Archives - August 2004

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August 28, 2004

Reprints

I have another blog out there that I post to, trying to drive some traffic to this one. It only contains the "best of" from this blog, so I'm not cheating on you. I ran across these blog entries in my archives and thought it would be a good time to re-run them, especially for all my newer readers who may be writers themselves:

Time

I've met many gifted writers over the years who rarely write. Inside of them, there is a great book, short story, poem or screenplay. They have the talent to put their idea onto paper, yet they don't. Desire isn't their problem; they feel the urge to write just like I do. Yet something stops them. They worry about an issue that is one of the main drawbacks to being a writer: time, or rather, a commitment to time.

Other villains that prevent people from writing are a lack of talent or a lack of imagination, and the ability to sustain these things for very long. A poor knowledge base of grammar and punctuation can also do it, just as a home builder would have a difficult time with their task if they had a shortage of basic carpentry skills. Embarrassment or a fear of failure are another two that kill writing before it even begins. But the time factor is the usual one I see that prevents people from finishing the work they want to do.

When writing Elephants, I did a time study on myself. In this, I learned that, on the average, it takes me one hour to write one page, single-spaced, 1-inch margins. Pages heavy with dialogue are much faster, but when combined with pages of straight prose, they average-out to a page an hour. Elephants' first draft manuscript was 824 pages long, written over two years. That comes out to 412 hours per year. I did this on top of a full-time job. That's ten 40-hour work weeks per year.

A lot of time? Hell, yes; like I said, it is a commitment to time. I have found that the one-page-per-hour rule is fairly common; it is probably what most writers, even the pros, can manage. That means you. Now, most books aren't as long as Elephants. You, being a sane person, should have a manuscript of normal length, like 300 pages (which will translate into about 225 pages in a 6x9 book). If you wrote that manuscript in a year, expect to spend 300 hours, or 7 1/2 work weeks. Daunting? Scary? Crazy? You're probably saying to yourself, "There's no way I can do that. I have the kids, the job, the yard work, the church duties, grocery shopping...forget it!"

However, these are lies you tell yourself. Writing-Killers. Creativity Bombs. In actuality, it is quite doable. 300 pages a year, if you work just five days a week, comes to about 1 hour and 10 minutes per day. Factor in days where you work more than 1 hour per day, like a vacation day from work or a Saturday per month, and that daily figure comes down even more. At the end of a year, you'll have a manuscript, and you'll find that your life has gone on, you're still alive, the lights are still on, and your mortgage is current.

Just like investing money, take care of yourself first. Plan ahead. Set a goal. Say to yourself, or write it on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror, "I will have a manuscript by July 26, 2004." Then make a plan. When doing your plan, be realistic. Commit the time you can really take. A Sunday per month, four days a week from six to eight o'clock, a day of vacation or sick leave from work every other month... Plan what you can do, for you don't want to have to alter the plan once you've begun. Part of your plan should be not only the time factor, but a location factor, too. Where are you going to write? My suggestion is to distance yourself from your regular life as much as you can. Write at the library or coffee shop. Get away to a sleazy hotel room for a day where the phone won't be ringing and the household chores aren't looming.

The second thing you must do is inform everyone in your life of your plan. If they laugh or scoff or blow you off, make a mental note of this and continue on. Believe me, after your year of self-sacrifice, you will find out who your friends are. Tell them what you want to do (but never reveal your story to them; that's another blog entry coming soon) and that you will appreciate their understanding, yadda yadda. Believe me, I've done this before; pave the way for your plan. It is well worth the effort and will save you much misery in the future.

Time Part II

Last month, I ran an entry about making and sticking to a writing schedule. I noted that having a schedule, with a clear goal in mind, will focus you on your writing. If you write one page per hour, it will take the average writer about one year to finish a 300-page manuscript. Since most books fall there or well short of that mark, you can have a rough draft in a year or less. If you set the goal of having your book done in a year, it can be done. However, 300 manuscript pages (about 225 book-size pages) translates into about 7.5 40-hour work weeks. Fitting this much time into your busy schedule will take sacrifice, and that sacrifice will impact you and those around you to a degree you might not expect. I concluded by saying those people who are important in your life will have mixed reactions to your dedication.

