Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guess I Needed Some Time to Get Away

Last day of March, 2011. Fighting to keep my head and get it all done.

I really should take a vacation at some point. Go somewhere. Get out of the city.

That's what people do, isn't it? I know because I've seen it on Facebook.

They travel. They see other parts of the world. They bask in the sun.

The thought rarely occurs to me because I have been so focused on career for the past 5 years (or longer?). If I take a vacation, that might be a month's rent. Or the cost of a few therapy sessions. Or any number of practical things.

So I hunker down in this godforsaken city and craft my little horror stories, with the dim hope that a few of these things will afford me the ability to actually live a little eventually.

I believe in what I'm doing but sometimes it feels like magical thinking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Have Bad Dreams

Monday into Tuesday, not a lot of sleep. Covered a lot of ground with work Monday night but couldn't drop off. What sleep there was... filled with bad dreams.

Violent. Disturbing.

This is a long run of bad dreams now.

I am amazed at how messed up my head is.

I need professional help but it's not practical. Not now.

Wow. You have no idea what this feels like. I could go on and on and you would have no idea.

One day, I hope to be successful enough to hire a team of experts to sort my head out. Like one of those HOARDERS shows, except the house is my skull... packed to the rafters with bad thoughts. And I can't get rid of them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All the Knives Seem to Lacerate Your Brain

Who's gone completely mad?

(I have.)


We're close.

Simple, feasible goals this week. And we are close.

The demons claw at the insides of my skull, but we will quiet them.

A second draft of a script bearing a structure that is not inordinately complicated. Light touches will speed it toward a polished finish. And then it's out of our hands for a little while.

There is a better future that is within my reach if I can just keep it together.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Poisonous Vent

I've been having the darkest dreams lately. A portrait of how messed up my head has been.

Just recall a fragment of this one dream I had this weekend.

I was talking to someone, I think. On the street? Near a subway station? It might have been a heavy conversation that was distressing on its own. I was about to head down into the train station when I see people begin to run out of it. This one woman is screaming about some poisonous gas leak.

In the dream, I recalled reading a news story about poisonous gas leaks underground. The gas came from some pipes and somehow it acted like an extermination fogger for humans. And now it was happening right in front of me. People racing out of the train station as this white gas cloud burst out after them.

People running and dropping dead on the streets.

The gas shot up out of manholes in the street. Somehow there were a lot of manholes and this gas was everywhere.

I ran into a building that resembled a school gymnasium. But there were manholes in there, too. And the gas was shooting up everywhere. And I knew I was trapped. There was nowhere left to run. This is how I was going to die.

Dying woke me up.

I can't even talk openly about why I've been so messed up lately. I'd suggest that I'd save the juicy details for an autobiography at some point down the line... but even a crack like that implies the optimism that writing an autobiography would represent a viable venture for me at some point in the future. I'm in such a bleak headspace, I have a hard time imagining the future. The future is a poisonous fog rolling across the horizon.

I have a lot to do this week and I am trying to keep sane.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

morning after the end of the world

sometimes when there's something i'm dreading, i'll fixate on the date for weeks, months.

in three weeks, that bad thing is going to happen. in two weeks, that bad thing is going to happen. in four days, that bad thing is going to happen. today, that bad thing is going to happen.

and then it's a blur.

and i wake up the day after. and i'm almost amazed that there is a calendar date after that bad thing.

but sometimes it's the memory that kills...

Friday, March 25, 2011


Spencer Elden, the baby on the cover of Nirvana's NEVERMIND... is in his 20s now.

Twenty years??!

What in the hell have I been doing for the past 20 years?

March 25, 2011.

Today is the end and the beginning and the end and I don't want to talk about it. It's devastating and I don't want to talk about it. It's all I can think about and it's going to haunt me for ages and I don't want to talk about it. Whatever it was, it happened and it's over.

Nirvana Baby, Spencer Elden from Barry O Donnell on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Phenakistoscopes were early animation devices that created the illusion of motion.

Below is a neat little video that shows how these devices can be brought to life with a strobe light.

LED Strobe Animation Device from Lorelei Pepi on Vimeo.

