Thursday, November 29, 2007


Yeah yeah, I know, but it's been crazy with being out of town and decorating the house and decorating the parents' house and school and being slightly sick.

To readers of my blog who have not been made aware of such plans, this Sunday evening at 8 pm, feel free to drop by Ted Drewes on ChippeWatson for Extreme Ice Cream Club's Happy (Belated) Birthday to Me.

Yes, if you are reading this, you are invited. If you can't come (have other plans/don't live in or near St. Louis) that is too bad because it will be the greatest time ever. On a Sunday. In December. In 2007. Totally.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' Man (And a Tuesday Excerptin' One, Too)

Alright, so, I've got a bit to get through.

I am going out of town tomorrow after work. I will be going to Davenport (to visit my brother-in-law Dave. Wow, Dave, Davenport...I think I will start calling it Dave 'n Port), spending the night, then Kathy, Dave, Cakelyn (Dave's daughter, see prior post about getting stuck in the middle of Iowa from the early days of my blog), and I will be heading even further North to Rochester, MN on Thursday for a Thanksgiving Feast.

But what's most important about tomorrow is that I will be turning 25. A quarter of a century. That scares me. It scares me mostly because when I turned 15, I could barely remember being five, but now I have vivid memories of being 15 (although, my Tuesday Excerpt below will refute that, but you will have to discern where I've taken poetic license and where I haven't). Fifteen was big; first year of high school, Jon Roundy joined The Hitchhikers and we actually had a singer, then we went into a recording studio. I made friends with Monica, and we're still friends today, so it was a year when good things happened. But what happened to five? Well, clearly, it was twenty years ago. And who can remember what happened twenty years ago?

I guess it's just my "getting older" syndrome I feel so acutely. Not so much at work, you know...I'm one of the youngest at work, but at school, no so much. Granted, I take a few night classes, so I don't feel like the absolute oldest, but even still I feel old. You see, even though I can't recall specific things about myself when I was five, I do recall many things about the 1980's. And the current class of freshmen know nothing of the 80's. I spent eight years stuck in the 1980's. I even went through an 80's revival phase in high school (spurred on by my physics/astronomy teacher, Mr. conjunction with a campaign to bring back the ultimate power snack; Moon Pies and RC Cola. Oh, more on Moon Pies later...). A couple weeks ago, when one of my teachers asked if anybody in class remembered the Chrysler K car, three people raised hands...two ladies who have children old enough to be in college, and myself. The teacher looked at me and said, "Whatever, you are too young to remember the K car, those haven't been around since, like 1989. You were probably two then." I said, " And a neighbor on my street had one until sometime in the mid-90's." Then, of course, inevitably, somebody did math and said, "No way! That would make you, like...twenty-five. No way you're that old?" To which my reply was, "Since when did 25 become old?"

Well, actually, earlier that same day, we were talking about the business of writing for money in my playwriting class. And the general gist was that if you haven't made an impact as a playwright or as a screenwriter by the age of 30, your chances go way down. They want young people. I have five years left until I'm 30. That's half of ten...and I can remember things from ten years ago like they were yesterday. So that's not a lot of time...

Back to the Moon Pies...I do like me some Moon Pies. My sister's husband, Kevin, works at a grocery store that sells Moon Pies (the big stores around here, for some reason, don't, but the smaller ones one can quite understand or explain this phenomenon), so occasionally I get the token Moon Pie. For my birthday (we celebrated this Sunday with my family, because I will be out of town, plus my dad's birthday was last Tuesday, we normally celebrate the Sunday in between with dinner at my parents'), Mo and Kevin bought me a carton of ice cream...Prairie Farms Moon Pie Ice Cream.

The verdict? It's yummy, actually. I mean, ice cream is good, Moon Pies are good, makes a certain amount of sense that Moon Pie Ice Cream would be good, but...jelly beans are good, buttered popcorn is good, but buttered popcorn flavored jelly beans are quite possibly the nastiest thing a person could ever desire to eat an entire box of (and trust me, they sell entire theater-candy style boxes of Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn flavored beans, I know, I used to have to put ad sings up for them every few weeks at Target). But no, I mean, this ice cream is really good. But you probably already have to like Moon Pies to appreciate it.

Another consequense of getting older is that (first time admitting this in a public forum) I can't eat the way I used to. Well, no, I can still eat the way I used to, it's just that now I actually show it. Not tremendously, just...enough that it's noticeable. After a week of particularly uninhibited scarfing down of every morsel in sight (and after a very heavy dinner of biscuits, pork-sausage gravy and scrambled eggs with cheddar followed by a dessert of apple pie...), I went to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard for another dessert (the Extreme Ice Cream Club), and a friend of mine I hadn't seen since just after I started my new job showed up. His first comment? "Hey...Elliot. Wow. You got fat."

