Friday, December 31, 2010

Schedule Kept... Time for a Nap

Towards the end of 2009 I inadvertently got re-involved with the development of a few aspiring writers. It was, quite honestly, an accident... mostly to help friends out or people who have recognizable talent but seemingly no direction. I, for one, hate to see wasted talent and always help a friend when I can.

I also became increasingly annoyed with "aspiring" writers who seem to do anything but write. For those who haven't figured it out yet, the profession of writing (creative, technical, what have you) requires output. In that sense, it is no different than any other.

When confronting these "writers," I always got the expected responses: "I'm too busy," "I'm not motivated," "I'm not inspired," and (the worst of all) "I have writer's block." So I set out to prove, in a sense, that all of that was bullshit. The result: a disciplined schedule requiring myself to write something every day and posting it as proof.

Yes, many things were written in a rush (I was too busy), many were written when I were rather doing something else (I wasn't motivated), many were written when I didn't feel like writing (I wasn't inspired), and many were written in violent defiance of a blank page (I had "writer's block"). A great deal of what I put up was and is crap, and will never see the light of a publishing day outside of this blog. But, some of what I wrote this past year is workable material (and, surprisingly, already published) and there are at least a dozen stories that an editor or producer would like to get his or her hands on.

Was this past year's experiment easy? Oh, Hell, no. But writing is not an easy thing to do, even for the so-called naturals. Did I prove my point? I would say yes. Many would say no, I suspect, but I'm fairly certain those who would are the very people I point my finger at.

At any rate: schedule kept; mission accomplished. I did it for a year and could continue on, but I have other things to do (like my real job). It's time for these aspiring "writers" to own up and, well, write no matter what. As for me, I'm not a writer... so, I'm done.

In short, this:

Sundays: Touché, Cliché
Mondays: ranting and raving
Tuesdays: creative writing
Wednesdays: ranting and raving
Thursdays: creative writing
Fridays: usually nothing
Saturdays: Irrewinds and indices

is now replaced by this:

Whenever: whatever

Happy New Year! And write anyway!


In other news, as mentioned in my Extracurricular Endeavors rant, Panoramic Mindscapes will be launched 24 hours from this posting. Thanks for the support.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Theorem, Part I

The Dinaric Alps, Croatia - 2053 AD

Sergeant First Class Matt Bainbridge peers through his binoculars at the ragtag enemy unit below. Higher up the ridge, Matt wonders if the Croat guerrillas are warmer than he is. Laughing to himself, he realizes that they must be, since the Croats have several small fires going… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here's to You, 2010

Just rambling off some thanks and stuff.
  • Adam - for the spur-of-the-moment inspiration to buy airfare to Australia (also need to thank American Express Travel for that one... wow, what an awesome service).
  • Adam G. - for putting me on the lists to watch movies at the AMPAS theaters... even though I never show up.
  • Andy and Nicole - for letting me crash in Dallas... and the copious rounds of ammunition.
  • Carrie - for the So You Think You Can Dance gig.
  • Dan and Kaity - for the furniture... even though I had to drive Laurel Canyon overloaded... twice.
  • Dan and Zoe - for the extended-stay.
  • Dasan - for the emergency assistance... even though it didn't work. Can we say Worst. Bank. Ever?
  • Erik and Kurt - for letting me crash in Vegas... twice.
  • Gerard - for reminding me to check the AAD on the parachute. That could've been an oopsie.
  • Helen - for the cookbook, a gorgeous daughter, and just being awesome.
  • Helen, Katelyn, Pete, Terry - for having patience.
  • Ivan - for the HBO gig.
  • J and Brea - for hanging on to my shit longer than you had to.
  • Jessica - for the boxes of Goody's and BC's. I'm pretty sure you broke some laws shipping that much medication.
  • Jonathan (among others) - for the Amazing Race gig... and the line on the guest house.
  • Johnny O. - for introducing me to Hugo's Tacos.
  • Jordan - for the emergency assistance... remind me not to pay bills from a mobile phone while on a bumpy road.
  • Jose - for the Albuquerque offer.
  • Kay and Sagremor - for clearing out the rats... but those fucking squirrels are getting out of hand.
  • Krys - for agreeing to take 10thDoM off of my hands.
  • The Parents
  • Pete - for finally pulling your weight as a game designer.
  • Sono - for the extended stay, even though I want to kill you for abandoning my dogs.
  • Starbuck - for being disturbingly loyal. Who'd have known?
  • Steve - for predicting, in 2004, exactly where I'd be living in 2010... right down to the intersection.
  • Studio City - for putting an awesome park at the end of my street.
  • Terry - for the best appliance I've ever owned: my coffee grinder. And the offer to take the dogs.
  • Tom and Helen - for some kick-ass collaborations.
  • Tori - for the Birmingham offer.
I'm sure I forgot people. Feel free to berate me for doing so.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Last Thing, Part III

*a continuation of One Last Thing, Part I and One Last Thing, Part II


The sounds fade as the lights dim. Cray knows he's missing something spectacular and it's his body's fault. Too old, too slow, it couldn't keep up. Or stay ahead, in this case. It's disheartening... not so much that he has to take it lying down... but that his mind is as young and as fast as it's ever been. Why does sleep have to be so inviting? It's not fair.