I made the above animated gif using the same principles.

Pret-ty, pret-ty neat, huh?

I would have made a few more but in case I haven't mentioned: I'M IN THE WEEDS!!!

As feared, one of my managers called Wednesday afternoon to check in with my progress.

I don't *think* they know about or pay attention to this blog. Not that it matters because the bottom line is, I'M IN THE WEEDS!!! Of all the things I need to be doing, making animated phenakistoscope gifs is perhaps the lowest priority.

It's Thursday. Far too late into March than I want it to be. It is a dark week for reasons that will not be discussed here. However, we make the best of what we have and we try to move on. Slightly more haunted. Incrementally more aware.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nightmare Shore

This is officially a recurring nightmare for me. First time I've had it here in The Tomb.

In the dream, I'm in my current apartment. I see my childhood dog walking around.

It occurs to me that I don't remember the last time I walked him.

I don't recall ever walking him up or down the steps that lead up to my current apartment.

What has he been doing? Shitting in the cat box? What has he been living off of?

A rash of guilt and concern... followed by the realization that he died years ago. I had him put to sleep after an extended bout with cancer. I watched him die. Witnessed his last breath.

What does this mean? A deep concern that there's something that I'm neglecting to do. The fear that something I'm failing to do right now is going to come back to haunt me.

Another nightmare I had over the weekend:

I was stuck in THE JERSEY SHORE. I'd been dumped into the cast, forced to live in that house, and all the cast members were treating me like shit.

Where was my head this weekend?

You know what I'd like? Some peace of mind. Maybe for a few days. Maybe a whole week.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm Not Here

I used to dream of having an agent. Never dreamed I'd need a manager, let alone two. It's not quite as exciting as I hoped it would be. Day to day, it's easy to forget that you've got a team representing you and your work.

Then there are times like this week when I'm hoping they don't check in on me...

Because I'm in the weeds, people.

Taxes. Cadavers. Harrowgate.

I need to get these things done this week. Amidst assorted other errands.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seen on TV

Maybe it's because I'm a child of television. When I'm going out with someone, I'll sometimes think of an actress she resembles. Or further on, I'll see an actress that reminds me of her in some way. I don't want to make that connection. It just happens.

This is all right when things are on the ups, but if/when that relationship crashes, it can make it tougher to watch that doppelganger actress if she's in a movie or a show you're watching. Especially if she's in a show that you quite like. You're trying to forget this face and it won't go away.

Everything fades in time. Some things linger longer.

Sometimes you think it's gone and it's still there. The crack inside your fucking heart.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

stuck in reverse

I'm really hungry right now but I don't feel like getting something to eat because I don't think it'll make me feel better.

Does that make no sense to you?

Perhaps it's because you're not entirely batshit like me.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of everything coming together *or* everything spiraling out of control. It's the point where you have to step up your game because you have no other alternatives.

What about death, Malice? Death is always an alternative. So comforting and--


Not just yet. That'll happen soon enough. We've got things to do before then.

Sunday. Late morning. A lot to do today. Need to keep my head together.

Everything is fine.

Everything is fine.

Everything is fine.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Malice Day

My middle name's "Patrick". It's on my birth certificate. When I was in 2nd grade, some little girl asked me if I was Irish because my middle name was Patrick. I went to school with some ignorant-ass children.

Thursday afternoon, I shall join the drunken masses that descend upon this godforsaken city on this holy day of excessive inebriation. Meeting friends I don't get to see too regularly any longer.

I hope that the people I don't want to see will keep their distance.

If they know what's good for them, they will.

If you're on the shit list, I'll likely be less than friendly...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hayride Revenge

I'm part of this screenwriting workshop at the Writers Guild. I went to a few meetings last year but didn't really commit to it. This year, I've been more consistent about attending and participating.

This past Monday night was my turn to get some feedback on my work. I brought in HAYRIDE.

There are three things I'm working on right now. CADAVERS, HARROWGATE (tentative) and HAYRIDE. HAYRIDE being the lowest priority in terms of urgency of delivery. My managers liked the first draft and gave me notes last year but I haven't really been able to devote much time to a second draft because of these other projects.

