Friday, October 31, 2008

The Giant Gila Monster





This is an odd little film, aside from the fact that there was no real giant Gila monster in the film, rather a regular size one filmed climbing over hot rods from the producer's kid's Matchbox set. Well, OK. There ARE no giant Gila monsters, I get that now. But as I kid, I didn't know. This isn't a film where the explanation of atomic radiation=big monsters (see THEM, TARANTULA, BEGINNING OF THE END, THE PREYING MANTIS, and three billion others), its just there. One lone Gila monster, so I assumed that there maybe could be such a thing. Hey, the film came out the year I was born, so I might've been eleven when I first saw it. Yea, you guessed it. 1970. Screaming Yellow Theater. Svengoolie. But that is not the oddity of this film. The man character is named Chase, and he's into hot rods and plays a guitar. Saves everyone at the end by filling his ride with nitroglycerin and peeling rubber, jumping clear in the last minute. Chase had a kind of look going, maybe Bobby Rydell or one of those surf rockers that would come a few years years after the film (maybe Rydell did, too, I don't know). Again, that's not my point. What is your point?, you ask. OK. Its the scene you likely watched already, the one where he sings "The Mushroom Song." I always thought that the song was called "Laugh, Children, Laugh," because I knew I'd never really be seeing a soundtrack for the film. And since its not the 1960s, its not called "The Doobie Song," or "The Bennies Song." For no real reason, as if it was from a film on Earth-14 that was string theory-spliced into this film, Chase brings his guitar to see two elderly women (i.e,. in their *gasp* 30s) and a crippled girl with leg braces. No explanation is given for any of this, if the girl had polio, whatever. She seems to be showing off new braces as she walks towards Chase and then topples over, brave little tyke. Unhappy because she could not walk all the way to Chase--who really, if you think about it, could have at least taken a few steps toward her, she wails until Chase kneels before her to strum his guitar and sing about the mushroom. Then he leaves, the women and the girl happy as all hell, and he drives off to go to a sock hop in a hillbilly bar and madness ensues when the giant Gila monster shows up. But to this day I have never, I mean NEVER, seen a monster movie that has ten minutes of What The Hell? jabbed into the middle of it. By finding it on YouTube, I feel strangely vindicated. By the way, go check out Helockman's blog, he's been posting about horror hosts, too. And he probably doesn't ramble on, as I tend to do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Screaming Yellow Theater




The original Svengoolie was Jerry G. Bishop, a rock 'n roll dj on WFLD, our "Federation of Labor" station. SCREAMING YELLOW THEATER was broadcast on Channel 32, which is now Fox but back then you pretty much had to stick the antennae out the window to get a clear signal. I honestly never knew the show to be broadcast in color, as I watched in on a b&W TV in my room. Somehow I got to watch CREATURE FEATURES downstairs, but I think my parents were annoyed by Link Wray and the Ray Men playing over a woman's screams every three or four minutes. That, and the stupid jokes. One night, I saw HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM with Vincent Price for the first time, and the woman whose eyes get poked out by the binoculars with the spikes in them freaked...me...out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creature Features



Last year about this time, I was recalling our Saturday night fright time. Friday might have been The Midnight Special, but Saturday at 10:30 PM was Creature Features, and now that I have high speed and can figure out how to find files on YouTube, I'm sending along the intro, which always scared the crap out of me as a kid, between the panning shots of Bela behind the tree, that creepy Renfield crawling across the floor dressed like F. Scott Fitzgerald and the music which I later learned to be Henry Mancini's EXPERIMENT IN TERROR. Like TELSTAR and even HARLEM NOCTURNE (which I've never mentioned before), I have to admit that there are more than a few Where Did That Come From instrumentals out there. Enjoy the music and the good old Universal Monsters, the best kind of monster pals anyone could ever hope for.