So, let's recap; so far in the last couple months, I've been called Fat and Old by my peers, plus people are giving me food (the ice cream and half of my birthday cake came home with me from my parents' house, and Kathy won't eat it because she doesn't like spice cake). So, imagine how well my birthday is being handled.

On the upside of all of this, I can actually take time to ride my bike this summer, because I won't be worn out from working ungodly hours at Target, and I won't have homework, so I can get back in shape. For the time being, though, I have to buckle down, squeeze in a few crunches here and there, and remind mysel that even though I used to be able to order twenty dollars worth of Taco Bell, eat it in one sitting and still manage to lose a pound (no joke, it's happened to me in the past), I can do this no longer. So I shouldn't order that much. Or eat it if I do. At least, not in one sitting.

But then again, Taco Bell really doesn't keep well...

Okay, so, now to the last thing...and no, not "The Last Thing..." which I posted last week. I'm still working on that one. I kind of stalled...scene 2 is erratic right now and needs an amount of work. Then, of course, there's the rest of the play to write...

I digress. Actually, twice. First thing of the last two things; I really really want to take off from Rochester on Friday and head to the Twin Cities. If I had planned better, I'd totally do it, but right now, I don't think it's feasible. Maybe I'll call some folks tomorrow and bounce the idea off of them, see if they'll even be there. That's the real crux of the situation.

But now, truly, the last part of this evening's blog; the Tuesday Excerpt. This one goes out to my sister-in-law Lori, who is currently plowing through college applications. This is the application essay I wrote for Webster University, which netted me smiles from my admissions advisor, a laugh from my academic advisor, and $4000/year I will never have to pay back.


"Webster University General Application Essay" 2006"

I can remember my senior year of high school. This should come as no shock; I was what, seventeen and eighteen, and now I’m only twenty-three. I suppose that’s longer ago than it seems to me, but it’s so vivid to me still for some reason. Now freshman year of high school, I remember maybe three or four major events and those are, in no particular order; doing over five hundred push-ups during marching band camp, getting called out by Anne Lutjens for staring at her legs during academic lab (a glorified study hall), my band The Hitchhikers getting picked for a huge battle of the bands a week after our singer went to Germany for a month, and my sister graduating and going off to college. A whole nine months, and that’s about all I have. But senior year, I had everybody breathing down my neck.

I borrowed books about college essay preparation. I asked all of my older friends if I could read their essays to see what they said. I asked teachers, guidance counselors, friends, family, co-workers, a girl at Starbucks, and tried to find some help on the internet. In the end, I wrote and subsequently directed a one-act play about a guy attempting to write his college application essay. His friend distracts him, and in an entire weekend he manages to write three sentences. That’s a whole three sentences more than I got. Of course, that didn’t stop people from asking where I was going to school. The answer was simple.


Except I did go to college, at the University of Minnesota. Only, I didn’t take it very seriously that first semester, spring of 2002. I was under the impression that college was about drinking and having fun, so much so that I forgot that it was also a little bit about school. So, I went on academic probation. Then I got mono fall semester, and my motivation gave out on me. Basically, I flunked out and came home to St. Louis.

That’s when I went to community college. This was in 2003 (a full two years after I graduated from high school). I went for one whole semester and then dropped halfway through the next because something had happened while I was academically probated and getting dangerously sick; I fell in love with and proposed marriage to a girl, and I had no money because I was only working enough to keep gas in my car so I could continue driving to and from school and work. I buckled down at work, went full time. I got married July 17th, 2004. Best day of my life thus far. If you haven’t fallen in love and gotten married, I would recommend it. I enjoy it immensely.

Of course, I spent the next year not going to school, which led my wife to deliver the gentle but firm statement “if you don’t go back to school, I don’t know if I can stay with you.”

You see, silly me, the spring leading up to the summer we were married, all she wanted to do was drop out of school. I had told her not to, because she was nearly done with her degree. So, on my advice, and threats of not staying with her, she finished school. Ah, how the tables had turned! So, summer 2005, I decided to sign up for another class at community college.

“Another class” turned into a ten-credit summer session, while still working full time, which basically meant I had either enough time to sleep or enough time to eat and, most often, chose eating because, if you knew me, that’s just the kind of thing you would expect. So when it came time to sign up for fall semester, I opted to pull back a little.

