Friday, July 25, 2014

A Piece of Eternity

I spent ten years as a struggling screenwriter. The first five years were one of the best times of my life. The second five years, not so much.

A Piece of Eternity was written early in those first five years.

I had spent my twenties writing three novels, with three different agents and far too many editors praising a manuscript, then passing on it, but always wanting to see my next one. And almost always saying, "This is so visual, it should really be a screenplay." I took that as a compliment early on, generally mumbled some neutral acknowledgment and ignored it a few years after that, then finally started wondering if I was writing in the wrong field altogether. So in my thirties, I switched, and life got wonderfully bizarre.

I landed an agent in Hollywood fairly quickly, after she read my second and third attempts at a screenplay. (Even I didn't want to read my first.) The third one even found some interest with the first producer who read it, which put me in a strange position: I had a project (supposedly) coming together, but I had never made the rounds of meet-and-greets with a calling card of a spec script. My agent and I both agreed the second one was better as a follow-up than an introduction, and a micro-budget indie producer was interested in it anyway. And that third one needed a budget to give even the most artistically minded bean counter the vapors. So I needed another one, a big yet affordable one, and quickly.

A Piece of Eternity was the script.

Kindle | Paperback

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Only Drank The One


I swear.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jesse Pinkman, Street Therapist


A bad neighborhood, where TWEEKER and TWEEKETTE argue.

TWEEKETTE: You’re holdin’ out on me!

TWEEKER: I ain’t holdin’ nuthin’, bitch!

A ratty car squeals to a stop at the curb beside them.

TWEEKETTE: It’s Jesse Pinkman, Street Therapist!

JESSE: I can help, yo!

TWEEKER: Got any blue?

JESSE: I’m outta that life, man. Now I do therapy to redeem myself, ‘cause if I know anything, it’s meth-heads. But I do my therapy on the street, ‘cause I’m still an outlaw.

TWEEKER: I really need some blue, man!

JESSE: And I need a state medical license, but the DEA ain’t gonna let that happen either. What’s the problem here?

TWEEKETTE: Tweeker’s holdin’ out on me!

TWEEKER: For the last time, I ain’t holdin’, bitch!

JESSE: Hey! Don’t call her a bitch, bitch!

TWEEKETTE: And stop holdin’ out on me!

JESSE: Meet her needs, yo!

TWEEKETTE: He never tells me what he’s got hidden away in there!

JESSE: Narrate that fat stack of feelings!

TWEEKER: But all she wants is the blue, man!

JESSE: Yo, the blue is just a cover for your deeper issue.

TWEEKETTE: Oh, it’s all about the blue!

JESSE: It is not about the blue, alright?! And what’s with you expecting him to take care of you? You got, like, daddy issues or something?

TWEEKETTE: I don’t have daddy issues!

JESSE: Hey, I know daddy issues, okay? So no more half-measures. We’re going full DMV-2067 psychosociable science here.


JESSE: Yo, this is science! Like, with beakers and robots and shit. Let’s try a role play –

Tweekette pulls a gun on Tweeker.

TWEEKETTE: Gimme your blue, Tweeker!

JESSE: So not what I had in mind…

TWEEKER: Pinkman! Help!

JESSE: What, you think I got some magnet hidden away here to pull that gun from your old lady’s hands?!

TWEEKETTE: I said gimme the blue!

JESSE: She’s got a gun, bitch! Give it to her!

Tweekette shoots Tweeker.

JESSE: Yeah… Um… I’m gonna give you a referral.

Jesse peels out, fleeing the scene.

TWEEKETTE: I shoulda stayed in grad school…

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

24: Trek Another Day

Apparently, Yeoman Janice Rand in the original Star Trek series was the Chloe O'Brian of her day...

Damned rips in the space-time continuum, always switching people in parallel universes...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Perfect. Beyond. Words.

A sadly accurate commentary on the Internet and our times...

I would have been so screwed on that bubble tea question, too.

(H/T: Commenter Book at Monster Hunter Nation)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Righteous Outrage of the Pussycat Houses

Joy of Apartment Living #261: That perpetually angry neighbor who has daily tirades at one poor person or another on the phone, usually with all the apartment windows open so that everyone can share in the outrage.

Today's tirade was a bit less understandable than usual, but I did manage to pick out five specific phrases:

G*****n it!

What the h**l?!

This is b******t!

I am *not* complaining! Pussycat houses!

Even the dog looked up at that last one, and I seriously considered going up to the neighbor's door and asking for an explanation. The curiosity was that overwhelming.

Then I remembered this was, you know, that neighbor...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Andrew Klavan: "The Debate Is Over"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Suggested Readings for the Krystal Ball Book Club

Back in the days everyone assumed I would go for a PhD in English Literature, I heard time and time again how “author’s intent” means nothing. In other words, it’s not what the book means to say, or even actually says, it’s whatever meaning you can find within (or impose upon) the text.

In fact, one reason I left that path was the many tortured reinterpretations I would have had to swallow—and create—on my way to Shangri-Tenure. Krystal Ball of MSNBC, however, clearly took this idea to heart when she declared George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm to be a warning against capitalism, complete with the pigs as Mitt Romney “maker” 1%ers. And when people took issue with this rather ground-breaking interpretation, Krystal stood her ground like only someone who had read an entirely different book could.

And thus the #KrystalBallBookClub was born.

