shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


Christopher seems to be in thrall to some sort of madness downstairs. There's yelling and clapping and sometimes crashing noises. I believe it has to do with sports of some kind.

Anyway, safely upstairs, with the ability to lock the door should things get out of control, I've discovered one of the most interesting little publications: The Texas Mercury, a weekly review, edited by James Versluys and Derek Copold. All the pieces in it are worth looking at, especially the extremely tasteless and possibly offensive to some, but hilariously funny, instruction on committing suicide the right way ("Use enough gun") by Hank Parnell. Go thee and read; there's even an essay on Lord of the Rings.

Last night we went for sushi with my friend Mandy (Dance Marathon!), who's usually an erstwhile and socially responsible student at Chapel Hill but is home for the holidays. Good fish, though the waiter lost our ticket and then brought us the wrong sushi -- we were hungry, so we didn't fuss, even if I didn't get my toro. The waiter also gave us a list of movies we'd all seen (after having a brief discussion about Minority Report with us), so we gave him one in return of ones he mostly hadn't. Then we went to see Catch Me If You Can, one of the best con man caper movies I've seen in a long while. Thoroughly enjoyable. John Williams even manages a restrained and fun score, and Leonardo DiCaprio proves that he can still act. I did have a semi-revelation at Christopher Walken's perfectly fine turn as Frank Abagnale, Sr., which is that I can't buy Walken as anyone but Walken anymore. His physical mannerisms and especially his diction are such that I can't imagine him acting in such a way I would not be completely aware the whole time that this is Christopher Walken acting. Anyway...

Things have gotten quiet downstairs. Maybe too quiet...

(I know it's huge, but I couldn't bring myself to downsize that one.)


Hank Stuever's at it again, and while you're reading the Washington Post check out Desson Howe's 10 best movies of the year list. Noteworthy for the movies he didn't include because of space, and the fact that so many of the ones he did are just opening now. It's a good year for movies.
All right. Here goes nothin'. No coffee yet even (it's brewing). We did load the digital camera software last night, and mess around with it some, but we haven't really figured out how to decrease the file sizes, by way of saying: sorry if these pictures take forever to load. I'm just going to put up a couple to start and see how that works.

It just seems proper that the first picture taken with the digital camera that makes its world debut should be of George the Dog, Poster Boy for American Values. I actually did try and lower the file size on this one, so we'll see:

All right, the next one that was still a huge file was taking forever. But still, I'm going to try this one, because I love it. This is the world famous Barnett's Creek, just across from one set of Christopher's grandparents:

There's only one more that I tried to make a smallish file, so I'll put that one up. (Sadly, my favorites are still waiting their conversion, but soon...) This one has to have the scene set a little. Betty's OK Country Cookin' is sort of legendary, in that it's not really legendary at all. It's just OK, the cookin', although the NASCAR commemorative plate collection is quite exceptional. Betty drives three to four hundred feet to work. She also uses enough eletricity with her Christmas light display to do a megacity in South America. Not that there isn't a light display year round, because there is, there's just MORE of it at Christmas. Sadly, the scope is hard to get and only one little portion really came out in my photos. Just take this and multiply it by 5 million. That's 5 million candlepower:

I hope that worked. If it did, more soon. If it didn't, more soon anyway.


Sorry for the interruption, and this is the first chance I've had to look at the page and see that my HTML hijinks worked. Unbelievable.

Oh, and: Happy Birthday to Christopher and Jesus yesterday. I think they both get cheated being born on Christmas, but what can you do?

