the right and the wrong

so the right has been in a bit of trouble over the past few months. let's recount by starting off with tom delay, house gop leader, who has now been indicted on a conspiracy to violate u.s. state election laws in texas. this, coming on top of senate majority leader bill frist who is under a securities and exchange commission probe of his sale of shares just before a second-quarter report triggered a sharp decline in the price of the stock in the company his family started. you also have a federal grand jury in washington looking into the role of karl rove, president bush's top political adviser and current white house deputy chief of staff, who is accused of leaking the identification of cia operative, valerie plame, which just about makes him a traitor to his own country. there is also david safavian, a former top bush official in the office of management and budget, who was charged last week of obstructing a federal investigation and making false statements in his dealings with indicted lobbyist jack abramoff. and let's not forget ubber christian do-gooder, pat robertson, calling on the assassination of the venezuelan president, hugo chavez a few months back.

the point of all this is that the right, for the last eight years, has had control over the united states' political agenda. they have frequently talked about morals and the need to change the direction that the unites states has been heading on. the right seems to yearn for the america of the past, wanting to take things back to a time when television was tamer, when everyone was christian, when people, all in all, were better and moral. well, here's the kicker: you can't roll back time, and people fifty years ago weren't better, or more moral than people today. in fact, i'd say people are far more tolerant and understanding today than in the past. that being said, some of the major figures on the right are now being called on their hypocritical behaviours. if all these charges end up being true, you have a situation where the right had been advocating a moral and clean christian living for, well, ever, and now some of their major players are showing up to be nothing more than human. they are proving to be no better than the rest of us. that's the problem when you preach to people; you have to live by what you say, and the moment you step falsely, people will eat you alive, such as the criticism that was thrown down against pat robertson. i didn't know god condoned the assassination of a man who, really, has done nothing terribly wrong against the united states. he's said some bad things against the states, for sure, but you can't blame the guy when he was nearly ousted in a military coup and every country's government condoned the overthrow of his democratically elected government, except the haven of all democracy, the united states. i can see him being a little bitter about that. if he doesn't want to sell his oil to you, that doesn't mean it's okay to mark him for death. and speaking of what god wants, do you think he wants a war started over oil? (cough! cough! iraq!) c'mon... we all know that all god wants is for hip hop starts to win grammys and for the boston red sox to repeat.

and i'm not saying that i'm better than those charged or indicted on various crimes, and i'm not saying the left is any better in their swindlings, because let's face it, criminals and assholes come in every political stripe... You have a situation where one may be a corrupt manipulator, another may be a cheater, another may be a traitor, another may be liar, and the last has actually revealed himself to be a complete and utter hypocrite... all i'm saying, is that before you start preaching and accusing others of bad behaviour, you'd better look to your own friends and neighbors first.

welcome to the human race: we're all a bunch of fuck-ups at times. but that doesn't mean we're all going to hell.


music... makes the people... come together... yeah!

first off, i apoligize for quoting madonna.

secondly, i've come across two pieces of music that i find particularly interesting and inspiring. one is duran duran's "ordinary world" and the other is phil collins' "in the air tonight." i personally don't care for the '80s, but i don't mind the music every now and then, usually when i'm drunk at weddings or in bars. however, i really do like these two songs. "ordinary world" is sort of inspiring good things for i still love the bomb and "in the air tonight" is most assuredly gonna be used in this is hardcore, perhaps in the final scenes. the final scenes are incredibly clear and vivid to me, and i keep hearing the lyrics in the back of my mind.

music has been really good to me as of late. i usually listen to a lot of music when i write. i'm one of those writers that needs music to write. leonard cohen inspired much of desert sessions... an anti corporate love story... and queens of the stone age's song, "if only" was a huge influence on zero sum. in fact, the line, "if it gets you down, well just don't blame me..." pretty much defined zero sum. at any rate, back to trying to write. haven't been very successful as of the last month or so, but i'm not giving up on this is hardcore. so far, frank sinatra and a lot of the classic standard songs and singers has been much of the inspiration for this is hardcore... perhaps if i go back to some of that music, i can get rid of this goddamned block...

