Thursday, April 28, 2005

Princeton Principles

As much as I like to complain about America, and as much as I want to flee the country right now because of the signs of possible fascism creeping over the nation's government, there are times when I'm just damn proud I'm part of this country.

Students, joined by two faculty members so far, have been filibustering under adverse weather conditions in front of the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University (Sen. Frist's alma mater) for over 55 hours so far. They've been reading from phone books, The Pet Goat, physics text books, anything to keep the filibuster going. Hop over here for a look for yourselves!

These students are making an impact in their way and more power to them! I'm so proud to be an American cause of these guys.

Filed under Politics & B.S..

Writerboy to the Rescue!

About 5 years ago, I got burnt out. I had worked in a vacuum, pouring my heart and soul into representing artists and the vacuum got to me.

I opted out, made changes in my life and chose a life of non-ambition for the rest of my life (subject to change of course).

However, recently, the side of me that I see in my head as the "Ethel Merman" side of me as in "There's NO business like SHOW business like NO business I know." that side of me has been clamoring for some attention. ANY attention.

To quell it, I did a really truly dumb thing. I googled some friends/acquaintances names. SO! Here's what I found out - a childhood pal is now the executive producer of MTV Asia; a woman I almost dated directed the Wild Thornberries; an ex-client whom I had always told would have his career be a feast or famine type career is going through a feasting right now; another ex-client is being showcased as a guest of the Comic-con.

My self-esteem plunged. My self-hatred roared back to life.

I im'ed WriterBoy, talk to me please. I need help.

[fanfare please]

Here he comes to save the day! Writerboy asks me what would I choose to do if I had a random 4 hours. I said besides play games and smoke? I guess Innovate. He said, play games and smoke, right? So, if you were one of those people, a director, a producer, would you have time to do that?

He's absolutely right. I deliberately chose a life of simplicity. A job that I don't take home with me, a life of games shared by a partner who loves games as much as I do, a life of few obligations. And honestly? I love it when people are jealous of my lifestyle. And people are.

I don't want the lifestyle of the famous. I just want the notoriety. Writerboy knows that I was notorious within the comic book industry. I just miss that. So much thanks Writerboy, for reminding me that I chose my life and that I wanted it.

Filed under Reveries & Paranoias.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

West Wing

She put on West Wing last night, just as background noise while we played. But as always, I got caught up in Aaron Sorkin's writing. Yes, this was one of the reruns showing on Bravo.

I still haven't been able to see any episode since Aaron Sorkin left. People keep telling me to give it a try (because I was the one who passionately persuaded them to watch West Wing in the first place) and I just can't. After all, Aaron Sorkin was God to me.

Last night's episode was the one where Ainsley Hayes joined the cast. I LOVED that character, republican tho she was. And it was the one of the few episodes I felt that Mr. Sorkin cheated.

The other story running with this one (aside from C.J. being paranoid about going to jail) was about an African leader who was begging for drugs to combat Aids in his country. Remember?

Here's my complaint. The whole payoff for the African leader story was to show Ainsley why she should work for the White House. I was a tad upset when I realized this. But as a creator myself, I'm not sure I could've done better. He had to show Ainsley that she really did want to work there. He had to conclude the African leader storyline. As a creator, I could see the attractiveness of tying the two together.

Why do I say he cheated? It was almost too... too easy. I mean it would've worked if the emotional payoff was really high. Then the easy route would've been forgiven. The other thing that happened was my editor voice kept cropping up during the last scenes, like hmm, why did they leave the door open? How in the world could Ainsley just witness something like that in the Oval Office and yes I know she was in Leo's office but COME ON!

Anyway, I just had to share the first inkling I had that my God had feet of clay. Aaron, I'm still a true believer. I just think you ran out of time and took the easy way out here.

Filed under Facets & Galleries of Art.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

American Humor

Normally, I find King of Queens to be a pretty funny show. Leah Remini reminds us of my girl and of course I get Dougie.

However, the other day, they had an opening sequence that truly disgusted me.

Kevin James and Jerry Stiller were sitting around the dining table eating hamburgers. Mr. Stiller asked for "Cat-sup." Followed by mocking by Mr. James - which I didn't mind. But he crossed the line when he was insistent that Mr. Stiller call it "Ketchup" and ended up bullying Mr. Stiller into saying it that way by soaking the hamburger in red sauce.

How is that funny?

This side to America has always befuddled me. I don't get what is in the least bit amusing about forcing someone to do things your way, in the land of the free. I see irony. But I do not see humor.

