real shootin'. I'll keep you posted.

Get 'em some teeth first.

Seems the honchos at Playboy magazine have decided to put out a pictoral on: THE WOMEN OF WALMART. Yee haaaa! About damn time these fine wimmin were portrayed in a hoity gentleman's magazine. Nekkid at that. I hear that they are planning a few more pictorals for us common white trash folk:

The Women of Dairy Queen

The Women of HSN

The Women of Red Lobster

To hell with them Pac 10 chicks; gimme a Red Lobster gal any day!

*****

November 23, 2003

Copper Tops and the Choctaw's Revenge

Went to a casino on an Indian reservation in BFE, Oklahoma last night. Weird experience. It is a new place, right off the interstate. Basically, it's a big air-conditioned tent split into two themed casinos: a pseudo south-of-the-border motif on one side, a Circus/Circus knockoff on the other. As far as casinos go, it really isn't much of one. They only have electronic gambling: electronic slots and draw poker, plus bingo and some off-site horse betting. The card games and traditional casino fare will come in 2004, according to an employee there.

I had never been to a casino before this one. Like wasting your first time on a five-dollar whore in BoysTown, it was a letdown. Sure, we had fun, but it was a really pathetic place. I was struck by two things as I roamed around and watched everyone. First, as P.T. Barnum once said, there is indeed a sucker born every minute. I came to this conclusion as I watched people play one of the "slot machines" (as a cross-eyed plastic tiger stared down at me from its cage on top of the island of machines). Of course, this is nothing but a computer. They simulate mechanical action, but what the player is interfacing with is nothing but code. Software. I'm no code-cruncher, but even a computer idiot like me realizes that unlike the mechanical limitations of a machine like a slot machine, software code knows no limits. Virtually anything, and any combination of things, can be programmed into it. In those miles and miles of code buried in each machine, the casino owners can place anything. A machine that pays off every 1069th play. Or every 5th. But for only one hour, to tittilate the patrons around it. Since each is activated by a coded card printed for each player, the actions of the machine can be tailored to the player as well. When Joe Schmoe's credits lost hit the 100,598th mark, give him a big win. His addiction will thus be stoked for another 100,000+ losses. Sure, the regulators of the gaming industry say they police these machines and they are on top of any such rigging, but anyone knows that to find bastard code in just one machine would take forever. There were over 500 machines in this one casino. There are at least two dozen of these casinos in Oklahoma. Think of Vegas; multiply all this times a hundred. Anyone who puts money into one of these things is an absolute fool.

This leads me to my second observation: there are a lot of fools out there. People were sitting at these machines like zombies, pushing that PLAY button again and again and again, mindlessly staring at the screen with a glaze over their eyes. Some even used coiled tethers to attach their player's cards to their clothing as it sat in the machine. They reminded me of the human electricity-generators in The Matrix, with their umbilical cords plugged into the great Machine as it sucked the life out of them.

Perhaps gambling is nothing but a tax on fools, as some people say. People probably dropped a few hundred thousand dollars into that place just in the few hours I was there. Money that could have been used by them or their kids. Maybe it's the Indian's revenge; redistributing the wealth taken from them by our ancestors. I guess they can add the $3 I lost to their booty.

*****

November 20, 2003

Interview & Michael Jackson

Jonah Lissner of Lissner's Adventure Fiction Online has featured an interview with me in this week's addition of The Best Pulp Fiction Online. Tune it in for a few yuks. He also featured an excerpt from L.A. Stalker. Thanks, Jonah!

Speaking of stalking and predation, I've been following the Jocko fiasco lately. I could write reams about this pedophile, but I'll only ask the following question:

Why the hell did that kid's parents allow him to be alone with Jackson after the 1993 incident?

Hell, even if you thought that Jackson was innocent of those allegations, wouldn't a parent be prudent to not take the chance? Who would gamble with their child's safety? I tell you who: A pimp. That is exactly what the victim's parents are: PIMPS. They should be charged with reckless endangerment, if not as co-defendants in the abuse itself. I can't wait to hear their bullshit story; I hope it is at least half as entertaining as Jocko's is going to be. And I'm hoping the media don't let their complicity slip past them.

*****

November 17, 2003

If Rednecks Ruled

Yeah, I know I've neglected the blog. Had to drop what I was doing and write a treatment for my screenplay. Took a few days. A treatment is basically a scene-by-scene summary of the screenplay written in prose form.

