Only stupid creatures do it.

Farmboy, good with tools (5 Nov 1994)

It's stuck. It won't come out. Stuck. Won't come out.

The lozenge started to go down but it stopped. It was supposed to soothe, to relieve, but it's crammed somewhere between my mouth and my throat, and it won't come out.

Must remove.

To the toolshed, yes. There I have pliers. I will make it come out. I will reach down my throat and pluck the lozenge free and then I will feel better.

Yes, better. Pluck. Yes. Now I can check on the hens.

But what's this? Where are the eggs? The hens look discomforted. What can be the cause?

Ah, they're stuck. They won't come out. Stuck. Won't come out.

The eggs started to slip free but they stopped. They were supposed to roll out, to fill the nests, but they are crammed somewhere between the ovaries and the straw, and they won't come out.

Must remove.

To the toolshed, yes. There I have a drill. I will make them come out. I will bore holes in their sides and pull out the eggs with my eggs and all will be better.

Yes, better. Bore. Yes. Now I can write to grandma.

But what's this? 'Dear Grandma,' I begin, but then I don't know what to say and the page is covered with red and my hands are covered with red and my shirt is covered with red and it's getting harder to think of what to tell grandma.

They're stuck. They won't come out. Stuck. Won't come out.

The words started to flow onto the page but they stopped. They were supposed to fill out a letter full of good news and cheer for grandma, but they're crammed in somewhere between a corner of my mind and the pen in my hand, and they won't come out.

Must remove.

To the toolshed, yes. There I have a hammer. I will make them come out. I will bang open my head and let the words flow onto the page and grandma will feel better.

Off to the toolshed, yes, if only I can find my way there through all this cold red darkness.

Better, yes.

Where would we be without tools?

Writers Group (10 May 1995)

JED: So this time the focus was, as I recall, to be plot and situation. Anyone want to start off with some work in progress?

DAN: Well, I had several bits I was thinking about, but I couldn't decide which I wanted to most fully develop. So maybe I could just start with one and we'll see if any of them take off.

[General agreement]

DAN: Well, the one I'm most keen on at the moment is about a bioengineer who smuggles a black-box bioweapon out of his lab by injecting it into his bloodstream. Of course, it turns out to be more potent than anyone suspected and they rapidly turn him into...

BILLBILL: Sounds like Blood Music. Greg Bear novel. They weren't a bioweapon, per se, but there are micro-blood organisms which reconstruct the host who created them.

DAN: Oh. Hm.

JADE: That's kinda like Paul Vader's story, too. That he posted last month.

DAN: Yeah. Well, I shoulda guessed that someone else would have already done it. Let's see. I was thinking about doing a cyberpunkish future as seen through the eyes of someone totally mundane, like a pizza delivery boy or maybe a high school skater kid.

STRYCHNINE: Snow Crash does that. Both of those, in fact.

JED: There've probably been enough cyberpunk futures written, anyway.

DAN: Okay. Um. I have some notes on a story about a civilization recovering from an attack by unstoppable planet-killing robot machines...

NJ: Like the Saberhagen Berserkers?

DAN: Uh. Kinda. But they're recovering by archaeological diggings of the remnants of the war and the alien machines...

BILLBILL: Oh, you've been reading Squire Rich's thing, haven't you?

JADE: Isn't that what Niven's "moties" did, too?

DAN: Uh. Yeah, I guess that's kinda the same. Um. I was toying with a story idea about a Chinese family that is attacked by the ghost of their abusive grandfather.

MORRISA: You probably want to actually look into Chinese culture a bit before you tackle something like that; there's a lot of ghost-story mythology and you'd want it to ring true.

DAN: Okay, here's one. Just a little note I jotted down, a piece about a frustrated writer who axe-murders his writers workshop circle because they keep shooting down his ideas before he can develop them to the point that they are worthwhile in their own right, instead of being judged purely by other previous works.

JED: Hmmmmm. Doesn't sound familiar.

BILLBILL: Sounds good. I would run with it.

MORRISA: Definitely. Great idea.

JADE: New to me, hon.

STRYCHNINE: You know, you could probably get that published as is.

