Sunday, December 25, 2011

Coffee Mandatory




A small example of the stuff that was Friday On Friday (old school).  Originally published on a website that shall not be named, here are a few thoughts on coffee, writing, and (if you have a dirty mind) sex.  Follow the link buried in the headline to find the coolest new writer's site on the interwebz...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Screenplay Diary: "Between Love and Orgasms"... How to Write a Movie in 21 Days

“The you who started the script is different from the you who finishes it.”

Viki King

While I’m not in favor of gimmicks, I am in favor of the idea of freeing my mind from the things that slow me down in the creative process... like thinking.  If I’ve already done my thinking... and on this story, I have... then maybe just letting go, like author Ray Bradbury often suggested, so the characters can do the talking, is the exact, right thing to do.

So when I found screen story writer Vicki King’s book, “How to Write a Movie in 21 Days: The Inner Movie Method”, in a stack of um... lightly read... paperbacks, I decided to give it another look.  The essence of the author’s instruction is simple.

Don’t over think.

And since I’m still closer to the beginning of this (Lord, I hate the word) journey, I figured it wasn’t too late for a little light, and often profound, reading along the way.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Screenplay Diary: "Between Love and Orgasms"

This is a new feature, and for me, a new project.

After a very intense creative period this past spring and summer, writing a regular weekly column on a website I had written for since January of 2007... and having left that long-term situation rather suddenly... I found my writing, and my blog, absolutely dead in the water.  My greatest creative outlet had dwindled to participating in comment threads on Facebook, and starting and stopping maybe three dozen failed "somethings" of a page or less... in a lot of cases much less... in a folder on my laptop.

One idea would come, and another would crowd it out just as fast, and nothing worth posting or publishing.  And sometimes, the best thing that can happen to a writer is writer's block.

Friday, November 18, 2011

BlogCatalog Owners Silencing Writers With Threats Of Lawsuits

An article to be read and re-posted, written by former Broowaha writer Garry Crystal.

Click on the title at the top of this post to go to read the full article.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Am Fucked No More







Epiphany in my time of greatest need
that the shit on which I feed no longer satisfies my empty beggars gut
as it once did
I am whole within myself
and no sorry-ass opinion of my well-chronicled condition
matters now or in the future
as it once did
like before
I’m telling all
from now on
broken gone
I am fucked no more.

Guarantee of time is a cruel lie
a hate crime against the stupid and the desperate
against me
against yourself
There is now and there is now
yesterday is dead
tomorrow deader
move or be consumed
buried and exhumed and killed again
like before
I’m holding nothing back
from now on
broken gone
I am fucked no more.

To see my end as a beginning
like the blind see darkness clearer in the gray
never once did
till today
No peace no tears no closure
no release from guilt or shame
only what is built on bones that stand
and do not crumble
like before
I’m letting go
from now on
broken gone
I am fucked no more.

Story done and over but unfinished
most or more than that
left unsaid
as it should be
till accounts are closed
till I’m dead
Till then unsatisfied
my fulfillment never closer
never clearer
one day said
Victory won
from now on
broken gone
I am fucked no more.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Friday Rewind"

Celebrity Deathmatch... Viacom/MTV 2
Friday On Friday recounts the humble beginings of a historical Broowaha landmark (and a whole lot of inside jokes).

One last blast from Friday’s past, this one the recounting of the classic Broowaha Deathmatch competition of 2008. Follow the links to find the buried treasure of what all us old writers talk about from our rocking chairs on the front porch of the Broo CafĂ©.

Next week, part three of the series within a series, “Year Zero”.

Overcoming impossible odds, superior talent, and a roster of incomparable competition, Bill Friday takes the 2008 Broowawa Deathmatch crown.

(Gets handshake from Quentin Tarantino... A lingering hug from Jessica Biel)

"I'd like to thank the Academy... Katrina and Rob, my Starbucks' managers... the California Department of Unemployment..."

(CUE MUSIC)

"... If I forgot anyone... I... um... uh..."

(CUE PETER COYOTE)

(Holds trophy aloft)

"Thank you!"


AND COMMERCIAL IN THREE... TWO... ONE...

Wait... wait for it...

Right there. My dream moment. After three weeks of blood, sweat, toil and tears, the ultimate prize. Victory in the first-annual Broowaha Brackets Deathmatch. Short of winning Jim Rome's annual Smack-Off http://www.smackoff.net/, nothing can compare to the glory, the honor, the swag, that comes with winning the Broo in 2008.

As a student of history, I understand the significance of the underdog overcoming all odds to win the big one - Jimmy Chitwood's Hickory Huskers, Villanova over Georgetown, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick over the United States - all touching in their own special way. But nothing could have made this championship run any sweeter than defeating who I believe is the finest pure writer in all of Broowaha, the legend, El G., who summed up his experience in this competition with these now-famous words:

“The only thing that could make this moment better is my impending, well-earned bowel movement.”

And the only thing that could make this moment better for me is to share it with my friends.  So, I would like to thank:
  • Glenn T, whose idea this Deathmatch was (wait, the idea for the Deathmatch was... mine. Sorry...). Oh, and our amazingly similar good taste in women, including the jaw-droppingly inspirational Connie Britton.
  • Joe Mael, who skillfully played both ends of friendship against the middle and bet the Bill Friday money line, raking in countless tens of dollars at the expense of his friendship with the G.
  • Ariel Vardi and Digidave Cohn, for allowing this competition to continue in spite of their better journalistic judgment. Guys, I tip Oscar Madison's cap to both of you.
  • El G, for not caving into the horrible pressures of this competition, never compromising your beliefs for the quick brown-nose, and always, always knowing in your writers' heart that when you win that Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, you will justifiably, completely snub all Broo staff (or at best tell the watching world, "This is for all the Douche-bags...you know who you are!").
and finally,
  • and Jen and Tonic, friend, competitor, muse, the only woman I know who could ever use the words, "Donkey Punch", "Dutch Oven" or "Shocker" in a sentence, and still sound like a lady.
Now we can all get back to the serious business of running a first-class Citizen Newspaper. And I can repair all the damage to my own website after turning it into a Clipper blog for the past three weeks. It's PURPLE AND GOLD from here on in baby!

