Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Last Thing, Part II

*a continuation of One Last Thing, Part I

***

Seven Uzbek mobsters aim their handguns - a variety of weapons ranging from American M1911s to Czech CZ75s - at Cray and Drew. Cray's HK G36 and Drew's HK416 return the favor. The two Americans know that they might die here, in this dusty excuse for a warehouse in Denau, but it's gonna be a fun time if they do.

Cray tries very hard not to laugh. The situation has all the setup of a bad joke, though Mexican standoffs in Uzbekistan aren't as unusual… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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*Continued in One Last Thing, Part III

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Manning-Chargers Curse

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts just lost on NBC Sunday Night Football. Their opponent? The San Diego Chargers. Why do I care? Well, because I'm a Chargers fan and I've long surmised that Peyton and his brother Eli suffer from a Chargers curse.

What's that?

Yep. A Chargers curse. Started by Eli and his overrated dad, Archie Manning.

You see, in 2004, Eli and his overrated dad, Archie Manning, went on record as saying that they didn't want Eli to play for the San Diego Chargers. The reason? Apparently, the San Diego Chargers weren't a team that was committed to winning.

Never mind the logical fallacy involved in a team whose purpose is to make money and that, to make money, winning is a necessity. And never mind the fantastical fallacy involving the existence of curses. I'm ranting. Deal with it.

So... ignoring the fact that Peyton Manning defeated the Chargers the first two times he played them (in 1998 and 1999, long before Eli snubbed the team), his record against San Diego since is 2 wins and 5 losses. Peyton's worst record against any team in the NFL. In fact, Peyton only has losing records against two other teams, and both of those are 0-1.

And, yep, it's his brother and overrated father's fault. Before I continue, some stats:
  • Eli's record versus the Chargers is 0-2.
  • Their overrated father's record as a starter is 0-3, and Archie's never even been on the roster of a team that's defeated the Chargers in a game.
  • Speaking of not being "committed to winning," the Chargers' overall record since the snub is 73-34 (and 3-6 in the playoffs), with no losing seasons. The New York Giants' (Eli's team) record since the snub is 62-45 (4-3 in the playoffs) with one losing season. (If this sounds familiar, I've ranted along these lines before: Ode to Eli Manning.)
Which brings us to Peyton, who is part of the curse via blood relations with the snubber and his overrated father. Sure, he beat the Chargers in 2004, the year of the snub, but he lost to them in 2005 and twice in 2007 (once in the playoffs). Sure, he beat the Chargers in 2008 in the regular season, but the Chargers knocked him out of the playoffs (again) that same year. And, oh, yeah, Peyton and the Colts lost last night... 36-14. And Peyton threw 4 interceptions.

Of course, the curse isn't all all bad... the Manning brothers have each won a Super Bowl. Then again, Peyton lost his second Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints quarterback that game? Drew Brees. Who, oh, yeah, was the Chargers QB when the curse began.

Kinda makes me wish the Chargers would play one of the Mannings every game.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Table of Contents: The Holiday Club

This one isn't a story that was intended to go together, at least not when the first two parts were written. My buddy Tom asked if I were writing an ensemble piece when he read You're Beautiful, and while my answer was no, it dawned on me me that... I could be.

So, I decided to write the third part deliberately to see how it all fit together. You be the judge.

*The title, The Holiday Club, comes from a story I started and pitched years ago. It concerned a group of friends who all seem to experience life-changing tragedies on holidays or while on vacation. Nothing ever happened with the story, but the sentiment seems apt for this one. Perhaps I'll revisit it.

"His Final Lover"
He could never understand what it was about strange, new places that reminded him of home. Or, rather, of her. He had no home, per se, but he often thought of her. No matter how far he ran away, there was a memory chasing her down. Someone had told him that it was simple... Read More

"You're Beautiful"
"You're beautiful," her mother said the first time she held Elise in her arms. Elise didn't remember that instance, but one of her first memories was of her father holding her in his arms and telling her the same thing. She didn't realize that the fall she remembered happening... Read More

"Driven"
Headlights go dark upon impact with the barrier. Wrenching metal twists and snaps, scraping an expensive paint job, one designed to stand out in traffic. But there are no witnesses here. There might have been a squeal of tires and the reverberating hum of anti-lock brakes... Read More

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gods Playing Poker: Post Mortem

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: A Bold Bluff

***

"The other side? Of what? Indiana?"