Creature Features

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cyanide & Pixie Stix




I posted this over at STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED for my monthly entry, for October its always posting stories, poems, or essays. I wrote the following piece for OCTOBER DREAMS, edited by Rich Chizmar and Bob Morrish. I hadn't been asked for a story, but rather to contribute one of the many "My Favorite Hallowe'en Memory..." pieces, so I gave people both. A few people who commented to me earlier brought up the sense of smell and writing, and I mentioned back that I actually have been awoken from dreams because of a specific smell in the dream itself, not like awakening to smoke or anything like that. Vivid dreams involving all five sense, a perfect example being my dream/memory of the exploding clown I wrote about the last day of August...



CYANIDE AND PIXIE STIX

It wasn’t that long ago I lived in Chicago, taking the elevated train into and back from the Loop each weekday. You live in a routine, you get to recognize sights and smells on an almost subliminal basis; anyone from out of town need only assume the subway entrances smell of sweat and sewage even during the harshest months, but there are sweeter smells from factories and warehouses that share the same blocks with tenement apartments.
At Ashland Avenue, the train stops just across the river from the Holsum bread factory, and when the doors slide open on a summer morning, it’s like a blowsy woman wearing just the right amount of perfume sashayed down the aisle. Further west where the blue line bisects the Eisenhower, the Pan Candy factory makes it’s presence known. Southwest, where the streets hump the train yards near Marquette Park, there’s the Nabisco cookie factory and the old joint where they still make Tootsie Rolls. It’s this last place where I’m reminded of the smell of death.
Walking from the train to my home, the smell from the confectionery smokestacks is intoxicatingly sweet, and I think of Pixie Stix, a brand name candy from my youth, long paper tubes of powdered sugar in pastel colors offerings of lime and cherry. In the early eighties, when I would be walking the same route home after college, immersed in espionage novels or wondering if I had it in me to write stories instead of poetry, Jack Malvides became the man who murdered Halloween.
At least, that was his nickname to the television audiences; every since “Killer Clown” John Wayne Gacy was arrested, catch-name killers were big in Chicago. Jack Malvides killed his seven year-old son in a heinous way, poked a hole in his boy’s Halloween stash and slipped some cyanide in. Difficult? No way, as the still unknown deviate who killed seven people with tainted Tylenol capsules, or the investigating cops and coroners, could attest to.
The cyanide was powder, just like the Pixie Stix. I think the candy company also made little candy buttons you could peel off of butcher paper. Malvides banked on an insurance scam against the makers of the product but that plan went bust mostly because he acted too shifty, or shiftless, depending on who was making the comparisons between grieving father and that of cunning murderer. So the police eventually wore him down, but the boy was still dead, along with the stigma of the one day a kid can get free goodies from neighborly strangers (or strange neighbors) and yet die choking on lime green vomit.
I hadn’t even been thinking about writing horror fiction at that time, if anything I was being deluded by the grand scale confusion Robert Ludlum and Frederick Forsythe created in each new conspiracy. I would not write “A Field Near Grayslake” or “Rapid Transit” until the following spring. A part of me believes the death of Bobby Malvides allowed me to slowly desensitize my prose, which I did all that winter, culminating with my poem about spring for my senior year workshop, about a dog romping through a field with part of a woman’s skull in his jaws.
And as I said, there is an intensity to certain smells just as there is deja vu to a recurring image. I can smell copper in my sleep, to wake from some dream of an imagined fiend, with blood in my nostrils and my jaw numb from clenching. Twenty years later and everybody is desensitized by life itself. Every other day there’s some kid shooting up a school or random bombings by some idiot with an agenda.
I can still visualize what Pixie Stix felt like , the paper tearing away, the bitter powder on my tongue. Most times, it is the scents from the Tootsie Roll factory that provides the catalyst. But as the years pass, I find it increasingly hard to recall a Halloween afternoon filled with children not under adult supervision or in single groups of one or two, dumping piles of candy together one a living room floor and dividing the spoils.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pacific Garden Mission