We drove many, many miles before we did anything but think about sleep. We saw many strange and wondrous sites, some of them even captured by the new digital camera (but none of them downloaded yet). We got stuff. We gave stuff. We chuckled in much amusement of the audiobook version of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. (Not a present; I raided my mother's dormant audiobook stash.) We heard Christopher's great grandfather and grandfather sing on a record that was over 50 years old. It was a good Christmas. Not much of a birthday, I don't think, but a good Christmas. We finally exchanged our own presents around midnight, when we finally got home and finally got to bed. We'd given each other the big ones (computer software and digital camera) when we got them, so just odds and ends. Cool books(a book of poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Nicola Griffith's Slow River (I loved The Blue Place and especially Stay), and Kelley Eskridge's new book Solitaire, which is so good I read three chapters last night even though it was late and exhaustion had long set in.) and a cool crocodile tiki candle, Sunset Boulevard deluxe DVD and such for me, a shaving mirror, CDs (Steve Earle, Richard Bruckner), J.K. Potter art book and such for Christopher.

And I'm still very tired. And it's time for me to get ready to face what will surely be a deserted office.

If this entry seems decidedly unsentimal seeing as how it's the holidays and all, well, Christmas is the holiday for loot, food, and rowdy family celebrations. Not sentimentalism. That's New Year's. Maybe.

I leave you with amazement at cool science. Pictures coming soon, but not of science.


I'm trying to shift the archives box under my links over <---------- and I'm not sure it worked. So if everything's all screwed up beyond recognition, it was me trying to get crafty with the cut and paste HTML.
This is just a testy thing.
Monday, Monday... All presents bought, except one, which will be plucked from my mother's gift closet and wrapped. Our shopping was terribly haphazard, dangerously so, but I think we got good stuff, for everyone and for each other. I got a new digital camera, early, say a week ago, but I haven't been using it because of busy, busy, business and a little guilt at having it before Christmas... But that will all be remedied soon and so I'll try and get pictures of some of the spectacular sights we expect to see on our travails to the various family homes and maybe some we don't and then I'll post them here. If all goes well, of course. There are promises of snow and ice, but I'm hoping we'll miss the worst of it during the times we need to be criss-crossing the state by auto.

We saw Gangs of New York. Bleh. I suggest you read Alex's book, A Scattering of Jades instead. Would that the two stories had more in common than an historical overlap. It's kind of perplexing that Scorcese (what did those battles with Harvey Weinstein do to you, Martin?) would helm a movie that spends so much elaboration on place and history and perhaps even once upon a draft long ago had a theme for such a trite, stupid, barrage of half-formed cliches and fully-formed incoherence. Christopher kept remarking afterward that the movie was pointless because nothing happened in it, nothing substantial changed and it didn't mean anything. Well, he's right. I kept trying to hedge, to puzzle it out, to see the ghost of the movie that might have excited these people, people like Scorsese and Harvey Weinstein who don't have a bad track record where these things are concerned, enough to think it was worth spending bits of life and truckloads of money to make this movie. But, it's not even good enough to really be haunted by the ghost-of-what-might-have-been. Too bad.

Frida, however, was wonderful. Really. A biopic that seemed to capture the spirit of the times and the essence of the woman. And the paintings. It got the paintings, and showed them perfectly and unpretentiously in the light in which they were created. I have to say, the filmmaking dazzled me. Bits here and there which were just too lovely to discuss. The performances were all convincing, even Ashley Judd and Ed Norton's, and Salma Hayek did better physical acting than I would have dreamed her capable of. They managed to include all the necessary stuff, and some besides, and I didn't mind anything that got left out. The living, breathing paintings, those were amazing things. After the horrid Gangs of, it was nice to see frames filled with pulsating spectacle for a reason. This is one of those movies that I'll never comprehend why it didn't get better reviews.

Trent Lott was a pompous ninny boobyhead; we knew that ahead of time. So, did the people who elected him. I'd have cast the first stone before he ever opened his mouth. The problem it seems to me is that everyone who's drawn to politics these days, shouldn't be allowed to visit a political office let alone hold one. We need better people, and we need to vote for them when we do have them. It's not that simple, but then, yeah, it is.

Go figure. Or don't.


Lots of things in the newspapers that look way too depressing to read while I'm ill. Which I am, not terribly, but enough to feel pretty blah, along with periodic bursts of fine that are deceptive, evil bursts. Lots of sleeping, head hurting, that sort of thing, for the past two days. So, this will be short. The British Medicine Journal (might have the title wrong) did a study that says even Playboy centerfolds are getting to be uber-skinny.

