February 27, 2006


Doctor today. Blood taken. Sitting for hours in the fluorescent waiting room, no book, no magazine, with dozens of other people waiting to be poked with a needle. Listened to two women talk in great detail how to make Jerk Chicken. The world is a fascinating place.

Got a prescription for precious, precious Inderal. It’s a stage fright drug that I learned about because it’s taken by half of the NY philharmonic. It’s a perfect stage fright drug because it doesn't act like a downer like Valium. Motor coordination is fine, it just cuts the nerves. I took it on my book tour most nights. I have three readings in March in Portland, L.A. and Berkeley. It’s been a while since I’ve done a reading. I’m older now, maybe I won’t be as nervous, but I’d like to not take the chance on being an embarrassment. My heart could end up in my throat and I won’t be able to speak at all. I’ll mention the readings as the day draws closer. Maybe I’ll meet a blogger or two. Another reason to take stage fright medication. I don’t want to end up like Andy Partridge.

I’m days away from releasing my novel.

February 26, 2006


Went to the zoo today with the family. The Double-wattled Cassowary is a nutty bird.


Also took Olivia to see her first movie this weekend. Curious George. A nice time.

The weekend before we went to the Grove in Los Angeles. We’d never been there because we thought it might be a hideous and horrible place. It is a hideous and horrible place.

February 24, 2006

Short Story

Via The Man Who Couldn’t Blog, I found out about Mike Topp and his blog. I guess I’m dumb because I’d never heard of him. He’s had me laughing out loud several times, which is several times more than most writing. Like Stella.

The other night, as I was falling asleep--which is usually a creative time of things that don’t make sense--I composed three very short stories. Here’s one. This was the night after a stayed up all night taking care of Olivia so my mind was firing weird. Not quite funny.


My dad’s friend, someone’s uncle, had a skull for a head. He wasn’t gaunt-looking or thin, he had an actual skull for a head, like Eddie from Iron Maiden. Inside the skull there was flesh. He had gums. He had eyes. So he was able to eat. We were sitting in a restaurant, a diner, talking seriously. He was wearing a v-neck sweater. I couldn’t stop staring at him, then it became normal. Some people looked over, then stopped. He carried himself well. He was articulate.

February 23, 2006



Recently watched the movie, Wonderland. Another movie about unredeeming derelicts acting horribly and treating each other badly which made me feel bad afterwards. Not that bad, it’s not that powerful a movie, but I have a diminishing patience for movies about people being ugly through and through. Wonderland’s about John Holmes, porn star, who was involved in the murder of four junkies/thieves in the early eighties. The movie wanted very much to be like Boogie Nights. So did Blow. I didn’t like that much either, sort of awkward.

But that’s not what I’m writing about. I checked the extra features on the DVD and there was police video footage of the actual crime scene. A detective, calmly, blandly describing, "There are blood patterns in a westerly direction from victim number one. Ransacking is present. On the table there is drug paraphernalia. An ashtray with five cigarettes. Three Winston, two Salems." All the while standing over a man who’s been beaten to death with a steel rod. Blood everywhere, head caved in.

I’d never seen a murder scene like that, and never seen one after I’d just watched a fictionalized account. The movie makes the whole thing seem sort of fun, which was what made seeing the real police video all that more affecting. The movie’s trying to be harrowing, but a movie is an entertainment, you’re supposed to enjoy it. The police video was just so fucking scary and sad. Cheap furniture, a shitty L.A. house, not unlike places I have lived, a blood stained book, "Mysticism," dead people in every room. Nightmarish and awful.

I haven’t seen too much real-life violence. That’s an incredible "knock on wood" statement. One time walking near Astor Place in New York City, two guys walked past me. Suddenly everything went black and my face hurt. One of the guys had hit me in the face. I could see him smiling as he walked away. Blood poured out of my nose in gushes. My friend went to get napkins from a pizza place. I have never seen death up close, never seen war firsthand, never seen someone get shot. If we’re to believe the news, this shit happens all the time.