Within minutes of my posting around 3:00 this morning about that beating and the PCM, Rich Chwedyk--yes, THAT Rich Chwedyk--emailed me about how he thought the place was being demolished, and Scott pretty much said the deed was done already, maybe a year back. I guess I always expected that place to be there, though photos of the new place do seem to show a less crowded setting. So this might be the reason those two homeless folk I mentioned gave the Mission as their address, right now its certainly closer than where they were sitting the night of the beating. I hate talking crap about people on the streets, and being the son of a city copper leaves me with the option of being biased in both the bad way and the good way. (As I type this, people on the news are berating the cops because it took them three days to find a white SUV with a dead boy in it, even though the kid's father, who also killed his mother- and brother-in-law, was in custody and the fucker certainly could have pointed at a map to the corner of Jackson & Kolin.) That's why I post a photo of Maurice the Flag Man, who has been giving his flags away for whatever you want to give him for as long as I've been to the Loop, I first saw him around 1985. I posted about him a year or so back, in detail, and last month I wrote about Rockabilly Dave. The (sometimes not-so) simple truth is that you can't give most of the people on the street food because they won't take it, and even those who seem in good shape to work (as Dave often does, through day labor) are out there day after day, certainly not trying to get work. Kids successful enough to live in high rises or have enough dough to stay at the dorms for Columbia College or the Art Institute walk the same intersections as those who stay in the shadows of the old George Diamond's Steakhouse building. (Watch, that building's gone too, I'll bet. What I get for taking train that goes underground for four miles). I, myself, have been cursed because I honestly had no money I could part with this past June before my unemployment kicked in. Same person might have acted differently if it was 3AM and not 3PM, I cannot say. Are there cities on any other civilized planets in the universe that are so thoroughly screwed up as Chicago?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

7th Street Cuddle-Up







Funny how so many of you picked up the man/monster aspect of the poem and my thoughts behind it. And, yes, Capcom, the Pacific Garden Mission is known outside of Chicago, but the place is not what it used to be even a decade ago. Part of it is that so much of the south Loop is being renovated, the Roosevelt Hotel, once an SRO, is now condos. Around the corner is the Wabash Tap, near Buddy Guy's Legends blues club. About two months back, a guy and his girlfriend were celebrating her 25th birthday and had just left the tavern, which, back in 1998 likely would have been the twin to the 666 Lounge, a black man and woman ask them for a light, they presumably answer the wrong way (this being the wonderful city of equality, right?), and they proceed to get beaten nearly to death. The man, all 210 pounds of him, kicked the girl in the head at least ten times. If someone called me a cripple (if that man was even called a name), I highly doubt that I'd rail off physically on that person. I still recall the photos of the girl in the paper, she survived and is fine now. But here it is three in the morning and the two fuckheads give the cops an address of the Pacific Garden Mission. So why weren't they there and in bed? Sure, they offer religion there but the cops should have given some blue religion to that bastard who thought it just fine to kick a girl half his weight and size in the face. He's in jail on ag-assault, awaiting trial. If I was at the corner of Wabash and Roosevelt that early morning in the false dawn, there'd have been a stained chalk mark in the shape of an @$$hole after the cops finished their job and carted him off to the morgue. You gotta know who to love in this city. And you gotta know who is taking up a bed in a shelter that should be going to a much better individual. Carl Watson, a writer from Uptown, wrote it best in BENEATH THE EMPIRE OF THE BIRDS. The best religion in the world consists of two words: be careful.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

666 Lounge, Gone Now



I've been Major Tom this week, I took my protein pills and put my helmet on. Been very productive, not a shivering puddle of goo. Just out in space deciding what direction seemed the one I needed to take. Then I realized it was Hallowe'en coming up, and last year around this time I was posting on the way cool song "Frankenstein's Den" by The Hollywood Flames Here's a poem I wrote about twenty years ago. I had a photo of the place once, but it went into the erff. At 646 South State Street is the Pacific Garden Mission, where all of the drunks from this bar got to sleep for free if they listened to mass. I'm not going to stick up for this place in the least, because there have been numerous murders and muggings caused by the people who live here. Not homeless, not transients, killers. Well, I seem to have gone off on a bit of a rant there. Hnnh. I'll try and post again soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dispatch, We Have a 911