Ah, well... he'll just dream for a while… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Monday, December 27, 2010

Cooking... Something

I'm feeling left out. I've never written about cooking before. So now I'm gonna.


Although, my dog Starbuck is feeling left out, as well. He'd much rather me actually try to cook something instead of write about trying to cook something. But, that ain't happening right now, so he's gonna have to deal with staring at the back of my head for a few.

Starbuck staring at the back of my head

Anyway, some background. I suck in the kitchen. Suck. Completely. Primarily because I've never really tried to cook anything before (spaghetti and steaks don't count). Oh, sure, I've long thought that I'd be awesome in the kitchen - given ingredient lists, recipes, and instructions - but that's just vanity speaking. One just doesn't know until one just tries.

So, after a friend of mine sent me a custom-made cookbook, I decided to put my money where my vanity was.

Step one, obviously, was picking a recipe out of the cookbook to try. The three frontrunners were: Thai Chicken Curry, Pepperoni Linguini, and Salt and Pepper Squid (Laxative Pork didn't make the list... yes... there's a recipe in my book called "Laxative Pork").

Well, the pasta looked a bit too simple (I wanted to challenge myself) and the squid looked a bit too challenging (I wanted something simple), so I went with the obvious choice of Thai Chicken Curry.

Step two, obviously (I'm gonna say "obviously" a lot since I'm assuming most of you can actually cook... I, however, cannot), is to go to the grocery store and buy what's on the ingredients list.

*Before I continue, let me iterate that upon discovering that I was being made a custom cookbook, I specifically requested that each recipe have a comprehensive list of ingredients so I know what to buy.

Okay, so I went to the store. Some immediate issues with the ingredient list:
  • It called for Red Thai Curry Paste. The store I went to only had Red Thai Curry Sauce. So I bought Red Indian Curry Paste. I was scolded for this later.
  • It called for a can of bamboo shoots. As I would learn later, adding bamboo shoots is nowhere in the recipe.
  • It called for sprigs of fresh coriander. I asked if cilantro was an acceptable substitution. This caused a great deal of confusion. Not that it mattered... adding coriander is nowhere in the recipe.
  • I forgot to get baby corn.
  • I also forgot the brown sugar.
  • And I might as well tell you know... the recipe DOES call for water chestnuts... which weren't on the ingredients list.
So, all in all... pretty much a disaster from the get-go. But it's all good.

A few days after my shopping spree, I went ahead and attempted the dish. After filleting my chicken fillets and cutting the onions so as not to resemble onion rings, this is what it all looked like:

Starbuck looks delicious with onions... er... forget I mentioned that...

Of course, I forgot that I needed knives and shit (yes, I used the word "shit" when writing about cooking... deal with it). Luckily, my mother has a propensity to worry that I don't have everything I need to succeed in a domicile and somehow hid a box of knives (complete with wood cutting board) in the stuff my sister brought down here last summer. I had to learn what each knife was properly called since, you know, I used to just call them by my other trade names (decapitator, de-finger-er, de-eyeballer, etc.)

The Torture Tools... to be used on myself, apparently

Oh, yeah... from left to right: paring knife, sharpener, roast fork, utility knife (on top of the roast fork), cleaver, carving knife (on top of the cleaver), bread knife (that's the de-finger-er), boning knife (de-eyeballer), chef knife. Take that!

Here's a picture of the ingredients that I know I didn't mess up. Because, well, they're pre-packaged.

The, well, pre-packaged crap

And here's what the dish looked like in stages of cooking:

Stage 1: Chucking Shit In

Stage 2: Turning Shit Orange

Stage 3: Shit's Getting Watery

Stage 4: Thicker Shit

Stage 5: Shit on Jasmine Rice

I screwed up the rice, by the way. In the microwave. That takes skill.

After completion, I fed some of this (Indian) Thai Chicken Curry to my buddy and he seemed to not hate it. More importantly, he didn't keel over and die, so I was able to subsist off of curry for a couple of days.

Hmm... I might have to stick with the spaghetti and steak.

