Archive for the ‘drama’ Category

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Things Toby Says

October 10, 2007

Who would have thunk that I’d get the most hits ever to this site just by not having a job. Thanks to everyone who commented or wrote in with kind words. Unfortunately for those of you here looking for dirt, I can’t say much more yet about the future or the past. Not yet.

So let’s talk about writing. Sometimes, when I’m feeling like a pretentious and self-involved writer1, except I’m not actually sitting down and writing anything, I watch this clip of The West Wing (episode: “Arctic Radar”) in which Toby vets Will’s writing. I like the part where he says, “This is incredibly good, Will.” I close my eyes and imagine I’m there.

But I also like the way he describes something that’s maybe akin to writer’s block, but isn’t quite the same. Writer’s fatigue, maybe? Whatever. The point is this: Toby’s talking about how badly it’s going, but he’s still got his own “500-word stanza on American leadership in a globally interdependent age,” doesn’t he? In this little parable, “the President” is anything or anyone for whom you are writing.

(While we’re at it, I adore the writing and the timing in this clip about the funding available from the NEA.)

If you’re not a regular visitor, I expect you won’t be coming back for long, so let’s save you some time. Here are three of the most-read posts on the site. In most cases, this is because I fell backwards into valuable Google keywords. In one case, I think it’s because the post is sort of good. You decide:

1. The punchline is obviously, “So, just when I’m awake.”
Music: The Drovers, “Book of Songs”

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Any Title Except “Lone Wolf,” I Beg You

October 8, 2007

As of last Friday, October 5th, I am no longer an employee of White Wolf Publishing. I’m a freelancer once again, actively looking for contracts and assignments to add to those I already have queueing up. Likewise, I’m looking for one of those legendary “day jobs,” so I can pay my real mortgage while chasing my imaginary career.

Stop sending emails to my white-wolf.com and ccpgames.com addresses. I can’t hear you when you do that. If you’d like to contact me about work (or whatever), please send an email to my first name @ wordstudio dot net (except all assembled into a grammatical email address). If you’d like more information on what’s happening with me now, what the future holds, and what this all means for you and I, the line starts here. Let’s hope the show is worth the price of the ticket.

This is an exciting time. (An obvious lie — I mean “terrifying,” not exciting.) More commentary, speculation, rumination, and melodrama to come in the near future, since I’ll have time to blog. This time might be the explorer’s wide horizon of layered mountains hiding the misty fields laid on the mystic curve of infinity, or it might be the prisoner’s pit of drowning hours accumulating in a cell like a cistern. We’ll see. Hell, I may even cogitate. Don’t want to miss that. So do stay tuned.

Music: The Veils, “Night Thoughts of a Tired Surgeon”

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The Old Phone

October 4, 2007

Old Phone

Well, that happened.

In a way, I suppose this is a fine little allegory for the past seven days. Communications break down? I find myself unable to reach or receive the outer world? I brought this on myself? Check. Check. Check.

Anyway, at this point you shouldn’t assume that I have your phone number anymore, as it was all in the phone. So if you have my email address (the one at wordstudio.net) and you think I might want to hear from you, please send me your current contact information. Yes, you.

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Leather Year

September 18, 2007

Today’s the third wedding anniversary, which they tell me is traditionally the year for leather and glass. So, you know… ouch. That sounds like kind of a weird night. I guess Sara could go out line dancing and beer-bottle-breaking, since she’s in Denver handling French art. I’ll be here in Atlanta, writing like crazy to catch up on a missed deadline. Ever on and on.

Noise: The White Stripes, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”

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How It Feels #32

August 23, 2007

Jordan: What if you did tank tonight? What are you afraid would happen?

Matt: Strangers wouldn’t like me, friends wouldn’t like me, the network wouldn’t like me, the press wouldn’t like me, women in general wouldn’t like me, and Harriet wouldn’t like me.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

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Why I Am A Bad Employee

August 6, 2007

I am at least three of the people at this table.

