Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Character at WFC

Some things loom large in my mind and heart both before and after an event; some bring home pain, others an affirmation of the positive image of one's place in the world.

WFC is one of the few events that has become both for me.

Last year I had been in a hard place, desperate.  This year I came with experience, a bit of a strategy and a desire to have as much fun as I could while keeping true to myself.

I have a few t-shirts that are rather offensive. I wore all of them at WFC.

Thursday evening I went to the bar wearing one of the more offensive.  I drank a bit, and made a new friend through coarse humor and a careful restraint:  I say much that can offend, but try very hard to avoid ever giving a person reason to feel the victim of my humor.

I, perhaps too often, joke that I am the Evil One.

Certainly Friday night I did so at great length and with delicious pleasure:  I found myself a nexus of dark, ribald humor, the laughter of friends old and new caressing my ego with a lover's touch.  I was, for lack of a better term, on.

My old friend was with me, riffing a sweet counterpoint and chorus to my shenanigans.

One of the new friends, having seen me the night prior, confessed that he'd pegged me as an asshole on seeing me.  I brought him into my orbit, discovering a like-mindedness.  We wended our way through the evening with a rather odd but successful coordination of humor.

Another, a young man of particularly solemn mien, watched my act with the horrified agony of one being forced to observe the slow-motion wreck of a train carrying his valuables.  Earlier in the day I had asked if he only smiled when he came, and he'd startled me by pulling an hilarious face I can only describe as the very incarnation of the male orgasm face.  Later, I saw him walking through and called out to him, putting on my own version of the expression.  Stopping dead, he shook his head.  Later he approached, watched shook his head in wonder at the nonsense I was spewing.  It seemed he was unable to depart my orbit for more than a few minutes despite my repellent behavior.

Later it became a running gag between us to call out to the other and flip the bird.

There were many points where the people seated with me laughed hard and long.  My friends and I brought them that, allowed them the grace to chuckle and laugh at themselves and me.

I myself developed quite a headache from laughing till I deprived my brain of oxygen.

Why, you may ask yourself, did I act in this fashion?

I did it for a number of reasons:

I did it because I love engaging all my faculties in the exercise of what little wit I possess, thoroughly enjoying the interplay of mine with that of others, the observing of rapid changes of expression as the patter of my sickness slides into their brains and registers on their minds.

I did it to prove to myself that I can be fearless; that nothing but the moment is important, if you can make it so.

I did it to see the blush of rose bloom on the cheek of a beautiful woman who would not otherwise look at me twice; to be able to say:  I made that happen.

I did it to sear an image of me into the brains of these artists, these people that I so desperately wish to be welcomed and accepted by, even if only as their court jester.

I did it because I cannot, not ever, do it at my day job.  Like many others, I am refused the right to say what I think.  It wears on me; the heavy load of words unspoken, of anger and humor unspent, making of me an unhappy and irritable soul.

I do it because I am,

The Ranting Griffin

Thursday, October 28, 2010

9 Fuckin' 99? Really?

Got in yesterday, late.  Here's the high points of how it went:

United yanked a row of seats so each individual could have more leg room, and the first leg was pleasant. I had a toddler of 22 months and his mother seated next to me. The child was quite a treat, and the mother seemed nice and very polite, except for one small event I found strangely irritating:

I was dozing in the aisle seat, waiting for the steward to pick up the empty can and drink cup from my tray. I woke to the gently tic of a plastic cup against the tray in front of me. The mother next to me was returning her tray to the upright, and all her and her child's garbage had migrated to my tray. The smell of spent milk carton and whatever had been in the tiny take-away box hit my nose, making my anus twitch.

She was no longer on my buddy list.

I arrived in Denver nearly an hour ahead of schedule. About forty-five minutes before we were due to leave, the big departure board was updated with a new gate sans announcement for those who'd waited like cattle for their turn at slaughter. The display above the gate we had been waiting for still had Columbus as it's departure, but now read 5:24.