I was hoping to do at least a little cosmetic work on HAYRIDE before bringing it to the workshop, but I couldn't. So I was dreading the workshop a bit. My first time sharing work with The Group and I was bringing something with critical flaws that I knew about. At the same time, I've gotten used to people giving harsh feedback on my scripts. I was braced for it.

It shocked me how much everyone loved the script.

Most even confessed that horror wasn't their genre. They were just taken by the storytelling, the dialogue, the descriptions. These fellow WGAE vets, some of them teachers, all of them a little bit older... and I got them with a high school horror script.

"I was reading this and I was thinking, 'Whoa... this guy can seriously write.'"

"There are so many things in this script that I love, I could go on and on..."

I have never seen them respond so positively to a script. Their critical feedback was specific and helpful but I was wholly unprepared for how much every one of them was impressed with the material. Some of them thought it had sold already. In the entertainment business, it seems like everyone says they love your work, but it just feels like another level of validation coming from other screenwriters.

It reminded me of all the things I like in the script. And though it's my lowest priority, it motivates me to go back to it and finally get it off the ground.

HAYRIDE and CADAVERS. Two first drafts that I believe are pretty strong first drafts.

I realize that there's no one stopping me from advancing in my career except for me. The thought is simultaneously empowering and daunting. And the demons scream, "What are you waiting for??"

It is enviable what I have. I have a team of representatives working for me, ready to sell the living daylights out of what I give them. All I need to do is let them have it.

What's stopping me?

What am I afraid of?

This is the year. The world may end in 2012 but it begins in 2011.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rockstars Anonymous

Ended up at a bar Saturday night. The stand-by watering hole, O'Flaherty's along Restaurant Row. Live two-guitar band there, as there usually is. Wasn't very crowded and they were letting people come up to sing songs with them.

I was playing pool badly. (The only way I know how.) A guy came up to sing some Counting Crows song with them, poorly.

My friends kept pushing me to sing something.

I eventually relented.

I'm a pro at karaoke but I've never sung with a live band in a public setting.

I chose the safest thing I knew, that they had the chords and lyrics for: Radiohead's CREEP.

Bar wasn't very crowded and it shouldn't have been a big deal but for some reason I was trembling like a fucking leaf. I was trembling like a little girl! My right leg would not keep still, even though I was singing on key and making a strong go of it.

Gotta say, though... it felt good.

Few drinks later, I ended up singing another song with them but I can't recall what it was. But as I was leaving, the bartenders were taking the piss and calling me "Axl" so... it was probably one of the classics.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Over Hard

Spent Saturday morning frying eggs at a soup kitchen in the East Village.

Woke up pretty early Saturday morning to head down to the East Village and fry eggs for several hours at a soup kitchen.

Didn't go out Friday night so that I could wake up early Saturday morning and head down to the East Village where I would be frying eggs for several hours at a church-based soup kitchen.

Why would you do that, Malice?

Because I'm such a nice guy.

No, seriously. Why'd you do it?

Hey, I can't figure it out, either. A friend asked me to come with and I agreed, and if I agree to do something... I do it.

Besides—I think I kind of like cooking for a lot of people. I don't really cook for myself that regularly. I like cooking food that other people will eat.

This wasn't exactly a TOP CHEF challenge. You had to cook the eggs all the way through so they weren't runny. No custom orders at the soup kitchen. I was one of 5 egg-cookers flipping eggs on these electric griddles, perched on folding tables.

You really get to know that griddle over a few hours. How it slants on the table so the raw eggs tend to run a certain way when you crack them. The cold spots on the griddle that you need to account for. I developed a whole system with my griddle, cramming as many eggs as I could onto the space, shuffling them around with my spatula to better exploit all the hot spots and get the batches done quickly. It was like a puzzle game. The hours flew by as I got into the zone and the demand for cooked eggs began to exceed the supply. I didn't even get to see the flow of people coming through because I was so focused on those goddamned eggs. I thought we might have a surplus of fried eggs until the server people started crying, "WE NEED MORE EGGS!" and I glanced back to see emptied trays waiting to be refilled.

