Monday, March 26, 2007

I write a movie review column for Dred ( The films I review are horror and suspense. The column needs to be to Editor Bill Hughes by this weekend. In each column I review three films. Okay, I've had three months to do this but, so far, I only have one film done. Why you ask. It's not that I haven't been watching any movies because I have. Let's see: Saw III, Stay Alive, Feast, Rest Stop, 24 (Season 5), and Salvage to name a few.
My problem lies in that I don't "love" or "hate" any of the movies I've seen lately. In past columns, I've written about The Descent, A History of Violence, and Red Eye. All of which I recommend. I've written about The Hills Have Eyes, Wolf Creek, and House of Wax (the Paris Hilton version). All of which sucked. Big time.
What to do ... what to do? I don't think a review of Wild Hogs would fit the theme of the magazine (althought William C. Macy's naked butt is pretty scary.) Well, tomorrow, Children of Men and Turistas are being released on DVD. Blockbuster, here I come.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Keith Demko's blog Reel Fanatic ( has an interesting entry on baseball and the movies. Check it out. "Tis the season.

There's an interesting article on MSNBC about how a million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to and the new millionaires could be your next-door neighbor ( First, wining about your net worth being a million is not falling on sympathetic ears. Second, I wanna join the club!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Woke up at 4AM. Showered and dressed. Put a few dry crunchies in the cat’s bowl. Made my lunch. Jumped on the 91 and drove to the 15 to work in the dark. Some of the flu symptoms from the week before still linger.

Twelve plus hours later, I’m back on the 15 to the 91 and home. A few chores. No writing tonight. A little dinner. Watched Unforgiven with Eastwood, Hackman, and Freeman. Cleaned up a little. Got ready for bed. It’s about ten or so.


I’ve stripped to my boxers and I head into the bathroom to get the sweats I sleep in. Try not to look at my pot-belly in the mirror which just reminds me I need to hit the gym more often than once a week. Only I look. And come to a complete stop.

On my left side, above my hip, is an ugly foot-long, three-inch-wide bruise.

I stare. Did I run into anything today? No. Did I pick anything heavy up? No. How did I do this? No idea. I touch the bruise. It doesn’t hurt but it sure is ugly. I climb into my sweats. I work the night shift the next day so I’ll call the doctor first thing in the morning. That’s my plan. I set the alarm, climb into bed, and turn off the light. Cat curls up beside my leg. I lay there. Thinking. What would cause a bruise like that? Have I ruptured some organ? Will I wake up dead in the morning? Shit. Light back on. Get dressed in my old Levis (if I croak I want to go in my jeans). Make sure I have my insurance card. Out to the car. Drive to the Loma Linda ER.

The ER is packed. I go to the desk. Explain to the reception nurse my dilemma. Sign in. The time is 11:55PM. I find a chair. A ceiling-high TV is on in the corner. I notice two things after a short while. Number One: No one looks cool and hip in an ER waiting room. Everybody, even those not sick look like hell. Number Two: Everyone has someone with them. Except two people. One is a guy who looks like he flunked rehab and that he models for jack-o-lantern carvings. The other one is me.

Suddenly I’m feeling very alone and sorry for himself. We all have it coming, I hear Eastwood say in my head. I pull out my cell. Who do you call after midnight? My nephew lives fifty miles and one county away. My good friends, Kent and Jenny, must be sound asleep. My uncle is in the next state. I just wait. The desk nurse calls my name. She takes my temp and blood pressure. Temp okay but b.p. is 194/119. Nurse shakes her head. Not good. I go back to the waiting area.

Am I having stroke here? Physically I don’t feel any pain and weird side effects. I dial my cell phone. Who do I call? My ex. She only lives 2000 miles and two time zones away. Annie is awake. (I find out later that she actually was awake – she couldn’t sleep.) I tell her where I am and what’s happening. We talk for two hours.

Slowly the ER begins to empty out. A lot of names are called and a lot don’t answer. I guess they’ve given up and gone elsewhere. One woman and one man keep going up to the reception desk. I hear the nurse, patiently each time, tell them that she can’t give them a time when they’ll get in. The police arrive with a kid in handcuffs. The kid is the neatest person at the ER. Without the handcuffs, he’d stand out in this crowd. Clean, nice clothes and well-groomed. Doesn’t appear that anything wrong with him. But something must be.

My name is called. I tell Annie I’ll call her back. I don’t go into the ER. I go see the ER nurse who takes my vitals again and has me repeat the bruise story. My b.p. is still in the stratosphere. I go back to the waiting room. Call Annie back.

