Friday, October 31, 2008

Becky's Treehouse Of Horror

Hey, Becky has her Top Ten Segments From The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror episodes article in Starpulse.

Whew, today Becky is in Starpulse. Tomorrow? Rolling Stone or Time Magazine, and then we will finally get to eat at Trailer Park. We'll chuck tatertots at the fipsters (faux + hipsters= "fipsters") and run the bill up on the magazine's tab...provided that Becky would actually return a phone call...

...or two...

...or a dozen.

...or two dozen phone calls.

2019 Is Not That Far Away

It's almost 2009, right?

That means that 2019 is almost a decade away. What is so significant about that year? I'm glad that you asked, because that is the year that the film Bladerunner was to take place.

We've come a long way since 1982 and by that, I am talking technology. Your current cell phone has either; a superior computer compared to most of the PCs of the 80's, or it has Internet browser capability that would make it more powerful than the computers of old.

Yet we are lacking in the most important things that were foretold in Bladerunner...

First, where's my flying car? Please, I'm tired of dealing with traffic, red light runners, people texting while driving, people looking for phantom parking places, and suicidal jaywalking pedestrians. I'd rather fly around the whole lot.

Last but not certainly not least, where's my Zhora replicant?

I mean, seriously world scientists, get off your lazy asses and get to replicating. I'll take mine without the gun, glitter and snake, thank you very much.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Store Security Guard Pinup?" Yeah, That's Me

I lamented about this on my late blog and I'll bring it up again, because somehow it is worth mentioning security guards love me. Not in a healthy way and the word "love" is not really an appropriate word for how they feel about me. They stalk me like mental patients do Letterman and I really don't want to delve to close, into the rest of their psychosis.

I mean they will literally stop in their tracks or whatever it was that they were doing, and they will follow me around. I have yet to see a store security guard stop in the middle of arresting someone, just to tail me, but it is as inevitable as the sun setting. It doesn't matter how I am attired, be it ragged cut-offs and a t-shirt, be it a suit, they will follow me. It doesn't matter if I am clean-cut and clean-shaven, or sporting five days worth of growth, they will follow me.

What brings this post up is this article in the San Francisco Chronicle about organized shoplifting gangs. The gangs are going about it all wrong; they need to have me on their payroll. Yes, me, "Cormac Brown, Store Security Guard Pinup #1." For a limited time, I will gladly clear the way for these gangs in order to get those store security guards that follow me from the produce section, all the way to the check stand, fired.

If you think I am kidding, this past July found me at a supermarket with The Kid and as we walked into the store, a woman actually put luncheon meat in her overcoat...right in front of a security guard. Why didn't the security guard see this? Because the asshat had his eyes on me.

San Francisco gets cold in July, but not so cold that anyone would need an overcoat and I had on jeans and a t-shirt. Do you see where I'm going with this? Do you see why that security guard will (hopefully) never get a real job in actual law enforcement?

I did not appreciative this moment at all, because I had to explain security guard profiling to The Kid and he really shouldn't have to hear about this kid of garbage at twelve years of age. Not to mention the screenwriter in me despises it when anyone clearly profits off of me and walks away, counting their profits like a hack producer.

So, ladies? Go into a supermarket as skinny as an Olsen Twin and leave the store with your clothing going every which way, like Kristie Alley after a two-week chocolate bender. They won't touch you as long as I am there.

Fellas? Batteries? DVDs? Jumbo-packs of Advil? They are all free as long as you roll with "Cormac Brown, Store Security Guard Pinup #1."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Randomness

I enjoyed "The Brass Verdict" and without giving away/spoiling anything, the book pays off big already by page forty-five. As a matter of fact, if you haven't read the back cover or any of the reviews for it yet? Don't. This is a Connelly best served by just diving straight to page one.

Please, be forewarned however, that you will find a character acting a little unlike that character's self and that detracts from the story, ever so slightly. Parts of the ending were a little too convenient, but you won't care because after all, we're talking Connelly.