In a disturbing world, we must turn to art.

Wow. Wow. Wow. I just watched a movie that actually lived up to my anticipation for it, that's one of the best science fiction movies and the best romantic comedies I've seen in a long, long time. Happy Accidents is finally, finally, finally out on DVD. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it.

That new Lord of the Rings movie was pretty good too. (Well, better than that. It was very good.) Those teenage girls sure do love Orlando Bloom. Gollum's performance is one of the best I've seen this year, not to mention how they made the eegly pasty skin look real. I feel sorry for the teenage boy in the group who dressed up, that obviously got last dibs on the costume choice and came in with a box on his head. (We think he was a dwarf.) There was lots of cheering in our theater. I like it when there's lots of cheering in a theater. Usually that happens in movies with serious sport contests, but here, it didn't occur so much during the battles as when the most beloved characters appeared or did something characteristic. Nice to be in a theater where the scale is epic and the audience commitment is total.

I really should try to sleep. Taking periodic and involuntary naps all day makes it hard though. Maybe I'll just go finish reading Box Office Poison and pretend that there isn't still Christmas shopping to be done.

Good night.


So, we are going to see The Two Towers tonight, because if we didn't Christopher just wouldn't be able to live. Offered below is a conversation he had at work today:

Co-worker: Well, I guess I'll head to the house. If you ain't doing anything tonight you oughta come down and help me get the metal on the side of my horse barn.

Christopher: Can't do it, we're going to the movies.
(Interjection by girlfriend: That's not the only reason he couldn't do it, but...)

Co-worker: Oh yeah? I ain't been in awhile. What are they showing?

Christopher: We're going to see The Two Towers.

Co-Worker: Huh. Now if I recollect correctly, it was a little fellow with big feet that had the ring last time I saw it. Is that still right?
You should all read Susan's plant dream. It's way better than my half-clear one.

And I forgot I actually had stuff to link to. Lots of times I'll copy an article's URL and then either never get time to post it or I just end up with these bizarre e-mails to myself with URL's in them that I don't understand anymore. The trash heap of secret, used-to-be-interesting URLs.

So, in the interest of keeping that heap manageable, the ones from yesterday, or possibly even the day before:

A Washington Post feature on Alexander Payne that barely even mentions his joined-at-the-brain writing partner Jim Taylor, but still, it's Alex Payne genius co-behind such wonderful movies as Citizen Ruth and Election, and now About Schmidt, which I'm excited about even if it does star Jack Nicholson (who let's face it, has gotten really old and creepy);

The first in the New York Times' new series on the Ten Commandments and real life, worth looking at for the concept alone; and

Last but not least, also from the Times, the rhyming judge.
Good morning.

Good Buffy last night. Dreams of slightly discomforting Paris airports that don't exist (yes, more than one), filled with people I knew not necessarily wearing their own faces. I don't like the use of the word "probe" in headlines. This is neither because I've been abducted or watched TAKEN; it just seems precise in a way that's too specific for the contexts in which it shows up.

That's really all for today.


Well, that was a weekend. No updates because Mr. Rowe was upgrading his machine with all sorts of memory and Operating System Macintosh thingies, well really just one of each of those. Everything looks different now, and in a good way. I only had to deal with the s-word for a coupla hours Saturday morning, phone calls and such, which was okay. No writing at all, and I do mean none, so that's not good -- but we finally started Christmas shopping.

Yes, that's right. Finally started. About halfway done now. I feel like human families can be too large.

