Wednesday, December 29, 2010


(Another piece from my online writing group.)

Echo shuffled nervously as she stood in rank, staring forward at the massive pale blue monitor.

It was a room of the complex she had never seen before. It had been three days of blood sampling and examinations and a tattoo number on her wrist. She had rested more than usual from what she suspected was sedation.

There had been thirty of them in the line when they entered but six had been called to leave. A number, each digit larger than a human male, appeared on the screen.

"Number 23178, exit to the right for processing." The mechanical command boomed from above, raising the hairs on the back of Echo's neck.

A rotund boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, started to whimper from about eight people down the line. A soft whisper bounced off the walls of the chamber.

"It will be okay, Jeffie," a woman said with a tremor in her voice. "Just go through the door."

Echo looked to her right.

"Mother, no. Please, no," The boy cried as he gripped the woman's leg, burying his face into her thigh.


Startled, Echo spun her gaze back to the screen. Two heavily-armored soldiers passed inches before her, carrying long black cudgels with a shiny metal knob at the end. They stopped before the boy.

"Come with us. It's time to go."

The boy wailed and hugged his mother's leg tighter, drawing Echo's attention again.

"Please, Jeffie, go with them." Tears rolled down the mother's face.

"Go with us now or..." The soldiers words trailed off and he pressed metal ball of his cudgel against the boy's back.

The woman reached down and desperately tried to pry the boy from her leg. He would not let go.

"All right," the guard said with a sigh. His cudgel lit to life, an electric charge leaping from the metal ball to the boy.

The boy slumped immediately. The woman spasmed for a moment and collapsed to the floor. No one in the line moved or looked. All stood staring at the screen.

Echo started to go to the boy but a hand clasped her wrist. She looked back.

The man beside her, still staring forward at the screen, held her arm.

"Don't," he whispered. "Nothing you can do."

Echo looked back. The soldiers lifted the boy by the armpits and drug him through the door to the right. The woman still laid flat on the floor.

Echo stepped back into rank and looked forward.

A long silence pushed in on the room, building an unseen pressure. The man beside Echo allowed his hand to slip from her wrist and he suppressed a cough.

The screen lit again with letters.

"Complete," the mechanical voice from above boomed, repeating what the screen read.

A few exhaled sighs and one woman fell to her knees, weeping quietly into her hands. Several people went to attend to the fallen mother.

"What just happened?" Echo asked the man beside her.

"Yes, obviously, you haven't been here before," he whispered to her. "We are okay for now. We weren't chosen. We are the left-overs."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Redheads

I am posting a list of my top 10 favorite redheaded female celebrities, not as some weird stalker-ish inventory of obsessions, but for two reasons:

First, I wanted to work on my blogging skills - creating posts with pictures and text and successfully interweaving them in a creative layout.

And second, the topic came up in conversation the other day and I have been thinking about it on and off since.

I admit it. I do have a thing for redheads. I always have. There is a fiery passion in most that I find alluring - an indomitable drive and always a strong opinion. I've dated three redheads in my life, all relationships I could describe as "interesting" (as a complete understatement, mind you.)

I tried to choose women who are true redheads, though I am sure some have slipped through. And this is a personal list, women who I find attractive for one reason (or several.) It can't be argued because it's my opinion based on my knowledge and experiences. In short, don't flame the comment section because I didn't list your favorite. Just go make your own list.

So here it is (in alphabetical order with some honorable mentions at the end):

Amy Adams Angelic face, disarming smile and a super-talented actress, I think she can play any role she puts her mind to. Watch "Sunshine Cleaning, "Doubt" and "The Fighter" to see a very diverse actress.

Lauren Ambrose I met Lauren on a movie set recently and she is just as pretty in person as when I 'crushed on' her as Claire Fisher in "Six Feet Under." See "Cold Souls" and the Law & Order ep "Damaged" (a heartbreaking hour where she portrays a mentally-handicapped rape victim) as testament to her acting abilities.

Gillian Anderson Oh, the lovely Agent Scully... yes, I was a HUGE X-Files fan and she was a major reason for it. Toss in her acquired English accent from 'treading the boards' in London's West End and, that's it, you had me at "I want to believe."

Kari Byron Okay, there's some 'geek cred' on this list (you're going to get that from someone who's a geek himself) and this gorgeous Mythbuster has it; cute with a blazing smile - plus she blows things up! Really, what more could you want?

Felicia Day Looking for the geek that has it all? Look no further than Felicia. A talented actress who has created her own Web series "The Guild," she's beautiful and smart and has a laugh and smile to die for. Check out "Dr. Horrible's Sign-Along Blog," "Dollhouse" and "The Legend of Neil" for more of her talents.