“Pulling back” turned into eleven credits. Still working full time. Oh, and my wife and I bought a house. So, you can see how well pulling back worked.

The upshot of all of this is that I am finally, after four and a half years out of high school, a sophomore in college and I just decided I would much rather spend the next few chapters of my academic life at a school I am excited to attend, even though I may have been afraid of it at one time.

Why was I afraid of Webster University my senior year of high school? Because I could see Webster’s campus from the parking lot of my high school. I didn’t want to travel only that far, I wanted to go somewhere. Hence Minnesota.
Now that I consider things, though, how far have I come since then? Well, aside from marriage and home ownership and about six thousand miles logged on a bike that is worth more than my car, academically I’ve achieved in four and a half years what it should have, by all counts, taken me nine months to accomplish. And I can’t let the next three academic years take me into my thirties, forties, or beyond. Why wait? My friends, family, and especially my wife will tell you that I put the “pro” in procrastination; I’ve taken it to a whole new level. I just think it’s time to let certain skills die and sharpen others that are much more useful.
It is time to move forward and actually go somewhere.


"Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it." -Truman Capote

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Sorry gang. Life gets in the way of plans sometimes I guess. So does death.

My wife's friend's father has been very sick, and he passed away this week. Tomorrow evening, we are going to the visitation. What this means for you, my audience, is that I will not be Free-Writing tomorrow. It may be two weeks, then, before I get back to it, as next week internet access may be questionable as I will be in Minnesota for Thanksgiving.

But, fear not, I will leave you with this to read, ruminate upon, and so forth.

My first "year of college" spanned several calender years. It began in the spring of 2002 and lasted until the spring of 2006, really. I mean, it didn't actually take me that long to become a sophomore, in fact I was a sophomore at the end of the fall 2005 semester, a sophomore by about six credit hours. But that's not the point. I didn't full-on start a sophomore year until I transferred to Webster in the fall of 2006.

I have attended three schools in my college career. The first of these, many of you know, was the University of Minnesota. I was not a conscientious student. I was barely a conscious student. It was a place to make friends and eat pizza and get drunk for me. And I did that very well. But what I have left from there is friendship, my wife, and a learning experience I could not have otherwise obtained if I had just buckled down and played the role of the usual college student.

Regardless, each school has provided for me friendship with people who have meant a great deal to me, many of whom still do. And actually, in the interim, when I wasn't in school during that five and a half year period that encompassed my "freshman year," I worked at Target, which in itself was a learning experience. I met a lot of wonderful people there, as well, who helped me grow as a person.

I could list all of these people. I should list all of them. But I hope you know who you are, because otherwise, this post will get ridiculously long. And we all know how much Molly loves my ridiculously long posts. And this one is already promising to be plenty long. But I do want to talk about somebody who had a profound effect on me. A lasting impression that I can't shake. And it's sad, really, to think about him, because I barely knew him. And I'll never get the chance to.

And I'm talking about a guy named Chase Korte. He was one of those guys that was known to pretty much everybody. Not that he wanted to be known, he just wanted to know everybody, and he was good at it. The first time I met him was on the bus from East Bank to St. Paul, and he quoted a line from Fight Club at me. And I recited the follow up perfectly. He invited me up to his room that night and we watched the film. It was a Wednesday. And then, not every Wednesday, but a lot of them, we would watch movies with a group of people. It was nice. It was a pleasant routine. It was, probably, the most consistent meeting I ever attended at the U of M that semester (my grades will reflect this).

He was a writer, an actor, a comedian. He was unique in a unique way. A run-in with Chase Korte always proved to be a memorable one.

He was killed in a car accident in February of 2007. About halfway through my sophomore year. Only I didn't hear about it right away. And I blamed some of my friends who knew him. I thought they had a responsibility to tell me about Chase's death. I felt forgotten and betrayed.

And then it hit me that none of them were even aware that I knew him. Because in the time it took them to finish college, I was still working through my freshman year. It wasn't that they didn't think I wouldn't's that it had been so long since I had seen any of them, and even longer since I had seen Chase, that perhaps our friendships had never crossed paths. I think back, and I can remember a few instances when other friends from Minnesota, those still have contact with, were present on a Wednesday night. But there were no regulars at the Wednesday Night Movie Club, other than me and Chase. And it was the only thing we did together. Of course nobody thought to tell me.