There's a part of me that's starting to believe that the reason white people in the U.S. are getting larger and larger, is because there's an inherent belief that if you're big, no one will push you around and you can do the pushing. Because that's pretty much what America is becoming, a pushy neighbor that doesn't care that his dog is shitting in someone else's house.

Filed under Reveries & Paranoias.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


In Dan Froomkin's article today, he talks about the WH briefings' inability to let people know where the questions are coming from due to time constraints.

Dan Dan Dan Dan Dan... *sigh*

You yourself googled Scotty (my middle name is Polly) McClellan's answers a couple of weeks back. And saw how each answer was a variation of others. SO!

Here is the solution to the WH's time constraints. Mix 'n Match answers! Since Scott McClellan's answers are all variations on a theme by Rovemaninoff, just give out answers at the bottom of the filing and then in conjunction with the questions, match the answer up. See?

It'll clarify who the questions came from, it'll give out the answers as Rove wanted them, it'll cut down on the transcription time, it'll probably free up McClellan's time, since he won't necessarily have to be AT the briefings to give out a good (as in parroting) answer, AND it'll let people know exactly how non-answers the answers actually are. Oh wait. That was it, wasn't it, you guys didn't want anyone to know that you don't answer questions.

Filed under Politics & B.S..

[Edited July 6, 2005]
So I click on the above link and guess what? The link leads to TODAY'S WH Briefing! *mutters* I WISH these papers would realize that links abound and that if there's linking to columns, that EACH COLUMN should have it's own link instead of to a dynamic one?

Confusion in Perspectives

I am 41 years old. All my life, one message has been drilled into me - one that I didn't question, one that I unblinkingly swallowed. This message was - Red China bad. Taiwan/Chiang Kai-Shek good.

This was the message my mother drilled into me. Strangely enough, my cousin got hers from her father and that was - Japan bad. Chinese good.

My father, on the other hand, never said much. I think the only message I got from him was work good. Stay at home bad.

Recently, I watched a movie about the three Soong sisters. In this movie, Chiang Kai Shek was portrayed as vain, corrupt and inept. And recently, I read Billmon's postabout Time magazine and Henry Luce in which again, Chiang is presented as corrupt and inept.


That was the sounds of two worlds colliding.

I don't trust China. I don't trust that the leaders will not turn on its citizenry the way it did during Tianamen Square. I grew up not trusting China and I don't think I ever will. But I can recognize that this distrust is different from the one my mother had. She doesn't trust that the government won't take away the material goods. But my world hasn't changed on this.

I asked my mother the other day about the Soong sisters. She was surprised to hear that I watched it. When will she realize that my curiousity will never be sated? Anyway, she said something about one of my relatives who worked closely with the third sister who married the banker who was truly corrupt and how that brought down our relative. I really should write this stuff down.

But am I to understand now, that Chiang wasn't supposed to be China's savior? That the fight for China's soul was rather, a fight for China's money? (okay okay! As I'm typing that, I'm realizing how stupidly naive I sounded) *sigh* Time to educate myself on what *really* happened in China during the 1900's to 1950's.

Filed under Politics & B.S., Bloodsport, err Relatives, and Reveries & Paranoias.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Stuck Rubber Baby

When I first worked as an agent in comic books, I was witness to a very wonderful birthing: Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse.

About every two to three months, Howard would send us a xeroxed copy of his latest chapter. When the pages arrived, the office would stop. Fights broke out over who got to read the chapter first. I am not kidding about this.

Recently, Howard and I got in touch with each other again and I was very very pleased to see that this book is now translated into several languages.

I'm very very fond of Howard. There's a few reasons why. Howard and Eddie carved a life for themselves in New York, and after umpteen years, Howard STILL talks with a slight twang in his voice, still dresses in plaid shirts and still has a tender heart. I don't know how he did that. I would've been swallowed up by the New York culture, accent and attitude permanently shifted.

For four years, I watched Howard pour his soul into this graphic novel. It's semi-autobiographical, which becomes very apparent if you've read it and have met Howard and even now, the investment in Stuck Rubber Baby shows. So please help and make this investment pay off. Make DC Comics reprint this baby over and over again until Howard can make *some* royalties off it.

Filed under Facets & Galleries of Art.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Postal, Anyone?

Little hint for those of you who work around someone quitting cigarettes.

Pursing your lips and making like you're sucking down a cig ISN'T funny. ESPECIALLY when the person you're doing it to, is TRYING REALLY REALLY HARD not to think about sucking down a cigarette.

There must be a law that says it's okay to do harm while quitting cigarettes. There MUST be!