NJ (thought balloon): Resist... urge to mention... Leyner... Et tu, Babe...

DAN: Uh, okay. I'll, uh, work up a draft for next time.

Source from which it flows (27 Apr 1994)

Once alone, he is easy prey. I leap down casually, driving him into the hard cement. One claw grips his throat for leverage; the other digs into his forehead and begins the peeling. The grey and red inside are equally mixed; it goes down smooth and warm. His memories are bitter; his fantasies are sweet. His personality is sour and his imagination is salt. He is full of stories that he lacked the ability to articulate. I have no need for these; I digest the raw material and savor his dreams. The stories collect in a pouch below my throat, the creative dewlap, the sagging jowl of desperate whimsy. Later, when I am home, the dewlap will convulse and the stories will emerge here, for all of you, my friends, my little china dolls and blood puppies. And my prey, when his head is sealed once again, joins the ranks of wandering, aimless creatures on the mall-- the unfocused legions whose numbers grow daily.

That is where mine come from, my little one. What causes yours?

Spindizzy (1 Jun 1994)

World, spin and reel in confusion. The sound, the sound, it's what my ears were made for and there's so much of it, now. My lungs inflate with a lie; they think they are being fed but it's an empty, hollow deception that my brain spots immediately.

Sky, speak to me in tongues and visions. The light, the light, mine eyes have seen the glory but it's all spots and freckles, now. My body is carried about on a shiftless breeze; it's wracked and tortured and thrown about callously for far too long, but not for long enough, either.

Ocean, roll over me. The buzz, the buzz, it runs through and up and in and down and it feels like a thousand other sensations I have known, now. My mind is clear, crystalline, but I cannot articulate, I cannot speak, I cannot focus, I can only hold onto these thoughts until later.

Characters and Inciting Incidents (14 Jul 1994)

A girl, 14, strung out on heroin, waiting to be abducted by the aliens.

A boy, 5, lost in a crowd, carrying a lavender backpack full of dynamite.

A man, 31, who compulsively meddles in the lives of elementary school kids.

A woman, 63, unable to hear vowels or see the dead.

A dog, 2, desperate to breed, with opposable thumbs and a tennis racket.

Tell me their stories.

He finds that the front door into his house no longer leads into his living room, but rather into a frozen tundra peopled by an alien, insectoid race.

She runs over a small creature late at night on a deserted highway. The creature turns out to be a leprechaun.

An old man gives them a locked box which, when shaken, sounds to be full of metal. He tells them that the key to unlocking the box is, literally, in the heart of a retarded child they are taking care of.

He burns himself with a butane torch one afternoon and discovers a layer of metal plating under his skin.

She opens a frozen dinner and finds that, inside, there is a face.

Their yacht is besieged by some kind of intrusive non-human life form that swarms and drinks blood.

Tell me their stories.

Money (13 Dec 1993)

Too many distractions dull the Muse. He quits school; a degree is no protection against unemployment, these days. The extra time is spent reading a bit, writing a bit, inventing little tunes when the mood strikes him. He still works in the afternoon and evenings most days, however, and the stress which was removed with the casting away of education slowly returns in the form of extra tension at work.

Then he quits his job, finally. Two years of this shit is more than enough, he decides. I've got money in the bank. I'm going to take a month or two off-- from everything-- and get a grip on what I'm doing. Now he has lots of time. He writes, he draws, he composes. From time to time, his girlfriend gets an evening or afternoon in which he's doing nothing else, but the ideas are starting to come. He doesn't have time for anyone else. A short story, thirty pages of a novel, the first movement of a flute concerto-- can't they all see he has work to do here?

She leaves him. Actually, it would be more fair to say that he drives her away. He hardly notices, of course, because there's so much going on in his head. He's learning Latin for a six-part motet; he's taking flute lessons so that he can play the finished concerto someday; he's almost done with the first novel and large chunks of a second are already in outline form. He's working on a graphic novel and has started toying with the idea of creating interactive CD-ROM games.

Nothing has been published; he hasn't made the attempt. No time; the need to create is more important. Money is coming from somewhere. Did he sell one of the stories? The screenplay? He can't recall, and it would take too much time to check.