Saturday night was all kinds of fun. We had to go to Christopher's company Christmas shindig, and then we went to a place called "The Continental" (Full name: Continental Inn) so some of the guys could shoot pool. See, you don't know about the shadiness of "The Continental" because you're unaware of its storied past. And unseely future. I'll try to write about it later; this is the kind of hotel where many infamous and lesser things have happened (by lesser, I mean that they're not necessarily things that matter in the scope of all time, but things that matter a little to some people). There's a rumor that Elvis stayed there. I really can't speak to the truth of it. I can tell you that five minutes after we got there, two really drunk guys got thrown out -- and guys here is misleading because they were MENFOLK, you know the type -- and one of them had to stop the bouncers and get his pool cue from Christopher, who was using it unaware. (Doesn't it just floor you that there are still guys who take their own pool cues to bars? This guy was no Paul Blue Eyes either.) Anyway, these guys were both so drunk that when I encountered them at the bar moments before their anticlimactic fight I couldn't really make out their faces because they seemed to be sloshing around on the skull, collapsing inward. The other people we were meeting saw a woman get ejected, repeatedly, while being yelled at to "just start walking." And as I was trying to find an open bathroom with the waitress she says to me, as this rail thin guy comes jogging toward us, "We should move out of his way, he's the manager. Of course, he's too skinny to do any good in there, but still. I shouldn't say that." Working at "The Continental"requires a lot of jogging and talking into walky talkies. In that respect, I daresay it's like the secret service. Only with less planning. Did I mention it's not so much a bar as a complex with the aforementioned hotel and no less than THREE bars (not counting the indoor pool bar, which wasn't open)? I saw a morbidly obese man in a brown polyester suit being escorted upstairs by a prostitute in a hot pink '80s miniskirt. The people playing darts had apparently rented a room upstairs to use as their private bathroom.

There are whole cultures our lives never touch. They are very nearby. Be careful. Some of them will make every single stitch of clothing you have on reek of smoke.

Uh, guess I don't have to write about Saturday night later, cause I already did.

Off to drop off the drycleaning (uh, the jackets we had on Saturday night) and on to work.


A pox on you all! Just kidding, although that's probably not very funny right now.

Because I know at least some of the people who sometimes read this thing read newspaper stories and worry about these type of things, a few brief words about what's eaten most of my week and most of the news cycles this week. (And I have to tell you, it's only going to be worse in the coming months. Putting away my crystal ball now.) Smallpox. Don't worry about it that much. It'll be okay. (Don't worry about big pox, syphillis, that much either -- unless you need to for some reason unknown to me; that's where smallpox takes its differentiating name from.) Nobody knows if it's coming to our golden shores, and there's no reason for the general public to want or take the shots. The disease does not exist in humans. At all. Some people are going to get shots, and they're getting them because the disease does still exist in a few freezers around the world, and maybe some of the people who might have control over those freezer doors might not like us too much. There's some unquantifiable risk of the stuff being released into humankind again. And if it happened, most likely, it could be prevented from spreading through the vaccine, which there's plenty of. And vaccinating the people who would need to give that vaccine to everybody else in advance would save us all a lot of time if the unthinkable that everybody's thinking about did happen. Long, story short... Don't worry about it. If you feel like worrying about a disease, call up Bono and worry about AIDS. We don't have a vaccine for that yet, and a lot of people who need the drugs aren't getting them.

That's really it for me and the s-word this week.

I've had a bath and washed off the immense stress of the week. I have the pleasant sensation of knowing that I did a good job at work this week, even if it did prevent any other part of my life from really breathing. Time spent doing something other than what you'd rather be doing is not always time wasted. That's an important lesson. It's what you make of it.

Oh, my, god, I just used the word lesson. This is turning into preacher-girl blog.

Fast, go read some of the wonderful George Makana Clark's stuff. I just read his Zoetrope story "The Leopard Gang," which I'm pretty sure you can read online. Read his one-act play from Zoetrope too. He just fascinates me as a writer, such a rich prose style, such beauty wrapped around such darkness. He knows how to tell a story, without getting in his own way, which isn't that common. He also knows how to end a story, without forcing it, which also isn't that common. Why don't I own his short story collection? The reason escapes me.

(Helpful holiday gift hint above, sweetie. The bookstore will order it for you and I will be so surprised.)

Anyway, bath, wine, pasta.