Silver laughs. Not because he finds his partner funny, but because he feels sorry for him. Silver stands in close to East, reaching up to put a hand on East's shoulder. "The other side, dude. There's another world out there. I know it, buddy. I've seen it... felt it."

East won't look into his face. "You were assaulted, Gary. You felt an attack." He can't bring himself to use the word. It seems totally… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gods Playing Poker: A Bold Bluff

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: Sitting Up With a Sick Friend

***

East guides his GMM Camvette II around the corner, through a brushed chrome traffic director signaling in vain for him to stop - it line-faxes his driving demerit directly to MCEE HQ. He's doing well over 200 kilometers per hour in a 40 zone. He doesn't know where he's driving, just that he needs to drive.

He looks up and sees Sirius twinkling red and blue in the night sky. Oh… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: Post Mortem

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

Gods Playing Poker: Sitting Up with a Sick Friend

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: Stranger in Camp

***

Silver lies unconscious in the recovery-recuperator. He's not comatose, but he's not opened his eyes or said anything intelligible since East found him. East watches, loyal partner that he is, from the other side of the plexiform viewscreen. Captain Normandy is beside him.

"You don't know what he was doing there?" Normandy is pissed. Silver's often gone off the reservation, so to speak, but never into a dangerous situation before. He's foolish; not stupid… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: A Bold Bluff

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gods Playing Poker: Stranger in Camp

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: Pinched With Four Aces

***

East pulls the CruTector over to a vacant curb, blocked off by two very retro orange cones, and activates a rooftop flash n' park light. A couple of sanitation goons busy looking busy give him some lip.

Silver nods and waves. "Give us five minutes, boys." He and East cross over to a wiener vendor.

"Two with everything, eh?" Silver leans against an embankment while drawing his small-round. A sani-plant snakes out a tendril, brushes… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: Sitting Up With a Sick Friend

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

Gods Playing Poker: Pinched with Four Aces

*Continued from Gods Playing Poker: A Friend in Need

***

"Boyfriend's a no-go." Silver jumps in the driver's seat, smirking at his partner who's wolfing down some chocolate.

"You sure?" East isn't surprised, except by the joke written on the inside of the goo-bar wrapper. He just asks out of habit.

"Yeah, jack in."

East whips his PDP out from his jacket pocket and touches it to Silver's. Transmit lights turn green and East starts reading the… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: Stranger in Camp

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gods Playing Poker: A Friend in Need

"What the Hell are we watching?" Gary Silver has seen it all. He thought. Because he's clearly never seen anything like this before.

"I dunno, man. I just work here." Marquitez seemed the natural one to ask, since he recovered the image feed. A surveillance set - a print of C.M. Coolidge's Waterloo with optical recorders facing every possible direction in the target area - accidentally left in place after a supercaine bust… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***


***


***

*Continued in Gods Playing Poker: Pinched With Four Aces

The Complete Gods Playing Poker

DreamScape V: Geopolitics

Okay, this one's a doozy. And it's the last DreamScape (at least under its current format). I haven't been happy with them and since they're primarily an excuse to sneak creative writing into my rant and rave days, I figured I'd buck up and stop cheating. Ah, useless discipline... how useless thou art. Uselessly useless. Useless, I say!

As always, the actual dream portions are in italics.

***

I'm at a friend's house in Australia, and it's a little disconcerting that its layout is almost identical to my sister's old rental home back in the United States. Then again, perhaps human imagination has completely run out and everybody's just knocking out the same old shit from habit. I have no idea. All I know is that I can find all the silverware and dishes in the kitchen.

My friend's son and I are getting hammered. It seems to be thing to do here. He likes beer, I like wine, but I'm downing beers like they're going out of style. And then he ditches me. His sister's around, but she's ignoring me. You know, being an arrogant American and all. She's stunningly gorgeous, which usually makes me a little nervous, but I guess since it's my dream I'm a walking bastion of confidence.

