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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Babbling

Today's Novel Progress: 921 words.

Worked some OT today. I'm so frickin' tired. I couldn't even begin to tell you how tired I am. My legs feel like they're made out of dried twigs that have been left in the sun and set fire to. I have a cough I can't get rid of. Why did I work OT, I hear you cry? Because I'm an idiot. And I'm greedy. Every day it's up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder, down the ladder. Why I ain't skinny, I couldn't tell you. Praise Vishnu I don't have a desk job! Mandy woke up this morning just as I finished writing. They're all too cute, my Jen my Joe & my Mandy. I just gave Mandy a hug. She was sitting there saying "want huuuuug Want huuuuuuuug?" Who could say no to that?

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little Word About Jawas.

Today's Novel Progress: 1002 words. Having fun turning characters on their heads.

Today we're going to take a moment to talk about the unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe, Jawas. Jawas are tiny, inoffensive creatures who like to take used droids off your hands and fix them up good as new. But many people don't realize that Jawas are actually the creatures that house the power of the force within their minds. (That's why their eyes glow, you see.) In fact, it was during a night of wild sexual abandon with Shmi Skywalker that caused little Anikin to be born. ("There was no father" my ass, she was just too ashamed to admit that she took part in a Jawa orgy.) So the next time you see a Jawa, don't chase it away, throw rocks at it, or call it a "filthy creature." Say "Thank you, Mr. Jawa, thank you for making the Star Wars Universe possible."

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Night...

Today's novel progress: 758 words.

Joe wants to watch "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader," but I told him not to worry - we I was already planning to watch the presidential debate. (Drum fill.)

As I've said before, I don't like Sarah Palin as a VP candidate - but honestly, I don't understand the utter rancor, (I mean "bitter hatred," not "Rancor," the two-legged guy in Jabba the Hutt's basement who's just doing his thing when Luke comes along and squishes his head in a garage door,) some people have for her. OK, she's the female version of Dan Quayle. So what? Some people are going to vote for her. That doesn't mean they've been "fooled," it just means they agree with what she (and McCain - he's the guy who's running for president) stands for. If you don't - then vote for someone else. That's how an election works.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Horray for Sanity!


Photo of the Yesterday: Sun peeking out from behind the clouds.

Today's Novel Progress: 747 words. I had to write using my Pocket PC on the subway, as poor Mandy was sick this morning. Blech. Puke everywhere.

Kudos for two signs of sanity in the digital age: the first is that Electronic Arts is being sued over it's draconian DRM in Spore - the same one it ruined Mass Effect for PC with. Sorry, folks, I understand you want to protect your product, but if I'm going to plunk down $50 for a game, then I own the goddamn game. I should be able to install it on my computer as many times as I like, as many years from now as I like, on as many different computers I own or ever will own. Hackers will find a way around anything, so the only people you're hurting & alienating are your legal customers. The second is that Jamie Thomas's (the woman who was fined $9250 per song that she had in a Kazaa folder) case has been declared a mistrial. Apparently, the judge finaly realized that he should not have instructed the jury that the record companies did not have to prove Thomas was actually distributing the songs she downloaded before fining her the price of a small house. (Can you imagine that - a judge actually instructing a jury that the plaintiff did not have to have proof?) Why the jury did not simply find her not guilty on the grounds that downloading twenty-four songs should not cary a penalty of $200,000 doallrs, I can't fathom. Hopefully the next one will have some common sense.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here's a Muppet News Flash!


Photo of the Yesterday: Joe & Amanda at Grandpa Ken's

Today's novel progress: 886 words. Father Yuri starts laying into Joseph. I'm curious where this is going...

Dear People of the United States: Let me tell you a fact that may shock you. We each get one vote. That's it. You get your one vote, I get my one vote. Please stop trying to get me to use mine the way YOU want. You only get one. Live with it.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

IF: Clique

Illustration Friday: Clique



Today's novel progress: 758 words. Trying not to write without a thousand imaginary critics looking over my shoulder.

