The Joker Hustles

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Constance Wu. J. Lopez, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Keke Palmer. 

It’s a wee bit cloudy. I’m jonesing for some sesame pork, looking for potato starch at the boxstore of the damned AKA Wal-Mart. It’s a nope on the potato starch, but hey corn starch will do. I walk by the Red Box, slow. Joker is out. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard it’s not great.

Please note that I tried another grocery store before venturing near the Great Box of Death.

I get the spray bottle and cheaply cheap corn starch. I decide, yes, I will rent some flicks. I got some small royalties in. I have to wait for the slow boomers poking at the screen to get done. I do mean poking. Muttering, snorting, poking at the touchscreen like something out of, well, a movie.

I rent two. Hustlers, with Jennifer Lopez. And yes, Joker, with Joaquim Phoenix. Actual physical have to take the movies home and then return them old-fashioned rentals, even! How quaint!

So. Hustlers. I have no idea what the story is. Something about sex workers? I remember, vaguely, Lopez was fantastic in it, a ‘real’ surprise. Um. She can actually act when given a decent script, y’all. Out of Sight, hello.

Hustlers, with Constance Wu as well in it, is the tale of strippers hustling Wall Street guys from about the 2000’s until the hustling hustlers got caught. Based on a true story. We get that these women are friends, they look out for each other, that they are trying to pay bills, take care of their kids and families, have lives. This is done subtly, just part of the conversations as they get ready for work in the dressing room or on breaks. At the heart of this film is the friendship that develops between Ramona and Destiny. And the question—how real is it? As Ramona knows all the tricks, is a slick, very good hustler who knows how to read the men around her to empty their wallets. Is she just using Destiny or is there an actual connection there?

Lopez plays a seasoned, been there, done that pro who takes the newcomer, Wu, under her fur-covered wing. And Lopez struts her stuff and then some. She gathers a gang as the fortune’s of the strip club decline, due to the recession that hits, and the four decide to hustle Wall Streeters without having to do much more than smile and drink. I don’t want to give away the plot more than that. There’s betrayals and trust broken and a truly quiet heart-breaking moment near the end. Well done. Well done, Hustlers!

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Joker.

What can I say that has not been hashed out until the cows dance home covered with greasepaint?

I could not stop watching Phoenix. More to catch moments when he was just being, not ACTING. The story, eh. White guy gets ignored; already nuts, gets more nuts, sad, bang bang, Batman villain.

I should write movie plots for a living. 

So a stray thought after the movie ended. What if Batman is a figment of Arthur’s imagination? What if there’s no Gotham superhero? What if Arthur made up an arch nemesis to make himself seem more important? As he spends the entire film doing what now? Oh yeah, imagining how important and loved he is. 

Kind of like the Buffy episode where she thinks she’s in a mental hospital just imagining she’s the slayer. [Normal Again, Season Six]

Buffy chooses her reality, we’re left a bit…oh crap, what if she’s actually just some insane young woman with these dark delusions? Then season seven happens and you sort of long for season six. For season six to reassure you most of season seven is just a fever dream from season two. If anyone gets that, they are true Buffy fanatics.

I kept waiting for the Joker to give me more, I guess, is my take on this. Yes, Phoenix delivers his usual stellar totally immersed in it performance. He’s ACTING. He starts at eleven and goes to twelve. He never let us forget that he’s ACTING DAMN IT.

Not. One. Time.

This is his There Will Be Blood on steroids role. He channeled his inner Daniel Day Lewish, and are we not entertained? Oh my gosh, imagine Russell Crowe in this. Or Tom Hanks! TOM HANKS AS THE JOKER. Oh my lordy, Hollyweird– MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

Back to Phoenix, who is this generations De Niro. Bwha ha ha ha. It snowed, I’m a bit giddy. There’s chocolate in the house. Okay!

It’s uncomfortably repellent to watch his character. Yet it’s reassuringly ‘this is every crazy guy since Travis Bickle’ at times as well.

De Niro appears in this as a talk show host—which is why I kept flashing to Taxi Driver?

