Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Never You Mind

Forget where I came across this image, or why. Just look at it. I will have nightmares, so I might as well cause a few of you to have them, too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Can You See That I Can't, James Lipton?

Well, OK. Its Lipton doing the talking to the other guy. I'm combining my comic tangent with my vision quest tangent--finding the Dread End tale--to move on to other things, like photos of the 16th Street Bridge.

A lot of people seem to look like James Lipton, both in comics and in real life. I love what some people say is the best single Lois Lane panel there is, and it made me recall that the same guy was on the cover of that other nutty comic. I had owned it as a kid, someone in Kentucky had let me have a bunch of books to shut me up or something, and over the years it was lost. (Seriously, I had this comic in 1966, and who the hell knows where any of my stuff was by 1970, even). I always remembered the cover, the mismatched colors to the one scientists outfit, the blob and the red guy battling near the ceiling, but I didn't know the publisher or the title. Years back, I'm at a comic convention and my brain makes me veer to a bargain box. I do not look in bargain boxes, I'm there to find a Golden Age BLUE BEETLE, and yet...the second book from the front was this very book I'm talking about. I bought it for a buck. I also have a fonder memory of it, I helped Ashley learn to read with the book. She even got the proper inflections right with the cover dialogue right on the second or third try. At least I can get away with a few things around here. Oh, and the cover scene. Never happens in the story. The lab tech that doesn't look like James Lipton was high on the joy juice. He could only see through walls. Of course, he could have been screwing with Lipton, too. I would. Regardless, its a pretty cool cover, you have to admit.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Clown At Midnight

The last few years Grant Morrison has been writing BATMAN, as you know since I've talked about the R.I.P. storyline. Now, I love Morrison but I've never much liked Batman. He's like Wolverine over at Marvel. Once, when I worked at the comic shop and we were doing a count on each new title for the week, Wolverine was on 11 different covers. With Batman its more like, OK, your parents were killed by Joe Chill, let it the fuck go already. Fight crime, but don't let every other story be about some orphaned kid. Two weeks back, on one of the few warm days so far (the day I took the LOST photos), I picked up two trades of Morrison's first dozen issues leading into R.I.P. In the middle of the first trade, a stand alone story. A PROSE story. With painted art by John Van Fleet. An interesting experiment, something we'd never have seen 15 years back when I worked at the comic shop on Archer Avenue.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Monster of Dread End

Hey, everyone. It's pretty creepy here, raining very hard and hovering around 35 degrees. I guess this has a kind of karma thing to it, just as my book buying story did, in that, not only was I informed that I was not INSANE, but that there was a place on the Ubernet where I could read scans of the entire story. There's this guy, see, Mike Sterling, in Ventura, CA. Works at a comics shop and posted a book cover of a giant snake in a tree. I commented on how it reminded me of the thing that you'll see if you read the ten page story below. I also knew that the other stories in whatever comic I was thinking of involved a girl from an orphanage whose foster parents kept getting eaten by monsters and a story about a stallion with red eyes. Well, a man named Fechtenberger told me where I could find a scan of this story, from GHOST STORIES#1, and I realized that I had completely forgotten a fourth story, one called "The Werewolf Wasp." I read this comic in the whacked out town of Streator I mention at times, and the Dread End story freaked me the hell out. Mind you, I was maybe ten when I read this. But I was in Streator. And you could be thirty and be scared by reading a copy of TEEN BEAT if you are in Streator. Seriously. The scans are from Scott Shaw's ODDBALL COMICS, the art is by John Stanley. Have fun and comment on the scariest thing you ever read as a kid. Me, I'm going to go watch me a Mitchum. OUT OF THE PAST is perfect for a creepy spring night like this one...Wayne

Friday, March 27, 2009

Metatextual Redemption

First: what follows is my March 28th contribution to STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED. I have described the story about the lady in Princeton who found that bloodied purse a week or so ago. Some of you might want to read the essay, as the purse lady is only part of it. For those who just want general World Wide Wayneness, the first photo is of a building that seemjs to be four-dimensional. The second I took outside my window, it was two squads and I knew it would come out strange, or not at all. The third is of the flying girl, a billboard that was up for several years on a building near, I'm guessing, Harrison and where the el wavers from State to Wabash. The photo itself startled many a traveler while it was there. Well, that's it for up here, the actual post that means something is down there.