My friend Chuck sent me some pics today. The topic is "If Rednecks Ruled." I'll call it "If White Trash Ruled." Here's my fav:

Received a couple of emails from fellow bloggers Trudi at Tales from the 23rd and Mandy at Vampire Dust. I didn't know I was hip with the vampire crowd, but I'll take a fan wherever I find one. Check out their interesting blogs. Trudi's is a blog devoted to an ongoing serialized work of fiction, sort of like a novel in chapters. Mandy's is HUGE and has a little bit of everything. Both of them were kind enough to link to mine with no prompting whatsoever. I love the web.

*****

November 11 , 2003

Had to have dat baby

I gave birth to the L.A. Stalker screenplay today. Two pounds, no ounces, 11 inches long. It will be safely delivered to my contact in Gollywood tomorrow via FedEx. My apologies to you regular blog-watchers who haven't seen many updates recently. I should be back in true form with a little dieting and rest.

I've basically spent every waking hour writing this screenplay. Took off some time from my day job (about two weeks total) to get it done. Forsaking all family and mundane obligations. For those writers who read this blog: if you don't have that kind of dedication, hang up your word processor NOW.

More info on the Gollywood thing: Got contacted a few weeks ago from a publicist/agent in L.A. whom I met when I was out there doing my debut book signing for Stalker last year. She contacted me and said the story would interest an up-and-coming young star that she represents. She wants to attach this star's name to it to shop it around. She also has contacts with several other big-name established stars who would be great for the lead roles. Nice. So, I throw caution to the wind and get them a screenplay. Once they read it, they will decide if it is a good "development project" for next year. If so, they'll option it and put it in the mix. I feel very good about the project and the company. We'll see what happens. The only definite in all of this is that absolutely nothing will happen unless I take the chance.

*****

November 5, 2003

&%(#*! Blues

Still pounding out my screenplay for L.A. Stalker. 108 pages so far. But unlike the life of a novel, this means absolutely nothing in the incarnation of a screenplay. Sure, a screenplay should be no more than 120 pages, but the "success" one feels when completing more pages is actually the reverse in writing a screenplay: more is not necessarily better. I estimate it will take 30-40 more pages to complete the story, which means I'm in for editing out a net of 20 more pages.

Been fiddling around with Final Draft, the program I use to write the screenplay. Found an interesting tool called "statistical report." Thought what the hell and ran it. It gives a rundown on all the scenes, characters, etc...who interacts most with whom, how many have "monologues," how many times they speak, how many pages they appear in, how many locations are used. I'm sure a good screenwriter or director can take one look at these stats and tell if the screenplay meets the "formula" they are looking for. It is kind of like an EKG readout; it looks like a bunch of squiggly lines unless you know how to read it. If you do, it gives you a wealth of information. I, not being versed in the super-secret arcane world of movieland jargon, don't understand it at all. However, I did check the box marked "profanity" before I ran the report. Now, there's a topic I understand. Here's what it said about my use of the bad words; I've edited the who and where stuff on all but the first just to save a little room:

Profanity

This profanity report should be used as a general guide to the profanity content of your script. Some of the items in this report may not be actual profanity and other real instances in your script may have been missed.

"Ass" (15 occurrences) It appears on the following pages: 19, 28, 29, 30, 49, 50, 51, 53, 61, 80, 89, 91, 98, 106 It is spoken by the following characters: BILL, ECHOLS, JERRY, LEMMONS, MR. BRYSON, PANDORA, SERGEANT, TASHA

"Asshole" (5 occurrences) blah blah

"Bitch" (10 occurrences)

"Bullshit" (7 occurrences)

"Crap" (1 occurrences)

"C**t" (1 occurrences)

"Damn" (3 occurrences)

"Dick" (1 occurrences)

"Dildo" (1 occurrences)

"F**k" (18 occurrences)

"F**ked" (4 occurrences)

"F**ker" (4 occurrences)

"F**king" (15 occurrences)

"Motherf**ker" (1 occurrences)

"Piss" (1 occurrences)

"Pissed" (3 occurrences)

"Sh*t" (19 occurrences)

"Tits" (1 occurrences)

Well, so much for that PG rating. Guess I'll have to go back and do a little editing. Cursing is kinda like doing tequila shots; you don't realize how much of it you are doing until it's too damn late.

*****

November 3, 2003

Hot and Smokin' Avon Ladies

Okay, okay. For those of you who didn't/couldn't/wouldn't see my last post as sarcasm, I've made it politically correct for you.

Speaking of political incorrectness, I just received a nice email from Bobbi the Avon Lady from California, who discovered my short story "I Was A Male Avon Lady" while looking for legitimate Avon stuff on Google:

I just wanted to share with you how funny your article was! Definitely reminds me of 'resistant' husbands/boyfriends and significant others who find themselves in the middle of an Avon business and scratch their heads to figure out how they got there. I shared a link to your website (not the text of the article) with my Yahoo Avon ladies and expect many will go to your site.