And to all the competitors who made the last year of Broowaha so special, Steven Lane, Ed Attanasio, V, D.E.C., Chris Jones, Morgana, D.L., and the rest of my 153 friends (you know who you are)...

See you next year.

(original content April 9, 2008)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday On Friday - "John Edwards: The Fool Waha Interview"

The former Democratic Presidential candidate did not, under any circumstances, not even for a moment, sit down for this exclusive interview with BrooWaha's Bill Friday.

(The following is a reprint of an article published on August 11, 2008. A post-script follows at the end of the article)



John Edwards, so glad you could be here today.

For the moment, let me say thank you for having me here today. I am here right now, aren’t I?


Not as far as I know. First, let me tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the tour of your home. Just how many square feet is it?

28,200 on 102 acres.


Wow. I guess it’s true what they say about the size of a man’s carbon footprint.

It even has a 600 square foot guest bedroom over the guest garage.


You don’t say?

Yeah, well… lately I do.


Right, so… first question…

If you don’t mind Mr. Friday, before we begin, I’d like to read from a prepared statement if I may?


Well, I can’t say I was prepared for that but…

(Edwards clears his throat… whispers to Bill Friday)

Do I have time to fix my hair?


There are no cameras sir.

Hmm. Alright then. Here we go. It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am…


Senator?

…sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic…


Senator Edwards!

If you want to beat me up - feel free…


I’m thinking about it…

Mr. Friday, you cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself.


Have you ever considered witness protection?

More and more every day.


Getting back to the questions… Mr. Edwards, in light of recent events… the allegations about this affair, your wife’s cancer… how do you respond to statements like this from your former campaign manager, David Bonior, who told the Associated Press that your supporters had, “been betrayed by [your] action[s].”

Mostly by ignoring them, Bill.

(laughs)

Seriously Bill, what I’ve found recently is that the best way to move forward is to never look back, because someone might be gaining on you.


Wasn’t that Satchel Paige?

Of course it was, of course it was! I’m glad you noticed that. Thank you, Bill.


Mr. Edwards, let’s get to the reason for this interview… on July 21st you were in Los Angeles for a press conference with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. At 2:40 the next morning, a reporter and staff photographer from the National Enquirer identified you coming out of a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel…

Aw c’mon now, Bill…


…who followed you into a restroom where, according to reports, you waited for fifteen minutes in one of the stalls until hotel security came and escorted you out of the hotel. What exactly were you doing in a public restroom for fifteen minutes?

I was on a conference call with Senator Larry Craig. It took a bit longer than I expected.


It seems as though you and the Mayor Villaraigosa have much in common. During your stay in L.A., did the Mayor have any words of advice for you in your time of personal disclosure?

He said, “Do your best to keep your mother-in-law away from the media.”


Mr. Edwards, you told ABC News that you personally never paid Rielle Hunter, yet Fred Baron, your former finance chairman, admitted on Friday that he made "regular payments" to Rielle Hunter, and that though unemployed, she lives in a $3 million home in Santa Barbara.

Like I have told everyone who will listen, I have never knowingly compensated this woman for anything, nor will I ever knowingly admit to such.


But you do admit to paying $114,000 to Ms. Hunter for her work on various campaign videos?

No, I do not! That’s just another Tabloid accusation, Bill. If Ms. Hunter was paid for services rendered to my campaign I will continue to maintain that I have no recollection of that until proven otherwise.


The question of a paternity test has been the subject of much speculation. Has a date been set yet for any such paternity test?

August, sometime between the 25th and the 28th.


During the Democratic National Convention?

I'm afraid so.


Is that a factor in why you’ll not be attending the convention?

That, and the Cabinet post I'll be receiving in exchange for my non-participation. The test is set for the Cayman Islands. Andrew Young and I had already made plans to be there at that time anyway… company time share, already booked. My people say if I don’t go, we’ll have to forfeit the deposit, you know. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be able to make good use of the situation.


Staying on the subject of paternity, the birth certificate of the child…


Frances.


Right, um… Frances. The birth certificate lists no name for the father. Mr. Edwards, do you know who the father is?

Not yet.


Given the age of the child…


Frances.


Given the age of Frances, it would appear that you and Mr. Young were seeing Rielle Hunter at about the same time.

Bill, were you ever in a… fraternity?


But couldn’t you…

Mirthala Salinas was busy.


Senator…

Bill, please… call me “John.”


Alright then… John, doctors now say that your wife Elizabeth’s cancer is terminal - she is dying. Mr. Edwards…

John…


John… your wife is dying. What do you think her dying thought of you will be?

(silence).

Bill, may I finish reading from my prepared statement?


Sure.

“… I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.”

(crumples paper)


John Edwards… thank you.




(Post-script: On December 7, 2010, Elizabeth Edwards died from the effects of cancer, at the age of 61. She was surrounded by her family and friends, but not her husband. On June 3, 2011, John Edwards was indicted on six Federal charges, including collecting illegal campaign contributions and conspiracy. Trial is set for early 2012. Rielle Hunter and daughter Frances currently reside in North Carolina. And as always, don't mess with the National Enquirer)


Look for more "Fool Waha Interviews" coming in the very near future with Friday On Friday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Friendly Friday"

When by their silence, they scream... “Please, just leave me alone!!!”

A "through the looking-glass" reply to the article The White Paint Chronicles (#0002), "Friday Friendlies".

“And [Job’s comforters] sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.” (The Book of Job, Chapter 2, verse 13 - English Standard Version)

What do you do when someone you care about is in pain? When by their silence, they scream... “Please, just leave me alone!!!”

Without a word, they send a message so loud it knocks you down. It removes all reason. It makes you want to walk away, want to forget, want to remember the past without the present. But the present is where the pain is... and they don’t want to share, even if there’s plenty to go around. So instead of just sitting in the dirt, surrounded by fools like some post-modern Job, they hide themselves from fools, and the words of comforters. They hide themselves... from you.