That, people, is how write to about cooking.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


She doesn't exist. Save for in the recesses of his mind and in stories told or written. Her impression first appeared in the reflection of Beautiful Water. An idea of something never lost, for it was never found, and never would be in A War To End All Wars. The impossibility of a perfect fit, including the people who would enter his life with her, In-Love-In-Law. Her body's Gravity, holding him more powerfully than Earth's. An initial encounter based upon being needed at the right time, creating a brief - and endearing - moment of culture shock... she tells him he shouldn't ask for candy, but Lollies, Stupid. A comparative and (mostly) honest analysis of how real women have enamored him in A-M-L-C-S. The anguish of a realization that she might be real, he might know who she is, but he's no clue where she exists other than the Window to his imagination. The visualized progression via the lustful warmth of Merlot and the comforting warmth of coffee, Vitis Coffea. Her very Image powerful in its inspiration. A beauty, inside and out, from visage to Décolletage.

She doesn't exist. A tactile sensation created only by imagination. But he takes her hand anyway, And They Dance... as long as the moment can and will allow. There is a fear, perhaps a realization, that nothing of her lingering impression will be left After Paris. An awareness that despite a desire as strong as the Sun, he will only bear reluctant witness to a Star Fall. A quiet mind, engulfing a quiet heart, where the only sound heard is a softly-played Requiem for a Satellite of Zeus. It's a sad song, but one that encourages him to take a hard look in the Mirror.

She doesn't exist. It doesn't matter; her idea is all he needs. He takes solace in the realization that An Absence of Proof is not a proof of absence. She doesn't exist. She's all he wants for Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Power Drunk, Part II

*Continued from Power Drunk, Part I


The interview proceeds smoothly. Everyone is having a good time, from the network reporter to the high school journalism club president. Save for the Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" on a loop, the conference can't be going much better (never mind that "Intergalactic" is an awesome tune... just not 56 times in a row... and counting).

The co-leaders of the world don't usually appear in public, much less together, but given the anniversary of the Ascendancy, they're… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Power Drunk, Part I


"They're plotting to take over the world."



Thought processes don't come easy to Aldis, a bit like gorgeous cheerleaders to chess club nerds. Oh, Hollywood loves the Fairy Tale… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes



*Continued in Power Drunk, Part II

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Christmases

Well, it's that time of year again. The Yule Tide. Time for shopping. Time for joy. Time for spending with loved ones. Oh, yeah... and time to argue about how to celebrate Christmas. No, really... here in America, at least, the press actually dedicates airtime and columns of print to people who like to whine that Christmas "isn't properly celebrated."

Um... since when is there a proper way to celebrate Christmas?

The devoutly religious (well, the Christians, anyway) claim that Christmas is a dedicated holiday reserved for those who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Because, you know, Christ is the first part of Christmas (being an evolution of "Christ's Mass" and all). Never mind the evidence suggesting Jesus wasn't born in December.

The agnostic, atheist, and everyone else who doesn't want to kill those who celebrate Western celebrations claim that Christmas is about Santa Claus. You know, the fat guy who brings presents down your chimney, is loosely based on several things (including a Norse god), and just likes to laugh and be jolly. Never mind the fact that no one has ever honestly claimed Santa is real.

Let me pause... I am reminded of the infamous early South Park cartoon in which Jesus and Santa engage in a fight to the death, only to be stopped by figure skater Brian Boitano.

Anyhoo... so... what's the problem, exactly? Oh, yeah, Jesus versus Santa. No, wait. That isn't it. Oh, wait. Yes, it is.

Like, really? WHY is this a problem? Why can't devout Christians let everyone who wants to celebrate Santa instead of Jesus do so? And why can't the anti-religious types let Christians ignore Santa and just celebrate Jesus?  And why can't everyone who wants to celebrate both do so without some nit-picking asshole pointing out the contradiction? Any why can't everyone who wants to ignore both do so without being looked at funny?

Oh, wait. Because we're human.

Let me pause... I've bitched about this stuff before. Go read for yourself:
Actually, that wasn't a pause. I'm done. I had fully intended on making more sense, but now I don't feel like it. I'm gonna go celebrate Santa. I don't really give a crap what you're gonna do, but do try to enjoy it, whatever it is.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As she looked back, three memories defined him to her. Only three. The rest were just fillers, plot-devices, and arbitrary details designed to make him seem real. Like how he used to say "abattoir" sounded better than "slaughterhouse." Those didn't matter to her.


The first memory was actually a sequence of events taking place over a few days. They'd met in France, in Aubagne, back when both of them were in occupations that most would deem important. Neither of them would have. Banal is the term they preferred for their choice… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Monday, December 20, 2010

Music and Language

My sister and I are a bit competitive in "being good at things." Well, we used to be, at least. There's still some banter back and forth, but we're both getting old enough that such things don't matter. As much.

For the most part, whatever it is we decide to pursue, I tend to pick things up more quickly than my sister. She hates it. I love it. But, like I said, we're not as competitive as we used to be.