Anyway, that's something I did.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Might As Well Jump

Jesus, I hate the whole daylight savings hokey pokey.

It always sneaks up. I never remember. I get reminded a day or two before, randomly, and still often forget by the day it happens. Most of the clocks reset themselves automatically these days so it takes a spell to get my bearings and figure out why everything seems just a little off. (Doesn't help that I'm usually hungover on the Sunday it happens.)

Thought I'd gotten more sleep than I did last night.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

only in dreams

Russell Hantz Has a Posse (on Survivor)

It finally happened. Episode 4 of "Survivor: Redemption Island", Russell Hantz's third season playing SURVIVOR, the berserker met the executioner's ax.

He bulldozed through to the end of his first season. Miraculously.

It shouldn't have worked again, but he bulldozed through to the end of his second season, playing amidst vets.

I've marveled at this guy's ability to play the game. His weakness has been his inability to switch up his gameplay. There was something anticlimactic about how he got tossed off this season. The season was advertised as "ROB VERSUS RUSSELL" and Russell's now gone only 4 episodes in. [SPOILER ALERT, by the way.] The first time they only brought back TWO people who'd played the game before. And very quickly, one of them is out. I was really hoping for a bigger end for him.

Rob, on the other hand, proves that he really is a master at this game. Whereas Russell didn't bother concealing the fact that he was hunting for the immunity idol, Rob took care to cover his tracks. Why wouldn't you do that?! Making up a story about being constipated in order to safely excuse himself for an extended stretch of time was perfect.

A shame to see Russell go like that.

Let's see you play this to the end, Boston Rob. It's all you, now.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Unfinished Business

Stephen King wrote another DARK TOWER book. It was supposed to be a 7 volume story. He decided to write an 8th. You want to talk about insanity?

I went through an obligatory Stephen King phase when I was growing up. Was totally into the DARK TOWER series... until I fell off it. Never finished the books. I may, one day, but I have a feeling the experience would remind me a lot about that finale season of LOST, where it became apparent that the creators had no greater master plan after all.


I'd like an ounce of the strain of Charlie Sheen that Stephen King is snorting to allow him to be as relentlessly prolific as he is.

Had a good meeting with a producer Thursday afternoon, in the East Village. Talking about this new script I'm developing because I don't have enough unfinished business.

I need more time.

There is never enough time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who you tryin' to get crazy with, ese?!

Is Charlie Sheen losing his mind?

Nein!!! Nein und abermals NEIN!!!

Would you like to have a discussion about crazy with me?

Julie Taymor has had her baby—the worst Spider-Man musical ever—taken away from her. She's officially been told to hit the bricks and amscray. They're pushing the opening date yet again (to June?) and bringing in a fresh creative team to shine up this theatrical turd.

Thing is, ill-conceived disaster though it may be, it was Julie Taymor's disaster. She co-wrote the damn thing. Her personality is all over this production, from the story on up. It was a mess but it was uniquely HER mess. While completely re-conceiving the script and getting a new director may help... I'm still baffled at how they can keep working on this. And in such a public way. You could strip out all of Taymor's nonsense and craft a story with more cohesiveness... and more Spider-Man... and perhaps ultimately come up with a better show... but it wouldn't be "SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK".

It's incredible that they're still throwing money at this thing. Imagine a movie studio allowing Steven Spielberg to remake "The Terminal" three times over the course of a year, releasing each version to movie theaters, and then bringing on Brett Ratner to remake "The Terminal" a fourth time.

The thing with theater, though, is that it is alive. People will pay to watch whatever the hell they can string together on any given night.

This has got to be mortifying for Taymor, though.

Fortunately, rich people don't get sad.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Freebasing Sheen

My friend FedUp forwarded me the link to this episode of "Sheen's Korner" (sic), which I cannot recommend enough. Although you may want to consult with a doctor to make sure you're strong enough to handle "Torpedoes of Truth Part 2".

I was devastatingly ill last week, which bled into the weekend. I fought it hard. Sometimes when I get sick, I'm just convinced that it's the end. This is how the world ends! My slow, systematic decline, waiting for my Writers Guild health insurance to kick back in... (And I've gotten sick more frequently in the past few months than I generally do—though I've also been doing more things that are probably harder on my system.)