I’ve just written a book in which people are murdered. Seeing the real thing is a whole different animal. My book is supposed to be a kind of satire, sort of like American Psycho is a satire, but not really. Wonderland is not a satire, it’s supposed to be an accurate portrayal of what actually happened, which makes the movie a sort of fucked-up exercise. People always tell kids that they shouldn’t get too scared at a movie, it’s all make-believe. No one really got hurt. I don’t believe this. If you shoot a scene in which a woman is murdered, someone gets tortured, whatever, there’s a lot going on. The actors are channeling bad experiences in order to express something, the audience is collectively feeling terrible, you’ve put the thing to print. So making a movie is not the same thing as hideous things happening, but I’m not sure it’s entirely helpful either. Especially if the only thing the movie is trying to express is: life sucks.

In other opinions, I thought the violence in Munich was non-affecting and contrived, when it’s supposed to be powerful and truth-telling. Perhaps because the docudrama violence is coupled with action movie crap, the whole movie lost its impact. I just couldn’t stand the scene where a little girl might be blown up with her father who’s supposed to die. There’s an interview with Hitchcock, I think from the interviews done by Truffaut, in which he says that creating suspense where a child is in danger is hack filmmaking: it’s too easy.

I liked Brokeback Mountain a lot. It was moving.

Crash was horrid. I agree with the people at Toilet Paper Online. I think the movie’s about racism, but I’m not sure.

February 22, 2006



Up all night with my daughter, Olivia, who has an ear infection. "Boo-boo in my ear. It hurts, Daddy." Crushing at 3 a.m. A hot water bottle on her ear helped it out. Went to the doctor this morning and she has a big blister inside her ear. She also had to get a hepatitis shot with an inch long needle. I haven’t gone through some of these things since she was a baby. Staying up all night, instinct taking over. She's much better now. Makes me empathetic to my friend who just had a baby a few days ago. Congratulations, friend.

February 17, 2006

Waiting Room

I have not been blogging. I have been coping with internet addiction and gathering stuff together for when the book is released. Still waiting for the fucker to arrive in the mail so I can approve the book and release it. I’ve got twenty or so letters sitting in wait to people who have been receptive about reviewing the book. Some with very cool blogs/sites, some I’m not so sure of. I’ve got plans. I want to start the process already. I’ve been waiting months and years for this.

The internet addiction thing is no joke. My head hurts. I’ve been travelling Myspace looking for like-minded writers and publishers. All with the delusion that it will make a difference when my book’s released. I feel weirder about adding random strangers. My page is here. Better than nothing though, and still satisfying to be added, get a blog comment, a new link, a new sitemeter referral, a little pat on the back of approval which is druglike. Anyway, my head is clogged waiting for the next wave to begin so I haven’t had the headspace to write here.

I could be writing about things like this: there is an epidemic of bad driving in Los Angeles. Is this occurring other places? People not signaling. How fucking hard is it to signal? People taking forever to make a right turn. I am an impatient driver. Impatient overall.

We went to a Wallgreens the other day for an extended run. When you’ve got kids, hanging out in the cheap toy isle at a drugstore is something to do. It was fun though. We played nerf football in the aisles. I bought a new toothbrush. It has a tongue scraper and ergonomic finger pads. I am impressed with new toothbrush design.

For a long time products seemed to stay the same. That’s how it was when I was growing up. There were Oreos. And Doublestuff. Now there’re 20 different kinds of Oreos. Coffee-flavored, half-vanilla. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with caramel. Thirty kinds of toothbrushes. The people in the design departments are getting bored. Each one needs a new wrapper design, a new ad campaign. There are too many people to employ. So stuff needs to get made. Not very insightful, but consumerism has gotten crazier in the last ten years.

February 15, 2006

That Girl

Good new link on the sidebar in the Books section: That Girl Who Writes Stuff.

Also, I didn’t know that Dennis Cooper has a blog. He does.

February 14, 2006


I used to be better about compiling these. Please don’t steal them--I’m probably going to use them at some point.