There's a guitar there. Not sure where it came from. And it shouldn't matter, since I can't play very well. But I can tune the shit out of one. So I pick it up and start tuning it. I guess my friend's daughter is into on-key tones, since she suddenly decides to start talking to me. I'm not sure where the conversation leads as far as talking points, but she's kissing me now, so I don't really care. Yeah, she's stunningly gorgeous. I'm not gonna tell you what happens next.

***

I tend to have rather odd occupations in my dreams. This one is no different. I'm not certain what it is exactly that I do, but there's a news report on television of a plane crash that destroyed the southern tip of a Canadian Island. Within moments I get a phone call. I'm to get to this island as soon as possible. But not, it seems, to rescue the crash survivors. Instead, I'm to rescue some endangered species of moth that lived on the island.

I'm not entirely apathetic, I suppose, and I feel sorry for the survivors we sail right by while we're collecting moth specimens.

***

We're wrapping up the rescue and somebody is filming a documentary on it. I can't tell who the host is, but it's a fairly stocky fellow. Either Russell Crowe or Napoleon D'umo from So You Think You Can Dance. Whoever it is, he wants to interview me, but somewhere else. I start following him. That's when I notice George Bush, Sr., walking down the street. By himself. He's smoking a cigarette. Out of curiosity, I ditch the documentary crew and head over to him.

I ask him for a smoke. He complies. He starts talking about nothing in particular. Apparently, I'm a klutz, because I drop the cigarette. Bush doesn't notice and he accidentally steps on it. I wait patiently for him to move his foot. He never does. I ask for another smoke. He complies. I drop that one, too.

George Bush and I chat for a while, until he drops to the ground. Heart attack. Out of nowhere come a shitload of Secret Service agents. One of them seems cool enough and gives approval when I ask if I can come along. I used to be an EMT. I might be Bush's only hope.

Except... they have other ideas.

We wind up at some Arab shaman's place. In front of it, naked Western children are being sold off at auction. I point this out, but none of the SS guys seem to care. They're only purpose is to save the former President's life. They don't let me in the shaman's store. One tells me that I'd be too disturbed.

I'm disturbed enough by the children being sold off.
No one has any clue what's going on. Or any care. But I'm getting pissed. I know that, to help the kids, I have to see what's behind that door. Guns are drawn. Shit's about to go down. I'm totally fucked.

***

And then I wake up.

I have to admit, for sheer curiosity reasons, I wish I wouldn't have. I still want to know what the Hell was behind that door.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Irrewind, 20101120: On Writing

So you've noticed I rant and rave about writing and aspiring writers quite a bit. Yeah, well, it's what I do. And I'm often paid for it, believe it or not. No, really, I've been PAID to tell people their work sucks (or is good, whatever). Crazy, right? I'll admit it, sure... it's crazy. But somebody's gotta do it. Rather large industry out there and all.

"Advice for Artists"
I've often said that there are three things to every thing: an art, a craft, and a science. From tying your shoes to having sex, from driving to cooking dinner, there is an artistic way, a practiced way, and a scientific way. Artists do something through talent and intuition... Read More

"They're Only Words Passing Time"
There's an old joke about the girl at the party suddenly turning away from the guy who says, "I'm a writer." As with all jokes, there's some truth to it, and there's a bit of lying going on. Anyone knows that the younger and more naive the target, the more likely she (or he) is going... Read More

"On Writing: An Opinion"
Every situation (from sex to violence to drugs to crime) and every perspective (from left to right to theist to atheist), no matter how heinous, nefarious, inspirational, or wonderful, can lend itself to a good story. And good stories deserve to be written, regardless of whether an... Read More

"On Writing: A Philosophy"
Anyway, long story short: writers need output. Writers write, after all. Those who talk about writing (or worse, talk about "ideas") and never write are most certainly not writers. It's no different than someone wanting to be a baseball player but never playing baseball. Intent is... Read More

"Jayne's No. 5"
Regular readers of mine will know I don't buy into writer's block. Seriously, it's bullshit. As I've stated before, unless your fingers and hands are broken or cut off, there is no such thing as writer's block. Other excuses I can't stand with so-called "aspiring writers" are "I'm too busy," "I'm not inspired," and "I'm not motivated."... Read More

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Resignation

It is during Deborah's going away party that she realizes the young office attendant knows. She thought her 45 years of life gave her the advantage in effectively hiding her lascivious thoughts from him - Nathan being barely 23 - but it is clear that they did not. She's suddenly worried that the glass of champagne in her hand is one too many. Then again, he's the one who brought it to her.

