Hate New York City, it’s cold and it’s damp

Tonight: dinner at Typhoon in Los Angeles. Appetizer: crickets. And I don’t mean like cucumbers cut in the shape of crickets or any such cutesy chi-chi crap like that; I mean we ate a big plate of deep-fried motherfucking insects. These were little bitty crickets, each one about an inch long or so, deep fried in butter and oil, with a big mound of shoestring garlic fries. After we tried the crickets, we pushed the potatoes aside and fished around with chopsticks at the bottom of the bowl for the rest of the crickets, and we munched them like popcorn. You’ll try crickets for the Fear Factor value, but you’ll stay with ’em for the taste. Crickets: the other other other white meat.

Basically, anything in the world deep-fried with enough butter and garlic and salt is bound to be pretty yummy.

We went to go see the opening night of a black-box production of “That May Well Be True,” a new play by Jay Reiss, who is one of the guys behind “Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” At the post party, a drunken industry something-or-other dude named Scott pulled me aside. “You’re an actor?”

“At times,” I said. “Sometimes I write.”

“Anything for TV?”

I rolled my eyes. “Well, I wrote one season for this tiny UPN show you’ve never heard of called Seriously –”

“First rule in L.A.,” said Scott, waving his drink at me. “Never roll your eyes! Hay!” Scott collared all the actors in the show and brought them over to me. “This is John from San Francisco. He’s thinking of coming down here and being an actor. What would you tell him? To encourage him to move down to here from San Francisco? As professional actors? What do you tell him?”

The actors looked a little pained. “Don’t you fucking take any work from me,” said one.

What the hey it’s time to face exactly what I am

Talking to my father on the phone is always filled with strange, portentous pauses. “So you’re thinkin of movin down to L.A.?” my dad says to me.

“Yeah,” I say. “Thinkin about it.”


My dad says, “Y’know, we get some L.A. people out here in West Virginia. In the A.A. meetings. I tell ya, those Los Angeles people think they’re better than us sometimes. They always come in, and they say, ‘Well, this is the way we do things in Alcoholics Anonymous in Los Angeles,’ and somehow they think they’re better than us.”

“Well,” I say, “that’s a west-coast L.A. Alcoholics Anonymous thing. In Los Angeles Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a two-drink minimum.”


I say, “In L.A. Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a two-drink minimum? … Are you there? Hello?”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” says my dad.

“That was a joke,” I said. “You see, in L.A. there’s a two-drink minimum.”

“They don’t serve alcohol at A.A. meetings,” says my dad flatly.

“Yeah, see, that’s why it’s funny,” I say. “Two-drink minimum at A.A.”


“I don’t get it,” says my dad.

“I’ll work on my material,” I say.

“I gotta go,” says my dad. “Bye.” Click! Phone calls with my dad always end as though there’s a house fire on the other end.

And if it’s real, well I don’t want to know

Twelve things I’ll never say. Don’t bother trying to match to names.

1. I don’t think you’re an evil person. You’re creative and you’re great fun to party with. But you have a guaranteed knack for making me feel small or irrelevant. And I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone as self-centered as you? in truth, I think the only reason you’ve ever tolerated me is because I listen to you. I admit, I’ve blown my temper a couple times undeservedly around you, but frankly, you bring out the worst in me. You’re easy on the eyes, and you’re fun? but what my wife’s got, you don’t know how to spell. And I think your significant other is a rude bore, but I’m nice to him because he means something to you. You should have granted me the same courtesy. I’m tired of feeling this way when I’m around you.

2. Your music has always talked to me, since the early days. It’s pretty and deep and hot and honest, the way music ought to be. When I play it, something inside me says Yes, this is an expression I’ve always wanted to bring forth, I am finally hearing and playing the Truth. I’ve always admired your music deeply and I’ve always been honored to fill in the holes you permit me to fill in. You are one of the best people I know. Thanks for inviting me in. I love you.

3. Had you given the issue an iota of thought, you might have seen that I spent those two months trying solely to help you achieve your goal. But you decided that I was the character I was portraying; ergo you treated me like shit. Shame on you. As an actress you should have known better. I could have walked out on your damned play at any moment. But I didn’t. I stuck around and politely helped you despite your nastiness, and in so doing I proved that I am a better person than you. Oh, by the way: quit using my picture without my permission.

4. It’s been a privilege to watch you grow and change over these past ten years. You’ve gradually got your shit together and got your shit together, and now at last someone else sees you as you deserve to be seen. About fucking time, I should think! You deserve her and all other good things this life has to offer. And you have the best sense of humor on the planet. You are a good man and You Rock.