It's an off day, nothing to really bitch about. Sorry.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bear on a Bike


Photo of the Yesterday: Bear on a Bike in Midtown. I hope he didn't make that puddle...

Today's novel progress - 1063 words. Sean (I like that spelling better) Lorraine & Grandpa talk while riding home. Skweiz berates Streng in a separate car. I just have to keep writing & not worry about how it's going. Second drafts are for editing.

Yes, I know what they did in Georgia wasn't nice, but do we really need Russia to be a boogeyman again? Is it because we're actually winning the war in Iraq, (though the media is loathe to admit it,) and people are asking why we still need big brother peeking over our shoulders? Isn't it time to, you know, bring all of our $ home to roost & fix our economy?

That's nice that Treasury Secretary Paulson says a $700 billion bail-out "sticks in (his) craw." What sticks in MY craw is that the CEOs of these companies aren't having their assets stripped. What's craw-sticking is that after yet another bail-out, rather than trying to restore us to the supply side of the economic see-saw, the powers that be are pulling out all the stops to keep the never-ending spiral of consumerism going for just a few more years. What's in YOUR wallet?

Off topic - Who came up with the name "Shop Rite"? It sounds like it's making grocery shopping into an occult ceremony.

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lazing on a Friday Afternoon


A statue on the stairwell at Midtown Comics (on w40th & 7th.) Anyone know who she is? A slutty, cyborg version of Wonder Woman, perhaps? Her feet look very Giger-ish. I was thinking maybe Serpieri's Druuna, but the hair isn't right. I could have asked, but that would have taken the fun away.

Today's Novel Progress: 666 words. My lowest number so far, but what a good'un! Sometimes I pick up steam & run with it, sometimes it's plodding along word for word. Oh well, no rush. Pilgrim is talking again. Is he explaining too much? Am I just explaining to myself? I think I stopped him just in time - it'll be shown later.

Sitting on a black windowsill in Times square, looking at this ridiculously huge TV screen at the Nokia Theater & wondering who Phil Lesh is that he should be sold out for six nights. Going to meet some old friends for a few drinks. Watching people go buy. An Indian-looking guy is selling touristy pictures from a card table- John Lennon, NY skyline, the Meryl Lynch bull- you get the picture. Bought some Heavy Metal issues at Midtown Comics. Just lazing on a Friday afternoon.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're Rich!


Photo of the yesterday. Damn, I'm pretty handy with a pipe bender...

Today's Novel Progress: 1234 words. Yep. I know it's as statistically as any other number, but it's still a goodie. Joseph talks with his father. Originally, my dad was the model, but Joe's (Catholic) father is sounding more & more like Jackie Mason. Oy!

I finished The Catcher in the Rye. A page turner, but pretty plotless. A coming of age tale. Meh. Don't see what the big deal is about. I started On the Road this morning. I'll see how that goes.

So... I reluctantly understand that the government had to bail out AIG to prevent thousands of more jobs being lost. However, if it's going to buy the company with $85 billion of our tax dollars, doesn't that mean that every tax-paying American should now be stockholders? Hmmm....

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alpha Dogs Howling at the Moon


Picture of the Day: The World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan, as seen across the World Trade Center construction site, (with a moon!) at 7am.

Today's Novel Progress: 854 words. Joseph gets interrogated by the cops. I have a handful of policemen in my family, but no detectives to ask for help. I want the scene to be realistic, but like 99.9% of Americans, all I know of interrigations is from movies & TV. I'm trying hard not to write clichés. It's all going in an odd direction, different than the one I envisioned. But I guess this is the better one, because it's the one that's writing itself. Lorraine (Joe's wife) is showing a little chutzpah rather than just being there. Good.