I also had another THOUGHT. What if this is the director’s ode, subconscious or not, to Taxi Driver? I am so damn original it slays me. Get it, Buffy fans?

A lone, socially awkward man with delusions about life, women and fame, turns into a criminal/hero uneasy mixture while committing murders.

The lone wolf vigiliante gunman the peasants can rally around trope/archetype/American masturbation go-to. 

The Joker torches off actual protests in a city run by rich fat cats, Bruce Wayne’s dad being the fattest cat of them all. Where the poor might actually start eating the rich at a moment’s notice. Gee.

Those opposing what the rich are doing are painted as thuggish criminals with clown masks on. Um. Gulp. The scenes with the throngs of what looks like men seem lifted straight out of a medieval painting about hell. Fire, leering demons with strange fixed faces, violence, chaos, destruction of property. Might as well call the clown-masked protesters Antifa and rake in the cash. Have narration provided by Handtitty or Fucker Carlsfart.

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A Bosch? Not sure. 
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The planned protests in Joker turn violent…

This film seems more about comforting those in charge, than upsetting any actual apple carts. It offers nothing new or insightful.

Do we sympathize with this repellent character or root for the repellent other side on all this? What are we supposed to do here?

All while setting up how a white savior in a bat suit will return Gotham to Law and Order and get those Family Values back into hearth and home.

Protestors, schmo-testors! Let them eat cake. They’re all nuts who just want to burn everything down. The Jews are probably behind all that…Sorry. I’m crossing my streams. Yes, that is a Ghostbusters call out. Yes, it is. 

Sure, this film reads almost like right wing propaganda. Almost. Strangely, there’s three Wall Street guys, employees of Wayne Enterprises, who set off the clown stuff. With people shrugging, going, eh, who cares, they deserved it. Rather like the sentiments in Hustlers. I somehow picked out two Fuck Wall Street movies. Except. Wall Street wins in both movies. The hustlers face consequences, Arthur Fleck faces consequences, Wall Street hustlers and murders without a care in the world. Yeah. I need some cake.

note--The sesame pork turned out really good. So proud of myself there. And of course after spring-like warm weather, last night it snowed. Teach me to rent movies I have to old-fashion return to the nearest Red Box. 

 

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Emo Joker! 

Cat-A-Palooza

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Yes. I went. To Cats.

I really enjoyed myself. I was expecting campy badness to the nth degree. I got a big screen attempt at an overly musical musical that does not boast any sort of coherent or linear story. This film is based on theAndrew Lloyd Weber musical—which is people dressed up like cats writhing and singing for two hours. Sure, there’s something about picking a cat to go to the Heavyside Layer. Where that cat gets a new life—this reads strangely like death. It’s a weird two hour long cat sacrifice? How Egyptian.

Cats is based on the T.S. Eliot poem—Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

The current movie has been directed by Tobe Hooper. It features Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Francesca Hayward, Ray Winstone, Rebel Wilson, etc, etc. A big cast.

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Dame Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy

I had the theatre to myself. Score! They didn’t turn the overhead light off. Bummer. Did I bother to get up and go inform someone of this? No. I was also in the tiniest theatre. There’s ups, there’s downs, there’s can’t be bothered to get up once the magic starts.

So, our movie opens on a woman throwing away a cat in a bag. No kidding. The cat gets out of the bag. We’re in some litter-strewn dumping ground for unwanted felines. Oh dear, oh what the…!

These freaky human-cat experiments, escaped from the Island of Dr. Moreau, spy on this unseen as yet kitty.

Oh my! It’s the WIDE-EYED INGENUE, Victoria. She knows nothing of this new alley cat/feral cat colony she’s lucked into. And she’s a slinky little thing who can ballet her way around several giant set pieces.

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Francesca Hayward as Victoria

Then I start to notice that the ears and tails are, um, moving. Moving. But the cats have human faces. With whiskers. And human eyes.

Nightmares to follow.