What is that? You blog-watchers didn't realize that this blog is just part of a much larger and comprehensive site about moi, featuring short stories and poetry and all sorts of other cool and informative stuff? Shame on you! Click on the links in the header, ya boneheads!

Oh, and a personal note: "Yahoo Avon Ladies" would be a great title for a porn movie or for another short story. Stay tuned.

And thanks, Bobbi!

*****

November 2, 2003

What's important in life

Here's an excerpt from a national news article last week:

WASHINGTON - Turning away from hot-button priorities such as the war in Iraq and prescription drugs, lawmakers Wednesday tackled another roiling controversy dividing millions of Americans -- how to choose the nation's college football champion. At a half-day hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, senators and other critics assailed the 5-year-old Bowl Championship Series as an elitist, money-dominated system that favors perennial stalwarts such as Miami, Nebraska and Ohio State and prevents lesser-known "Cinderella teams" like unbeaten Texas Christian University from a shot at national glory.

I'm glad to know that our lawmakers - all the senators quoted are ex-football players - are getting their priorities straight. To hell with all the unimportant items like war, poverty, education, immigration, the national debt; they finally had a hearing on what's really important in life: football. By God, FOOTBALL is the backbone of our nation; any idiot knows that. And if they don't, they're probably a Bolshevik, anyway. Let's pass some legislation giving my alma mater, TCU, a shot at "national glory." Nothing could be as glorious as playing in a bowl game, for crying out loud. A man has to have memories of his glory days; we need federal legislation to give that 1% of the TCU student body who actually participate in football (and heck, even the 5% that actually go to the games) the chance of adding the glorious memory of victory to their lives. Victory over the enemies of my school, like Baylor or even those commie liberals over at SMU.

(expletive deleted) methodists; we need to pass some legislation about them, too. While we're at it, we should put the (religious inference deleted) and the (religious inference deleted) on the hit list, too; I've never seen a (ethnic slur deleted) or (ethnic slur deleted) running back yet. Any religion that can't field a decent offensive line has no right to be an American, much less a bowl contender.

*****

October 30, 2003

Computers, stress and more computers

I got a new computer for my birthday and I've been installing it and transitioning from my old one (1997 vintage Pentium II). The new one, a Dell, is performing wonderfully. I use one at work, too and I think they make a good product (compared to the awful Compaqs we used to have). Lots of bells and whistles. Ready for my high-speed connection which will be Phase 2 of my new setup. Phase 3 will be a wireless network. It may be a moot point, though, because the instant I got my new desktop up and running, my laptop crashed into oblivion. I think I got a power spike and fried something inside. Weird computer kharma going on. Maybe the laptop was jealous and commited suicide. I had always thought of the laptop as a girl, seeing as it has seven or eight female ports. But I guess it was a jealous male bent on self-destruction. At least he didn't pop a cap in my new Dell before wasting himself.

I've been off work for five days working on my screenplay. Even though I have been working feverishly on it trying to meet a self-imposed deadline, the work has been fun and rewarding. Then I go back to my day job. By the time I returned home a few minutes ago, I felt like I had the flu. Achy, tired, no energy at all. I know I'm not getting sick; the feeling I have is entirely caused by stress. Stress caused by managing too many high-strung people with too much of a workload for any three people to keep on top of. As soon as I had settled into my office this morning, my muscles started tensing up. If I had been on a blood pressure machine, I know it was probably elevated. The physical damage done by stress is incredible. Long exposure to it will kill you. It causes a host of physical maladies from hypertension to cancer, and it kills your immune system as well. On the psychological side it breeds depression and anxiety. You really don't realize how stressed you are until the stress is lifted for a long period. When it rears its ugly head again, you can feel it like a knife in the kidney. Undiagnosed stress is probably the biggest killer in America.

It solidifies my desire to write full time. I know its a pipe dream, but it is also a necessity for my survival. I don't want to wind up dead by age 50, or even worse, debilitated mentally or physically by a stroke. We all need to sit back and figure out what really makes us happy and do it, and do nothing else. Unfortunately for most of us, the realization of what that is comes too late. We corner ourselves in mortgages and bills and obligations, hoping to break free one day. The trick is to never get in that position to begin with.

So you writers out there who are in that inevitable place of choosing your path: mainstream subjugation to work and mundane obligations or a life of writing and perhaps living a less-affluent lifestyle, choose the latter.

*****

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