If I ever get to executive produce a TV show, you can bet that I'll have "Dancing With Mister D" on the soundtrack. I didn't like the song the first dozen times that I heard it and right now? I like it just fine. Where it really shines is setting a mood and it would blend well visually with just about any simmering evil about to boil over.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Veronica's Blog Turns Three

Whether you call it "Lonely Roads & Psycho Paths" or "Everything Is Used," Veronica's blog turns three years old today. She's a writer, a poet, an essayist, and she has a fine cache of online articles that she has written on the right-hand side of her blog.

Pop on over, wish her blog a Happy Birthday and take it all in, you'll be glad that you did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beth Wants You To Know What I Look Like...

...well, not just me, but everyone. Beth is having The Big Wicked Online Pageant where you-

•Scan a photo from your Halloween past.
• Post it on your blog Monday evening, October 28.
• Once you post your photo, e-mail me at the address on the navbar. If you can, include the URL to that specific post.
• I’ll post a link to every participant’s blog Tuesday morning by 9 a.m.So start digging through your archives. Warm up the scanner. Get ready to don your best Halloween masks!

Uh, yeah, well, I don't have any pictures of me in a costume, from back then or even recent ones. I've been wearing pretty much the same costume for decades and I could post pictures of myself in my "unpublished writer guise," but where's the thrill in that?

I told her so and she said "Not even a (costume of The Kid)? I guess we need to keep the secret of your fabulous face so the chickies don't start pestering you."

See, The Kid and I resemble each other to a degree, but that is neither here nor there.

Well, Beth, flattery will only get you halfway there. My uncle gave me back the pictures of me that my grandmother used to have. Here are two of them for Ms. Coffey and for anyone else who is interested-

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quoth The Hemingway

From the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter-

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."

– Ernest Hemingway

"If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing."

– Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Becky Is In Starpulse!

Becky is in Starpulse with an article that puts the spotlight on urban legends. Which makes sense because she is an expert in the "disappearing from Dunkin' Doughnuts" act.

Psst, allegedly this is the same image that haunts Maroon 5 and Kelly Preston each night, via one of those holographic projectors from Scooby Doo.

And Another Online Mag Says Goodbye

Bryon Quertermous has just folded Demolition Magazine up. We the readers are the losers, but Bryon had about the same run as most online mags in terms of endurance and he has a lot to be proud of. I believe he also had a couple of the magazine's stories featured in the anthology, The Best American Mystery Stories.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm back after being virtually shut-out by the firewall on my Mother-in-law's computer. I realize that was set up to protect my nieces and nephews, but that meant no Facebook, which was labeled as "chat," and no Cormac Writes, which was labeled as "adult." The Missus will tell you that is patently absurd, as the only thing "adult" about me is my age.

That also meant that to access my Gmail, I had to go through Google because Gmail is "chat." Note too that they label Shelfari as "dating," because you really have to beat the babes off with a stick when you tell them "The Maltese Falcon" is one of your favorite books. Of course my brother-in-law that set the firewall up, didn't know and still doesn't know the password to undo it, so I couldn't thank the nice people that came over to this blog and said all those wonderful condolences.

So if somehow I don't manage to thank you all individually, please let this post reflect the gratitude of my family and me. I would also like to thank Quin, Katie and Beth for holding my hand throughout. That order has to do not with preferences, but the order in which we emailed each other. I was literally emailing Quin when received the call, and Katie and Beth emailed me as soon as they found out.

Katie was relentless in a good way with texts galore and the fact that so many of her friends who don't know me from Adam, came over hear to help us say goodbye to my Father-in-law? Wow, Katie keeps exceptional company. I don't want to leave out Beth, John, Shelly, Tom, and last but not least, Katherine. Who not only gave me hand up and also kept me busy with writing, so I wouldn't implode and go to pieces.

Once again, thank you all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

R.I.P. James

Ben Franklin said "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Well he was only half-right. You could in theory, live off the land and donations from friends, but you will never escape death. It might take a hundred and twenty years, but no one escapes one.

I was going to call the Grim Reaper a "craven coward" and "slacker," amongst things that would make those who make their living doing blue humor, get a healthy dose of whiplash from the language I was about to type. Yet that would take away from a man who fought bravely and fought well, despite the fact that his mind and body left his corner along time ago.