Lip curling, I travelled to the next gate. There I informed the ticket agent, a cougar if ever there was one, about the lack of information given to the cattle remaining at the old gate. To her credit, the cougar spooked the remaining cattle in the proper direction.

In the new cattle pen I had a seat next to a large woman of about my age. Next to her was a small man with a beard. We all confirmed the fucked-upness of our present predicament and lowed over it a moment, then talked motorcycles, Columbus, and cougars for the next two hours. Yes, the flight was delayed.

 Oh, and they changed gates on us again.

The second flight is pretty quick, and I have a pair of seats to myself, but I've been up since 0345hrs Cali time, so I'm not happy.

I get off the plain, get my shit, and roll out to the shuttles, expecting the hotel, which charges an arm and a leg, to be doing the rounds. I call my buddy, who arrived earlier and ask him what to expect. I discover that there is no big, proper shuttle.

"It's a mininvan driven by a dude named Matt," the Big K tells me.

"Can you call them for me, get them rolling?" I even sound like a whiny bitch to me.

"Sure. I'll call you right back."

I wait less than five, and get the call at 6:55.

"He'll be there by 7:20."

"7:20? What the fuck?"



"Yeah, brown minivan. the driver, guy named Matt, says he'll be no later than a half hour or so."


I waited a half hour, during which time a brown minivan shows up. Marked with Arch transportation, whatever the fuck that is. Guy driving is either Pakistani or Afghan, so I'm not thinking Matt is his name. Guess that's me profiling, but hey, my eyes feel like someone's been at them with sandpaper.

The van sits for a long while.

At about 7:18 I text my buddy, "Any markings on the van?"

"Arch transportation."


I get a ride. I'm in the back, having had to climb over the seats. Costs me sixteen bucks.

I walk up to check in at the hotel, dragging my own bags. The very attractive young woman at reception takes my credit card, "We'll need to charge you the full amount for the room."

"Even though my roomie also put his card up?"

"Yes, unless you want to bring him down and sort it."

I feel like saying something smartass like, "I'm a poor writer wannabe, not a rockstar," but I'm too tired to work my way though it, instead saying, "Never mind, we'll take care of it later."

I get my key and go up to the room, seeing my friend for the first time in three years. We chat for a few while I unpack. The room is fairly well decorated, has a shitty TV, and the bathroom doesn't even have a fart fan.

We leave the room to get some nibbles and booze. We have a pleasant time, catching up and planning our attack on the weekend. We return to the room, where I figure to check email and otherwise do maintenance on my internet addiction. There is no internet included in the room charge.

$9.99 a fuckin' day?!

I have all of an average of 20 readers daily for my blog, I can't be off that long! People are counting on me...

That cuts into the beer budget, but maybe that's not a bad thing...

My outrage lasts some time.

Rationalizations aside, I gotta have my internet fix, even at WFC.

I snarl again, but pay it.

I gotta get my fix.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not Much To Rant On, But A Bit To Talk About

Not much to rant on these last couple days, things have been relatively good.  Saturday started a bit rough, though.

93 Games Studio, the folks that first published my work, are closing their doors after a nine-year run of it.  The boss has had enough, and as another so clearly put it, "with the low margins and other headaches of today's RPG industry, if your heart ain't in it, it just isn't worth it." I am saddened by this news, as I hate for anyone to become fed up with things or face such difficulty that they cannot go on entertaining others with quality games.

Saturday was a loss for The Pink Pixies, the last game I will be able to coach for this year.  While it was a loss, the team played wonderfully, and Isabelle fired two goals in and had two assists.  They spread well and passed so very beautifully.   Where Isabelle truly shines is in her speed onto the ball.  She is incredibly fast, able to overtake offensive players even when starting from well behind.  Just awesome.