Karen Gillan Admittedly, I only know her as Amy Pond in the latest incarnation of "Doctor Who," but wow! does she stand out. She's Scottish (again with the accents, Don?!) and her energy is just as her red hair suggests. Tall and elegant, she may have a future in the business!

Alyson Hannigan As much as I liked Alyson in "Buffy" years ago, she's even more beautiful now. The "How I Met Your Mother" actress can carry all aspects of acting; see the "American Pie" movie series for more comedic chops.

Rebecca Mader I am fully convinced that Rebecca is an alien. Piercing blue eyes, perfect smile and playful personality, she even looked great covered in grime as Charlotte in "Lost." Plus an English accent, like she needed it...

Jennifer Morrison Calling Dr. Cameron. The mesmerizing former star of House M.D. didn't show it as a TV doctor but is a natural redhead. Girl next door looks, an inviting smile and an upbeat personality contribute to her undeniable appeal.

Morgan Murphy Redheaded AND funny? It can't be. But that is the enchanting Morgan with hilarious stand-up and writing for late night TV, currently Jimmy Fallon. Her deliberate delivery is counter to what I'd expect from a redhead but the depravity of her humor only endears her to me more.

Honorable Mentions

Jenna Fischer, Isla Fisher, Christina Hendricks, Bryce Dallas Howard,
Nicole Kidman, Jayma Mays, Rose McGowan, Sara Rue, Alicia Witt,
Evan Rachel Wood

Saturday, December 4, 2010

And Now For Some Wikileaks Humor...

(from my Twitter feed)

Men with prostate problems have difficulty urinating, also know as Weakileaks. #ApologiesToMyTwitterFollowers

If your crazy friend tells you about his pet purple elephant, and you tell his psychiatrist, it's called a Wackileak. #AgainSorry

In 1692 Salem, many people were burned at the stake because of Wiccanleaks. #YesIKnow...

If you turn in your boss for embezzlement to get his job, it's called a Workileak. #ICantStop

Premature ejaculation during masturbation is also known as wankileaks. #BoyThatOneIsBad

If you have a cigarette lighter that is losing fuel, it's called a Bicileak. #OkayThatsTheLastOne

If you make out with a vampire, you will probable end up with a HickeyLeak. #OkayILied #ThisIsTheLastOne #ForNow

Years ago at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Disney's balloon entry deflated. It was blamed on a MickeyLeak. #IAmBeyondHelp

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(500) Days of Slumber?

And this is how I spend my time. It passes by - like I am asleep.

It's been a while since I left Florida. After 35 years, it seemed like the right time to leave. "Time for a change" was my reasoning. But I know it was more than that.

The other night I saw a rather unique movie, "(500) Days of Summer." Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, it starts as a young man, Tom, tells us the best relationship of his life has ended and he's not sure why. The film jumps back and forth over the 500 days he's known Summer, the girl of his dreams who he meets at a greeting card company where he writes copy. Tom recalls moments and, as he leaps from memory to memory, the movie tells us which day we are watching so we can put the story in order. We accompany him as he tries to piece together where things went wrong.

It was a surprisingly moving piece. As Roger Ebert noted, it's rare that a film tells us its ending to begin with so we can follow the protagonist in his struggle to understand his past. As we watch the story unfold, we learn two key things. First, Tom doesn't want to be a greeting card writer; he studied to be an architect and dreams of pursuing it again one day. And second, when he and Summer first start dating, she admits that she is not interested in anything serious relationship-wise. So we begin with a person who wants to build something and another not willing (at least at the start) to commit to create anything substantial.

I found myself emotional at two points, both late in the film. A seminal moment arises where we see that Summer decides Tom isn't "the one." It's heartbreaking because he doesn't realize it is the moment, the importance of it escapes him as he has settled into seeing Summer as always being there. The other moment is the last time they see each other. They meet - possibly accidently, possibly only in Tom's mind - at a spot they shared that overlooked the cityscape and they talk about what happened.

I guess I relate heavily to the circumstances of the movie. I moved to Georgia 14 months ago after the break-up of an eight year relationship. At times while we were together, I held hope things would get better, that it would work out. Deep inside, I was slowly realising it would not. But I still had hope until the night she walked into our bedroom and said she was leaving. So I quit my job and decided I'd make a change - to pursue things, like screenwriting, that I thought I couldn't afford to try when I was in a commited relationship.

But truly, since then, I haven't tried. I've been asleep, the perfectionist in me won't leave it alone. I've been going over and over those eight years in my head, trying to figure out what went wrong, where I could have made a change to save what I cherished. I'm blocked - I rarely write, I hardly rest at night and I seem to jump from day to day. There are times when I can't recall what I did during the 24 hours before.

