November 10, 2008

Shock Therapy

Go see my father's play. It is good:

shock therapy

Three psychotherapists. A painter.
A runaway daughter.
And an ex-con with a major score to settle.
Welcome to the party.


Thu-Sat 8pm Sun 7pm
Previews Nov 1, 2, 6, 7
Sunday matinees Nov 30/Dec 7 2pm

1076 N. LILLIAN WAY L.A. 90038
Tickets and information:
(323) 960-4420
Discounted tickets available through:

September 18, 2008

Baum on Palin

I just want to say, with a kind of demented pride, that this woman is a member of my family:

September 3, 2008

I Didn't Know

I Didnt Know -

August 15, 2008

Go Out and Stay Out

All right, so I wasn’t up to diving back into this. I’ve been incredibly busy in ways that I don’t necessary want to blog about it. Don’t want to be overly morose or divorce-and-tell about a marriage that went sour. Doesn’t feel right. Instead I’ll blog in song. It’s all been very good fodder for songwriting. I’m going to go Elvis Costello “Blood & Chocolate” and write a record about my divorce. Here’s the latest song, first song written and recorded in my new place, which conveniently has an extra office space that I’ve turned into a studio.

Go Out and Stay Out - Ash Tree

Also, in other news, The Golden Calf got a really nice review @ Oxyfication. Click that Golden Calf link and you can read the book for free.

July 25, 2008


I think I’ve posted this before, but here again it makes sense because it basically explains the story of my marriage. Almost word for word.

July 21, 2008

Hero of the Underground

Tony O'Neill's got a new book out. A memoir he ghosted about a football player who turned dope addict. Actually, not ghosted, withed. I haven't read it yet, but given Digging the Vein was one of the best books I've read in the last ten years, I'm gonna get this one:


Update: Tony O'Neill's started a blog. I may actually get to blogging myself if I can get a moment.

July 17, 2008

Music Box

Last night I was woken up at 2 a.m. by a music box starting to play, out of nowhere. The sound of a music box is eerie, no matter how nice the song, especially being woken up by it. Last week when my daughter was here, I was beat tired. She very sweetly put a blanket on me, gave me a stuffed animal, and cranked the music box so it would play. Because she rules. There's no reason that the music box should start playing out of the blue a week later after it had wound down. My theory: she was dreaming about the music box, which set the music box going in my place. I ended up dreaming about her.

July 16, 2008


I love this, got it for my brother last Christmas. I’m not all morose at A.T.:

Peanut Brittle - Paul F. Tompkins


Writing going well. Not much more to say than that. While listening to: Afro Blue - John Coltrane

Also got the check for my car from the insurance company today, which allows me to breathe. Had to shell out a lot of money to move into this place, a larger security deposit than most. But I love the place. Wood floors. Found nice furniture cheap, an entire bedroom set for a girl for all of $200. The move, aside from the car accident, which had its own disguised blessing, had a lot of hints that it was the right thing to do. I’d lost some of my faith that I could will things to be better. Getting diagnosed with a worsening illness was a real fucking insult: you’ve worked very hard, in your life, on your marriage, for your daughter, and here’s your reward. Depressed me horribly around wintertime. But it’s also given me some perspective on what matters, brought back some of my urgency. And the move went in such a way that I’ve felt somewhat taken care of, no matter what’s happening, which is something that I’d pretty devoutly lost.

Tabula Rasa

I love Imeem. Used to be Youtube was the best way to find music, now Imeem. Don’t see how they can post copyrighted material without getting arrested, but in the meantime…I often put this on when I’m starting over in some way. Because of the title and the way it hits the bloodstream.

Arvo Part - Tabula Rasa

July 15, 2008



A picture of my car, a fair estimation of my life. Actually, not that bad. Got a good night of writing in last night. Moved here with a major project to do – over the spring I wrote most of a novel longhand in a notebook. Didn’t want to plug the novel in earlier because I wanted to have the project when I moved in. And last night I finally started. Reworking the novel that I’ve been sitting on for five years. Wrote a screenplay last fall, partially based on that novel, but better mapped together. Using the plot of the screenplay mixed with the ideas, some of the writing, of the novel that never really came together. I’m thinking a screenplay is the best way to outline a novel. At least for me. My dirty secret. So some good things coming from parts of my life getting totally demolished.

