Monday, October 31, 2005

This crap is late again?

Only two days late this time. Maybe I can get back to doing this on Fridays again for a change sometime in the next few weeks. Or maybe I won’t.

I guess I could just pretend that I had written this on Friday, but had neglected to post it until just now. But that would be dishonest. And if there’s one thing that I strive to do at this blog, it’s be honest. Or at least give the impression of being honest. By saying that I try to be honest.

On with the crap.

  1. Tori Amos – Snow Cherries From France – I don’t know why this song has suddenly grown on me so much in the last few weeks, but it has. The lyrics just kind of drift lazily through my ears without leaving much of an impression, but it’s just got such a lovely melody that I don’t much care.

  2. Benjamin Britten / Peter Grimes – Four Sea Interludes, Dawn – One of the problems with downloading albums-full of random classical music (I’ve got about a dozen different “Classical Moods” albums) is that for every gem that you fall instantly in love with, you get another ten pieces that you never listen to and occasionally wonder why you bother keeping.

  3. Kim Mitchell – America – Ah, late-80s–early-90s Canadian rock. Ish. I actually don’t mind Kim Mitchell in a nostalgic, “Hey, I can kind of remember liking that song once upon a time.” And I don’t think listening to it is quite as embarrassing as tuning in some Def Leppard or Bon Jovi, but maybe that’s just me…

  4. Depeche Mode – Barrel of a Gun (Underworld Hard Mix) – Great song. Annoying remix.

  5. Pink Floyd – One of These Days (Live) – Not sure when this live performance is from, exactly, but it’s a decent recording if it’s an ROIO…

  6. Radiohead – Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong – Worth having in your playlist for the song title alone.

  7. The Offspring – Why Don’t You Get A Job – “My friend’s got a girlfriend, and he hates that bitch, he tells me everyday…” You gotta love modern love songs. In all seriousness though, The Offspring really appeals to me on my cranky, seething, grinding-my-teeth-til-they-bleed kind of days.

  8. Joe Satriani – Midnight – It was a certain scrawny friend of mine who introduced me to Joe Satriani. I’m not a rabid fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve downloaded a few albums because it’s nice when his stuff pops up on random playlists like this one.

  9. Pink Floyd – Julia Dream – I feel like a failure of a PF fan because I suddenly can’t remember what album this is from. Nonetheless, a nice song from the early, pre-DSOTM Floyd.

  10. REM – Belong – From the album “Out of Time” which, I think, was one of the first 10 CDs that I bought not long after my parents first got a CD player. My enjoyment of REM tends to drift on and off, but stays on most of the time, for most of their stuff.

  11. REM – Make It All OK – 9165 songs to choose from, and my random playlist takes two songs in a row from the same band? Ouch.

G’night folks! Tip your waitress!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Goddamn insomnia

Can't sleep. Just in case you were wondering.

3:10 a.m. My eyes are heavy. My body is exhausted. Everything is in place for a good night's sleep, but for reasons beyond me sleep continues to avoid me. I've got tunes on my MP3 player, playing softly through headphone -- something to distract me, something to heopfully keep my thoughts from getting so loud that I stare at the ceiling. Unfortunately it's not working.

Goddamn opening night stage adrenaline won't go away.

Goddamn thoughts won't settle down.

Goddamn body won't just shut itself off, in spite of my burning desire for it to do so.

Goddamn insomnia.

EDIT: Oh my lord, the current Strongbad Email is about insomnia. And I'm just about tired enough to think that means something significant in the grand scheme of things...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another Round of Crap

So, I missed it on Friday. Sue me. I was busy.

The thing is this: I thought about it. I thought about how I should be doing it. I thought about how much I wanted to be doing it. Two short weeks into this stupid “Random 10” and I’m already an addict. Way to go stupid internet blog memes. Way to goddamn go.

So, in spite of the fact that it’s late by a handful of days, here is this week’s Friday “Random 10” (or, in this case, 11)

  1. Eva Cassidy – Somewhere Over the Rainbow – This song completely destroys my brain every time I hear it. Eva Cassidy – who died a few years back, far too young – turns a song that everyone knows into the most amazingly melancholy piece of music. I have a very, very special place for this song in a play I’m desperate to direct one day.

  2. Nirvana – Tourette’s – There’s a handful of Nirvana songs that I enjoy – and those that I do, I enjoy quite a bit. I don’t think this is one of them, really…

  3. Elton John & Billy Joel – The Bitch is Back – Two piano legends on a song that isn’t one of my favourites is a recipe for some fine mediocrity.

  4. Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop – I’m not sure how this got on my playlist, but it’s a damn fine song – one of those iconic pieces that you recognize, immediately, from the first few chords.

  5. Ani DiFranco – Everest – I suppose I should confess that I prefer the earlier, acoustic-er Ani than to the later, more produced and electric Ani. Does that make me a bad person?

  6. Cher – Strong Enough – Yes, I have a Cher “Greatest Hits” album. What’re you gonna do about it?

  7. The Orb – Time – A cover of a popular Pink Floyd tune. Except it’s got all sorts of weird dance beat stuff in it. This is in my playlist only because it is tangently related to Pink Floyd. Which is reason enough to download anything, I think.

  8. John Lennon – Look at Me – Having missed the magic of the Beatles, and of Lennon himself as a solo artist, while both were actually in existence, I can’t help but wonder if some of the power we place on Lennon’s work stems from the fact that, as an artist, his ability to output material was rather abruptly cut off when he was shot to death. Not to disrespect what is clearly a valid talent – “Imagine” is one of my favourite songs of all time – but I wonder if perhaps we tend to over-romanticize those artists that die too young.

  9. Silicon Knights – The Last Hope – From the game “Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem” which had a fine soundtrack, and was a damn fine horror game as well.

  10. Billy Joel – Don’t Ask Me Why – I don’t think I even know this song

  11. Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful to Me – And a lovely note to end on. Sometimes the most moving songs are the ones that are the most simple. Sometimes we need to be reminded that, when you strip everything else away, the bare bones of life are pretty basic.