First, they will tell you they admire your determination. When you disappear for your scheduled writing time, they will feel a mild sense of unease. Abandonment will be there. So will envy. Jealousy. But in the early stages, their respect for you and your work will overpower those emotions. Now of course, those who don't support your writing, those who dismiss it as fantasy, will not have a sudden sense of admiration for you. But those who do will see your determination, your scheduling, as you chasing your dream. They will be willing to go along with your plan. For awhile.

Next, you will find them growing anxious. Their anxiety as the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, will grow. You will miss important things, like birthday gatherings, your weekly coffee sessions at B&N with them, your monday night football parties. You won't be there; you'll be writing. They will try to contain themselves, but their anxiety will turn to anger. They'll resent your writing at this point. It is a mistress keeping you away from your friends and family, a usurper, a concubine. As their anxiety grows, your emotions will soar. Freed from these mundane activities, you will find that your book is finally taking form. It is becoming a living thing, consuming not only your time, but your thoughts as well.

When they finally lay their guilt trips on you to reel you in, which they will, you will put your schedule on hold. They will sense victory as you go back to your former life. You will feel bridled. They will feel better, and you will feel worse. Your dreams are slipping away. In your mind, you will still be writing, piling up the ideas so your dream doesn't grow cold. Sitting at the bowling alley or the church pew or teeing one up on the golf course, you will be thinking of the next chapter, the next plot twist, the way you will develop the main character... Your friends will see that you are with them, but you are not really THERE. You go through the motions, but your heart and mind are not into it. Their anxiety and resentment will reach a peak at this point. You may even get the big ultimatum: It is either me or the writing; choose now.

At this point, you will have to make a decision, and those choices will be: 1) continue as I am, and damn everyone's opinion. If they don't stand by me, then f*** them; 2) I'll scale back my work schedule...maybe I'll finish in two years instead of one, or; 3) This is too much trouble. I'll lay down the book; it was a stupid plan, anyway.

I can't help you with that decision and neither can anyone else. You just have to stand back and take stock in your writing; Just how important is it to you? I made my decision and my writing came out on top. My relationships have never been the same; those who are my true friends, and my family, have stuck it out. Those who didn't fell by the wayside. Can you live with that?

*****

August 26, 2004

Various updates

Mr. Badwrench - I took my malfunctioning Buick to a real mechanic. A good mechanic is a rarity these days; many of the newer ones are not trained well, or work in shops where their salary is based on sales commissions (meaning, the more they charge you, the the more they make). I found a good one. His name is Jesse Crawford and he runs The Neighborhood Mechanic shop on Beach Street in Fort Worth. It is indeed a mom & pop operation; his wife runs the office and he does the mechanic work. He retired from General Motors where he spent 30+ years building cars. He does an honest job at an honest price, and has always nailed the diagnosis spot-on in the first try. I found training certificates on his wall dating back to 1957; no Lincoln Tech grad neophyte here.

Anyway, he diagnoses my problem as a bad alternator and puts a NEW one on. He also fixed my winshield washer pump for free. Nice. So I get in my car and drive home. The next day, I notice that my lights and fan are flickering. Not really a flicker, but a rythmic pulse of low/high, low/high. Shit. Back to the shop.

I pick up my car that afternoon. Turns out the new alternator was defective. Mr. Crawford told me that he and his fellow mechanics (his shop is in a strip of other auto repair shops, a loose collective) are having a major problem with new parts. Seems a high percentage are defective right out of the box. Why? Most are made in China and Mexico. And even if they aren't put together by slave and/or serf labor, the parts often contain components (in my case, a bad computer chip) that ARE made by slaves and/or serfs. He apologized for the problem and rectified it by putting a re-built alternator in, made with the best parts they could find. The old Buick is purring like a kitten.

I guess the parts problem is rampant all over the country; it's hard to buy anything that isn't made in China or another third-world shithole these days. And I can't say I'm surprised at the quality problem; if I were building computer chips on a Gulag assembly line, I guess I'd be whacking off in every fifth chip, too. It would be the only form of social protest I could enjoy. So just think about that the next time you climb on an airplane, with its 100,000 moving parts...

