Saturday, March 31, 2012

Midnight in Paris

Last Sunday, my girlfriend and I caught a 10pm showing of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.  The theater looked like it was made out of cardboard, tickets were €5, there were about three dozen seats, and the screen was the size of a postage stamp.  It was perfect.

If you haven't already, check it out.  It's a finely crafted story about writing, living abroad, romanticism, the emulation of idols, and the nature of nostalgia.  I don't want to give too much away, because I went into the theater not knowing the first thing about it, and had a blast.  If you've managed to avoid hearing the plot up to this point, keep it that way.

The one thing I'll say is that I particularly enjoyed Corey Stoll's performance as Hemmingway.  Rather than the emotionally-stunted chauvanist everyone imagines him to be, he's portrayed here as a welcoming personality, wise and life-affirming, delivering his worldly advice in articulate, concise monologues.

And on that note, I'll leave you with Henry.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games and Ancient Rome

So I'm NOT crazy!

Or at least one of my theories isn't crazy.

Sadly, I won't be catching The Hunger Games with the rest of you this weekend.  When movies come out in the US, they're usually released the same week in Rome, but dubbed in Italian (and I don't care where the movie's from--I'll take subtitled over dubbed any day of the week.)  There are a few theaters scattered around the city that show original language movies a few months after their initial release (typically the top-grossing American films), so there's a chance I might get to see it somewhere down the line.

Bottom Line: If you don't go this weekend, you're lowering my odds, and I will take it personally.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Preview: Charlie

As of today, Inaugural Games has been for sale on for one week, and in that time it's garnered some very positive responses.  I'd like to thank everyone for all the kind things they've had to say about the stories.  If you've read it and liked it, please do me a favor and post a review on Amazon, link to it on Facebook, and tell your friends.

If you haven't checked it out yet, here's a preview of my story Charlie:

            Four years ago I enrolled in Jefferson University, and for the last four years Charlie has been trying to kill me.

            I don’t know what he has against me.  He’s never bothered to say what it is about me that pisses him off so badly.  In fact we’ve never actually had a conversation.  Perhaps if we just sat down over coffee one day, like adults, he could explain his beef and we could work something out.  But he won’t talk to me.  We’ve never exchanged a single word.  All I know is he hates my guts and he’s had it in for me since day one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

in honor of election year

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple.  Nothing anything like so straightforward.  On its world, the people are people.  The leaders are lizards.  The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur.  "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford.  "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to the them," said Ford.  "They've all got the vote, so they pretty much assume that the government they voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in.  Got any gin?"


"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air or urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look.  Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said.  "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."

                                                                                                ~ Douglas Adams
                                                                                                   So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Monday, March 19, 2012

rude awakenings

Last night I dreamed I was put on death row for something I didn't do.  In the dream I wasn't terribly bothered by the fact that I was about to die, or that my last moments on Earth were going to be spent amidst the hell of prison life.

No, what I was worried about was that my dog would have no way of understanding why I went away, or where I'd gone.  The thought was absolutely devastating.

Meanwhile, in the real world, my dog brought my dreams to an abrupt halt when he walked across the bed and stepped directly on my balls.

There's a point to this story, but I'm not sure what.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Now if you need me I'll be in some bar named after a James Joyce character.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Preview: The Deviant

Happy Friday!  Here's an excerpt from The Deviant, which can be found in my new short story collection, Inaugural Games.

            One day, one way or another, someone will find out.

            A helicopter just flew over my house.  It was the third in five hours.  Maybe they were monitoring my electricity bills and noticed how much power was being generated into the basement.  Or maybe someone saw them last week, when they all got out.  Who knows?  One thing for sure is I’ve been living on borrowed luck and I knew damn well the good times couldn’t last forever.  Maybe if I’d planned this thing out instead of acting on impulse from the get-go, I could have enjoyed another month, perhaps two, but certainly no more.  It doesn’t matter.  They know, and soon they will come, with guns, and flashlights, and angry, angry dogs, and I will be finished.

            I’m sitting on forty acres of corn and soybeans in southern Maryland.  I bought the farm from Paul Heidegger, who was retiring to Tampa so he could be closer to his daughter.  Up till that point I’d never been on a farm in my life.  At first I didn’t think there was any way I could possibly afford it, but Paul showed me how I could supplement my income from my job at the Sun by selling the crops at wholesale.  After three weeks I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Ides of March!

Hey Caesar,

Party at the Theater of Pompey tonight.  It's gonna be killer.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Preview: The Truth

This is an excerpt from a short story called The Truth, featured  in my new book Inaugural Games.  Buy it here.

            Ryan Darabont discovered The Truth at the age of thirty-five.

            Up until then his life had been an aimless, half-hearted quest for fulfillment.  He hadn’t been entirely sure what he wanted out of life, but he’d had a long and continuously growing list of things he was sure he didn’t want.  He’d made an effort to be tolerant of all views and beliefs, mostly because he lacked any firm convictions of his own, and had more or less drifted through his thirty-five years taking things as they came while avoiding any long-term commitments.

            He graduated from James Madison High School with a high-C average, then moved on to community college, taking whatever courses were recommended by his advisor.  When his two-year program ended, he transferred to Monroe State University where, in a technical writing course selected to fulfill his science requirement, he found he had a considerable knack for investigative reporting.  Upon receiving his diploma three years later, he took a job as a filing clerk in a police station.  This, he told himself, was just a temporary gig, something to pay the bills until he found his dream job.  However, the months stretched into years, and while he got along just fine with everyone at the station, and really didn’t mind the work that much, he got no closer to figuring out what he wanted to do with his life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

new book

I'm about to release a collection of short stories in e-book format.  The book, Inaugural Games, will be available on the Amazon Kindle page sometime later this week or next.  Details forthcoming!