He eats less. He sleeps four hours a night, then three. Then two; when he tries to sleep, he ends up pitching about fitfully, ideas scrawling across his mind like figure skaters. He lies down, closes his eyes, and is struck by insight. He has to leap up to record it or it will be lost. How many ideas have vanished because he didn't record them? Never again, he swears every night. Everything must be developed someday.

He stumbles about the house. It's a new house; it's HIS house. When did he buy it? The laser printer is spitting out the rough draft of the novel he started yesterday. He looks at the title page. Is that his name? The germ of an idea begins to sprout somewhere in the back of his mind, but the computer is still dumping text to the printer. He rushes about, looking for pencil and paper. Where are his notebooks? He's going to lose the idea, he's going to lose the idea before it even gets started. It's fading already, but two more have taken its place. If I had a dime for every great idea I've lost track of, he thinks, I'd be rich.

The funny thing is, that's exactly where the money's coming from.

Shotgun Joe becomes a Glass Harmonica Player (24 Feb 1994)

M. Legare, etc. <*******> wrote:
>As the paramedics bandage him up, he is informed that the glass
>harmonica was never intended to be a percussion instrument.

Blood in the water. Mine? Spin, spin, spin.

Strike. Ah, the tone! This is what I was truly meant to be. Spin.

Something feels sharp, briefly, but it's gone now.

The audience? Rapt attention. This is my best performance.

Two more. Listen to it! Years of practice are paying off. Spin, spin, spin.

Warm on my face. No time to touch, must feel the glass. Ah, yes.

Plunge, and another chord rings. Fewer keys to play now. Spin.

Their faces reveal their awe. Fear? No, definitely awe. Watch it spin.

Less water, more blood. Where's it all coming from?

Where is all the blood coming from?

Cinema Pitch (24 April 1996)

Hopeful Writer enters Big Producer's office. After being seated and politely turning down a drink, they get down to work: the pitch.

BP: So gimme the Cliff Notes on this new thing you were talking about.

HW: It's a science fiction thing...

BP: I like, I like. Sci-Fi is big, always has been. What's it like?

[Writer winces at offensive abbreviation]

HW: Well, actually, it's a remake of 2001.

[BP sucks in his breath slightly. Furrows brow.]

BP: Hm. Didn't do real well when it came out. Never really made money.

HW: Yes, yes, I know, but that's because it was the wrong film. It lacked...

BP: Action.

HW: Exactly my thinking!

BP: Gunfights? Car chases?

HW: How's this-- Bowman is an ex-special-ops type. He's on this mission to Jupiter because he's too dangerous for normal human society, and because he's the best pilot in the world. Poole, his co-pilot, knows the truth about their destination, but says nothing. He's part of a shadowy government conspiracy.

BP: An X-Files thing.

HW: If you like, yes.

BP: Go on.

HW: Well, basically, I figured that instead of HAL being the real threat, these two spookshow types begin to stalk each other around the ship. You know, gunfight in the flight deck leads to explosive decompression, stuff like that. Maybe they wake the sleeping scientists early, to use as pawns in their struggle.

BP: Sure. Mel Gibson as Bowman, Malkovich as Poole, the Kids in the Hall as the naive science crew. I can see it. But what about HAL? He was pretty central to the original movie or something, right?

HW: Right. So check this out: HAL's computer brain uses a remote-control external body for interacting with the crew.

BP: Instead of that little red light thing.

HW: Exactly. He's got this combat body, with maybe like a chainsaw and flamethrower or something.

BP: Can it morph?

HW: Uh. Yeah, sure.

BP: What about making HAL a female robot? Something sexy. The original really lacked sex appeal.

HW: Yeah. Uh. Well, sure, maybe one of the forms HAL uses is that of an attractive, nude human female. Maybe HAL is interested in learning about human sexual interactions or something.

BP: That works. Damn, that works together really well. I gotta hand it to you, when I first heard about it, I wasn't so sure, but I really like what I hear so far. What about those weird opening sequences, with the monkeys and stuff?