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South Beach, Self-Image, Die Hard

June 29, 2007

(Nine days since my last post? There goes my five-times-a-week plan. I haven’t been home before 10pm a single day this week, though, so at least I’ve been generating some material for posting.)

So I’m on the South Beach Diet. Three of us in the Game Studio started it on Monday, and another started it a couple of weeks ago and is blazing the trail ahead of us. Our wives and SO’s are doing it, too. We’re in Phase I, wherein we eat only low-sugar vegetables (fuck you, carrots, I guess) and lean meats (fuck you, uh, bread of all kinds?) for two weeks. Breakfast consists of scrambled eggs and turkey bacon, whereas it used to consist of a bagel with cream cheese or a scone or, more often, nothing at all. Lunch and dinner are made up of things like salad greens and chicken breast. It’s all very reasonable. Black-bean chilli is going to make up a big part of my weekend, I tell you what.

Since Monday, Brian has lost something like six pounds. It’s been in the neighborhood of 94 degrees outside, though, so half of that may be to sweat, what do I know? Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the gym all week, and that’s where we keep our scale, so I don’t know what I weighed at the beginning (I’m going to guess… 260 lbs.) or what I weigh now (I’m going to guess… 259 lbs.).

Without the instant positive reinforcement that comes with immediate results, I have only one thing to fall back on to make this work: self-loathing. Denying myself stuff is a kind of flagellant rush I can appreciate. “Good for you,” I say, “you didn’t eat that bagel.”

This is a mutation of the thing I was doing before (and that has worked as a weight-loss thing when I lived in cities where walking was something people actually did), which is based on the idea that Everything I Don’t Eat is a Little Victory. So, leave that part of the burger on the plate, eat half a piece of pie, skip dessert (or lunch) and it’s good. Dial that up to ten, and it’s the philosophy that I mine when I’m presented with the image of a toasted sub. Made with bread. Blackened-at-the-edges, dressed-with-peppercorn-ranch bread. Sweet, life-giving bread. O, bread.

Then, yesterday, standing around a theater lobby with thirty minutes to kill before Live Free or Die Hard1 starts (and the irony pressing down on my stomach like a party platter of toasted subs), I smell popcorn. Salted, warm, buttery popcorn. Sweet, life-giving popcorn. O, popcorn.

And I start thinking to myself: Would I rather be in shape, or would I rather make peace with the way I look? Should I chase after an image of myself on an engine fueled by self-disgust, or should I accept that I cannot escape the fat slob on my tail?

I look at the candy, bright in its case, displayed behind glass like a colorful Chinese vase. “See this candy?” it says. “It is special. It is art.”

Do I beat myself into lean, healthy submission, and live enslaved to the service of a looming idea, like the slave toiling until death on the scaffolds of the pyramids? Or do I live through my senses, free to explore a world of tastes and smells, but die over and again from a long series of clogged arteries and rotten teeth, free to live but too fat to get out of the house?

I look at the little metal dish of collected butter topping that has dripped from the self-serve spigot. Self-serve — have all the butter you want.

Do I live free to dress as I like and run around like an action hero, or do I die, hard gunk filling my veins and stopping my heart?

I realize that this is a bullshit question. I can eat enough to enjoy myself, but little enough to be happier, once I get myself down to a weight that’s not ridiculous. I can be active enough to eat without shame, and I can be fit enough to be happy without feeling like a prisoner.

I tell myself, “You can have it both ways. And you love having stuff both ways, don’t you?”

“That’s true,” I tell myself.

“Just wait. Beat yourself with this whip. You’ll feel better,” I say to myself, popping a two-calorie, sugar-free mint in my mouth.

And I do feel better. I skip the popcorn. But when the cute teenage couple walks by with two bags of popcorn, I say to myself, “Fuck you, me.”


1: I’ll review it shortly, but I liked it more than I’d expected and less than I’d hoped.

Music: Digitalism, Jupiter Room (Planetary Lobby Version)