That's Friday night and it sounds pretty damn good to me and I've only finished the bath part.

And started on the wine part.

Last night, we went to dinner at a nice French-ish place we like downtown. It's very dim, and interesting, and the chef reminds me quite a bit of Confederacy of Dunces -- he seems to only interact with the food he cooks and the friend he runs the restaurant with, who's a gregarious, sweet wine-lover. Very unpretentious. Very good food. There are always people there having the most insipid conversations you can't help eavesdropping on, but that just end up irritating you, yet somehow even that adds to the experience. The wine is always good, and never marked up beyond its wildest dreams.

There's much that a good meal can act as balm over. Much, indeed.

And now, idiot box, supper, and sleep. I smell garlic.

Sweet dreams.


Go now and read Moonwalker in Neverland in the Washington Post.
It seems I rarely have anything to say on Wednesday's. Tuesday nights tend to be a shapeless bleed of television and reading, mostly because they're so damn far from a weekend and we're both exhausted from work.

I do have my first seven pages of the new script in workshoppable form. Now, to decide whether to try and get it up to 10 pages before I post. I try and stay ahead of myself when I'm putting things up in workshop, but I think some feedback might prod me onward. Did I mention I have three stories that need to be finished and a script to rewrite? I'm beginning to develop an image of what the winter looks like, and as it seems to be every year, it's me getting up early and/or working in the evenings on various writing projects until I want to bash my head into the wall. Not to mention it's been far too long since I actually put together queries. The one place where starting-out fiction writers have it completely, undeniably better than starting-out screenwriters is in getting read. Fiction writers may not get published, but if you send in a short story to a magazine someone will probably at least try to read it. If you have a book manuscript, someone will read it, eventually. But scripts aren't like that. You have to flog and wail and try to win competitions and press flesh with people and generally debase yourself in every way while not seeming desperate to get read. And even when they finally request your script, there's no guarantee it'll be read. Or that you'll ever hear back one way or the other. It sucks. And I'm not very good at debasing myself, so I suck at the process of flogging and getting read. I think people should just read me. I have to work on that. Especially since I live in Kentucky right now, instead of Los Angeles.

I have a script I'm really happy with right now that I haven't done one bit of marketing on since I got it Done, capital D. I have to work on that.

I have a script that really isn't going to need that much work to be where I want it to be. I have to get to work on that.

And I have this new thing and three short stories and a YA novel that's working--when I have time to work on it. At least I know someone will read the three stories, because I can just send them places, without any debasement first. Boy, did I not mean to get into this in the a.m. Oh, look, it's time for me to get ready for work. I blame this digression on the Glove Monster. I bet it's hard for MJ to dangle babies with a spider bite like that. The man lives a rough life, indeed. Maybe he can hire a Temporary Baby-Dangling Assistant. Or train a monkey to do it.

I wonder if he thinks the spider bite was radioactive. There was all that jazz about his kids knowing a certain movie about a certain superhero who was created by a radioactive spider bite inside and out. And you know, the problem with that theory is: he's crazier than that. The Glove Monster's too crazy to believe something as mundanely crazy as a radioactive spider biting him. Which is scary, scary, scary.

And finish up the Washington Post series, by reading yesterday's article The Weight of a Family's Hopes(really nice photo accompanying) and today's final installment Out of Africa to a New World, which I haven't even had time ot read yet. This series is one of the best I've read in any newspaper this year. I forget sometimes that journalists can be this good.

Into the breach once more!


Kelly Link is a rock star. That is all ye know and all ye ever need know.


Short on time this morning, as I did the unthinkable and actually responded to some e-mail this morning. I'm finally reading the first Zoetrope All-Story anthology, which originally came out in 2000. The first story by Sarah Powers is quite good, there's a sedate loopiness to her style that I find myself liking quite a bit. The ending of The Baker's Wife didn't quite work for me. I felt it copped out in several ways, but then, I enjoyed the beginning and middle more than the end. Like a lot of quote-unquote-no quotes mainstream stories, this one based around a fantasy concept put forth by Coppola as a commission to Powers, things are explained a little too much. I would have preferred the mysterious tension that carried me through the story to actually carry me all the way through it, out the other side. Ah well. Still, one of the most well written stories I've come across in awhile.

