Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year from Chicago

I'm way down there at the lower left...may you all have a safe and productive year, and keep resolutions longer than I do. Now I'm off to read my Act of Contrition card...wayne

New Year's Ghosts of Block 37, circa 1988

I've learned long ago that I'm happier to be by myself, at least in the sense that I am not as tormented inside as I am when I'm around others. And, through this diabolical and dastardly computer, I have made friends in all corners of the world, Etain in Johannesburg, Steve in Christchurch,Kees in The Netherlands, Jaime in Tasmania (he's the guy who found a copy of my novel in a used bookstore in Sydney), and have ended the year with a comic book deal through a publisher in New Delhi. I even traveled outside of the United States for the first time in my life, going to a convention in Toronto in April. That said, as much as I'd like to visit any and all of my new friends and witness their cities and towns through their eyes and not their text, I fear that I shall always be anchored to Chicago. One block in particular, the one I centered on in the novel that Jaime bought. Block 37 is bustling these days, the Oriental building across the street displaying signs for WICKED, the studios for our CBS afilliate Channel 2 being built on the northern side of Randolph Street, where the Treasure Chest and the Burger King and my make-believe Marclinn Rainey Home For The Handicapped stood in the center of the block, where that abandoned building appears in the photos and the homeless slept atop steam vents in the winter months. The entire block was torn down in the summer of 1989 and remained empty for almost twenty years. I've yet to come up with a dedication page for the anniversary edition of THE HOLY TERROR, but I think that I'll likely have to dedicate the book to The Ghosts of Block 37.

New Year's Ghosts of Block 37

Painted Bottles "Not From Around Here"...and The Laughing Cow

The "not from around here" line goes back years as a phrase Sid and I use when things go drastically wrong. He mentioned Chocolate Soldier from his Louisiana days, I can recall Howdy as a brand name out in Streator, an infamous 'haint of mine, and of course, the earliest bottles of Mountain Dew had a hillbilly saying "Whoo-hoo, Mountain Dew!" My high school buddy Dan informed me that the only place that you can buy Kickapoo now is in Thailand and Malaysia. Good for them, I say. The joy juice was mixed with vodka by most of my cousins. I've said all I wanted to say, and I have now successfully exorcised the Laughing Cow from my nightmares, so expect a year's end post later...Wayne-O

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Things I Have Shouted At My Computer, And Other Catchy Phrases

Bob, Charles, and Lana loved that last post, so I thought I'd add a few others from my folder called Pulp Fiction, a catch-all for book covers, videos, movie lobby cards, and, oddly, ads for the 1964 Plymouth Wildcat. Bob mentioned all the books he had to toss back in the day, and I can only imagine a literary career of knocking out 140 page novels about craziness. Hopped up on the goopy gop and Kickapoo Joy Juice, the latter a now-defunct drink in Kentucky (the state that also still gives us Laughing Cow butter pats), and writing things that made no sense past the moment the words were manually typed. But hey, the book titles were cool, and I'm certain the writers had fun knocking the books out Zebra and Pinnacle style, only with less pages and thus less crap to clomp through. (I am of course excluding books by Sid Williams and the Usual Suspects, even THE BREEZE HORROR had its moments). I had more titles before my hard drive crashed in September, like LOVE CAMP ON WHEELS, THE NEIGHBORS SUCK AND SO DO WE, BAYOU GIRL, and THE DEAD DARLING. Quite a few of these I picked up at the long gone Bookseller's Row, across from the Red Lion, after PULP FICTION was released in theaters. They had a sign in the window that pretty much said WE HAVE YOUR REAL PULP FICTION RIGHT HERE! And, as stated in my blog title, you can likely pick out the phrases I call my computer, hissing under my breath like a guy ready to pull the trigger. Oh, an aside here, I was interviewed once and mention a phrase, "Skull Carpenters", which I made into a story that appeared in WITH WOUNDS STILL WET. When the interview saw print in LACUNAE#8, the book was transcribed as THE GODS ATE CANDY. I can only imagine what the hell readers thought I had in my library...BUDDHA EATS PASTA, GANESHA'S COTTON CANDY ADVENTURE, HORTON EATS A HO-HO...Wayne