Cuqui - My most acclaimed book: won two awards. It was also the most fun I've had writing. It is also my all-time worst seller. So it's nice to get a kudo every now and then from someone who has read it. This one came from Jeffrey Davis:

I had waited to read this book for a long time. And I was certainly not disappointed. Bumpy Sheffeld is an undercover DEA agent who is currently acting as the pilot for the head of a drug cartel. When this kingpin is killed by an insect-like monster mid-flight into the U.S., Bumpy is forced to crash the plane. Suddenly, he is wanted for murder, as he knows that nobody will believe what happened on that flight. A fellow DEA agent and a beautiful archaeologist set out to help him bring the beast down in an effort to clear his name.

The book does an amazing job of developing the characters. I could really get into the heads of Savannah, Bumpy, Johnny and the creatures. Yes, we even get to see what makes the monsters tick (or click, as the case would be). They are not evil creatures; that would have made this book so unrealistic. They are large animals, with the intelligence and biological functions of animals. They are hunting us for food. This is always a device that works well, considering man's preoccupation with assuming that we are at the top of the food chain. We are most certainly not, and this realization has a tendency to terrify us when we are reminded of it. As far as religion goes, the book isn't billed as religious fiction. But the author does mention prayer and shows a couple of Christian characters (priests). Their faith is never seen as an excuse for some deviancy or character flaw. On another point, the background of the book basically shows what happens when man tries to play God. Even though the background is from the distant past, it is still poignant today, with our stem cell research, abortions and cloning. David L. Kilpatrick has written a marvelous page-turner that will keep you riveted from the beginning. I highly recommend it.

*****

August 23, 2004

T.V. Cops

Being a TV addict, especially in my yoot, I like cop shows. Although there's some new TV cops that are pretty cool, like Michael Chiklis' Vic Mackey from The Shield, the coolest of the TV police officers were from days gone by. Here's a few of my faves, in somewhat chronological order:

Jack Webb's Joe Friday from Dragnet. Now, most of you are thinking this guy was anything but cool. Stuffed shirt, emotionless, uptight white man. So damn straight you could use him as an ironing board. I guess what is so cool about this character is the fact that he was the exact opposite of Webb the actor. A jazz afficianado and all around L.A. Hepcat, he was married to Julie London at one time. For him to turn that off and turn on Joe Friday was really a marvel. Upon his death, Webb was buried with the full honors of an LAPD detective, including a 17-gun salute.

 

 

Jack Lord's Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five-O. He was a cool but sensitive cop, whose Elvis-like looks endeared him to fans of The Kang on a subconscious level if nothing else. He put a few terms into the lexicon of modern American slang like "book'em, Danno" and "Five-O" (a gang term for "police"). He always wore really cool suits and had a weird shoulder holster that only wrapped around one shoulder; there was no retaining strap on the other side, like a real shoulder holster has. I'm still trying to find out if this was real or just a Hollywood prop. The only bad thing about Jack Lord's McGarrett was that he turned REALLY GAY and QUEENISH in the last few seasons of the show. If you think I'm mistaken, be sure and check out some of these and you'll see what I mean. Claim to fame? Porn star Tracy Lords took her stage name from Jack because she was a great fan of the show.

Daniel J. Travanti's Frank Furillo from Hill Street Blues. Probably the first intellectualized police officer on TV. Also, the first time a manager of police officers was shown in a positive light. Frank fought alcoholism and a wacky ex-wife with the cool collective rationale of a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. What I thought was the coolest thing about this character was that at the end of every show, he could always be found lounging in a tub of bubbles with the luscious Veronica Hammel (shown here). It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

 

 

Edward James Olmos' Lt. Martin Castillo of that paragon of 80's schlock, Miami Vice. Man, this might be the coolest cat of them all. He was a man of few words, usually spoken in a low whisper. But when he said something, you'd damn well better listen. He had the air of a Zen master with the sadness of a grieving widower, and you always wondered what was going on in his head. He wore nothing but black suits and skinny black ties. I tried to copy his office decor at one time: a black desk with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON IT but a black telephone. Man, this guy was so cool he didn't even have Post-It Notes.