I'm talking about a man who despite Parkinson's holding him back and the removal of a good portion of his intestines holding him down, he still dealt such a blow that the Grim One pissed in his robe from the force. He did all this and more, because he wanted to get back to the woman he loved...the woman that stood by his side for over fifty years.

He did this because he wanted to see his five children go down the five different paths that they chose. And while he might not have liked each turn that they took, he loved them, and he loved to hear of their journeys. Still the one thing he wanted most was to see his eleven grandchildren grow and if you looked over your shoulder at each family gathering, you would see him beaming with pride.

It is easier to be brave or to be a hero when you have a fighting chance and it's a whole different thing when the fix is in. Let me tell you that this was as crooked a boxing match as all of them put together. My Father-in-law showed Death for the bully that he is and he knocked that scythe right out of Death's hand and clear out of the ring.

I am not a religious man so please believe me that I am not preaching when I say that James fought the good fight as a Christian. I don't mean as someone has once said, "hit them over the head with The Bible until they cry out "oh, God." I mean that he lived his life by following Christ's example. He didn't throw money at a charity and called it a day. He tutored the less fortunate, he fed the hungry and he gave work to the needy.

Yet he didn't want credit for these deeds nor would you ever hear him thumping his chest about them. You weren't going to find him in some glossy magazine, at a benefit in the Hamptons and he didn't care if whatever he did made the church newsletter or not. This was not his ticket into Heaven or a chance to one-up someone in his parish; this was simply Jim being Jim. He did the right thing because it was in his heart.

He didn't accept things at face value, either.

"There are no stupid questions, but how you ask a question, can make you look stupid."

I am paraphrasing him in the above quote, but the sentiment is dead-on. He wouldn't want anyone to merely "question authority," but for them to ask informed questions. He always pushed everyone to not just ask how something works. Find out about the thing's origin and how it could be improved. All five of his children graduated college and each of them can hold their own in any conversation, a good portion of the credit goes to Jim and his Missus.

I wrote this so you would get an idea of what my Father-in-law was like. He will get only so many column inches in his obituary and it won't tell you of the greatness of this man, or the epic battle that he waged. Oddly, so many people are praised for running companies, being rich or for their athletic prowess. Yet being a parent, putting a roof over the heads of five children, and pointing them in the right direction, will never be praised the way that it should be.

He was in the hospital since the first week of August and at about 2:30 EST, Death finally won. No, actually Death lost, because my Father-in-law gave him the whipping of a lifetime. Death will not cheapen Jim's legacy, because his children and his grandchildren will carry that on. They will thrive, they will flourish.

R.I.P. J.J.D. (1926-2008)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interesting Inscriptions via AbeBooks and Papercuts

AbeBooks has posted some interesting author inscriptions that will amaze you as you try to contextualize them. I found the link off of the NY Times blog, Papercuts.

Thank You Anna

As alleged work-related politics (to use a more polite term) keep me from comforting my wife or from spending the last moments of with my father-in-law's life with him, I received a little pick me-up this afternoon, from Anna of SF Metroblog, and Banane. She posted about this past Saturday night's Litcrawl/This-writer-sprawled happening.

If you haven't read or seen Anna's work before, you'll be amazed. She is quite a Renaissance woman, as a writer, columnist (yes, the two can actually be exclusive) and a photographer. I hope Anna, that your karma will now improve a hundred-fold. May you have always have a seat on Muni (yes, even through Chinatown) or BART, and if you have to share that seat? May someone interesting always be in that adjoining seat and I hope that none of the bad smells of public transportation or The City waft anywhere near your nose.

May you always have the swimming lane to yourself and may you score a triple-double every game.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Heart Has Gone East

(caption: I went to Litcrawl and all I got for my trouble was some glares and this brochure)

The Missus has left for an emergency and I'm having a hard time keep it down. Yet the show must go on. So says the IRS and if I don't make an effort to promote my Cafepress shop, I'll be relegated to "hobby status," and in trouble. So unfortunately the shop promotion took precedence over all else tonight and yours truly had to hit Litcrawl with The Kid in tow.