But after ten minutes…Nope! Never. I never got used to the cat characteristics mixing so badly with the human ones. That was. No. Nope. I’ve heard the team behind this movie sent in new, improved movie magic cuts to fix the CGI mistakes that made it into the theatrical release. Wish I’d seen that earlier version…yes, I do.

That horrific cockroach/mouse fiasco. I totally agree here. It was horrific to watch mice with children’s faces…ugh. To watch a human-cat hybrid popping dancing cockroaches into her strange whiskered mouth. Surely someone in editing went—what the actual fuck is this? Followed by– cutting room floor time, y’all!

Surely someone did that. A lot. Who thought this looked okay? Who??

But—the cast of this gave it their all. Nobody phoned it in that I could tell. When it got to someone presenting their particular cat, it was great fun. Some were more fun than others. I loved the train one. That kitty can dance!

I am a huge fan of tap. Love the sound, love the precision and mastery that goes into a great tap routine. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, just bliss for me. No, they were not in this movie. If you don’t know either of those names, then hey, you have some great discoveries ahead of you. Oh yes. You do.

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James Cordon as Bustaphor Jones. Notice the giant set piece. Naked cats versus dressed cats. 

The thief cats, eh, it was all right. Judi Dench as [Mama Cat] Old Deuteronomy– loved her and her singing fit her character. Gus the Theatre Cat, played by Gandalf, was sad and dignified, with a weird fluffy tail but his cat grafting seemed to fit him better than others.

Now, I wanted to be charmed by the Memories cat, played by a truly awesome power singer who made Dreamgirls a must-see. Jennifer Hudson dressed as some sort of bag lady meets Nora Desmond—baggy overcoat over sparkly yet grimy duds. Um. Okay. Why does a cat need clothes…as some of the cats had clothes, some did not; it seemed the main characters had clothes, the ensemble did not.

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Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella. Hayward in ballet pose. 

Some sort of overall arc got attempted here with Grizabella/Jennifer Hudson. The wide-eyed ingénue cat, Victoria, grew to like her and drew her into the performance space inside an abandoned movie house. The other cats, who had to be Jellicle cats, had to audition. Audition to be chosen to die/get a new life/change/move on.

Jellicle cats never got explained and I didn’t really care what that was. It seemed a special club made up of cats hungering to find a new life off the streets. Almost a cult of cats that other cats would have to be asked to join. It seemed Judi Dench’s cat got to control all this.

Back to Memory. The song. Who has not sung this song for an audition or for a gigantic Chinese audience? Raise your hand! Yes, I sang this for a giant audience of mostly Chinese people at the school I worked at. Yes, I managed to hit that big note. I also got to sing this with a student who had a lovely voice. Who wanted us to dress like cats. I said no to that. Memories…!

Grizabella belts out the last few verses of the most famous and infamous song ever to burst from Broadway.

And oh yes, she hit that glory note. She hit it to make Betty Buckley and ever other diva who just stood there on a stage and sang that to the heavens proud as punch. Boom. But this moment seemed contrived and false.

As for every minute up until now, most of the other cats hate this cat with an unfathomable passion. Though we do get Victoria singing the Beautiful Ghosts song as Judi Dench’s Old Deuteronmy watches, Victoria singing it to the disgraced cat who lives by herself in the wastelands. That was rather heartbreaking and rang very true. The performer did not have the voice Hudson has, but she brought a tear to my eye.

Yes, I sat by myself in an empty movie house room, with tears on my cheeks. I have surely hit all the sad spinster bingo card squares by now and then some. Sigh.

What cat gets to go to the Heavyside Layer? That was the story. Victoria allows the other cats to explain everything and then burst into song, do high kicks and back arches. She’s a plot device far more than a character.

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Idris Elba as Macavity. Or the Cheshire Cat? Or…?

Ah, the villain of the piece–the very sexy cat-slinky and funky fake green eyed Idris Elba. No other cat had weird fake eyes. If they did, I did not notice. No weird unblinking neon eye lenses slapped in actors eyes that I noted except Elba.

Not even Taylor Swift, who I thought did a great job with her one big number. Well done, madam! Kind of a big band standards stripper music showstopper attempt where she shimmied and strutted in high heels cause…cats wear heels but no other cats had heels on so…yep.