And the more I got to think about it, the more the memory of Chase kind of haunted me. I liked this guy, I considered him a friend, but I never once bothered to maintain contact with him. Nevermind laying any blame on him, because I never got the sense that he wouldn't have kept in touch. More than once my second semester at the U of M, I would be well on my way to passing another face in the crowd when that face would call my name and resolve itself into Chase Korte, asking me if I was free that Wednesday night for a showing of Pi, or The Big Lebowski, or Breaking Away. We just lost touch, as people do.

So the reason I bring this up at all, is because I have been thinking about some way to celebrate his memory. Facebook groups are out, because there are two of them already, created by people who hadn't lost touch. I wrote my first three day novel about the Wednesday Night Movie Club, but I discount that as a work of pure crap. But I felt I needed to do something, something for a friend I lost touch with. This idea began sometime in April, when I found out about his death. But I just couldn't decide what to do.

I had planned, for the second half of the semester project in playwriting, to write a comedy about an elevated terror level forcing Dick Cheney to move to an undisclosed location, and having that location be the basement of a suburban family comprised of a staunchly liberal woman, her politically aloof husband and their angst-ridden teenage son. It was going to open with Dick Cheney singing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the basement as the teenage son got home (high, of course, having scored drugs from a friend), and let it go from there. But then I got to thinking about Chase again, which I hadn't done for a while, and then it occured to me what I should do. And so I present to you, in my standard "Tuesday Excerpt" format (on a Thursday evening), the first scene of my play.


from The Last Thing... October/November, 2007

Robert Forsyth, 25, tall and thin
Dexter MacKenzie, 24, very handsome

The living room of a one bedroom apartment in the Central West End of St. Louis. Hardwood floors, high ceilings. A kitchen through a large open doorway upstage left. The decorations have a distinctive Artsy-20-something feel; black and white photos, Toulouse Lautrec posters. A metal and black-glass coffee table center. Ikea furnishings. A modestly sized television. Loveseat, armchair. The table is a mess of opened mail.

An all-night coffee shop on the corner of Euclid and Laclede.

Scene 1

A dark stage. A knock on a door. Barely seen, dressed in flannel pants and a white tee, Robert Forsyth enters from stage right and runs into an unseen coffee table, grunting. He grabs at items on the table and comes up with a cell phone, which he opens. It illuminates the stage very little. Another knock.

Just a minute.

He walks over to the door stage left, and flips a light switch. The lights come up. He shuts the cell phone and opens the door. Enter Dexter MacKenzie, dressed like Brad Pitt from Fight Club.

Forsyth! What is up my lanky friend?
(bear hugs Robert)

(pulls away, looks quizzically at Dexter, shuts the door)
Where did you come from?

Ah, you know how it go and you struggle and you struggle...and you struggle...


No, I’m for real here. You struggle and finally, you catch that big break...contract...can I sit down?

(rubbing the sleep from his eyes)
Yeah, take a seat. Um...

Sorry, I know, out of the blue.
(sits on the loveseat)
Bet you didn’t expect this!

It’s Wednesday night, Dexter...I work, you know.

Not tomorrow, man. Call in sick, something.

I don’t-

You do.

No, I...
(he sits in the armchair)
It’s been, what...

Three years. Three looonnng years. Since Brussell’s party. Oh, hey, how is Brussell? That was the last time I saw him, too.

I don’t know...I haven’t talked to him in-

I’ll hit him up next. I mean, when I’m done here, I should just go to Minnesota. I probably should have gone there first, but, you know, whatever.

I’m...dreaming. I am still sleeping. Dexter MacKenzie is not in my living room.
(Dexter grabs the television remote from the cushion next to him and chucks it right at Robert)
Ow, fucker!
Sorry, you come all this way and I cuss you out.
(Robert holds the remote)
Wait, I’m apologizing to you? You threw a remote at me.

Had to be done, Robert. I...
(looking around)
A girl lives here.


I’m here. That’s what’s important.
I can tell. There’s a feminine touch about the place.
(gets up, inspects the place)

Aren’t you supposed to be in LA?

Thought you were coming out there, with your pages of scripts and your keen wit.
(continues his examination)

I got sidetracked.

Not me.
(his eyes rest on the table)
Ah, but she’s not here, is she?


The girl who lives here. She’s not here.

She doesn’t live here. I mean, not yet. I mean, she’s still tied up in her lease, but...

Have a fight? She in Chicago?

No, she’s...yeah. How did you know?

(points to a picture on the wall; a street scene)
There’s you and some guy, he’s got his arm around some girl, and that’s Daly Plaza behind you.

