Monday, December 15, 2003

. . . Just Nod If You Can Hear Me

"High Concept" is one of those terms that actually means the opposite of what it seems to imply. That there word "High" associated with another word seems to make that other word seem loftier, better, a number one super value fun term. Like "High Road" -- it means a moral path taken at greater expense. So when you see "High Concept," you think "Hey, that must mean an intelligent, detailed soopah froody idea." But "High Concept" actually means "Designed to appeal to a mass audience, as by incorporating popular, glamorous features" according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. So High Concept isn't Masterpiece Theater, it's Starsky & Hutch or Three's Company. Anytime you can sum of a movie or book by saying "It's [Insert Drama Here] with [Insert Comedy Here]", or "It's like [Insert TV Show here], but [Insert Adjective Here]", that's High Concept.

Now, many plot-driven writers fall into the trap of focusing on the High Concept (understandably so because the mass market swallows up that crap, you unimaginative little fucks - well, unless you'll buy my novel if it ever gets published, then y'all are alright). I'll admit, I've fallen into it. Just because it's High Concept doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. Shakespeare is almost exclusively High Concept -- but he has the dialogue, themes and characterization to make his stuff more than the Elizabethan version of Sanford & Son. So Angry Yellow is a bit High Concept, which is the first for me since my prior writings have focused on incidents or dialogue first.

Anyway, I'm back on the Dayquil again which really fucks up the old neural pathways, and I was thinking about this High Concept stuff. So you wonder how these network people think up these really crap ideas that show up on Friday nights and the SciFi network. If their coked-up minds work the same as my mind on Dayquil (which is just a baby version of an amphetamine), then here's a little window into the madness. I just heard some bad remix of a Madonna song on the local dance station, which got me thinking about the so-5-minutes ago celebrity Kabalah fad. The Dolphins v. Eagles game is on in the background, and Jay Fiedler is Jewish. Then this commercial comes on for what looks to be an atrocious movie with Many Moore playing the President's daughter in a romantic romp for tweens. Kabalah-Jewish mysticism-crap movie for tweens. I looked at the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly which had a review for a comic book about a Jewish baseball team in the 1920s that used a Golem. Something clicked--wouldn't it be a kick in the pants if the Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for over two millenia turned out to be some tween fluffchick in Orange County? An Asian tween fluffchick?

So here's Marty Stark's Dayquil-induced High Concept pitch to the entertainment bigwigs: It's The Prophecy meets Better Luck Tomorrow as directed by Woody Allen and written by that dude who wrote The Davinci Code. Alice Kwon is a fourteen-year-old spoiled ABC of Cantonese descent living in Newport Beach whose major concerns are the PSATs and which boys have the most souped of Hondas. She loves pork buns and carne asada burritos. Unbeknownst to her, she is the Messiah. However, a quantum physicist / cryptologist / Kabalist (played by a white dude - Hollywood racist mofos) decrypts the Kabalah and Old Testament and discovers the identity of the Messiah. Just in time too, because the Knights Templar and the Merogovingians have discovered her identity as well, which threatens the Christian way of life (she's the Jews Messiah, not the Second Coming of theirs). The current Knights Templar are all underground street racers. It just happens our quantum physicist/cryptologist/Kabalist is into Rice Rockets as well. Much multi-ethnic wackiness and hich octane action ensues as our hero saves the Asian tween fluffchick who happens to be the Messiah.

And by the way, to the asshat who sneezed behind me Friday night at the movie theater without covering his mouth and who is directly at fault for this Dayquil induced state, I hope someone takes a lead pipe to your head and turns it into squishy, pudding-like pink pulp. And after reading this entry, I'm sure the blog readers hope so too.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

John Constantine Pic
You are John Constantine.
John has a strong knowledge of the occult and at
times he appears to wield strong magical powers
but he has also become known as something of a
con-man, more likely to talk himself out of
trouble than pull a rabbit out of a hat.

What Gritty No Nonsense Comic Book Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Moon Beat

Perhaps one of the nicest things said to me, ever ever ever -- "Marty, you're going to end up marrying a drop dead gorgeous blonde." - Younger sister of PartTimeGig lawyer and half-a-week office manager. (And no, there was no sarcasm or "be careful what you wish for" tone you wisenheimers and negative nabobs out there).

Friday, December 05, 2003

Starry Eyed Surprise

Last night, my buddy Dubois invites me to go see this DJ that he's been talking to about being the music supervisor on the short he'll be filming. She has a Thurday residency at The Hollywood Standard Hotel. For those not in the know, The Standard is definitely a very urban hipster place--retro-mod '60s look, $10 jack & cokes and a scantily clad sleeping woman in glass behind the reception area.

So anyway, Dubois and I walk in and I clock the song the DJ is playing within two beats--a remix of "Words" off The Doves' import only B-Side compilation. She pulls an "Oh my God!" intake after I ask if she was playing The Doves, touches my arm and tells me that she's impressed. In between talking to Dubois about his short, what type of services he's thinking about, what she's done and other show biz stuff while cueing up tracks for her playlist, the DJ and I talk about music. I clock almost every song she plays in that first hour, Portishead, old school Primal Scream, old school William Orbit and she keeps being really impressed. When she puts on "Everything's Not Lost", the last track off Coldplay's Parachutes album, we start talking about how neither of us listened to Coldplay at first. Then I tell her that what changed my mind was "Shiver" because Chris Martin sounded remarkably like Jeff Buckley. Turns out that was the song that got her listening to Coldplay as well. Some of her pals show up so Dubois and I talk amongst ourselves. This is when Dubois says this "Well no fucking d'uh that's been what I've been telling you every since I've known you" statement that I've ever known since associated with the Mira Hershey Hall Crew.