There are, however, several things she hands-down kicks my ass at. Math being one. Yes, algebra is ridiculously easy for me, and trigonometry isn't much of a stretch. But give me a geometry or calculus proof and I guarantee I'll celebrate a few birthdays before I ever come close to figuring it out. My sister, though, will knock it out and go take a nap. Yeah, fine. I'll give her math. Since the only math I've ever really needed in life has actually been algebra - and some basic business mathematics - she can have this one.

But then there's music. There's a bit of a dichotomy with this one. I can score, arrange, and orchestrate far better than she can (I still suck, though... which means she REALLY sucks at it), but I can't play shit. A bit of piano, maybe a bit more trumpet, and the slightest modicum of saxophone and guitar.

My sister, though, can pick up an instrument like it's a toy. She doesn't have to beat a key, strum a string, or hold an embouchure very long before she just "gets it." Seriously, as one of the few talents I actually want to have, this pisses me off to no end.

Sure, I'm better at trumpet than she'll ever be, but that's only because I played for a decade and she never cared for the instrument. All I can play on piano is "Let it Be" by The Beatles, "Imagine" by John Lennon," and "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer. I'm currently learning "Misery" by The Beatles and I can play along with "Your Ghost" by Greg Laswell, but in the amount of time it will take me to learn these two simplistic songs, she could easily learn any concerto by any classical composer.


And then there's language. My sister is competently trilingual. English, French, Japanese. And she's making a concerted effort to pick up Spanish. Hell, even my mother is bilingual (Japanese and English) and my father spoke a bit of Turkish back in the day.

Me? Well, there's English... and American. I took formal German lessons for 3 or 4 years, formal Spanish lessons for far longer than that, lived in Korea for a year, and have been exposed to Japanese for decades. And I can't speak a lick of any.

Oddly enough, I'm a little better at reading foreign languages than my sister is, but so what? I want to speak! Me talkie-talkie! Alas, no joy. How an entire subsection of my friends thinks I'm some master foreign linguist is beyond me. What? I'm lying about it? C'mon.

Anyway... I just felt like ranting. Screw you, genetics (it is genetic, isn't it?)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Irrewind, 20101218: Christmas

Obviously, it's almost Christmas. And to celebrate this final Irrewind, here's proof that I'm just as irreverent towards holidays as I am towards everything else:

"Merry Christmas"
I am, as most of you know, as agnostic as a person can get. I don't know which religion is right, I don't know what happens when one dies, and I don't know if there is a God, gods, or just a big bang followed by an assload of evolution. Christmas, to me, is simply a time for family, a time for loving your fellow man in that cliché way, and a... Read More

"All I Want for Christmas..."
Well, it's Christmas Eve. One day to go. And, given the nature of the high-tech world we live in today, I figured I can get one more request to Santa in, via the oh-so-wonderful world of MySpace. Yes, Santa has a MySpace page. Don't let it fool you, at first glance his profile makes him look like a simple fat guy with a reindeer fetish, but the... Read More

"Merry Christmas, Really"
Well, it's another late night forced upon me by my foot injury. And, as usual, I have nothing better to do than to write something. Strangely, I feel good right now. A simmering calm in a storm where everything else has gone wrong. Maybe it's because it's Christmas, or maybe it's the empty glasses and bottles cluttering my desk in front of... Read More

"Merry Holidays and Happy Christmas"
But then, as often does when an ACLU-type attitude goes horribly wrong, those "free religious practitioners" of other similarly-timed religious holidays decided to politicize the matter, devolving the holiday into what seems to be a vehement Christian defense of Jesus' purported birthday (which, hate to break it to you, it is most certainly... Read More

"Things I Don't Want for Christmas"
1. Socks or underwear - hey, asshole, I'm perfectly capable of getting these myself. Not to mention they're cheap, which means you're cheap, and I hate cheap... particularly when it comes to presents. "It's the thought that counts" is utter bullshit. And what does that mean, anyway? You were thinking of smelly feet and sweaty crotch? Yuck. Get... Read More

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Calamari for Dinner

*inspired by Tom at Half-Moose with a Twist's "Dang! It's a War"


"Flying octopuses?" The President of the United States is incredulous. Sure, there are octopus-shaped spaceships hovering over several Latin American and European cities, but that's no reason to use bad grammar. And her Chief of Staff says so.

"Octopi, sir."


read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes



Art by Half-Moose.
*To be continued...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Military Fakers

Recently, I was introduced to the YouTube channel of Don Shipley, a former Navy SEAL who spends a great deal of his time exposing people who pretend they were Navy SEALs (as well as fake veterans in general). Shipley cracks me up. And he's awesome.