That’s...yeah, that’s, it’ name is Molly and his name, it’s something like Jack or something. I don’t know. But yes, she is in Chicago visiting Molly and Jack. It’’s not important, really. She’ll be home...Friday? Evening.

So she does live here. Or she calls this place home, at least.

What are you doing here.

I’ll tell you what I’m doing here.
(sits back on the couch, stares intently at Robert for a long, silent minute)
Getting thirsty. Please tell me you’ve got one of those pretentious microbrews you used to drag on about.

Yeah, I think I’ve got something. Maybe. I dunno.

Your authoritative stance on the issue is reassuring to say the least.
(leans forward, peers intently at Robert)
You okay?

I’m tired. It’s...what time is it? East Jesus o’clock in the morning. This late, when I’m this tired, time has no meaning. It just passes too quickly. All of a sudden, it’s dawn, the birds are chirping, the traffic picks up, the restaurant downstairs makes coffee, it’s time to go to work and I spend the rest of the day like a zombie.

(very serious)
Living dead, eh? That bad? You’re sure about that?

Dexter, what are you doing here?

I got the big call, man. My career; on the way up. You know? Trust me. I mean, the director and I had some creative differences, it was a real tough film.

So you actually made a film?

Give me back that remote.
(Robert tosses the remote back to Dexter)
(Dexter chucks it back at Robert)

Ow, Christ...Dexter!

Don’t say that like you’re surprised. You knew I had it in me. Destined for great things. Right?

Yeah, right, okay. Just stop throwing shit at me. What’s the film?

It’s called Peace Walker. I played a guy who’s got this brother.

Sounds deep.

No, no, listen. This brother goes off to fight in Iraq, right? And...what’s her name, by the way?

Who? The brother?

No...your live-in. The, what do you call her? Roommate? Girlfriend? Future Mrs. Robert Forsyth? What’s her name.

Andrea. She’s my girlfriend.

Gotcha. Did you check on the beer?

What? No, I...

(getting up)
I got it.
(exits to kitchen, from offstage)
So, the brother, he goes to Iraq, and before he goes, he and I have this big argument about why he’s going. It’s all very political. Oktoberfest beer?
(re-enters carrying two bottles of beer)

Yeah, so?

So it’s May.

I fail to see the problem. It’s cold. It’s never been opened. It’s been in the fridge for seven months. I don’t let beer get warm once it’s cold. I had one last week. It tastes better than it did in October.

Okay. Bottle opener?

Above the trash can, on the wall in the kitchen.

(exits to kitchen again, from offstage)
So, he tells me why he’s going, and then, well, you can predict this, he dies.

I think I’ve seen this movie. Except it was about Vietnam.

Ah, but this is just the first twenty minutes of the film.

(Dexter hands Robert a beer and sits back down on the loveseat)

So, it’s the day of the funeral, and I remember that my brother always wanted to go to Ireland, to visit the land where our mother’s father came from, but I hated my mother’s side of the family. And-

You get all of that in the first twenty minutes?

Roughly, it’s not really finished. So, I decide to visit Ireland, and walk from one end to the other and talk about peace.
(long pause)

That’s it?

Only I actually walked from like the Northern most part of Ireland to the Southern most part.

In the movie?

In real life!

For the movie?

The camera man quit. Most of the crew quit. Actually, in the end, it was just me and the director. Pretty fucking sweet, huh?

I guess I’ll have to see it.

Right. So, okay, so this...big. I mean...
Okay. This somewhat monumental thing happened to me. And before it all comes out, I mean...I wanted to precede the news, you know? And kind a tour. A kind of “Dexter MacKenzie, This is Your Life” sort of thing. Only...well, you know?

No. All I know is that you woke me up in the middle of the night. I mean, hell, I’m glad to see you. You look great for whatever ungodly hour it happens to be. I mean...
...I mean, you look like a million bucks is what. Jesus, aren’t you tired?

No. Come on, put some clothes on. I saw a coffee shop that was open a few blocks away. Throw on some shoes and a jacket, and when the time comes, call your boss and say you’ve got a terrible cold. Or, umm...does anybody you work with have small children?

What? Well, my boss does, but...

Great. I’ve noticed that people with small children will force you to stay home if you have a fever. Say you have a fever.


Say it!


No, say it! Say it now!

(beat, Dexter looks menacing)
Okay, alright. I have a fever.


I...I have a fever.

Can’t hear you!

(very loud)
I have a fever!