HW: I hadn't planned on keeping any of that.

BP: Hm. That was the one part of the original film I remember liking.

HW: Oh. Well, we could do something like that.

BP: Maybe the monolith teaches the pilot special-ops guy martial arts.

HW: Well, actually, Bowman isn't in the initial part with the monkeys. That takes place a million years earlier.

BP: Oh. Well, maybe the monolith can teach the monkeys martial arts.

HW: How about if the monolith doesn't land in ancient prehistory, but instead it appears in China and teaches the old masters how to fight kung fu? Like maybe all human martial arts were taught by the monolith aliens.

BP: Hm. Yes, that would make it ironic that the special-ops guy is coming to Jupiter, since he's a master of martial arts.

HW: Well, yeah, sure. He could be.

BP: I like it, son. I don't say that often, but this time it's true.

HW: Well, thank you.

BP: If we can get Elle Macpherson for HAL, I think we're set. Can't go wrong. Well, I gotta make some phone calls and see if I can start the ball rolling on this. But you'll be hearing from me soon.

[Producer escorts writer out the door. In the hall, the writer does a little dance of joy in front of the BP's secretary. The secretary looks up from her work and shakes her head slightly, imperceptibly. She knows that dance. That is the dance of the truly damned.]

Movie News for the Dead (26 Aug 1998)

So the word is that Peter Jackson (Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, Frighteners, Bad Taste, Heavenly Creatures) is helming a three-picture live-action adaption of The Lord of the Rings with a nice healthy budget and a fine special effects company of his own devising. This really excites me. In fact, my friend Jeff and I decided we had to rush right out and share this news with our good friend, the restless shade of J.R.R. Tolkien. So we summoned him up after lunch today in a little-used Quicktime multimedia lab on the fourth floor.

"Jay!" I shouted, when he materialized from out of the NeXT slab we were using as an unholy altar. "Good news, buddy! Peter Jackson's directing the most comprehensive film adaption of Lord yet attempted!"

JR furrowed his deep British brows, turning his eyes into deep cavernous pits of cold darkness. "Who is this-- Jackson?"

"He's from New Zealand," Jeff piped up between bites from his pastrami sandwich.

"A bloody colonist!?" JR bellowed angrily, shaking the room with poltergeist rage. We had to throw more salt to calm him down.

"It's okay," I reassured him, "he's a seasoned professional. Here, here's a sample of his work." And I started up the handy VCR, which was cued up to the lawnmower zombie battle in Dead Alive-- the single highest piece of film art ever achieved.

JR was silent for many minutes, and then he began to emit a moan such as only the spirits of the damned may produce. "My-- my work! Handed to-- to a butcher!"

Jeff was on it, though: "It's okay, he's been nominated for Academy Awards!"

But it was for naught; his tortured soul could not be soothed. Really, it was a mercy when the lord of wraiths showed up to drag him back to his chains.

Springer Should (28 Jul 1999)

Springer should do a show about racism among snowflakes.
Springer should fuck a different underage prostitute every night.
Springer should kill for the Mob.
Springer should stop wearing those frilly underthings.
Springer should expose the truth about our nation's sewers.
Springer should punch his next three guests himself, for no reason.
Springer should light his studio on fire.
Springer should release those dirty pictures he has of Jenny Jones.
Springer should validate parking.
Springer should make at least three more orbits before re-entry.
Springer should not do anything I wouldn't do.
Springer should go on a goat-cheese diet.
Springer should spin like a top.
Springer should take up swing dancing, because everyone else is.
Springer should take up Zoroastrianism, because nobody else is.
Springer should start a punk band.
Springer should start a bottled mineral water distributor.
Springer should end world peace.
Springer should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and kill the white man.
Springer should cavort.
Springer should contribute, ultimately, to the bottom line.
Springer should stop stalking me.
Springer should vote Scorched Earth.
Springer should collect garbage, not trash.
Springer should spank the monkey more often.
Springer should be showing up any minute now.

Springer: A sphere expanding at light speed around the Earth, part of the Cosmos' nutritious breakfast.