What do you do when their pain becomes your pain? When in your silence, you scream... “Please, just let me in!!!”

Without a word, you send a message so loud it sits you down. It gives you a reason not to walk away, not to forget, needing to remember the past in the present. Because the past is really where the pain is, and you’ve been there, but they won’t let you share... because they are smarter than that. Smart enough to not give you the chance to speak, for fear that your words, no matter how wise, might just make the pain hurt worse. Because that’s what words... the stupid, best-intentioned words of comforters, most often do... they hurt.

But because of the past that they live in the present, they can’t hear, in your silence, that all you want to do is sit with them... in the dirt.

In the silence.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Insanity"


It’s gone... rooting and digging through the dust encrusted piles of pressed paper, like a shaking addict’s fingers through his own vomit, hoping to find one last undigested pill.

It’s lost... pretty, flowing words. A last living connection with dead memories, buried in the collapse of time.

It’s over... searching where there is no finding, again and again, repeating the insanity of what does not change.

It’s complete... unacceptable acceptance at the loss... of words, of control, of hope.  Yesterday is gone. Today is over. Tomorrow never promised.


So I write.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Year Zero... Part 2"



It's the last Friday of the month... and with it, the second installment of "a feature within a feature".

A semi-personal reflection on the present...

Part 2 of a “feature within a feature”.



Time runs out

No matter how much of it you have, no matter how hard you try to give it structure and order and meaning, time runs out. However cluttered or empty your to do list, how early or late you start, eventually... time calls you a fucking idiot.

It’s not that time waits for no man, it’s that time mocks man. For the atheist, time is God... a deity without pleasing... taking from him everything until that day when either God or time, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time. For the true believer, time is the Devil... the adversary of their souls... opposing every righteous plan until that day when time or God, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time.

But in the end, the atheist and the true believer are left to lie down in the same dirt together, each ultimately sharing the other’s fate. Because in the end, and having been both... I know that they, whether they accept it or not... are both the same.


Looking forward

Who wants more than the man with nothing? Yeah, a real Zen riddle. Who wants more? Maybe it’s the man with everything.

The man with little tends to see only what’s in front of him... next meal, next beer, next crap. His desires are as simple as his needs... a place to live, food to eat, and the means with which to have them. It’s only when he has the options of choice that things complicate, and the clutter of his own mind begins to slow his ability to respond to the most rudimentary questions, like, “Do I wear the black shirt or the white?” and, "Do I have sausage or bacon with my toast and jam?” Screw the real questions that could be asked and answered with all the energy wasted on thoughts of Cheerios vs. Frosted Flakes, Chevron vs. Shell, or Twitter vs. Facebook. Life is graded pass/fail for no other reason than so few of its students could afford the tuition, so most of us just drop out with the hope to one day get our GED.

The man with everything, having everything to lose, can’t afford the one luxury of the one thing he cannot buy... the time for looking back. Because to maintain all that he has acquired, the man with everything can only move forward, always... like the shark he has become. To “…swim, and eat, and make little sharks” is the limit of his life. And the irony that attached itself to him like the remora on the shark’s back is that if he stops moving forward, like the shark, he will die.


Looking back

The man with nothing, changes. Not the nothing of living in a cardboard box and eating used burgers from a dumpster... but the nothing of a bled-out soul. As in a, “…the only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open” kind of nothing. Unable to look forward, because you’re not yet done being emptied of the sludge that passes for blood in your veins... Unable to look back, because that part of your life is dead, and has begun to smell like three-day road kill in the breakdown lane of the I-5 between Bakersfield and Fresno.

And because of this, you wait… with your eyes fixed on the wounds that you pray will free you from the putrefaction of the only thing you can remember doing for so long, that you can know nothing else...

Looking back.

If past is prologue, then what the fuck is this?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday On Friday - "At A Loss For Words"


“Where have you been all my life?”

I always wanted to ask you that question. For so long I was afraid... afraid of your reaction, afraid of your words, afraid if I asked you would just send me away... alone. Every word inside me wanting to blurt out at once without benefit of punctuation or breath... every thought, ill-formed and badly defined, needing expression, but lacking the capacity.

Because I am at a loss for words.


“Come closer, I need to see your face.”

I waited so long for this moment to arrive... the childish reasons, the stupid hesitation... now eyes grown dim with the passing of time. I knew your face once, when I was much younger... every lineless curve, not yet aged with the character of years, so full of promise... and I left you behind. And while I was distracted by every passing urgent need, you never forgot.

And now, I am at a loss for words.


“What was I even thinking?”

Going my way... playing at being a man, making decisions like a child... and questioning every one. Thinking didn't help... never could. What you could have shown me. Thinking what was distant and unseen would be better than what was right in front of me. More than youth is wasted on the young... sometimes it’s the wasted future, and the dreams, the fucking dreams... all dry to the touch and dusty with the years, and ready to blow away. Wishing that the past was now, and I had just followed my heart when it was all so temporarily clear,
and I was temporarily insane.

Would you forgive me if I am at a loss for words?


“Tell me it’s not too late.”

How often I would have asked that question, but you weren’t there because I sent you away. You said you understood, and I was glad at the time. The sooner I could be forgotten by you, the better it would be for me. I had unimportant things to do, and had to be about them and soon... because you had expectations and commitment is never for the young... until you’re old, and it’s too late. Reality called, and it wants my life back.

And it reminds me that I am at a loss for words.


“I was wrong.”

There, I said it. I want you back and I had to say it, finally, like you needed it... like I wanted you to know back when there was only us. But you moved on, and the words were gone.

And I am at a loss.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Side Effects May Include..."


Are you taking prescription medications? If you are, you may want to read this article as soon as possible. Your life may depend on it.


Bill Friday is on vacation. Please enjoy this blast from Friday past.