 

 

 

And last but not least, there's DaGoddess' favorite, and probably the coolest all-around cop ever to grace the small screen: Don Johnson's Sonny Crockett from of course, Miami Vice. He was the perfect burned-out, bad attitude adrenaline junkie. He killed at least ten guys per show, peppering them with his Bren Ten 10mm pistol with moves that would make Jet Li proud. I think he might be the first TV cop who didn't carry his gun like a little old lady; he put himself though some rigorous training to get the thang down right, baby. And with a pet alligator on his bachelor pad sailboat, all the bad guys knew that they had better keep their distance, or they'd wind up stepping on some alligator droppings on the deck, but that's another story.

If you know of any more retro cool TV cops that I've left out, email me and I'll put them in Part II.

*****

August 22, 2004

Various babblings

Watched hurricane Charlie on the news. Having ridden out several hurricanes myself, none of the magnitude of this one, I am intrigued by the storms. I'm also intrigued with the aftermath from a sociological viewpoint; how people handle the isolation and social breakdown that can occur. Here's my favorite pic from the press (stolen from CNN):

Note the shotgun laying on his lap.

Absolutely goddamned right.

When the shit hits the fan and there's no one around to watch your back, the only thing you can really depend on is an equalizer in your lap. Even the anti-gun crowd, when faced with the cold reality of violence, either grabs one themselves or wishes they had passed on that donation to Handgun Control, Inc. and invested it in a Remington 870 with a 7-shot tube instead.

Also interesting to me is what comes out in people during this time: the best and the worst. The best are the folks who help their neighbors expecting nothing in return, pitching in and cleaning up, donating clothes and such, cutting fallen trees, or standing watch over their neighborhood with a 12-guage. And the worst have to be the surfers who travel from everywhere to surf the big ones and contribute nothing to the community they are exploiting. And maybe some of the worst are guys like Mr. Shotgun, protecting his front porch while he leaves his neighbors to fend for themselves.

Watched a good film last weekend: Collateral with Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox. Nice and tight and thought-provoking. The dialog between ultra-evil but cool Cruise and nerdy Fox is at some times hilarious, and sometimes makes you sit back and analyze your own thoughts about death and murder, and our inescapable hypocrisy about the same. Be sure and check out this film. Directed by Michael Mann; some of you will remember Mann as the producer/writer of the first few seasons of Miami Vice way back when. He set the stage for the modern crime drama, bridging the gap between the horrible TV cop shows of the 70's and the gritty reality of modern cop dramas like The Shield and NYPD Blue. Ironically, he wrote some of the cop series from the 70's that were so awful, like Starsky and Hutch and Police Woman. He also wrote HEAT and the screenplay for the first Hannibal Lecter movie: Manhunter.

Hmmm...this has me thinking about TV cops. Maybe my next entry...

*****

August 16, 2004

Mr. BadWrench

I've never claimed to be an ace auto mechanic. Quite the contrary. I defer all car problems to the professionals. Sure, because I'm a MAN and knowing stuff about cars is part of being such, I tinkered with cars in my yoot a bit. I even changed shock absorbers in my '66 Dodge once. I used to do my own oil changes in all my cars, too. But when I was 19, I attempted to adjust the valves on my '76 Toyota. All seemed fine until I tried to start it; the damn engine almost blew up. A tow truck and $200 later, some REAL mechanics did it right. Pretty much after that point, I decided to let people who know what they are doing perform any major mechanical job on my car. I define "major" as anything past checking the oil or putting gas in the tank.

So, anyway, a few weeks ago, the battery light on my 1995 Buick started coming on. I didn't know what was causing it, but the light is usually the sign of a dying battery. Since the one that was in there was about 5 years old, I figured that was indeed the problem. Feeling rather mechanical, I decided to put in a new battery myself. Now, this is normally not a big deal. You take off the battery clamps, pull out the old one, and drop in a new one. So I went to the store and bought the appropriate battery, and put it in. It wasn't easy; the geniuses at GM decided that a nifty thing to do would be to put the windshield washer fluid tank right on top of the battery. So I had to pull that off first. Whereupon, I learned that the tank and the clamp holding down the battery was INTERTWINED WITH EVERY F***KING PIECE OF EQUIPMENT UNDER THE HOOD. Being Irish by nature and German by design, I decided not to let that intimidate me. To make a long story short, I put the thing in after two hours of knuckle-bashing and pimp-cursing.