For those who asked, there is just something about "Telstar," I told Bob its like being Green Lantern or his alter-ego, Hal Jordan, up in the sky, and agreed with Rich that there is no real way to explain it. It just gives you chills from an adrenaline rush or it doesn't. I also thought to look up Mike Post's the from HILL STREET BLUES, not just for the song, but to show off a Chicago long gone. Now the television show went to great lengths to say that Hill Street might be in Baltimore or Chicago, but those are our squads and our sleets and our Old Style signs. The old 7th District station house is still on Maxwell Street, but everything else was demolished, never mind why and what was built. You should know how I feel about this century's Chicago by now. This section of Maxwell Street is also seen in THE BLUES BROTHERS, but in direct sunlight on a crowded day. The scenes from Hill Street Blues' opening credits, which they try to convey in the show but just can't, fake snow is fake snow and guys in sleeveless t-shirts walking by an alleyway doesn't help. The adult walking the two kids, I can see them in my sleep, and, again, the Old Style sign above the door to a nameless tavern. Even the viaduct beneath the Dan Ryan Expressway has changed, its not as desolate because of the newer buildings and street lighting. The show seems dated now, but more than anything, it did two things for me. It taught me how to write about more than one character at a time, and it also told me to never, ever forget that I was writing about Chicago.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Deconstructing Harry




There are many people who will read a blog and instead of posting a comment, will just email the person back. I do that myself depending on my mood. Many people emailed me, and (again, links on the side of the page right there with Harry's, Cathy Van Patten and Stephen Mark Rainey also posted about HEF (as he signed his work). Almost everyone mentioned his deep; and resonant voice, if he and Rodger Gerbderding were in a conversation, I felt as if I were in a diving bell (or something like that). Peggy Nadramia, who published tons of his stuff in her magazine GRUE, told of how if she asked for something, his reply was always "I've got a lot going, but...better put on the coffee, Mother!" We'd be talking at a con, someone would make a comment, and Harry would say "well...there's that" and chuckle ominously. In fact, it was Harry himself who made me realize what a chuckle was when I saw it written in a story. And I forgot to mention that he could mold his face into the persona of Christopher Walken, don't ask me how. I watched it happen, and I still don't know. Alan Clark made the reminded, and Jeff Osier echoed, that there are many people who have Harry's photography or artwork hanging on their walls. That's a difference between writers and artists, its a great thing to see the spine of your novel (or if you are lucky, the front cover) on a shelf in a store or a dealer's room at a convention, its another to see something worth hanging on the wall of any room in your house. His work was very precise and he was always dedicated. He kept boxes of spare parts, things he might put in a photo, like the head of a doll or a piece of a china cat. I finally went to bed around three this morning, and as always, I put myself to sleep by flipping to some cable nonsense and eating ice cream. I stopped on an HBO rerun of a George Carlin special, it was only going to take five minutes to eat and Harry kind of dressed like Carlin, dark slacks and shirt, a little loose or, as they are marketed in the stores, "relaxed." As I reached to turn the TV off (I never use the remote because its, you know, technology), Carlin blurted out "Does God love America because its a great country or because we have eighteen fucking blends of Rice-A-Roni?" The TV blipped off, Carlin a white ghost for a second. If he had posed that question to Harry, the answer would have been "well...there's that." And then the chuckle. I'll catch up to you, my friend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get In The Plane, Billy