The statement is this: "See Marty, this is the type of chick you need to be going out with." My reply? "Well no fucking d'uh, that's been what I've been telling you since ever since I've known you." I mean, aside from the physical qualities (blonde, slender) that make me weak at the knees, which I'm sure Dubois wasn't referring to with his statement, she's artistic and she shares the same love of music. We could've talked for hours about music.

OK, one fact I withheld in this entry up to know is that, after she told me she was impressed with me knowing the Doves, the DJ shows me the album and says "Yeah, my boyfriend just got me this album today." See, I didn't want this to be a friggin' "Oh poor me my life is like an Alanis Morrisette song don't I sound like a fourteen year old girl" entry, which it would've sounded like had I mentioned this up front. See, I wanted this to be like one of those anecdotes about you mentioning something to your friends over and over again, but they just don't listen until sometime years down the line and they say, "Hey you, you should be doing that thing you've mentioned over and over again but we didn't realize until now isn't that funny" type of entry.

Anyway, mad props to Dubois for inviting me. Before we headed out, he told the DJ, "Hey, if you know anyone into the music scene, let me know. My buddy Marty likes talking about music." This is definitely a flight of steps plus take the elevator on the right up from the typical male buddy trying to help you out tact of "Yo, my pal is so hard up. You got any honies you can set him up with?" The DJ said she'd make Dubois and I mix CDs and that we should all hang out again. 'Course, this is L.A., so that may be her way of saying, "Yeah, let's do lunch sometime" while doing the cheek air kiss thing. At least I know that there are chicas out there who share the same music tastes I do.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Soy Un Perdedor

Hey Ladies! Here's a public service announcement for all you fine chicas out on You should never, ever, ever utter the line "I don't go out much" in your profile. That goes triple for all you wannabe pimp daddies out there.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I'm A Rebel And My .44 Pops Far

Hey there Filthy Monkeys. I wish I could say I was spending my last two weeks in some funky ballet of blood and bullets adventure while driving around in a mid-seventies American muscle car with a sexy but sassy love interest/adversary in a tight latex catsuit, all to a wah-wah guitar soundtrack. Unfortunately, the name on my business card (well, if I had a business card) reads "Marty Stark, Esq. - Contract Attorney," not "Marty Phunkalicious Stark - Pimp Daddy Extraordinaire Yo!" That means I've spent my days researching and writing.

I know I should be doing some novel writing in there, but frankly, pppphhhhht. I outlined my first novel before I wrote it, and the writing went quite smoothly. With the second novel, I decided not to outline it. I wanted it to be more organic. Since it's about a punk band, I figured a structure would be the antithesis of the thrash and energy of punk. Unfortunately, without structure, I've hit themes that don't go anywhere and a lot of navel gazing. So I'm letting the idea percolate more, figure out the intro, the verse and the chorus and the outro. Hopefully, by the end of the week, it will have percolated enough to let me start writing again.

Since I've been neglecting the blog a bit, I might as well make up for it by making this entry a bit longer than usual and get something off my chest that's been stuck in my craw for a while (how's that for mixed metaphors?) While I was an attorney in BigLaw, attorneys were very divided by my legal writing. Some thought I wrote extremely well, others thought I wrote the type of stuff that would come out of a monkey's ass that would be thrown against the wall. I heard praise once in a while, but the one's who hated my writing were obviously more vocal about it. Yeah, so in addition to the long hours I had that negative vibe going at me. You can see why I hated the fucking law.

Anyway, there was one lawyer I worked with who was actually a really good guy. He genuinely cared about how associates were doing, and if he thought they were faltering, he took time out to try to help them with whatever he thought was holding them back. So this lawyer was in the monkey's ass camp, and he tried to help me out. There were these series of motions to dismiss a complaint (we would prevail on parts of the motion, which would force the opposing side to amend their complaint, but not prevail on others so the complaint survived in one form or another) that he and I worked on. I would write the first draft, then he would revise or cut out huge swaths of texts so that the final draft would look almost nothing like mine. Maybe about 20% of my original work would be left. He would get frustated at my work, and I would get frustrated at myself because, unlike the other attorneys who crapped over my work, this guy wasn't a complete asshat.

What I didn't realize until after I left BigLaw to pursue writing was this: on those series of motions, the parts that the court granted were the parts, the 20%, I wrote and that the other lawyer didn't revise. In fact, in the last two court orders, the court copied verbatim in affirming the sections that I wrote and that the other lawyer didn't touch. The court denied everything else, or in other words everything that the other lawyer changed. Yeah, the ABC Aftershool / Hallmark Card moral of this little ditty is that I spent too much time caring about what others thought and not enough taking a look at what's true, boo. I'm glad I left BigLaw on my own terms, but I would've certainly left with less baggage.

Wait, there's more! So people pick up on themes in their life when they start noticing a pattern (I would say repeating pattern, but that's a bit redundant, ennit?) Now, that motion thing has been stuck in my craw for the last couple of weeks and I couldn't figure out why. I mean, yeah, I know my legal writing is the shiznit now. Hell, you don't get two attorneys fighting over your services if your legal writing was something that came out of a monkey's ass. I should just move on. And yet that l'il anecdote stuck with me. I think I figured out why.

