Friday, December 11, 2009

the longest few days of my life

seriously.

I have been in non-stop, keep working until you pass out mode for the past week or so. I think I have taken on too much, but since there is nothing I can do about it now I just have to keep on slugging through.

Drones, the film I co-directed with Adam Busch, got into the Slamdance Film Festival. We've known for about a week and it's been really rough not to scream the news out to everyone in the whole world. Now, the cat is out of the bag, so I can finally scream, but I'm so damn tired that all I can do is give a quick "yip" of happiness.

Did I just use the word 'yip'? Yes, I did.

Anyway, Adam and I have been cutting a trailer for the film and working on the poster and the website and on top of all of that my step-grandmother passed away. She and I were never particularly close (she married my grandfather when he was in his 80's) so it wasn't like I knew her my whole life. Still, it was sad that she died ad I felt bad.

I put the whole Drones world away for the day yesterday so I could go with my dad to the funeral. It was the first time that I've ever really experienced the wall-crypt phenomena up close and personal. It was strange to sit in a white plastic folding chair in the middle of all these wall-crypts filled with dead people, the sun in my eyes, as the Rabbi officiated the memorial. I want to say that the experience put my life in perspective, but honestly, all it did was make me want to work harder.

There is so much I want to accomplish before I get lifted into a granite covered wall-crypt and I just don't know how I'm gonna do it all.

I'm going to be 33 next month and I can't help, but feel that a good chunk of my time on this Earth is gone. I know it sounds negative, maybe even defeatist, but that's not my intent at all. I just feel this overwhelming drive to make my mark on this place, something that will live on when I die.

My dad wrote a eulogy that he read yesterday and I will leave you with the last paragraph. It left me strangely comforted, but at the same time it seemed to incite my ambition even more:

"I don't know how the universe came to be, but it is so massive that our Earth and our individual lives seem to be minuscule when viewed in that way. But I know that each of our lives has meaning, even if for no other reason then we bring our genes and our lifetimes of knowledge to the next generation and the next and the next. And we make the best of what we have been given. In this sense, we never really die."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Over $2000 - Triangle Tara Does It Again!

Triangle Tara and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated in the Triangle Tara/Food Bank event. So far, we have raised over $2000 dollars - which will help to feed a lot of people this Holiday Season.

You guys rock!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Triangle Tara Wants to Come Home With You

So many people have responded to the Triangle Tara Promotion that it's amazing!

Though it seems like a lot of people want to help out, they don't have the dough this year. Triangle Tara came up with a great idea for them:

Donate $10 or more to the LA Food Bank by midnite (pacific time) tomorrow nite (11/25) and then email your receipt (proof of donation), name and address to bensonentertainment@hotmail.com. We will put all the names in a hat and then Triangle Tara will pick out three names to receive a free signed and personalized Triangle Tara doll.

This way everybody gets to help out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triangle Tara Dolls for Charity: or How Tara Helped Feed The Children

Food is important. It tastes good, it smells good, it makes your stomach stop rumbling when you're hungry and, oh, yeah, without it, you would die. It seems like the kind of thing you wanna have on hand at all times, filling up your refrigerator, stocking up in your pantry.

So, how is it humanly possible that someone in the United States of America, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, could be going without it? It's absurd, right? Everyone has access to food. It's a God given right, right?

Uhm, actually, no, it's not. There are lots of people out there who don't know where their next meal is coming from because, sadly, this absurdity is a stark reality.

When I told Triangle Tara about this, she got really upset. She didn't know this was happening. You see, she lives in my storage unit with a bunch of her Triangle Tara girlfriends and she hasn't really had access to the world at large in a long while, so it was a bit of a shocker.

But, happily, she didn't let those bad vibes get her down for too long. She immediately came up with a great idea to help out:

For the next week: Sunday the 23rd of November thru Sunday the 29th of November, Triangle Tara will be available for sale for $100 bucks - with all proceeds from the week going to the Los Angeles Food Bank. Triangle Tara and I will include a personal note to everyone who participates in the project and I will also sign and personalize Triangle Tara, too!

Here is the website with all the info!

* Once the week is over, Triangle Tara will go back to being available for $125 with half of all proceeds going to The Los Angeles Food Bank for the months of November and December.

Help Tara fight Hunger…one doll at a time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pete Seeger and The Advent Of 'This Land Is Your Land' On My Life

Literally, one of my earliest memories is of my dad sitting at our dining room table, a yolk-colored classical guitar sitting on his knee as he played and sang, 'This Land Is Your Land'. My dad has a beautiful alto voice, high and reedy – and even though he doesn't play and sing very much anymore, when he does, he still sounds exactly like he did when I was a kid.

As a child, I would sit underneath the large, rectangular oak table, playing with my Fisher Price Little People while he sang his way through the folk canon, chin jutting out as he reached heavenward for the highest notes. There was the eponymous, 'This Land Is Your Land' and 'The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia'. 'Take Me Home Country Roads', 'Tom Dooley' and 'City Of New Orleans'. Even a little Beatles ('Norwegian Woods') for good measure.

He wasn't the greatest guitar player in the world. He spent more time looking for the next chord (the note he was singing held out as long as it took to get his fingers in the right place) than it should've taken to play the whole song, but I didn't care. I liked being unwittingly serenaded while I played with my toys.

As an adult now, sitting at a different dining room table, listening to Pete Seeger sing, 'This Land Is Your Land' (on an old record my dad has called, I Can See A New Day), this is the the song that sticks out in my mind, the song that my childhood is concretized around. I know most of its verses by heart - well, at least the first three – and though I don't hear it sung out loud very often, when I do, my whole heart lifts just a little bit. It's a mash note to America, to a beautiful country full of diverse climes and starry, starry skies.

It's also the anthem of how I want to live my life. The words of the chorus say everything: "This land is your land, this land is my land...this land is made for you and me."

Equality for all, right there in a song for everyone to sing.

My dad taught me that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mediocrity

Spent the morning watching a serial killer/horror film. Actually, I made a bagel and coffee, put the kitchen rug in the wash and refilled the toilet paper roll in the bathroom - so maybe when I say I was "watching" a film that might be a wishful turn of phrase. What I realized during this process was: regardless of where I came back into the story (from whichever little task consumed me) I knew exactly what/where/why/who was happening in the film. At one point, I even had the sound on mute and I could totally follow along.

Is this because I've seen so many of these movies that I'm jaded or is it that these films have become so rotely made that anyone with half a brain can discern the plot structure immediately? I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on the genre. Maybe I expect more than they are able to deliver and I should just shut-up about it and be glad these movies exist and that I'm not being forced to watch bad Jennifer Aniston romantic comedies until I barf.

All that watching this film did today was make me want to create something better myself. Not sure if that's possible, but mediocrity definitely inspires.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Eyes Are Your Eyes

When I say that you can use the internet to get your writing out there, I mean it.

Let's share a story. My story. About Jonah and the whale.




MY EYES ARE YOUR EYES



Jonah was named after the man in the whale, but he did not actually meet a real whale for a very long time.