I cried a lot today. Its odd to not cry on the phone or at a gathering. How grim is fate that not twelve hours after I talk Yvonne up to the crowd that she emails me terrible news. Harry Fassl died on Sunday morning, and when I talked to his gal Diana I didn't cry, I got the news with more detail, then I emailed Sean. And cried. And emailed Yvonne back. And cried. So its a new experience to have tears dripping onto the R and the I keys and me filling the garbage with tissues. I effing hate tissues, they are no good. Christ, the stories involving Harry, me, Brian Jeff, Cathy, Diana, Von,Kathleen, Rodger, Andrew and from there Sean, Jessica, Erik, and the gang from MINN-CON up north. Hemlockman himself, a commenter on this blog, did work with Harry. He illustrated many of my stories. The best memories of my life are either at Yvonne's house in Hanover Park or Harry and Diana's in Oak Park and you can pick virtually any weekend during the summers of 1993 through 1996. I can add Beth Massie's get-togethers in Virginia a close third, but I'm chained to Chicago, and the collar counties are as far as I'm allowed to venture. And Harry was by Beth's, so he met Dave, he already knew Mark, Barb and Charlie, Lee, and so on. Mind you, every single name mentioned here means something in the publishing world. (Well, Barb's husband Charlie, he just has the biggest collection of Volkswagens in the galaxy).

Harry and I had fun with words. He always used the line from OUTBREAK when Morgan Freeman says to Dustin Hoffman "Get in the plane, Billy." He used it if I was jabbering too much and dinner was ready. I cut out a panel from a comic that simply said "Ed is by the turbines." That became a catch-phrase for years. For every time I signed my name Weird Alien Sausage, he would sign his HEFaLump or the oddly exotic Ted DeVeaux. And he did great photography. Don't go by the shot above, go to the link to his site. (I really just thought of this now, its still there, its not going away).

The year we went to Beth's, it was me, Harry, Andrew, Jeff, and Von. USAir to Pittsburgh then some propeller plane to the Shenandoah Valley airport. Somehow we miss the boarding call. They hold up the plane for us, even though we are like fifty feet away from it on the other side of the window, and we board and then wait for clearance. Meanwhile, back at the other airport, Beth and pretty much everybody in Staunton and the surrounding towns are told over the intercom that the propeller plane will be late by an hour because five hippies from Chicago hopped up on the joy juice made them late.

Christ, so many stories. Such a legacy of hard work and friendship. Watching crappy horror movies like THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON and then staying up even later watching FOREVER KNIGHT, God help us all. Or SPACE PRECINCT. And then there was sumo wrestling for a time. Watching it, I mean.

From what I understand, Harry's ashes will be strewn (?) across Lake Michigan on the Winter Solstice. He died during a full moon in October, something I would like for myself also. I used to joke, talk about seeing the Grim Reaper in the doorway and telling everyone "Hey, there's my ride!" But writing this down and reminiscing with Andrew just reminds me that I'm on the tail end now, coasting as far as it will take me. For the good times, and absent friends. Get in the plane, Billy.

Bye, Harry. Your pal, Wayne

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Home Sweet Home







At the end of the day, I don't hide my face and sleep on a corner upright, like the Spirit of Vengeance, I don't wander the subway stations with a Casio organ (or whatever they are called, Christ knows there are enough of them being played in the winter months), no, when all is said and done, I climb down a dimly lit ladder and wax the back of my head before I look into an array of mirrors and say "I am Spartacus!" over and over until I flop onto my side.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper




One of my cousins lost $100,000 from his 401K in the last week. The Tinley Park killer might never be caught. The other night a guy getting off a bus on 71st was pissed because another guy on a cell phone bumped him, so when he got off the bus he shot at it and killed a girl in high school when the bullet went through her eye. There are cameras on CTA buses now and this guy should have been easy to spot, around 250 pounds and wearing something like Grandmaster Flash would wear if he had on astronaut diapers, no lie. How the cops didn't pick him up within minutes of the shooting when he was wearing that outfit is beyond me. And we still haven't caught bin Laden. Maybe it is time for a collapse. I can be living in UnChicago. Would that there could be a virus that would only kill politicians. Judge me for the body count later.