It has been very nice to spend lots of time with my girl, though now she is running a slight fever and feels a number of aches.  We spent Sunday watching Farscape and thoroughly enjoying it and one another.  She is starting to find the tropes and predict some of the plotting, which I find immensely cool.  I was never that into the mechanics of story when I was... Shit, I was never that into story until I sat down and started to try and really write my own stories.

I also, over the weekend, started writing another novel.  It is a sequel to The Last Captain, and the idea had been percolating in my head for some time.  So far it's flying out pretty fast, though I have no set title.  I even have some research to do for it, which is fun and different for me, who likes to annoy those of his friends with expertise in an area until they relent and give him their thoughts (Yes, David, I am talking about you, among others!)

Today was just me, Isabelle and Farscape, as Isabelle still isn't well.  I got a tiny bit of writing done.

I also, through the miracle of Twitter, attended Litchat.  I'm not normally able to devote my full attention to this chat, being at work.  Today's was not as interesting for me as others have been in the past, having read those I have read.  That being said, it was much better than some of the litchats I have attended, in that no one bashed a writer for gender-bias or failure to meet some tangential standard with little relation to their art.   Also, I was able to drop a few names in for some who were less familiar with the genre, which was nice (I do so love to corrupt the souls of the untainted:  Why, one didn't even know the definition of ichor!  So sad!)

Tonight, dinner with my agent, where I am sure some stratagems will be discussed for WFC (Read: Have a good time but keep your mouth shut about business, Griffin). He has also read and done an editing pass of The Last Captain, and I am hungry for his input.

Tomorrow I have to go into town for a brief while, but otherwise shall do as I did today; mellow, write, hang with my girls and prepare myself for the fun and intensity of the upcoming World Fantasy Convention.  I hope the flights will be uneventful or, if not uneventful, full of merely colorful characters to write about here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Busy Week, But Time Enough At Last

This week has been quite busy.  My brother was here on Thursday.  Yesterday was work and then arranging to give a ride to a friend.  There was nearly no time for editation.

Now, however, there is time enough at last:

I'm on vacation, you see:

And getting away from it all, that I might have time enough at last:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Renegades of Funk

Today was an exercise in patience.  I barely maintained.   Now my brain is a flaccid lump of over-worked, utterly drained, savagely bruised can't-put-up-with-your-stupidity-anymore.

A woman consumed twenty-five minutes with her complete refusal to understand what was clearly explained to her twelve times.  Literally. Twelve times.  She may not have been drooling, but she sure was an idiot.

I want my fucking twenty-five minutes back, you self-absorbed fool!

I shall plug in and listen to this, in order to recharge:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I discovered a few things today:

1) My writing shows enough talent to make others with talent say they are jealous of me.  

2) It doesn't stink to be told that.

'Nuff said.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Damn, But We Got It Easy

Watching Sundance today and this documentary rolls on, Heavy Metal in Baghdad . The film follows a Heavy Metal band called Acrassicauda, which means 'black scorpion' in Arabic.

These kids, fans of all things metal, started a thrash metal band in the midst of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad.  They had a small following even then.  They continued to play after the US invaded, managing to put on one show.  Then the shop they practiced in was destroyed  by a bomb and things became even more difficult.  The band scattered to the different nations that would accept them, but the core came together again in Damascus, and put on one show...

The film illustrates, better than any other program I have seen, how hard it is for artists, or for that matter, regular folk, to just live their lives in the world's war zones.

They just want to play.  They just want to pursue their dreams.

They thrash the metal, bang the drum, and raise the hairs on my arms:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Will Continue to Change... Transform, Even....

If the singer sounds familiar, it's because his solo work was posted here a few days back... If the production values or lyrics of Gnarls Barkley also sound familiar, that's because the guy on keyboards was also the producer for one of the fine albums the Gorillaz put out...

Editation on The Last Captain continues as I listen...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Editations, Though Not On Last Night

Editing is like meditation for me: I try and keep my lips moving and my chants soft, so as to stay centered and not wake the anger...