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Yes, that is Taylor Swift, showing up for one song and one song only. 

This bad kitty, Macavity, magicked [?] the other contenders to leave only himself to be picked. So he slunk around, acting all slinky, basically and yes, it was sexy as hell. Then he took off that pimp-ish fur coat and it was…what…what is that? It would be like Darth Vader stripping down to his undies. You’d not be delightfully scared of a baddie standing there in tighty whities. You’d be noticing the train tracks when Darth Vader turned around. Or that hey, it’s just some guy. No big deal.

Macavity and that coat was his look. Stripping that coat off destroyed that aura of menace and charm.

He’s supposed to be a ginger cat, according to the song lyrics we just freaking heard and he’s…kinda dark brown with fixed green eyes. Change the lyrics, dears.

But the movie needs something to play against so we’re not just waiting for the Next Big Song and Dance medley. Otherwise, there’s no tension. None.

Elba as the bad kitty provides some sort of urgency and, um, tension. Though why he’d wish a new life when he seems to relish creeping around being all scary. And he has magic powers. But he has to wait to be picked…yeah, don’t think about the non-plot, do not think about how there’s no actual plot to this thing. Let that go, let that go!

The pacing seemed okay. The first bit of the movie seemed to drag but then it found some sort of strange forward momentum. That’s as close as I can get to…yeah.

Now, I’ve seen Cats on stage. I know there’s no real story there. It’s just a collection of songs, with great dance bits, then the big wallop songs of Act II that do not let up; it’s over. The movie pretty much followed that, sort of.

I’d have ended it with the rewarded cat sailing off to that reward instead of where it did.

I’d have not done that CGI cat-human hybrid shit. Jesus Christ! Help! It never got charming…or forgettable. That suspension of disbelief just refused to stretch that far. I found myself watching the swiveling CGI ears far more than whatever the actors were doing. Maybe Cats the musical is just not adaptable, at this moment, to film.

Did they not learn from the Halle Berry Catwoman mess? Which, yes, I liked. But I can well understand why it tanked. It was over the top absurd, sure, but Berry tried to morph into someone’s idea of a cat. Someone who’s never been around cats. A dog person’s idea of a cat. Okay!

Anyway, thanks for reading my few scattered impressions of a movie I have been dying to see cause it looked like something the SyFy channel put out as a dare. I had a good time, I had the theatre to myself. I could laugh and cry and fart to my heart’s content.

Happy New Year. Go see something silly and fun. Hug your cat. That’s all I got.

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Yes, that is a real cat. My kitty taking a break in her fave box. 

Skypulp

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Daisy Ridley as Rey. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Welp. I attended the latest [last?] Star Wars event. I’m not a die-hard fan so enjoyed it. There ya go. My review. I thought the ending seemed rushed, but overall, enjoyed it. You don’t go to a Star Wars movie for…deep savage film making meant to tear the spine out of your soul, after all.

I don’t, anyway.

I go for ‘things blow up’, light saber fights with that wonderful hummy/buzzy sound and scruffy space pirate-cowboys fighting slick Nazi-Empire shits. With a soapy soap opera sort of sheen to it all.

Do the current three movies match the real Star Wars movies? No. That zeitgeist done come and gone, y’all. And that’s okay.

Do I wish they’d left the Star Wars saga at Eps IV, V and VI? Hell to the yeah.

We won’t bring up the Three that just make people weep, yank their hair out and scream why o why to an uncaring Hollywood set of Rascal Gods.

There didn’t seem to be the overall feeling of competent, smart, capable women this time around in the Rise of Skywalker. Rey, to me, is a fairly flat, static character. She had nowhere to go. She started at point A, ended at point B.2 or so. A blip. There’s nothing tearing her apart; not really. The stakes…seem tiny here for Rey. 

Kylo Ren, of course, had much more to work with. I thought Adam Driver made every scene better he was in. I also thought Daisy Ridley did what she could with Rey.