God, I'm tired. I need to go to bed early if I'm going to do this writing at 4am schtick. Mandy's throwing tantrums, I think it's because she's unable to express herself. (Although five, she's verbally about three.) Some young bright lad with an inferiority complex pulled the chair out from under Joe as he was sitting down in class yesterday. Oh, to be able to pull a "Freaky Friday" for a day! Either way, the poor kid is going to have learn to deal with those wired to act in such a way. Once, in the army, a schmuck who routinely bothered me squirted his shoe-wax on me while I was taking off my boots, much to the amusement of his friends. I took a boot in hand and smashed his fingers with it, breaking two of them. Afterward, I was shitting bricks, afraid that I was going to be arrested, but the idiot told the drill sergeant that he was moving a locker and it fell on him. Then he spent the next few weeks following me around like a lost puppy dog, wanting to be my friend. I kept telling him to fuck off, which made him even nicer to me for some unfathomable reason. I'm not suggesting I would ever want Joe to hurt anyone - he's the sweetest kid in the world and I love him the way he is - but such jackasses have always baffled me. Though the construction industry is mostly full of decent guys, every once in a blue moon I'll run into one of them on the job: an asshole who thinks he can win social points by teasing me like we're in grade school until I suddenly flip into my "closet psycho on the edge" routine. Then they back down and act like they want to be best friends while all the while I'm terrified of what would happen if they took a swing at me. Seriously - I'm in shape, but it's a Weeble shape. Either way, the whole alpha-male thing is just beyond me.

TTFN
Tony

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ranting


Photo of the Yesterday: The time-traveling Mariachis (T-H-E-M!) Have found me once again! Though I am Sicilian, maybe they want me to join...

Today's novel progress: 833 words. Another starfish is making an appearance, and it's an unhappy one. Pilgrim and Joe are still a bit shell-shocked. I was wondering how to make Don Q. resurface, but he was nice & came back on his own. It's always good when the story writes itself. As John Cleese once said in a Monty Python sketch, "I don't want you to get the impression it's just a question of the number of words... um... I mean, getting them in the right order is just as important. Old Peter Hall used to say to me, 'They're all there already, now we've got to get them in the right order.'"

OK, is anyone going to pretend to be shocked when Joe, "Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president." Biden falls ill with "unspecified health issues," (or is simply abducted by aliens,) so Hillary can ride in on her white horse to save the election?

In other news you're supposed to pretend to be shocked about, apparently, the Yankees made a deal with the city so the taxpayers would pay for their new stadium. Perhaps the unnecessary bail-out of a multi-billion dollar organization without any financial woes would not be so galling if a) The new stadium did not have less seats than the old, b) The price of seats were not astronomical and completely out of the price range of the average New Yorker, and c) The Yankees had not been sucking donkey-balls for the past few years.

Here is an experiment in the style of the late great Robert Anton Wilson. Find someone who - even after the recent flushing of the American economy down the toilet - still firmly believes in Reganomics. Honestly try your best to get into his or her headspace and understand his or her point of view. (If you ARE a firm believer in Reganomics, find someone who thinks that deregulation has ruined the economy, and try the reverse.) See what the world looks like from a skewed angle than your usual one. Return to your own - which you know is superior to everone elses - whenever you're ready.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random Thoughts Across My Brain


Photo of the Yesterday: Skull in the Sky at Dorney Park.

Novel progress: 1133 words. Joseph is unconscious, retreats to a happy teenage memory. He wakes in a hospital. I may have to look critically at the memory & see if it's distracting from the plot. Does everything need to be pared to the bone these days? I thought books were supposed to be an alternative to edge-of-your-seat TV, not compete with it. Ah well, get it down first...

Dear Metro NY- if you're going to run weekly editorials calling McCain a liar, could you, you know, cite sources, or at least give an example or two? (The whole bit about claiming Obama wanted to teach kindergartners sex ed when all Sen. O. wanted is for them to be taught to run away from predators is my favorite.) I know you're a free paper, but at least you could try...

The good ol' MTA was FUBAR as usual this morning. I know they're like everyone else & trying to do their best with what little they've got, but I really don't enjoy leaving early and arriving l...