Filed under Ms. Cell Annie.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Alluring Images

In a way, it's incredible. I mean, part of me is fascinated by what's going on with my body. I'm watching this and as I'm going through the withdrawal, I'm detailing what's going on.

Like, here's what just happened.

I turned on the WoW program... and just as the screen popped up to ask for the login name, my arm tensed to move and I stopped it. I realized the automatic behavior set in; my arm was reaching for a cigarette.

That's not's what's fascinating.

What's fascinating was that as soon as I stopped myself from reaching (as my rational mind said to the arm, Out of cigarettes) the images started. I closed my eyes for a second, and there it was, that wisp of smoke drifting past, me moving my head slightly to avoid the acridness in my nostrils. I could see it so clearly. In my mind, I moved my arm to wave away the image and in doing so, the image morphed into one of my arm reaching for the cigarette.

stop it I tell myself.

I am lost in the moment... I can taste the tobacco on my tongue. I can smell the acridic smoke. I can sense my lips curling around the filter. I can feel the smoke zip down my esophagus with the result of me coughing. I tense for a second, expecting that nice magical moment of the first drag, the resulting relaxing of muscles. Strange, never realized it before this, but the relaxation that comes from the first drag is so strong, that often I'd tense up to heighten the juxtaposition.

But the magical moment doesn't come. The tension in me stays screeching in its intensity, a single unwavering note. I open my eyes, and force relaxation.

The juxtaposition isn't as pronounced, but I do relax. With deliberateness, I walk up to the door that houses these images, and I slam it shut.

No more, I say to myself. A smoker no more. I cannot bear to say the words non-smoker used on myself. For I am a smoker. Just not any more.

For now, the images has lost its intensity and I can breathe once again with ease. But it's simply amazing the allure of the images can be so visceral, so demanding.

The war is done. I'm just dealing with the war trauma.

Filed under Reveries & Paranoias.

the G.I. Jane of Journalists.

Last night, in a desperate attempt to keep my mind off cigarettes, I put on G.I. Jane. Nothing like watching Demi Moore's hard body to keep the mind off stuff.

In watching the first part of the movie - the trials of the never-ending first day - a bolt of lightning struck. THIS is what that pretender journalist thinks he is - the G.I. Jane of Journalists!

First off, assuming Jim Guckert is gay, one must realize that G.I. Jane is also a perennial favorite of gay men, NOT because of Demi Moore's hard body (that the reason lesbos watch it) but because of Viggo Mortensen's come fuck me shorts.

Secondly, watch that part carefully. The MAIN question that is asked of Jordan, Demi's character, is HOW in the world did you get in here? I had to wait 4 years or something like that. Which is the question most posed to Mr. Guckert.

The bald head, the military fascination, the determination to see it through, the taking on politicians, the defiant attitude - it all makes sense now. Mr. Jim Guckert sees himself as the male equivalent of G.I. Jane.

BTW, if this man so disrespects the media and everything else in this on-going farce of his, why the hell are we accommodating his desire to be known as this other persona? Why the hell should we respect his wishes? Therefore, his pseudonym will never grace my blog ever again. He will be known by his real name, stripped of all pretensions.

Filed under Politics & B.S.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Okay, I'm reading Howie Kurtz's Media Notes and notice this:

The column you are reading right now is free of charge.


And therein lies a problem. ...

This is a sensitive issue for The Post because circulation, while still a healthy 700,000, has been declining in recent years. Circulation goes up and down for a variety of reasons, but the fact that anyone can read any Post story online without paying a nickel has got to be up there. The reason you should care is that advertising revenue from the paper version is what supports this infrastructure of reporters, editors, columnists, photographers, graphic artists and others who make The Post what it is. If that's eroded, the quality of the paper's journalism will eventually suffer, and what you see online will suffer as well. (Obviously also has a number of Web-only features, including Media Notes, and generates some of its own ad dollars.)

Umm, excuse me. Aren't newspapers supported by MOSTLY ad revenue? Aren't subscriptions just the icing on the cake? Aren't ad revenue generated by the sheer number of eyes on that? Wouldn't it make sense that FREE views would generate more eyes? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX HOWIE!

Look, the internet provides MUCH better tracking than the newspaper ever could. Maybe therein lies the problem Howie. Maybe, the newspaper wasn't as effective an advertising outlet as one supposes and having this trackability (is that a word) SHOWS how ineffective news is as an advertising outlet, as opposed to the Super Bowl.

What I fear more than this potential loss of revenue for newspapers, is that newspapers would be more beholden to corporations than the public, ending up with more versions of Fox News than a Washington Post.