*** note: music to write by for this is hardcore: damien rice, black rebel motorcycle club, oasis, frank sinatra, ryan adams, paul oakenfold, alexi murdoch, the streets, and last but not least, death from above 1979. by the way, as of october 1st, the block is shattered! now let's finish this fucking book... ***

*** note: you know, while we're on the topic of music, i fucking hate pearl jam! they're my favorite band, but they're starting to piss me off. i want them to make a straight on rock album. just wall to tall rock 'n roll, but they will never do that cause they're better than that an it pisses me off. i just wanna rock, damn it! by the way, listening to lost dogs and loving it. fucking pearl jam. ***


battlestar spectacular

so i have a weakness for genre television. i admit it. i love fantasy shows, i love sci-fi shows... that being said, everyone loves talking about lost, the show about people being stranded on a mysterious island. while the show is good, to me, it just feels like a glorified version of survivor. many of the episodes are just okay, with every third or forth episode really being worthwhile.

now, the show with real guts is battlestar galactica. i realize the original bg was really cheezy, but the great part of the new bg, is that it takes itself seriously. no other show has writing like this right now. they are willing to tackle subjects that are controversial, but tackle them in an intelligent manner, without preaching to the viewers and without offering simple black and white answers. we're talking about issues of human rights and abuse, and whether they extend to your enemy in times of war.

the premise of the show is that humans created cylons, these machines that eventually rebelled and the show starts off with the near extinction of the human race by a surprise attack. what's left of humanity is on the run with the machines after them. the kicker is that the machines have new models that not only look like humans, but behave and live as humans.

now consider this: eventually a few of these human models of cylons are captured at one point or another during the series. they are interrogated. these cylons seem human for all intents and purposes... but they're the enemy. does the enemy, in times of war, have rights? can you hold the prisoner indefinitely? can you torture the prisoner? can you abuse the prisoner? can you even rape the prisoner, all in the effort to gather information? the thing is, this show tackles such topics, and the characters do their thing, and while some characters protest, others say that they're in a time of war, and anything goes. the writers then leave it to the viewers to really debate this.

now consider this: the united states is at war. we have all seen the photos of prisoner abuse at abu ghraib (i will not add a link to the photos, but anyone can simply find them online). now, i'm not saying that anything like rape went on there, but the photos clearly show prisoners being humiliated and degraded, some of them in sexual ways such as being photographed naked with their heads in each other's crotches. i realize they are considered the enemy, but apply those same questions to you or i. can you be held prisoner indefinitely? can you be tortured? can you be abused? can you be raped, all in the effort to gather information? in the end, they are still human, regardless of which side they are on. of course, one can justly argue that they attacked first, indiscriminitely, terrorizing innocent civilians. the same arguement is used on battlestar galactica: the cylons nearly wiped out the human race. anything we do back to them doesn't even compare. my gut instinct, if i were in a real time of war, i would probably go with the whole anything goes philosophy. i mean really, if you think about it, the fact that there are rules to war seems a bit silly, logically speaking. but that's my gut and my brain. what about the heart? the heart would say something entirely different. i guess the realities of war trump pretty much anything, and when it comes down to survival, one must do what one must. i'm sure i'd behave in a similar manner if i were in such a situation. would it have been right? definitely not, cause war is never right. would it be necessary? perhaps, cause even though it is not right, sometimes war is necessary as a last resort. it's a realization that the humanitarian side of me doesn't want to come to terms with, but the realist in me can't ignore. i suppose war makes dogs of us all...

battlestar galactica is a space opera. pure and simple. but it does what good art does best: makes us question what we are about, our values, our beliefs. i didn't mean to get too serious here, but that being said, i just love the show. i think the reason the show can go into such dark territory is because it's a genre show, and people dismiss it as being just another geeky sci-fi show, which makes it a blessing and curse for bg, because i don't think any other show could get away with being so blatantly political (even though it is not really trying to be). there is also a deeply religious aspect to the show, but that's for another time... battlestar galactica is smart, funny, gutsy, political, and very, very brave, which makes it exciting to watch. hell of a lot better than what's down some stupid hatch...


i want to kill the president of the united states...