I've been reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Both that and Emerson's Invisible Man describe conscious people receiving shock treatments, (I remember Jack thrashing around in the film version of Cuckoo as well,) but my Psych 101 book said they put people under for it. Maybe they didn't once upon a time. Oh well.

Goddamn, it's hot today. It was like walking outside into a brick oven at 5:30 this morning. There's something wrong with that.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, September 12, 2008

Train to Nowhere


Photo of the Yesterday: On the proverbial "Train to Nowhere."

Novel progress: 690 words. I kept rewriting the scene, unhappy with the way things were going down. It's a twisty plot twist, one I never planned on. I'm going to have to revise this thing twice- once right away to even everything out. (The story's just getting down right now.) Then I'll let it cool a couple of months & then start trimming the fat. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Joe surprised me yesterday morning by making me a sandwich wrap before I left for work. Don't I have the nicest kid in the universe?

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Peoples is Peoples."


Photo of the Day: WTC site on 9.11.08. Supposedly, there were a lot of grand high muckamucks down there.

Novel progress 776 words. (Confucius say, He who snack heavily at night spend more time in morning sitting on porcelain than writing.) Joseph got a good look at Ralph's angel & saw how cruel and self-abusive it is. Pilgrim doesn't realize Joe can see other angels & Joe is keeping it from him. Joe demands Pilgrim help him to help Ralph, but Pilgrim refuses, wanting to bargain for information. Ralph meets up with Charlie...

I found myself tearing up this morning when I re-read the letter I wrote back in September of 2001. To be honest, it wasn't for those lost. It was remembering how scared & anxious we all were in the months that followed. I remember passing all the "have you seen" pictures taped to phone kiosks & imagining if that had been me, & how my wife & son (Amanda wouldn't grace us with her presence for a few more years) would have nothing left of me, no proof, no remains, no nothing. Ok, enough.

I've started to look at people, actually LOOK at them. Not staring or ogling, just long enough that something clicks inside, a feeling that I've made some sense of them. I don't think about them, I don't try to catalogue or make conclusions about what their wearing or how their walking if they're fat, skinny, prim, slutty, pretty, ugly, (or in some cases, pretty ugly) - I simply look. It's a weird feeling, like some sort of new sense that I'm getting a fleeting glimpse of. It's odd, because the trick to living in New York (or any city for that matter) is ignoring everyone and everything. If you didn't, you'd go mad. There's a constant cacophony of sirens, jackhammers, horns, and motors, people trying to stick a Metro or AM News in your face, people shouting into cell phones, people who stink, people preaching on the subway, bright flashing neon lights, giant televisions filling the avenues with mammoth advertising, angry people, happy people, poor people, sewer gas coming out of plastic orange smokestacks... The list goes on and on. If you didn't ignore the constant onslaught upon your senses you'd go insane. But actually looking at people, seeing them, how they slouch or stand proudly, how their faces are determined or sagging or lined or thin or broad, the clothes they chose to wear... it's just strange to suddenly be aware of everyone.

This morning, I talked to a man who works at the deli I frequented. He brought up the film M. Without thinking, I quickly followed with my Rocky Rococo impersonation. ("You may have seen me loitering around the drugstore, drinking chocolate malted Falcons and giving away free high schools!") The man's eyes grew wide. "You know the Firesign Theatre?" he happily exclaimed. We spent a bit of time relating our favorite bits. See? We're everywhere. (But how can you be in two places at once...)

TTFN
-Tony

In Memoriam



(Me back in September 2001, working on the roof of the Trinity building, restoring power at ground zero.)

As with previous years, the following is a letter I wrote to my friends & family in the days after 9/11. The letter is here in it's entirety, "warts and all." The only change I'd like to make is that while at the time we were told the death toll was 6000, it's now known to be about 2700.
.............................................

I'm sorry that I've been distant lately. I'm sure you can all understand, some even more than me.