July 14, 2008


I’ve started selling half my things. The money’ll be nice, but getting rid of the cluttter is also important. Moving 1000 books here was just such a pain in the ass. Those things were bought pre-Internet, back when if you found something in a used bookstore, you had to buy it, because you never knew when you’d see it again. Now you can find anything in five seconds online. Also: CD burners. But don’t tell anyone.

Just a few things listed so far. Might list hundreds. So if you want a copy of the DSM-IV or Joy Division’s Closer, go to it.

The New Yorker

Crazy life I am leading now. Back and forth between the person I was when I was twenty-five to being a full-time father the following week. I would be disingenuous to say that I’m not grateful for the space, especially coming out of a difficult time, going on years. I’m a better father when I’m alone, when I can’t rely on anyone else, and she likes the undivided attention. I had her last week in the apartment for the first time, and it went well. She’s adapting as well as possible. Misses me but also likes new things. Her cousin and closest friend are kids of divorce, so it’s not entirely foreign to her. I’m not a kid of divorce, so it’s foreign to me, but a change was desperately necessary.

Here I am single again prepared for anything, divorced with a kid, a different kind of single, with different priorities because much of what single people desire is, in a way, behind me. I think about this a lot because this neighborhood is teaming with single people, young L.A. ambitious types, compared to the neighborhood I came from full of orthodox Jewish families, the women in wigs, their kids off limits, like living in someone else’s country. And now the country I’m living in is full of young hot L.A., very strange, though women don’t make me nervous like they might’ve ten years ago. It’s like - if I knew then what I know now, and I do. But I want a girlfriend not at all, I want to write a book.

I just never managed to be so prolific a writer after my daughter was born. I got some things done, but not when I was in my twenties, holed up like a hermit, with nothing else to think about. I never managed to be one of those people who wakes at five just to get writing in. I tend to write like crazy for a month and then spend more months recovering, but I need that month to get it all down, and it never came b/c my wife and I were always struggling, financially, personally. I’d be lying if I that didn’t weigh on me and the marriage, because it did, I’m human, and an ambitious human. That’s not why the marriage broke up – it was that and many other reasons. Back when I was blogging most profusely, we were in trouble in ways I didn’t mention, but I used the blog to escape it.

…much like I used the primary election in the past 6 months, as the marriage dissolved. Probably best that I didn’t blog then, but I wrote a hell of a lot of Kos comments. As my marriage was sinking, there’s Hillary Clinton, unrelenting and critical of the guy I was supporting, got under my skin like the rest of the country, like souls were at battle. Now I care very little about the election, seeing it as a way for people to feel self-righteous. The New Yorker cover today is a perfect example. The over-sensitivity is very boring, manufactured, not even frustrating. The rest of the election is probably going to unfold the same way. People desperate for an outrage. It just ain’t as fun as the Clintons, who are like fictional characters. The Internet is boring me, but that’s probably for the best.

So…I’m alone in the apartment for a week, two weeks out of every month. I can’t screw this up. I’ve been given some free time, no matter how it came about, and I can’t fail the separation and myself, now that I’ve got to figure out why I’m here on my own.

July 9, 2008


I am freakishly tired. No time to think about much of anything except what needs to get done. In two weeks time, found a place, bought furniture, shopped for whatever else, worked when I could. Finally got myself a car yesterday. A big relief, bleeding money to rent a car was no fun. And the new car rules:

volvo 240

A 91 Volvo 240, black. Can’t be too many of them around. Previously had this (Not the actual car):

chrysler cirrus

Homely, but worked. Except the brakes screeched like an old lady and the radio didn’t work. Wish I had taken a cellphone picture of the car after the accident. The right front was smashed in, couldn’t even roll to the tow truck. Never been in an accident – both airbags deployed, sprinkling some kind of dust in my face that I smelled for hours afterwards, everything seemed to turn white. Corner of my eye saw a woman at the streetcorner backing out of the way. Hit so hard that my car nearly spun around, rolling into a newspaper box. Corner of Bedford and Olympic, which I now try to avoid. First couple of days driving sucked, nervous, thought it might stay that way. But I’m back driving without much problem. And the Volvo drives like a tank, so it feels safe, and slow enough that I can never be impatient.