Back in July, I read THE STAND again, one of my favorite books. I read it the first time back when Captain Trips hit in June of 1980, not 1990. The publishers can't really update past that because of the Internet and cell phones, because the book is more about isolation than anything else, the first third of it. And if anybody comes across this who hasn't read THE STAND by now, or seen the film or read the comic, well you likely aren't going to, so I'm going to keep talking about it. I've reread it maybe three times now, the first two times were the old pb from the 1980 plague. I love this beat up version I own now, once owned by Renee Rat, whoever she might be, bought at a used bookstore in 2000 (I'm guessing from the original PACE bus pass bookmark I had in the pages). As you can see, it's highly unlikely I could read the book again without it disintegrating. I started reading the book again after days of job-hunting, wearing my backpack in the summer heat, and I was reminded of similar images with Larry Underwood or Nick Andros walking down deserted streets. I imagined Archer Avenue with no people, the cars askew instead of parked, I-55 empty and people hanging from nooses above Bubbly Creek. Certainly, THE STAND is a book about good vs. evil, but its also a road book, and that's why I enjoy it so much. You see parts of the plague's progression in rapid progression and at the same time, with Andros in that Arkansas jail--near where they filmed THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK in 1973, something every living soul must see--for the better part of two weeks, playing Good Samaritan and feeding prisoners, we see little of the outbreak. The book plays back and forth with that, Underwood and a few others have already left a dead Manhattan by the time Andros leaves equally doomed southwestern Arkansas, so there are two different "on the road" stories, and of course there are others. In the expanded version, King adds sections that show various events during the first signs of a government cover up, then a later section about those survivors immune to the plague who died by simple accidents or out of grief. 900 pages of fun stuff, and I'll admit I do skim some sections that I pretty much memorized back in the early 80s. And it was fun to sit on the stoop with my collie, reading it in only about four days, maybe five. Again wondering what it would be like to start everything over. The truly sad thing is, there probably is a Project Blue/Captain Trips/superflu underground base somewhere in the desert right now. The Yeats poem is quoted in the book, what rough beast this is, its hour come 'round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Seven Bullets



Finally they are posting this on the buses. Back in early February, one of our coldest, the snow drifts were icebergs, a man walked into the Lane Bryant's in Tinley Park and tied up the manager, customers, and two women who had entered during the hold-up. The women's hands were tied with duct tape and the store manager called 911 on her cell. There is a record of the man's voice on the phone, as there is of the seven shots he fired into the heads of the women. One survived, a young lady visiting from New Orleans. This is why there is a detailed sketch in the first place. He'll get caught, maybe for something else. More than likely, he bragged, and when some guy needs to cut a deal, he'll give his buddy up for a shorter sentence. Myself, I live in a world of dark yet righteous thoughts. I read my Act of Contrition early, sort of like Proactive Contrition. If it was the two of us and I had a magical gun, well, I'd pick six joints at random and disintegrate his bones (granted I'm that good a shot; you've seen my face after shaving). Knees, elbows, collarbone. I'd walk away with the last bullet cocked and the gun in that cowardly bastard's mouth. I'd walk away and think my long thoughts. And I would sleep well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back From The Bleak & Into The Black





I'm listening to Eartha Kitt circa 1954, not Willy Nelson or Johnny Cash, so you all have to know I'm doing better. I even lifted my free weights tonight. I went to the chiropractor this morning and did what most men my age really want, for a woman to beat the holy hell out of them. My vertebrae sounded like xylophones in a subway and my neck cracked so good I was dizzy and disoriented, and had a nosebleed when I arrived home. Trust me, that's a good thing.

Phil Dick would have loved my current situation. I cannot comment on my own blog. And even though I can reply to anyone on Twitter at regular speed, if I type on my own "What are you doing?" entry, the keyboard jumps and starts my letters in the entry. I'm certain there are other elements that have subtly conspired against me and I've yet to find out. Phil would have written a novel about such happenings in about six hours and after gulping 140 amphetamines. Me, I just go to the chiropractor and give them 1/3 of my unemployment check, just so I can type again with only a modicum of grimacing. I'm not wearing pads or chewing on my shirt collar, so I'm cool.