I've been scared. I don't like to be, much less admit it, but I've been scared. I was lucky and in Queens, not in Manhattan last Tuesday. No, I wouldn't have been THERE (Though at 2 am I remember that I was working on the roof of a building a block away a month before this happened.) When the towers went down, I walked to the LIE overpass behind the apartment house and stared at the smoke that was in the place of the towers on the Manhattan skyline. Even though I'm one East River away from the close-ups on TV, it was stomach twisting. I called my foreman that night, and he told me how they watched it happen from the windows, 30 blocks away, how 20-50 year-old tough-guy construction workers were shaking, some crying, because they thought it was WW3 and the beginning of The End.

On Thursday, back in Manhattan, I had to walk from 42nd and Lex to 23rd and 1st, because the #6 line was down. (They were afraid of subway vibrations bringing down more buildings) It's not really as long a walk as it sounds, but I passed the recovery HQ on 1st ave- Past all the TV vans, and past a block's worth of pictures taped to plywood sheets. As time has past, these hopeful "have you seen" pictures have become memorials, and they're everywhere. I can't talk on the phone without staring into photographs with tearful notes of hope underneath, knowing they were put there by loved ones who will never ever see them again. I call my wife, and my voice becomes a dull monotone. She asks why and I'm at a loss on how to explain.

One of my friends at work is 40 years old, and he's a kind, good man. Today he suddenly started cursing himself, muttering what a failure he is. When I asked him what was wrong, he admitted it was because he started smoking again after giving them up cold turkey for 10 years. He told me he feels worthless, because suddenly he can't live without them again. I tell him it's an understandable need, but I can tell that my words don't help. I realize the frustration goes deeper than a pack of Marbalo 100s

Again, I'm on a job 30 blocks away from "ground zero", and I can see out the window that what was once a symbol of achievement is still a smoldering hole in the ground. I know it's only been a week, but I wonder when the skyline won't have a haze that has nothing to do with pollution. I walk down the street and I see people that are scared and jittery, no matter what their profession or race. I buy a paper from an elderly Arabic man, who wears a "God Bless America" shirt every day, and shrinks down in his kiosk- which is draped in American flags- like a frightened rabbit every time I, or any other customer approach. I give the little smile I have, but I don't think it does any good. I wonder if he's so afraid, why he stays here, and I realize he probably has no one and no where else to go.

Our shop is working on restoring power to one of those buildings- the same one I was on the roof of not too long ago (The Trinity building, 111 Broadway for those of you with a love for geography)- and being a lowly apprentice I helped the truck driver deliver material yesterday. My drivers license was scrutinized by armed police and National Guardsmen, like I'm trying to get onto a military base, and they make me wait in the cab while they and the driver search the truck. The won't let the truck get closer than a few blocks away and we wind up rolling 3' diameter wooden reels of sj cord down the street. The smell twisted my stomach, when I realized that what I was smelling was death- the death of a great achievement, of that smug "nothing can ever happen to us" attitude we Americans had without giving it a second thought, and, most disturbingly of over 6000 bodies.

And there's this feeling that grips me, this feeling that there's nothing I could ever do to protect myself, my wife or my son (I know that's a MCP attitude, but I'm sure Jen feels the same way about Joey and me.) And I wonder every night if tomorrow some new insanity will strike. I jump every time a car backfires. I run 2 miles a night (yes, frightening but true. This started a while before all this happened and I'm down to a not-quite-slim-yet 225lbs, thank you very much) and every time a plane flies overhead I flinch. I watched President's Bush's speech on TV tonight, and every time the picture flickered a little (I don't have cable, so 2 is really the only reliable channel- the others are coming and going- for those of you not in NYC, the WTC had all the broadcast antennas for the area except channel 2, leaving those of us cable-less with only CBS ) I thought "oh shit, what's happening now?" Every time I hear a siren, I wonder what's happened. The QM4 bus got held up at the Midtown tunnel yesterday (connecting Queens to Manhattan) because there was an accident. Of course, everyone seeing a bunch of flashing lights and emergency vehicles as we approach a tunnel, we instantly look around like caged animals, wondering if stage 2 had begun.