Uh, just one problem. Even though he is very tall for his twelve years of age, he was not getting into any bars. The Missus had to pack which meant that I had to cook most of dinner while she did that and booked her trip...while I got ready for tonight. No, I didn't shave while I stirred the chili, stop it.

So we ate dinner and said our goodbyes, in case The Kid and I didn't get back in time. Now parking in certain San Franciscan neighborhoods tends to be scarce and adding a couple of thousand festival goers to a Friday night crowd, will make that situation even worse. It took several minutes to find a parking spot up the hill and we gave a bumper sticker away to some Litcrawlers (they had the guide) on the way down.

By the time we got to the first event at Ti Couz, it was already over. No problem, we went Darwin, adapted and gave away some more stuff away in front of Gestalt Haus. We gave away some stuff in front of the Clarion Alley, where there were open mic readings. The second stage was going to be a hit and run with me going into The Elbo Room, home of a good drink and fine acid jazz (at least the last time I went to it, almost a decade ago).

The idea was for me to give out some cups, T-shirts and bumper stickers to the people that run The Grotto, so I left The Kid there at the poetry readings (don't worry, he had his cell phone and there is a police station across the street). It was crowded, so crowded that I couldn't even see into the place, it was actually that crowded. I went back for The Kid and we set up shop just out front.

Note, try to give stuff away and people think that you are handing them the plague. To say it hurts when the junkie panhandlers get more respect and love just feet away from you, is an understatement.

Don't tase me, Litcrawler! Don't tase me!

It was not like I was handing out leaflets to a dry cleaner or God forbid, I'd gone Vegas with the strip club and escort flyers. I am exaggerating a bit though, people loved the T-shirts and they loved the cups. Those that received them were ecstatic and one gentleman was nice enough to put his on top of his long-sleeved shirt. Everyone that got a cup gave back the biggest smile and that counts for a lot.

My heart wasn't in it, though The Kid enjoyed himself and the salesman in him came out. We had a good time overall, though I didn't get to give away my merch to any of the authors or authors that have day jobs with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Missus was long gone by the time we got back and she called about thirty minutes after we walked in, to say that the plane was boarding. All I am trying to do right now is keep the home happy, and to keep The Kid and myself distracted 'til my heart gets home. So if I seem like I'm trying to keep things a little too light and fluffy? You're right.

(If you see man wearing this sweatshirt, give him a hug and a cookie...preferably, just a cookie)

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Browne Can Do For You

No, not UPS, Quin Browne.

She and Thom Gabrukiewicz have changed the world of Six Sentences, putting the 6 S readers on their ears. They fired off sentences without knowing the plot in advance and the result is "Internal Combustion."

I have to recuse myself somewhat, because I believe that Miss Browne is one of the few authors that are not named Hammett or Chandler, that can do no absolutely wrong on paper.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


First things first, Powder Burn Flash has changed from a blog, to an actual URL. Aldo has worked harder than a room full of forensic accountants trying to decipher the California State budget and he has not only created a new site, but he has also posted all one hundred and eight stories from the old site.

Next, who was lucky enough to have his story be the first one on the new site? No...not Ken Bruen, me, damn it, me! Why I oughta...ahem, at any rate, check out "Swerved." It's a little story about a man with a different serial compulsion.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Overheard Downtown

As I was working last night, I witnessed this exchange-

Young Teenage Male: Excuse me Miss, you dropped something...

An attractive woman in her mid-twenties and I both looked down to see what he was talking about.

YTM: ...The conversation!

The attractive woman kept walking.

YTM: C'mon, I'll meet you halfway. I'm right here, I'll meet you halfway!

Finally she turned around and smiled, though she kept going.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I have been faithful to you, Cynara, in my fashion. I am glad that you can forgive me and I’m glad that you came back. After all, when we were just seven years old, you said that we would be together forever. Maybe if you were patient, I never would’ve strayed…but technically, I didn’t stray…you left.

The statistics for a marriage of childhood sweethearts lasting were against us, and you so desperately wanted me to get a job. I could’ve applied myself, but why would I bother when I knew my ship would come in? You should’ve trusted me on that one, though I wouldn’t have, either, with my track record.