Nathan's been Deborah's receptionist and assistant for the past 18 months, fresh from college and eager to start a corporate career. Her… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Frank Miller's Sin City

Way back in 1991, comic book legend Frank Miller introduced us to the world of Sin City. First appearing Dark Horse Presents, the last adventure of the honorable sociopath Marv blew its way into the consciousness of the comic book industry. Between 1991 and 2000, comic and neo-noir aficionados jumped into this strange imaginary world and were further rewarded with an almost perfect transcription to film in 2005.

Since this first story (or "yarn," as Dark Horse labels them), Frank Miller returned to Sin City several times, taking his readers through the wonderfully vicious underbelly of the ambiguously amalgamated Basin City. Mainly a fictionalized Los Angeles (as evidenced by its layout and landmarks), partially a gangster-era Las Vegas (its "industries" and criminal organizations), and somewhat of a 1970s New York City or Chicago (its politics and skyline), Miller builds a living, breathing city unmatched anywhere else in comicdom. Even comic universe stalwarts Metropolis and Gotham City, with their longevity in pop culture consciousness, struggle to feel as real as the streets and alleys of Basin City.

Each yarn, be it a mini-series or a one-shot, is populated by repulsive (yet somehow loveable) characters. The aforementioned Marv, a sociopathic killer whose desire to help the defenseless (particularly defenseless women) leaves you rooting for him, while secretly acknowledging the need to remove him from society. Dwight McCarthy, a gun for hire whose past results in the need for a surgically altered appearance, is a more level-headed protagonist and a more traditional anti-hero, but still resides on the wrong side of the law. Which is fine in the world of Sin City, since the law is often on the wrong side of the law.

Simply put, Sin City is neo-noir, hard-boiled pulp-fiction at its best. That it is one of the few comics out there that can lay an honest claim to being a work of art (both visually and narratively) makes it that much more relevant. And, for a decade, comic readers got to enjoy semi-regular forays into the city that everyone loves to read about, but no one wants to live.

1991 gave us Sin City. 1993 gave us A Dame to Kill For. 1994: The Big Fat Kill. 1996: That Yellow Bastard. 1997: Family Values. 1999: Hell and Back. We were even treated to Booze, Broads & Bullets, which compiled all of the Sin City shorts and one-shots (published from 1994 to 1997) in one book. Hell and Back finished its run in April of 2000, and fans eagerly awaited more.

And waited.

And waited. At one point, Frank Miller hinted at a new book called The Long, Hard Goodbye. Which never materialized.

So they waited.

And waited. In 2005, the film version of Sin City (comprised of the stories for the original Sin City, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard, all almost verbatim adaptations), directed by Robert Rodriguez, hit the screens, temporarily sating fans. After the film, they got The Hard Goodbye. Unfortunately, in what many call a despicable marketing ploy, The Hard Goodbye was simply a re-issue of the original Sin City tale with but a new title. With no word of what happened to The Long, Hard Goodbye.

Frank Miller, it seemed, had abandoned his comic following in pursuit of a film directing career (which, so far, has culminated in the absolutely horrible The Spirit) and more Sin City movies.

So they wait.

Sin City 2 and Sin City 3 are apparently on the Hollywood horizon, and to keep things fresh, Frank Miller has promised that new stories will appear in those films. And that, yes, they will also appear as comics.

But we're still waiting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Absence of Proof



***

"Who decides, huh? Who? This is bullshit."

"I don't know, man. Calm the fuck down."

"Fuck you."

No one's really sure what he's talking about, but everyone knows what he's talking about. Life, death. Maybe a woman. It doesn't really… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Monday, November 15, 2010

Affleck: The New Eastwood

A few years ago, upon watching the slightly-underrated Hollywoodland, I came to a seemingly random and unlikely conclusion. The film, based on the real life suicide of George Reeves (TV's original Superman), stars Adrien Brody as a private investigator who gets caught up in the investigation via a series of seemingly unrelated twists and turns. It is not, admittedly, the best-made movie (or even particularly well-made, though there is certainly talent behind it), but it does showcase a rebounding Ben Affleck as George Reeves. A small role, to be sure, but one lucky enough to be the centerpiece of the film's plot.