Throughout most of my life, there have been (and still are) people who thought the best I could ever achieve in a girlfriend was/is some chunky ass plain Jane in orthopedic shoes. Now, before we get into "Hey you're a lookist bastard", let me say maybe I will meet someone who is a chunky ass plain Jane in orthopedic shoes and fall for her because she has a wonderful personality and sparkling wit. But, well, let's put it this way, if someone you didn't know came up to you and said, "Hey, you'd look good with a fat person/skinny geek/plain Jane/average Joe", you can't tell me you wouldn't be thinkin' of puttin' a cap in his ass. It's not so much the physical qualities as the negative characteristics everyone associates with those physical qualities, the negative characteristics which are then associated with me when someone says, "Marty, you're too picky, you need to settle for chunky ass plain Jane in orthopedic shoes. Someone like this." What they're implying is I'll never pull the even average woman because that is so far out of my league. And why is that so far out of my league? Because I'm obviously lacking in the looks and social qualities that the rest of civilized society has.

Now let's get the Jerry Springer-type crap out of the way. I had a shitty childhood. My dad's, and his dad's, and probably his dad's before him version of childrearing was that you learn not by praise but by shame, shame and a wooden two-by-four if you got too uppity (and by uppity I mean even attempting to question authority). Thank you very much Confucious, I hope there is a hell just so some demon can be using you as a suppository you filial piety little fuck. Earning As got nothing but get a B, out comes the belt. Now, my pop is very Ward Cleaver and has learned the error of his ways, but back then, I'll say I hated him and won't apologize for it. From as soon as I could speak until I was sixteen, I thought I was a twisted little fuck because my dad kept telling me I was a twisted little fuck (well, he didn't say those words exactly, he would constantly say "You have no friends, what wrong with you"). It wasn't until my sophomore year of high school when my family moved to Pittsburgh that I was able to live a semblance of a normal life, start over with people who didn't know me as a weird chunky kid who couldn't make eye contact and couldn't talk to a fellow human being to save his life. From then on, I managed to live a relatively normal life--college, law school, law gig and now contract gig/writer. I have a great group of friends who, for the most part, think I'm a little quirky but for the most part normal.

OK, have people lived worse childhood's than mine? Undoubtedly. I had 3 meals a day plus snacks (hence the chunkified state of childhood Marty), a house with indoor plumbing and electricity and a good education. However, I didn't bring up my childhood for any sympathy yo, just to show you where this yellow brutha is coming from. And where this yellow brutha is coming from is a big hatred for those who would put me down. When I hear that I'm too picky or that I need to settle for what they think is a version of less, I'm a chunky ten-year-old twisted little fuck that my dad tells me I am who thinks the world hates me and I hate the world back.

Lately, I've heard from people who know people who know people that certain people think I will never find a significant other because I won't settle for the chunky plain Jane with comfortable shoes. And, if you can't tell by now, that's bugged the shit out of me for the last couple of weeks. I just envision myself at a bar, talking to a nice lookin' chica and hearing in the back of my head certain people's voices "Hey, this chick is way out of your league. Let's see how long it takes Marty to drop the ball." Fucked up, no?

Now how is this like that overly long story about the lawyer and the motion? Same moral. Who cares what people think. Look at the fucking results. Lawyer hated your work, so what? The court upheld your portions of the motion. Yeah, certain people who know your past can't separate that from who you are now, so they think you're hopeless. So what? The hot number at work (but way too young and in the same office so don't even think about it buster) thinks you're hilarious. NMBL invited you to her Holiday Party (yes, she still has a boyfriend, but if she though you were a freak you wouldn't be invited, would ya). Dubois' Contract Crew, especially the chicas of the group, think you're the man. And there are folks who put you still being single as a mystery up there with Loch Ness Monster and the disappearance of Amelia Earheart.

At the end of the day, so what if there are playah haters out there. They're gonna be like that even if you happen to hook up with Hot Neighbor Chick (oh please oh please oh please). In the meantime, enjoy hanging out with the people who think you're the cat's meow and fuck all to the rest.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I'm Chasing You

OK, I thought it was all over. I managed to leave ContractGigByTheOcean a couple of weeks ago without Ford Festiva Chick finding out my contact info. No more peaking over the corner to see if Ford Festiva Chick was coming down the hall. I was all clear and free.

Yesterday was the final bash of ContractGigByTheOcean. Folks assured me that Ford Festiva Chick was not coming--she moved on to a different gig and no one told her about the party. And thank whatever cosmic organizing force is out there, she didn't come.

I did find out however she called ContractGigByTheOcean yesterday and asked for my contact info. Aaaaaaaaaaagh!

No one gave her my info. Whew. But then I found out that two of the headhunters I used jumped ship to the recruiting company that Ford Festiva Chick uses. I definitely have to give those guys a call and tell them under no circumstances to give out my contact info. OK, hopefully, this will be the last entry about Ford Festiva Chick.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

You are DNA. You're a smart person, and you appear
incredibly complex to people who don't know
you. You're incomparably full of information,
and most of it is useless.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 10, 2003

Black Out The Windows, It's Party Time

OK, so the new gig should be perfect for me--working Mondays through Wednesdays on at triple the hourly rate of Phuqued Firm, which leaves me the rest of the week to write. Hopefully it'll turn out that way. Now "What's the hubbub, bub?" you might be asking? I'll refer you to the "My love life of late has been like stapling my thumb--rather useless and quite painful" theme that's been running through this blog unfortunately. Marty meets chick he thinks is peachy keen. Marty and the chick actually talk for a long while. Mutual friend of Marty and the chick gives Marty the chick's e-mail. Marty e-mails the chick. Apparently, the e-mail has been as productive as Marty Stark's fantasy football running backs. Yeah, I know, I should've asked for the chick's contact info myself which was the plan but Marty's friend intervened (not in a bad way tho', and mad props to him for introducing me to the chick in the first place). Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Oh Don't Leave Home

