Thursday, July 31, 2008

Inside Baseball

I'm in for a weird day... My wife is due in court today to deal with the usual crap concerning our daughter's visits with her low-grade evil father. That always has repercussions for the rest of us. She doesn't like the guy. To be fair, she doesn't much like me. She condemns my cooking as crap. It irritates her when I wear short sleeve shirts or eat in front of her. She doesn't like that I'm broke or that I tell her not do half a million things you tell kids not to do in the house, but she outright loathes him. He is the bringer of nightmares and fear. Until he is again gone and far from her sight and mind, she won't feel safe. Nothing will be right and the best I can do, the only thing I can do, is to try and stay out of her way.

Meanwhile, back at the office, some nut has already called to complain about our Multifest coverage and my little article. They objected to the monkey. Truth be told, it would have been nice to talk to someone appearing during the weekend, but nobody was available. Publicists didn't return calls. Artists didn't answer e-mails. There wasn't much leverage. Hell, I'd have been happy to talk to the monkey and not just about the monkey. Fuck...

On the upside, he eventually did call back, once he realized nobody was saying the people were monkeys, but that a monkey was going to be there. High entertainment, folks. They're going to have a monkey.

So, everyone should bring their kids... Just a weird day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Time warp again?

I hadn't seen Marc in a couple of years. We weren't exactly friends, but friendly acquaintances. We knew each other in college. I was buying apples. He had a bag of assorted vegetables. I said, hello.

"Oh, hey Bill," he said. "How you been?"

"I'm fine. What about you?"

"Staying busy." He looks at me strangely for a long second. "You know, I was just thinking you look almost exactly like the guy who lived upstairs from me when I was in Grad school."

"Really?" I say.

"Yeah, it's really kind of uncanny."

"I get that a lot," I tell him --and I sort of do.

Small talk died after that. I took my apples and was on my way. I left him to buy his salad mulch. I knew Marc in college. He was a senior when I was a freshman. He got his masters degree then came back as a grad student my senior year. I now remind people I know of other people they used to know, after they met me.

On the upside, evidently my upcoming time travel project turned out pretty good. Marc didn't mention anything about my avoiding robotic cyborgs followed by a Guns N Roses Soundtrack or needing to get the Delorean up to 88 miles an hour. I figure I'm okay, but probably bored.

Any requests for adjusting the time line? I don't know. I figure I should have something to do while I'm apparently avoiding my own life. I'm presuming I'm going to be in Morgantown circa 1991-1993. This was the period of time Marc was at WVU. I didn't make my first visit to Morgantown until 1995. I'm guessing I forgot to bring lottery numbers (again), so any thoughts on dining, jobs, etc would be appreciated.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nothing, but an animal...

I had a little over five bucks in my pocket when I staggered off the street into Subway. As a rule, I'm trying to lay off the bread, but I was hungry. I was very hungry and the sign said five dollar foot-long subs. I really didn't see that I had a choice.

"What do you need?" The kid asked me.

I looked up and told him, "I need a foot-long meatball sub."

He shrugged, grabbed a loaf of bread, sliced it open then started loading meatballs and marinara on top of it. Like he was giving a lesson, he explained what he was doing along the way.

"I'm only supposed to put eight meatballs on a sandwich this size." He shrugged. "I don't care."

Before he started dumping the cheese on top, I counted fourteen.

"You see, it's all about portion control here." He rolled his eyes. "For instance, I'm only supposed to put something like two ounces of cheese on this size sandwich." He held it up. "Does this look like two ounces to you?"

No. No, I couldn't say that it did.

He smiled. "Yeah, it's about four. Portion control," he snorted.

He toasted my sandwich, then wrapped it up. I paid my five bucks and change for the sandwich, but before I took it, he mentioned he put in a few extra napkins.

All part of the service.