No one likes to feel stupid. That's probably why the furniture with the funny names from Ikea comes with assembly instructions in 47 different languages. Probably why, if you've ever stood in line at the pharmacy inside Kaiser-Permanente, you know that the most thoroughly explained part of your managed care experience is the two minutes you spent listening to the pharmacist tell you what to do - and not do - with your prescription. If Heath Ledger had spent two minutes with the pharmacist at Kaiser instead of several private physicians spread out over three continents, he might still be with us today.

As cautious drinkers know not to mix the grape with the grain, and post-Belushi nug smugglers know not to combine heroin and cocaine, so now every actor from Manhattan to Manhattan Beach knows OxyContin and Vicodin, Valium and Xanax, Restoril and Unisom don't mix.

And don't think you're safe just because you haven't formed the habit of mixing your meds. A whole slew of "safe when used as directed", FDA approved medications - target-marketed toward YOU - are being sold and sold and sold again through incredibly innovative radio and television ad campaigns. You've seen them. You've sung along to them.

Catchy, sure. But maybe also a little misleading.

What follow is a little "advertising between-the-lines". The things you won't hear when Side Effects May Include...

(cue music intro)
"We're not gonna take it... NO!, we ain't gonna take it!... We're not gonna take it... ANYMORE!"

(up-beat female announcer)


"Introducing YAZ, the first birth control pill marketed exclusively for the viewers of the mindless reality programs Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardassians. YAZ contains the same hormones as regular birth control pills, but with MORE of the exciting reality generation side effects than any other oral contraceptive.


"Use YAZ according to directions and you too may experience... symptoms of a MASSIVE HEART ATTACK... symptoms of FUGU POISONING... symptoms of a STROKE... symptoms of BOWEL and LIVER CANCER... and, of course, symptoms of CLINICAL DEPRESSION!


"Ask your doctor if sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden headache, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech or balance is right for you. If stomach pain, chest pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, breast pain, loss of scalp hair, vaginal itching or discharge is right for you, then YAZ is right for you. Check it out for yourself at www.drugs.com/yaz.html or ask someone who's nearly died from it."

(cue music outro)


"We're not gonna take it... NO!, we ain't gonna take it!... We're not gonna..."

(celebrity voice impersonation of Michael Clarke Duncan)


"Men, you've tried match.com, craigslist, J-Date, even E-Harmony, but still haven't found... the woman of your dreams. With increased competition on Internet dating sites, and the growing Federal restrictions making on-line purchases of Rohypnol more and more difficult, we at the Flunitrazepam Advocacy Group believe it's time to take chemical romance in a whole new direction.


"Introducing... ROPINIROLE. Once used exclusively to treat the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome, ROPINIROLE is the only FDA approved medication proven to cause increased sexual urges in double-blind, clinical trials. Women taking ROPINIROLE have been shown to regularly engage in obsessive/compulsive high risk behaviors such as A PATHOLOGICAL URGE TO GAMBLE... INCREASED SEXUAL URGES... HYPERSEXUALITY... other UNUSUAL URGES AND BEHAVIORS.


"With more and more clinical evidence becoming available daily, we at the Flunitrazepam Advocacy Group believe that ROPINIROLE, when used as directed, has the potential to become the Roofie of the new millennium.


"If you want to know if ROPINIROLE is right for you or your partner, or if you would like information on how to become a distributor of ROPINIROLE in your area, log on to www.ropinirole.com to find out more.


"ROPINIROLE. Much more than medicine... it's a new way of life."

Finally, the mother of all Side Effects May Include... warnings, courtesy of NOZULLA.

(voice-over)


"At Gene Enterprises, we've harnessed the power of the human gene so you can say good-bye to your allergies forever with new NOZULLA. NOZULLA may cause the following symptoms:


"Itchy rashes... Full body hair loss... Projectile vomiting... Gigantic eyeball... The condition known as "hot dog fingers"... Children born with the head of a golden retriever... Seeing the dead... Bone liquefication... Possession by the Prince of Darkness... Tail growth... Elderly pregnancy...

Now enjoy the video one (okay, fifty) more time(s).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Year Zero"

It’s the last “Friday” of the month... and with it, a “feature within a feature”.

Past is Prologue.

He was gone the year before he left, packing a bag of necessary things that grew lighter as he waited... always wondering when and where he was to go. With each passing day, the clock in his head ticked louder, while in his mind, his feet seemed to grow heavy as his resolve seemed to grow light. The one thing he still knew for sure was that the day of his departure was imminent, and any and all plans that he made leading up to the accomplishment of it all were at best ill-conceived, and at worst utterly useless.

He understood now that the factors which contributed to his pending unexpected departure had been stripped of all meaning, much like the plans that went with them. That... and what had once been a well-reasoned sequence of solid grounds for action on his part, were now reduced to little more than feelings or sense-motivations, much like those of a mouse in a maze, seeking cheese. And his words, once one of his better friends, had lately failed him... and he found himself reduced to simply moving forward through his days on impulse or worse yet, mere repetition... like some badly acted, George Romero zombie.

Thoughts that once seemed most wise now held no wisdom at all. They were stupid, and long-winded, and reeked of the need to explain themselves, and lately he noticed that the passing of these thoughts was no longer measured in days or weeks, but with the death of former Presidents. Years were now decades, and the things that had made the most sense once, not only made no sense, but had lost all need to be discussed in the company of those whose futures were most dependent on the outcome of their consideration.

And he knew that it was all up to him...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Broken Bone"

I limp, slower than my liking…  A broken bone healed wrong, in the shape of those who came before.  No pain. Joints out of place... Poems that don’t rhyme for shit... fans on high and walls to hit.  Prose covered in Prozac (I wish)... to calm myself and make sense of it.

Night goes... Credits roll and words don’t show, late for their own party... again.  I kill the lights, climbing stairs in the dark... blank pages behind me.  Day comes too soon... and another chance to make creative... with an excuse.

A ramble, a rant... random thoughts, out of order, plain... saying nothing much to no one in particular.  Time and creativity measured in a ten-day beard.  Numb, without pain.  Nothing to give... every day the same as the last... and the next.