5. Yes, you have a great rack and you sing like a siren, but those facts were not sufficient to make me love you. You have this me-against-the-world quality that activates my paternal instincts. I felt sorry for the story of your life and the things you’ve had to overcome to become who you are. Truth is, I’d probably be in your corner, even if you were ugly. But you are sexy and OK, and I like being on your good side. That’s why I wanted to do something to help.

6. That blood pressure medication still keeping that diseased, empty heart of yours thudding along? Die very soon, you evil son of a bitch. After you’ve died, I will make a point of looking up your obituary in order to find where your corpse is interred, so that I may piss periodically on your headstone. And if your obese, decrepit ghost happens to wail up between my legs as I’m urinating and tries to haunt me, I will bounce my balls off your ghost’s chin.

7. It’s taken five years for me to get over it. Too bad you and I did not end up as friends — we might have created some important art, you and I. And it’s too bad L.A. won’t see you as sympathetically as I did. But after all this time, I finally sussed the truth: the magic was always mine to begin with. It only ever really happened in my own eyes. So you can’t have any of it. Good luck synthesizing your own magic in the future.

8. The surfaces of things are frequently wrong. You are an adorable little toy and any middle-aged man would be honored for the consideration, but I’m not going to bed you. I’m simply a flirtatious married dude, and you’re simply going through a tough time right now. I love a night of noise and music, but bedding you would hurt you, me and my wife, all in one go. So in answer to your question, I’m the safe type, but if you ever caught on to that, I’m sure you’d instantly vanish in favor of someone more dangerous. I’ll just buy you another lemon drop and we’ll talk some more trash.

9. You’re eating yourself into the grave. Please stop. I know the reasons come from loneliness and depression and self-image problems, but if you don’t address these core issues soon, you’re going to vanish just as sure as if you’d put a gun to your head. When you’re ready to listen, I’ll teach you how to be at peace with food.

10. I owe you a big one, dear. The show was great, everyone loved it, and I was so incredibly privileged when you invited me and the wife afterward. You are a great friend, a fantastic, saintly soul and I love you. You remind me of a garden that other people visit and are refreshed and pleased. Thanks to you in particular, I’m no longer afraid of crying. I hope we will remain friends until we revert to dust and air.

11. Babe, you’re just plain strange. I treated you very gently, but you said things about me that were both mean and incorrect. I cannot explain you. Regardless, there are numerous muses about who are less feral than you. It gives me no pleasure that you seem to be living a life of loneliness. I’d introduce you to a bunch of eligible guys if you were sane. But I’m gonna leave you be until you chill the fuck out.

12. You are the only sane one in my family. I admire you more deeply than I can possibly indicate without embarrassment. Even though I know you don’t actually need my help or advice, I will always be there for you. I regret that you occasionally grew up in my shadow, for in most ways you are quite superior to me. I love you dearly.

I’m caught in the middle, caught in the middle deciding about you

In other news, I took a part in “The Little Theatre’s Production of Hamlet” by Jean Battlo. Director is Rebecca Longworth, show goes up in May. I’m Hamlet, as portrayed by Sam, a truck driver from West Virginia. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to playing Hamlet while simultaneously playing a romantic West Virginia redneck who writes plays on the side.

You think your Commodore 64 is really neato

In high school and college, my primary writing tool was a Commodore 128, running Pocket Writer 2 software. A few years back I built an X1541 cable and extracted the contents of all my old 5 1/4″ floppy diskettes to a PC, and recently I was able to emulate a Commodore 128 running the old Pocket Writer 2 software sufficiently to read my old files. Gradually, I am mining them and publishing what I wrote here as blog entries. Here are a few.

So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

Sorry I haven’t written you as of late. In no particular order: my stepmother has a lump in her lung, which must come out next week; my father-in-law has an early form of cancer, which must come out in two weeks; two-day business trips to Seattle, Tokyo; signing and signing and signing corporate papers; wrestling a raging wet cold.

Obligatory sex reference: these days I fall asleep reading the Craigslist posts, both m4w and w4m. The men want transactional sex. When they write about wanting a woman to share an evening with, I get the sense that it is technically advertising… what the male writer thinks the female wants to hear.

The women want long-term fuzzy relationships with men (and more rarely, money). When they write about their ideal man, sex is rarely mentioned. Women write about wanting to feel prized and loved and adored.

God’s grand joke is, of course, that these are two sides of the same coin. Although there is sometimes sex without intimacy, most frequently the two go hand in hand. The angels watch all this, and laugh and weep without end.