Hey Urban Hipsters. Just a note to let you know that, no, Ford Festiva Chick didn't abduct me and that I wasn't festering in some well trying to keep together the last tatters of my sanity as Ford Festiva Chick used me for nefarious purposes ("It will put the Zirh moisturizer on it's face, it will wash it's hair with seperate shampoo and conditioner"). I spent the last week or so just catching up on sleep and generally putzing around. Then I went up to visit my pals in Silicon Valley for the weekend. My mind isn't in write a coherent blog entry mode, so I'll just do one of those random list things.

1. I met one of my new neighbors today. She (yes, she and do I mean she, va va va voom) was in a panic, trying to find her cel phone. Neighbor Chick apparently heard my TV, introduced herself as one of my neighbors and asked if I could call her cel. Given that Neighbor Chick is blonde, blue-eyed, with a slender waist, curvey hips and legs that go all the way down to the ground and spoke with a hint of a southern accent, all the blood rushed from my brain down to my, well, you know. I don't know how, but I managed to say, "Sure, what's your number?" without adding "Hey bay-beh, wan't some hot Asian action? Got your numbah one lunch special right here." That took great effort let me tell you. Then she invited me to her place to help her find her cel. Her pad was just as messy and dark as mine, plus she has a cat. Neighbor Chick's cel was apparently wedged in between her matresses. She thanked me, then asked for my name. I gave it to her and asked hers. Her name makes me 90% sure she's originally from the south. Then she walked me out her pad, shut the door and began making her calls. Knowing my karma, that is the last I'll see of Neighbor Chick. Plus, I think she's the one I've been hearing (as well as everyone else in the complex) having sex at one a.m. in the morning. Yeah, that metal hitting something hard sound you hear? That's me taking a hammer repeatedly to my crotch now.

2. I love my friends up in Silicon Valley dearly, but the trip just reconfirmed that my decision to move back down to Lalaland was the correct one. The ratio of men to women still sucks ass through a straw up there. A single straight guy has more of a chance finding a girlfriend in Anchorage, Alaska's World's Most Manly Man competition than he does in Silicon Valley. The single straight women up there (all four of them) have bad attitudes as well. I wanted to say to one of them, "Look, you ain't all that. There are Taco Bell cashiers hotter than you in L.A." I did manage to hone my wingman skills. For the night, I was Marty Stark, CIA Agent. (Yeah, and not a big surprise, Marty Stark, CIA Agent went home without a number, but the CIA cover story wasn't my idea). As for attitudes of chicks in Lalaland, see point 1.

3. OK, there is no third point, but hey, 2 points isn't a list. I don't know what it is, but it isn't a list.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

The term "psycho" has become so overused that folks forget how ass-clinchingly scary a real psycho can be. Folks use the word psycho to refer to that jerk of a boss that yells so much you want to do the #1 in his coffee and the #2 in his ferns. Or they use psycho to describe the ex who kept talking about her ex, took three hours to order a meal and cried when she didn't come. OK, the boss, the ex, are these people annoying? Yeah. Does a slight shudder go through you thinking about them? Sure. But your blood pressure drop with fear when you see them coming down the hall?

Obviously, the term psycho is short for psychotic. The definitions of psychotic are all variations of "has a psychosis." So to get across the impact of a real psycho, the clinical definition of "psychotic" is the best way to begin: "Mental disturbance of serious magnitude that may be characterized by loss of contact with reality. Delusions and hallucinations are often present." OK, so the term has been watered down by media portrayal as well. Talking to yourself is played out as a wacky eccentricity in a sitcom. Most dramas present them as so over the top to be unbelievable. It's only when they get the reality dysfunction right that portrayals of psychotic people become uncomfortable (Law & Order nails it on the head once in a while), and not some David E. Kelley sanitized villain crap.

So where am I going with this? Well, Ford Festiva chick is a psycho, and I mean that in the original crap I'm looking over my shoulder I hope she doesn't hunt me down and boil my cat sense.

During my last couple of weeks at ContractGigByTheOcean, a majority of the female staff and attorneys have told me more stories. Several have told me that, when they've been in the restroom, they've heard Ford Festiva chick laughing out loud in the stalls to no one, or seen her talking to herself at the mirror. NMBL (and yes, I feel bad for insuating that she would ever be unfaithful because she is a very nice human being--stupid her having a likable boyfriend) told me that she was working late one night, and caught Ford Festiva chick talking to herself at her computer. At a farewell party about a week and a half ago, Ford Festiva chick was sitting by herself smiling and laughing. And she has the crazy eyes. What do I mean by that? OK, open your eyes. No, I mean really open them, as wide as they can get. Now keep them open. Walk around in public like that. Try to make eye contact and see what kind of reactions you'll get. That's what I mean by crazy eyes.

Earlier this week, Ford Festiva chick walked passed my cubicle and then stopped at the neighboring cubicle. I saw her look down and smile. She was there for a good minute or so. Then she started laughing. I talked to the secretary in the neighboring cubicle the next day. "I thought she was reading something on my ledge, but there was nothing there but a phone book" she told me.