I despise frauds. Particularly these frauds. You want to brag about having been in the military? Then join the military. You want to brag about having been in special operations? Then try out and make a special operations unit or team. Seriously.

Anyway, I've decided to rant about three personal experiences I've had with "fake soldiers," just to share. I won't name names (I actually don't know two of them), but I'll tell you how it all went down.

First, though, let me tell you that I'm a veteran. I have just over 9 years of total military service. And let me tell you that my military career was pretty uneventful. I didn't do anything significant or of consequence. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened while I was in. I was, effectively, a glorified janitor at times and a glorified clerk at other times. That's about the gist of it.

That out of the way, let's get on to the show.

The first dude was innocent enough. It happened in Wilmington, North Carolina. A young aspiring film effects guy who, as we were helping a buddy of mine with a commercial for a website, happened to notice a C-130 flying by. He looked up and mentioned that he used to push air drops out of those things. I asked when. He replied, "With the Army."

Now, this kid was young. He was overweight. He had hardware sticking out of his lips, nose, and other parts of his face. None of those are necessarily disqualifiers for having been a veteran by themselves, but all three in the form of one dude certainly piqued my curiosity. Keep in mind that, at the time, I had fairly long hair (nobody pegs me for being a veteran).

I asked if he was a paratrooper. He said no. I asked if he went to AALPS (which is the Army course that teaches how to load an aircraft). He had no clue what that was. So, finally, I asked him when he was in the fucking Army while letting him know that I'd served. He seemed incredulous, then fessed up immediately that he'd been on a C-130 once. While in high school. As an Army JROTC cadet. And he got to touch a door bundle before real crew chiefs and jumpmasters pushed it out of the plane.


The next dude surprises even me a bit. This guy really is a veteran. A Purple Heart recipient, at that. He is Ranger qualified (no small feat) and served in a LRS (long-range scout) unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He's also someone who doesn't like me very much, so he let it be known that he was a former Delta Force operator who was looking to kick my ass. Delta Force. The American version of the SAS. Bad-asses of the bad-asses.

A fight did occur between us. I elbowed him in the neck and threw him into a table. In less than two seconds. Sorry, but any real Delta Operator would've fucked me up before I even knew what hit me. Not only that, he claims that there's "no such thing as a declassified identity," and that the military calls it a "debrief." Uh, yeah... two different animals, moron. Google Valerie Plame or any other operative or operator whose identities have been made public. Ooh... what's the term they use? Yeah, "declassified."


All that aside, it's the final guy on my list that really gets me going. This also happened in Wilmington, North Carolina, at a bar by the beach (actually, it was Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, but close enough). One of my old soldiers and good friends was down for a visit from Fort Bragg, and we were enjoying a few drinks in the summer heat. To my right was an older fellow, fairly stocky, certainly loud as all get-out, wearing a sleeveless shirt with "Navy SEAL" emblazoned on the front of it.

Well, I've got mad respect for SEALs (and Green Berets, and Operators, and...) and I wanted to strike up a conversation. So I asked, "You were a SEAL?"

His response: "No, I got this shirt at a fucking gas station."

Yeah, it was heavy on the sarcasm, like I was some fucking moron. But I happen to be a moron who can spot a faker from a mile away. So I followed up with another question: "When were you in Coronado?"

Before I share his response, Coronado (for those who don't know) is where BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL) training takes place. Every SEAL goes there. Every SEAL's gone there for years. I grew up in the area. That's how I know this.

Where was I? Oh, yeah... his response: "Where?" I repeated to ensure that he heard me. I don't think the idiot's ever even been to San Diego.

So, I tapped my buddy on the shoulder and informed him we had a fake SEAL in our midst. Oddly enough, some of the other patrons in the bar were marines from Camp LeJeune enjoying some time off. Even better, the fake SEAL had been hitting on some woman who, obviously, suddenly became unimpressed.


Sorry for such an unorganized rant. But these jerks piss me off.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Hidden Conversation: In Abstract

*Images courtesy of Jayne Harnett-Hargrove


Where was she when the world came to an end? Did she miss it? She must have, since she's still here and the commercials on television as are bad as they've always been. Light beer isn't less filling. They all give her gas. So maybe they are less filling since they pass through so quickly. She's hoping nobody notices. God, life would be more tolerable were she in New York. Or Rome. In the 6th century… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes



*Read another interpretation at The Hidden Conversation: In Concrete

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: An Opinion

If you can believe it (and of course you can), people once opposed blacks in the US military. They also opposed American aborigines in the military. And Jews. And women. And... yeah, pretty much anyone who wasn't a white male Christian. Oh, and a heterosexual one, at that.

Let me just get this out of the way: repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It's pointless, most troops don't really give a shit what other troops do off-duty, and countless other militaries have allowed gays, faggots, dykes, lesbos, carpet-munchers, pillow-biters, flesh-sword exchangers, and muff-muff scissor-lockers for years.