So I was tooling along fine, when the battery light suddenly came on again. Damn, the second thing that means is that your alternator is failing. My dad pointed out that this phenomenon could be because I didn't tighten the battery clamps good enough. So this Friday, I decided to play Mr. Goodwrench and tighten them up a bit. So began my tale of woe.

Day One

First, I had to take the fluid tank off again (why I bother, I don't know; it doesn't work, anyway). Lots of cursing and busted knuckles. I take a look at the terminals (side terminals were invented by Satan himself). One does look a little wobbly. I try to tighten it up, but the bolt is in as far as it will go. Seems some dolt who put a battery in this car once must have lost the original bolt and put in one too long. He used washers to fill the gap. I then remembered that I had some washers left over after the battery changing fiasco. Damn, that's where they went. So I dug up some washers and tried to jerry-rig it, but it just wouldn't work. I then decided that these terminal ends certainly must be sold someplace, so I trucked off to the auto parts store and bought a replacement set; nice ones with little hold-on thingies for clamping a jumper cable to. So, I put in the new bolt. It was too ****ing SHORT. So I stand back and do a little figuring. The terminal itself (the thing that hooks on to the end of the battery wire and clamps to the battery) was too shallow to support anything but a long bolt.

F*** me. I remembered that I saw some of these at the auto part place, but it was getting dark by now and the mosquitoes began swarming, so I called it a night and admitted defeat.

Day Two

Saturday, I went and bought a new terminal thingie. Much deeper than the original. So, I dug in to the quagmire under the hood to put it on. The old one is clamped to a big wire that leads into oblivion, and another that leads to a little box on the frame. Okay, I'll unclamp them, put them together, then put on the new clamp. I undo the old clamp and WHIIING; the two wires suddenly separated about a foot. With a lot of muscle, I could pull them together. But lacking a third arm, I couldn't hold them together. Time for my trusty vice grips. They weren't in my tool box. They weren't in my garage or my house or my trunk or my truck. By now, it's about 100 degrees outside. I said f*** it and went to Sonic; I'll finish tomorrow.

Day Three

I have a "eureka" moment in the middle of the night and realize if I can undo that little wire, I can bring it close to the big one, clamp them, then jamb that sucker into the battery. So on Sunday morning, I do just that. Works like a charm. But then I realize that I'll need to take the whole battery, clamp and everything out to be able to maneuver that terminal onto the battery. I do it. It takes an hour. Meanwhile, battery acid powder and mosquitos are all over my ass. But damnit, I'm gonna finish this thing or I'm gonna get my shotgun and pump this sucker full of holes. So, I managed to take the battery out, remove the clampage, then put it back in and hook up the terminals. I then got the clamps back on and everything hooked back up. I left the windshield washer tank in the trunk; screw that. So, I fire up the engine and it starts like a charm.

I'm not kidding, but the theme song to Rocky began playing in my head. I was feeling pretty good about my meeechanical skills; I'm a man after all, it seems. So I sit back in the car to turn it off when I notice something.

The battery light is still on.

It is the f***ing alternator after all. I've just spent a total of five hours over three days for nothing. I'm taking the car to a REAL mechanic tomorrow.

*****

August 11, 2004

Pimento cheese blues

As noted in my entry of August 1, where I apparently lost my Queer Eye For The Straight Guy mystique, I lamented the fact that a strange group of people find me attractive: Gay men, little old ladies, little girls, and large African American women. Well, my experience tonight proves that while I have lost my gay man edge, I still have it with the little old ladies.

I went to the grocery store tonight, looking for some pimento cheese spread. A common item, yes? NO. Three stores it took me to find this stuff. Is there some FDA ban or moratorium on the substance that I haven't heard about? Anyway, I go in and am standing in front of the cheese rack. Since I just came from work, I'm in my usual white shirt, black slacks and tie. Mr. Conservative. And as usual when I walk into any kind of retail outlet dressed like this, people think I'm the manager and ask me questions. "Where are the batteries?" "Do you have layaway?" But, anyway, I'm standing there looking at this mind-boggling array of cheese products, when this little old lady comes up to me and asks if I work there. Now, I'm not talking about some hot 35-year-old soccer mom who hangs out at the country club all day. I'm talking about a little blue-haired old lady.