And that’s it for this week. See you again next week, with a “Random 10” which, I can assure you right now, will be at least just as late as this one. Thank you, and good night!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Self improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction..."

I've been thinking a fair amount about the characters in the Smalltown Pornographer's novel over the course of this month -- and thinking about them even more as I've dabbled in their pre-novel-history -- and I've kind of started to realize something interesting.

Most of the novels I've written in the past -- and, in fact, most of the short stories I've written as well -- have a common thread. Redemption. I write stories about people who end up in terrible places, doing terrible things, feeling terribly about themselves, but at the end of the story, ultimately find themselves redeemed, in some way.

But traditionally, these characters have put themselves into those terrible places. They are, in a nutshell, self-destructive. Filled with self-loathing and self-doubt. And it is their own decisions, their own feelings, their own sense of themselves that needs to be redeemed by the novel's end.

In the case of The Small Town Pornographer's Blues, though, the main character (who, for those who read "This is not a prologue (Part Four)" already know, now has a name) is really just a guy who ends up in a lot of wrong places at the wrong times.

Sure, he's a pornographer, which some might argue is not the most morally solid occupation in the world. But he's a good pornographer. He doesnt' exploit his talent, he doesn't get his actresses strung out on drugs, he pays them as well as he can under the circumstances. In effect, he is exactly what a small town pornographer would be like. Kind, friendly, and just wanting to make some entertaining films.

And I'm quite looking forward to this change of pace, to writing a character that is not so completely self destructive. Last November, when writing what is tentatively titled "Waiting for a Miracle," I had to stop writing the first part of the novel about halfway through the month and switch to the second part, which is written by a different first person narrator, because the narrator of the first part was just too goddamn depressing. I couldn't stand living in his head for another day.

As much as I'm fascinated by characters with self-destructive behaviour -- in part, I think, because I have self-destructive tendencies myself, on occasion -- they can get awfully tiring to write, day in and day out. Particularly when you're feeling terribly self-destructive at the time, and don't feel like being dragged down to those sorts of feelings either.

Sadly some of the momentum I had for the novel has dipped, slightly, in the last few weeks, but I think that's just a result of work stresses, and the fact that the play I'm in is going to open in just a few days. Hopefully by the time November 1 arrives and I write that first sentence, I'll be ready to rock and roll. God knows these non-prologues have gone about as smoothly and comfortably as anything I've written about in quite awhile.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Comments and e-mail addresses

You know, I really do enjoy getting comments -- comments from all sorts of people. I don't care if you like my post, hated my post, or were indifferent to it. Comments are wonderful. BUT ONLY WHEN THEY ARE NOT ADVERTISEMENTS.

I'm about THIS close (I know you can't actually see it, but I've got my finger and thumb really, really, really close together) from dropping anonymous comments from the blog because of the ridiculous advertisement comments that seem to appear within 5 minutes of a post being made. It's driving me batty.

I really don't want to do that, because it will prevent those who don't have blogger accounts from leaving comments, but the ads are really, really starting to piss me off.

On an entirely unrelated subject, yes, I've now registered Also, just to be safe. Please don't contact me at those addresses, though, as I don't think I'll be checking them with any sort of regularity.

This is not a prologue (Part Four)

September 2001

It was supposed to be a brainstorming session, but that was before we’d gotten into our fourth beer. Now it was more of an unofficial bitch-session.

“For Christ’s sakes, Dan,” I said, “you’re at the gym more often than the rest of us. Can’t you track down any prospective talent there?”

“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, Lucas,” he said to me, “but it’s actually not cool to wander around staring at other men’s crotches while you’re at the gym. Maybe if you visited a bit more often, you’d know the rules.”

“Can’t you peek out of the corner of your eye?”

“Jesus Christ, man, I’m not going to peek, I’m not going to glance, I’m not going to gawk. I have no interest in checking anyone else’s privates out.

“Fine. And you, Karen?”

“You’ve asked me this before,” she said, rolling her eyes. “And the answer’s still the same. No, I haven’t been with any fabulously endowed men.”

“At this point, I’d be content with mildly above average.”

“Well, at the moment I can’t recall anyone mildly above average.” She paused for a moment, thinking about it again. “Well, maybe one or two, but no one I’d like to hop in the sack with again.”

“Not even if he was going to help us create something fantastic.”

“Lucas,” Jason said, taking a rare moment to contribute to the conversation, “We’re trying to make a porn film, not Citizen Kane.”

“And you can just take your negativity elsewhere, if that’s how you’re going to be about it,” I said, looking down into my drink because I really couldn’t think of anything else to say at the moment.

We were stuck. We were at an impasse. And it was a problem that I hadn’t considered in advance, and therefore we didn’t currently have any solution to how to get around it. We needed a dick. Based on the general rules of pornography, it needed to be at least a bit larger than average, be attached to someone not entirely hideous who was able to control his climax to at least some degree, and also belong to someone interested in being the star of an independent porn video in which he’d get to have sex with Karen in about a dozen different positions.

Now, the last part would probably be the easiest to find. Karen was attractive enough, even with her slightly bizarre cheekbones, and just about any red-blooded young male would be willing to drop his pants and have a go at her. It might take a little bit more convincing before he was comfortable with us setting cameras up around him, and it might take even more convincing before he’d be willing to let Dan point the camera right at his crotch, for those all important action-close-ups, but I was fairly confident that we’d be able to convince the majority of the applicants that there was nothing to fear and that he’d likely have the time of his life.

The biggest trouble was in finding someone who had the physical qualifications. How the hell were we supposed to screen them? I couldn’t very well just saunter up to every man I encountered on the street and say, “Hey, can I see your cock?”

And no one currently at the table – which made up the extent of our porn film cast and crew – seemed to know anyone who fit the bill.

“Why don’t put an ad in the paper?” Jason asked, out of the blue.


“In the personals or something. Like: Wanted, gigantic cock for porn film…”

“That’s a retarded idea,” I said, shaking my head.


“Because…because I don’t want people to know what we’re doing. I mean, we all still have to live in this community, we all still have to go to our day jobs and buy groceries and stuff. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be looked at as ‘That Creepy Pornographer’ while I’m trying to buy bread and milk.”