I feel guilty. Part of me tells myself that I have no right to feel so hurt or so angry- my family and my friends are all safe, and I'm alive and healthy. I'm a civilian now, I don't have to worry like so many others do. Who am I to feel so much? There are some without homes, without jobs, without their wives/sons/husbands/dads/daughters/brothers/sisters/fiancées... oh, you get the picture. I feel like I'm just whining.

I can't help being angry. We have the freedom of religion, but we jump out of our skins if someone says a prayer before a graduation ceremony or a football game. We have the freedom to own firearms, but we curse any law abiding citizen who owns one, while passing more and more lenient laws against criminals who use them. We showed the world that our presidency is a joke, that we don't care about our own history, our pride. We have a popular culture that demands more and more freedoms, but damns those who give/gave their lives and personal freedoms to protect the ones we have. I watched the speech, saw Democrats and Republicans give up their petty bickering that's been tearing the country to pieces, for the first time since WW2. It gives me a boost of hope, and I pray the sentiment lasts longer than this week, and reaches further than military resolve- into fixing our school system, into caring more about our OWN country's welfare, into bringing back production into this country so people can have jobs and learn trades to feed their families. I hope our politicians will stop trying to convince group A that everyone in groups B, C, and Q hates them, just to get their block of votes, then running around like idiots and asking "why?" when that hate turns to violence. I hope we learn to accept and love each other because we're Americans, despite our preference/denomination/color/sex. God, two weeks ago, that statement would have sounded so corny, wouldn't it?

We're at war, but we don't really know against who. There's no clear enemy, no one knows who will attack or when. Will it be us or them? Will it be "Us" or some nut like McVeigh, thinking we'll blame foreign terrorists instead of domestic? I realize I live on an island, and the only way to the rest of the world is by crossing another island (either Staten Island or Manhattan) Am I going to worry over every bridge and tunnel I cross for the rest of my life? And if it's "them," what form will it take? Watching 6000 people die as the WTC go down in flames is one thing. Watching millions in a city die from Anthrax in our water supply is another.

I'm sorry if I see this as just an NYC thing. It's hard to grasp that this is affecting the whole country.

It's an uncertain time, it's become an uncertain world. I just want you all to be certain that I love every one of you.

Those of you who've been forwarding bits of editorials, news items, letters, etc. Thank you, but it's you who's opinion I'm interested in. Let me know what you're thinking & feeling, if you'd like- you're more important.

Love each other, stay safe, and live your lives, for yourself and for each other.

-Tony

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Snakes are Yummy


Photo of the Yesterday: A carving on the Verizon building, taken from the pedestrian overpass on Vesey Street. Is there some folklore about a lion and a snake that I don't know about?

Novel progress: 831 words. A slow morning. I keep telling myself to go to bed early instead of playing Mass Effect but I never do. Anyway, Joe ran into Charlie, and told Pilgrim that sometimes people want to be left the hell alone. He realizes that [spoiler deleted] At the end, he looked in the Men's room mirror to see Ralph behind him & was shocked by... (to be continued tomorrow morning) I'm wondering if, in revision, I should make Joseph more pliant before he met Pilgrim to show contrast. I don't know... I like his unwillingness to let others mess with him. The tone of the first few chapters was different than the way the story is turning out. It was a little too commentary. I won't worry about it now. I think the names are going to change. Ken is going to become Sean (or Shaun - which spelling looks better?) Lynn and Lorraine are too close- one will have to go. Charlie Penguin & Pilgrim bother me, but I love those names, & the characters are miles apart.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Cup Finish!


Photo of the Yesterday: A sculpture on the side of a building in the Financial District. I really wonder what that cherub is doing in that bowl.

Novel progress: 1117 words. I've broken the Fives Law! Pilgrim's kind are becoming more apparent to Joe. Ralph is really starting to crack. Something bad is coming. There's two ways to handle it, and I find myself liking the characters so much I want to choose the more timid choice. Of course, to do so would make a weaker story, so it's not going to go down that way. I'm just surprised I feel so much for them.