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smacking Windows

I had a particularly decent post, but it will not be much good if I cannot load the photos I wanted to, and good old dial-up is slow from our wind and snow (or the coming Ragnarok). So I'll sneak in a post before midnight, stating the obvious about what I'd like to say to my computer on nights like this...Wayne

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Flophouse on Millard Street

It didn't have a name. It was within walking distance of the comic shop. It was back in the day. I wasn't Jonny Algiers yet. I was the schizophrenic Fugitive, both Richard Kimble and the One-Armed Man. Bipolar med fifteen years in the future, the car accident a year in the past. The present pure crazy. I'd escape the voices in my head, the one that talked about the drill bit, the other about the noose, and disappear to the second floor of this joint. I'd carry my old Smith-Corona Galaxie Twelve and type about The American Dream or my werewolf with Huntington's chorea. Some good stories came from that room, where I vented out the insanity in my veins. I was lucky enough to take photos of the place a few winters back, wondering if my characters' voices still could be heard in Room 2B. The place is gone now, the land a development for Park Place, even though there is no park and the only place nearby is the elevated train. I miss that joint.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Altered Fates

I'm actually in pretty good shape today, and, as always when I feel this way, part of me gets royally pissed off. Just like my left and right sides of my body are off by anywhere from 1 to 3 seconds in brain/reaction time, just as I have a love/hate relationship with Chicago because I follow Nelson Algren's doctrine, I also despise myself when I have a pain free day. All day, clear headed, no wincing or hidden moans, just like in my dreams. And I FUCKING HATE IT. Mostly because when I am not hurting--and this happens every few months, just as my nosedives into a crater of despair occur--I feel guilty. Yes. Today, I woke up feeling the usual stiffness, and now, as I type this, I am channeling that same stiffness through the toothpick in my mouth, but for most of the day I kept feeling the way a normal person does. Which I should not do at all, make comparisons. I long ago accepted that my days would be stop and start, memories and moments shredded depending on the day, but regardless, I am moving FORWARD. Now. The photo above. Philip Baker suffers from Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, another form of cerebral palsy. A terrible one. It is a self-destructive disease, and, as seen in the photo, the afflicted (and how I DESPISE that word!) must have their wrists restrained. Mr. Baker's face looks puckered because many of his teeth have been removed. If they weren't, he would literally chew pieces of his flesh and lips off, his hands, if free, would tear gouges in his torso. He would not be aware, because everyone with Lesch-Nyhan is mentally retarded (not challenged, for Christ's sake.) I had planned to write about a current project involving crippled children and super powers, but I feel (and fear) that I've done enough simply by talking about Philip Baker, who will be a Wikipedia poster child for the immediate future, who cannot move forward with his life Not one bit. I wrote about someone with this disease in THE HOLY TERROR and almost returned to it for my new project. But it will not fit the parameters of a comic book aimed for 5th-7th Graders. Even I am aware of that. Just by taking a fresh toothpick for my mouth, a simple act as that, I am moving forward. When I am in those craters of despair that I mentioned above, I often think of taking that Greyhound to Portland and hanging myself from the Willimantic Bridge, but if I stumble further down into that crater's darkness, I start thinking of putting a drill bit into my ear, because if I was too cowardly to kill myself, at the very least I could join the crippled mindless and I'd never compare myself to anyone again. I'd just stare and not have a toothpick in my mouth. I still feel perfectly fine, yet anger burns into my brain with each blink of my good eye....Wayne