My last day at ContractGigByTheOcean was Friday. Ford Festiva chick asked me if I had any lunch plans and I said I did. Then she said, "Well, I'll talk to you tonight then." A few of the female staffers, knowing the 411, were then cool enough to have lunch with me. That afternoon, Ford Festiva chick kept passing by my cubicle to give me a creepy smile and stare. If she saw me in an attorney's office, she'd try to make eye contact. Then she moved from her cubicle to another cubicle next to mine. One of the secretaries told me that Ford Festiva chick had a lot of scanning to do, and the scanner was in that area. But then I found out that the scanner was not at the cubicle she was using. She was using the cubicle next to mine for no apparent reason at all. OK, there probably was a reason--a scary fucking reason. So I moved offices.

There was a farewell shindig at a local bar for me as well as NMBL and two other attorneys. One of the secretaries told me that she overheard Ford Festiva chick talking to herself, saying "Yeah, I think I'm going to go home after this." I thought I was in the clear. Then she walked in, her neck craning above the crowd in hunter-seeker mode. I ducked, crouched and made my way to another table that was full and away from Ford Festiva chick. I spent the next half-hour in crouch mode, making my farewells. NMBL gave me sympathetic glances. I managed to sneak next to NMBL and her friend from college who was visiting. "Hey, we're leaving in about ten minutes. You can sneak out with us," NMBL said. And sneak out I did. I managed to leave without Ford Festiva chick getting my digits or causing a scene.

I'd hate to be such a chickenshit, but I have dealt with borderline psychos before. Yeah, even before Bee's Knees. And one thing I've learned, the direct "fuck off" route is dangerous with psychos.

I've had certain guys tell me that I should've just banged her and be done with it. Psychos are great in bed. But one of those guys backed off wid a mad quickness on that advice seeing Ford Festiva chick's behavior first hand. And I doubt those guys have actually bedded someone who was clinically psychotic. And if you haven't reached the "hey, that horse is dead, stop kicking" point yet, or haven't gotten that fact that this girl was bigf~ck, let's put it this way. You've all encountered that bag lady, muttering to herself on the street, menacing people for change. What if she followed you to work? What if she passed by your office on an hourly basis? What if it was clear she got wet everytime she saw you? How's your libido doing now?

Friday, October 17, 2003

Shock The Monkey

Yeah, I know, buying something from a shop that suddenly appeared in a back alley on Melrose and Fairfax at midnight under a full moon was probably not the best of ideas. Especially when the name of the shop was "Dread Goods--Like Pottery Barn But Evil." Especially when it literally appeared out of nowhere, twisting reality with the shrieks of the damned (I think it was the cast of the American version of Coupling) as it came into this world between Golden Apple Comics and the vintage t-shirt store. Especially when it befouled the air with a stench like rotten eggs and the dorm bathroom after Burritos Burritos & Beans night. But feh, I was bored so I went in.

The store was very Pier One Imports, so it least it had truth in advertising going for it. Furniture made out of wicker, but eeeeeevil wicker, was strewn tastefully throughout the floor room. Dark wooden masks and jars filled with organs and animal fetuses lined the walls along with glazed faux-hand crafted pottery. And, shudder, there was track lighting along the ceiling--very 80s.

At the counter was a bored hippy surfer.

"Hey, I thought you were supposed to be a mad Arab," I said.

"Dude, you mean Ali? Fucker retired from the Evil gig back in '65. He runs a Ford dealership in Dearborne, Michigan now. I knew I shouldn't have walked into this place after that commune in Goa closed down. Shit, never believe a mad Arab when he says, 'Oh hey, this magic lamp isn't evil. Go ahead, wish for a roof over your head for the rest of eternity. C'mon.' By the way, wanna rub this magic lamp?"

"Uh, no."

"Man, I suck at this gig. Hey, have they made it legal yet?"


"This just isn't my day. Well, can I help you with anything?"

"Nah, just looking around."

"OK dude. Wavy gravy. By the way, you might wanna check out the bargain bin. Headquarters is trying to make some room for new stuff, you know, cursed plasma-screen TVs that play only Golder Girls, the next Microsoft Windows."

The bin was nothing special. Bluebeard's socks, a vial of the blood of the cousin to the hairdresser of the beast, a kids book by the author of the Anti-Bible entitled "Baby's First Book of Evil." I was about to head out when I saw the Monkey's Paw. On the price tag, the word "Soul" was crossed out. Beneath that, "Very Disturbing Ending" was crossed out as well. Beneath that was "Sorta Karmic Ending--Kinda Creepy but Really Annoying" written in red pen.

"Whoa dude, good choice. Last dude who had it wished for his dead son back, but like, forgot to mention the words 'just as he was while he was alive and not like a rotting corpse,' and, ummmmm, hey, never mind dude. Crap I suck at this."

"No worries man, I'll take it," I said.

"Aw cool, hey, sure you don't wanna rub this lamp and wish for eternal shelter?"

"Don't push your luck, hippie."

"No need to harsh my mellow man. Go ahead and take the monkey's paw. Have a toke for me when you get out, and, ummmmm, have a really evil night."

The shop disappeared as soon as I left it, exiting this reality with the cackle of the damned and the rumbling of a stomach with munchies.

When I got home, I put in the DVD for the original BBC version of Coupling. I find that British humor tends to sharpen my mind. I wasn't going to make the same mistake as the other dude and his dead son. Unfortunately, I also had a couple of Guinnesses. By a couple, I mean eight pints. In one hour. Yeah, the law is stressful. Practicing the law while being single and pining after a blonde in the office with an opera singer boyfriend is really really stressful. It was time to move on and the monkey's paw was going to help me with that. Well, it would've had I been sober.