Thank you! Now...
Let’s finish our beers and go get coffee.
(lights out)


"The last thing I want to be is forgettable."
"...there's no freedom unless you're vulnerable first."
-both attributed to Chase Korte, 1982-2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Story Behind The Madness

For our first Christmas as a married couple, Kathy bought me a brand new Sony Vaio PCG-K35 lap top. Being the smart cookie that she is, she also purchased the three year extended warranty. This is important, trust me.

About seven months later, the right speaker cut out completely and one day, the left speaker cut out as well. No sound. So, I got it fixed. For free, per the terms of the warranty.

After that, I began having trouble with the plug where it went into the computer. Only when held at a certain angle would the power cord power my computer and charge the battery. One day, it stopped working altogether, so I took it in. It was fixed per the terms of the warranty.

Less than a month later, it stopped working again. This time, the plug itself was the problem. So that was replaced, again, for free.

A few months later, the batter stopped I got the battery replaced free.

The battery was goofy, though. Sometimes, it wouldn't charge unless you took it out and put it back in. And the DVD drive was wonky, too; Sometimes, you had to open it and close it five or six times before it would read a disc. And last Monday, the battery stopped charging altogether, because the plug was no longer providing power to the lap top. So, we took it in, paid for the back-up of data, and waited.

Meanwhile, I used Kathy's ancient home-built computer which is still running Windows ME (ew) and is slower than molasses in a freezer (and that's slow!). Last night, we called for an update because we figured, you know...a week...and they told us they had junked the computer, and we had to come in and pick out a new computer to replace it. For free.

So, we did just that. I picked out another Sony because we were constrained by the terms of the warranty to replace with a similar product. I got a VGN-NR180E, which from a distance apears to be trying its best to look like an Apple, but up close it's all textured and goofy. I think the screen is not as nice as the old one, but it's got more RAM, a larger hard drive, Vista (the old one ran XP), it burns dual layers (the old one only did single-layer), and most importantly, it weighs about a third of what the old one weighed. Seriously, my old one weighed quite a bit more than a normal lap top should, it was ginormous.

So...that's the story for the hiatus. And, I've got all my docs on here, Final Draft is installed and running, so I am back in action (just as soon as I figure out all of the Vista foibles).

Alright then. A return to things as they should have been. Coming this Friday...a Free Write Friday! So, give me your suggestions, please! And...GO!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


As in, my laptop died, and now I'm up a creek.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Your Questions Answered, Volume 5

Sporadic and unpredictable as my blog has become, I will not neglect a first weekend of the month Q & A session.

From "Your Questions Answered Volume 4: Blogapalooza Edition" on Saturday, October 20th, 2007:

Molly asked:

Why not pictures of broken drill bits? Why not photos of other urban types carrying man-purs.... er, messenger bags? Why not photos of the latest home project? Or the Sometimes impenetrable barrier? (or whatever that was...) Why not photos of ANYTHING?

This is a writing blog. I write stuff. I don't take pictures of stuff. Well, no, I do, but posting pictures on my blog is kind of a hassle. I know, I know, Maureen does it all the time. Well, without pictures, her blog wouldn't be nearly as fun to read. I like to think that my words help you create a picture in your head. And if you want to see the latest home improvement project, just come over. You know where I live. And the sometimes impenetrable barrier to which I refer is the sliding patio door.

From "Tuesday Excerpts" on Tuesday, October 23, 2007:

Annie asked:

Does that make any sense?

Annie, since you are fairly new to reading my blog, I'll go ahead and spare you my standard ridiculous answer to a question like this. Sufficed to say, what you said makes sense to me, but in the future, my answer will probably involved a stuffed giraffe and Ross Perot.

From "Musings" on Monday, October 29th, 2007:

A asked:

How did they get those special privelages!?

Well, they had to compromise...they live in Indiana and Arizona...

mGk asked:

So where is said post aye?

Arr, what's it to ya? Also, I posted several days late...

And that's about it, folks! Happy time change, and have a good week.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

(Tuesday) Excerpt

...several days late.

Today's excerpt comes from a play I wrote anonymously for class. And then they all had to guess who wrote it. And I had the class fairly split. Fair warning, it's about a cannibal. But, like, not Hannibal Lecter, more like...Frank Burns (from M*A*S*H, but the film version, not the television version) if he were a cannibal.


from "Confessions of a Conservative Murderer" by Anonymous (but really by me)

Aaron Michael Stevens, the titular character
Seth, a seventeen year old boy
Marie, a fifteen year old girl

A classic looking kitchen; black and white tile, updated appliances, pantry in upstage right corner, a counter running parallel to the front of the stage with barstools in front of it divides the kitchen in half. Present day. AARON stands with his back to the audience, looking in the refrigerator. SETH is crouched in between the barstools, unseen by AARON.