Filed under Ms. Cell Annie.

Now I Know What It's Like to be WriterBoy

My boss is driving me nuts. For the past two weeks, he's been in the office. He has this habit of asking me to do something, and then when I'm halfway through the project, pull me back and change directions.

All this serves to do, is make me reluctant to put forth any energy in a project he gives me. My approach to projects is, figure out where all the kinks are, prevent them, then move ahead with fierce efficiency.

For example, he asked me to get rid of the old electronics in the office. "Find a recycler that picks up." So I searched for half an hour on the web, finally found one that won't cost us any money, find the details on how it's going to work, and get all the information needed to supply the recycler with what he needs (by crawling on my hands and knees to look at the surplus equipment). As I'm ready to send off this information, he asks another co-worker if he wants the stuff. So the co-worker lights up and says Yup, I'm a scavenger. Umm, why did I just waste 1/2 hours of my time? Why did I bruise up my knee?


Poor Writerboy. This must be what it felt like when we were working on Nobody. We would surge forward with a plotline, and then halfway through I'd go, it's not working... why isn't it working and we'd deconstruct everything.

No wonder he doesn't want to write with me any longer lol.

Filed under Bwahahahaha.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting rid of the Drag-on

It's nearly 24 hours now.

I have no idea when my last drag was, but I know it's nearing 24 hours since I went to sleep the night before around 12:30 am. It is now 10:28 pm.

I had decided this when I got up for my final pee before sleep. As I walked past the ashtray, one hand, almost without command, whipped out and snatched it, dumping the contents into the trash. Then I deliberately moved it away from my bedside table.

Then as I settled to sleep, I repeated again and again to myself, "This is it."

I woke in a good mood. Even during lunch I was in a good mood. But I knew the true test was coming up since on weekdays, I usually don't have my first drag until I step into the house.

Being tired, I came home, gave my other a sad look and settled into bed to sleep - at 5:30 pm. "What are you doing?" A concerned look greets me. "Why are you so sad?"

"Not sad, tired. Going to sleep."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, that way I don't have to think about not having a cigarette."


An hour later, I woke up to my own scream of "NO!" She yelled "STOP IT!" cause I was thrashing so badly. I yelled back "Fine! Next time you wake from a nightmare, I'll yell at you too!" Maturity at its best.

The attempt to regain sleep lost momentum as each time I tried to conjure up what I was going to do next, just resulted in reaching for a cigarette. Frustration set in, then a deep sadness.

Cigarettes to me, had always been that buddy that no one else wanted around (hence my reluctance to abandon it too) but that was ALWAYS there when you needed it. You could always count on it to calm you for that much needed second, to make you slow down for a second.

But recently, I realized though I loved this friend, it had finally outgrown its uses. And though we had been friends since I was 14, I had to say goodbye.

I sobbed. You see, smoking was with me when I learned to drive; when I got into all my car accidents; when my dad died; when my pal died; when I created some of the best writing I had ever done; when I made some of the best deals for my clients. In all my highlights of my life pretty much, there was the cigarettte.

She asked, "Are you okay?" I nodded and continued to sob.

She never asked why I was crying, but I think she could tell it was a farewell kind of sob, combined with a "woe is me" sob.

My body is aching right now. The last four hours, I have held my body as tightly as I do in the dentist's chair. This is prevention because addiction is not a pretty thing. I WILL walk over to the trash and dig through it for a smokable butt. But, if I cross my ankles, and squeeze my muscles, then a form of rigor mortis will take over and I can pass the 24 hour mark.

I finally called some friends up to get my mind off stuff. It worked for as long as the conversation lasted. Then the images came back, like a smouldering mist - all resulting in my leaning over and ending up with a cigarette dangling from my mouth.

I am no longer a smoker, I think to myself. Just one puff makes me a smoker again. I have to say this every day for the foreseeable future. Say it and think it... and believe it.

Cold turkey. That is the key to a successful quitting. This is what I believe. I see all those aids as enablers, enabling you to continue your habit albeit in controlled form.

The first rush.... it's like all your muscles droop a little and then you realize how tense you've been. The last attempt at quitting made me crave that rush so badly... it is what I focused on, and why I lost the fight. This time, I realize that I WILL be an uncontrollable spinning top of rage. The difference is, I'm focusing on the part that says, if I take a drag, I am controlled. I'm just a tad too ornery for that little thought.

This writing is helping. So forgiveness if all I can write about the next day/week/month/year/decade is giving up the dragon. It is now 10:58 pm. 30 mins have elapsed and the desperation has been replaced by a wistful longing. Hopefully I can fall asleep before the dragon wakes up again.