Two more hours. My cell is dying. I’m down to one bar. I tell Annie I’ll call back as soon as I see the ER doctor. Two more hours. The jack-o-lantern man has been released but comes back. He asks for a specific ER nurse. The nurse comes out. Jack tells the nurse that he doesn’t have the one-dollar-twenty-five-cents he needs for the bus. The nurse inhales deeply. I could hear him across the room. It is one pissed-off sound. The nurse doesn’t call the cops who are nearby, he doesn’t call security. He takes a dollar-and-a-quarter from his pocket and gives it to Jack. Jack thanks him and leaves.

I start pacing. I go outside. A hospital security guard is out there smoking a cigarette. I’m trying to quit but I sneak a couple drags off a cigarette I have in the car. Really stupid but I did it anyway. I ask the guard if it’s always like this. He tells me no. In fact, this is the first time they’ve been given orders to refer people elsewhere. It appears the hospital is full (Loma Linda is one of the biggest in the Inland Empire.) That’s why ER is so slow. The patients being admitted have no rooms to be taken to. ER has gone into a holding pattern. Wonderful.

Sunlight is touching the horizon. It’s now 6AM. I call my work and tell my assistant to email our boss. I don’t know if I’ll be in that night. My name is finally called. Nurse Michael takes me to a bed. I strip into a gown. Boxers and socks remain on. Michael hooks me to several machines. I tell my story again. He says the doctor will be there shortly. I wait. Michael and another nurse arrive. They need this spot for someone the ambulance is bringing in. I’m rolled to another spot.

Nurse Abraham hooks me up to several machines. I tell my story again. Then I wait. And I wait. I decide against all rules to call Annie and update her. My cell doesn’t work. I’m beside a stainless steel wall and all I get on my phone is “No signal.” So I wait.

I hear the phone ring at the desk nearby. Nurse Abraham walks toward me with the phone cord stretched as far as it will go. “It’s your wife Annie,” he says. She was worried not hearing from me and went through the hospital switchboard and only-God-knows how many operators to track me down. I explain my cell won’t work where I’m at and I haven’t seen the doctor yet. The phone cord is stretched across an aisle and people are ducking under it to get by. Abraham motions at me. I tell Annie I’ll call as soon as I see the doctor. She says I’d better.

The doctor arrives. Examines the bruise. I tell my story again. I repeat that it doesn’t hurt. Doctor leaves. I wait. Doctor returns with ultra-sound. All my body parts are where they are supposed to be and none have exploded. In fact, he says my spleen looks great. Do most people’s spleens not look great? I was confused. Doctor says he’ll be back. I wait. Doctor returns with older doctor. Older doctor examines bruise. I tell my story. He asks about my flu I had the week before. I tell him. He nods. He explains to the other doctor and me that during one of my coughing attacks I ruptured a blood vessel in my side. It took five days to filter down my side to my hip and to the surface. It will get bigger and uglier in the next day or so then fade away. If it begins to hurt, I’m supposed to go immediately to my regular doctor or come back to the ER.

I am relieved. I am also released. No hospital for me.

Almost over. I’m waiting for the release papers and to be unhooked from the machine. I hear the doctor telling someone about me. Then the doctor reappears with another doctor. Loma Linda is a teaching hospital. He wants to show this intern my bruise. Okay, now I’m a school lesson. I let him.

8AM. Eight hours after arriving, I’m back at my car. I call Annie. I apologize for keeping her up all night. She scolds me like a little kid. Informs me that I’d better call her on nights like this. Okay, her response was a little more colorful than that. Patton would’ve enjoyed it. She makes me promise to call her that night after I get off work. I promise, and I do it.

I drive back to the house and the cat.

And, yes, after a three-hour nap I went to work. I’m the GM at my location and that’s what GMs do.

Here’s my prayer lately: Please, God, no more adventures for a while. I need a week of boring and humdrum. Please.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I saw this on the Daily Nooz site ( Thought it was funny so I stole it. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It is said that the beginning of a screenplay sells the script but the ending sells the movie I’m working on a new script with my screenplay partner. It’s a thriller with a mystery. I think we’ve got a pretty good opening gambit. Here’s the tough part (okay they’re all tough) – a logical but surprising ending. I’ve been looking at several movies lately (it’s easier than writing). A lot of movies have solid conclusions (Chinatown, The Quiet Man, The Wild Bunch, Batman Begins) but some have an extra kick at the end that makes them more than memorable. The ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has a kick that most of the movie is missing. Anyway, here’s my list of great movie endings.

Cool Hand Luke
Field of Dreams
The Godfather
Planet of the Apes
(the original movie)
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Sixth Sense
Some Like It Hot
Soylent Green

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Still sick. Still grumpy and pessimistic.
Have a nice day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Back from my GM convention. Had the flu the entire time. Slowly getting better. Wanted to share (my misery not the flu).