What is it with people in the suburbs not having anything ready to eat these days?

(He turns towards the audience, with a green can of parmesan cheese in one hand and a jar of pickle relish in the other)

I mean, really, it’s almost obscene.

(Seth cringes as Aaron approaches the counter and sets down the food)

You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

(he goes to the pantry and opens it, revealing Marie, tied up and with a look of fear in her eyes)

You hear me? Ashamed! Unless, I’m sorry…is this your house, or the boy’s house?


Don’t tell me you’re brother and sister…that makes things even worse.


It’s his house…his father’s house…not mine…

Oh, bacon bits!

(he pushes Marie to the side and grabs the bacon bits)

And French Fried onions!

(grabs both items, slams the door in Marie’s face, she whimpers and Seth jumps up to face Aaron, brandishing one of the barstools)

You sick fucking animal! Let her go!

Young man, you’re calling me an animal?

(Aaron calmly approaches Seth, who is noticeably quivering)

The way you were breathing when I found you, with your shirt off, and your hand down her pants…and you’re calling me an animal?

(he slams the items in his hands down on the counter, then easily wrestles the barstool from Seth’s grip)

I am not an Animal! I am a human being!

(throws the barstool to the ground, breaking it)

You are the animal, young man!

(Aaron grabs the now sobbing Seth, drags him over behind the counter, picks up a large knife from a nearby knife set, and as he slashes, Seth goes silent as the lights go out)

Lights up, same setting, a little later. Aaron is splattered with blood and fiddling behind the counter. Unless otherwise directed from here on out, Aaron’s lines are addressed directly to the audience.

Look, I know that a lot of people are going to throw out words like “insane” and “troubled” and “monster” and “death penalty” and stuff like that. They probably already do. And I know some day I’m going to get caught, but I’m doing the world a great service, here.

(he picks up the can of parmesan cheese, shakes some into his left hand, and sets it back down)

Think of it this way; law enforcement can’t enforce every law on its own, people just need to comply with some things. Well, unfortunately, not everybody does. And not everybody who doesn’t comply gets caught. If you follow me.

(he picks up the jar of bacon bits and shakes some on top of the cheese in his hand)

Well, there are some things that people just shouldn’t do, and they should get punished for it. I mean, for instance, murder of an innocent life. Yes, I’m talking about The Big One, Roe v. Wade, abortion. That’s why I killed that doctor out in Canton, Ohio. I was saving potentially hundreds of innocent lives by removing one guilty life from this world. That’s why I killed that so-called “Mother” outside the clinic in New Jersey. Sure, her blood stained my Doc Martens, but she herself was stained with the blood of the innocent. And the blood of the innocent doesn’t wash away quite so easily.

(he sniffs at the food in his hand, then adds some French fried onions to the pile)

But it’s not just that. I mean, I did a tour of VFW halls a while back. Like, ten, fifteen years ago. This is how I got started. I asked all these veterans about their experiences. And if they mentioned anything about murdering civilians in a casual tone…well, come on! That’s guilty right there. Almost the definition, worthy of Webster’s.

(produces a spoonful of pickle relish, which he drops into his hand. There is a noise from the pantry)

And that’s what got me started.

(shoves the food in his hand into his mouth, dropping a good deal, after which he cleans himself off with a napkin and then walks over to the pantry, opening the door)

Is everything alright in here? You comfortable?


Okay then. I just have one question; were you comfortable when I found you?

(silence, aside from Marie’s quiet sobs)

I’ll let you think about that one some more.

(he slams the door, returns to the counter)

Now after a little while, I realized I was committing a sin. I was guilty of something. What could I do? Well, you see, I felt remorse. A little bit, anyway. I felt conflicted. I mean, on the one hand, I was leaving earthly remains to be found for burial, you know, to give solace to the bereaved. But what right had they to be bereaved? To mourn for a guilty soul? Please. I was guilty of waste. And you know what they say? “Waste not, want not.” And being the self-appointed Hand of God doesn’t pay very well, especially when you’re always on the move. So…

(there is a beep)

Oven’s preheated, okay. Well, the secret to cooking a teenage boy is to only cook the good parts. Luckily, this one must be a track star, because his legs are nice and meaty. Maybe a swimmer, since it seems like he shaved his entire body.


Although that may have something to do with his plans for this afternoon.

(returns to the pantry, opens the door, speaks to Marie)

Was today your first time?
N…No. He…keeps count. I think it was our seventh.