“They don’t have to know it’s us. Look, we set up a Hotmail e-mail address that can’t be traced back to anyone in particular – something like We use that as the contact point. No evidence. No phone numbers or addresses. There are enough digital cameras around that most people know someone who has one, and if they don’t they can track down a cheap Polaroid instant-style camera that doesn’t require them to send the film out to a developer. Then we just ask them to email head shots and penis portraits to us at that e-mail address. It seems like the perfect solution to me.”

It wasn’t perfect, exactly. Digital cameras weren’t quite as common as Jason thought, and the people who tried to use a Polaroid would have to track down someone with a scanner to get the photo into a digital form that they could e-mail. But even considering those little issues, it seemed to me as if maybe this wasn’t a terrible idea.

“Once we get the photos,” he continued, “we can pick out the ones who seem like the best candidates and go through an interview process. We should be able to track down at least one physically viable candidate who’s also interested in having sex on video tape.”

“Why stop at the male talent though?” Dan asked. “I mean, we could solicit actresses that way as well.”

“Who’s got a pen?” I asked.

“I’ve got one, and some paper, I think,” Karen said, starting to dig through her purse.

“Okay, so the ad reads: Local adult film production seeks…”

“Exotic film,” Dan said.


“Call them exotic films. It sounds less freaky that way. That’s what Burt Reynolds’ character called his film in Boogie Nights.”

“I think the word ‘exotic’ might confuse people. It’s not clear enough.”

“No, no, but it’s, like, exotic,” Dan said, with a weird kind of leer in his eye.

“You can’t really do a wink-wink, nudge-nudge like that on paper. We’re sticking with ‘adult film’.”


“Okay. Local adult film production seeks prospective talent. Men and women required. Please send head shot and full-body nude photo to…whatever the e-mail address happens to be.”

“I like the first suggestion,” Karen said. It’s got kind of a quaint feel to it.

“Fine, Jason, see if you can get that address.”

“I’m on it.”

“So…send head shot and full-body nude photo to blah blah blah. Please include any relevant experience…”

“What’s relevant?” Dan asked.

“I don’t know, acting experience, that kind of thing…”

“What if the guy has just had a whole lot of sex?”

“Well, I guess that’s kind of relevant too.”

“Are we screening for diseases?” Karen asked, her eyes suddenly bright. “Shit, I hadn’t even thought of that, we need to screen for diseases.”

“Don’t worry, Karen,” I said, “we’ll be screening for diseases, but I don’t think that’s necessary at this point. We’re just looking at prospective candidates. We can disease-screen the final round of applicants.”

“I don’t want to get genital herpes.”

“No one wants to get genital herpes,” Jason said.

“That’s not necessarily true,” Dan said, turning to Jason. “There’s all sorts of weird motherfuckers out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some bizarre, sexual sub-culture of people who were just desperate to get infected with herpes.”

“We’re getting off track,” I said. “What’ve we got so far.”

Karen, who’d been scribbling away on a scrap of paper, read the ad back to me. “Local adult film production seeks prospective talent. Men and women required. Please send head shot and full-body nude photo to, whatever e-mail address we end up with. Please include any relevant experience.”

“Only those applicants being considered for a role in the production will be contacted,” Jason added. “I think that’s a necessary inclusion, as we don’t want to be flooded by e-mails from people wondering why we haven’t written them back yet.”

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s good. That’s really good. Jason, can you see about getting that into the paper?”

“First thing in the morning.” He took the scrap from Karen and started to tuck it into his pocket, but I stopped him.

“Wait, there’s one more thing.”


I took the pen from Karen and tugged the scrap of paper from Jason’s hand, adding the final sentences in my own handwriting.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime. Fame and fortune can at last be yours too.

“There,” I said, sliding the paper back to Jason. “Now we’re ready to rock.”

Sunday, October 16, 2005

This is not a prologue (Part Three)

August 2001

While Dan sat on the sofa behind me, examining my recently acquired digital video camera, I wondered whether or not I should start by showing him my test footage of Karen, or just toss “NymphMania Volume 8” into the DVD player.

“This thing is fucking sweet,” I heard Dan say.

Examining was, perhaps, a little on the light side to describe how he was looking at the camera. He had his face only a few inches away from it, examining every line, every curve, every bump, ever button, every slot, every port, every outlet, from corner to corner, top to bottom. I worried that, with his face that close, drops of saliva would start to dribble out from his mouth and damage the fragile electronics. The man was, most assuredly, drooling.

Dan worked at the electronics shop with me, and had been a photography buff for years. He’d actually won a bunch of awards for his photographs at local contests, fairs, and such, which maybe didn’t sound like a whole lot, but it still meant he was generating better photography than the average shmoe wielding a point-and-click Kodak Special.

I decided to skip the porn for a second, and explain the situation to Dan first.

“Okay,” I said, “here’s the deal. I’m trying to become a filmmaker.”

“Holy shit, does this thing support Timecode? Fucking-A!”

I don’t think he was listening. I snapped my fingers a few times, inches away from his face. “Hello. Earth to Dan.”

With some effort, he pulled himself away from the camera and looked up at me. “Yeah, what’s up.”

“Listen, Dan. I have a proposition for you.”


I started to pace back and forth in front of him while I talked. “I’m trying to become a filmmaker. I know, I know, it probably sounds like a crazy dream, and maybe it even is. But I think that if we can pull some talented people together – and God knows there’s enough talent around if you know where to look at it – we might just be able to make something. Make it cheap. And then turn around and sell it a whole lot of money.”

“Cool.” Dan didn’t care much for the big words.

“Now, I’ve got a bit of money from an investor. That’s how I paid for the camera, and for the tapes and what not. There’s still a bit of money to go around, for more equipment as we need it, and for catering and all that kind of bullshit. I can’t afford to pay any of the participants in this project very much at the moment…well, actually, I can’t afford to pay them anything at the moment, but if things go well, we could all be rolling in the cash in no time at all.”