Nothing to give... taking made legitimate.  Self isn’t selfish when it’s only you.  Legs up, give it up... all for the process, all for me... irresponsibility.  Leave it all behind, because there’s nothing left to take.
Where does it go?  And where does it all come from?

Mine is gone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Carmageddon"

Tonight, when mothers sing lullabies to babies and the children of a simpler time long for days gone by, not even a pale horse will ride the 405 over the Sepulveda Pass. Just as a prophecy foretold of a time when life as we knew it would cease, during a time that will be known as... Carmageddon.

According to the LA Weekly, this short stretch of road between the Santa Monica and Ventura freeways plays travel host to upwards of 281,000 vehicles a day. And, beginning with scheduled on-ramp closures at 7 pm, followed by off-ramp closures at 10, the heart of the busiest road in the United States will be ripped, still beating, from the chest of the West Coast’s largest city like faster than Mola Ram in the Temple of Doom.

On a wacky, coincidental note, for the Getty Museum, located right in the middle of the closure zone, and destination for 1.2 million visitors annually, July 15–17 is the busiest weekend of the year. Or at least it was... until Carmageddon.

And of course, with the freeway closure, comes the unavoidable ancillary surface street gridlock and alternate route spill-over to other freeways, expected to extend as far north and east and south as 30 miles.

But hey, this isn’t just a news article, it’s a celebration of the precursor to the next great moment on the apocalyptic calendar... 2012. It also serves as a reminder of other attempts by Hollywood (right in the heart of the newly drawn thirty-mile-zone that is Carmageddon) to scare the living crap out of the rest of the world with other lame attempts at the End of the World genre.

And as a member of the working Transportation community, I will be at work beginning precisely at the time that the first of the closures takes place. And for those of you who want to know exactly what is taking place at ground zero of Carmageddon, you can all follow my special Friday night tweets in real-time from LAX at twitter.com/FridayOnFriday. And who knows, as a public service, maybe my tweets will serve an even greater purpose than this article... at least it should.

So remember... this weekend, if you live in Los Angeles, and you’re reading this article before it’s too late, get your MREs and your Netflix Online and hunker in bunker till 5 o’clock Monday morning. Unless the city planners were wrong about all this, and the Sunset Blvd demolition takes a few months longer than previously thought.

In which case, “... a prophecy foretold of a time when life as we knew it would cease, during a time that will be known as... Carmageddon.”

[a special thank you to Broowaha columnist Shari Alyse for the idea of the video clip used in this article]

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Unlicensed... Poetic"

The bloody awful poet is back.


LOVE overcomes the changes we make
The wrongs that we do
And the chances we take
The wind and the rain and the hearts that we break
In the silence... of our voices.

HATE underscores the hits that we take
The fights that we lose
And the faith we forsake
The grey rolling fog through the souls that we take
In the silence... of our choices.

HOPE overrides the lines that we fake
The people we use
And then leave in our wake
The good that we don’t and the bad that we do
In the silence...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Toleration Day"

“I’m a mess... a great big, contradictory pile of shit and bones. I don’t want to be loved. At best, I just want to be tolerated.”
Unnamed character in the unpublished story, “Day Sleeper”, by Bill Friday


Sarcasm: A sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain. A mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual.

Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary


I’ve gotten a lot of feedback lately on my recent progress as a writer. All positive, which is funny, because when I began this literary adventure five years ago, a few glaring differences between the me that was... and the me that is today... are obvious. And while I could waste your time and mine on all the tiny details of why reading me today is better than reading me in 2007, the most apparent difference is summed up in this,

Now... I’m cool.

Ask anyone, “Who’s cool around here?” Chances are, your answer will be, “That Friday guy. He’s cool.” So now you’re probably wondering, “How can I be considered ‘cool like Friday’?” I’m glad you asked.

Never disagree with anyone in public. In my experience, backstabbing is the way to go. On this site over the last four-and-a-half years, I have received 170 anonymous “you suck” (one-star) ratings for my 101 articles. This alone uniquely qualifies me to comment on such matters.


Never write about anything that matters. Content that matters tends to polarize... and polarization leads to hatred by at least 50 percent of potential readers. Writing about things like “feelings” (which, by the way, also works great on a first date), not controversial or trending topics, will ensure that while your readership may be suffer diminished numbers, those few who do read you regularly will love you all the more because each reader will know that every word you write is written directly to them.


Don’t write too often. People will get tired of you and marginalize you, then sick of you altogether. I wrote 40 articles in 2007 and 39 in 2008. By 2009, I was down to 6, and my popularity grew more in my unexplained absence, proving the made-up right now by me adage, “Between prolific and witness protection... lies the legend.” And when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.


Make friends with the cool people. Cool people are just that, “cool”. And cool people tell other people who the cool people really are... they move the needle. Make friends with them, and you go from writer to trending topic. Say things on the comment board that the cool people agree with, even when you have nothing to say. Nothing says cool like saying nothing.

Just ask Joaquin Phoenix.


Make friends with the un-cool people. There are more un-cool people in this world than cool people, and unlike cool people, un-cool actually read. Reading headlines is for cool people... reading whole articles is a job for the un-cool. By dropping literary cookies into your articles that resonate with the un-cool masses (like references to LARPers Weekly or the G-4 Network), not only can you guarantee pageviews up front, but also when the un-cool use nerd tools like the keyword search box, because you thought in advance to include hash tags like #baseball, or #scott boras, or #el g.


(regarding comments) Stay cryptic. Fans don’t want to be told what you mean when they already know what you mean... because you were “speaking directly to them” (see "Never write anything that matters", above). While being cryptic in the comment threads of others can get you accused of being an internet Troll, being cryptic in your own threads gets you accused of being obfuscatively original.


Never, ever, tell the truth. Even if it’s really true. If other people suck, never tell them. If you suck, well… that’s just something to keep between yourself and yourself.


Always, always, remember where you came from. The past has a funny way of reminding us of two equal, yet opposite things. We really are worse than we think we are, and… we really are better than we think we are. No, you read that right. No one is as good, or as bad, as their press clippings… except maybe Carlos Mencia. To prove that bi-polar point, read this excerpt from January 9th, 2007.