July 3, 2008


I guess now is as good a time as any to talk about the ongoing insanity that is my life:

Going through a divorce.
Only going to see my daughter half-time.
Found out in the recent months that my health has deteriorated. I feel all right, generally, but my future health is pretty uncertain. Bad kidneys, so you know. With no long-term health insurance.
Next, on the way back from a move to my new apartment, I got into a car accident, totaling my car.
The day before my birthday.
Yes, rough.

Things are very weird and nerve-wracking right now, but good too, moving on and forward in a way that was meant to be. The marriage couldn’t last. May or may not write about that. So fucking much to do right now, pretty overwhelming. But I think I want to get writing here again, as I’ve got a different type of time to kill. Nice new template to break it in.

I also owe it to my publishers to be more visible again. Good timing, really, that the reprint of my novel came out now, as this big change is here. So buy it. It’s a base price of $4. $4!!! And then add whatever you want to the price above that. The book looks fucking great, proud of it. And it’s FREE TO READ online. Read it and make whatever donation you think is right afterwards, that’s how they work.

I’ve got a lot to say, so I will. That song I posted last week puts it in perspective, didn’t want to write about it then. First verse is to myself about not seeing my daughter. Second verse is to my daughter, should she ever lose me permanently. Heavy, heavy times, but I’ve got much hope and will.

Here it is again:

Muse - Ash Tree

I don’t need a song about her
She exists in more than name
But the song might be permanent
And I don’t want her to go away, away

When you hear this song remember
All that I wanted to say
Like your soul – it is infinite
And that I won’t ever go away
I will never go away, today

OK, that’s my life story. I’m off to see a shrink.

June 16, 2008


The Golden Calf is out!



another sky press

Which means you can read it for free online – but not yet. Currently, you can read the first two chapters online at the bottom of the page. I’ll update this once the whole book’s up.

I’m going to be blogging soon, back in it. A lot going on now but can’t get into it yet. So stay tuned, buy a book, listen to a song.

June 11, 2008


Muse - Ash Tree

March 20, 2008

Come On

Finally finished this song, the first one with Logic Express 8 and an electronic drumset. Took me forever to set up the drumset, long story. And I have so many toys at my disposal now that I’ve been fiddling with this song endlessly. But I gotta finish something. Much more thought out than other recordings, but problems here and there that could be better.

I think I’m out of practice not playing in a band for so long. Gives me new appreciation for musicians who are able to play any kind of music flawlessly. I’ll get better at this. Quit denigrating myself. Here it is.

Come On - Ash Tree

A remake of this song, posted last year. Man, I don’t remember it being that slow:

Come One


come on inside
sit by the fire
it’s on tv
and we can make believe
we’re watching news.

let’s take a ride
on our hard drive
we’ll cure the virus
spreading like the measles
of our youth

don’t we both just paint a picture
of people don’t want to be known
two people will make one except if
that person doesn’t reach out
to the only one they know

come on we’ll
reap what we scythe
and sleep through the night
at home
come on we’ll
seem like we’re right
and be who we want
to know

come on let’s fight
about our life
we’ll reach a truce
when we realize the world
is not alone

it’s a delight
to be alive
in time we’ll find that we
can be on top of
what we love

March 10, 2008


New template and news. My novel, The Golden Calf, is ready for preorder.


People say about it:

“This pacy, tightly written novel is like ‘Taxi Driver’ meets Charles Bukowski’s Factotum.”

“An amusing, persuasive insight into obsession, stalking and the disintegration of sanity. Highly recommended to anyone with a bitter hatred of Tom Cruise and Hollywood stars in general.”

“A marvel of pace and comic timing….Much of Baum’s narrative bears a similarity to Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground.”
-Daily Telegraph

“With a superb narrative control, Baum paints a portrait of male dysfunction set to explode.”
-The List

“Ray is nearly as good a portrait of post-collegiate angst as has been painted so far.”
-New York Press

“Explores the hazy junction where the teeth of the daily grind sink into the day-dreamt certainties of life’s true bell-head sounds.”
-Lee Ranaldo, member of Sonic Youth

February 28, 2008

3 AM

I’m in this, a story, “Thirteen Mississippi.” I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s available here. Thanks to 3AM and Social Disease.