“But I’ve got a problem. I took the camera out for a test spin last week, and shot a bunch of footage, but…well, it looks like crap, to be honest with you. I dumped it all on my computer, and tried to fuck around with it and make it prettier, but everything I did to it just made it worse. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, because I’m not a photographer, I’ve never been a photographer. So, I think I need a photographer.”

“Uh huh.”

“That’s you, Dan.” Also, Dan wasn’t the sharpest tack in the drawer.

“Oh! What, me? Wait, start again.”

“Oh, God, listen. I’m trying to make movies, Dan. Films. Videos. To sell to people. They look like crap, so I need to get someone behind the camera who can make them look pretty. A cinematographer, or a director of photography, or whatever fucking title you like. You can call yourself the King of Digital Video for all I care, as long as you agree to run my camera for me.”

“You want me to shoot your films for you?”


“Oh, sure, yeah. Why not. I haven’t really done anything on video before, it’s all just been still photography stuff, but I don’t think it’d be that much different. It’d be fun to play around with something new anyway.”

“Okay,” I said, turning around and popping the NymphMania DVD into the player. “I want you to take a look at this scene real quickly, just so you can see the sort of look I’m going for, and then I’ll show you what I shot, and you can maybe figure out what I was doing wrong, and how to avoid it.” I punched some buttons on the remote control and then hopped onto the sofa next to Dan just as the images on the television came to life, mid-blowjob.

“It’s not amazing photography by any stretch of the imagination,” I said, “but you can at least see that the colours are, you know, true to life. The reds look red, and the blues look blue, but when I was shooting, every looked really washed out. Like there was too much white in it or something.”

I noticed Dan shifting uncomfortably next to me. I looked over in his direction and caught a look of noticeable discomfort on his face.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked him.

“Um, listen man, no offense, but…this is kind of creeping me out.”

“What is?”

“This fucking video.”

“What? Why?”

“Look, I’m…you know, all secure in my sexuality and shit, but I’m not real open about it either. And this whole sitting around watching porn with a buddy, well…it’s fucking weird.” He suddenly looked over at me. “Oh fuck, you’re not coming on to me, are you?”

“Jesus Christ,” I said, and hit the power button on the remote control. The image blinked into blackness. “No, I’m not coming on to you.”

“Then what was up with that video?”

“Because,” I said, temporarily unable to conceive of how thick Dan could be sometimes, “those are the kinds of films I want to make. Adult films. Porno fucking films.”

The words settled in eventually. “Oh,” he finally said. “Oh!”

“You see?”

“Yeah. Okay, yeah, I get it now.”

“Okay, so can I turn the video back on now so you can compare the differences in colour and quality and all that shit?”

“Uh, actually I’d prefer if you didn’t. I’m still not big on sitting around watching porno films in, you know, a social setting.”

“Well, you better get used to it. You’re going to be pointing a camera at two people mashing their genitals together.”

We sat there in an awkward silence for a few minutes, neither us entirely sure what to say or what to do following the bizarre, surreal turn that any conversation about one’s desire to get into the porn industry inevitably takes. Finally, I said, “Do you want to just take the DVDs home and check them out there?”

“Yeah, that’d probably be best.”

I pushed myself off the sofa and pulled NymphMania from the DVD player, dropping it in its case, then picked up the DVD I had burned of my own test footage, and handed both discs over to Dan. “Call me tomorrow or the day after to let me know what you think.”

“Sure enough.”

“And I swear to God if these things are sticky when I get them back, you’re fucking fired.”

Saturday, October 15, 2005

This is not a prologue (Part Two)

June 2001

She had long blonde hair and intense cheekbones. Her face was funny – sharp, in a way, like you might poke your eye out if you got too close to it. But still pretty in an odd way. And she had the most amazing knockers I’d ever seen.

Plus, she was the first one that hadn’t slapped me when I tried to tell that I was recruiting talent for pornographic films.

Instead, she had this quizzical look on her face. It was a look she gave to me, and then to my business card, and then back to me again, and then back to the business card, and on and on and on.

Her name was Karen, at least according to her nametag. It's 2:00 in the morning and I'm in the goddamn 7-Eleven because I was drunk and wanted a hot dog. I'm not sure exactly why I decided to toss out my, "Hey, do you want to be a porn star?" pitch to her, except that there was no one else around, she didn't look too dreadful under the harsh fluorescents, and because she had amazing knockers.

And, I guess, because I was drunk.

“Is this some kind of a pickup line?” she finally asked me. Her eyes were still on the business card. It read: MURPHY MIDNIGHT – DIRECTOR – ADULT FILMS.

It wasn’t my real name, obviously. It was, in fact, my porn star name – the name you get when you combine the name of your first pet with the name of the street you grew up on. The card, when you got right down to it, was a farce, but I’d approached it as seriously as possible, hitting up a friend in the printing industry to output them for me.

He’d looked at me just as strangely as the blonde-haired, intense-cheek-boned beauty was looking at me now.

“No,” I said, “it’s not just some kind of pickup line.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Because you’re kind of cute.”

“Um, thank you.”

“And if this was some kind of pickup line, you know, it might actually work for you, if you weren't quite so drunk.” She fondled the card gently, sliding it in my direction. “I mean, you’ve clearly put some effort into it.”

“I have,” I said, “but not because it’s a pickup line. Because I’m trying to put together some local, adult film talent.”

“You’re trying to make a porno film.”

“Well…yes. Pretty much.”

She met my eyes for just a second before looking down at the business card again. I wasn’t sure why she was obsessing about it, why it seemed like she couldn’t take her eyes of it. But right them, I didn’t care. I hadn’t scared her off, or inspired her to slap me or punch me in the stomach or dump her drink on my head, which pretty much encapsulated the extent of the responses I had received to my attempted proposals thus far.

“Futura,” she said, completely out of the blue.

“Pardon me?”

“It’s the typeface on your card. Futura.”


And then she laughed, a real laugh, and I jumped a little. There was something friendly in that laugh, something almost intimate, and I found it a little scary. I wasn’t sure what to say or do, because I wasn’t sure what she was talking about or laughing at. I was grateful when she continued the conversation all on her own.