He had seen them on the Discovery Channel and had even once heard a tape that a girl he knew had which played whale sounds. The girl used it to fall asleep at night. Jonah didn’t have trouble falling asleep so he had no use for the tape other than it did make him think about his name some, but that was all.

Jonah often wondered why his parents had named him Jonah – was it because of some misplaced religious interest? No, Jonah’s mother said, religion had nothing to do with it. When he asked her to explain further, she just shook her head, a small, strange smile on her face then she went back to ironing his father’s shirts.

When Jonah was twenty, he was invited to go along with a friend to Sea World. He had never been to Sea World before, but because the friend promised a free ticket, he decided that he probably needed to go. He didn’t think about meeting a whale. In fact, whales were the furthest thing from his thoughts.

He had just graduated from high school – a year late, but that was because he had trouble with Maths – and he did not know what he was going to do with his life. He had never really thought about life after school. School had seemed like a prison that would never end and then suddenly it was over and he was free.

Jonah was not the kind of person who did well with freedom, but he didn’t know that about himself. He actually believed himself to be the opposite, in fact. It wasn’t until school was done and he was left to his own devices that he discovered how incredibly uncomfortable he was with his freedom.

That was the other reason he had accepted his friend’s free ticket to Sea World. It was an interesting way to fill up an otherwise free day.

He woke up early the Friday of the trip to Sea World and brushed his teeth twice. He had discovered at an early age that the number two was magical, so he tried to do everything important in twos. That meant he always washed his hands twice, wiped his mouth at supper twice, smiled at people twice…the list went on and on, but it was such a part of his life now that Jonah didn’t even recognize it anymore. He just did it.

Other people looked at him funny when he smiled at them twice, but he had such a sweet, innocent face that they dismissed his strange behavior and smiled back. This exact thing happened when he gave the woman at the entrance to Sea World his free ticket. She paused then smiled back. Her exact thought was: “What a strange young man, but he looks harmless.”

She was right. Jonah was harmless. What no one knew – not even Jonah – was that after that day no one in the entire world would ever think of Jonah as harmless ever again.

He followed his friend through the crowds of tourists, mostly little kids holding hot dogs and balloons at the same time. Everywhere they went Jonah saw more and more hot dogs and balloons, but after a while he decided that that was okay because they were in pairs. As long as he didn’t see a lone hot dog or a single balloon, everything would be all right.

At one o’clock Jonah lost his friend in the crowd. He didn’t mind at first because he had found a place where sharks came up to a large convex window in a pretend coral reef and stared at him. Jonah liked their silvery unblinking eyes and the way their teeth overlapped. He tried to count one Tiger shark’s teeth, but the shark moved away from the window before he could finish. He stayed at the window for a long time because every time he thought it was okay to leave another shark would come to the window to say hello.

Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime no more sharks came up to greet him. He waited for two minutes and when no new shark took the last one’s place, Jonah made his escape.

That was when he realized he was alone, that his friend was long gone.

He sat down on a bench near a sign that had a clock on it. The unmoving hand on the clock was pointed at the number two. This made Jonah feel better. His eyes followed a large red arrow on the sign that pointed east. There, he saw a long line of people waiting for something. Since two was a magical number and Jonah couldn’t resist it, he got up and went to the back of the line.

He got yelled at immediately. He realized that he had gotten the line confused and that the back was really the front, so he went to the front of the line (that was really the back) and stood behind a bald man and a little girl. The little girl did not have a hot dog or a balloon, but there was paint on her face: a star on her right cheek and a fish on her left.

He tried not to stare at the little girl with the double-sided face, but it was hard for him. She looked up at him and he smiled at her twice.

She did not smile back.

The line started moving and Jonah followed it inside to find a big open-air pool with bench seats growing up all around it. Jonah sat down at the end of one of the benches beside the bald man and the little girl. His seat was wet, but since no one else seemed to mind, he pretended not to mind about it, too.

Once everyone was seated a woman came out from behind a big rock and she was wearing a black wetsuit, but no divers mask. Her long hair was tied back in a wet ponytail and her face was white with brown freckles on it.

She had a microphone in her hand and she started talking. Jonah found himself distracted by the little hot dog and balloon holding kids sitting quietly in their seats as they intently watched the calm, wet, watery face of the pool, but when the woman said the word ‘whale’ it was like a shot of pure adrenaline to his psyche and he looked up instantly, his distraction gone.

There, not twenty feet in front of him, was the most beautiful creature Jonah had ever seen in his life. He knew what it was because of the Discovery Channel and the picture on the tape the girl he knew had, but in truth, he would have recognized it anyway.

It was his soul mate.

It was a killer whale.

He started to stand, but the lady behind him hissed at him to sit down again, so he did. He sat rigid in his seat for the next twenty minutes as he watched the woman in the wet suit put the whale through its paces. The woman had the whale jump through a hoop and she made the whale swim backwards on its tale. Finally, as the climax of the show, the woman in the wetsuit got into the water and then rode on the back of the whale around and around the edges of the pool, sending waves of water crashing out of the tank to douse the audience.

The whole exhibit made Jonah sick. It was like he didn’t want to watch it, but at the same time, he couldn’t make himself stop watching, either.

When the show was done and the rest of the crowd was filing out, Jonah remained in his seat. The people around him, especially the bald man and the little girl, were annoyed with him for not moving, but when everyone realized he was staying put, they climbed down to the next row of bleachers and exited that way.

Finally, only Jonah remained. He didn’t know what to do, so he just sat there. A man in a blue jumpsuit, carrying a garbage bag asked him to exit the theater, but Jonah ignored him. The man got more insistent and Jonah got up and pretended to walk toward the exit, but when the man’s back was turned, he walked over to the edge of the pool and stuck his hand in the water.
He moved his fingers around like seaweed, hoping to attract the whales attention, but before anything like that could happen the man in the blue jumpsuit grabbed a hold of his shirt and pulled him away from the edge.

Jonah was forcefully ejected from Sea World and had to go and stand by his friend’s car until the park closed.

His friend was angry with him for wandering off and swore that he would never invite Jonah anywhere again. Jonah didn’t care. Jonah had spent his time waiting by the car deep in thought and those thoughts had led him toward a course of action that would have very deep and lasting ramifications…only Jonah didn’t know that at the time.

Jonah was very pleased with his plan because it not only gave him a direction for his life, but it was selfless, too.

That night he began his planning in earnest. He did not share the plan with anyone. Not his mom or dad or the girl with the tape of the whale sounds that she used to go to sleep at night. None of them had the slightest idea what Jonah was planning, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Jonah was on a crash course with his destiny and no one could stop him.

He did not go back to Sea World for fear that he would be recognized by the man in the blue jumpsuit and ejected again. Instead, he bided his time and sent positive thoughts to the whale in its clear blue pool. Two months went by and on a night that seemed auspicious because it began with a T – Tuesday – Jonah set his plan in motion.

He put on a pair of black pants and a long sleeved black t-shirt. He slid a black woolen cap over his hair and applied his dad’s black shoe polish to his face so that he became unrecognizable, a shadow of his former self. He grabbed a black garbage bag from the freezer and slung it over his back.