This morning, Opie & Anthony were discussing that great bane of the Caucasian male, Political Correctness. This prompted the usual discussion about how PC sucks, and how the phrase "Politically Incorrect" has become more of an advertising term then having any actual meaning. But it got me thinking - how did this happen? And what exactly IS happening? As near as I can give it a defenition, Political Correctness is the phenomenon where, in any exchange, the meaning of the words and intent of the speaker is solely defined by the imagination (or in some cases the deliberate intention) of the listener. The meaning of the words used or the intention of the speaker is irrellevant, and a rediculous pollitical empowerment has been given to the listener. I think that sums it up. Any ideas?

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, September 08, 2008

"Heh heh heh... Pipe."


Picture of the Day Before Yesterday: Joe shows off his 1/4 Scottishness with the Local 3 Sword of Light Pipe Band at the (week after) Labor Day Parade in Manhattan.

Novel progress: 1065 words. But as this is the fifth day, I have to say the five thing no longer surprises me. Joe is beginning to see Pilgrim's kind everywhere. I eventually wanted that to be a possible ending, but I'm only halfway through. Joe buys a coffee and argues with a guy behind a counter. (There's been an awful lot of arguing, hasn't there? I don't want my characters to become my soap boxes. Back to Ayn Rand again - or Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Smith for that matter.) Maybe I'll have the counterman argue with a customer & have Joe egg them on. But he should be in the middle of things. Decisions, decisions...

Dear Senator McCain - I apologize for giving Obama advice while ignoring you. You were doing well enough on your own, people really weren't buying the "sidekick not a maverick" crap, and I didn't think you needed my help. But, jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick - why didn't you ask me before going with Sarah Palin? Obviously, you don't get it. Abstinence only sex education, creationism in the science classes, praying to help gays convert to heterosexuality... I don't know why no one explained this to you, but it's pretty damn doubtful that those on the far far right will vote for Senator Obama. It was us sane, undecided people in the middle that you had to woo. Plus, the fact that Palin is young & female just makes her look like a token choice, especially since she's a wingnut. The whole point was, you were supposed to be distancing yourself from those sort of people, not embracing them. Sigh. I'm sorry no one explained this to you- you should have talked to me sooner. Best of luck.

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, September 05, 2008

Merrily Rolling Along


Photo of the Yesterday: Mother & child, asleep on the E - train.

Novel progress: 1185 words. This five thing is getting downright spooky. Pilgrim explained about his religion. Pilgrim attacked Joe. Note: I should come up with Pilgrim's history & the story of his people just for myself. It would be better to have it cemented in my mind to make things more real. I describe him as looking like a Muppet. Will I have to change that to puppet for copyright reasons? I hope not, especially since Muppets have distinct mouth-shapes & are sewn with a Henson-Stitch (thanks Elena!)

The (week after) Labor Day Parade is manyana. Joe's looking forward to it & the Union wants a big turnout- but if torrents of rain are going to be falling from the sky- sorry, Charlie. Maybe the ghost of Harry Van Arsdale can part the clouds for us.

Not an original thought, but if you brought someone from the dark-ages to the present, their minds wouldn't be able to cope with the technology. Would that happen if someone from today went 1000 years into the future, or have we reached some sort of imagination threshhold, where anything possible can be visualized? I hope not.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Oh Five is Such a Pretty Number..."


Photo of the Yesterday: At the 2nd Ave. F train station. Obviously, the MTA is a little behind on changing posters. Either that, or someone just likes looking at vintage 1983 Carrie Fisher.

Novel progress today: 1015 words. I checked, Word IS counting every single word. That means for three days in a row my word count has ended in five. The Law of Fives - let me go reread the Illuminatus Trilogy. Notes: Ken got upset watching TV. Poor little guy. Pilgrim irked Joe. Joe fought with Ralph some more, this time from Joe's perspective. Pilgrim's ability to see people's pasts is becoming more prominent. Was this an ability he always had? Will it push things in a new direction? I think I'll just let events take their course...