“It’s the name of the font that the words on the business card are set in,” she said, sliding the card towards me. “Different fonts have different names. You know what a font is, don’t you?”

“Fuck, yeah, I know what a font is,” I said, looking down at the business card. I didn't have any idea which of the words on the card was in "Futura" and I didn't much care either..

“It’s a nice typeface,” she said smiling. “Futura. I took some design courses in university. I'm crazy about typefaces.”

She looked weirder than ever when she smiled. The skin around her cheekbones was stretched tight, like the bones underneath could just pop through the flesh at any moment. But her knockers were still incredible, and no one smiled much in porn films anyway.

“So,” I said, trying the steer the conversation away from whatever the fuck it was she was trying to talk about, “you haven't slapped me or dropped a drink on my head yet.”

“I'd have to go to the cooler and get a drink to dump one on your head. And then it'd just come out of my paycheque, so it's not really worth it, unless you really want me to?”

“No. I’d rather you didn’t. That’s how most of my interviews have gone so far, and I’m trying to stray away from that.”

“Maybe your interviews would go better if you didn’t approach lonely, vulnerable women and ask them to be in a porn film.”

She had a point. I conceded, internally, that it was something worth looking into in the future. But the future wasn’t now, and I still had this odd-but-strangely-enticing-and-attractive creature to deal with in the moment.

“Look,” I said, trying desperately to cut to the chase, “Maybe I should be sorry I brought it up, but it's brought up now, so I guess we'll just have to deal with it. Right now I just want to go and eat my hot dog, so let's just cut to the chase. Are you interested, or should I just leave before you do decide to dump a drink on my head, loss of income or not?”

She held my gaze for a terrifying length of time. After three or four minutes I desperately wanted to break our gaze, to stare at the magazine rack, or the selection of beef jerky, or the rows upon rows of cigarettes lined up behind her, or any-fucking-thing other than her stare which was trying its damndest to bore its way through my brain.

And then she broke it off for me and looked down at the business card again. “That’s your porn star name, isn’t it?”

“I’m looking to direct these films,” I said, “not star in them.”

“First pet. Street you grew up on. Right?”

I’m not sure what made me angrier – the fact that she saw through my terrible name, or the fact that I knew that if I didn’t answer her question she was going to just shrug her shoulders and our conversation would be over.

“Yeah,” I said. “You’re right.

She grabbed a pen from behind the counter and flipped my business card over, scrawling seven digits on the back. "I've got Thursday off," she said. "Call me. Buy me lunch or something. We can talk."

I'm not afraid to admit that I was so excited that I left my goddamn hot dog behind.

NOTE: This post has been midly edited, because details were missing, and parts of it just weren't sitting right with me. I think it's better now.

Holy Crap, it's Friday!

Well slap me with a pancake and call me Earl…

I just about forgot this week’s Random 10. I guess that shows you just how messed up a week I have. Or it illustrates how ultimately confused and out of synch with reality I am. One or the other.

Damn, and I was gonna write “This is Not a Prologue (Part Two)” tonight too. Oh well. I can get on that tomorrow.

Rules are the same as last week. Ten random songs, plus song #0 that is handpicked by me to start things off.

  1. Harry Manx – The Great Unknown – Harry Manx is a BC bluesman I discovered when he played here in the ol’ WL a few years back. His gimmick (unfortunately, too many musical acts need a gimmick) is the inclusion of a fantastic Indian instrument in his repertoire of musical instruments. And yes, it gives him a fantastically unique sound, but even when he’s not strumming away on it, he can deliver the blues with the best of ‘em. Look him up some time. It’ll be worth it.

  2. Sheryl Crow – Maybe That’s Something – Gahd, I had to go to Amazon to look this song up, because my MP3 ID info is all messed up. Anyway, don’t much know this song, have even less to say about it. Er, Sheryl Crow rockz0rz. Mostly.

  3. Leonard Cohen – Our Lady of Shadows – And yet more musica obscura. I just download stuff from people I like, people I think I might like, people I think might be interesting, people I think will be bad, etc., and then never listen to it. This falls into the “downloaded from people I like” category, but I’ve still never heard it until now.

  4. Eagles – Victim of Love – This is off some kind of 1994 live bootleg thingy, I think. Another random download. Is that the theme this week? Time will tell. I know Don Henley gets a lot of flack from the cool folks, but I’m still a fan of his, and of the Eagles in general. If that makes me a loser, so be it. I was probably a loser before then anyway.

  5. Tori Amos – Bells for Her – Can’t go wrong with Tori. Gotta love someone who can peak like she did on her first album, and then continue on putting out interesting, challenging music that doesn’t completely alienate the listener.

  6. The Bangles – In Your Room – Yay for 80s chick bands! For technicalities sake, this is yet again a live version, from a late-90s or early-2000s reunion gig kind of thingy.

  7. Eagles – I Can’t Tell You Why – I’ve got 9,000 MP3s on my hard drive. Why do I so often get repeated bands during the Friday 10? This makes no sense to me…

  8. Level 42 – Fashion Fever – Er, hardly one of my favourites from them, but it’s on my hard drive because it’s on an album I’m mostly fond of, and as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m an insane completist. Also, go crappy 80s music!

  9. Erasure – Stop! – Oh, more 80s tune-age. This time from the electronica side of things. Is it cheese? Yeah, pretty much. But a little cheese now and then is perfectly good. This, by the way, is some remixed version of the song. If anyone cares.

  10. Nine Inch Nails – Pinion – Short. Abrupt. Angry. To the point. The essence of NIN, distilled.

  11. Peter Gabriel – My Head Sounds Like That – Off his most recent album – Up – for whatever reason, I never really cared much for this song. Musically, it’s fine. Lyrically…it bugs me somehow. Oh well, I shouldn’t complain I guess, as bad Peter Gabriel is still better than most of the dreck available…

And that’s it for another week. Tune in tomorrow (hopefully) for “This Is Not a Prologue (Part Two)”…

Sunday, October 09, 2005

This is what boredom looks like.