So why don't we?

I'm a veteran. I am not gay. I served with several gays who, though they eventually confided in me (among others), were outstanding soldiers who never bothered anybody. Sure, there was an initial shock at their revelations, but that subsided quickly (usually before the end of the conversation). But, so what? It didn't affect their ability to serve in the military at all. Except that they had to be a little extra cautious when off-duty. In that sense, it probably affected their ability to serve in a negative manner.

When I was younger, I must admit, I pretended to dislike homosexuals. It was, after all, the "cool" thing to do. So, yeah, I openly berated them. Behind closed doors, however (closets! Nyer!), I didn't give a shit. I still don't. I honestly don't care. I don't support gay marriage, but neither do I oppose it. I just don't care.

Where I do care lies in the fact that we need good soldiers, sailors, and marines. And we need soldiers, sailors, and marines who actually want to serve. So why not let them?

An aside: While I'm on the subject of letting everyone serve openly, I figured I'd mention that I also support women in the combat specialties, which are still primarily closed to females (if they're willing to take a bullet, who am I to tell them they can't?).

Okay, back on topic. Let gays serve. They want to. We need personnel. What's the fucking problem?

Some facts for you:
  • In 1947, most military personnel claimed that integrating blacks and Jews would cause riots in the military. It didn't.
  • In the 1980s, many military personnel claimed that allowing women to more fully integrate in the military (primarily on Navy vessels) would cause too many problems to be worth it. Yes, there were some hiccups, but overwhelming disruption there was not.
  • Today, some claim that allowing gays to serve will do the same. I got news for you: it won't.
Let 'em serve. That is all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Table of Contents: Merlot & Coffee

Funny story, this one. It all started with a drunken rant in which I convinced myself that "Merlot & Coffee" would make a good title for a fiction piece (you can read the rant here, if you're curious). Once I sobered up I started formulating a story in my head... and then I won a challenge for The Tenth Daughter of Memory. For those unfamiliar, the winners there get to pick a follow-up topic (called Muses). So, I picked "Merlot & Coffee."

And the rest is history.

Okay, not really, but I had a heck of a time writing these. Yes, the story's life on Irreverent Irrelevance has come to a close, but the rest of it is going to wind up somewhere, I assure you.

"No Meat; No Creamer"
Todd Grayson was not his real name, but it suited him. The alias was a not-so-subtle nod to his favorite comic book character and it reminded him that there was always someone else pulling strings. Even now, as he prepared to pull the strings of one of his charges, someone... Read More

"Your Machete; My Cleaver"
Grayson studies the imagery from the kidnapping. The local police aren't touching this one - the kidnapped man is a known terrorist - and that's a bit of a relief for Grayson. Less interference that way. Tying these loose ends has already taken too much time and the last... Read More

"Matches? Check. Charcoal? Check."
"So, what? It's used for cutting?" Merlot smiles, winks, and successfully distracts and irritates Coffee. She's actually quite adept at demolitions and knows the difference between cutting and concussion charges, but allows Coffee the acknowledgment that, yes, he's better at... Read More

"Mercury Costs More Than Cyanide"
"Truth serum? Come on, Merlot. How amateur is that?" Grayson, tied down to a hospital bed, remains confidently defiant. Though he is a bit confused. Merlot's one of the best in this part of the world - not the best, mind you, for eliminating your best operative is never the wisest thing... Read More

Thursday, December 9, 2010



A kiss. Passionate. Wet. Arousing. She is beautiful. And he's no idea why she loves him.

But such things shouldn't be wondered about in the middle of a gunfight. She'll mention that later, he's sure… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes



*Continued in Camera

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TSA: Flying the Friendly Skies

By now everyone's heard the stories: countless examples of sexual assaults. Everything from groping, boob-grabbing, ass-pinching, and camel-toe sliding tales of humiliation and embarrassment. And all under the auspices of the American government and "flying the (unfriendly) safe skies."

Yeah, fine, whatever. It's overkill. Everyone knows it's overkill. Only those who buy into the rampant "protect me" fear-mongering think it's not overkill. It doesn't take much to bring down a plane. Certainly there are explosives that fit within the 3-ounce limit imposed by the TSA. Certainly there are weapon assemblies that can be creatively sneaked onto aircraft via multiple terrorists.

Quick aside: Did you know that it's legal to ship a firearm on a passenger plane as long as it's in your checked luggage? Like someone couldn't take a butter-knife, stab their way to the cargo compartment, recover their bag, and REALLY cause problems. Hell, someone could do that with sharpened ear-tips on Flexon eyeglasses. Hmm... I probably shouldn't be giving anyone any ideas.