"It is better not to touch our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands."
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

"Dying for love might be pitiable, but it wasn't much different, finally, from any other kind of dying."
Richard Yates, Cold Spring Harbor

"Egypt one knows without visiting it, and China the same; but Los Angeles is unique in its bright horror."
Gore Vidal, Messiah

"Bloodless people cannot be made to bleed."
James Baldwin, Another Country

"People who go to America," said Madame Belet, "never come back."
James Baldwin, Another Country

"What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story." (current North of Sunset epigraph)
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon

"Men born of clay take no joy in excrement, regardless of its purveyor."
Jim Thompson, The Golden Gizmo

"Mexico is sinister and gloomy and chaotic with the special chaos of a dream."
William Burroughs in a letter to Jack Kerouac, 1951

"In the long run I guess we are all failures or we wouldn’t have the kind of world we have."
Raymond Chandler, in a letter, 1951

"At heart man depends on the picture of himself formed in the minds of others, even if the others are half-wits."
Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke

"Pride will flaunt its ugliness quite as if it were beauty."
Thomas Disch, Camp Concentration

"It is a sound instinct of the common people which persuades them that with this all that needs to be said is said."
Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge

"The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men."
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

"Belief that everything originates in ‘matter’ is as silly as a belief in the Trinity." Leo Tolstoy

February 10, 2006

Blog Books

I’ve recently read two books by people whose blogs I read before their books:

The Human War by Noah Cicero

human war

and Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

candy girl

They’re both good.

February 8, 2006


Holy Godlord, I think the novel might be done. The cover looks decent enough. Just received it in the mail. It’s still flawed and I should have gotten a lot more for $300, but I am so sick of waiting for the cover to be done that I may just release it. I’m going to sit with the book a while and see if I can live with it. If I can, I’m posting a link and finally sending it off to reviewers.

February 7, 2006


I was looking through stuff that I’d written and I felt good about it, I didn’t want to kill myself. I like My Cherry. I am writing a blog entry because I am scared to look at On Parole, something that still needs a lot of work. Revision makes my skin hurt.

People criticized Bush at the Corretta Scott King funeral. Which is good because, you know, Bush is a fucking asshole.

I don’t have much more to write than that.

February 6, 2006


My e-friend, Mike Ferraro, has a very cool article about the Fantes up on the lit site, Laura Hird.com. Go there. He’s also a great songwriter. Go there too. The age of the songwriter/novelist is coming. I've never been a Leonard Cohen fanatic. I've never finished Beautiful Losers.

February 4, 2006

Chinese Hope

Something someone said inspired this. I don’t remember what it was. I like it though.

For some reason there’s a guitar thing at the end. I’m leaving it there because it’s the indie rock thing to do.

Chinese Hope

February 2, 2006


I think this blog is being stalked by my ex-girlfriend. I probably shouldn’t single her out but I’m curious about the people who come here semi-often who never make comments. Someone comes every once in a while via my Myspace profile from Nashville, Tennessee. I think my ex-girlfriend lives in Nashville now. I've written a few songs about her on the right: "Succeed or Fold," "Be My Wife," the end of "Motor Beds." I link to her husband’s band via Myspace so I’m thinking that’s how it happened. I’m not going to say what the band is, but the drummer from Blondie is really good. That’s an obscure hint. I don’t want to alienate anyone from coming back here, but I’m curious who you are. Either way, it’s cool to have someone from Nashville come to this site more than a couple times.

The girlfriend I lost my virginity to and went out with for 4 years was the long-term girlfriend of John Vanderslice before me. He’s gotten really incredibly successful since then. She had old Vanderslice demo tapes and MK Ultra CDs laying around. I didn’t think much of them back then. I mean, I didn’t even listen to them entirely. I had an immature hang-up about ex-boyfriends. I wonder if those old demos are worth anything. I knew he was becoming really successful when I was in Wilmington, NC and a girl told me he was her favorite songwriter. The man’s really paid his dues because he’s been recording music for 20 years. So I'm sandwiched between two rock stars with my ex-girlfriends. Which means I should be a rock star too.

Another person comes here via a mail program from Yakima, Washington. I don’t remember sending an email with this link to Washington, so I’m wondering. Maybe I should make this a de-lurking post, but that could get embarrassing if no one makes a comment.

February 1, 2006



Happy Birthday, Stefanie. I mean, Samantha.

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