Sunday, December 23, 2007

David Seville & Those Other Guys

Yesterday my nieces saw that Chipmunk film while I shopped at the Chicago Ridge mall. I've always told people that David Seville AKA Ross Bagdasarian was a fantastic drummer, because as a kid, the flip side of my 45 RPM "Chipmunk Christmas Song" featured Seville's "Hey, That's Almost Good," which consisted of the guy pounding on the keyboard with some jazzy horns in the background, as David/Ross hipstered into the two second break the title words of the song. Even as a kid, I felt like a beatnik, without knowing what a hippie was yet. Damn thing is, just about NOBODY recalls Seville's piano work. Just as no one recognizes the Hollywood Flames' "Frankenstein's Den" (from my Hallowe'en post), rather the lead singer's big hit "Rockin' Robin," so it is with Seville's "The Witch Doctor." Unlike, say, the song about the "Purple People Eater," one would only recognize the lyrics "ook ork iik ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang." The song was featured in an episode of THE JETSONS, I think the one where George dropped some blotter acid with Mr. Spacely. My father somehow knew these lyrics, perhaps from his stint as an Air Force decoder during the Korean War, maybe as a bouncer at Mania's Lucky Stop at Division and Hermitage. (My mother was a dice girl at the Orange Lantern on Mary Street, a block west). After my grandmother Grace died, we got a bunch of photos back, one of which shows my father and I, both somewhat emaciated in our poverty on Crystal Street, me a shrimp at the age of four thanks to the whimsiness of my maker, eating one of our polak/hillbilly staples: Peanut Butter, Syrup, and Bread. As I said, tough times, lots of medical bills, my dad not yet a city beat cop with benefits. So I'm torn between the memories of my father singing the chorus of that idiotic song and Seville's magically smooth and sadly forgotten piano moves. He wrote "C'mon-a My House" (made famous by Rosemary Clooney), was a cousin to writer William Saroyan, and appeared playing the piano in REAR WINDOW. Seville died of a heart attack at the age of 53. Hey, that's almost good...Wayne

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bruce Willis Hit By A Disfiguring Ray

There's always been talk that when I shave my head I can look like a decent Bruce Willis, but with sunken cheeks. I blame that on the four bottom teeth I knocked out with my own fist from my broken arm, after I was hit by the car in 1989. In 2002, when we hosted the World Horror Convention, I put in my bio that I'd be the guy looking like Willis hit by a disfiguring ray. That quote still is bandied about at different get-togethers. Myself, I see Andy Sipowicz's bags under my eyes and Abe Vigoda's crooked nostrils. Willis is the man, and I my guilty pleasure is a Kurt Russell film, but one thing I can say, I can never be compared to Mitchum. It all comes back to him...Wayne

Breaking the 4th Wall, Eternal Mitchum & Stewart

Anyone who reads comics is familiar with breaking the fourth wall, and for those who are still confused, Starman might help you out with his questioning "the audience." Chris Turek sent me this Christmas card today, and yes it would be great to see a world Eternally Mitchum. Clouds would wave hello and it would rain vanilla ice cream or Seagram's gin. All pizza would be free. Oh, and dolphins could talk and prove their superiority over humans, as I've always suspected. The last panel of my entry is included not just for its creepiness, but because Santa looks very much like the guy that Chris and I worked for at that comic shop fifteen years ago. Oh, one more thing. Just like in BLADERUNNER, there would be floating advertising cubes, only with photos of Bobby the Mitch in alternating teal and magenta backgrounds. I think I could live there...Wayne

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not Quite Midnight...

at the old printing plant in woods by the Cal Sag Channel. But I'm still somewhat fascinated by the randomness of Google Images. I did become specific this time, typing in the words "space elvis," if only because I want to one day start a sentence that reads: "Back when I was working with the Space Elvis band...". Steve posted from sunny NZ that the Google Imaging is as addictive as Mindsweeper or YouTube. Well, regarding the first, as with any game that requires hand-eye coordination, I just go holy batshit on it and I ended up clearing the screen in three seconds, something I'm certain is not possible to top, except perhaps by Bobby the Mitch...I'd actually be writing fiction if it wasn't for the machinery and the cold air and the smell of ink and three types of drunken bachelor ass...Wayne