The idea, the commission for the story, was a love story about people who are dreaming the same dreams. (Great idea.) It reminds me of that Suzanne Vega song from 9 objects of desire about the hotel room in France. (Great song if you haven't heard it.) Of course, that's a love story about people who don't have the same dream.

Two stories of interest from yesterday's Washington Post. The second in Anne Hull's shaping-up-to-be-a-Pulitzer-contender series on immigrants in the South and a dispute over when the Mayans learned to write.

Stay warm.


Something completely unprecedented happened last night that may never occur again in my lifetime:

I beat Christopher Rowe at Trivial Pursuit. Yay!

(Though, to be fair, I barely beat him.)

We had to buy the Genus 5 edition, because they were all sold out of the 20th Anniversary Edition at the store. (The lady who worked there shook her head anyway and informed us that she'd heard the questions for the 20th Anniversary Edition were "really far out there, just bizarre" in a way that implied we were better off with Genus 5.) The questions have way more recent stuff, and the sports category--due I'm sure to popular demand--seems to have very little to do with sports at all, except for tennis and golf. Anyway... I won!

And I'm using a lot of parentheticals this morning.

Today, I must catch up in my screenwriting workshop, on posting some reviews and on putting up something for review. The rest of life has been so crazy for the past month or so, that I've made a very poor showing there lately. And I must also do whatever else I have to at work. And read a damn newspaper.

Speaking of which: There's a really interesting new series in the Washington Post that began yesterday, on the new diversity in the South. I highly suggest checking it out. Anne Hull's first article, about a DQ outside Atlanta that somehow symbolizes a whole subculture, is here. Go forth and read it.

And drop in for Mr. Barzak's account of doing an impromptu, but demanded, reading of his story Lips from Say...was that a kiss?

A sidenote in a collection of sidenotes. We took George to camp at my parents yesterday, where he'll stay till we determine when and where we're moving. On the way back, we drove through the little town of McKee, which is basically a courthouse square and a very few businesses. Next to the courthouse is a really unattractive brown stone building, currently covered in Christmas lights. Above the door, in red twinkly lights, it says "Vacancy." That's right, you guessed it: it's the jail.

Good Monday and all that.


The nasty truth about squirrel hazing. (Hi, Kristin.)

Oh, and everybody write Christopher and tell him you'd really like him to start his novel. Thank you.
Good evening, I say, in my best Bela-Lugosi-only-not voice. It's finally Friday! The goddamn week is finally goddamn over! Yeehaw! (It's a good thing the year's almost over, because that's pretty much my full quota of exclamation points for the year right there.)

What have I been doing with myself all week? Tiptoeing across ice in boots that should have stayed in the closet another day till thaw began, dreaming feverishly, and planning for how to give smallpox vaccinations to some people here without freaking everybody out. Whoopee. You can see why I needed the exclamation points.

I think George the Dog stays on the couch pretty much all the time when we're not here. It used to be I'd catch him, once and awhile, on the smaller couch. (Our couches are these big leather behemoths inherited from my grandmother. They're low and not as comfortable as they could be, but they're very vintage '40s, possibly '50s... Richard's having a heart attack somewhere at my inability to diagnose the period, I'm sure, but if he ever comes to visit us he can pinpoint it within a heartbeat. I hope if you're reading this, it means you have power again and luxurious heat and that kind of thing.) That aside was for Richard only--snoopers!

(I'm practically insane after this week. Isn't it more fun to watch?)

Have I mentioned Christopher's still working, till ten tonight? Eek.