here's something kind of fun. here's a monologue from the opening of an old book i wrote years ago called zero sum. zero sum was my ill-fated attempt at writing a book that would criticize male behavior and misogyny, but in fact ended up celebrating the very behaviors that i was attempting to critique. sometimes these things happen, and you don't realize what a collosal failure it is until you've completed it. it was ugly, vile, vacuous, full of blood and guts and sex. tell you the truth, i am glad it was never published, because i am ashamed of having ever written such a disgusting thing. the book was so terrible, it actually began with, "i want to kill the president of the united states..." at any rate, i still sort of like this monologue, and perhaps will use it some time in the future. it's quite mean-spirited, which zero sum was completely and utterly all the way through. but i still like the monologue. kinda funny in a black and mean-spirited way. it was delivered in the book by a guy named poe, who's only goal in life was to live life as he pleased, no matter who got trampled along the way. it's one of those books where at the end, nobody gets their comeupance, which isn't that bad, but really, this guy was a fucking jerk. he's one of those characters that comes from some deep and dark part of the mind. he's one of those characters that makes you wonder just how sick you really might be as a writer. the thing is, he wasn't a serial killer or anything. he was just a guy. a blatant psychopath. psychopaths don't have to be killers or rapists. they can be the guy you work with who just does things cause he can. enjoy...

- - -

I want to kill the president of the United States. It's just one of those things in life that's really, really hard to do. If you can pull it off, you're famous. John Wilkes did it; Oswald did it. These aren't nobodies. They were, but now they never will be. Hinckley tried it in the '80's, but where is he now? Does anyone care? More importantly do I? History doesn't award the failures. Trying to assasinate the President of the free world acts as a yardstick for a man's soul. It's a hurdle that separates those that can and those that can't and leaves all those that might or won't on the sidelines to watch and judge and criticize and mock and generally, gives them a reason to exist. And it's not like killing a regular person either, or like blowing up a bus full of girl scouts on their way to a charity fundraiser for cancer boys. It's not even like shooting Lennon. I'd like to think that killing regular people would be an easy thing to do. All you have to do is remember to pick up the lug wrench, mop up the blood, and above all... don't ever get greedy. Killing the President of the United States of America is a whole different story. If you kill the President, they will hunt for you until the Second Coming. You'd better believe that they'd never give up. There will be no limited budget or shortage of manpower when you kill the president. And it's not like I want to be a destructive influence on society. God forbid I become an idol to some silly rat bastard of a kid who's so fucking stupid he'd be better off being abducted by some Internet predator. I don't want to be a part of the deconstruction of America. I just want to kill the President of the free world because I feel like it. I just want to see if I can get away with it. I don't want to be a part of the deconstruction of America... I just want to see America collapse in one shot.

- - -

terrible, huh? the book is filled with it. seriously. jokes comparing hookers to onions and racist language and people watching videos of girls being mutilated and a guy waking up in bed after an absinthe binge with a gutted puppy and a scene involving a threesome with a broom stick... and it just goes on and on for what would have been, i shit you not, about a 600 page book in print. i'm not afraid of zero sum, nor what it made me think of myself, but i am ashamed of it. sort of like a mother who's child grows up to eat babies. i mean, given the chance, i would still defend it; you know, freedom of speach, blah blah blah... but it really is... terrible. if any book should be called this is hardcore, that should have been it. that's too bad, cause there is some really nice writing in there, like the carefully orchestrated office shooting that takes the point of view from three different characters and goes on for over twenty pages... horror movies these days have less of a body count. i swear to god. and the interesting thing was, the only people that liked it, were guys. my female friends couldn't get past the first couple dozen pages. that's how i ultimately realized what a failure it was as a critique on male behavior. that and the fact that reading it just makes one feel ill.


make way for the walking wounded...

here's what i've been working on for the last month since i got back from my cross-canada road trip. a part of this i wrote before and posted prior to the trip. i've developed it a bit more, but it's still really rough. The grammer and wording has to be worked over, but you can get the gist... this is hardcore is slowly starting to eek its way out of my brain. it hasn't been much, but what little has come out hasn't been too bad or a waste of time, so that's positive.