I don't know why (no, really, I have no clue), but as I finished watching Hollywoodland I thought to myself, "Ben Affleck would make a good director." At the time there was absolutely nothing to base this conclusion on. One might be able to point to the screenplay for Good Will Hunting (which he co-wrote with Matt Damon), but given the controversies surrounding who actually wrote (or helped mentor, at the very least) that script, it's not wise to for the sake of an argument. Affleck had yet to direct anything that I'm aware of. And, let's face it, his acting resume had turned into a bit of a laughing stock (Gigli, anyone?).

The year after Hollywoodland, however, Gone Baby Gone (2007, by the way) was released. It blew me away. The director? Ben Affleck.

Sure, it was only one film, but I suddenly felt vindicated for having that seemingly random and unlikely conclusion.

Fast-forward three years to 2010. The Town gets a release. It doesn't blow me away like Gone Baby Gone did, but I'm thoroughly entertained and deeply admire its director for actually filming a car chase in which we're not getting dizzy trying to follow the action (in fact, I claim that it's the best-directed Hollywood car chase since Frankeheimer's Ronin way back in 1998). The Town, simply put, is an expertly-made film. The director? Ben Affleck (who, like Eastwood in Gran Torino, fit himself into a leading role perfectly).

A few months ago I wrote about who I felt were the greatest living American film directors. To me, Clint Eastwood currently sits on that throne. But, given the advanced age of the directors on that list, I openly admitted to eagerly awaiting the next batch of great American directors.

I realize I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm putting Ben Affleck on that list. And I'm calling him the heir apparent to Eastwood (for several reasons, some of which are painfully obvious).

No, I'm not joking. I have a feeling his next film will prove me right. If it doesn't, then, well, his film after that one will.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Hidden Conversation: In Concrete



*Images courtesy of Jayne Harnett-Hargrove

***

"I think it's stupid, you know?" Energy's always got an opinion. It's usually wrong, fully dependent on superficial information provided by a source she wants to believe because it purports to cater to her.

"You know, you know, you know." Calm doesn't mean the repetition as an insult. It's not his style. Low-key is how he lives his life. He's just tired of useless words. He feels useless enough as it is… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*To be reinterpreted in The Hidden Conversation: In Abstract

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Only in the Film Industry...

True story. So, I'm working on Michael Mann's new HBO television series, Luck, and I'm blown away by the talent. Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Richard Kind. Crazy stuff. It's a show about the seedy side of horse racing, and it's gonna rock. Is it the next The Sopranos? I dunno, but it's gonna rock.

But, all of that is irrelevant to the story I'm going to share.

A lot of the series is shot at the famous Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California, just a couple dozen miles outside of Los Angeles. And it's shot at the racetrack during hours of operation. Which means there are a lot of people running around trying to prevent racing patrons (read: gamblers) from walking into shots. Luck is not unique in this... every location shoot has to deal with locals. When the cameras are rolling, such dealings are called lock-downs. And they're not always friendly.

As it happens, I was asked to block a rather large staircase AND a rather large hallway. Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina were filming a scene (over and over again, I must add) in which they rode up an escalator while discussing betting on a certain horse (that's all I'll reveal about the show... just watch it when it premieres). This staircase and hallway were under said escalator, and the exit the patrons were (or would) attempt to use to leave the track was beside said escalator.

In other words, before I ramble too much, it was rather important to block the exit. So much so, there were three or four "layers" of lock-down. Of which I was the first.

Anyway, most (I'd say 95%) of the patrons simply nodded when informed of the filming, turned and left via another exit. That stated, that 95% was still rather difficult to deal since they either A) were elderly and didn't seem fit enough to take the alternate stairway, B) spoke little or no English (a surprisingly large amount of them didn't), or C) initially pretended that I wasn't standing there talking to them.

But that other 5%... hah! Oh, boy. Two instances stand out. No, wait, three.