Hm, the squishy version looks kind of dumb, now that I've uploaded it. Oh well, I'm also too lazy to fix it. Click on the image to see the less crappy, less squishy version...

Oh, and by the way, I've *always* wanted to make this movie...

This is not a prologue (Part One)

May 2001

“Pornography,” I said.

Jason looked at me funny, like he was waiting for a punchline or something. He clicked his fingernails against his drink – double rye and coke – while in the background someone was belting out an 80s power ballad on a karaoke machine.

Finally he spoke. “That’s it?” he asked me. “That’s your big get-rich-quick plan? Pornography?”


“Don’t you think you’re missing something? Like, I don’t know…details, maybe?”

“Details, Schmetails. We can work that sort of stuff out later. For now, the only thing we need to worry about is this: Supply and demand.”

“Uh-huh.” It didn’t sound like I was doing much to convince him.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” I continued, “but there’s a massive – and I mean massive – demand for pornography.”

“Right. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s also a massive supply.”

I waved my hand at looked down at my own drink. The beer had gone warm and flat. I hadn’t really wanted it in the first place, this was just the only place that Jason would ever agree to meet. The fact that it was a karaoke bar was something I would never understand.

“Is that something else you’d file under ‘Details, Schmetails?’”

“As a matter of fact, it would.”

“You’re going to have to think about the details eventually, you know.”

“I know. But for now, one thing at a time. One step at a time. One day at a time. First step, money.”

“Well, at least it’s nice to see you’re thinking about one detail. Any ideas on where you’re going to get it from?”



“That’s where you come in.”

“Uh-huh. Wait, what? What do you mean, that’s where I come in?”

“Well, that’s what you do, isn’t it? I mean, you handle people’s investment portfolios and whatnot. All you do is steer some of that investment my way, and then…” My voice trailed off when I realized that Jason was laughing at me. It wasn’t just a small chuckle either. This was a massive, shake your shoulders, roll your belly kind of laugh. “What’s so funny?”

“Sorry to say this, my friend, but right at the moment I can’t think of a single person who’d be interested in dumping their retirement money into an independently produced porno flick.”

“So don’t tell them that part.”

“Oh, sure, as if that wasn’t more than just a little bit illegal.”

“Oh, don’t be such a pussy. You don’t have to completely lie to them. It’s just…you know, a lie by omission. You don’t tell them it’s a porn film, you say that it’s an independent movie that someone local is trying to make, and sure it’s high risk, but it has a good chance at paying off, and blah blah blah.”

He shook his head. “Sorry man, it’s just not going to happen that way.”

“I don’t even need very much.”

“How much is not very much?”

I tugged the scrap of paper on which I’d worked out a very basic budget out of my pocket and unfolded it, setting on the table between the two of us. “The way I’m looking at it, we grab a basic, entry-level, digital video camera, and a shitload of videotapes. I can do the editing on my PC, and I’ve got a pirated copy of Adobe Premier already…”

“I thought all the pros used Final Cut Pro on the Macintosh.”

“Just shut up and listen. Okay, so we buy a camera, we buy a shitload of tapes, I’ve got the necessary editing equipment already. All we need then is talent, and I figure if we can track down a few hot and horny young things, flash the promise of stardom in front of them, and we can probably get them in front of the camera for a few bucks and sandwich halfway through the day.”

“And I’m sure you have a little black book that’s just full of the names and phone numbers of these hot and horny young things, don’t you?”

“Why are you always so negative?”

“So, had you given any thought to how you were going to track these women down? Just go up to them and say, ‘Hi, want to be a porn star?’”

“Well, I thought I might get a business card first.”

“Oh, I can only imagine how much that will improve your chances.” He shook his head and quickly finished his drink, then stared at me with a look I knew well – it was the look of him trying to dig under the surface of something.

“What’s this really about?” he asked. “Is this just some stupid way to score chicks’ phone numbers?”

“Jesus Christ, no.”

“This isn’t just some plan to try to get a few dozen women into the sack with you, so can check out their ‘abilities’?”

“No, it’s not.”

“So, really, what’s this about then?”

I thought about what I was going to say, not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give Jason the real one or some half-assed sales pitch. I noticed that the voice coming over the karaoke speakers had changed, and a rap song was now playing underneath the sound of someone who was trying far too hard to be black.

“Jason,” I finally said, “I’m an assistant manager at a franchise electronics store. I’m 25 years old, and as far as my own corporate ladder goes, there aren’t too many steps left. It’s a little late in life for me to decide to become a doctor or a lawyer, and besides I hardly have the money for 12 years of schooling in either case. If I’m ever going to be successful, the sad truth is that I’m going to have to come up with some retarded idea that’s just crazy enough to work. I don’t know if this idea is it or not, but I know that at least it’s feasible. It’s something that I can do. There’s money to be made, a lot of it too, if you can just find the right product at the right time, and if you can manage to ride the wave of popularity and success in just the right way. And I think it’s worth a try.”

He kept his gaze locked on me, digging away at me, trying to see how much of what I had said was true. It drove me nuts, because Jason was always so fucking good at digging the truth out of people. I was just glad that I what I had told him had, in fact, been the truth.

And then he broke the gaze and looked down at the budget again, looking at the numbers, crunching them in his head. “You’re a fucking lunatic,” he said.

“I know,” I told him.

“I’ll tell you what. There’s still not a chance in hell that I’m going to embezzle even a dime from any of my clients in order to fund this lunatic production, but I’ve got a few grand tucked away that I’ve been waiting for the right time to drop into the right investment. My gut tells me that this investment isn’t it, but I’m willing to put my faith into you anyway.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“But,” he continued, looking back up at me again, and this time there was a very different look in his eyes. “I want you to realize that I’m going to just toss you a few thousand dollars so you can piss it away on a project you have no intention of seeing through to the end. If you don’t go into this with every bit of passion and energy that you have, if you don’t work your ass to do everything that you can to ensure that this is a success, I’m going to expect you to return every fucking penny to me. Do you understand me?”


“Good,” he said, and slid my budget back towards me. “We’ll go shopping in the morning.”