You all know my father was a Chicago cop for 31 years, and many of my anecdotes or actual instances of grief come from either him or his partners. A cop sees you on the worst day of your life. I write about these people to get an understanding of why things happen they way they do, or why PEOPLE let things happen the way they do. Back in 2005, I took Amtrak out to Princeton, in Illinois's Bible Belt, to visit Trey and LuAnn Barker, who run Green River Books. Trey is also a Bureau County sheriff's deputy. We drove past the wind turbines that Memorial Day weekend, and he pointed out a stretch of road to me, then a bit later, a wooded area. Like most wooded areas in Illinois, it looks as if the trees are skidding to a stop before the edge of the road. A teenage girl disappeared in 1977 and her skeleton was found in that crop of trees the following spring. On the morning the girl went missing, a woman was driving on the aforementioned road and saw a purse on the side of the road. It looked as if it had fresh red nail polish on it, but she did nothing about it. It was a time of no cell phones and the farm roads in Illinois stretch for miles. Plus, this woman had an appointment with her hairdresser. On the way back she found that the purse was gone. It was then that she called the police, wanting to know if the purse had been turned in, even arguing that she had "seen it first" as the police record shows. It's obvious that the purse belonged to the missing girl, the nail polish might have been blood, and it was the killer who came back for the purse. Rarely am I sickened by the actions of another. The people demonstrating in Oakland, mocking the death of four officers last Sunday? Watch the news here any night. Police are the devil incarnate.
Then came time to write a story for HELL IN THE HEARTLAND, an anthology by Annihilation Press, with each story set in Illinois. I wanted so bad to write a story about this woman, who still lives near Princeton. Hell, she's only about five years older than me. But I couldn't. I wasn't able to think of it as I would if the same thing had occured in Chicago. It was a purse at the side of the road. Was the woman wrong for not calling the cops or even the property owner? And yet there she is, living out her days, and I can't get her out of my head at times. I created a fictional story for the anthology, one about a man who tracks down a priest who abused him as a child. When he gets to the church in the small town, he finds that someone had already killed the priest. I define redemption in a funny way, I guess. I'm redeeming MYSELF, because I cannot speak for the victims. Homicide cops will say that they work for God, but all writers can do is remind readers that certain indignities occur. I want to write about the woman who wanted that purse in 1977, and if you want to know the truth, all of you, at times I find myself walking up to her porch and fighting the urge to kill her, just ask her, why? The hairdresser appointment was more important? Seriously? But then, as in my story about the priest (who reflects any of a dozen child rapists in the Chicago Archdiocese), I see myself walking up to purse lady's porch...and I find that someone else has already killed her, out of outrage or simply a petty, small town argument.

Instant Karma

Most of Chicago is a grid and so there are many ways to get a decent vanishing point photo, either from street level or on the el platform. And, yes, I'm bringing up LOST again only because a really cool karmic thing happened today, and LOST is all about karma. I had purchased a few of my own books through Amazon, first time ever, I've been wanting get extra copies of FOR YOU, THE LIVING and PAIN GRIN, then decided what the hell, I'm down to one dog-eared WITH WOUNDS STILL WET. Today I get a reply from the seller, as well as a refund notice from Amazon, reason being "karma goodness." The guy knew me, liked my work, and decided it should be on the house, a pay it fwd kind of thing. (I'm keeping his name out of this post to make it even MORE karmic, like a complete and mystifying event). Anyways. I just love that goofy thing attached to the ABC studios where the old State-Lake theater used to be, and, well, you ALL know about how I feel about teal. So I had to take some mirror photos of several LOST scenes, as well as one of the always magnificent Terry O'Quinn from the steps of the el. The studios are right across from the Chicago Theater and I liked the way the shadows were falling so I took the photo and it came out just as I saw it. What va cool thing, though, getting a free book from a stranger. Where's Rod Serling?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bridgeview Pipes

I have broken my keyboard (I think), and so will not type much this post. My niece plays basketball at a school in Bridgvie est ofburbank.(s?)NH hsaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa sare a few photos of the street,I was hoig to get more steam from the buiding in the 2nd pho but I really liked the odd pattern f those pies in the first. Pipes, not ies. Oh crap, I quit. To be continued.....Wayne