This just in: My popularity is 0. Zeeerohh! As if I needed proof. Thanks for the update. A clean slate by any other name, etc.

Oh well.

Guess it's better than entropy. Not "Entropy", the movie that almost killed the career of Phil Joanou, but "entropy", from which we get the nursery rhyme (for the sad children of rocket scientists), "We cannot win, we cannot tie, and in the end we're all gonna die".

(Warning! This is not a movie review, a SciTech article or a children's story. It's safe to keep reading - Ed.)

I know, this intro is probably going to keep my popularity at zeeerohh for the remaining years of my writing life which in this town is more like less than zero. Not "Less Than Zero", the movie that should have killed the career of Brad Pitt (really, Google it), but...

(Warning! Bill Friday has never been popular and therefore has never known when to shut up - Ed.)

The good news in all of this is that, if I've done the math right, I can never receive a rating that isn't at least a zeeerohh. A lot like the song, "Saved By Zero" by The Fixx that really did kill the careers of...

(Warning! Bill Friday will never write on the topics of physics, poetry, movies or music ever again - Ed.)

And there you have it people. Be tolerant of the newb you read today. You never know, one day, he may be really cool.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Coffee Mandatory"

Love is supposed to last a lifetime... until another comes along.

Just so you know, I never planned to fall in love.

It started out as nothing more than a relationship of convenience. Like sex for a green card, or the wash of a windshield for a couple of bucks at a stop light in Santa Monica. A fucking transaction. No emotion… no feelings. Just a need meeting another need. No romance, no flowers... just the glare of a naked bulb at sunrise, and the grunting of guilty pleasure heard on the other side of a thin kitchen wall.

After a while, like with any illegitimate relationship... and enough lying to yourself in the mirror... eventually you decide that maybe its okay to take next step... the public step. A coffee house. The thought was innocent enough in your head, “It’s just a cup of coffee. What could happen?”

Until you get there, and you wonder if this is how they feel in Amsterdam... ordering heroin... in a brothel.

At first, there’s that self-conscious thought that goes, "people don’t really do this in public... do they?” Followed by a second thought that you should just go finish your business in the restroom like the upstanding citizen your parents always thought you’d be. But you stay... you take your seat in the big room with all the other upstanding citizens... and you lose yourself to the overwhelming urge that brought you here in the first place. To take this private need to the next level. So you do. In front of God and everyone... if only God were watching.

I never planned to fall in love.

Years pass, and things go on like always. Public meetings, intimate rendezvous, long mornings after a bad night’s sleep. Every encounter making you sink deeper and deeper into what was such an innocent addiction. Days and nights became the same to you. Multiple jobs, endless hours... and only one thing remains the same. The need. The intense need, the unsatisfied need... the aching need.

Until another comes along.

As the glare of the naked bulb at sunrise still calls after you like a line out of a song by Mumford & Sons, the something new doesn’t call like a selfish bitch... it whispers softly in your ear, like the one that got away. It draws me to a softer place... a darker place, later and later in the night... after the glare of day, and all its distractions, goes away. And unlike the whorishly obvious coffee brothel, it is subtle and almost... caring. And the scars of years are replaced by tender strokes to a raw-rubbed ego. The only thing required in return was to think, and feel... and write. And whatever words came out were good... were accepted. I was accepted.

I never planned to fall in love. Not like this.

More years pass, and things change... drastically. The flutter and surge of my heart, gentle ego stroking, the sideways-smiles-turned-lustful... change. Flutters turn to questions. Surges to pain. The lying, sideways smiles, with their promise of fulfillment... turn to insistence. And whispers turn to ice at the harsh dawning of a new day, when I know it has become... the same.

I look up from the computer. I see the light of morning enter through the fog of early June. “When did this happen?” is all I can say, in a hushed voice, raw from not speaking. I turn my head the other way, toward the kitchen, to the glare of a naked bulb at sunrise...

...just so you know.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Friday Turns 100"

Words to live by.

I keep a notebook.

No, not a Mac Book, a notebook. The kind you write in. The paper kind. And a pen. I’ve been told I’m an old soul… fossil old.

And since I don’t even own an iPhone...

(choking gasp of horror over morning coffee)

Let me explain… no, there is too much… let me sum up.

Okay, whenever I get a random thought in my head... something that, for the merest moment of time, I like the sound of as it floats between my ears, I write it down. In the same notebook I use for work. Sideways, in the left-hand margin... so I won’t forget where I put it. Sometimes, these random thoughts end up in a story. Most times, they end up forgotten… tossed in a drawer, or worse yet (the horror…) under the bed (another column for another time). And sometimes, like bullets from a 9 mil in a drive-by, they get used all at once. And if you think you know me… and you will think you do, the longer you read me… then you know that these are (some) of my words to live by.


“I have no desire to be friends with my past.”

While, for many, the past can be looked back on fondly... first bike, first kiss, first car... for me, my past is looked back on for some other firsts… first stolen bike, first punch in the face, first death of a loved one. And while I would not trade any of the lessons learned from it, my past and I are not now, nor will we ever be, on good terms with each other. Every now and then, we pass each other on the street… and nod. And that’s enough. Because with every passing nod, another page in the notebook is filled.


“Talent doesn’t pay the bills, working does.”

Obviously not an original thought, but since when did a teacher like the past ever claim to be 100 percent original all the time? Still, this one is for the times (many) when the thought of sitting on my bony ass waiting for something better to come along became more than just a thought... and it took some kind of tragedy to shake me enough to start something, or stop something, that shoved a wrench into the gears of my creative machine. Hell, I hate working three jobs. But it beats starving. Yeah, and I’ll sleep when I’m published.


“Sometimes drunks tell the best version of the truth.”

So, after you finish reading this, have a few cold ones, read it again, and leave a comment… preferably on my blog, to reduce the chance of having me ask the publishers to take it down. When you do comment, please let me know exactly how many shots, pops, or rips you’ve had, so that I can rate your truthfulness by the volume of your consumption.