3am anthology

If anyone’s wondering what I’m up to: I have plans to post some music here soon but it’s taking a while. Now that I’ve decided to take songwriting more seriously, and I can play anything I want to: drums, strings, whatever, I’ve become a fairly insane perfectionist. I’m on, like, the eighth draft of the same song. I need to admit that it might not be possible to record a totally clean recording by myself. I’m thinking of a Dinosaur Jr. record called “Whatever’s Cool with Me,” where J. Mascis plays the drums. The drums are strangely, but interestingly, off. I’m deep into it, though, and enjoying it, the main thing I think about. Anyway, I hope to have something done in the next week or so.

February 8, 2008

Book Cover

Me like it:


January 29, 2008

Van Halen!

Oh man, this is one of the most amazing things I’ve heard online. David Lee Roth’s vocals isolated for “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Click it, amazing. He’s like John Coltrane playing three notes at once. How in the hell does he do that with his voice?

Runnin with the Devil

After reading DLR’s autobiography a couple months ago, I got obsessed with Van Halen. Played every record. Found good Youtube stuff. Like Ice Cream Man.

Or Eddie Van Halen, wasted, destroying a guitar.

I’d love to see them live, way cooler than seeing Led Zeppelin reform, they ain’t nothing without John Bonham.

Been listening to more drum-heavy music, now that I've got a drumset. Almost got it working. Almost. Sort of painful getting it set up. I'll probably write a review of my drum set-up because I've been nerding so heavily about V-drums and software. Playing drums again has been a nice sense memory of what it was like when I was 25. Don't know what you've been missing til you've got it back. Realize it was the main thing keeping me from considering myself as a songwriter. Always thought a band would come down the pike at some point, time in a recording studio, but I kind of like the idea of playing everything myself. Recording to come soon. I may sign up for this.

January 28, 2008

Darryl's Library

North of Sunset has a new review, possibly the last one, a good one, by Darryl Sloan, author of the novel Chion. He digs the character of Detective Stein. A lot of people have told me that, don’t like that he doesn’t get a final word.

He also offered to make North of Sunset a free download. I actually tried to change the download cost at Lulu, but they wouldn’t let me. This is better, comes with this nice graphic. Click it to download and read the PDF.


January 17, 2008


I wish the fucking writer’s strike would end already. I’ve still got a screenplay lying dormant.

Meanwhile, yes, Tom Cruise is a lunatic. That look in his eyes throughout this interview is everything North of Sunset is about.

Someone should give me a million dollars for being prescient about celebrity. 2007 was the year of the celebrity meltdown. I am getting published though, so good news there. Here’s the initial sketch for the re-release of The Golden Calf:

January 10, 2008


A note to everyone, RW Hedges record, which I reviewed, is out now. The best record I’ve heard in years.

rw hedges

Meanwhile, I’ve become totally obsessed with the election, much like 2004, much to my wife’s chagrin, an election which crushed me emotionally. Some zealotry for Obama here.

Thirdly, I just went into debt and bought a drumset, which is seriously going to change my recording life.

simmons sd7k

Still figuring it out how to make it talk to Logic Express 8, which I also bought, but drums are the main thing that’s been holding me back. I’m a drummer first, before being a songwriter. I just could never get a song to sound like I wanted it to sound.

January 3, 2008


Happy New Year. I’ve got resolutions:

1. Record a lot of music
2. Make headway on my novel
3. Don’t fuck around anymore

I’ve had three blog entries written in the past coupla weeks and I haven’t posted them, which says something. I just don’t want to put anything too nakedly confessional right now, creeps me out too much. Don’t know want to spread myself too thin maybe. But the reason I’ve sort of resurrected the blog is because I’m going to start posting music here again. Probably what I’ll use it for primarily. I just bought myself a copy of Logic Express 8 for Christmas. Amazing, $100 new on Ebay. I’m going to get my songs done right finally. I listened back to some of my songs and I’m sort of embarrassed by their sloppiness. The stuff I’ve posted so far is pretty thin, demos, half-ideas. I need to put in the same kind of time I’ve put into other writing. For some reason, it’s taken me this long to figure that out.

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