Oh wait, I was telling a George the Dog story. Here goes: Wait. It's not so much a story as an observation. George, more and more frequently, is on the larger couch we usually lay claim to in the evening hours, and um, he doesn't even bother to jump off guiltily when I come in anymore. He just kind of raises his head and quirks his little non-eyebrows as if to ask, "Are you going to feed me? Because if you're going to feed me, I might get up." Also, the couch blanket now smells like dog. Dogs are such bad double-agents. That Disney Cats and Dogs movie from a couple of years ago may have been a wonder of special effects featuring flying cats, but true to life it was not. Everybody but everybody knows that cats are better secret agents than dogs. You know how I know? Because there are people right now thinking, Oh, dogs are so smart, Oh dogs in studies have done this and this and this and cats haven't and you know what? That's just what the cats want you to think. Make a catfood can that can be opened without thumbs and they take over the world. Don't doubt it.

So, I came home and tore open Netflix envelopes and because watching movies is one of the ways I actually ease out of work mode and into writing work / weekend mode, I picked the one Christopher was least likely to actually make it through to watch tonight. (Seeing as how he's still at work.) There are a few things to recommend 13 Conversations About One Thing. Clea DuVall (the goth girl from The Faculty) is luminous and wonderful and sad and inhabits such a lovely awkward space with the frame of her body it's amazing to watch. John Turturro's in it, which is never bad, but is actually better (at least for me) when he's working with the Coens. There are some really nice lines, some really interesting editing, the music is very nice... Speaking of which, I have a particular fondness for the ensemble movie where the characters' lives touch each other so very briefly and then move on. This is one of those. No one ever equals Robert Altman doing it, but sometimes people wave at him, watching them and shaking his head as they try. Anyway, the real problem with this movie is that the one thing is happiness and there's very little of it in the movie. Making a movie without happiness, without joy, is so easy. It happens all the time. And making a movie about happiness without happiness or joy, well, it seems a bit too clever to me, a bit too easy as well. I'd rather there have been more joy. I'd rather one of the subplots didn't remind me of David Mamet. But, eh, a tentative recommend. It has some lovely shots and the good things I mentioned above. But don't expect Altman at his best. Or even Paul Thomas Pretentious-Head.

Oh, Oh, Oh, I have to go now and find my favorite squirrel link for Kristin. Back soon.

That is all. Keep your feet warm.


A sampling of today's headlines that ancient biblical scholars (or um, the crackpot kind) could read the coming apocalypse into: nuclear site, rare eclipse, sordid sex tales, riots, cave hideout... spider bite?

I always feel a little silly when I post stories from E! entertainment news on here, rather than taking the more sedate AP story. But there's just something I like about their shrill, hysterical, opinionated coverage of the Glove Monster. It's kind of like reading the muck-rakers. They make no bones about their mockery. And that's the weird thing. Entertainment news. You'd think they'd be licking the boot of every tangential celeb alive, but they're just brutal to them at the slightest foul up. "Interesting," said the detective, stroking her chin.

Okay, that was weird. But then, I've been having disaster-oriented dreams again. Too much thought about smallpox this week and so my dreams consist of me walking really fast, phones ringing too much, people yelling. I'm dreaming about the workaday part of a horrible disease outbreak. How geeky is that? Can I have ice cream and ponies and giant poetry theme parks tonight please?

Go check out the Washington Post piece on Ari Fleischer's ability to answer questions, wait that's inability to answer questions. And Times Magazine says that fantasy has supplanted science fiction in popularity.

Go forth and conquer.


Have you ever wondered exactly how long you can have a Golden Retriever named George in violation of your apartment complex's no-pet rule without being asked to move? About six months, or more precisely until the maitenance guy steps in dog leavings while leaf blowing. Um, oops. (Yes, we're usually good about cleaning up after him, and if the guy had blown the damn leaves three weeks ago like he should've, no problem.)

So, we'll be moving soon, probably January or February. Which is just fine. We'd been wanting to move anyway, somewhere downtown with a little more ambiance (pronounced am-bans in Kantuckun), and a pets are okay policy. Really, George is just a big throw rug anyway, so I'm sure my parents won't mind keeping him for a month or so. Start praying now for unseasonal balminess, will you?