Oh, mercy. Well…do you have an answer to my first question?

…I never…never enjoyed it. I was never comfortable.

But did you want to be doing it?

(silence, Marie shakes her head “yes”)

I was afraid of that.

(she screams, he pulls her forward, puts her head on the ground in between the door and the door frame, and slams the door several times, the last time getting splattered with a little bit more blood as her screams get silent and the lights go out)

Lights up. It is several moments later. Aaron is splattered with still more blood. Steam rises from pots on the stove, which he stirs occasionally during the final scene.

So I find that hotbeds of sin are high schools. Oh my Good Lord! Kids lying, sneaking out of school, stealing from teachers and from each other, it’s amazing! Wait ten minutes outside of a high school, and you can bet most every law has been broken once within those walls while you stood there waiting. I would love to purge an entire high school of sinners…but people would catch on and then invariably, somehow or other, I would be pegged as the bad person. But I always leave a note. I explain it. I never steal anything, other than a little bit of food. I always put everything in the dishwasher after I use it. I always clean up as best I can. Because that’s what it’s about…making things clean.


So this afternoon, I was strolling past a high school and noticed these two young kids, a boy and a girl, hurrying away. They got into a car, the boy was driving, so I followed them as best I could and found them here. They were kissing all the way into the front door and they forgot to lock it, which was fortunate for me. And for them too, because now they’re getting their rewards. And I get to eat. I waited a few minutes, then entered, and I heard them making some noise, and I found them…well, you can imagine. And the boy, the coward, picked up the girl and threw her towards me, then rushed out of the room. Well…talk about cowardice. But I knew he hadn’t left, because I can always tell. And sometimes, in these situations, there is one willing and one unwilling participant. And it appeared that he was certainly willing, but I wasn’t sure about her. And I wanted him. So, I tied her up in the pantry, gave her the benefit of the doubt.


Silly of me, really. I’ve seen enough to know that I have seen too much. I should have known she was a willing participant. Well, you live and you learn, I suppose. And I found him, he confronted me. Ha! But I got him! Oh, I got him.


The secret is to cook quickly. You can’t take time to savor, especially when somebody else might walk in and find you. But I spoke to the girl for a moment, she said the boy’s father is away on business, which is why they chose this house for their, um, rendezvous. So today, I can really take the time. I’ve got the boy slow roasting, I’ve got bits of her slowly simmering in a stew…it’s such a nice day, I wish I could go outside and barbecue. But that might arouse some suspicion, and, as I said, I have to keep low. Some people don’t appreciate what I do. Some people might think I’m a monster. But I do what I have to. I’m cleaning the world and surviving. Surviving.

(dips a spoon into the largest pot, tastes the stew, then reaches over and adds French fried onions or bacon bits or pickle relish, whichever is closest, as lights fade)



"It's grift sense; I mean, you can search high and low all day, but to no avail. Without grift sense, you're never going to find that lemon." - Murray Farish

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Knew You Guys Cared...

...but it seems that I don't.

Well, so it goes. Busy, busy busy. Busy.

No excuse, though, I'll be the first to admit. There will be a substantial blog later today, I absolutely promise, along with my Tuesday Excerpt Halloween Edition, but for now, this is all you get. For real.

Well, except that you get an addendum to my Media post of a couple weeks ago by saying that when I'm not listening to NPR, there's a station here in St. Louis I listen to called The Arch which is, like most radio, hit-or-miss but if you stick with it you get a good smattering of music. They won't repeat a song at all for a whole day, but when you listen to it, it certainly seems like there are songs they play twenty-four hours and two seconds after the last time they played it. Like stuff they've got to get in every day, you know?

But when I'm in the mood for music, and it's not time for World Cafe and The Arch isn't cutting it, and my I-Tunes playlist needs some new greenery...that's when I go for one of two sources. First, if I haven't caught the latest show I check out All Songs Considered, thus fulfilling my NPR nerdliness and listening to some cool music. Or, as is most often the case, I turn to Pandora Internet Radio (which of course I found through a story on All Things Considered), and it does the trick. My readers in foreign climes may be out of luck for checking it out, it seems that the licensing agreement makes it so that you can only listen to it if you're in the US (but how do they know? Domestic spying?), but if you live in the states, check it out. Plug in your favorite artist or song and you will be amazed at what you find. It's pretty sweet. What are you waiting for? Go now!

Okay, more to come. No Free Write Friday, sorry, I need my creative juices for class and for Surfacing, but soon...soon. Next week. Promise.