Finn. Poor Finn. He spent the entire film yelling Rey’s name, then…spoiler spoiler. You can go watch this yourself to see what happens to Finn. And then I heard the actress playing Rose—a character I really liked from TLJ, got written out or nearly cut out. Why?? I’m not going to go look up why. Politics, fan boy whimperings, who knows.

Back to Rey. Why why why did the writers do that to her? Was this planned from the get go or just thought of ten seconds before slapping people in front of green screens? It would have had so much more impact to have her be an actual nobody, a cast off orphan, a thrown away child who grew to find her worth and way in the world. That’s a goddamn hero’s journey, fucktwits. There’s, like, an arch and everything.

Some out of the blue, out of left field WTF curve ball…eh, no.

It didn’t work. Sure, it’s a space soap opera but you have to, still, set things up.

Poor Rey has a straight trajectory here. Her suffering is very little. She learns very little if anything at all. She’s good. She’s dullishly good. We know she’s good because that’s the point hammered home for three fucking movies. Ugh a bug. I was kinda hoping she and Kylo were gonna switch sides…She’d fuck up in a giant crucial battle, let everyone down and just implode. Kylo Ren would start distancing himself from the order, plagued by doubts and what he’s done. Switcheroo!

Drama based on human actions, not deux ex machina plot devices that not even beginning screen writers would trot out with a straight face.

Again, I don’t think this is Ridley’s fault. She got handed the usual girl hero part…Hollywood and story writers of all stripes tend to make them unbearably dull, earnest, joyless and…Gamora-esque.

There are exceptions—Wonder Woman got to be flawed, funny, strong yet tender; Xena had her goofy moments and an actual journey, um…Elizabeth Bennett.

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Adam Driver as the grandson of Darth Vader.

But Rey, oh dear. There’s no spark written in.

Carrie Fisher had that in spades, so Princess Leia benefited from Fisher’s sheer, forgive me, force of character. She didn’t fade into the background against Ford and Hamill. There was something sexy and warm and faceted about Leia. She was also smart, capable and a powerhouse. Again, that was probably just Fisher being Fisher. I wanted that swagger, that don’t know if Rey will choose good or evil, that flair of a living person with many layers. I got…a plodding central character surrounded by colorful sidekicks.

Just some quick thoughts. I did enjoy the trilogy and am glad I saw them on the big screen. I enjoyed the nostalgia. Of which Star Wars has by the oodle-load.

Tomorrow I might venture out to see Cats. Cause. I  OH MY GOD WANT TO SEE THIS MESSY MESS OF A MESS HALLELUJAH AMEN PRAISE BABY JESUS.

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Idris Elba as…I don’t care, I have to see a movie with that in it. Come on!

I don’t know why I’m invoking my very tame Lutheran Jesus here but it sounded funny in my head.

I survived Christmas with the notion I will skip it next year or at least skip the spend time with other people part. People make me feel bad. Lesson learned. My arc is rather flat and static, too, Rey.

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1977. And so it begins…

Bits, pieces and a guillotine shout out

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Clip art.

Happy December. A short one.

Had two birthdays this weekend, made the ugliest angel food cake. From scratch. Oh the horror. It tasted okay, it just looked like a flat, chewed on by tiger’s prop from a z-rate horror movie set. It should have been featured on some ugly foods website. Even with frosting and a jam layer, that poor cake should have been taken out back and kindly beat to death, then buried in the earth.

So!

My year seems to be ending well, writing-wise.

I placed a story with the Whistle Pig—Pearlie At the Gates of Dawn.

I placed a story with the Ghastling—the Little Visitors.

Just found out my play, the Bluegrass of God, was accepted by the Santa Ana River Review.

My poem—My Feet Hurt—will be part of the  Rumpus’s Enough section.

I am currently working on a screenplay based on a short story of mine from Oregon Gothic. Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty is that tale, and the movie title, for right now, is just Prince Charming. I am collaborating with a director/film maker from the Czech Republic, with a first draft more or less done. Working on the newest version.

Got a royalty check in the mail. Small but still a check. It’s still such a wonder to be paid, even a tiny smidge, for something I wrote.