I know it's depression. I see a therapist. I take medication. But I still can't shake it.

I feel asleep, like I'm in a dull dream where nothing happens but the ticking of seconds. I struggle for clarity of thought and a time to just shut down. Moments of happiness arise but flitter away. I attempt to stay creative but too much time is spent on the search for the answer and not enough on focus - focus on anything but the search.

It's been more than 400 days now since I tried to leave it all behind. Will it be another 100 before I can wake?

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hope hangs precariously like a trapeze artist, waiting to swing you to your next platform.

Health balances with wobbles and uncertain steps, a tightrope walker with no net.

Happiness rests like a tiger on a stand, landing after a leap through hoops of fire.

Performing live in all three rings, life is a circus.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


(As I mentioned before, I'm part of an online group that has inspired me to work on my writing more. Occasionally, I'll post pieces here that I like. This first was based on a topic from a couple of weeks ago, "vast." It's dedicated to young Ryan and his family.)


Vast is the universe, billions of years to traverse, always growing, ever expanding. Vast is our galaxy with countless stars, some blinding, some faded. Vast is the solar system, from the burning grand ball of the sun to the frozen rock we call Pluto. Vast is the Earth, the giver of life, our spinning home. Vast is a mountain, reaching into the clouds where the air is thin. Vast is a mansion, so many wings, so many levels, one too many empty rooms. Vast is an arm's length, a distance fallen short to pull ours from the dark water of the canal. Vast is the space between us, side by side, holding hands before his body, divided by a universe of grief.

Vast is relative.

About Me

I'm 42. I joked when I turned that age that I should know the answer to "Life, the Universe and Everything" (re the Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide series.) Like in the book, I now know the question is "What do you get if you multiple six by nine?" Also, like in the book, I now know there is something fundamentally wrong with the universe and that I still don't have the real answer.

I'm currently unemployed, though that's not entirely true. As of late, I have been working occasionally as an extra on movie sets in and around Atlanta. Interesting work, if you can get it. It helps that I am a film nerd so I find all aspects of movie production fascinating.

I fancy myself a writer, even though it's been a long while since I've been paid to write. I have been a newspaper reporter/editor, columnist and public relations director. I have had two short plays produced and have placed well in some screenwriting competitions. I've also been asked to submit additional materials to Marvel Comics, something that people in the know have told me never happens. Eventually I'd like to write for movies or television.

Occasionally, I do stand-up at open mic nights. I enjoy writing comedy and do most of it through my Twitter feed, which I started about six months ago. My humor ranges from social commentary that speaks out against the world to pure goofiness that speaks out against the world (but, if you keep reading here, I guess you will eventually realize that.)

My life is pretty simple right now. I'm single and I am living with my parents. (Yes, I do literally live in the room above the garage.) After the end of an eight-year relationship and leaving my job as a store manager with a video rental chain currently undergoing bankruptcy, I moved to Georgia to reset my life. It has proved tougher than I thought it would be.

I have four chihuahuas and two cockatiels from my previous relationship. My dogs are sometimes smarter than I am; my birds always whistle better.

I am trying to figure out who I am and change the parts of me that I don't like or aren't helping me succeed. This blog is part of that process.

And, as always, I like microwaveable turkey dogs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Explanation of a Moment in Time

It's taken me a long time to write this.

I wasn't sure where to start and what to put here. But I've been working with a daily writing group that has been exceptionally helpful in getting me motivated. So the time seems right.

So what will be here? In short, everything. This is where I'll throw out my ideas - good, bad or ugly - and offer my opinion of the world, as if the world cares. This is where I'll reveal some of my fiction - whether it is stories I have made up about others or myself. This is where I'll breathe, vomit, feed, excrete like a caged animal. (Boy, that was dramatic...) This is where I'll explore like an alien traveler in a stolen time machine.

I'll point out my successes and failures, more for me to see than you, but you are happy to look if you like. You'll see that I try new things and try to improve on older lessons. You'll see me succeed and fail again. I'll try to embrace it all.

I will be here, when I can, in time and truth. And when I can't, but it looks like I'm here, it will be some imperfect reflection of me. I can't promise to always be truthful, but I'll always try to be present.

The name of this post is "An Explanation of a Moment in Time." The word "beginning" (in place of "Moment in Time") didn't seem right. There has been much before this moment that informs who I am - my opinions, reasoning, actions - so this can't truly be a start. It's where I am now and where I'm going from here.

You are welcome to come along.