I seem to be involved in clandestine activities. Writing projects I cannot talk about. And tonight, a focus survey where I went up north, just past the Allerton and the Tip-Top-Tap and watched a pilot for a reality show where you give responses by twirling a dial on an EmotionDetector, something I would have loved to palm and then point at people on a crowded el train. The show was a dating show and it reminded me exactly how idiotic the entire human race is, and how shallow most people are in general. I got $75.00 for the ordeal, and I left, walking to cash the check at the currency exchange that will cash ANY check, no questions asked, at the corner of Chicago & Clark Street. I know where to cash checks and where there's a working pay phone, I'm kind of like a modern day version of Roger Miller's King Of The Road. I had to pass a stretch of building of odd shapes, five steps up to one business, five down to another, in the middle of it all Streeter's Tavern. I listened to the last three outs of the White Sox game even though I'm a Cubs fan. I just enjoyed the manner of which I listened to the game, the door open in the mild October night, a sliver of moon above the Cass Hotel behind me.

Once before, I watched a show for a focus group, Allysa Milano said vagina a lot and moved from Atlanta to Savannah to work for the family law firm. The show never aired on TV, and I drove the control group off by turning my dial to 100 every single moment James Brolin was on the screen. I only liked him in Marcus Welby, but thought it neater than turning it to 100 every time Milano screamed vagina (to be fair, she was giving birth to a child before the opening credits).

I took my plunder and bought a belt at Old Navy on State Street. This is the first belt I've purchased in eight years, except for the one I wear with my graveyard suit. I don't think to buy clothes until they are a few days away from molecular decomposition. I took the old belt and tossed it on the subway tracks, not to really litter, just to monitor how long it will be there. I make my own fun. Before that, though, I went into the Borders (I know, like buying something from Lex Luthor) and purchased THE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane, the author of one of my three favorite books, MYSTIC RIVER. Almost 700 pages about the 1918 Boston riots. I trust him enough that I know I'll enjoy this new direction he has taken with his writing. It'll be a bastard to carry around, though.

Well, enough for me. Back to my writing. Then I'll watch HEROES before my usual five hours of sleep. And look, I even segmented my blog entry with paragraphs. I'll be a writer yet, a chronicler of deeds both good and bad...Wayne

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Steam Room Is Next




I am still pretty much incapable of doing anything when these ridiculous patches are not attached to my back. Steve asked about acupuncture, and I used to have a photo once of me getting acupuncture with electro-stim at the same time. I have also had many E-something-Gs, EMGs, I think. Electro-Mylographs. They stick a needle in you and its hooked to a machine, well, actually, there's quite a few needles stuck in you. One by one, the doctor twangs (yes, TWANGS THE EFFING NEEDLE) and the muscle flops like a fish on a dock. He does that until a twang does not produce a fish flop, and then makes a nodding, mm-hmming face expression, then writes something down. I'd say Sudoku, but that wasn't around in 1987, as far as I know. This was always done in my forearms and biceps, so I got to see every bit of it happening. The doctor would twang the needle the way you would shoot a marble, I crap you in the negative. And that's it for tonight, kids, gotta shut the ride down. Be careful going home.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Surgical Strike




I bought these pads to put on my back, to help me at least have the ability to think, never mind type seven words a minute. I try not to wear them often because they pretty much melt into your skin after a few hours of comfortable numbness. I'm nothing but a damn skeleton, in mind, not body. This is the me you see when I'm offline. Wayne