So a few hits, lots of misses. Writing some. Writing political screams but if I posted them, I’d be arrested. As they focus on things like how to build a guillotine and how to stage a revolution on a shoestring budget.

I’ll end on a truly trivial note. Been watching a BBC series called Young Dracula. Cause. Yeah. It’s so much better than it should be. It’s quite funny. I enjoy it. I’m in season three, which features a major tonal shift, a new setting and some could be interesting new characters. I’d never heard of it. It’s from OVER TEN YEARS AGO.

I also binged season three of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The gut-punch cliffhanger…damn it. The world is already burning alive right now. I am not looking forward to season four. I find I want light, frothy entertainment these days. I wonder why. Oh yeah!

Also, anyone out there want to see Cats? Is it the acid trip horror it promises to be??? I’d be down for that. Trippy weird cat-human morph mistakes high kicking for two hours through giant cardboard-looking high school sets…! I am so in!! A deliciously bad musical misfire? Or did those damn trailers totally lie about how good this confection is?? And the new Star Wars. I might have to leave the house. If only to start building a guillotine. Or change the kitten’s poop dirt.

The King Leer project

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My short play, King Leer, is the basis for a student project over in the Czech Republic. Some pics from that and the link to my play.

Like I promised, September is Promote Myself month. Instead of rando political spurts and hey, sad about the state of my pumpkins. I’ll save those for October! 

Oh– if you or your group are looking for short plays, check out–ten minute plays

Directed by Jan Janout, for a university project. I am sharing a few stills from the filming project. I’m not sure of the actors involved or tech people, but can add those in later. 

From the King Leer page over on Facebook–

Short film King Leer is directed by Lucie Gukkertová who also wrote the script based on a short play by The Ann Wuehler Experience. This is their second collaboration, the first film Lucie shot based on Ann’s play is Traces of Memory which is now in post-production.

Her last short horror film was a historical horror based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft Psychopompos. It has been shown on film festivals all around the world. After finishing it Lucie has mostly worked on fashion and burlesque videos under the name Gukkertová Neskutečná produkce.

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Makeup detail

Rejection’s Poster Gal

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Three dogs, one river. Miz Bridge, Jake in the middle and Molly the Chocolate Lab. Owyhee River.

Hello, various readers and passers stopping by on a snowy evening. Some Bob Frost to start us all on the road to hilarity and good cheer.

I’ve lost count of the rejections this week but it’s a LOT. I either need to write up a new batch of stories, poems and plays or keep sending out the same old crappola. Hoping this time. That time. This time over here.

That it will be different.

Except right now, truth is so much goddamn stranger than any fiction I could fart out or compose while munching French pastry and sipping Italian wine. While seated outside at a sunny cafe in Athens, Greece. I’d write longhand, of course. Using my own blood as ink.

Cause I’m a writer, dangnabbit! That’s a word you hear in old timey cowboy movies as they were not allowed to say ‘god damn it’.

Yes, the American political and all other scenes are just rife with WTF, then topped with Is That An Actual Tweet? followed by Don’t Read the Comments Section, ended with I Am So Done With Social Media, I’m Off To Raise Sunflowers To Help Third World Scarf Herders. Then the cycle starts all over again. With variations.

It’s the downward spiral. It’s the we’re imploding and prolly gonna take the entire world with us. It’s…it’s fucking hot right now.

So my thoughts are roughly—it’s hot. I should write something. About. Something. It’s hot.

Being poor, air conditioning is one of those unheard of, rich people inventions that exist in movies. Sort of kidding. I have a tiny fan. It helps. I go outside, throw water on my squash. I dig out weeds. I hear the hawks raising their kids down the road. Noisy bastards. Shut up, hawks! The corn hides the ditch bank road so the dogs have to listen real hard instead of watching to see who drives to and fro on what they obviously consider their bit of territory. Any engine gets them still and holding their breath. It’s rather creepy-cute.