I didn't look it as an act of kindness to a weary stranger down to his last five dollars. It was better than that. It was a futile act of rebellion against conformity and worth more to me than a full belly. I was grateful he let me be part of it... and the sandwich was pretty good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gentle Ben

Here's something I sent to Ben Affleck's publicist. Ben and Jen are going to be in town in September to help raise money for U.C. I contacted them back in May, but was told Ben was in Africa... Fabulous... Ben and that conscience of his. After not hearing back from Ken Sunshine (PR dude to the stars and the man with the golden 'no'), I sent another note about the benefit and Mr. Affleck's involvement. This time the no was pretty straightforward. I was going to let it slide, then I remembered Africa...


Not that it means much, and I didn't mention it in my previous e-mail, but Charleston, WV is Jennifer Garner's hometown. We're only asking because we've spoken to Jennifer several times in the past and thought it might be nice to speak to the other-half (so to speak).

I understand he's busy, what with activist trips to Africa and all, but it seems to me --and you may disagree-- it's sort of a cognitive disconnect if he can get to Africa, play poker for Africa, do news pieces for ABC about Africa, but can't find fifteen minutes on the phone to talk to the newspaper in his wife's hometown to help promote a charity event the two of them are hosting.

One of those crazy things I guess I don't understand, but I'm an entertainment writer. There's always plenty for me not to quite get. This may be one of those cases.

Anyway, if he's not doing press, he's not doing press, but I thought I'd mention what I might have left out.

Take care.


I still figure nothing is going to happen. It irritates me because I want to believe in the better nature of some of these people. I'd like to believe guys like Affleck believe in helping others and want to use their celebrity to a good end --if such a thing is even possible. The problem is so few of them are really consistent. They talk about the environment (Leo Dicaprio), then buy islands in Belize to build not-so-little bungalows. They support progressive ideas (Bruce Springsteen), but don't seem to think beyond telling anyone about them other than the same stadiums full of people they've always told.

Rule one to me, I guess, is be consistent about what you believe. It's why I give blood, drive around cancer patients and even give change to people who tell me they're hungry. I'm not saying my occasional projects are equal to attempting to highlight the plight of Africa, only that my actions follow through with what I say. Why tell people here to care about Africa when you don't really care about the people here?

I know the answer, but it's terribly disappointing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

empire of dust

The first query letter went out via e-mail.

And came back. Rejection numero uno. Actually, it was two. The dude showed it to someone else who said he wasn't in love with it.

I was dismissed quickly. They were nice. They explained the whole business was very subjective. Plenty of little fish in the sea. Maybe there was somebody out there. They wished me luck.

It stings a bit, but I knew this was going to be the hard part. I knew. So, we'll do it again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that. I will not cop out. I will not quit.

I know how to hurt, and I don't mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Possibly, the most annoying comedian to ever walk the earth. Also, the most likely living manifestation of The Joker.

On the eve of the Batman movie, it seemed fitting.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

leopard moon

She was about three sizes in the wrong direction to pull off the low-rider leopard skin pants. The elastic fabric clung to her closer than the fur of the actual animal, leaving nothing to a dark, abused imagination. When she sat at a computer terminal, a cluster of rusting old men in street weary clothes stood nearby to salaciously stare at the pitted, lunar monument peaking out from the back of her slacks.

This was a library. She'd come to find something, though the question begged --what? She bit her lower lip, brushed a stringy strand of asphalt colored hair away from her eyes and stared at the computer monitor. Indifferently, she scratched the twenty year-old scar exposed by the gap between her teenishly fashionable pants and summer, mid-drift baring shirt. The men watched her every move, perhaps expecting that at any moment, she might grab one of them and mount them on top of the new arrivals shelf. They could hope. It was about all they could do. All of the other computer terminals were taken. Everybody was busy making friends on myspace.

She located the book, smiled, then peeled and heaved her swollen animal skin up from the wooden chair, causing a stir among the few, would-be suitors. If she noticed them, she did nothing more than nod in their general direction then walk on. She tracked her quarry then collected it by its spine. It was an old romance novel with a dirty, sun-faded dust jacket and yellowed pages.