As Stephen King and many other authors have suggested, I'm making sure I read every day as well as write. Not a chore, of course. I love it. Joe doesn't- something I'll never understand. Books were my best friends when I was a kid, and if they were controversial ones that gave my Sainted Sicilian Catholic parents apoplexy, all the better. I just breezed through Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. (Question: Who would win in a hand-to-hand deathmatch between Ayn Rand and Kurt Vonnegut? Objectivism vs. socialism tonight, only on Pay-Per-View!) I've started Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison, not H.G. Wells.) What is it with certain people at work who can't figure out that if I'm reading during lunch it's because I FUCKING WANT TO READ. I'm not reading just to pass the time in the hope that some brilliant conversationalist like you will come and engage me. Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ!

Off topic- a black guy just sat down next to me on the R train wearing jeans, a flowered (but tasteful) button-down shirt, a tie, giant sunglasess, and a mohawk. VIVA LA 80s!

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

WTF is THAT???


Photo of the Yesterday: A giant bug at work that must have landed on a painted wall, stuck, and tore itself pretty badly trying to get free. IT'S FOUR GODDAMN INCHES LONG! Isn't there some law against bugs larger than 2" being north of the equator? THERE SHOULD BE! Can you imagine splicing and laying pipe, minding your own business, and this god-knows-what flies in your face? I'd need a change of underwear afterward!

Today's novel progress: 1145 words. (Is that a coinkidink, or is Word rounding my counts to the nearest five? Must investigate...)

Joseph & Ralph share a car ride & fight. In revision, Joseph needs to just go home early on Friday, not be out for a week on comp. Originally I wanted him to be on his own, but he needs to interact, especially with Ralph. Having him go on comp was obvious shoe-horn plotting. Ken (5 year old) is watching the news & getting upset. Characters are acting on their own, which is good, but farting around a bit, which is not. Still, I'm excited that I can be productive at such an ungodly hour. Note - Go to bed when the kids do tonight. Sleep is good for quality.

Side note- had a beer or three with an old friend (Mike C.) in an East Village bar called d.b.a. Nice atmosphere. Lots of squirrels & pigeons running around the patio roof. Either way, it was great to catch up.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting Back to Work

Today's progress: 985 words.

I've heard tell of people using their blogs as a sort of weight-watchers meeting to shed pounds. The idea is that if they make their progress public, they'll be shamed into making sure they don't slip. I've decided instead to use my blog to document something far more vulgar: novel writing.

I dusted off the most upbeat of my many unfinisheds and decided to give it an hour's attention every weekday. Because my job exhausts me too much to get any real work done at night, & my silly wife & kids want some company in the after-hours, that hour is from 4 to 5am.

The working title is Earth 2.0 though I'm sure that will change. The theme is ideologies & how they control people. I'll be updating my progress daily. However, I'm not going to give too much away, as I do want people to read the damn thing when it's done.

Thoughts on today's work:
Mainly a phone call between Ralph & Lynn. Most of it will possibly be cut if it doesn't prove essential. I'm worried that Ralph is taking center stage- he's supposed to be a secondary character. He was intended to be a contrast for Joseph (the protagonist.) I think the problem is Ralph comes with a lot of baggage & internal conflict, while Joseph is sure of himself and his conflict is more external. This is probably why the story ran out of steam in the first place. I don't want to go back and re-write my main character in the middle of the first draft - that will just create two train tracks that don't quite meet. I think I'll see where things go, now that I realize what the problem is & work it out in revision. Maybe Pilgrim (the antagonist) will gnaw away at his resolve...

As far as the phone call- I'm afraid Lynn will come across as a 1-dimensional sow. Oh well- she's a minor character and that's the way she's writing herself. It's not like I deliberately set out to put her down that way. I really should have stopped writing in the middle of the argument & picked up tomorrow morning in mid-stride.

Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned

TTFN
-Tony