He left his house and locked the door behind him, quietly, so as not to wake his parents. He walked two miles to a construction site he had passed every day during his last two months of school. He threw the garbage bag over the top of the chain link fence, then followed it, ignoring the rip he heard when his pants got caught on the barbed wire at the top. He found his way to the foreman’s office and almost busted the window to get inside, but something stopped him and he tried the door instead. It opened right up.

He found the keys he was looking for on a pegboard and took them. The earthmover was waiting for him like a silent dinosaur. He climbed aboard and put the key in the ignition. The yellow dinosaur started up without protest.

Jonah drove the earthmover across the construction site, avoiding all the open ditches with their rebar bones. When he got to the gate, he put the earthmover in park and hopped off to unlock the gate then he climbed back on and took off down the darkened street.

Jonah avoided the highways, taking side streets instead. He tried to steer clear of the streetlights, but accidentally hit one anyway. He liked the feel of the wind on his face as he drove the earthmover through the blanket of darkness that gave him cover. The only problem was that the shoe polish he had smeared on his face made his skin itch and no matter what he did, he could not keep it from getting all over his hands and the steering wheel.

Sea World was closed when Jonah got there. That did not deter him. He just crashed through the gate and continued onwards.

Everything looked different than he remembered. It was night now and he had only been to Sea World once. Luckily, he found the shark tank and from there was able to find his way to the whale pool. He drove the earthmover past the sign with the unmoving clock face on it and the arrow pointing east. He followed an imaginary line (with its back as its front) up to the pool with the bleachers growing up around it. He stopped at the edge of the pool and got down from the drivers seat. He peered into the pool, but could not see the whale anywhere.

He was not surprised. The whale did not know he was a friend. He opened up the black garbage bag he had brought with him and took out a long piece of tuna steak. He held it out over the water then slowly let it drop. It sat on the top of the water for a moment and Jonah thought it was going to float there forever, but slowly it began to drop to the bottom.

Suddenly, a dark whale head emerged from the darkness and snapped up the tuna in its giant mouth. Jonah pulled out another piece of fish and let it go. The whale came closer now, snatching the fish away almost as soon as it hit the water.

Jonah lured the whale toward him like this until it seemed comfortable with his presence. Then, without a word, Jonah climbed up on to the earthmover and started the engine. He pushed a button and the arms and scoop of the thing dropped forward into the water. When he lifted them again, the whale and its surrounding water had been caught inside.

Jonah, his catch in hand, turned the earthmover around and headed home.

The drive home was much faster. Jonah stopped to open the back gate to his parents’ house then he drove the earthmover into his backyard. He stopped directly in front of the family pool and released the whale into the water. He watched as it sunk to the bottom then suddenly came to life and began to swim around the tiled bottom in a frenzy. Luckily, it wasn’t a large killer whale, so it fit into the pool just fine.

Jonah watched it swim for a while then he climbed back on the earthmover and took it back to where it came from. When he got home, he washed his face twice in very hot water to get the shoe polish off then he climbed into bed and said his prayers twice before falling asleep.
That night he dreamed that he was in a pool, swimming around, but all he could see were the pale blue tiles that lined the pool’s walls. The walls were endless and no matter where he turned he could not escape them.

He realized he was trapped in a watery tiled grave forever.

When Jonah woke up, he went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth twice and washed his face twice, too. Then, with a spring in his step, he went out to see his friend the whale.

But all he found floating around the inside of his pool was a freshly bloating corpse.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Fun To Be Had by All

As I watch a very interesting program on The History Channel about the Freemasons, I will also blog. Who says that you can't do two things at once?

I have three upcoming East Coast and Midwest signings for Death's Daughter:

BOSTON
Friday, June 19th at 7pm
Pandemonium Books and Games
4 Pleasant Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
with the amazing Christopher Golden
and the fantabulous Tom Sniegoski

CHICAGO
Monday, June 22nd at 4:30pm
Challengers Comics and Conversation
1845 N Western Ave
Ste 2R

Chicago, IL 60647
(between Cortland St & Moffat St)

NEW YORK CITY
Saturday, June 27th at 3pm
Midtown Comics
200 W. 40th Street
New York, NY 10018

If anyone is looking for signed copies of Death's Daughter, Mysterious Galaxy Books has them in stock. I was there for a signing with Chris Marie Green and signed some then, so I vouch for their authenticity.

muah!

Monday, April 27, 2009

THE ANSWER IS NIGH

For those of you who were curious and couldn't figure out the secret password, here ya go!

If you click on the link in the limerick (it's Poe) and take a very close look at the pad that says "My Top Secret Passwords" across it, you will see the answer right there in the first password space.

What's not barbecue, nor chili...but both? SAUCE!

Happy Monday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CLICK HERE FOR THE SECRET PASSWORD!

Howdy Everyone!

I will be the guest of Hi De Ho Comics (Booth #318) and Sina Grace at the UCLA Festival of Books on Sunday April 26th, 2009 from 12-2pm.

If you come by and visit they will have Death's Daughter available for sale – and if you know the secret password you will get a surprise!

Oh, and while you're there don't forget to check out 826LA's "Teeny Tiny Vaudeville" at the ETC, STAGE from 1 to 3pm. If you do, you will see an awesome show culled from the minds of the amazing comedy duo Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (with the musical stylings of Adam Busch and COMMON ROTATION!) Yippee!

What was that? I forgot to tell you the secret password, you say?

It's a secret. One you have to guess. Check out the limerick below for the clue:

There once was a lady from Kent
who made time with both ladies and gents
She was an expert on Poe
and sucking toes
and coming where others had went

HINT: The secret password is not barbecue, nor is it chili...it's both!

Monday, April 20, 2009

BookBanter Ho!

Check out this mucho cool interview I did for BookBanter!

We did this at a coffee house in the middle of the afternoon. Everyone stared at us, but we just kept on talking. Damn you, staring eyes!

And here's another cool interview for you at B-Movie Man, staring eyes!

(God, I love the staring eyes) ::::::::

Cedric Hollows in: DIAL M FOR MAGIC

I just wanted to take a moment out of my busy day (sitting on my couch, phone to my ear, waiting for the City of Los Angeles Business Tax Office to kill the canned music and pick up the damn phone!) to tell everyone about my friend (and collaborator - he's doing the illustrations for my kid's book, The New Newbrige Academy) Sina Grace.

Sina is a comic book writer/artist and he just finished his first novel "Cedric Hollows: Dial M for Magic". If you're like me and you LOVE stories that are highly original (and totally fun to read), you should definitely check this book out.

It's a little bit noir, a little bit kookie and a whole lot of fun (with coolio drawings to boot)!

POSTSCRIPT:

Ended up talking to the SWEETEST guy at the Tax Office and he fixed all my problems with a smile (figurative) and a wink (also figurative).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BREAKDOWN: Death's Daughter *SPOILER ALERT*

*SPOILER ALERT*

Well, some of you asked me to post one of my writer's beat sheets on the blog. Basically, it's a very minimal breakdown of the book per chapter which I work from as I write. A sort of crib notes of the book Death's Daughter, if you will. Note that when you read the book, some stuff is changed or not in there at all!