Sure, my eyes wandered, but I was married, right? I was like a diabetic in a candy shop and I never cheated…while we married. But while I looked at women, flirted with women, texted women, I never looked for a job, and that was too much for you. What was that William Congreve quote that you would browbeat me with, whenever I pushed things too far?

Heav'n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd

Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.

So you left me before my ship came in, as I knew it would, in the form of an inheritance from my Uncle Elijah and it was just right on time, before they could repossess my truck. Of course you were long gone by then, leaving me with an empty home, an empty wallet and an empty heart.

You left for greener pastures, Cynara, never figuring that our old house would become an oasis again. And who benefited? Why, all those women from town who were waiting in the wings, that’s who. They kept me afloat; they kept me alive; they kept me happy. But there’s only so much money to go around in this hick town, and despite whatever I could do right, not every woman could come across with some cash or food.

So that meant that for all intents and purposes, that I could’ve (or is it “should’ve?) installed a revolving door in this bedroom. Jane, Janet, Jenny, Joan, Jolene, Juanita, Jycinda, and that was just the “J’s.” Yet, you were the one that asked for and got the separation. You were the one that filed for the no-fault divorce, as long as I didn’t ask for alimony and, like I said, I was faithful to you in my own fashion. I almost waited until the divorce decree was official, so there might have been a few weeks where I wasn’t so monogamous? Well, hey.

I didn’t tell you about Uncle Elijah, but you came knocking on my door anyway. You always smelled so good…and you could always smell money. How could I say “no?”

Sitting here in this bed watching you slip into that dress...just makes me want to take it off of you again. And the way you put that lipstick on just gives me all kinds of ideas. Of course you know that I won’t be exclusive until we walk down the aisle again, right? I mean, why else would you laugh off Kara’s little message on the answering machine and Terri’s panties hanging on my headboard?

“Did you like the way I put my lipstick on, Owen?”

“You can clearly see that I do, Cynara.”

“Would you like a taste?”

“Yeah, baby.”

Wow…that tastes different, I’ve never tasted…why am I having a hard time breathing? Why is my tongue swelling? Oh, God, I’m falling off the bed. What the fuck is going on? It feels like my lungs are turning inside out and all the air went with them.

“Crawl around Owen, go ahead, you won’t find your epinephrine because it’s in my purse.”

Damn…it’s my peanut allergy, she’s known about it since we were six. I wonder if Samson and Delilah were childhood sweethearts.

“I have been faithful to you, Owen, as you say “in my own fashion.” But if you thought I would just forgive you for bringing all of these sluts into my house, while my name is still on the deed, you are sadly and fatally mistaken. My sister has told me about the parade of whores that go through here and the bank sent me a notice of foreclosure. You are not dragging my credit down with yours.”

You dumb bitch! If you’re so damn smart and your sister knows all of my business, how could you not know that we’re rolling in money...

Patti Abbott said-

What I need to do to take me away from so much stressful news is to write something short and sassy. Will you join me? It's been six months.Aldo Calgagno, Gerald So and I are ready to challenge flash fiction writers once again. I hope you're in the mood.

Since women have become a bit of a political football of late, I have a choice of two lines to use in a 750 or so word story. Both lines come from an obscure and strange Kay Francis movie from 1932 called Cynara.

"I have been faithful to you, Cynara, in my fashion."

Or "Call no woman respectable till she's dead."

Change the name to whatever suits you if you choose line 1, although it's hard to beat Cynara for mystique.We're thinking of an end date of October 20th. Aldo will post stories for those without sites on Powder Burn Flash . And Gerald So and I will post the links for those who do have blogs. Hope to hear from you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Let's change things up here and try something new. I have this story that has literally been sitting in this blog's draft folder for over a year and a half. It's been sitting there so long in fact that I can't really remember just where I was going with this, other than the near destruction of a small Illinois town and that the protagonist was to be a police-dispatcher.