By Sunday, however, I was feeling markedly better.

And Monday morning: better than ever. To the degree that I realized, in hindsight, just how sick I'd been feeling before.

Physically, mentally, I'm fucking bulletproof. An F-18 fueled with tiger blood, shooting poetry from my palms.

It's lonely in outer space. And no one can hear me scream.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What do you have against WINNING?

Can I ask you a question, People of Earth...?

What do you have against WINNING???

There's one person who's winning right now. He goes by many names. Level 7 Vatican Assassin Warlock. Totally Bitchin' Martian Rockstar. He Who Must Not Be Let Onto the Warner Bros Lot.

Most mere mortals know him by his terrestrial name:

"Charlie Sheen."

Yes, he just got fired from the favorite show of Austria's incest monster Josef Fritzl. But this is all a part of Lord Sheen's master plan...

It's remarkable seeing people's reactions to Sheen's multimedia free-for-all. Naturally, the 24-Hour Talking Heads can't get enough of a celebrity going buckwild, and for such an unprecedented, unrelenting spree. But it's the range of reactions from the people on the ground that's so interesting.

Arguably, most people are laughing at him. Then there are people who outright loathe him for his unrepentant excess; his refusal to be chastised.

There are also people (arguably mostly men) who look at him as someone who's living the dream.

He's truly living in the moment. Not apologizing for anything he's done in the past. Not prostrating himself before any institution/religion/studio/job. He's doing whatever he wants to do, saying whatever he wants to say—RIGHT NOW. And it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks because he's redefining "WINNING" for himself.

You clear all the easy jokes aside, there's something liberating about the idea of that.

How nice it would be to NOT be haunted by regrets... fears... desires...

Of course, there's one thing he's got that allows him the paradise found in his Sober Valley Lodge: shitloads of money. That helps pay for a lot of winning. Also helps to more cavalierly weather the loss of a major job. At least he can collect unemployment now—when does that winning streak stop???

The Church of Shitloads of Money. That's a religion I'd seek for salvation.

Support the Church of Charlie Sheen.

Monday, March 07, 2011

I'm Tired of Pretending I'm Not Special

Sick as a dog on Friday yet screwed up all the energy I could to pretend I wasn't so I could go on a date that I knew wasn't going to be a big deal. And it wasn't a big deal. The actual date was as effortless as you could ever hope for in a first date. Aside from the fact that I was trying to conceal that I was revoltingly ill. And I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom and vomit... and vomiting when you haven't eaten anything in over a day is always more revolting... but even given all of that, I thought the date went over extremely well.

Saturday was dedicated to getting the rest that I'd needed all of Friday. Considered going to a social engagement Saturday night, but I just wasn't quite at 100% and it didn't seem worth the toll.

So. Saturday night. Alone. NYC. Sketching out the architecture of a new script that may or may not be called "The Harrowgate Horror". Something I should have completed days before and yet the details sometimes materialize so slowly. It's maddening and I wish I could be faster. When I'm trying to juggle multiple projects, they all suffer a slow-down in progress.

But, it's quality and not quantity, right?

No. It needs to be quality *and* quantity. This is the world right now. No escape from this. (Except through drugs/booze/death.)

Doesn't matter what I'm capable of. What matters is what I'm capable of completing and putting out there. And even THAT doesn't matter if it doesn't have a material effect in getting me further along path I need to travel.

Excerpt from Gail Simmons blog about the last episode of TOP CHEF: ALL STARS:
Richard clearly almost had a heart attack when Padma psyched him out. I thought he was going to jump over the table and strangle her. He started to say, “How could you do that to me?” I’ve never met a more stressed-out chef than Richard Blais. I wish he would have some more self-confidence because his food is so good and he’s such a confident cook, but he’s such a struggling soul. He’s wrestling with his demons at all times. Poor man.
This made me laugh. The guy was a big winner this week, she makes an offering of praise to the man, and yet her appraisal of him closes with pity. "Poor man." Putting aside the fact that reality television like TOP CHEF is designed to create as much drama as possible out of every moment—and that Blais's barely-averted meltdown was the sort of thing producers and editors of that show DESIRE and TRY TO PROVOKE—there is something genuinely heartbreaking that's revealed in that split-second of television. The guy is so talented and yet there is always this voice inside of him that is saying, "Maybe you're just not good enough today."