I did the first page one rewrite for an opening to my new script yesterday, which means I've officially started it. No script is truly begun with me unless I've rewritten something in it. Seven pages or so, and I can already tell that this one is going to be a screaming demon from hell structurally, and is going to break a half-dozen or more "rules". But. I'm excited about it, enchanted about it and willing to follow where it leads. While, of course, trying to finish the other more one sentence after another prose type deals I've got going. The two types of writing are so different from each other as to not even seem related sometimes. Of course, the fact that I got woefully out of practice writing just plain fiction plays a factor, I'm sure. Dunno. But it's nice to be scripting a first draft again, even while I have a polish staring over my shoulder for the script I finished in October, VOICES. (Creepy ghost story set on Lookout Mountain.)

Anyway, I'm sure that was about as dull as I've gotten on you, so... Moving right along.

There are some things that still shock me. The fact that Oregon is just now apologizing for sterilizing a large group of "deviants," including about 100 teenage girls blows my mind. Almost as much as the fact that states, something like 33 of them, thought state-run sterilization was all right, what a great idea, let's do this to the tune of lots and lots of people. It's not that I'm against sterilization -- there are plenty of people out there that shouldn't have kids. But maybe we should either realize it's none of our damn business or nicely encourage them not to have kids. (Note: In this context, nicely encouraged means, 'hey, have you ever thought about not spreading your genes around?' and not any kind of torture.)

That is all. Have a day that's good.


Hmmmm... Bet you thought The Spooks came and got me because of the JFK/Roswell thing, right? Let's just say it was a long interview.

Let's make that a long weekend, with lots of driving here and driving there for dinners. (Three for Christopher's family; just one for mine.) Lots of nice music in the car, like Suzanne Vega's Songs in Red and Gray, Tift Merritt's Patsy-o-licious Bramble Rose, Catherine Wheel's Wishville, and several wonderful Uncut magazine samplers. Happy sigh on car-music-listening.

There were things, lots of things, to divulge here, but I seem to have forgotten most of them. Once I get my Christmas pressie digital camera then I'll be able to just put up pictures of George or the freakish light display at Betty's (of Betty's Country Cookin' fame) house at times like these when the blankness descends. (Damn government spooks.)

I finally read Resurrection Man by Sean Stewart. One of Sean's only novels I hadn't read and just as great a read as all the others. (This really isn't meant to be the all Amazon links post, but Sean's website says it will be up soon and is impossible to get to right now. And well, I've got Amazon up, so... Sorry, Gavin.) Interesting to see how the same kind of world evolved into Galveston. And I read other stuff. Blah, blah, blah. Being back at work is really challenging my Ability To Be Interesting skills.

We also have watched many episodes of Sports Night, a wonderful show which only had two seasons. But what great seasons they were, and they're out on DVD now. Aaron Sorkin writing in fine form, doing a lot of the same things re: dialogue and social commentary he does now. It's not as polished as The West Wing, but this show doesn't suffer for that. It has a kind of energetic earnest quality that manages not to be annoying or preachy (even when it's being annoying or preachy). Christopher loves it and keeps trying to tell me it's about sports, but I say it's about relationships.

And I can't believe Kristin left out the absolute most important thing about Reign of Fire -- the crusading Americans call themselves "The Kentucky Irregulars." A damn fine nickname, in a darn enjoyable movie.

(I realize that I'm doing bizarre sometimes italics with titles, sometimes bolding, and what's up with that? Do not let your head explode. There is no method to my madness. Consistency is for those with energy, time and inclination.)

Oh, go read Rich Horton's excellent Say... was that a kiss? review. I wish he'd gotten the poems, but I admire him for saying this type of poetry just isn't his cup of hot liquid rather than flailing at them. Yay!

That's all for now, before I bore myself to tears or link myself into oblivion or permanent servitude to Amazon.

I hope the goose, the turkeys and the pie were good. And the tofu too.

(Someone tell Christopher to stop sticking out his tongue when I look away.)