Sunday, October 14, 2007

Too Many Broken Hearts Have Fallen In The River

Once upon a time I would get the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide and carefully pick through and figure out everything I was going to watch and how to hammock it all together. This year's Fall TV season has barely made a blip on my radar. I think I was too willing to invest in new shows last year that went belly-up and a lot of my old favorites are on the fade. I also think it's because a lot of my favorites, like LAW AND ORDER and LOST and the love that dare not speak its name, AMERICAN IDOL, are all starting late. For whatever reason.

Of the new shows, I thought BIONIC WOMAN was like a pretty good show on the USA Network in the early 90s, but I fell asleep during the first two episodes so I quit watching. PUSHING DAISIES has a really neat look but I can't see how it will sustain itself so I quit watching. DIRTY SEXY MONEY is interesting, but like STUDIO 60 last year has one of those big expensive casts of movie and TV people so I sense the stink of doom around it and quit watching.

I have drifted away from BOSTON LEGAL, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, MEN IN TREES, THE SHIELD, and BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I watch COLD CASE, CSI, CSI: MIAMI, and WITHOUT A TRACE whenever I can but don't miss it if I'm busy. I try a little harder to catch the LAW AND ORDER shows. I finally broke it off with the dry husk that is ER but truly enjoy the early lineup of MY NAME IS EARL, THE OFFICE, SCRUBS, and 30 ROCK. If there is anything else on I'm forgetting it.

Yeah, I know, HEROES and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and DOCTOR WHO and some of that other stuff on cable is good, but for the last five years it's been me and my wife and my daughter so the Lifetime network wins out over the Sci-Fi Channel 2-1 most all the time. I try to catch up with Netflix.

Netflix will kill your network television habit in a snap. But it's like quitting coffee and starting on meth. Pretty much all of the shows I watch I get through Netflix anymore. Recent marathon sessions have included SOPRANOS, DEXTER, ROME, DEADWOOD, ENTOURAGE, EXTRAS, and a lot more.

Is there anything I should be checking out on regular TV? Snap my ennui in the comments, please.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Weather's Turned, And All the Lines Are Down

My ass is busy and my mind is full. I've got a third draft of URAMESHIYA: GHOST SCREAM at the keyboard and a secret project or two to buff up. Here are some links to hold you over:

Bill Cunningham has a way of getting me all fired up.

Overall, these are my kind of peeps.

This kind of stuff I love.

My brother bought me this which I have enjoyed like life itself.

A pal who owns every one of the DVDs made from my scripts (which actually I don't even own) brought me a box o' this. And who wouldn't want that for Halloween?

Give me a shout at

Monday, October 08, 2007

She's A Free and Gentle Flower, Growing Wild

I went for a little fall camping this weekend to clear my mind and it turned out to be the hottest weekend on record for October. So it goes. But I picked up another of my old nerd habits again, though this one might be considered in the tech-nerd subcategory which is more widely accepted than, say, the D&D nerd category, the comic book fan category, or a number of others that I belong to.

We went with another couple who are into Geocaching, which I dabbled with before the ominous shadow of the Patriot Act made it undesirable to be snooping around places with a GPS. We found a neat historic church with a grisly past and then found a geocache in a nearby state recreation area, placed there as part of a statewide geocaching contest by the Indiana DNR. Follow the link if you still don't know what I'm talking about.

My pal Dan and I hiked uphill in the blazing sun a mile or two back into the park, dutifully following the trail. Suddenly the GPS arrow towards the cache pointed hard left, even though the trail meandered along straight ahead out of sight.

Wringing wet and thinking about a pork loin cooking over the campfire way behind us, I suggested we cut cross country to the cache site, cutting a mile or two off of the walk. Unfortunately the arrow told us to go down a ravine and pop up on the other side.

We thrashed around for a bit in the back country before we suddenly, thankfully, found the hidden cache in a hollowed-out log. The joy that replaced the bitter anger in our hearts was short-lived when Dan slipped off the hollow log and began to tumble back down into the ravine. Fortunately a sapling smacked him in the head and broke his fall. It was one of those things that you sort of hold your breath for a moment, then laugh like dumbasses.

On the way back, my heart stopped for a moment when a camouflaged hunter stepped out from behind a tree. People asked me later why I didn't question him hunting with his friends in the state recreation area. Instead, with "Dueling Banjos" playing in my head, we loped for home.

Despite two near-death experiences, I think I'm ready to dust off my Garmin and hit the coordinates again.

Until later, give me a shout at

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Sweet Escape

B-movie fan Tim Shrum made this Bigfoot cake based on the Polonia Brothers' horror feature AMONG US. I never pictured this happening when I wrote the script, that's for sure--a cake based on one of my scripts! Save a brother a piece, Tim!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Feed Your Head Fall 2007 Edition

My quarterly mystery review column for the magazine "Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence":

HOLLYWOOD STATION by Joseph Wambaugh
Joseph Wambaugh has written a number of cornerstone crime novels, among them THE CHOIRBOYS and THE ONION FIELD and others, but has largely been away from the scene for some time. HOLLYWOOD STATION is his return, and he picks up as if he had never left, with crudely funny, caustic, horrifying tales from the lives of the men and women of the LAPD. Wambaugh retains his knack for dialogue and his penchant for bleak humor in this expansive, edgy tale. Fans who remember Wambaugh’s work will definitely want to seek this out, while new readers who have come up since Wambaugh’s heyday will have a welcome surprise.

THE OVERLOOK by Michael Connelly
In my view, few series have been more rewarding in pure storytelling and character development than Michael Connelly’s mature thrillers centered around LA police detective Harry Bosch (although Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series is quite close). After stints working as a private investigator and on the Cold Case squad, Bosch is back front and center leading a new investigation with political and emotional undertones. Connelly writes in a clipped style, but has created a resonant world for his long-running protagonist.

New Orleans-area policeman Dave Robicheaux returns to a post-Katrina world in James Lee Burke’s latest mystery in this long series. Though the procedural elements are fairly straightforward, Burke’s vivid writing on the hurricane’s aftermath makes THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN one of the stronger entries among the Robicheaux novels. Burke’s powerful prose detailing the tragedy stands as a fine piece of writing on its own merits, and will certainly please fans.

NIGHT WALKER by Donald Hamilton
I haven’t been able to praise the “Hard Case Crime” series enough, with its retro-pulp covers and lineup of lost noir classics. This one comes from Donald Hamilton, whose muscular Matt Helm novels were a far cry from the go-go Dean Martin films of the 60s. NIGHT WALKER is a tough little thriller where a soldier gets mistaken for a dead man, with two femme fatales along for the ride to get this hapless mug into more bad news. Hamilton’s writing is brusque and clear-eyed, with all of the noir trappings intact.