I know I'm good. Occasionally, I marvel at some of the things I'm able to write. I will stare at the screen objectively and quietly think, "Wow, this is really interesting. Whoever wrote this has got something serious to contribute to the world."

This happens.

But more often, I am banging my head against the wall. Because I know it's not enough to be good. It's not enough to be better. I've got to shoot through the sky just to get noticed. I know I'm capable of amazing things and yet sometimes it's a struggle for me just to walk out of the door.

There's something I admire about this extended Charlie Sheen multimedia meltdown extravaganza. Everything he's doing spells "TRAINWRECK" and "spectacular failure"... and yet, he's driving his stakes into the ground and broadcasting one message: "I don't care how you see me: I OWN THE GALAXY."

Everyone is laughing at him. Everyone thinks he's gone completely apeshit. And he's taken all that attention and remodeled the derision into a crystal castle. To the point where it doesn't matter what anyone says or thinks about him. He's happy.

And he's rich.

I'd like to be rich and happy.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Heartbreaking Game

Long Night's Journey Into Day

Body aches are a side effect of the immune system response to an invading pathogen or germ. When your immune system detects the presence of these foreign objects, it uses certain proteins and chemicals (called cytokines) to communicate with the rest of the body. Some of these cytokines (like interleukins) can cause such things as fever and body aches, because they trigger these specific reactions.

Yesterday was uniquely unpleasant. Spent the day and night popping expired pills and passing out a lot. Really took a bad hit this week. What's worse, I've got a lot to get done today and tomorrow. Need to get up.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

sick puppy

so sick. i think age makes everyone more of a hypochondriac but it's worse when you're waiting for your health insurance to be reinstated. and i feel like i've been sick with a greater frequency the past number of months... which surely means i'm about to die.

my skin was aching yesterday. that tired, aching feeling of a cold, without other immediate symptoms. still, i hit the gym. sometimes a workout makes the hurt go away but it didn't. not yesterday. a difficult night into a difficult morning.

now it's thursday and i'm trying to pull myself together.

if i'm gonna die today, i do hope it's sudden...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Eternal Elsie

I'm not fond of having to juggle projects. Currently, three film projects I'm trying to get off the ground. Including one I don't even have a name for yet.

The most important one is called CADAVERS. I'm in the early stages of a 2nd draft. I'd call it my highest priority of the three because it's the furthest along and the closest to being "there". By "there", I mean that elusive point at which the script is strong enough for everyone involved to go batshit and scramble to get it made.

Alas, the nature of juggling projects being what it is, I've been focusing my efforts on the UNTITLED PROJECT for the past few days just to get it up to speed.

So, today's entry, I'll tell you about a character in CADAVERS. If only to keep it fresh in my head.

CADAVERS is loosely inspired by the Bodies Exhibit. ("What if those cadavers came to life one night...?") I won't go into story specifics except to say that my take on the story takes some cues from the classic Frankenstein narrative. What happens when men try to play God?

One of the cadaver characters in my movie is named Elsie. A little girl who finds herself brought back from death. Little to no recollection of her cause of death, she runs about the dark museum participating in chaos. She has a little cadaver puppy that she's adopted as a pet. In turn, there's an older, Amazonian cadaver woman named Sadie who has essentially adopted Elsie and spends her narrative chasing after Elsie, defending her against any perceived dangers.

I love Elsie. She's adorable and she never dies. Elsie is unkillable. As long as I'm in control of the world, at least.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sexy Baby

Kimmel's got the best videos in late night.

the crack inside your fucking heart is me

I wasn't gonna write one today but I was just putting something in my calendar and—



This year has got to slow way, way down because we are approaching 88 mph and I've got 1.21 gigawatts spilling out of my flux capacitor.

If I sat down and really considered how much I actually need to accomplish in the next few months, I would flip out. There's no room for error this year.