1. An old man and an old woman, upon being approached to take another exit, started screaming about how the elderly are mistreated. Right, dude... you've got enough strength to walk the paddock to the betting booths, then up the stairs to the viewing room or bleachers, but not enough to walk around a set. Okay, whatever.
2. A woman, upon being approached to take another exit, said: "I ain't coming here no more. I get disrespected all the time by all these damn Asians" (yes, there are a lot of Asians working at the track, and even more gambling at the track, but I was only one of a handful on the film crew).
3. My personal favorite. A man, who at first seemed polite and attentive, suddenly turned hostile, throwing down his racing program and yelling, "Why don't you go shoot your movie in China?" I responded, calmly, "Because I was born in Florida." Never mind that I'm not even Chinese. And that it wasn't my movie.

I actually found it all a bit hilarious and couldn't stop myself from laughing. Even if I'd been upset by it, watching two great actors (Hoffman and Farina) and standing next to one of my directing heroes (Michael Mann... you can read what I've written about him here) more than made up for any negative experiences from set.

Still, given the pervasive attitudes in America, it's no wonder why I'm moving to Australia.

I love the movies.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Garden of Fire

*Continued from Exodus Lost and The Man in the Fedora

***

"Talbot, you okay?" McGonigal looks worried. Terrified, even.

Talbot leans against the wall, arm wrapped defensively around his abdomen. He nods. The lie doesn't convince either man.

"Let me see."

Talbot allows McGonigal to move his arm. McGonigal gently palpates the stomach. Distended. And something feels ruptured. Not good… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Revenge of Sagremor

Don't piss off a cat.

I've learned this lesson many times in the past few years. But it never sticks. Mainly because I don't actually know how to actively piss off a cat. I just happen to do it on a regular basis.

Kay, my "responsible" cat, never really seems to stew for very long. He just kinda accepts that he's been pissed off, then hides somewhere until he calms down.

Sagremor, on the other hand. Well... he's a bit more stubborn. He's also a bit more clingy, even though Kay is the one who likes to follow me around like a puppy.

I typically let both cats outside in the morning. It's part of the daily routine. I get up, go to the bathroom, let the two cats and one dog out of the house, then go about making breakfast, getting dressed, etc. Kay is great. He goes out, plays outside damn near all day, and only comes home when he wants to eat dinner and go to sleep. Basically, he's out, then in, and that's it.

Sagremor... ugh. He likes to go out, come back in, go back out, come back in, go back out, come back in, go back out... yeah... ugh.

One night this last Halloween weekend, I had guests. Sagremor went out, came in, went out, came in, went out, came in... It got kinda irritating. After everyone else was gone (sometime just before 2:00 AM on Saturday), I'm doing my habitual last email check before bed (yes, I'd been sleeping at that point). I hear Sagremor meow outside of the window. Usually, this means he's ready to come in, eat, and fall asleep. So I let him in. And then I went to bed.

Or tried to, anyway, since he decided to meow incessantly in a futile attempt to be let back outside. Sorry, dude, but I was comfortable and teetering on the edge of an all-too-rare-these-days passing-out sleep.

The next morning I'm feeling quite refreshed. I get up, use the bathroom, and let the animals outside (except for Kay, who continued to sleep for most of the morning). And that's when I see it. A piss stain on the carpet. That big "fuck you" that only a cat is capable of.

Fine. Whatever. I clean it up. Since I was cleaning already, I decided to do a complete run-through of the entire house. Bathroom. Kitchen. Vacuum. And, shit, since I was well-rested, I decided to vacuum the couch and fit it for a couch cover. Removing the three cushions, that's when I see it. Or them, rather. Piss stains all along the backing of the couch.

They're clean now. The couch is covered now. And I'm calm now. But Sagremor is very lucky he was outside.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Out in the Open

So, I've been caught. Red-handed. After several months of trying to keep it under wraps, I've been called on it. I have, despite my best intentions, fallen head over heels in love with a fellow blogger. She's ignored my hints, my emails, my less-than-subtle yearnings hidden in "fiction" pieces. I've even strongly considered, to save myself from abject embarrassment, deleting many of the posts I've written about her.

The kicker came when she posted a poem about fake, virtual love. You can read it here: "Not Your Average Love Poem"

Yeah, I tried to play it off with a joke, but it hurt. Maybe you're thinking I'm a little crazy right now, but I don't care. I'm not about "fake, virtual love." That was uncalled for.

And I know you really love my writing - you're not fooling anybody - so here's your not-so-average love poem...