Heightened security measures aren't going anywhere for a while. Face it. People are just too afraid or too stupid. So, I'm going to propose a solution that will make (almost) everyone happy.

Quick aside: I actually kind of support the full-body scanners, but would prefer clear proof they don't pose health risks (like, at all). I think I'll wait for the ones from Total Recall.


Where was I? Oh, yeah... a solution that will make (almost) everyone happy.

Let us pick which TSA agent does the pat-down should we refuse the scanner. No, really... just like a menu line at a brothel (so I've heard...), line up the TSA agents and let us pick the one we get to let sexually assault us in the name of security. Sure, it's shallow, but shit... I'm okay with a Monica Bellucci lookalike groping me in the name of safe flying. I'm not okay with a Steve Buscemi lookalike doing it (sorry Steve... love your acting, but you're not my type).

In addition to the choice of gropers, let us be obnoxiously lewd in return. Like, seriously. Don't scream at us for not cooperating. If faux Monica rubs me a little close, let me share the fact that I'm having an erection without some government asshole threatening me with charges. I mean, shit, dude, you're the one touching me in all the places Mom and Dad told me not to let people touch me. I should be able to share the fact that I'd like to shove certain body parts in certain body parts of my government-endorsed rapist. It's a give and take, no? Isn't this about compromise?

Yes, it is.

So, there's my compromise. Let us pick who fondles us. And let us vocally share our (dis)taste for the fondling.

I can live with that.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010



We're wide open / waiting / for the single gust of wind that can carry a dream / into the next place / where nightmares aren't / as frightening as sounds of mourning /  that let you know you'll never see me again / with arms out / false wings, un-hollow, unable to fly / on the single burst of wind that can carry a dream / into the eternal embrace of what lies beneath / where feet once walked / on what is now the opaque sky… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Monday, December 6, 2010

Co-Writing Pearl, Harbour

So, my first co-write in years went up about a month ago and, well, I like it. I loved writing it, I love who I wrote it with, I love the story, the setting, yada yada yada. None of that means it was any good, but I loved the whole process. Oddly enough, I found it quite relaxing. It took a lot of the onus for creativity off of me (being placed squarely on my co-writer) and gave me the opportunity to do what I'm actually good at (editing) within a creative work rather than after the fact.

Is there room for improvement? Hell, yes. But one has to start somewhere, and I couldn't think of a better place, time, or partner to do so with.

Anyway, I'm not trying to sound arrogant or pretentious, but I've been asked about how it all came together by a couple of people, so I'm sharing. Hey, it was fun. I'd recommend it to anyone who's thinking about it. For those who haven't read the piece, here it is:

Pearl, Harbour

How did it come together? That's easy enough to begin to answer, not so easy to thoroughly answer. Basically, I asked Baino if she'd be willing to co-write something with me. There was no plot in mind, no specific notion of character, setting, or tone. Merely an image of a lover dying underneath a tree and a loose concept inspired by a song Baino had shared with me a few days prior to my asking ("Breathe Me" by Sia... you can listen to it on the IrreTrax page in the fourth playlist, "Romance Movie").

Later that week, Baino sent me part of an article concerning Australia's internment of Japanese - both POW and Australian citizen - during World War II. It was perfect.

Initially, we were looking at a two-part story. She had a clearer idea of how the story would unfold, so she wrote most of what would ultimately become chapter 1 ("Rising Suns") and chapter 4 ("Pearl in the Water") of the story. That was our rough draft. Within that draft were a few simple notes to me: "add a sex scene," "fill this in," "what happens after the escape?"

So I set off filling in the blanks. Strangely, Baino had written little of the woman into the story, concentrating almost solely on what the man was going through. Needless to say, I felt balance was needed and put some in place. Two parts became three. Sitting back and looking at natural plot points, three parts became five (the idea of four chapters was largely skipped). By the time I finished my crack, we had their meeting and the beginning of their journey together. But no destination. No romance.

So Baino set off filling in those blanks. And by the time she finished her crack, we had them living a life together, a romantic seduction and sex scene, the beginnings of the post-escape journey, and were at the point at which the man would be killed (which she requested I write). Admittedly, I was more than happy to end the story with his death, but we both acknowledged there could be some sort of epilogue for the woman. I wasn't completely sold on the idea, but Baino's subtle hints had a sense of urgency to them, so I wrote one in (two, really) amid the threat of writing a sixth chapter.

Next came edits, rewrites, throwing stuff out, adding stuff in, a final read-through and, voila: story done. There wasn't nearly as much arguing as we both expected, but there was still quite a bit. I'd erase or change something in an effort to de-romanticize it a tad. She'd erase or change something in an effort to soften its bluntness. And we'd both put stuff back in the other had taken out. And then we'd take it out again (sometimes accidentally in our haste to beat the other to the punch).