I held the monkey's paw in front of me and said, "I wish an artsy single slender intelligent blonde blue-eyed woman into music was into me." Then I promptly passed out.

When I woke up, the monkey's paw was gone. Now I realize I should've clarified my wish even further. I realize I should've added "and who doesn't talk to herself, giggle maniacally for no reason whatsoever, and doesn't so much look at you as look through you in an attempt to communicate with Planet Freakah."

So now you know how Ford Festiva chick came into my life.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Old Moon Fades Into The New

Nope, I'm not turning 31 tomorrow. Nope, you can't make me. NANANANANA--see, I'm putting my fingers in my ears so I can't hear you say "Face it, Marty, you are turning 31 tomorrow." NANANANANANA--Hey, whudya have in your hand, Father Time? Is that, is that a cattle prod? Well, I don't care. I'm still not turning 31. Gonna be like Peter Pan, my man. No, not "light of foot" smartass, though I do have rhythm for a yellow brutha. I mean I'm gonna be a forever young sociopath with poor impulse control--hmmmm, OK, not the sociopath part. But you know what I mean. Hey, back off with the cattle prod! Really! I know, like, secret martial arts and stuff! Hmmmm? Why that's nice of you, Father Time, offering me a nice Guinness. Gosh that's good. You know, there was this chick I saw in Orange County drinking a Guinness once, and she . . . whoa, I feel kinda funky. What did you put in this? OOOoooOOoooohhh, hey dude, I can smell the colors man. And AAAAAAAGGHH, dude, what's up with the cattle prod? You friggin drugged me already. What's the AAAAAAAAAAAGH! Hmmmmm, what's that smell. Ooooooooogh . . . .

Monday, October 06, 2003

My Left Brain Knows That Love Is Fleeting

An Open Letter from Marty's Left Brain to Marty:

Hey there Hipster,

Yeah, I know you're bummed that NMBL uttered the b-word today and that, right now, all you want to do is take your $50 bottle of scotch, hide yourself in the closet and weep softly. No, don't deny it. I know you Marty. After all, I am your left brain (look, that stuff you do with your right hand? Wasn't me--go blame your amygdala for that, that dude is a big perv). But you know it's for the best, yo. I mean, take a look at her office--the woman is into sailing, wine etiquette and fine art, oh, and she's a Republican. You, Mr. Vote No On The Recall, are into the latest import CD's, Guinness and fine art (OK, so you share one thing in common, but whereas you'd prefer buying one of those Taschen coffee table books, she'd want to buy the actual print). She's Spiegel catalogue, you're Ben Sherman. She's In Style, you're Rez.

Let's say you two did hook up. Dude, she'd be the Christie Lee Brinkley to your Billy Joel, and we know how that worked out for Billy Joel. C'mon, what the fuck was up with "Uptown Girl"? Saccharine pop crap even crap for 80s standards. OK, Billy Joel wasn't all that good before hand, but the album Piano Man is still ten times better than Innocent Man and he wrote that when he was broke, playing bar gigs and not pulling leggy supermodels. And then there's the travesty that is The Bridge, a middling lukewarm attempt at blues-infused rock--remember the big hit from that album, "Matter of Trust"? Well neither do I. And how about his next two albums, Storm Front and River of Dreams? Geez, like you're really going to have a pop hit singing about the plight of fishermen who are overfishing their stock and have been doing so for the last two generations so why the fuck should be bail out their fucking "tradition" and "lifestyle"? Then Christie did the horizontal mambo with some uber-rich jet set dude and everyone said with much sarcasm "Ooooh, that's a surprise." Now look at Billy, divorced, a supposedly recovering alkie (the "supposedly" modifying "recovering" because even undiscovered tribes in Papua New Guinea know he's an alkie), and fucking up his wrists on supposed non-alcohol related mishaps. Right, Christie was a great influence on Billy.

I guess what I'm saying Marty is that if you hooked up with NMBL, you'd begin to write happy middling crap all for the sake of having NMBL fuck around with some investment banker or real estate mogul which will cause you to go into a spiral of alcohol and depression and broken wrists. Fuck that noise! You know you'd rather be Elvis Costello than Billy Joel anyway. At least Diane Krall has a voice.


Your Left Brain

P.S. -- Although NMBL might be out of reach, don't give into Ford Festiva chick. I mean, you wouldn't be doing Courtney Love if she was pawing all over you, whudya?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Battle Without Honor Or Humanity

Back when I was in high school, I had this nasty summer gig at this microfiche business. It had about six women who, for eight hours a day, fed documents into a high speed cameras, sheet by sheet, over and over and over again. My job? I had to take the staples out of the documents before they were fed into the cameras. Boy was that mind-numbingly dull. So mind-numbingly dull it made people insane! Well, maybe not. But one of the women who worked there, a buck-toothed bee-hive hairdo weirdo, was friggin' insane. She would talk to herself while working, and once in a while, laugh in a horse-like bray at what she said. We called her Mad Mary.

OK, that rather non-cryptic entry a couple of days ago using the metaphor about the chick in the Mercedes and chick in the Ford? Ummmm, someone told me that the chick in the Ford was smiling and laughing to herself for no apparent reason today. Memories of Mad Mary came flooding through my head. Great, why can't a nice stable chick dig my scene? And what complicates things--she sits in the cubicle across from Non-Married Blonde Lawyer's office.