"No, ma'am."

"Oh, yeah; I see your badge now. I guess you don't work here. I just wanted to get a price on this pimento cheese."

I knew I shouldn't have, but I replied.

"That's what I'm here for: pimento cheese."

That's when I proceeded to tell her about the three stores and the pimento moratorium. She shows me the prices and how they are confusing and misleading. She grabs a small container and vows to "give it back to them" if they try to charge her too much. I grab the big container. She tells me it's a good price. I walk to the register, all the way across the store.

She follows me.

She tells me of the merits of making one's own pimento cheese spread, and even shows me the ingredients for it in her cart. She says if they try to charge her too much, she'll just make her own. Less sodium in the homemade kind, anyway, she adds.

I try to shake her by weaving down the greeting card aisle. She's on me like Anna Nicole Smith on a bowl of Haagen Das Triple Chocolate Deluxe.

She's got a cart full; I head to the Express line. She follows, then decides to check out herself in one of those new scan-your-own things. I wait for the two people in front of me, then pay for my cheese.

She's waiting for me at the door; the fastest self check-out of all time.

"How much did they charge you?" she asks.

Hell, I don't know. I pull out my receipt.

"4.29"

"It was marked 3.99"

"Taxes?" I ask.

"Do you have your CARD?"

"Like, what kind of card?"

"You know; your CARD."

"Uh..."

"Your Kroger card. You only get that price if you have one."

"Oh; I shop at Target."

"Well, I would have let you use MINE." She bats her eyelashes.

So, I tell her that I'll eat the 30 cents; it's worth it after going to three stores looking for the stuff. Then I tell her to have a great evening, walk quickly to the door, and half-run to my truck; I figure I can outpace her in the straightaway.

So, at least one of my quadrangle of admirers is still with me.

I've got that to look forward to.

*****

August 9, 2004

Unadulterated

Posted a new pic of myself on my new splash page. Thought the color and greenery in the pic lays on some good vibrations to get things going. I've been reading some articles online saying that people who blur, soften or otherwise apply "eye candy" as Fireworks calls it, to their online pictures is a dork, coward or just plain-ass ugly. So there it is, unadulterated, for my legion of fan to view. So be it.

*****

August 5, 2004

Boobs and Buffoons in the headlines

First headline: CARTER FAILED DRUG TEST!

The quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys gets cut from the team for testing positive for some kind of drug. Omygod; a professional football player who does drugs? Does this warrant a 1/4 page headline in our local paper? Gee, I thought maybe our troops battling our enemies on the front line might be more important, but what the hell do I know?

Well, here where foolball reigns supreme, this is big news. Okay, reality check: this Quincy whatever-his-name is merely a contract employee of a corporation. Sure, the guy is a dumbass and a drug addict. But he's also an employee whose medical and personnel information is confidential. None of us out here, even foolball fans, have a right to know this guy had a dirty UA. I hope he sues the Cowboy franchise for leaking the information, and the news media for publishing it. And having the crack-smokin, gun-totin', ho-slappin' Dallas Cowboys fire someone for using drugs is kinda like (pardon my theft from Apocalypse Now) writing speeding tickets at the Indy 500.

Second headline: Pam Anderson Pens Novel

I've been hearing about this novel STAR for awhile. I was miffed at first; this bubblehead getting a book deal...but as I've learned more about it, I'm not angry at all. Pamela, at a local book signing with co-author Eric Shaw Quinn, bragged (as she has from the beginning) that she didn't write one word of this novel, her "ghost writer" did. If truth be known, many of the best-sellers you see that are "written" by celebrities or politicians, etc. are really written by ghost writers. A true ghost writer is a professional writer who contracts for a particular job. The term "ghost" is used because you are never supposed to see or hear them. Non-disclosure is the hallmark of this profession; pay them the money, and they keep their mouth shut forever. Quinn was not under such a contract. In fact, Pam sat down with Quinn and fed him stories, which he turned into prose. He made a novel which is a thinly-fictionalized account of Pam's real life. I guess they may have done this to avoid legal pitfalls. So, in Pammy's case, Quinn really isn't a ghost writer; he's a collaborator. The two, as Pammy puts it, camped out for a few months in her house, her jotting down anecdotes and him putting them on paper (a situation which is fodder for more than a few Penthouse Forum stories in itself). I have no problem with that. In reality, she's more of an honest writer than Bill Clinton, who didn't have the guts to tell the public he did the same exact thing. But rest assured that his real ghost writer is out there, sitting on the $1 million they paid him/her to write My Life.