And the Muses...
To convince, of love, words as art
What better way to show you
Syllables from my heart

I could quote lyrics, and I would
But better they'd be mine own
As they should

To read of your other men
I feel sick, disgusted
My heart abandoned

No, I shall not devolve immature
But hold my head high
As I imagine our future

Please don't unfollow
Leave me on your blog roll
For its absence, as my heart...

Would leave me hollow...

You are, forever, my Muse...

***

Yeah, I'm pathetic. Sue me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Irrewind, 20101106: Politics

I am not, in most aspects, a political animal. Were I to be completely honest, I'd admit that I'm rather apathetic about it all, but I'm not going to be completely honest. I, like most of our glorious citizenry, am painfully undereducated when it comes to the actual nuance of political realms. As such, I suffer from the same "oh, that's such a simple fix, why don't they just (insert idea that won't work here)" type of opinions that most of our glorious citizenry suffers from (I love that term... glorious citizenry... it just sounds cool).

But, that doesn't stop me from ranting now, does it? Of course not. As with other things found in Irrewinds, keep in mind that my opinions on these matters are likely to have changed (you'll also find that a lot of these have been made completely irrelevant through current events... irrelevance, however, is what I do). But don't let that stop you from cussing me out.

"An Agnostic Form of Government"
Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, was sworn in yesterday. As a Muslim, he chose not to swear in on the Bible, but on the Qur'an. And not just any Qur'an, mind you, but Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of it. Of course, now that this has happened... Read More

"America's White Elephants: China and Islam"
America, since the turn of the 20th Century, has inarguably been THE world power. Our involvement practically dictated the outcome of two world wars, drew the lines (and fought over a few) in the Cold War, and created an economic disparity that the rest of the world... Read More

"Political Incorrectness That Is"
For years now, people have been complaining about the American political system and how completely distasteful and unprofessional its campaigns have become. And now McCain, one of the more vocal proponents of taste and professionalism, has now been caught in his own... Read More

"The Contractor Problem"
In this case, it is known as the military-industrial complex. A complex, somewhat ironically, that we were warned against embracing by a former 5-star general and President, good ol' Ike. Unfortunately for Ike's successors, there were no laws governing the limitations of such a... Read More

"In Defense of... Obama?"
Anybody who knows me knows that I'm no big fan of Barack Obama. I didn't vote last year (due to circumstances sort of beyond my control... long story), but even if I had, I wouldn't have voted for him. Neither would I have voted for McCain (I'm really not a Sarah Palin fan)... Read More

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pearl, Harbour: Cherry Blossom

*Continued from Pearl, Harbour: Pearl in the Water

***

He is overcome, overwrought, overtired as she wraps him up with her arms. No words are spoken, it's enough to breathe, to blend, to converge. He's fragile and exhausted and she feels new strength coursing through her veins. She will be his rock, his saviour.

Ill-prepared, she tears a strip of fabric from her skirt and fashions a dressing for his bleeding thigh. For now the makeshift tourniquet will stem the flow, but his wound's slashed deep from contact with concertina razor wire. The prospect of proper medical attention swept… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Pearl, Harbour: Pearl in the Water

*Continued from Pearl, Harbour: Safe Harbour

***

He endures his internment peacefully. Outnumbered and unarmed, there seems little choice. Mistaken for one of over a thousand Japanese soldiers - confusion at his accent merely eliciting treatment as a possible spy - and with no paper to authenticate his claim of being Australian, he is ushered into No. 12 Prisoner of War Compound near Cowra. Just 800-yards across, fenced with nearly impenetrable barbed-wire entanglements, it is clear this will be home for some time to come… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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*Continued in Pearl, Harbour: Cherry Blossom

The Complete Pearl, Harbour

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pearl, Harbour: Safe Harbour

*Continued from Pearl, Harbour: Far Enough

***

She's tired. Tending house is hard and her contact with the outside rare, but it provides opportunity to listen to the radio. "Loose lips sink ships," she hears ad nauseum as the war wages.