Hope you enjoy:

DD breakdown 7/15/07

Hell is full of musical amateurs. GB shaw

Chapter 11- callie walks Cerberus. Gets one of the pups.

Chapter 12 and 13 – tries to get to Indra, but gets waylaid by the detective who thinks she’s responsible some how for her father and sister’s disappearance

Chapter 14 + 15 – escapes police custody – without jarvis, and goes after Indra (goes into tv and into a bollywood musical), only to find that he’s good friends with the devil’s protégé and he won’t give her the sea foam.

Chapter 16+ 17 – calls on Kali to come and help her convince indra. Kali uses her feminine wiles, tells Callie how to block her attraction to the Devil’s Protege. Callie thinks maybe the Devil’s protégé is the one who kidnapped her family

Chapter 18 + 19 – with the sea foam in hand, she goes after the cup of jamshid

Chapter 20 + 21 – the devil’s protégé beats her there, tries to talk her into ruling Death together. She scoffs at him. Finds out he is indeed part Siren.

Chapter 22 + 23 – bests the Devil’s protégé, wins the cup of Jamshid, but can’t make it work, so she goes back to jail break Jarvis. The cup of Jamshid is with Monsiuer d!!!

Chapter 24 + 25 – but finds that Jarvis isn’t at psychical police headquarters, and that the “detective” isn’t on the force. Thinks the detective and the devil’s protégé are in cahoots.

Chapter 26 + 27 – clio helps her figure out the cup of Jamshid, divulging the whereabouts of their father. Clio and Callie take off to rescue their sister and dad and hopefully Jarvis

Chapter 28 + 29 – they get there and find the Devil’s protégé. They think he’s behind the whole thing, but it turns out he isn’t. he’s had his hunch who the baddies are, and he’s right…it’s Callie’s older sister Thalia and her boyfriend the wannabe detective. They were stop Callie from collecting her birthright…the mantle of Death. It seems that unbeknownst to Callie she was the one who was rightfully supposed to be death, but since thalia wanted the job, she would just get Callie out of the way, and then she would be magically released, and takeover the job of death.

Chapter 30 – callie saves her dad and Jarvis with the help of the Devil’s protégé and her younger sister, and maybe even Kali and Cerberus’s pup.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bitten By Books and Filmsnobbery and Signings!

The awesome website Bitten By Books is hosting an all day Q & A with me tomorrow at their site. From what I understand, if you leave a comment/question for me then I will pop by periodically during the day and answer them. Also, Bitten By Books will be giving away a few copies of Death's Daughter. Should make for a very cool March 24th, 2009!

The other cool thing I'm doing this week - besides the weekend book signings in San Francisco and Roseville - is an (interactive) interview with Filmsnobbery.Com on Wednesday March 25th, 2009. Stay tuned to the site for time and call-in info, but between you and me it's looking like it's going to happen around 6:30ish Pacific Time.

For those of you looking to meet me in the flesh, I will be in Northern California this week/weekend for some really fun signings:

1.) THURSDAY, MARCH 26th at 7pm
BORDERS BOOKS
400 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reviews and Interviews

Another nice review at Flames Rising and a cool interview at Darkstars Fantasy News in English and in German.

More Reviews! Yipee!

FYI

Death's Daughter has a review in the Sacramento Book Review which is out now.

It also has a review on the site Geek Like Me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Mysterious Disappearance of Connie Converse

Adam and I recently whiled away a pleasant evening with the inestimable David and Anne Garland and we spent the whole time talking about the mysterious disappearance of the folk singer/writer, Connie Converse. The story goes that she packed up her car in 1974, wrote good-bye letters to her friends and family and vanished. No one knows what happened to her after that, or if she is even alive today.

David stumbled across her music when he interviewed the illustrator, animator and filmmaker, Gene Deitch (who has made some of the only known recordings of her work) on his WNYC show Spinning On Air and was instantly moved by her songs.

Since then, David and Anne have been working together on getting the word out about the mysterious Connie Converse. Once Adam and I heard her music, we, too, joined in the struggle.

This is/was a seriously talented woman who never got her due as a musician and literary artist...until now. An indie label is releasing her collected works on March 10th and I really think anyone who appreciates true talent should give her a listen.

over and out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Macarena Challenge

Okay, I have a favor to ask. If you have read the book I'm schilling (selling, pimping, whatever the Hell you wanna call it), would you post a review of it up on Amazon? I don't care if you loved Death's Daughter or hated it. Just post your thoughts; any and all. It would be very helpful and if I get 85 reviews going over at Amazon (not all by the same person) then I will post a video of me up on You Tube doing the Macarena.

You don't believe? Just try me. I do a nasty Macarena.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ginjer/Amber - two crazy ladies in a hallway!

This makes me giggle.

What do you think, Golden? Giggle worthy?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"She's a naughty girl with a bad habit. A bad habit for drugs..."

I'm listening to a little Dwight Yoakam, wondering why SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH isn't like a super duper American phenomenon.

I love the crap outta this show. It got a good friend of mine through a rough couple of weeks. (And no, I'm not speaking euphemistically. I am not the "friend".) I wasn't sure about it at first, but by the end of the second episode I was hooked. (Sometimes it takes me a couple of tries to get into a show or a book, but once I'm in, I'm IN.)

It's funny. It's satirical. It's touching. It's damn fine television. The kind of show that I wish I was working on (in ANY capacity). I think anyone that appreciates smart humor should check it out.

I vouch for it 100%.

Another Signing!

I am adding one more signing to the list of ever growing signings:

Border's Books
2030 Douglas Blvd. Suite #9
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-1088
MARCH 29th, 2009

a lil' something, something...

Here are a few links to some cool Death's Daughter interviews:

Buffyfest Part 1

Buffyfest Part 2


And check out Book Banter in April for another cool interview!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Getting a Signed Copy of Death's Daughter - Even If You Live In Timbuktu

Okay, I've been getting loads of requests from people all over the world asking me how to get a signed copy of Death's Daughter.

Here is what I think on the subject:

I will be signing at Mysterious Galaxy book store in San Diego on March 7th. If you order the book through them (and specify that you want it personalized), I will sign it for you while I am at their store and they will ship it to you.

IF you miss the above signing date:

I will be signing at Dark Delicacies book store in Los Angeles on March 21st. If you order the book through them (and specify that you want it personalized), I will sign it for you while I am at their store and they will ship it to you.

How does that sound all you folks in Timbuktu (or Arizona or Australia or Antwerp)?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Macaronies*

*(per the Oxford English Dictionary) an 18th-century British dandy affecting Continental fashions.

I actually prefer the pasta kind of macaroni, but I am open minded.

Does this make you happy? You asked for Macaroni to be placed in my blog and it has been made so.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking Forward While Keeping Your Feet In The Present

I have been very lucky in my life. I always knew what I wanted to do and I had the wherewithal to put myself into the line of fire and pray for a little buckshot to hit me.

With that said, let me just tell you right here and now that I have had a crap load of rejection during my past seventeen years in Hollywood. I can't tell you how many times I didn't get a job I tried out for, or how often I got told to lose ten pounds or bleach my hair blond and wear sexier clothes.