*****

August 4, 2004

indies and outies

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to give a plug to a fellow artiste, an independent playwright, actor, and director. But first, the white trash country lyrics of the day:

How can I kiss the lips at night, that chew my ass all day...

Anyway, the guy's name is Rob Bosquez, a local writer (Fort Worth) who has been in the live theater game for quite awhile. He's written a host of plays, the latest of which, Benny and the Bones of Bandit, is being featured in the Hispanic Playwright's Festival at the Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth this month. The Rose Marine is an old movie theater that has been renovated by various civic and city groups to boost the blossoming theater movement here in the city. A local newspaper review of Rob's latest work says:

[Bosquez] does double duty as writer and director...but the star here is Bosquez's script. Over the years Bosquez has proved himself a talented writer with strong, natural stage instincts that aren't bogged down by overintellectualizing.

Nice review (from a f***ing paper that won't give me the time of day, but that's another story) for my homeboy. Just like all indie artists, reviews like this go a long way in promoting a career. My hats off to Rob who has done a great job in a very difficult field. I wish him much success. A note to Rob: Get a web site, dude!

Well, just woke up from an unexpected nap and my head is quite foggy. The combination of this nice leather recliner and the comforting hum of my window unit air conditioner lulled me fast asleep. I woke up a drooling idiot, so I have to get some things done around here.

My own writing update: Still working on the new screenplay. L.A. Stalker is with an agent in Gollywood. A producer/writer team is fishing about Cuqui, and everything else is dead in the water.

*****

August 1, 2004

Lost my queer eye for the straight guy

Was working out at my gym the other day. I take a late lunch hour and go when no one is there; that's the way I like it. I hate working out when there are a bunch of people around. I'm not self-conscious, I just hate having to wait on machines. I especially hate having to wait while dumbasses who don't know what the hell they're doing hog up the machine I want, fiddle-farting around. I also hate what I call The New Year's Resolutionists; people who make a resolution to lose weight and/or get in shape, only to come a few times after joining the gym, jack around on some machines and treadmills, realize that getting and staying in shape IS HARD WORK, then peter out and stop coming. But while they are there - before they leave to hit up their doctor for some diet pills - they jerk around in the gym enough to get my circuit out of whack. But that's another story.

So I got done working out - only one other guy in the whole place - and took a shower. As I was getting dressed, that guy came in. Walked right past me, never said a word. No gratuitous male-to-male salutation like, "whazzup" "how'd your workout go," etc. So, that's fine with me; I go at that time of day to KEEP FROM HAVING TO TALK TO ANYONE. So anyway, I'm at the mirror putting on my tie while the guy is around the corner getting dressed. Then, another guy comes in. A young guy, a regular who usually comes at the end of my workout. Suddenly, Mr. Guy says, "Hi; you come here often?" then chats the kid up for a few minutes. "My name is blah blah, what's yours?" Blah blah.

So I'm standing there putting on my tie and realize I'm getting pissed. Not because this guy has the nerve to hit on another man in the dressing room, but BECAUSE HE AIN'T HITTING ON ME.

What am I over here; chopped liver?

Now, those of you who've read this blog awhile, especially my "46 Things About" page realize that: 1) I'm damn heterosexual, but 2) Gay men usually find me attractive. I've been called a "twinkie" by one pal of mine, a derogatory term for queer-bait. Oops. Politically incorrect. Sorry. Anyway, even if the babes haven't found me attractive, I could always count on little old ladies, little girls, and gay men to give me the goo-goo eyes.

But as I was standing there listening to the guy lay his rap on the poor kid, totally ignoring my ass, I realized that I wasn't a young twinkie any more. Maybe there's a little too much gray up top. A few too many lines in my face to pass as 20 any more. Even half-naked in a towel in a sweaty men's locker room, the gay guy passed me right by.

What's next: Little old ladies giving me the finger? Little girls kicking me in the shin?

Getting old sucks.

 

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