Weeks of sitting across a humble dinner table, watching him talk and smile placed firm focus on his mouth. His lips full, belying Caucasian genes. A slight nose dividing his face into perfect symmetry. His words wash over her, listened to but unheard… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*Continued in Pearl, Harbour: Pearl in the Water

Pearl, Harbour: Far Enough

*Continued from Pearl, Harbour: Rising Suns

***

The three-day trip is intense and their conversations further revealing. Kintaro's looking to hide from the repercussions of his race. His mother, long in the grave, a white Australian who in the gentle paradise of Broome fell for a Japanese pearler. His father, dead of a diving accident timely in its proximity to the death of his mother. Born in a corner of Australia so remote, no certificate records the event nor his citizenship… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*Continued in Pearl, Harbour: Safe Harbour

The Complete Pearl, Harbour

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pearl, Harbour: Rising Suns

He breaches the briny aqua and exhales. He can barely see the sunshine glistening on the water. They haul him upward over the deck - this rubbery monster with a brass mask - and stand him upright, the weight of gravity and leaden boots preventing him from doing so alone. They release the brass dome and his almond eyes squint in the light as the rubber suit that hides his muscled yet diminutive form is divested. The rope net full of pearl oysters falls carelessly on the sodden timbers. Standing still, almost naked in the light, beads of… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*Continued in Pearl, Harbour: Far Enough

The Blood Wood, Part II

*Continued from The Blood Wood, Part I

***

"You mean the The Blood Wood?" Jesse Hawthorne cocked an eye at Caleb Greene. This was certainly the strangest job interview he's ever had. Probably the only one, really.

"The Blood Wood?" Caleb hadn't heard it called that. Certainly Mort had said nothing. Caleb turned to question the laconic man, but it was clear Mort wasn't going to offer any new information… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Blood Wood, Part I

"We should not go out there." Wolf-And-Hawk's tone is grim. He's only grim when he's afraid. And he's rarely afraid.

"Why not?" Caleb Greene has known Wolf-And-Hawk for years and, out of the four other men and one woman present, is the only one who recognizes Wolf-And-Hawk's fear. They are all, however, aware that the horses refuse to move closer to the trees.

"Your devil lives out there."

read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

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***

*Continued in The Blood Wood, Part II

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mid-2010-Season Charger Musings

Yeah, so I haven't written about the San Diego Chargers much this season. It's not because they're sucking, I swear (I am no fair-weather fan)... it's just that I've been doing a helluva lot of other things.

Anyway, I don't want to go all season without ranting and raving about the lightning bolts, so here's a quick musings post for those few football fans who bother to swing by.

Random Charger Musings

LaDainian Tomlinson seems keen to burn his bridges with the Chargers, to and including its fan base. I get why he's upset with the San Diego management (and he's certainly proving them wrong), and I understand why he felt slighted by some of the comments made by other Charger players (though LDT did sorta start the whining), but openly exhibiting glee concerning the Chargers' slow start? Seriously, dude, a lot of Chargers fans still love you, but you're making it hard for us to give a shit. Kellen Winslow got screwed over by Chargers management back in the 80s, but as far as I can remember, he had the class not to take it out on the fans. You're the self-professed "classy guy," LDT, so why the hell are you pissing on us?

Shawne Merriman's days as a terror in the San Diego defense are over. It's kinda sad, but like LDT's departure after last season, this one's not much of a surprise.

Vincent Jackson reported to camp before a deadline in which he would have lost credit for an accrued season. It remains to be seen if his presence is going to help the Chargers win any games. Besides, he's next off-season's LDT/Merriman. Does it really matter?

Maybe I was right about Norv Turner. Maybe he does suck. Nah... I already flipped once. Not going to do it again.

It's kinda sad that Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings, Eli Manning has one, and Philip Rivers has zero.

The loss to the Patriots, even though by only 3 points, was worse than the embarrassing losses to the Chiefs, Seahawks, Raiders, and Rams, in which breakdowns in scheme were as much to blame as breakdowns in discipline. The Chargers owned the Patriots. Except... do Charger coaches not teach the rules of the game? Thank you, Richard Goodman and Jacob Hester for quite literally handing the ball to Patriot defenders. Learn what constitutes a fumble, if you don't mind.

All that aside, the Chargers defeated the Tennessee Titans yesterday, maintaining their position as the only team that Titans head coach Jeff Fisher has never defeated. It wasn't the prettiest of victories, but I'll take it. 3-5 is better than 2-6.

Bring on the Texans!