“Congratulations,” I said, unable to suppress a smile. “You’re officially in the pornography business.”

“That’s detail number one taken care of. What’s next on the agenda?”

“Talent,” I said, as my eyes drifted towards an attractive blonde who was sitting with a cluster of her friends at a table ten feet away. I imagined myself asking her if she wanted to be a porn star. And I imagined her slapping me across the face, slamming her knee into my crotch, and storming out of the bar.

Something told me this wasn’t going to be easy.

“Good luck with that,” Jason said.

“Thanks for your support.”

This is not a prologue.

So, I had an idea.

As I've said a few times, I'm really itching to get started on the Pornographer's Blues novel, but I dare not actually begin until November 1, because it's going to be my NaNoWriMo Novel for 2005. But the desire to dip my toes into the world, to start dabbling with, and defining, the characters who will populate the world, is getting to be nearly overwhelming.

And then, tonight, out of the blue, I was struck with an idea.

Why *not* start playing with them?

I mean, as long as I'm not writing anything from the novel, that should be fine, right? I mean, I could write a series of short stories, that involve the characters, and the locations, and the situations that lead up to the events of the novel. That would give me a chance to dabble in the world, to play around with the characters, to try on their motivations, to see what sort of folks they turn out to be like. And it doesn't do anything to damage my November 1 start of the novel itself.

"Brilliant!" I thought.

So, over the next few weeks, there maybe a handful of these short little vignettes appearing here. For those of you interested in my forray into NaNo for this year, this will be a bit of a preview for you. For those of you not interested, well, I hope you kind of enjoy them anyway.

The first one will be up tonight. Whenever I get around to finishing it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

And in other news...

...does anyone know why my MS Word Blogger plug-in thingy seems to disappear from MS Word everytime I reboot my computer. It's annoying the sweet bloody bejeezus outta me.

Another 10* Songs o' Crap**

Yes, I’m going to do this ridiculous thing again. In spite of the fact that I’ve been blogging pretty regularly lately, and in spite of the fact that there’s terrible, terrible embarrassment waiting for me somewhere down this path, I’m going to do this again. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.

However, I’m going to make a minor switch, and actually cover 11 songs, and I’ll tell you why (even though I’m quite certain none of you care).

The easiest way I have of loading up my entire MP3 playlist is to just double-click a song in my Winamp Media List. It loads that one song, plus every other song in the media list, and continues on its merry way.

So, song #0 is the song that I actually chose – it was not a random pick – to start this whole thing off.

Rules will remain the same in the weeks to come.

  1. They Might Be Giants – Hopeless Bleak Despair – I’ve been in kind of a They Might Be Giants mode lately, and this is off one of their more recent albums that it took me forever to actually get around to listening to. Now that I have, this is one of my favourite songs, period. Near as I can tell, it’s a bit of a satirical poke at the angsty-whiner-type, and I swear it’s laugh-out-loud funny the first time you hear it.

  2. Howard Jones – No One Is to Blame – Some unashamed 80s tunage here. One of my favourites at the time, it manages to come across as not painfully dated. And thank Christ it’s not a “power ballad” – I never cared much for those. For specifics sake, this is the original version, and not the later version that included another staple of the 80s – Phil Collins – on the drums.

  3. Pink Floyd – A Pillow of Winds – A soft, pleasant piece – and something that sounds quite unlike their later work – from the album “Meddle”. This album is a favourite of mine for their 23-minute “Echoes” which took up Side B of the cassette, but I often forget how good the songs on the first half of the album are.

  4. Howard Jones – Is There A Difference – Wow, we’re already hitting the same album again. This song hasn’t held up quite so well over time, and comes across with a feel that belongs very solidly to the 80s. Which is fun, in a weird, painful, nostalgic way. Have I mentioned before that I’d love to direct a play set in the 80s? And not just set in the 80s, but very visibly set in the 80s, where I could drag out all sorts of crappy music and crappy fashions, etc. etc. It has occurred to me that “American Psycho” could, potentially, be adapted for theatre, but that’s based on the film, and not on having read the book, which I haven’t. Anyone have any idea of a theatrical version of the novel has already been attempted?

  5. Ani DiFranco – Untouchable Face – It was through the journals of Javina that I first stumbled upon the name Ani DiFranco. Bored one night, and with a copy of Kazaa installed on my machine, I decided to hunt down some material and find out who this singer was who I’d read so much about. I fell in love with her work immediately. A lot of her stuff is, clearly, written to speak to women, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a little something in it as well, even if I *am* a man.

  6. Grim Fandango – High Roller – And now some game music. This was one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, but sadly one that was missed by much of the gaming public. The music helped to set such a memorable atmosphere that, not long after completing the game, I set out to track down the official soundtrack by any means possible. I won’t share exactly what means were necessary, but suffice it say, the MP3s are happily stored on my hard drive.

  7. Kingston Trio – Where Have All The Flowers Gone – This is another bored Kazaa search, on a night when I tried to track down some tunes that I had listened to as a child thanks to my parents records. I could only remember a handful of Kingston Trio songs, and only dug out a half dozen or so that I remembered. I know this is a Dylon song, originally, but this is the version I’m more familiar with, however right or wrong that might be…

  8. Alexander Brandon – The Illuminati – From the Deus Ex soundtrack – and this week it’s from the *good* Deus Ex, the original. Nice use of some of the musical themes that recur throughout the game in this piece.

  9. Calas Went Away – Enigma – I went through kind of an Enigma phase not long after they (he?) released their first album. I think this is off the first album, but it’s brutally difficult to say for sure, as they do all kind of sound the same, unfortunately.

  10. Pink Floyd – Big Theme – This is, I think, off my massive, 18-CD ROIO “A Tree Full of Secrets” which is a fantastic collection of PF rarities. It’s also a lot to listen to, and I don’t actually think I’ve ever actually listened to all 18 CDs, because this song sounds completely unfamiliar to me, though it does seem like it might have come from either a late, post-Waters Floyd album, or a David Gilmour solo project. Oh, wait, some dialogue has come in near the end that seems to imply that this is from the ridiculous vanity “Gilmour and Mason Racing Project” that came out in the late 90s, I think. Bleargh. Thought it seemed like crappy, diluted Floyd.