The result, this time, is a quiet satisfaction.  The tale is pretty wild, and rendered in tight fashion.  Still some work to do to crank it as tight as possible, but damn, I like what has gone before.

On Last Night:

Dinner at Zaré at The FLy Trap last night was some of the finest food I've had in SF, and the sausages were a perfect balance of spice, savory, and grease.  We had two plates, and I could have had them all to myself.  Exceptional. Truly. There were no losers among the dishes we had.  None. The Baclava was also outstanding.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Dinner at A Place I Couldn't Afford

Tonight, Zaré at the Flytrap.

You guessed it, Mark is in town for Bouchercon!

I hope to keep up with the company.  I come away from these dinners feeling like my head is stuffed with thought and energies just beyond my capacity to comprehend or control.  

It feels so very good to stretch the mind, to reach for experience and make it your own...

And the food is usually pretty good too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shooting Well, Shooting Long

I have been miserable lately, my shoulder hurting from the resistor I had to arrest two weeks ago and generally feeling the absence of Matt Goodin, who took his own life last week.  His locker, as I have already written, was just next to mine, and he used to grouse about how much bench-space I, as a house cat, was taking up (he was a Specialist, one of those officers who carried and employed an AR-15 in defense of the public).  

I keep expecting to see him.  Which is only slightly less  distressing than actually seeing him now he's been interred with other fallen heroes.  He was buried in the same cemetery as James Gelf.  I couldn't even bring myself to ask for permission to go...

Today was the day I selected to do my qualification.  Every six months we have to go hit the range and shoot some paper bad guys.  I do like to shoot, and I'm a fair hand at it.

So.  I had to document my injury, which meant a bunch of paperwork, then off to the range.  I rode my motorbike, gun belt in my pack.  I got there, and saw an officer I worked with who shared the same row of lockers with me and Matt.  He'd transferred to another unit recently, hoping for more fun.  He's another Illinois transplant and a great guy, so I always love talking to him.  He also plays a mean fiddle.  So mean in fact that the last time I recall seeing Matt smile was as this fine officer took his fiddle and started sawing on a fiddle and playin' it hot.  We jaw-jacked for a few, and I got the feeling he's much happier where he is...

I shot better today than I have in a long time.  All shots were on target, and I was very fast out of the holster and onto the target.

As we were policing up the brass and jaw-jacking some more, an officer who was part of the team responsible for training my class in the academy walked onto the firing line.

"Hey!" I greeted him, "You're the last of the crew that was here when I went through in 2000."

"Just for today," he said with a crooked grin.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yes. Today is my last day."

"How many years?"


"Congratulations, man.  What plans you got?"

"Thanks.  Got houses to renovate and work on."

We chatted some more, all three of us.  He remained on the firing line, shooting one of our service Barretta shotguns (the worst fucking weapon I have ever had to shoot).

When we went to clean our guns,  I said to Fiddler, "Man, if I had his job, I'd be busting out one of the old Thompsons and rolling through some ammo drums, talkin' like a prohibition agent from Untouchables."

Fiddler laughed, "Oh hell yes."

My point is this:  we all need plans;  not just for after we retire;  not just for when we think we can change things, but all the time.  Planning gives us reasons to live, planning promotes humanity.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I need some obscenely large bottle of champaign to shake and spray!

1st Draft of the Last Captain done and sent off to my agent and first readers.  Right on deadline (at least the most recent one).

The sense of achievement is all out of proportion with where things are... But still, it is one more step along the path.

And it felt good, the writing of it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Run Silent, Run Deep

Going to be off the interweb spaces for a few days, finishing the first draft of The Last Captain by Monday.

In the meantime:

Thank you to our armed forces, who fight so we might remain free to make protest songs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fuck you

Something I want Max to hear, and wish Matt could have too.  I think he'd have laughed and it might have eased his pain.

The Cop Killer

Last night an officer I have known for ten years took his own life.  He was one of the officers that inspired The Meanie Twins from my unpublished novel, A Friend to The Watch.