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The X-Files
Mulder: How many times have we been here before? So close to the truth.
I ended up watching the X-Files movie last night. I really miss this show. It would be close to the top of my favorite TV series of all time. (Up there with Cheers, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone, and Deadwood.) Even when it was dorky, it was cool. Guess I'm going to have to rent (or buy) the series and watch again starting with Season One.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Jackie Earle Haley was nominated for Oscar’s Best Supporting Actor in Little Children. I remember him from Bad News Bears and Breakin’ Away. Sometimes it seems that actors just seem to fall off the planet. One minute they’re everywhere then they’re nowhere. I went a little while back to see Night at the Museum and up popped Mickey Rooney. I would’ve bet money that he was stuffed and in a real museum somewhere. Started thinking of other actors and wondered what happened.

Do you remember…?

Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files)
Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
Pam Dawber (Mindy from Mork & Mindy)
Joyce DeWitt (Janet in Three’s Company)
Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman)
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in the first Stars Wars trilogy)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)
Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Walter Skinner in The X-Files)
Katherine Ross (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)
Deborah Shelton (Mandy Winger in Dallas)
William Smith (Falconetti in Rich Man, Poor Man)
Richard Thomas (John-Boy in The Waltons)
Debra Winger (An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment)
Henry Winkler (The Fonz in Happy Days)

This list is long enough. Fifteen minutes, I guess, is true.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


My father was sixteen when he enlisted, with my grandfather’s permission, in the Navy during World War Two. Dad rarely talked about his military service. I never heard why a young man raised in Kansas and the flatlands of Texas chose the Navy, or how he felt about having his ship sunk by a suicide pilot off the coast of Okinawa and being one of the few survivors. I do remember that the fire in the water burned his eyes and he didn’t tell the doctors because the survivors were being shipped to San Diego and, if he’d said something, they would have sent him to the hospital at Pearl instead.

When Clint Eastwood announced his next films would be about the World War II battle in Iwo Jima I was intrigued. Hundreds, if not thousands, of movies have been made about the Second World War. Most have been about the European campaign. Only a few have been about the war in the South Pacific. (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Mister Roberts, Sands of Iwo Jima, Tora!Tora!Tora!, Midway, The Great Raid, Pearl Harbor)

Flags of Our Fathers is the first of the two movies released. The hook is one of the most famous photographs, if not the most famous, taken during the war – the servicemen raising the flag on Mount Suribachi and what happened to the men who raised the flag.

The movie is actually two films book-ended by a son’s search to discover what his father did during the war. (Because his father rarely talked about it.) The story about the battle and the men who fought it is gripping, bloody, and extremely well done. The story about the three survivors of the photograph back home is repetitive and the message driven in with a sledgehammer. I got it the first time – two of the men did not want to be there, didn’t consider themselves heroes in any way, shape, or form, and disliked posing on papier-mâché mountains to sell war bonds. The back-home story could’ve been done in one segment (the one at Soldier Field stadium) and conveyed the message easily. The acting is top-notch. Berry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) and Adam Beach (Windtalkers) were the stand-outs for me but all did terrific. One back-home scene that really stood out for me was when, after the war, Ira Hayes (Beach) walks from the Indian reservation where he lives in Arizona to Texas. He goes to tell the father of one of his fallen comrades that it is his son in the photograph not the also fallen serviceman who was named by the military and press.

If I gave out stars, the Iwo Jima section would get four out of four stars. The back-home section would get one.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

M.D. Benoit

Metered Space is a fast-paced novel that is a hybrid of private detective noir and funky alien sci-fi.

Jack Meter is our hero. He’s a private investigator or, more correctly as the story begins, he used to be. Two years before, Jack’s physicist girlfriend Annie was killed in a mysterious lab explosion at her high-security government facility. As Jack puts it, “The night Annie died I lost it … spent six months in a pysch ward … Screaming. Totally nuts. When I clamed down enough, they released me … Wandered for a while … I don’t remember much of those days. Except that, anywhere I went, she was still dead.” Jack’s plan is to use the bottle to keep himself numb until he steps permanently into the abyss.


Jack wakes one day to find himself on an alien planet. The Thrittene have transported him there and repaired the damage he’d done to his body. They want to “hire” him to find a stolen transporter. Jack is forced to accept. Soon he finds himself on other alien planets and discovers that the missing transporter could destroy the universe. He also learns that Annie had traveled to these same worlds before her death and the theft of the transporter may involve people he knows back on Earth.

M.D. Benoit has a light touch and keeps the story moving at a brisk piece. For those who like mysteries and science fiction this first novel is a very enjoyable read by an up-and-coming writer.

The novel is available through Zumaya Publications and Amazon.