At any rate, take a gander at the thing and give me an idea somewhere just this side of absurd, as to where you think this thing should go. Hell, if you feel like it, grab the reins yourself and turn this thing into a piece of flash fiction-


Some say it takes a village to raise a child and in the case of Lodzes, it took the whole village getting burned down and built back up again. The family surname, Lodz is pronounced 'Lüj and it almost sounds like the downhill sled.

Yet as soon as the first Lodzes arrived in Bluff Creek, Illinois back in 1875, they were called Loads and they lived up to the name, only it was the village that left carrying the burden. They didn't take kindly to compliments and they didn't handle their liquor well. As witnessed in 1876 when during a celebration of America's centennial, just two small cups of potato vodka caused Danuta Lodz to mistake a compliment pertaining to her lips for something else altogether. She flung a kerosene lamp at her would-be paramour and the rest was infamy.

In the space of the next thirteen years, the town was built up and burned down again...twice. Neither times were the fault of the Lodzes. The first fire was actually the fault of a carpenter from Wisconsin that fell asleep while smoking and the second was most likely sparked by grain dust. Yet, with the Great Fire of Chicago so fresh in every one's minds, they became the new "O'Learys."

The town was virtually inhospitable to them and the then patriarch, Aleksy, wanted to move the family out, right then, and there. Knowing that they were pariahs, Aleksy knew that no one would offer the family a fair share for the property in town that they owned, nor would they get a decent deal for the family farm. Aleksy and the family had no choice but to tough it out.

Eventually the Lodzes convinced the Janiaks, a small merchant family from Aurora, to set up a general store. This was in response to the Bluff Creek retailers, whom began to charge an exorbitant rate for the most basic stuffs, in an effort to drive the Lodzes away.

Here it was, a new century around the corner and the town was reverting to feudal states. The Poles who didn't want to be associated the Lodz-Janiak faction, bonded with the Germans and Russians as if the three countries were somehow always best of friends. The Lodz-Janiak faction had taken up a small, but equal part of the town and the irony was not lost on the town's lone Black family who had just fled Louisiana over discrimination and Jim Crow laws, for Bluff Creek.

The Janiaks are where I come in. Shunned by Bluff Creek and all the surrounding towns for doing business with the Lodzes, we bonded with and eventually married into that family. A decade later during the waning days of "the war to end all wars" that decimated two-thirds of the town's male population, all was most. My great-great grandfather Filip Janiak married Danuta Lodz's granddaughter, Karol and this new union moved to the outskirts of town.

Karol's mother felt ashamed for what happened and she raised Karol to believe that the Lodz family name was a curse. Filip felt the same, so their offspring and their following generations were polite strangers to the Lodz-Janiak clan. They worshipped together, celebrated a Christmas or Thanksgiving here or there, but with all the warmth and conviction of a neighbor that you visit on occasion...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Name Is Cormac Brown And I Approve Of This Message

I do not suffer fools gladly.
-Oscar Wilde

Why should we suffer fools, angrily, bitterly or any emotional capacity? Seriously.

Yet every day, there they are and I have only the vaguest notion as to how they got there. Some seek direction; others seek guidance and most seem to be seeking a surrogate parent. I have a twelve year-old son that I helped give birth to and to the noxious moron that would attach his or herself to me like a flea or a leach? I am not your parent and you certainly are not my child.

I know this sounds cynical when I say I've grown weary of dealing with morons who not only cannot act their age, but want to include me in, or want me to witness their foolery. Go act stupid in the corner and do it quietly, please, or it's no dessert for you. No, that face won't work with me. Go to the corner, now.

To those that created the ubiquitous product (with the worst TV ad ever) that we are to apply to our forehead? Why didn't you create "Fool Off, apply directly to the fool?" Maybe it could be a stun gun or a more compact Louisville Slugger, but I believe that a headache cure would be unnecessary if we could get rid of fools, first.

To Mr. T? No, don't "pity the fool," smite the fool. Wake the fool out of his foolish stupor and slap some common sense into him. The rest of us are just as bad, because too many fools are escaping Darwinism and this is only because we enable them to. We need to put a stop to that as well.

My name is Cormac Brown...I will no longer suffer fools in any capacity and I approve of this message.