His locker was next to mine at my current assignment, so he and I would interact on a weekly basis at least.  Though we were not terribly close, I recently recognized his pain. 

"You got somewhere to go with it?" I asked him.

"For what?" he asked me.

"To scream all that shit out.  I like to climb up a nearby hill and wake the coyotes."

"Heh. I might,"he answered, putting his uniform on.

I went on about my business and he his.

I didn't do enough. I should have done more. We should all do more.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Funny, Very Funny...

Just when I need to focus on the writing, here comes something so fun I can't stop watching...

That's the full extent of the rant for today.  Enjoy:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If You're An Asshat & You Know It, Keep Your Mouth Shut & You Might Fake People Out.

Two men, waiting for one of the courts to open, are getting phonecalls and chatting in the antechamber of the court.  I step out to see what's up.  Confusion does happen, thinking perhaps they'd been sent to the wrong spot.

"Where are you supposed to be?" I ask.

"Department X at 3:30, for a settled statement on appeal," says bearded man.

"Hmmm, that doesn't sound right," says I.  I walk toward the door to that court, putting my hand in my pocket to retrieve the key required to open said door, intending to ask the clerk of the court what might be going on.  As I move the few steps this requires, I inform the men, "Court is over for that department."

"Well, you guys are on your own schedule," the man says.  From his tone, I can only presume he thinks he's being witty.

"You guys?" I ask, stopping at the door.

The man stares at me.

"I'm sorry, who do you mean when you say "you guys"?" I ask.

He continues to stare.

My key is left in my pocket as I take my hand out and begin ticking off points, "Because if you are referring to officers, our schedule is mandated by the department, so that would be inaccurate.  If you are referring to the courts, it would be inaccurate to lump me in with them, as I work for a different agency."

"I was just making a joke, just like I would with any of my crew.  I swing a hammer, you carry a gun. We're the same dude."

"Sir, I don't know you from Adam, so it would be a gross presumption on your part to assume we were 'the same dude'.

"I guess you're right.  You're a lot meaner than me."

I do so love to watch people burn their bridges with abandon, not knowing that had they been civil, I might have done them a favor.  As it was, I had no responsibility to aid this asshat, so I said simply, "Have a fun waiting out here," and returned to my courtroom.

It was an hour before the pair were told to go downstairs and try and get their matter dealt with.  I can only hope that the offices were closed when they did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hammering Pistons In The Headspace

I am so close to the finish on The Last Captain, but I have had so many plots running along different tangents for so long that I keep going, "Fuck, what about that?!" Which leads to more scribbling as I rally the troops and wrangle the story into shape.

It feels good though, to be over the hump and have the pistons of story hammering along in my headspace.  I spent five hours yesterday just writing, and I still have shit to say on The Last Captain, which is refreshing.  Usually I am so burnt I don't want to look at it.

In this I've been greatly assisted by Scrivener, the program I bought recently.  I know it will more fully shine in the revision phase, but it has sure been handy already.  I am terribly, terribly excited about that second draft and revising it.

So, back to it.

Oh, and I finally tracked the DA down and he promised me my transcript for the upcoming trial.  He'd best do as he promised, or I will sick this family on him:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Birthday and Other Fun Things I Choose to Think of That Way

Headspace is something I try and apply a concept I first ran across in reading of Hannibal Lechter's exploits: I choose to construct a headspace where I might dwell in freedom even when things in reality are completely contrary to that experience.

I choose to think that my 38th birthday is a good thing, therefore it is.

I choose to think that my writing will see further publication.

I choose to think that my dick is of average to slightly beyond average size.

I choose to believe that what I think means something.

Fuck those who think positively or negatively, their thinking is too small.  

I am thinking my own reality into being:

Can't you hear the birth-screams whistling from my ears!? I know all the smaller, sentient creations populating the interior spaces of my mind can hear my every breath.  Indeed my every thought is written across their universe in white flames of my furious fire.