What do you know? She was looking for love --just not the kind found on the floor stacks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

mile marker

In my line of work, you never know who you're going to meet. So far, I've met rock stars, comedians and the occasional actor. My favorite interviews have often been with people nobody is much impressed with. I still dig I got to talk to Mark Hamill and the poet Nikki Giovanni. They rate up there in my top ten, along with George Carlin, Paul Thorn and Arlo Guthrie.

It's all a matter of taste.

What always surprises me is what impresses other people. I can never tell.

So, I went out and talked to a wrestler. She goes by the name Beth Phoenix. I don't necessarily remember her, but I don't watch a lot of television. I don't have cable and tend to stick to Netflix or the public library. I'm not a snob, just poor. Cable is 30 to 40 bucks a month. Netflix is 15. The library is even cheaper.

Anyway, Phoenix was a nice surprise. She was personable, friendly and charming. Only the fact she had arms like a pair of boa constrictors gave away she was who she was. It was an easy interview. She had a lot to say, but not a lot of time to say it.

But I got back to the office. There were phone calls and e-mails from folks who were really into me talking to the wrestler girl. One of these people is a guy who regularly spends time with the mostly famous and sometimes absurdly wealthy. It turns out he's a fan, which is too bad. If I'd known, I'd have invited him along. He could have spotted her on the bench press or something.

Meanwhile, here's the next best thing... Some video stuff. She puts me in some kind of headlock. Everyone was real disappointed when she wouldn't pick me up and drop me on my thick skull. I'd have probably had to sign something for the insurance company.

Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Still kicking.

Sorry folks. It's been one of those weeks. It turns out you can really only write so much in a given span of time. Who'd have thunk it? Anyway, tomorrow, I've got a bunch of stuff in the Gazz. I'm not giving any of it away. That seems to be bad luck.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of clipping my hair and getting my eyebrow pierced. Are these the thoughts of a middle-aged man subconsciously fearing his own mortality or do I just think I'd look cool with a chunk of metal perilously close to my eye? I don't know.

Advice is requested... also names of trustworthy people who do good work with the piercing stuff. And maybe work cheap.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Strange Places...

My little blog over at the Gazz is coming back from the dead. Given the subject matter, it seemed appropriate. A new post should be up and running some time later today. I really kind of lost my way with Strange Places, but I'm back and in a foul mood. It's going to be gloriously ugly.

I promise.

I forgot day

Evidently, today is "I forgot" day. I don't have anything clever to write about that. I can't recall how anything I forgot was ever that important. I've always been pretty good about anniversaries, not so great about birthdays, which I owe to a general aversion to my own. I remember holidays. I do call my Mom from time to time and even my grandmother --though neither as often as I should.

I haven't forgotten where I come from, whatever the hell that means. The last time I looked, I came from a shabby little town in Virginia that smelled vaguely of nail polish remover. I was glad to get out. The chicks didn't dig me. I'm still holding a grudge about that and not going back for the reunion. I got shit to do anyway.

I haven't forgotten the best things in life aren't free. They always cost something, come with strings or are available for a limited time. People who say otherwise are either hopelessly insane or lying. You can still get plenty of nice things for free, like second-hand Christmas presents, but if you want the best, you have to be prepared to pay --probably continuously.

I haven't forgotten my best moments, but try not to dwell on my worst. You'd drive yourself nuts if you thought about that time you drove home drunk from the party, hit those high school students then stuck their still warm (and possibly still living) bodies in the trunk. Hell, that car is at the bottom of a quarry. There's no reason to think about that --at least, not right away.

I haven't forgotten the names Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. I'm just pretending I've forgotten. Neither will give a rat's ass whether I forget or not. It's okay with me since one seems to be forgetting campaign promises at a rapid pace and the other misplaced his map to West Virginia 30 years ago, they can count on me to do absolutely nothing that will help either of them.

I haven't forgotten the best revenge is to live well, but it's still pretty good to just key their car in the parking lot then run away. It's cheaper anyway.