What to write about. My hot take on politics? Nah, that’s just solid cuss words at this point. Eve Carlin, from hell, shouts out, hey, throw in some other words there. Feminist issues that affect us all? Golly, I’m either too much or too little here or…eh?

Oh!! Sidetrack. Here we go.

Saw the Spy Who Dumped Me. We have free Epix, whatever. So, the plot, eh. Some international whatever, been done a gazillion billion times. However, what’s fresh, you ask? Or haven’t asked at all though you’ve made it this far?

The relationship between the two best friends. Played by Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. It rang every true bell. How they support each other, are there for each other, their acceptance of each other’s faults yet the irritation over those faults…it’s all there. I especially found my bell rang over Kate’s character being called ‘too much’ by a lot of people, including the secret spy/boyfriend of Mila’s character. And Mila’s character siding with Kate’s character, then telling her she’s not too much. Ah!! I almost teared up.

As someone who’s been repeatedly called ‘too much’, which I ALWAYS took as—

there’s something very very wrong with me; nobody likes me unless I act quiet and not myself. I am a monster!—

That moment reminded me of what great friends I have.

I could write about my own experiences with people trying to whittle me down to acceptable size.

And never show that writing to anyone because it would be like ripping my face off and gluing a salted strip of razor blades in its place.

How I have the self-esteem of a dead rock and yes, have let other people define me because 99% of those people tell me I’m ‘too much’…!

And when I try to not be a monster, I find that I am silent and limp as moldy lettuce stuck to the gunk under the veggie drawer in the fridge. And that I am angry. Then I explode and people walk about me as if on the most delicate eggshells and…yeah, pattern.

Pattern! Yep. Pattern detected.

So I’ll stick to making up monsters or writing about sexual encounters between dinosaurs and women. Is that still a thing?? What about man’s inhumanity to man?

Oooh! I smell a Nobel outta that one!

I’ll call it Man Being Mean to Men. It will feature no women characters whatsoever. It will just be two white straight guys on a beach arguing over who’s the bigger victim of post-post modern society as the world literally burns. I will use a thesaurus a lot. I will describe their inner penis. A lot.

I suspect if I actually did write something like that, it would probably actually sell.

I’m not bitter.

Nope.

I am. I am so bitter I’m a walking moldy lemon at this point. Okay.

Rejections fast and furious this week. I’ll not buck up at all. I’ll stew in my own sweat until autumn shows up and it’s STILL FUCKING HOT GOD DAMN IT FUCK FUCK FUCK. But hey, the nights are cooler. I should move to the Artic. Except it’s on fire where they’re not drilling gleefully for oil. Where else is cold?

Minnesota? Maine? Montana? It would have to be within walking distance. How much can I stuff in a backpack? I’ll have to dig up my jars of pennies I buried for a rainy day. Some jars only have one or two pennies in them but hey, that first step, amirite? Amen! A cave, some berries.

I can be the Unibomber without all the baggage.

Holy moley, what a scattershot post. But I felt it important to not write yet another political scream that is only heard by some wide-eyed mice in a deserted choir room.

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I managed to capture an actual bumblebee sampling my lemon balm plant. Isn’t it gorgeous???

Dither

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Three blackbird eggs, in the nest in the wild rosebush. Ain’t they cute? 

I am dithering over a project. A project I will need to turn in eventually to my publisher. Yes, I have one. Stop snickering or giving me pitying looks at my delusions of being a real writer. Snort in your general direction, haters.

Okay. Sarcasm aside…!

Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. It’s the third in my House trilogy. Alice in Oregonlandia is done, and in line to be seen by Kensington Gore’s editor/s.

Alice takes up about ten years after House On Clark Boulevard ended. The ‘tale’ moves to the world of Alice, Nancy’s daughter. Stuff happens. The end.

Yeah, I should write PR and press releases! For more money than the actual novelists ever get for their words, phrases and entire pages of words and phrases.

My mind went, hey, there’s a third book here. With everything neatly wrapped up, explained and then burned to the ground or somethin’. Cause. Trilogies. Every author should have some.

It’s like. That can of tuna on your shelf. Just in case.