(Actually, the saddest part of what I just said is that even when I TRIED to change myself to please the people I was begging work from, I still didn't do it right. It seemed like no matter what I did, I was one step behind everyone else. I have very vivid memories of uncomfortable push-up bras that made me look like Boobs McBooberton and short skirts that I ripped while in the process of yanking them down to cover just a little bit more leg. I was a terrible sexpot. Frankly, it was a laughable proposition and it DID get laughed at once on the Paramount lot. While in a sexy Russian Hooker ensemble that I could barely walk in, the unwieldy heels caused me to trip in front of a group of Transpo guys and land on my Russian Hooker wannabe ass.)

Anyway, I quickly learned that no matter what you do, you can't please everyone all the time. So, I stopped trying to compete with girls that just naturally understood how to dress themselves to extol their boobalicious virtues and concentrated more on the quirkier parts that just felt more like the real me.

And it worked. I just did what made me feel good about myself–and what made me happy–and the work I wanted FOUND ME.

I didn't have an uncle in the business, I never dated anyone famous or powerful and I kept my boobs pretty much where they belonged (for me at least) in my top. I just threw myself into what I wanted–and after a bit of soul-searching–found what suited me most. Then I just persisted. I didn't take the rejection personally and I did stuff for myself. (Like making CHANCE and working with Chris Golden on the GHOSTS OF ALBION web show and books.)

I just keep putting myself out there, trying new stuff, learning from my mistakes and growing.

I think that if I can do this–and I'm just some girl from Alabama with a dream and an affinity for bathroom humor–then anyone can do it. It takes an investment in yourself and it also takes time and effort, but it can be done.

I am living proof of that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Well, it's happened.

I have gotten my first bad (and I mean the guy HATED it) review. I can't argue with someone's opinion, so I will just accept this part of the process and wear it like a badge of honor on my blog!

I do ask that anyone who is curious to read a bit of the book and form their own opinion, pop over to the website and have a peek at the first chapter. It is up and available on the Death's Daughter website.

It definitely makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside - like you're being roasted over a spit! :)

Where am I Gonna be?

So, I am posting this to give you guys a head's up as to where I am going to be over the next few weeks. I will have copies of Death's Daughter on hand where ever I go (starting this Tuesday). And if for some reason I don't have one on me, I will walk you over to your local book-selling place and stand next to you in line while you buy it and then sign it for you right there at the counter to your chagrin and embarrassment.

When I am not sleeping, eating, brushing my teeth or selling magazines door to door, I will be at:

1.) Friday February 27th 2009 (from about noonish until the later part of the evening.)
CONDOR
Handlery Hotel & Resort
950 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108

2.) Saturday, March 7th 2009 (at 4 o'clock with Chris Marie Green)
MYSTERIOUS GALAXY BOOKS
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Ste 302
San Diego, CA 92111

3.) Saturday, March 14 2009 (at 2 o'clock)
BARNES AND NOBLE (Store#2743)
7881 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

4.) Saturday, March 21 2009 (at 2 o'clock)
DARK DELICACIES BOOKSTORE
4213 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505

5.) Thursday, March 26th 2009 (at 7 o'clock)
BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC (store #57)
400 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

6.) Saturday, March 28th 2009 (at 4 o'clock)
BORDERLANDS BOOKS
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Does this make sense? Is it simple to follow? Should I draw a map? I wish someone would draw me a map.

See you soon at a book-selling place near you!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Aye

Aye, aye me maties!

Found another nice Death's Daughter review :)

Gives me that warm and fuzzy Wayne's World feeling...like when you climb the rope in gym class.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alcohol Consumption

I can't drink. I literally have one drink and I am tipsy. Two drinks and I am a red-faced babble-head. Three drinks...I think you can figure out the rest of the progression chart.

Tonight I had a beer and a half. Now I feel like crud. I was halfway to babble-headedness and then I just didn't make it.

I should have stuck with one beer.

No, I should've finished the second one and made the leap to red-faced status.

Living in this limbo land of half-finished drinks is sucky. None of the fun, with all of the queasiness alcohol leaves behind as some sort of screwy parting gift once the buzz is gone. This is why I could never be a drunk. My tolerance is for crap. I can't get to the nasty drunk state because I can't get enough alcohol into my system.

I have only thrown-up twice (maybe three times, but two very distinct times). Once I took a sip of champagne cocktail, half a beer, some scotch, two sips of Jagermeister and half a mudslide. Not a ton of alcohol, but so many varieties, oh, so very many, that my stomach couldn't handle it.

The other throw-up adventure I went on was after a book signing in NY. I had two glasses of wine and not much food (then lots of food). I started feeling nauseous, so Chris Golden gave me a Dramamine to stop the churning. It didn't help. I spent awhile in my editor, Steve's, bathroom hugging the john while Chris, Steve and his wife Dana and my friend Liesa all laughed at me. Then Liesa and I slept on the pullout couch in the living room and drunkenly talked about Batman.

I don't know why I felt like sharing, but there is something compelling about blogging, something that makes you want to tell the blunt truth, no matter what an idiot you look like in the process.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb. 24th or March 3rd - Wyld Stallyns Like Days Are Coming

So, I am starting to get excited because Death's Daughter comes out a week from tomorrow. I am also excited because my friend, Anton Strout, has a book coming out the same day called Deader Still which is a whole lot of fun.

With that said, I have been told that most people won't be able to find the books in their bookstore until March 3rd, so that's a bit of a bummer.

I think the 24th/3rd is going to be a great day for books in general. I think amazing things are going to happen because of these books and this day/days. We might even be talking on a Bill and Ted/Wyld Stallyns kind of level. I am actually keeping my eyes peeled for George Carlin. I know he's dead, but he might still pop by with his telephone booth.

Anyways...

I hope everyone goes out on the 24th/3rd and gets the two books and has a life-changing experience.

Oh, I have a PS: I am looking for reviews of Death's Daughter. You can post them at The Essence of Amber forum if you find them. I know that there are at least 97 books floating around out there, so someone somewhere has to have been doing a little light reading for their blog!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Bugs

I think the bugs are dying. Been reading all about the Honey Bees disappearing, now the big rig drivers are saying they can go 250 miles with nary a bug on the windscreen. It sort of frightens me to think that this might be the beginning of something big. Something that humanity cannot control, no matter how much we seek to control it.

It just makes me think of that book, The World Without Us, the one about what Earth will be like when human beings disappear (which we will). That is a scary mother of a concept. Actually, it's not so much a concept as an actuality. One which I would love to ignore, but now that the bugs are dying...well, you know.

It also makes me think of The Planet of The Apes. The utter alien-ness of the Earth in that film freaked me out as a kid. I have a very distinct memory of lying on my grandparents' couch, covered in chicken pox, my heart palpitating at the image of the Statue Of Liberty's head buried in the sand. The idea of being alive when everyone you've ever loved was dead and buried was very unsettling to me in my chicken pox haze. I didn't like it one little bit.

The end of humanity in book and movie form. They both are frightening.

Although, I imagine that when we do finally die out, the bugs will come back. In droves.