Everytime You Produce An American Version Of A British Sitcom, You Make God Cry

I love the original BBC version of Coupling. It's funny, sexy, and clever. Sure, once in a while, the dialogue tries too hard. Once in a while, the setup is too cute by half. But most of the time it's hilarious.

I finally saw the American version last night on Bravo. About half the script is word for word from the British version. So why does most of the American version suck ass? Hmmmm. A couple of notes to the executives: 1. Get rid of that obnoxious laugh track. Look, a large part of the humor and what makes the British version work is that the dialogue is clever and casual--it's the dialogue you have with your buddies or girlfriends when everything just clicks. When you put the laugh track at 10, it's like that dim-witted friend of a friend that keeps poking you during the conversation asking "Hey, did ya get it? Did ya get it? Unflushable!!!! Bwahahahahaha" and then keeps laughing for another five minutes. 2. The operative word is CASUAL. The characters in the British version do seem like folks you would meet on the street. The characters in the NBC version seem like folks you would see in a sitcom. The lines come out over-enunciated and brash. We're supposed to see friends talking, and instead we see people who are engaging in an acting exercise of friends talking. 3. OK, I know you need to cut out at least 10 minutes from the original BBC scripts to fit American television, but for Christsakes--remember pacing! Geez, most the show was a rat-a-tat-tat of dialogue trying to fit in as much as the BBC version as possible.

P.S.--If you want to know what Bee's Knees looks like (and acts like when she wasn't on low self-esteem mode), check out Jane in the NBC version of Coupling. Man was I freaking.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Everyday I Write The Book

OK, so if you decide to bide your time, save your money at your law gig before your jump off to better things, you might as well do a good job while you're there. I mean, yeah, you could probably care less for the partners you work with if you're at a typical BigLaw, but karma is a bitch. You don't want one of the associates helping you out by doing an utterly crap job for ya.

So for those wannabe legal eagles (geared toward litigation) out there, it's time for a couple of helpful hints from Marty Stark:

1. Think about your audience--the rules flow from this. Your audience is the partner who has maybe fifteen minutes in his day to digest your research. Your audience is the judge's law clerk who has to wade through twenty to fifty legal briefs a day, summarize those briefs for the judge, and make a recommendation. Your audience may actually be the judge (there are a few who do take the time to read briefs), who also has trials to manage and cases to push forward. Your audience has very limited time to read what you write. So what you write must be clear and concise.

2. Simple sentences are the best sentences. Subject-verb-object. Subject-verb-object. Wash, rinse, repeat. Maybe throw in one dependent clause in a paragraph for variety. Legal writing has two purposes: 1) education and 2) persuasion. You accomplish neither if the judge cannot understand you. I've seen plenty of lawyers fall into the trap of trying to sound legal by being long-winded and obtuse, but they lose the plot. Compare: 1) "Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, which contains a myriad of outrageous and confusing allegations that even, if true, would not constitute a basis for any cause of action, must be granted under the federal rules." 2) "Plaintiff fails to allege a single fact that would support a cause of action. Thus, the court should grant Defendant's Motion to Dismiss."

3. See an adverb? Cut it out. See an adjective? Cut that out too. Purple prose? Excise that fucker like a tumor from a testicle (see, by using extreme purple prose there, I'm showing you how purple prose can, feh, you get it). A lot of folk confuse the flash and bang of word modifiers with being "persuasive." Thus, they sprinkle their writing with phrases like, "The defendant egregiously blah blah blah," or "Plaintiff's argument is clearly blah blah blah." But, see, here's the rub. At the end of the day, a case is based upon the facts. And after reading the facts, if the judge thinks that the defendant accidently said the wrong thing (as opposed to "egregiously misrepresented" himself), or does not think that plaintiff's argument is clear because it gets from point A to point B via a path as convaluted as a Southwest Airlines flight from SFO to Newark with 4 layovers, well, you've just lost credibility with the judge. The most persuasive argument is one based on the facts. Thus, you must let the facts speak for themselves. If, after you've set out the facts and the arguments in simple sentences and you're not convinced of your position, either you need more facts, you need to rethink the logic of your arguments, or you need to settle the case.

4. When doing research, remember, secondary sources are just that--secondary. Go to the primary sources (case law and statutes) to be sure the secondary sources are accurate. Why? Because secondary sources can be wrong. I've had an associate hand me research for the proposition that "The law is X." All he/she looked at was the treatise. One of the cases that the treatise cited stated that "The law is not X." Cases trump treatise. Needless to say, it would have been bad had I cited that treatise in the motion I was drafting.

There's probably more, but I'm sleepy so pppphhhht.

Sixty Years and I'm Running . . .

I'm sure all the associates who read this article said, "Well d'uh. Now pass me the fucking Jack Daniels so I can wash down this speed. I need to crank on this 25 page motion for summary judgment that was dropped on my lap, oh, a couple of days ago after the partner turned flaky and is needs to be filed at the motion cutoff date, which is like, tomorrow."

For those of you who haven't decided to click on the link, the title of the article is "Associates Giving Up On Partnership." I've heard that quote comparing becoming a partner to winning " pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie" from at least 5 partners. Hmmm, you know there's a reason for that, doncha?