Frankenstein's Den

I have more outdoorsy photos to post, but its late (the time is posted below, but I think I have my blog set to American Samoa time, not sure). Here's what the lab looks like, I'm kinda glad Mitchum and Jane Greer from OUT OF THE PAST are faintly visible on the computer screen. Yea, me. The shelf on the right, the one with Steve McQueen, has all the books I am in. The shelf beneath my desk holds odd books I have found at thrift stores, like the first guide to America Online and Writer's Market 1973, a Polish and Ukrainian cookbook, and various Chicago reference books. I'm also sitting there with my August 16th 1977 Sun-Times front page (which I bought for fifty cents in 1982, and yea, I know!) before I hung it up in another section of my room. Then there's the Greg Loudon painting. Yea, I posed for it. That's my face, and hair, in 1991. I've tried to take a few photos of this recently and they've never been this good. I even set it out front Sunday with Buddy the Mitch so it would scare away the Jehovah Witnesses. Its early in American Samoa, but I need to eat my ice cream and blow this joint. I'll keep the Tesla coils on low...Wayne

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breaking Bad

I suppose if I grew a moustache, I might be able to pull off Bryan Cranston's look in BREAKING BAD, seeing as how we are both lipless wonders. I placed his photo on my scanner, put my face in pretty much the same pose, and went for broke.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meanwhile...In Stupid Wayne's Manner!

Well, the spasms were at it again. I do something wrong that increases the font size of the text I'm writing. This happened on the book I am writing and it took me an hour to almost get it in working order again. Really, who needs to type with a 46 Font Size? Then I signed up to Crimespace and somehow deleted the sidebar on my blog, who knows if it is still there or just in hiding. Where's the airplane glue and the Ziploc bag that is human head-size? At least give me a decent peep show book so I don't have to act like the Caped Crusader & his young ward...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SN 1572 & The Friday Night Four Sticks

Its that time again. Starts this way, I'm looking at Astronomy Photo Of the Day (APOD), and there's that top photo, the remnant of the Supernova of 1572 (which at one point had the luminosity of 200 full moons), and then it mentioned Tycho Brahe and his diary, I linked to that, and damn it all, first freaking sentence he writes mentions that he first saw the bright star on November 11th 1572. I mention that to Astronomer Louis and he pops back the the galaxy M 108 has a right ascenion of 11 hours and a declination of 11 minutes as of today, the spring equinox. It is a never ending hell. I googled more images, like last year when I found out that Black Label used to put out a malt called 11-11. This time out I typed in Eleven Eleven and then Four Sticks, the latter giving me the cycle license plate meant to drive Charles crazy, some crazy art exhibit in Calgary, and (though I have not posted an image), a California magazine called Eleven Eleven and I fully intend to mail (yes, you heard me, they accept only stories sent USPS so they must be Puritans!!!)I'll let you know how that goes. If I'm accepted, certainly that is my death knell. Well, by causing the Four Sticks curse on Louis he at least can find crazy astronomy lingo that shows 1111. I am think that perhaps what is needed is a Four Sticks constellation, but I suppose anybody can do that by looking at Gemini and shaking their head back and forth.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Got Nothin'

Long night, up to 23K on the novel. Nightmares last night about Plague Doctors on the 16th Street Bridge. Long story. Heading west into the black...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18th 1989: Same Old Song

Yea, yea, the anniversary of the day I was hit by the car. Happened before I met Sid Williams, but I thought this bar in Blue Island had a cool sign, and it was taken the weekend before the accident, and everything I am wearing in that photos was shredded. I tried to take a decent webcam shot of the middle of my left forearm where there is missing bone and poked my finger in my cheek where I am missing four of my bottom teeth. (I wasn't going to wear a partial at the age of 29).