- - -

This is a story. I never knew a life could begin with such promise, only to see so much violence. I’ve heard of things. I’ve heard of things for sure, of horrible things happening to people… good people. People hurting others for the sake of hurt. And who’d have thought that hurt would be for infinity? Nothing lasts forever, but hurt… it seems to breathe beneath the sludge, beneath the earth after we’re all dead and buried and ash. Hurt gets under your skin, under everything, like the cockroach of all emotions. It endures, and it touches everyone. Impossible not to, what with terrible things happening to people all the time. People hate, people hurt, people cry, people give up… the horrible things that happen can sometimes be the physical manifestation of that pain, that hurt. Maybe it bubbles up inside, underneath, that sometimes it just need to be let out, dug out, unearthed? Or maybe shit happens. Whatever it is, whatever lets hurt thrive, allows it to come back around. Don’t ever let the same dog bite you twice, some say, but hurt… hurt bites and it stings and it comes back around like a goddamned boomerang every goddamned time. Hurt leaves a man to wander.

Well this is just a story, and we come in at the beginning of the end of it. He was a good man. Let’s be honest; A liar at times, but a good man. As good a man as could be expected these days. We all make our mistakes, and his at least, weren’t meant to hurt anybody, and that’s the least we could expect people to do these days; make sure their actions don’t hurt anybody else. The other fellow, is just a man all in all, prone to being dismissive followed by bouts of regret. And who of us has never felt like being dismissive? To just want to be left alone? This is just a story, and we come in at the beginning of the end of it, as it was told to me, with the two of them stumbling from one disaster to another. You can hear for whom the bell tolls: Make way for the walking wounded...

“Oh lord,” Will says to himself as he looks down at the blood dripping down the length of his broken arm. He watches the drop of blood trickle down along the underside of his hand and to the tip of his pinkie finger. “Here it comes again,” he whispers as it hangs for a second before dropping and erupting on the dry ground. A crash victim, standing beneath the blue sky, stained over with blood and rust, he nervously tugs at his wrinkled and torn blazer as he looks upwards, feeling the blazing warmth on his face. There are clouds, hundreds of hundreds of clouds, all white and small and blotting the blue sky like a thousand Greek ships sailing towards Troy. “All lined up, all stacked, all ready to go, ready to go, ready to go…” he mumbles. The collar of his shirt is soaked through and crusty with dried, salty sweat. He licks his lips slowly.

Looking down the way, Abe is wandering aimlessly along the side of the road, his shirt torn open, blood dried and flaked on the white cotton material. He’s got his hand outstretched, thumb up, trying to hook a ride. A large semi truck comes barrelling down the way, breaking over the cusp of the horizon. It rumbles on down the road like a bat out of hell. Will and Abe both cover their faces as dust swirls up, little rocks caught up in the wake pelt them repeatedly. When the dust settles, they look at each other… past each other as they continue on. First soul in an hour and the driver passed them by. Soon, all evidence of the truck’s existence is swept away, leaving nothing but them and the mountains and the weaving, wandering road. Isolation is a postal code.

- - -

so that's that. i'm starting to think that a novella format is the way to go. about 130-180 pages per book. long books are overrated.


what's in your head?

i just got back from a friend's wedding. good times. here's what hit me this morning while sitting in my friend lisa's mother's home at 8 in the morning, waiting for the others to wake up...

guy: wait. stop. let me see you.

girl: what's in your head?

guy: i want you to stay like this. natural. naked. i don't want you to leave. i won't let you. i want this to keep. you're my prisoner.

... now, what this is for, i'm not quite sure, but my initial reaction is to use it for live acoustic (open fire). i can't use it for this is hardcore, that's for sure. the tone, the words... everything reflects the belief that these two characters care for each other. no one cares about anyone in this is hardcore, so obviously i can't use it there.

i've also been listening to a lot of "sad bastard" music lately. gets me in the mood to write live acoustic (open fire). the more i think about it, the more excited i am to write that over this is hardcore. but really, that's more due to the fact that i always get bored of current projects about two/thirds the way through and latch onto new things. perhaps tomorrow after some sleep i'll try another go at finishing this is hardcore.


cover girl

so, it looks like i'm going to have to redo the back cover to this is hardcore. jen doesn't like the picture i used, so that means having to reshoot and redo the whole thing, which is fine by me. it's better that she voiced her opinion now, because once it's published, there's no turning back!

at any rate, it'll be a while before i debut the cover. depending on how the shoot goes, i may change the front cover too if the pictures are better. i didn't really plan anything last time, so i didn't really get the shots i wanted, so this time out, i'm going to do it properly.