Words To Live By

I used to remark about my writing career by saying, "I fucked my way to the bottom and crawled to the gutter." Maybe I'm just getting more optimistic in my old age."...Wayne

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Midnight At The Rendering Plant

Man, I have got to get on the DSL bandwagon. I downloaded the photos for this post in seconds. I am of course at the printing plant, the word rendering just sounds better, this being the city of the stoockyard ghosts. Gotta love Google images though. I have been diddling around, and thought I'd try to get some good images of the Virgo galaxies supercluster--I'm somewhat of an alien, that is, astronomy buff--and within a page, I came up with some guys passport and Ingrid Bergman, this before a single photo of as galaxy. Though I will concede that there were several graphics and what seemed to be photoshop gaming hoohah like the map of the Star Wars galaxy I found on wikipedia (again, without even looking for the damn thing...I think I was looking up bukkake clowns, come to think of it...) Jiggers, I gotta go. My machine is calling me. Her name is Pamela Sue. I'm telling the truth...Wayne

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seen Of The Crime

What amazes me about Greg, Rich, Gary, Doug...they pull in the cabbage for their artwork and have lovely wives, better yet. But they look up to ME, the guy who keeps writing all kinds of craziness, I have no clue why. I am in aw of these guys. Hell, I should owe Greg about thirty thousand dollars on the basis of the photos he has taken of me, though I have a sneaking suspicion he is going to splice several photos into his bootleg DVD of BUKKAKE CLOWNS. Here I am, living in poverty, pretty much having to make a promise to BLOW A PONY to get some stories published, and THESE guys think I'm the cat's pj's? I don't get it, I really don't. My credo is posted, as is my version of photoshop. But I did dabble in some abstract artwork in the early 90s after my father gave me some crime scene templates. To be wacky, the lettering came from my own blood, I can get some pretty good nosebleeds if I try. Gothic Light was a magazine published out of Aurora, out west of Chicago....Wayne

About that nosebleed business, you ee, I never lie...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Elvis Has Left The Building

As I mentioned, the other artists in my Rogers Park estate were Gary Krejca and Rich Stergulz, their artwork represented here respectively. I'd write more, but its damn cold here today. I learned a good analogy today, feeling like this is being outside my body, trying to get back in, but watching the inside burn and freeze. And I have to get up at 5 AM to get to work, a rare event, but still...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Halcyon Days in Rogers Park, 1985

I received two pieces of mail today, both reminiscent of my days living in Rogers Park before moving back home after my father had brain surgery. I had three roommates, Douglas Klauba, Gary Krejca, and Rich Stergulz, all artists. I keep meaning to post a painting Rich--now living in California--had auctioned off for wildfire relief, but you can see his website on the blog links. Doug always found time from his immensely busy schedule to illustrate ANYTHING of mine for free. For the fun of it. Not because I had Kodak Land Camera photos from the Bukkake ClownFest of 1982. Peggy Nadramia of GRUE magazine wanted this little chapbook of my poems to send out to subscribers and I picked up a copy from Daniel Breen, who owns a bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, for six bucks. I might grab a few more if Santa is good to me. The other thing, well...Gary Krejca caused me to become a victim of The Four Sticks. He called my attention to the VCR at 11:11 PM and from that point on, more often than not, any digital clock would be flashing the four sticks instead of, say 11:14. We still exchange Happy Four Sticks emails on Veterans Day. I get several royalty checks every that are for stories that go back almost fifteen years, so it doesn't matter how small they are, its for something I've done nothing for. Well, take a look at the amount on the check that came the same day as Suburbs. I have been waiting years for a check like that. Check your clocks, everybody. What time is it? (Nope, its NOT Bukkake Clown Time, that's the first Sunday of every week...) Wayne