And remember, there are no wrong answers.


“Intimacy isn’t given… it’s earned.”

And people wonder why I don’t make many friends.

In a previous article, I covered the three kinds of “friendlies” every writer ought to know. This is the other side… the dark side… of that. For lack of a better term, they are, “the un-friendlies”. Part Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, part Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, “un-friendlies” are those Twitter followers or Facebook friends you wish you’d never clicked “okay” for. Sure you could block them, or just try to ignore them, but sooner or later they will always come back... with a bunny. As I enter into this phase of my writing life, I will try to remember to be polite to everyone, and always, always keep my head on a swivel… so it doesn’t end up somewhere else.

And finally...


“Handshakes are for people who can’t afford lawyers.”

This should be self-explanatory. It’s the California version of, “get it in writing”. California has always lead the way in defining how to put a price tag on friendship (community property, “palimony”), and on the number of lawyers per capita in the United States. I have one friend who is an attorney, and while I did not run number 5 by him before I submitted this column to the editor (something to do with “billable hours”… I really didn’t understand it all), I do know that he would have to agree with me on this one. Off the record.

Bonus thought...

I will conclude this first official effort by explaining that this article is my 100th published article for Broowaha.com. In saying that, I want everyone who just made the effort to follow this one all the way to its conclusion to know that it is my wish that we all, as writers… as readers… get what we wish for ourselves in this creative venture comes true even wilder and better than we ever could have imagined. But be careful what you wish for, because...


“If wishes were Unicorns, they’d shit rainbows.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

The White Paint Chronicles (#0004)

Full-Moon-Midnight



Midnight is the moment of both merger and separation, where two planes of existence come together, then depart, with all the passion and abandonment of two strangers in the bathroom of a 737 during a one-hour flight from L.A. to Vegas... when transparency and desperation reveal themselves to the few who stop to see it in the dark.

Midnight.  The time when only bad shit happens to good people, and the motives of a man’s heart are most clearly revealed.  The mystical time between times that most honest, hard-working, daytime folk never see... and most shady, lowlife, night-dwellers are too involved in their shufflings to notice.  The time when the distance between worlds is at its least, and the visible and invisible almost touch. 

And quiet voices from one side to the other are heard the clearest.

-------------

My last drop of the night.  A drop just like any other, with just one little variation... time.

The time of night, and the time I would have to spend waiting in scratchy plastic chairs, worn smooth through the years by the fat bodies of truckers, squirming, for uncountable hours on end, waiting for their names to be called, and their cargo tendered.  My job is ninety-nine percent High Priority parcels... fast in – faster out.  But tonight, a cargo drop bound for Rio de Janeiro would force me to sit with the Low Priority crowd, in chairs... possibly all night.  One drop, and the only thing separating me from a row of cold ones was the interest level of the lone clerk behind the counter.  Now, after three hours and eleven minutes and thirty-seven games of Brick-Breaker on my Blackberry, I was second in line behind a cowboy trucker who had given in to the lulling hum of the forklifts in the warehouse, and closed his eyes for good beneath a yellowed, straw hat about an hour ago.

So close to the end of shift.  The end of...

A sound... jagged nails across a half-acre of angry blackboard.  The bitchy squeal of worn rubber, dug in hard on a smooth, paved floor, as if in protest against, against...

The cowboy jumped and landed on two feet, like a live man from his own grave.  Slowly, I turned toward the sound. 

Crumpled at one edge, tilted at an awkward, upward angle against a frame of supporting pine, lay a body clothed in cardboard, like ten cold reams of Banker’s Boxes, all in a row.




To be continued...






Friday, April 15, 2011

The White Paint Chronicles (#0003)

The Body

You ever see a dead body?  No, I don’t mean a corpse… I mean something that, as soon as you see it, the words, “dead body” pop into your head like the words, “flat tire” when you see a car on the side of the road or, “fucking tourist” when you see someone jay-walking at LAX. 

Dead body.

Say it just right, and you feel like you swallowed an ice cube whole.  Say it again, and the words burn cold and razor sharp, cutting your insides at that special place between the dry lump in your throat, and your fear-shrunken ball sack… because you’ve seen your future’s end, and read the last page of the unwritten story of your misspent life.

Is there really such a thing as “Indian Summer”?  In L.A. the closest thing to it is something called the “Santa Ana’s”.  Every fall, for a few days… okay, sometimes weeks… the cool breezes of the gray Pacific are swallowed up by a pissed-off furnace, blowing hot from the far north.  It’s a time when Chamber of Commerce weather is kidnapped and forcibly replaced by highs in the upper-90’s and gusts above 50 miles an hour.  During the days, dirt and smog blows against the grain from the mountains to the sea.  Palm trees are bent backwards, and the sky for a hundred miles is turned to 1960’s postcard brown… like it was when Dodger Stadium was new, and Marilyn Monroe was still breathing.  And the nights, tinted blue-black under a ghost-white moon streaked by blowing debris, glows with no life above the screaming of the wind.


And at full-moon-midnight, near the end of another shift, a dead body spoke.







To be continued...










Monday, April 4, 2011

The White Paint Chronicles (#0002)

You never know where they’re going to come from.  They start as total strangers, then become people, who one day – whether you admit it or not – you cannot do without. 

They are… the “friendlies”.

This is a story about groupies.

That got your attention.  Don’t lie to yourself, you know it did.  Anyway, groupie stories are fun, and should just about write themselves… if you’re a writer without a soul.  Even more, if you’re a writer without a soul… who writes online.  Online, where disembodied voices whisper… saying things you want to hear… just as long as you say them back in just the right way.  Whispers that are never to be trusted, let alone believed… not when you crave honesty more desperately than your next orgasm.  Truth isn’t something you should have to pay for any more than you should have to pay for sex.  It should be expected, offered spontaneously and mutually and freely given, between those who supposedly share the deepest of bonds that could exist between consenting adults.  The mutual inadequacy… the fear... the greatest joy…

No, not sex you perv… writing.  This one’s about a different kind of groupie…  The “friendly”.