Well, at least I would if I were them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Cool Artist I Know

My friend, Liesa, is engaged to a very talented photographer, James Mignogna.

His work makes one feel that the whole "soul-stealing via photo thing" might actually have a little credence.

FYI have a peek at the amazing photographs he's taken of people on the subway. They are breathtaking.

ab







Well, That Was A Weekend.

I just spent the last 48 hours on my feet, smiling like a lunatic and hoping that my breath wasn't too stinky from lack of food and water. I bet you're thinking I was locked away in a Thai Prison for seven counts of heroin smuggling, but alas, that was not the case – I would've at least gotten some moldy bread or a drink of stagnant water out of my Thai guards. No, Thai Prison would've been a breeze in comparison to this. I was in a place that was much, much worse for my psyche. A place which took a far more insidious toll on my life force...

I was at the New York ComiCon.

Now, I'm not saying I didn't have fun...because I did. But I literally lost five pounds in the process. I ate once on Sunday. I ate once and a half on Saturday. The rest of the time I was trotting around the Javits Center like "old dog" Stump. Hell, I think I WAS "old dog" Stump.

I was at this intrepid con – which was really a quite amazing feat of comic extravagance - to schill my new book, Death's Daughter. Instead, I think I was there to get some exercise. Damn, I was all over that place.

Saturday was intense, but Sunday was insane:

First, I spoke on a panel with Kim Harrison (which was really cool because I love the Rachel Morgan books) and Tom Sniegowski (who is always a peach) called Writers on Writing: Books, Comics, TV, Movies, and Games.

Here is the blurb about the panel from NYCC:

"Join a panel of high-profile writers as they discuss the differences and the similarities between storytelling across the diverse spectrum of contemporary media."

Mostly we just talked about how to get your stuff published and took questions.

After that, it was off to the autograph line. OMG. The line was huge (which I know is good, but can be a but unnerving) and there was no way we were gonna get through all the people in one hour. It ended up getting extended another hour. There were so many people, so many smiling faces and excited hugs (and that's mainly where the stinky breath worries kicked in). It was total craziness!

Next was interview time...which was fun and actually made me have to use my brain. We finished that up and then, as they closed the Javits Center down around us, I discovered that I was ready for a vacation.

A vacation from my vacation.

A vacation from my life .•



•I know this blog is all discombobulated-y, but it is truly how I felt (and still feel) about my weekend. Yay!

Friday, February 6, 2009

OTHER FILMS - CHANCE and LOVERS, LIARS AND LUNATICS

So, as not to deluge you guys with all things Amber (which might be happening anyway - sorry), I have waited a little bit before talking about some of my past work.

I'm gonna leave the Ghosts of Albion books and web series for another blog. Instead, I am going to babble for a few minutes about the two other films that I made: CHANCE and LOVERS, LIARS AND LUNATICS. (This is the link to the very cool website for the films - you can also get your hands on a copy of one or the other there, too.)

Chance was a little DV film that I never intended to market to the world at large. It was kind of gonna be my little film school experiment just so I could see exactly what it was like to make a movie.

I've been an actor since I was a little kid. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and did every play I could get my hands on.

(I was nine at the time, but I still vividly remember Jean-Marie Collins calling me at home after teaching me at a Summerfest/Town and Gown workshop, telling me to get my butt over to the Birmingham Children's Theater because they were doing Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and she thought I might have a shot at being a dwarf. Thus "Amaziah" (sp?) the Dwarf became my (in)auspicious stage debut. I got the chicken pox during the run of the show and the local newspaper ran a story about Snow White and the Six Dwarfs. I literally only missed like one performance, chicken pox or no chicken pox. What was really weird was having to meet and greet kids after each performance and the little girls being severely disappointed I wasn't a cute boy under the fat suit and beard.)

But plays had never really satisfied me. I wanted to be in movies, make movies, babble-babble, etc. So, Chance was gonna be that opportunity. It turned out a lot better than I had hoped and since I kept getting interested emails from fans, I decided to put it out there for the world to see.

Do I regret it? No...well, maybe a little. When I look at the film, I see all the amazing people who worked very hard and contributed money and time to make it happen. I also see ALL the flaws that are rife throughout the movie. I have to take responsibility for them - as they are mine alone to own - but I don't regret them. I sometimes just wish I had made them in the obscurity of a film school class and not out in the real world for all to see.

I like to think of Chance as sort of a cute little puppy dog that isn't house-trained yet.

The other film I made is called Lovers, Liars and Lunatics and it's a pretty well-crafted little movie. I had a bit more on the ball as far as the directing thing was concerned and I think it shows in this movie. It's what I call a "real film". Chance was sort of a pastiche of things and Lovers is a more cohesive, cogent story. It looks beautiful and the acting is great (I think the acting is pretty damn great in Chance, too) and it has a decent running time. I like to think it has a few laughs here and there, too.

If Chance is the non-house-trained puppy then Lovers is the big Labrador Retriever who doesn't know his strength and knocks you over every time you come into the room. It has its flaws, too, but they are less visible to my eye for some reason.

I'd be very curious to hear what you, the audience member (by the way, you're playing along with the home version of the game) think. I know some of you have seen the films and I am always interested in your opinion.

ta-ta for now.

PS Hope to see some of you at the NYCC on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

World Premiere of Diorama - Adam and I Made This!

While standing in line at a Indian Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, Adam and I met Anne and David Garland. They were in line behind us, waiting for a table, too, and somehow we started talking. It turns out that David had a radio show on WNYC called Spinning On Air (which Adam was a fan of) and Anne and David had just gotten turned on to the magical world of Buffy by their son, Kenji (who has excellent taste). So, needless to say, there was a lot to talk about.

Adam and I made a video for David Garland's latest album, NOISE IN YOU. This links takes you to a page on his site talking about the genesis of the video.

It's for a song called DIORAMA and Sufjan Stevens sings on it. It's really cool and it was really fun to make. This link takes you to the video.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lisa Had A Little Dog

Oh, lord help me. Our friend just got one of those teeny, tiny chihuahua dogs. I mean, it's smaller than a pen. The writing kind. Literally.

You can put it in your pocket and carry it around.

I want one. I keep asking my boyfriend to steal our friend's one. Just put it under his coat and no one will ever know. It sounds like a poem Shel Silverstein might have written for A Light in The Attic or Where The Sidewalk Ends.

Lisa had a little dog,
a little dog I coveted.
I saw her walking by one day,
and followed her home.
I sat upon her kitchen chair
and stared and stared and stared
whilst talking about whatever thing
Lisa, my friend, wanted.

Lisa had a little dog,
a little dog I wanted.
It was too far gone now for me
I had to get it in my hands.
For wanting was so much worse, you see
than coveting ever could be.

Lisa had a little dog,
a little dog I wanted.
So, I tied Lisa up and left her all alone
and stole myself the little dog
and brought it to my home
and then the little dog did something,
something quite unfounded:
it pooped on my floor.

I had to take it back
and leave it at Lisa's door.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Thrilling Adventure Show

Sometimes you go see a play or hear a band because a friend is acting/playing in it and they have invited you–begged you even sometimes–to come. We all know that this usually means that you are about to see/hear something really bad. I mean, like really, really, really bad.