  11. Pink Floyd – Apples and Oranges – And still *more* Floyd! I think is goes in the opposite direction, back to the earliest stuff, when Syd Barrett was still around. But I might be wrong about that. I’m pretty sure this is also from the Tree Full of Secrets collection.

And that’s for this week. Two weeks, and nothing embarrassing to speak of. I’m the luckiest man in the world! Well, except maybe for whoever it is that’s currently sleeping with Nicole Kidman. He’s probably pretty lucky too.

Thank you! Good night!

*11 songs, actually, but I already explained that, and I won’t be explaining it again.
** This, and all future uses of the word “Crap” are used in honour of the coolest flash animated guy in a funny Mexican wrestling mask ever, STRONGBAD!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More pornographers

A friend told me last night that I should ignore the National Novel Writing Month November 1st start date, and get started on The Small Town Pornographer's Blues novel straight away. His argument was that, because I was incredibly enthused about the novel now, and because I am rarely ever enthused about anything, I should strike while the iron is hot, as they say, instead of waiting until November 1, by which time my excitement may have worn off.

Which is kind of a good point. But I don't really have time for it right now. And if I got started on it now, I'd have to A) come up with another idea for NaNo, and B) put Pornographer's Blues on hold at the end of October, at least until December. Neither of those things I want to do, so it looks like I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope that I can remain excited and enthusiastic about the book right up until November.

I keep writing bits of it my head, though...the first few pages of the first chapter are going to be so polished by the time I actually sit down to write them...

Oh, one other tidbit about the novel -- I'm considering opening each chapter with a quote of some kind from a song. I've compiled a few, though I'm going to need a whole lot more to make it through the book (though, interesting enough, the idea has already started working inversely where, instead of stumbling upon a quote that's perfect for a planned chapter, a quote actually inspires a never before considered idea for a chapter). The actual chapter titles would then, also, be named from something pulled from the quote.

As an example, Chapter One is, at least for the moment, titled "Little Girls" and will be accompanied by this fine quote from the Oingo Boingo song of the same name:

I love little girls, they make me feel so good
I love little girls, they make me feel so bad
When they're around they make me feel like I'm the only guy in town
I love little girls, they make me feel so good.
— Oingo Boingo
Little Girls

Guesses on exactly what is going to transpire in Chapter One are welcome in the comments...

Obey the cheese!

Cheese must be obeyed at all times, or you may face the wraith of the cheese. One mustn’t face the wraith of the cheese. Cheese can be very wraith…ful.

Er, well, this is just a test of blog posting from MS Word, with photos. I’m perversely curious to see exactly how the blogging interface will deal with the images used in this document (if it will deal with them at all…

EDIT: Yeah, as suspected, the photos didn’t go. Oh well, I guess this MS Word Blogger interface can’t be perfect, can it?

Just so we're clear on this...

Hiccups are teh suxx0rz.

The first of many...

So, I'm officially signed up for NaNoWriMo 2005 -- I got an email tonight announcing the reactivation of the site, and immediately logged in to reactivate my account.

Something tells me that this will be the first of *many* NaNo related blog posts to come over the course of October, through November, and likely into December.

The toughest thing, right now, is now starting the novel. Ideas are pinging and ponging through my head like crazy, and while I don't want to squash them, I also don't want to burn out my excitement for this book before I even start it.

Having said that, I offer a small teaser. As much as I'm not really supposed to start my NaNo novel until November first, I've spent so much time writing and rewriting the first chapter in my head, that, at this point, the first line of the novel is pretty much burned into my brain.

Here is is, folks.

"You didn't have to be an expert to know, immediately, that she had never had a cock in her mouth before."

Filthy? Sure. But c'mon, it's called "The Small Town Pornographer's Blues" for Christ's sake. And don't tell me that first line doesn't leave you wanting more. Because I know it does...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Okay, seriously, this has got to stop...

Discovered while bored and browsing Yahoo News' "Odd News" section...

SEATTLE (Reuters) - An Oregon woman whose doctor convinced her that he could cure her lower back pain by having sex with her is suing him and his medical clinic for $4 million, according to legal documents obtained on Monday.

The doctor, Randall Smith, who was 50 at the time, was stripped of his license and sent to jail for 60 days last year for charging the state's Oregon Health Plan $5,000 for his 45-minute "treatments" involving the woman.

"Dr. Smith's medical treatment included intercourse in which he told plaintiff was needed to help alleviate plaintiff's lower back and lower extremity pain," the former patient said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which charges battery, negligence and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, was filed on Friday in Multnomah County court.

"We never comment on lawsuits," said a spokesman for the Adventist Medical Group clinic in Gresham, Oregon where Smith worked. Smith could not be located for comment.

Though he pleaded guilty to submitting false health care claims, a felony, Smith maintained the sex with the 47-year-old woman was consensual.

No offense to those who have been sexually assaulted, and no offense to those who have been duped by doctors in the past, but if you're stupid enough to *believe* your physician when he tells you that the only way to cure your disease is to have sex with him, you should waive your right to ever be able to sue him -- or, I suppose, anyone else -- on the grounds that you are a moron.

Colour me cynical, but something tells me that when the doctor offered this prospective treatment (for which, I should add, he should be restricted from ever suing anyone on the grounds of being a complete moron) the first thing through the woman's mind wasn't, "Hm, well, that seems like a perfectly good idea," but rather, "Hm, well, if I tolerate this for a few minutes, I can probably sue his ass off."

Can we please stop looking for ways to make a quick buck by tying up our courts with retarded, frivolous lawsuits?


Can we at least impose some kind of an IQ test before allowing some to file a claim?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

On Comments...

Dear readers...

(and that includes those of you coming here looking for skanky sluts...)

Would you be so kind as to occasionally leave actual, legitimate comments? You know, the kind that don't involve trying to tell me how much money I can make by working from home while involved in some sort of terrible, awful scam.

Thank you,