And this is the story of three.  

Those Who Know You Best

The one who knows you the best is, most likely, the one who reads you the least.  For them, it doesn’t matter how good… or how bad… a writer you are.  For them, it’s enough to know that you making it as a writer is a foregone conclusion… a given.  The thought that you won’t never crosses their mind, like a lot of things about your writing never do.  They know you, and because they know you, they already know what you know… that you’re a writer, whatever anybody says to the contrary.  Their lack of compliments, comments, critiques, random encouragements, or any other words outside the day-to-day reality that “this is who you are” and “this is what you do” is irrelevant.  You know it, they know you… therefore it must be true.  You wish they would, once in a while, take notice of what you do, but it’s been so long that you’ve decided it’s probably best just to let it go.  No point in ruining a friendship because you are so damn needy.

“Ain’t no thang,” you tell yourself.  One day, you’ll forget all this.  You won’t even remember the way you felt the first time you heard Marcus Mumford sing the words, “…you desired my attention, but denied my affections…”  And you’ll never remember how stupid you feel on those days you think this way… or how often.

Those Who Know You Least

“...You ARE and ALWAYS WILL BE a writer my friend. I see many people call themselves writers who barely write and don't even have a tenth of the talent that you have. You have mad skill. You have the disease!”
Portion of a comment at the end of the It’s Always Friday version of The White Paint Chronicles (#0001)

So says the friend I’ve never met. 

I don’t include the quote to make me feel better.  I include the quote to say that someone who knows me least, and only through a few words on a page… the “through a glass, darkly” kind of friend… can deliver this kind of unsolicited bump to a writer’s often bruised ego just when the desperate need of it is greatest.  Doubt, swallowed without hope, is the writer’s poison.  When swallowed together, they… the doubt and the hope… fill the writer’s soul with every emotion, every word, required to write again.

The existence of the post you’re reading (#0002) is proof of that.

Better still, that those words came from someone who would not know me if we stood next to each other in a ten-deep line at Starbucks, makes the impact of their words all the deeper.  And more lasting.

Those Who Know You Not At All

            “Blog like no one’s reading.”
                                                                        Agnes’ Pages
The other side of the coin.   The encouragement that comes from no one will know. 

I “met” Agnes by accident one day, surfing, on a site called Blog Catalog.  “Picking and clicking” I call it.  My blog is listed there, with uncountable thousands of other blogs.  I’ve picked up some pageviews by being active on the boards there, and every so often, I spend a little time “picking and clicking” blogs to read… mostly in the hope that others will pick and click mine.  A few months ago, I ran into Agnes’ Pages.  It was artistic and very finished looking… way more “polished and professional” than most of the BC blogs.  On the surface, it looked like a journal about a woman’s obsession with coffee and travel… which it is.  But after noticing just how many comments each entry was getting (and I mean dozens), I decided I had to find out what the traffic jam below each post was all about.  Turns out, the little blog that started out as random posts about ugly shoes and Starbucks Via drinks, had morphed into a personal journal about a young woman whose husband was dying of cancer.

I finished the entire blog, comments and all, in one night.

In among all the happy and the heartbreak, the hope and the hopelessness, one quiet line from one tiny little entry ran me over like a truck does rabbits on the highway,

“Blog like no one’s reading.”

Best words I ever read about writing… spoken by a “friendly” I’ll never know.  Life, like writing, should be that simple.






Saturday, February 26, 2011

The White Paint Chronicles (#0001)

“I’m a stop singing this song because I’m high (raise the ceiling baby)...


I’m singing this whole thing wrong, because I’m high (bring it back)...

And if I don’t sell one copy, I’ll know why (Why man? Yeah)...

Cause I’m high, cause I’m high, cause I’m high.”


"Because I Got High"
Music and Lyrics by Joseph A. Foreman
(aka "Afroman")


“Because a writer writes.”

I wrote that in the liner of a leather-bound journal, that I gave as a gift once. A birthday gift, to a guy I worked with, who called himself a writer. He used to make me read his stuff. Written long-hand, in a two inch, three-ring notebook on wide-ruled, 8 ½ by 11 paper. It sucked. At the time, I didn’t know if what I wrote in that journal was for his encouragement, or just a thinly veiled attempt at harsh sarcasm. It’s been years now, and I still don’t know which it was, and that isn’t even the point. The point I’m making is that this fuzzy, gray-white cloud of a memory most likely only popped into my head right now because of what I, a writer, just did for a fucking paycheck.

Yeah, it’s funny what a few well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals can do to rip a dead memory from the hard ground of a guy’s head like a cosmic backhoe, under the paint-stained bandanna, just the other side of the blood-brain barrier.

I started working semi-permanent, part-time jobs so I could spend the bulk of my thoughts (at least that’s what I told myself at the time) on what I told anyone who would listen was my next career… “Writer”. Now, when I’m honest (or drunk), I tell the world (or those in it who would listen) that I’m “a guy who works two part-time jobs… and blogs”.

Sort of.

And like the song clue at the top tells you (if this was a movie, it would have been playing in the background on a car radio), last week’s Libertarian drug flashback went and turned itself into its own bullshit crisis of conscience, artistic epiphany… all in the hour it took to paint a mildew stained, six-by-thirty, cinder block and drywall storage unit, deep inside an unventilated apartment garage.

God, how toxic primer can make you think, while it kills the handful of brain cells you have left.

In the week since what I now refer to as the Afroman Epiphany forced me to re-evaluate the choices I’ve made for becoming a handsomely-paid writer, it wasn’t till Day 6 that it came to me. Nobody who wants to get paid for thinking up cool new ways to use the same old words already used (but better) by other (dead) writers, should ever have to work in a Huffer’s Paradise of well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals… no matter how pretty they make a cinder block and drywall storage unit… not even if your name is Charles Fucking Bukowski.

And no amount of white paint on a dirty old bandanna can cover up whatever other repressed memories of why I really write.



Also available for reading on Expats Post (where writers Write to Live)
http://expatspost.com/columns/the-white-paint-chronicles-0001-2/