The Titans (17 Feb 2000)

Kent Paul Dolan <*********> wrote:
>many levels of sophistication of the participant to succeed.

Ahhhh, the Titans. Like all ancient Gods, they will be overthrown.

>Literacy, or the sophistication to read what is written and garner what
>was meant.

An old man, hunched over, face in a book, surrounded by towers of paper. His face sours at the thought of anything imprecise. I before E except after C! He is slain by his prodigal nephew, the International Safety Symbol set, who runs up behind him and makes the universally known "NO" symbol, circle and slash, banishing Literacy into the dark limbo of the Totally Denied.

>Numeracy, or the sophistication to read and to write a numerical
>discourse without stepping on ones engendering apparatus, or at least
>to refrain from such if self-admittedly incompetent at the task.

His many many eyes look in all directions-- 8, 16, 32, 64 paths of sight. His many fingers track everything he sees. He adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides... but he is slain by Java, who "does all that for him". No longer required to keep track of anything, he withers away.

>Prosedy, or the sophistication to tell a story in a coherent way.

Made irrelvant by MTV, who cuts-cuts-cuts back and forth between shots filmed entirely with jiggly handcams and constantly gives you the impression that he's plugged way way into hot hip happening current music without actually ever playing any new music. Look, ma, no story! 'Cause Real Life Is Just Like That!

>Poetry, or the sophistication to get all those little dactyls and
>rhymes lined up in seemly matter.

The interlocking puzzle being, a collection of consistent parts assembled into a whole woman, kicked apart by a gang consisting of Burroughs, Cummings, Ginsberg, and the Beastie Boys.

>Humility, or the sophistication to learn from better examples.

Sitting quietly in a corner, unobtrusively, not seeking attention-- and yet, attracting the baleful eye of Image Comics, who bit the hand that fed them, went rogue, and started a rampage across an industry that couldn't survive all the damage they did to it.

>Synchronicity, or the sophistication to come up with the great ideas
>not too far behind the crowd.

She stands on her watchtower, waiting for the signal, and is struck down by an arrow from Quantum. If only she could have known where the arrow was coming from AND how fast it was traveling, she could have dodged, but causality no longer makes sense... everything is coincidence.

>Cultural immersivity, or the sophistication not to go "duh" about
>something everone else already knows as if from birth.

Slain by Books For Dummies.

>Periodicity, or the sophistication to come up with the same good idea
>often enough to be caught out as a recycling non-attributionist.

Ah, perhaps the hardest to kill, because the universe does run in cycles and thus, the Circular Goddess invariably comes around again. Last time she was slain by the Vast Online Archives of the HURL and Deja... but the former is offline and the later has begun expiring messages more and more quickly. How are the young ones to remember, then? She will no doubt return.

The Vow of Promiscuity

(a response to Dogme95)



All sets must be created and props must be acquired. We make the world through force of will. From scratch, we will define it.


All sound is to be created independently of the visuals they will accompany. The eye and ear are separate organs and they must be appeased as such.


As it is operating, the camera and any support it has may not at any point be touched by human hands. The machine is sacred, hallowed, and pure. Do not infect it with your organic motion.


The movie is to be in black and white. It may be recorded in color only if the color is removed afterwards. All lighting is to be carefully and deliberately constructed. There is no room for the gray of apathy, and the rainbow distracts us from the clean line of distinction.


Do whatever the fuck you want to manipulate the visuals. In fact, whenever possible, things should not appear in the movie as they did to your eye at the time of recording.


Conflict builds character, and action builds muscles. Don't you want to be strong and interesting? Someone must die at the hands of another. Murder is the engine that drives Nature.


The place and time may not be explicitly stated, but they must be recognizably not Here and Now. This is escapism; escape, already.


At least two distinct genres must be able to claim the movie as one of theirs, but it should not be obvious which one has the greater claim. Abuse the tropes of each like a loving but violent father.


Fuck film. Film is dead. Never let your movie be anything but digital.


The director must be credited, but (s)he must also fulfill at least one other major role in the creation of the movie. Any jackass can direct. Do something useful, like acting, writing, or composing music. Producing doesn't count.