Send thoughts of support please.

Filed under Reveries & Paranoias.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Gordon Gecko Story

In the comic book business, there was a big boom around 1990 and a subsequent crash. And we all blamed the speculators and our pandering to this market that was all about greed.

What happened was, (to make a long story short), speculators crashed the trading card market and then flooded our market in hopes of scoring the next big craze.

See, they scan the lists of titles, then decide which one has the most potential to become a collector's market and then buy 5 cases of one issue. There were two direct results: sales numbers were artificially inflated; and publishers forgot about their core audience and paid attention to the speculators.

I remember talking to a bunch of creators who worked for DC one summer and everyone was complaining about the specialty covers and who did the publishers think they were fooling, with those panders to the speculative market.

Imagine my surprise the following year when some of those creators doing the loudest complaining ran up to me with sparkling joy as they waved their latest issue in my face. "Look at what DC did for the book! They gave it 5 different covers!" or "They put special ink on it to make it glow!" or "They have a special wraparound cover!" Outwardly I took joy with them. But inwardly....

Inwardly, I was asking how it happened. How some of the staunchest advocates against pandering to this artificial market would end up pandering.

First off, I DID understand that we were all geeks. That a specialty cover is just pure glee to the geek in us. That part I did understand. What I didn't understand was why when they could see the larger picture the previous year, why they just didn't take a stand and said no thank you but thank you for thinking of this book.

I guess part of it is being part of the "in" crowd. You were awarded a cool cover if your book was considered up and coming by the marketing folks.

But I know that most of the joy that sprang from getting this type of treatment was that your book was now given the chance to sell over 500,000 copies. Royalties kicked in well below that number.

I know what flashed through some of these people's minds were, wow, there's my kid's college right there. Or, finally I can pick up that new lightbox I've been needing.

I don't fault them, nor do I fault the publishers who saw the inflated numbers and could actually give out bonuses to their employees for the first time. I do fault the speculators tho.

They saw easy money or so they thought. Buy a few hundred issues here and there and when they start going for $50 an issue, they could rake it in. In other words, they thought collectors were stupid.

The first issue of Daredevil that Frank Miller wrote. That's worth $80 the last time I looked. Why? Because NO ONE WAS READING DAREDEVIL at the time of publishing. I was, but I was one of the few. I think Daredevil was selling around 15,000 to 20,000 at the time as opposed to X-Men whoich were selling around 75,000 back in those days, maybe a tad less.

I happened to get a copy cause I was totally into Gene Colan's artwork and didn't even notice that the writers had changed. Then a few issues later, Gene left, and the writer started drawing it and all I could think of at the time (I was around 15, gimme a break) cheap Gene Colan ripoff.

And then something magical happened. Frank started delving into Daredevil's past... and lo and behold, Elektra was born and so was a star - Frank Miller. When people started looking around for Frank's first foray into the Daredevil mythos, they realized, very few people had it. And those of us who did, either read the fuck out of them, or folded them into our backpockets, or used them as coasters.

And thus, the value of a barely-read, mint issue of Frank Miller's first writing on Daredevil became a collector's item and worth 100x what the cover price was.

So how does buying 500 copies of an issue that sold over half a million, be a collector's item? Answer, it doesn't. But the conventional wisdom is, it will.

Yet another example of truth v. perception. *sighs*

Filed under Reveries & Paranoias and Facets & Galleries of Art.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Torture and the American People

Once, when I was reading spy novels and Modesty Blaise, I read this fascinating account about how torture was used. They used a method that basically made one person the good guy and the rest of the people the bad. That way, the tortured will see that one person as the one that'll get him out of the mess.

I look around and see all this fear. Fear of homos, fear of the media incapable of telling the truth, fear of terrorists, fear of integration, fear of women's rights, fear of the judiciary, fear of muslims etc. and then I see the White House shining a beacon to the land saying, we're here, you can trust us. We were here for you on 9/11 and we'll be here for you when they're trying to take everything you hold valuable away.

No wonder the WH believes in torture. It's worked for them so far.

See, here's how it works. We are bound to the corporations by our credit. Meanwhile, there's a constant message towards us saying "You scared? You should be. And here's why." At the same time, there's a message saying "trust us" and it's coming from the White House. And since half the population bought it, and they're still scared of the boogeyman, perhaps that is why questioning the idiot in chief is seen as unpatriotic.

After all, their security blanket can't be seen as insecure, unsecured or not-a-cure.

Filed under Politics & B.S.