I don’t like tuna so my can of tuna would have dust on it. But it would still be there in case I needed it for something. Maybe a sammich? I’d also have to have pickles, lemon, dill, onion powder, garlic…basically my tuna sammich would taste like anything but tuna. I like tuna melts.

I’m weird and contradictory. I realize that right now at this moment. Personal growth!

Dither.

I know why I’m starting this last opus over and over. I HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT THE ACTUAL STORY IS.

I knew, vaguely, that Alice would have to return to that old house and…and something would happen that would not be what was expected by any involved. Vague, sure. But. That was the general story in my head and it seemed to write itself for Alice in Oregonlandia. House on Clark Boulevard had the same feel to it but different. Is that crystal clear to everyone??

I just got into ‘that groove’ that hits when you write. Whether it’s novels or poems or short stories or plays or manifestos about why tuna is gross.

I’m not a fish person. I find the taste of fish gross and yucky. I’ll eat fish sticks but only if they taste more of the tarter sauce or whatever dipping sauce is available. I’ve never had lobster.

Living in the interior high desert [Southern Washington State, Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho] most of my life tends to keep me away from lobster binges. Can you buy lobster or find it where I live or have lived? Yes. Did the price of lobster tend to send me off to the lunch meat aisle to see what’s on sale? Yes. Do I think it’s cruel to boil those poor sea spiders alive?? Yes!! 

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Miz Bridge waiting for me to entertain her. Because hey, you’re not writing, she says. Let’s go dig or chase something!

Story. I’ve dithered here in Saint Lysette. It’s changed POV’s. Many times. I now have Nancy, Alice and Lysette all telling the story. Whatever the story is. Which I’m not sure. It won’t coalesce, even a little, somewhere in my foggy writer brain. It does but it’s campy garbage!

Gol darn it!!

I might as well add some clowns and reptilian overlords!! Not that there’s anything wrong with reptilian overlords. There is something profoundly wrong with clowns. Yes, I have fear of clowns. Yes, I do. There’s a fancy word for that even. 

I think, therefore I am…sorry! I think I need to pick a path. Write to the end no matter the horrified faces I make as I write. 

GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!

Get a rough beast shaped up, that I can then go back through and despair over.

After all, I have scrapped entire drafts. Written better versions. Or worse versions. Dang it.

I must examine why I am dithering so. I blame tuna.

Oh if it were that damn easy!

What is the story. That’s what I need to crucify in place with big iron nails. Then watch it rise from the dead a couple times or something? Ugh. Must stop listening to atheist podcasts or atheists taking apart Christian movies made so badly they’re actually in the good column.

I’m also trying to get a screenplay done. A director from the Czech Republic found a short play of mine, made a short film out of it. Traces of Memory. It’s in actual post-production now, as I write this. It looks great. I’m pleased with it.

She also, Lucie, found my book of short stories, Oregon Gothic, and found a tale in there that she wished to turn into a feature-length. One based on…necrophilia. On a woman helping her boyfriend procure a freshly dead woman for sexual purposes.

Lucie wishes it more focused on their relationship. She has the general idea of where she wishes this to go and I am helping shape it out. It’s called Prince Charming so far.

I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Serbian Tale. If you don’t know what that is or have never heard of it, great. Keep your ignorance. If you do know what that ‘movie’ is, then no, I don’t think Prince Charming is even in the same universe as that one. I’m being cheeky. I’m a cheeky little primate!

Humans are primates, after all, no matter what screaming manbeasts with Jesus tats and a pulpit say. 

I am working on making the rather repulsive pair sympathetic. Understandable.  Which gives the horror element an extra punch in the gut. Layers, y’all.

Must go force myself to work on…something. It’s almost my birthday. I might go to the hills for sustenance and soul feeding as I turn…gulp…fifty. And ponder on the smoking ruins of my life.

I blame it all on tuna.

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The elderly cottonwood showing why it’s called ‘cottonwood’. The big seed pods burst open and look like what cotton does or something. I’ve never seen a cotton field outside of a movie. Or eaten a lobster.