Okay, so this "friend" has asked you to come and support them and you feel like a jerkoid if you say no. (At least the first time) So, you do it. You suck your teeth and grin and bear the three hour interpretive dance/play about Menstruation or the band who can't keep the beat or sing in tune, but somehow manage to maintain a 5000 decibel level throughout the entire show.

You do your "friendly" duty and then after you've paid your ten dollar cover at Spaceland or shilled out a twenty to pop into one the 99 seat theaters on Santa Monica Blvd., (all in the name of friendship) you're free to get out of going again by coming up with whatever lie/excuse you can. I'm a particular fan of the "sorry I can't come to your Shakespeare spoken word/reggae slam, but I have a date with a lethal injection over in Leavenworth, Kansas".

But, really, I've found that anything you commit to will suffice.

I've done the above like a million times in the seventeen years I've lived in Los Angeles and I can think of only a handful of times that I've been surprised. Here are a few:

An early incarnation of Rilo Kiley playing at The Dragonfly like fourteen years ago. I met Blake at a party (then worked with Jenny on a film) and I remember getting call after call inviting me to their shows and me so not wanting to go, but liking Blake and Jenny, so finally going and being shocked at how good they were–even back then.

Getting invited to see Peer Gynt at the Actor's Gang Theater. Peer Gynt being played by some then unknown actor named Jack Black...uhm, hello?

I think you get the picture.

So, it was with trepidation that my boyfriend and I went to see our friend doing this weird radio show thing called "The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour". It was at a cabaret house called The Mbar in Hollywood and you so weren't getting out of the thing cheaply. It was a ten buck cover and then you had to order dinner, too. Eek!

So, we show up at this thing, I order the Chicken Marsala and prepare myself for some dumb, poorly done play/radio thingamabob that I just knew I was going to resent having paid so much money to see.

I didn't finish my chicken...I was too enthralled with watching some dude called Sparks Nevada (Marshall on Mars) banter back and forth with his Martian tracker sidekick, Croach. This had been preceded by the alter egos of the comedy duo (two guys called Acker and Blacker – real names, not kiddin) who had actually written the show. The alter egos had called each other names, made fun of every other medium, but radio and then sung a silly song about getting on with the show....and I was hooked.

The show was hysterical. Funny, smart, well-written and acted. I wanted to be in it, it was that good. And so, as fate would have it, we ran into one of the actual Acker at the now defunct Doughboys in LA and basically babbled about how much we liked the show and the rest was history.

And now, the second Saturday of every month, you can find me and the boys from the band, Common Rotation, at the MBar, watching our favorite radio show in the whole universe. Oh, and if you stick around after the show, the boys and their friends will play a little music for you.

Just for fun...but only if you're nice.

Lesson learned: sometimes you gotta go through a whole lot of crap to get to the good stuff.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Here's another cool Death's Daughter review by Harriet Klausner. That woman has more reviews under her belt than Mother Ginger has marshmallows under her skirt.

DAD FAG

my new favorite family band


dad fag

look at some pics and dig the "family" resemblance

the shared night

feeling silly. i wrote this a long time ago, but it matches my mood this evening.

ah, juvenilia. don't it sing in its immaturity?

enjoy, as you are now the first person who has read this in a very long time.


...at the mall, we drag mother behind us pulling her from store to store. The candy store, with its bright lights illuminating row upon row of mouth watering delights grabs our attention. We step across the line dividing the store from the mall’s walkway and like skittish mountain goats leap at each display.
When we have accrued enough sugary junk to coat our stomachs for the rest of the week, we dump our purchases onto the counter and wait for mother to pay. She fishes her wallet from the inner depths of her purse and produces a stiff twenty-dollar bill (candy’s expensive these days). And then we’re cartwheeling out of the store, our candy laden baggies stuffed into our sweaty hands.
The mall is thick with autumnal shoppers loaded down by red-lined merchandise, all the summer goodies priced to sell. The mall itself is like a great heaving beast blowing streams of hot air all around. You can get a direct blast if you know where to stand.
The shops have already started decorating for Christmas, even though Halloween is still weeks away. Fluffs of delicate white cotton line the giant shop windows, triple the size of me, and a jack-o-lantern sits next to the tobacco shop door.
We continue on, my little sister and I, leaving mother in our wake. One can sense the nervousness emanating from mother as she weaves in and out of the swarming mass trying to keep us in sight. She glances at the faces of the people she passes wondering which are good and which are evil; which of these benign people would grab her children and steal away with them into the cold night if given half the chance.
We spot the gaping mouth of the Hallmark store and dash inside. We pass the cards, calendars and knickknacks until we come to the back wall of the store where the Halloween paraphernalia is laid out for our perusal. Perched on long glass shelves and hanging from metallic hooks are little glass pumpkins, skeleton candles, All Hallows Eve pins and buttons, paper decorations of Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula, and hatefully grinning jack-o-lanterns. Here and there are the odds and ends needed to really complete your Halloween costume: a devil’s tail, kitten’s ears, large rotting plastic teeth, skeleton rings and green safety sticks that glow when you crack them.
We pile our arms with this and that, then run to where mother is waiting by the front. She shakes her head at the assortment of junk, but let’s us have most of it anyway. My little sister insists on wearing her kitten ears out. She looks like a little feline with her lion’s mane of brown hair and glittering brown eyes. I half expect to see her start to lick her paws.
Back out into the swarm, pushing our way toward the doors and the cold that will instantly envelope us as we hit the parking lot. Mother keeps us close, shielding us from the biting fingers of Jack Frost with her own warm body.
In the car, the heat comes on and I slip into semi-consciousness, savoring the warmth on my feet. My sister chatters to mother revealing her happy purchases one by one then sharing the candy booty. I listen to the gentle lulling words from the front seat as I stare out the window. The brown headlight lit landscape fuzzes along with their words until I am basting in dreamland, thinking about nothing, letting the thoughts reign my unconscious as I relax into the warm seat. The night is all around us keening its dark song for the benefit of those who listen.
We start down the long hill toward our house and this brings me back to reality. I pull one of the packages into my lap and reflected in the upward curve of the window I see a flash of my red devil’s tail. I dig through the bag grasping my prize triumphantly. It’s made of shiny red fabric. I can feel the seam with my fingers and follow its lead to the top of the tail where the plastic band that encircles the wearer’s waist lies coiled. The childish urge to put the tail on right then in the car consumes me, but I wait until the car turns up the driveway and into the garage.
The garage door shuts behind us with a resounding thud and we are entrapped in darkness. Mother gets out and turns on the garage light, flooding the car with fluorescent sunlight. The tail seems to shimmer in my hand, so I hop out of the car and put it on.
My sister and I run into the house, through the large kitchen, down the long hallway and straight into the bathroom. We each clamber onto a sink to get a better look at our newly re-made selves. The kitten and the devil, each on a different sink admiring themselves in the two, long, white wicker encased mirrors hanging on the green bathroom wall. We can hear mother in the kitchen getting dinner ready, so we hop down again and run to show her.
The hallway is long, it seems longer for some reason tonight, as we skip and canter down its creamy length. We hit hardwood and slide in our stocking feet into the warmth of the kitchen. Mother stands at the Mexican tile island deveining chicken. The thick pearly blue veins lie discarded beside the cutting board. I grab a handful of the slippery things and proceed to chase the kitten around the room. She shrieks and runs around the oak table, jumps on the blue couch, then hides behind the folds of mother’s skirt. I try to penetrate the castle ramparts, but she is well protected. I lose interest in the game and drop the veins into the garbage disposal. The kitten squeals and comes back out to play.
We run from room to room flicking on all the lights until the darkness takes refuge in the corners. We feel safe in our house, all the doors and windows locked, the television on, the lights keeping guard, but it’s only a tenuous sheath that separates us from the rest of the world, from the impenetrable blackness of the shared night.
The kitchen begins to smell like chicken and stir-fried vegetables. It’s time for dinner and the devil and the kitten sit down to eat.