That lady that died tonight from the skiing accident. She felt fine, then got dizzy later. There are events that simply do not exist in my immediate family's lives, its as if I followed a different string reality and then course-corrected back into the one I share with them, you, and, unfortunately, everyone on Fox News. The two bones in my left forearm were severed and I was not operated on for six days. There was a reason for this, the first photo shows how my arm was wrapped. I was hit on a Saturday, it was much worse weather than it is today, there was ice on the ground and snow remnants on the curbs. Ended up I could not be operated on right away because there were a bunch of gang fatalities from Marquette Park, which was right across California Avenue from Holy Cross. I guess I should be grateful for those punks and their skirmish. I had been knocked out with Demerol and came out of it around 3 PM. I turned my head and it was like my eyes had spilled out of my skull on bungee cords. I was so scared by this that I pissed all over myself. I was petrified to move my head again, even when the neurologist asked me to. I had three contusions over my right eye. If the doctors had operated, I might have died from the bleeding in my brain. My scarlet sponge brain. Every day I had CT scans and the occasional MRI. Finally things looked safe enough to get my arm sewed back on. My folks seem not to remember that, only that I had broken my arm. I don't care, but its a tell on why I'll talk about my father more than I will my mother or my sister. I can imagine that lady being okay after her ski accident and not realize she'd be dead in a day. I try not to remember those minutes when I couldn't call for the nurse and my eyesight just bonged back and forth and its just so damn hard to explain it was like someone physically slapping my eyesight back and forth and I felt myself the warmth of my urine and could only drool until the nurse arrived.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Princeton Murder Police

Adding to last night's post. There's the train station and main street. The houses on the side streets are fantastically beautiful, iron porch railings, storm cellars, the works. The next stop up from Mendota, heading west into the black. Driving around, looking at the energy turbines on the farmland, Trey Barker told me of recent death as well as one that goes way back. Back in the late 70s, a teenage girl disappeared, her skeleton was found about six months later in a wooded area. The morning the girl went missing--we are talking daylight here, not 3 AM morning--a woman passed a purse on the road and stopped to take it, but it was streaked with fresh blood. She continued on her way, to a beauty salon, but on the way home she saw that the purse was gone from the road. (Here's the part that makes me want to stand outside this woman's house and scream my fucking head off; she still lives in Princeton). She calls the police, to complain about the purse being rightfully hers since she saw it first. Never mind the cops didn't have it. The consensus is that the killer went back and retrieved it. The woman admitted she saw fresh blood but thought it was nail-polish. Princeton is near I-80 and in the serial killer database there is indeed a listing for an "I-80 Killer," but about the only notes in the folder show that he is a trucker. Pretty slim folder. The purse never showed up, and I wonder if the idiot woman even remembers what the hell happened and how badly she fucked up.

The other story occurred in Bureau County, but one town north. A guy running for public office had a local reporter checking into his finances and things. No nefariousness there, just trying to write a decent investigative story that might get picked up by AP. Melodramas occur, and I'll skip to the end. The fellow running for office shows up at this woman's home, she's in her late 50s, and shows her printouts of child porn and a concocted story about how the photos could be traced to her husband's computer. The guy was wearing gloves, I guess to not have fingerprints on the pages. This is important to know. He tells the woman his intent to mail these to the sheriff or a news station--her husband was a respected man in the town--and she has a heart attack. The jagoff waits fifteen minutes to call the cops, the EMTs later said that if they had arrived earlier, the woman would have lived. The man's excuse for waiting to call was that he fretted over having a hole in his glove. There was never any trial, he denied his plan to smear the dead woman's husband. I write stories about a serial killer called Every Mother's Son, he only kills bastards like the two people I've just described. I killed off the purse lady in a story called "From A Sow's Ear." That was the story I thought I could post last night, but then couldn't find it readily. There are six stories with Jimmy Dvorak, E.M.S. The name comes from the band who sang "C'mon Down To My Boat, Baby" in the 60s. I don't think I could carry a novel with the guy, but maybe one day his memoirs will come out. The first story was published in 1990, so he is getting up there in age...

As John Mellencamp says, Ain't that America?

Mendota, Illinois

Today the space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station made a double fly-by and it made me think of my photo of these cows looking at the meteor. Mendota is due west of Chicago, my writer friend Trey Barker is a Bureau County cop in nearby Princeton, and his wife LuAnn runs Green River Books. Trey tells me that the majority of his job entails arresting meth dealers and answering calls about someone having a flat tire and swearing about it. I visited Trey in 2005 and as we drove around, he told me several stories that would fit right in here in Chicago. You know, one of the crimes I played around with and made a fiction out of it. Think I'll add it here. Don't need to read it, I mostly posted the cows and the ISS in front of the moon. Hell, I can't find the story. It's late. Remind me to tell the story about the woman who found the purse with blood on it but she was late for the beauty parlor. Deal?