Friday, October 3, 2008

Run For The White House





Personally, I'd run FROM the White House as it was in flames with Bush and Cheney turned into Dudley Manlove and Tor Johnson from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Hell, I suppose Condie Rice could be Vampira, with Donald Rumsfeld multi-tasking under the title of "Really Cheap Special Effects." I think if I was the guy running for president with a woman VP on the ticket and I'm not naming names, the best way to win the election is to dress up like The Jester, some guy from on old Marvel comic I discovered in the recesses of my lab. The last few years Marvel has found success with MARVEL ZOMBIES and MARVEL APES, and I'm not certain if this tells much about the future of comics, this one fellow up in Nova Scotia came up with some pretty cool variations on a theme. On a slightly more arcane note, Steve Malley sent me a link for some site where people made My Pretty Ponies into Aliens and Cthulhus and worse. The next day I read an article about a BBC America show that I intend to watch on Sunday about "reborns"--go Google that, I'll wait--called MY FAKE BABY. Plastic dolls with fake hearts and nerve endings and all the crap that made Phil Dick crazy ahead of his time. I emailed back to 'ol Malley that maybe the show should be called MY LITTLE TONY...if you like the joke or not, oh well, I'm still going to watch the thing and end up having nightmares like I did after researching the Bobo experiment.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Remembered A Title This Time




The first photo is of the Spindle out on Harlem Avenue, I'm too lazy to erase it and besides, it looks cool. If only those were Comcast vans impaled there. Really, I was indeed answering my email for five days at a Kinko's between a Hooters and the Miami Motel, Home of The Four Hour Nap! (I'm posting the photo again as Charles seems delighted by it). There was also a Denny's close by, but that messes up the ambiance. We've pretty much been screwed since mid-August by Comcast and the aftermath of Hurricane Ike hasn't helped. Larry Up North said they've had no outages, but then, he lives near Wrigley Field and everyone gets taken care of there. In fact, the north side of Chicago had cable about three years before the south side, where everyone is pretty much poorer or, well, black. That was 1987-8, its the same even now. And forget the Lovecraftian south suburbs, I might as well live in Dunwich. So maybe I shouldn't dump on the north side, besides, I've been up there many a time and am a lifelong Cub fan and age is giving me a gut like Lou Pinella. Kinda. So bam! Saturday comes along, I'm reading an article about, hell, I can't even recall. Sid would know, he sent it to me. No, I was reading his journal entry on Paul Newman. Phone and Internet down, 11:30 AM. Mind you I'm working at the printing plant again, albeit temporarily and without a time card, if'n you know what I mean, so the first repair guy comes out while I'm at work Monday. He's on the phone with me in the bindery area, can't do a damn thing. I get home and find about all he did do was plug my Ethernet cable in backwards. I get a guy on the phone yesterday and he suggests something that, well, I should have known myself. Re-install the software. Comcast stripped Internet Explorer away into the night, leaving me with a zombie computer. Well, one that couldn't think. At least my zombie computer B.S. (Before Saturday) could think. I install three disks...and the computer SHUTS OFF. Like in a horror film. You know, where the sheriff says, don't leave, the computer is right there in the house with you, using a different modem!!! I freak out, but quickly realize that I had unplugged the monitor while snooping out my window. I need to register again, but now I have to get a new registration number so I cal India and get a guy who says his name is Tony in an Indian tone and I want to in fact say, Hey, Tone', but he wouldn't get the joke. And I doubt that Tony in India had a toothpick inna his mouth. Well, I'm typing numbers left and right like a cryptographer and zim zam biff, the computer boots back up, the Internet is there and I recover all my bookmarks and stuff. And realize that I have only whittled my 227 emails down to 103 while at Kinko's, though a few did show up later that night. And AGAIN with the Nigerian lottery guy. Well, that's kind of the whole story. Crappy south suburban hell, compared to prissy north suburban Stepfordism. I'll concede that the north side is pretty cool, they have used bookstores and comic shops and a place that sells old Starsky & Hutch trading cards, the bubble gum still in the package. Now I'm trying to get my writing project doe as I continue to work from 7 AM until about 3 PM. After this is posted, I'm going to eat ice cream and watch THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES on Hulu, because, I'll tell you, if Skynet makes the Terminators using Windows Vista and Comcast technology, well, we are safe from world takeover, at least until all the banks go under and we go back to living in huts made out of our own poop.