Reading back, it's kinda funny. There is serious confusion in many passages as to who wrote what... both of us taking credit for a particular sentence or paragraph and neither of us taking credit for another (she'll be more than happy to give me credit for the title, though... since she hates it)(which is just payback for her decision to use British-English spelling in lieu of American-English without consulting me). Each character has traits that are subjective to only one of us, oblivious to the motivations of the other author. And the factual details came from the most unlikely of places (Baino, admittedly, did most of the military research, while I did more concerning the physical landscape of Australia... go figure).

And that, as they say, is largely that. Hope you enjoyed the result.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Irrewind, 20101204: Wandering

Occasionally I wander around the world, looking for something I haven't yet identified. Frequently my mind wanders around the universe, thinking up weird stuff to keep my ennui from killing me. I'm certain these are not phenomena unique to me, but I think they're worthy of an Irrewind, anyway.

"Where Did the Road Go?"
The great escape. That's what the road was to people in generations past. Just themselves, their car, and the road. That black streak that disappeared around the bend, over the next rise, or into the horizon. A perfect quiet, noisy in that way that doesn't bother you... four pieces of rubber on the pavement rolling faster than the eye can see... Read More

As humans, we are the only species on this planet capable of going anywhere we choose, any time we choose. The world is ours to travel, to work in, to play in. Why should we die so closely to where we were born? Now, I do realize that many people simply return to where they were originally from after a lifetime of adventure, but I do... Read More

"Potential Energy"
Leg's trying to kick, but it's hard to throw a foot when sitting down. The night air is crisp and the lights of the local excuse for a city beckon with false promises of forgetful adventure. There's music I haven't heard somewhere, but I'll be damned to know what it is. Today's cigarette didn't help... my lungs still want to scream and I want to run... Read More

The question popped him out of his trance. The wide expanse of West Coast sand had hypnotized him the way only a collection of memories and dreams could. The rolling of Pacific waves during high tide reminded him of years wasted in the wrong parts of the world and the crashing water seemed to taunt him for seeking out calmer seas. His... Read More

"The Burning Bridge"
It's time to pack up and go
while the bridge can still be traversed
before it turns into ash... Read More

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the Wind


The vortex tears through the landscape, ripping apart everything in its unspoken need to feed oblivion. Objects passing by mere blurs in peripheral vision, though the roar in the air remains a deafening constant. Occasionally, there's a momentary scream, piercing and mercifully brief. He's labeled the ones higher in pitch as "children," and he'd be pained to learn how accurate the connection is. His muscles are exhausted; there are no calories left to burn. But he's holding on with fingers locked. He's no idea what foundation the metal… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Extracurricular Endeavors

So, while I'm tiring of the blogosphere in general, I still find blogs to be extremely useful. And even though this blog will take a step back after the New Year (some have noticed the redesign/strip-down already), I'll be sticking around The Tenth Daughter of Memory and lurking on a couple of private blogs. One of those private blogs is a writer's group that welcomes any aspiring writer who wants to hone their skills with the assistance of honest critiques (some amateur, some professional). The other is the home of my unedited, unabashed creative writing.

The Tenth Daughter of Memory Muses On...

The Tenth Daughter of Memory started its second year of existence this past September and it's a wild ride. The talent keeps improving, the competition keeps stiffening, and the Muses keep getting... weirder. Many participants have even submitted their entries for publication in a variety of places and it appears a few of them will see legitimate print (and even get made into short films).

Personally, I can't wait until February and the next River of Mnemosyne Challenge. That's a royal butt-kicker. Cowards and hacks need not apply, if you know what I mean.

The Infanticide Exchange Revisited

On September 1st of this year, a group of us launched The Infanticide Exchange, an online writer's group for aspiring writers who wanted to share and receive honest criticisms with other aspiring writers. It got off to a great start, then languished a bit, but now seems to be leveling out at a steady pace. It's been a useful tool for me, and I know several of the other members will claim the same.

Anyone interested, feel free to contact an admin (Baino, JeffScape, Krys, Not for Jellyfish, and Tom) and check it out. Admin email addresses are available at their profiles.

Announcing: Panoramic Mindscapes

Most of my regular readers know that I have a strange rule concerning creative writing here at IrreX2: I don't post complete stories. This is done for a variety of reasons, copyright issues being one of them. But I do continue to work on stories that appear here piecemeal. And, so, for my close friends and certain people who I want to see published themselves (read: potential clients... cough, cough), I've started a private blog where those who want to see the rest of those stories unfold can go to do so. I call it "Panoramic Mindscapes" and if you'd like an invite, shoot me an email. Just be forewarned that I'm being ludicrously picky as to who gets access, so please don't take offense if I don't respond.