*** just hit me. i know how i want to shoot the new cover. it's gonna be good. ***


words, words, words...

here's a list of the things that i'm working on:

this is hardcore - fully formed, this high concept thriller is about love and death and werewolves. it's about the male fear of losing control and power as told through three chapters: romance, horror and psycho. i am two-thirds done the first draft. the cover is completed, thanks to jen's awesome willingness to model for me (thanks babe!) i will probably debut it here and on conquerednationpress.com in the next month or two, as soon as i'm done the first draft. really, it will take several months to rework the draft into something that is even remotely worth publishing.

live acoustic (open fire) - my experimental piece, so far about a girl named sloan. it is experimental because i've never had a female lead character (most of my writing tends to be male dominated. go figure. however, this could be a disaster, coming from a guy who only understands guys and writes about guys. just look at what happened to nick hornby and how to be good. just kidding. only slightly.) also, i tend to meticulously plan my books before writing. usually i am unable to write the actual book unless i have a beginning and end already thought up and written. this one i'm leaving open ended. it could end up as a short story, it could be a novella, it could be a full-fledged novel. who knows? i have no idea as to what the book will be about. so far, all i do know is that it's about sloan and it will have a happy ending. another first for me. personally, i think happy endings are overrated, but sometimes you just need one, and the right one at the right time can be just the thing. so far, here's all i have on the book:

To be free. It’s as much a state of love and trust as anything ever was. If you want me, she told him, you’re going to have to follow through. This is unlike anything that has ever been. Uniqueness, she told him, emboldens the spirit, and it is embodied by what we share. I, she told him, want you every day. It’s not enough to put me in your liner notes. I am not a thank you. All dressed up, she told him, just like you want me, but you don’t give a damn. Is it possible, she told him, that this is so obvious? She told him all of these things through tears and stinging slaps and ended up in the place she deep down inside was afraid that she’d be: the backseat of a taxi cab.

Falling down on her knees, caught between everything she’s wanted and everything she’s never been able to have, she doesn’t deal well. Down on her knees, wrestled there and pinned by the weight of it all...

revolutionaries wanted - i really liked this title. i want to write a political opus, and i figured this would be a great title. all i've got is the image of a guy with a big-ass beard wearing a white t-shirt and boxer shorts with slippers. it's funny: i find myself wanting to stretch further and further from where i began. desert sessions... an anti-corporate love story was my generational piece on us twenty-something twixters, those left behind in the dust of generation x; this is hardcore is my genre thriller piece; revolutionaries wanted will be my political opus, which brings me to the final piece on my very full plate...

i still love the bomb - originally thought up as a novella regarding a rip off of homer's odyssey, it has now turned into what will be my modern epic. i haven't decided yet if i want to make it a sci-fi piece. the problem i have with sci-fi is that writing techno-babble really sucks for me, and in order for it to be good sci-fi, it still has to have good science in it (at least that's the sci-fi that i like). at any rate, i know i have to live more in order to write this, so this will be on the back burner until i am fifty or sixty. here's a bit of what i have written down for this. it's about some guy trying to get laid at a wake:

I’ve never known a girl like her before. In the all-too-short span that I’ve known her, she’s always been someone else’s girl. She was Mark’s girl, Drew’s girl, Sebastian’s girl, Matthew’s girl, and for a brief two week period she was Suzie’s girl, before ending up as Keith’s girl. I suppose she was my girl for two hours Friday night, but Friday night seems so fucking long ago. I sidle up to her and press myself against her, cornering her. She’s not wearing a bra. She looks at me with those steel eyes of hers. She just stands there as she lets my hands slide up her hips, pulling her dress up. “What do you think you’re doing?” she suddenly hisses. She squirms away from me. She’s being vicious again. She’s like this most of the time. Everything is done on her timetable. “Go fuck yourself,” she mouths at me silently as she disappears around a corner. It's a shame, really. There's cancer, Aids, crime, war; with all the things in the world that need fixing, none of it seem to matter because all i want to do is get laid.