death and the duchess (that's me)

sometimes I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come and the bastard gets held up a few houses down the block. probably some snot nosed kid with a fear of the dark, holding my guy up and keeping me tossing and turning like a pig on a spit. not a very pleasant image, nor a very pleasant experience, thankyouverymuch.

anyway, tonight is a night like many others: the kid is getting all the undivided attention and I'm stuck on the spit. so i says to myself that now would be the perfect time to ruminate on some fun stuff..not. because said "fun stuff" is anything but.

death is always lurking somewhere in my brain, ready to engage me in a little game of chess...a game that I already know the outcome to. i am not ingmar bergman patiently doling out the story while I draw out the encounter. i have absolutely no control in the matter. i can't block death out of my brain. i am its willing captive as i mull over the thought that one day everyone and everything I know will one day cease to exist. there will not be a soul or rock or stream left that knew i was here, fighting the good fight. there's lots of life passing before my eyes, but they are not my life images. no, they belong to everyone i love. i see their death played out like a revue on the back of my eyelids and it scares the shit outta me.

so i get up and write this post to clear my brain.

this makes me remember the first time i realized that everyone (myself) included was going to die.

I went to a private elementary school. must've been second grade. at oldest, third. i was in music class. xylophones everywhere. we were singing a song and damned if i remember what it was. the "ants went marching" keeps sticking in my craw, so maybe that was it. i remember looking around the room, at the teacher and the other kids and realizing, my heart in my throat, that they were all dead...well, they were all doomed to die. then that sent me into apoplexies of terror...if they were gonna die then my parents were gonna die, too. and then the clincher, the thing that just nailed me to my spot on the linoleum:

i was gonna die, too.

i found myself removed from the world around me, sucked into another dimension where i was the omnipotent observer, i was the one with the secret. i was apart. I was a part. of it all.

I went through the rest of the day like a zombie, lost in this weird dimension, separated from everyone and everything i loved.

I had a piano lesson that afternoon after school and my friends Maudie and Jessica came with me somehow. they and their family were staying with us, something to do with a crazy sewage leak at their house (they moved from that house with the wooded backyard and the stream way down in the back where i once got bitten by a baby mole that died). I got through the lesson then went to the bathroom.

and lost it.

locked myself in the institutional metal stall somewhere in the heart of Samford University and couldn't stop the dry heaves and sobs that I had held inside me since that damned music class. (god, the xylophones) my friends found me and somehow coaxed me out to the car where my mother was waiting.

i don't remember if i told anyone what was wrong. i honestly don't remember.

but my nights have not been the same since

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Luminous Playhouse

Anne Garland is a genius at capturing atmosphere. Atmosphere as I define it is: the aching feeling you get down deep in your bones when you see or hear something that makes you remember you are alive.

This has atmosphere.

ciao.

(or as danielle says: miao.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

art vs. commerce

Mahal0!

So, there is something that I go around and around about in my head–and it can easily be pigeon-holed into a one, non-sentence logline:

art vs. commerce

I want to be an artist, but I also want to eat. The years I spent deciding between toilet paper and food were not pretty, and, luckily, I haven't had to answer that question out loud in quite a while (but I still play the "what if" version of the home game in my head). Still, I struggle between doing art because it moves me and taking jobs because I need to pay my bills. I HAVE made some choices for purely financial reasons (and while I don't regret a one) there are a couple of acting jobs out there that make me turn red with embarrassment when someone tells me they caught them late at night on the Sci Fi Channel–please, God, hopefully late at night when everyone is asleep and my grandma can't see them, yipes!

With that said, I want to talk about something I did for art's sake. Something that makes me really happy when I think about it because the process of getting it made involved a lot of my friends and was just a blast to do. It wasn't about making any money (who makes money in independent film?), but about doing something that I believed in with a really talented group of people backing me up throughout the process.

What the hell, may you ask, am I talking about? I'm talking about DRONES–the best little movie in Texas, for God's sake! Okay, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas allusion is totally unfounded because we shot the film in Baton Rouge, LA not Texas, but c'mon who doesn't love themselves a little Dolly Parton every now and then? (Well, you might not, but then who the heck says there's any accountin' for taste.)

We shot Drones in 14 days with a budget that wouldn't even begin to keep the pope in shoes for a month. Of course, it was utter insanity–and there WERE a couple of freak outs on my part–but, all in all, I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Adam, my co-director, and I spent a good chunk of the summer '08 in Baton Rouge rustling the troops and sticking OMNILINK (our fake company) stickers onto every available surface of our built for shooting office set. There was copious amounts of Kane's chicken eaten (and yes, I am a lapsed vegetarian–wow, that has been bothering me for like three years. Sheez, I don't feel like such a hypocrite anymore. I haven't really had the online presence and ability to correct that factoid until now–thanks Hal at BuzzBuilderz for making me internet savvy!) and Perrier consumed. I lost three pounds in prep and gained four as I consumed every fried delectible Louisiana had to offer once we started shooting. Which means that I can truly say I gained something–other than experience–on the film. (PS: that was a very awkward joke, so no pointing and giggling at it.)

Wow, I've really overblogged here. I guess I better wrap it up, right, Pete? (Uhm, that's a movie "in joke" that only Adam and me and Jonathan and James Urbaniak would really get.) So, keep your fingers, noses and toeses crossed that someone out there in festival land falls in love with it as much as I have. Then I can stop beating myself over the head with this endless art vs. commerce argument, the art side finally having been validated!

Here's hoping that art beats the crap out of commerce where it really counts...in the nuts! (Okay, sorry, another non-analogous allusion, but darn it I just couldn't help myself! Take pity on me.)

From one nut to another. Over and out.

Common Rotation - Wasted Words

Here's a lil something to wet your whistle. We made this video in the wilds of Kotlik, AK last february. Enjoy! Mclovin' the Super 8!

my first blog post

Howdy to all! This is my first blog post (as you can see in the title section) and I am kind of excited about it.  I think that having a place to vent and babble is a very positive thing, so thanks for watching (you voyeurs, you) and I will be updating this thingamahouky in a quasi-timely manner.  I am also hoping that the more I blog and twitter and just cruise the internet, the more people will find about all the cool stuff I'm up to like (shameless promotion)!  Tally-ho for now :)