Because what other classic books could be dramatically misrepresented to promote a blatantly political agenda? The possibilities are literally endless, once the sheeple are awakened and the scales removed from their eyes, but I suggest the following, in no particular order:

The Old Man and the Sea: Hemingway’s cautionary tale about the dangers of overfishing.

A Wrinkle in Time: Dry cleaning, patriarchy, and why women have always paid more and earned less.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: John le CarrĂ©’s compelling argument for government-funded job-retraining programs.

Fear of Flying: Erica Jong examines the perils of airline deregulation and lack of FAA oversight.

The Color Purple: Alice Walker’s insightful look at how swing states determine presidential elections.

The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien’s classic tale of how nine men fought the odds in their quest for marriage equality.

Dune Messiah: Bob Woodward’s insider account of how the Obama administration won the Arab Spring.

The Happy Hooker: How enlightened federal environmental management makes for happy fisherman (and -women).

Fat White Vampire Blues: Andrew Fox’s game-changing investigation of how the Koch Brothers fight their own clinical depression by creating income equality.

The Hobbit: Tolkien’s timeless classic of how ignorant Tea Partiers from flyover shires should just stay at home.

Jurassic Park: Michael Crichton’s expose of how the GOP lost the youth vote.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Mitch Albom’s heartwarming tales of the MSNBC green room.

and of course,

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site: How shovel-ready stimulus saved the U.S. from a second Great Depression.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Married Conversation About the Pizza-Welfare State

"Is that the piece I was eating?"

"It was just sitting there."

"I was going to finish that."

"But it was just sitting there."

"I thought you might see it, ask if I still wanted it, and then bring it over to me when I said yes."

"What, you expect the pizza-welfare state to just bring you a slice simply because you want it?"

"The pizza-welfare what?!"

"This is America! Get up off the couch and get your own slice!"

"You mean from the pizza you ordered online with a credit card and had delivered?"

(pause) "Can I bring you a slice, my love?"

"Don't forget the plate."

Friday, May 2, 2014

Seriously, California?

Got this in the mail yesterday with the new checks I ordered.

Seriously, California? I mean, seriously?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: White House Press Corps Attacks Jay Carney Over Benghazi Memo

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

History's Remainders

Monday, March 3, 2014

Exclusive Video: CIA's Top Putin Analyst Reacts to "Surprise" Invasion of Ukraine and Her Sudden Reassignment

Thursday, February 20, 2014

30 Facts About Me

1. The nurse at the hospital misspelled my name on the birth certificate.

2. When my nieces asked me which was cooler, Star Wars or Star Trek, I answered Babylon 5.

3. I got my first literary agent at 19. I published my first novel at 47. Perseverance rules.

4. My wife is smarter than I am, but I’m the one who always knows where her keys and cell phone are.

5. I believe Stargate Universe is the greatest television show ever.

6. I once managed a 1-900 dateline.

7. As much as I mock the French, when a three-year-old girl I’m reading a story to turns around in my lap and puts a beret on my head, I’m wearing it.

8. I moved across the country for a woman. We’re still married.

9. My first job out of college was working the phone lines for a mutual fund investment group. Six weeks later, the Crash of 1987 hit. Lucky me.

10. I was a child extra in the stands during Ned Braden’s championship-winning striptease at the end of Slap Shot. My mother had no idea this was the scene they would be filming and was absolutely mortified.

11. I have a degree in English Lit. That was a mistake.

12. I’ve lived with two different cats. Both tried to kill me.

13. My wife and I got married in a library, and we spent our honeymoon at San Diego Comic Con. We are that nerdy.

14. I’ve had a crush on Catherine Bell since Season 2 of JAG. (My wife knows.)

15. I believe Toto is the greatest band ever. I’m that middle-aged and uncool.

16. I had a milkshake with Hal Clement.

17. My favorite memory from 10 long, struggling years in Hollywood as an almost successful screenwriter involves an old Warsaw Pact assault rifle in each hand and my feet resting on a nuclear bomb. (The nuke was a prop; the rifles were real.)

18. I was unplanned.

19. My wife and I have differed on nearly every major political issue since the day we met. We’re still married.

20. Sometimes, I really relate to Brian the Dog.

21. I look exactly like my great-great-grandfather. I mean, exactly.

22. I was a communist in my teens, a liberal in my 20s, a sort-of conservative in my 30s, and now a sort-of libertarian in my 40s. I don’t even want to think what my 50s might bring.

23. Thirty years after I first read it, William Goldman’s The Color of Light is still my favorite novel.

24. I once kept my Christmas tree up for an entire year.

25. I believe Episodes is Hollywood’s personal apology to me for our 10 long and co-dependent years together.

26. For my senior thesis on science fiction in my high school AP English class, I personally wrote to every author whose work I discussed. Amazingly, all of them wrote back with their agreements, disagreements, and insights except for Robert Heinlein, whose wife Ginny wrote back instead to say that Mr. Heinlein would not be writing back to me because his time needed to be kept free for writing.

27. I’m all for global warming if it melts the special snowflakes.

28. In my younger days, I was a fire-breathing atheist. Richard Dawkins had nothing on me. In the end, though, it turned out I was more angry at God than I was disbelieving.

29. My wife is Penny, Bernadette, and Amy Farrah Fowler all rolled into one.

30. I am an extremely fortunate man.