finally, i have something called, life, the existential hell. i don't know if this will be a book or what. i just like the line. maybe it'll be the name of a chapter in one of my books or something.

my fellow conquered nation peers are also hard at work on some projects. len has spoken about a satirical look at what the world would be like if the christian right won in the end. this is incredibly ambitious with lots of research involved, which means automatically it's something that i don't have the patience to write myself. caroline is reworking an adult fable (at least, that's what i think it is) about a girl and her rats that just ends up a little on this side of sadistic. speaking of sadistic, adam has something hidden away involving some guy that goes psycho on a girl that makes fun of him or something. adam doesn't really divulge much; it's like pulling teeth trying to get him to talk about it let alone let me read some of it.

so that's the long and short of it. er, more long than short i suppose. now, back to trying to finish this is hardcore...

thank you, don juan

here is an excerpt from this is hardcore. i haven't been too motivated to write anything for the last two or three weeks, which is a shame. just too much other crap on my mind i suppose. anyway, here's a snippet of abe warning will about the pitfalls of love...

He puts a hand to my bare chest and shoves me against the window. “What you see is not what she is. That skin she’s wearing is just a sack of meat for her real self to hide in. Careful man. I know she’s all pretty and sparkly, but all that’s just window dressing. She’s a cancer that will rot your soul.”

“Whatever you’re on, Abe, I-”

He shoves me again. “Get a grip, Will. I see the way you look at her. Do you really think that what you’re feeling is safe? Are you really that stupid to think you’re in love with this girl?”

“Who said anything about love?” I’m stammering now.

“Love is an orgiastic experience. It’s explosive, unpredictable and it can make you invincible. But love is putting all your chips into one basket. Love is power and if you love a girl, you give her that power,” he says. “It makes you into Achilles. You are a fucking immortal, a fucking demi-god, a fucking indestructible piece of iron ore and it’s like you know karate, but all it takes is that one shot and you’re dead. All it takes is that one hit, that one hit in the one chink in your armour and you’re through, and if she knows you love her, she knows she owns you, and she knows about that Achilles heel.” I look over his shoulder at Cassandra, who has taken out the rest of our clothes and is now curiously starting to put more quarters into the machine. “Do not shit yourself, my friend, because regardless of what you believe, in the end, she will end you if she can. Don’t give her that power. Power is leverage. Power is sway. Power is a buy into a mindfuck. You don’t know karate, Will, and you sure as hell don’t want to be Achilles. Keep it that way. You’re guaranteed to live longer.” She turns on the machine and starts to climb on top of it. Abe grabs me by my face with both hands and says, “I am telling you, that girl is a fucking classic monster. She’s a goddamned preying mantis. She will fuck you and eat you alive from the head on down, and not necessarily in that order.”

I just look at Abe and give him a half-smile. “Thank you… Don Juan.”

turn the page...

so it's a fresh new start. how do you like the new look? sexy!

so anyway, this is an attempt to compliment my publishing company, conquered nation press, but at the same time, distance myself from it. i figured even though my books tend to have lots of politics mixed into it, it was probably better to allow cnp to find its own image and voice, seeing as how there are three other people involved with cnp and even though we're all like-minded individuals, we're still individuals and cnp is supposed to be a unified voice. that means, my views may not necessarily be those of my fellow founders. on this site, i can say all the stupid things that i want, as well as promote my writing.

i've been fooling around with the template to try and make it as simple as possible, yet add pictures in the sidebar, so things may not be working quite right just yet. never fear. i'll eventually get it right. (this has got to be some of the ugliest html ever written, but hey, it works...)

so, now that we're all reaquainted, here's a little video for everyone to download. this is just too funny. it's like he says what we're all thinking!