There was this young BigLaw equity partner that I enjoyed working with up in Silicon Valley. He had very young son and a beautiful wife but barely saw them. He always worked Sundays so that he could have Saturday free, but he was often at work Saturday as well. He came in regularly at 7am and didn't leave until 7pm each day, and I know he was working when he got home as well. He also had to attend after hours administrative meetings and shindigs for various bar associations. In one month, on top of the 200 hours billed, he had an additional 100 hours dealing with administrative crap and rainmaking. To put things in perspective, billing 200 hours is working an average of 10 hours each weekday. Now put in the 100 hours, and that's 15 hours each weekday you're devoting to the firm (and away from your family/friends/porn . . . uh, I mean, significant other). Fun, no?

Now you're probably wondering, hey, did the dude have to do that? Well, using that good ol' pie imagery, think about a pie. You're sharing that good ol' blueberry pie with, let's say eight of your buddies. Another buddy shows up. If that pie doesn't get bigger, that means you have less. You're gonna be pissed unless that buddy either has good reason for decreasing your share, or can make the pie bigger. So that 300 hours that partner is kicking in? It's his effort to 1) justify his share of the pie and 2) make the pie bigger. And there are plenty who would like his piece just waiting outside, pressing their face against the window, drooling while he eats his pie. Nah, dude didn't have to do that, and the firm didn't have to give him equity either.

Me, you can probably tell, I don't like pie that fucking much.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Seize the time cause it's now or never baby . . .

Hey Kids! You know what time it is! It's time for yet another of Marty Stark's tortured metaphors! Yay!

So this week was like trying to catch the eye of that pretty and posh blonde thang in the Mercedes CLK next to you on Melrose and Fairfax, the one who was giving you the eye back on Robertson but was now on her cel phone. So the light turns green and you move forward and she moves forward and THWACK, you get hit by some Ford Festiva who ran the red. So after you clear your head, you stagger out, and the driver from the Ford is out already. And she's a fit blonde thang, and she's smiling, and she says, "Hey, party person, what's your number?"

Monday, September 22, 2003

Everything to Everyone

Work today was weird with a capital creepy. The office was rather empty, and those attorneys that were present were focusing on getting outta the office. I'm sure there was work to be done, but given the choice between planning for your future security and dealing with matters that won't be yours in two months, which would you choose? Dealing with a contract attorney looking for some extra shoo monay was not high on their list. Plus, on a personal note (yeah, what in this blog isn't), I've come to the stark realization (no pun intended) that I've gotten myself into another Degrassi High like sitch. I mean, conceptually I knew I was getting into this sitch as soon as I asked about Non-Married Blonde Lawyer's 411. But the stupidity didn't really hit me until today. I think the weirdness brought it closer to home. It's like when you're a little kid and you stub your toe. Sure, it hurts but you don't feel it. Nope, you don't really feel it until your mom comes by, and when she asks, "Aw, has l'il Marty got a boo-boo?" Then you realize, "Why yes, I have a boo-boo." And then you fucking wail like a banshee. OK, maybe the imagery isn't appropos, but work with me here people!

Lately, I've begun imagining my stupid compulsive behavior as a spinning, wobbling rubber band. There it goes, round and round. Now, I can try stretching it to break it, but it just snaps back into shape. And I keep looking for some scissors so I can break that rubber band, watch it go flinging into space. Yes, I need the scissors of determination and focus to cut the vicious rubbery cycle of compulsive behavior. Oh god that's really bad imagery.

I guess my muse is still pissed at me.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Come from way above . . .

I had a freaky dream this morning. One of those dreams where you drift in and out of consciousness, where you sometimes see yourself in third person and there's this voice that tells you what's happening. Man, gotta stop eating those chili cheese burritos from Jose Bernstein's.

Anyway, I'm in Munich having a pretty crap time at Octoberfest. It's my last night there. I'm in the hotel suite, and one of my acquiantences starts having sex with this chick I used to have a crush on in law school. Sucks to be me in the hotel suite, so I grab some clothes and head out into the city. I'm trying to find my other two buddies, Dubois and Big Jew, but they're nowhere to be found. In my head, I hear this deep voice saying, "Pay attention, the lesson is about to begin."

So I wander for a bit and see this group of Italian women sitting at this long, wooden table. I hadn't had any beer all day despite it being Octoberfest, so I decide to sit down with them. This pretty, slender brunnette starts talking to me but I don't speak Italian. She doesn't speak English. So I start speaking in Spanish (which is weird, because I don't know Spanish), and she understands. We start laughing as we try to speak Spanish to each other as both of us speak Spanish horrendously. The voice in my head says, "See, this is where your friends got it wrong. They missed the second option."

I don't remember the beer coming, but I knew I had to leave. I was suddenly in a foul mood. I was thinking, "So what, she's being friendly to you. Big fucking deal. Doesn't mean she's interested. What are you, some pathetic fucking puppy that thinks anytime a pretty little thing is nice to you, she's interested. Get real."

I stood up, and the Italian girl stood up with me, grabbed my hand and smiled. OK, so she was interested. We walked around Munich for a while hand and hand and feeling giddy. I saw Dubois and the Big Jew. They looked pissed and miserable. I tried introducing Italian girl to them, but they ignored her which pissed me off. So me and Italian girl left them there to wander the city before I had to leave. The voice in my head said, "Italian girl shot them down before." After some wandering, I woke up. But despite being fully awake (or so I thought), I heard the voice one more time.

The voice said, "The lesson is timing is everything."

Whatever Happened To My Rock N' Roll?

Um, so I shouldn't mention my 500+ cd collection on the first date?

Friday, September 19, 2003

Heart + Soul

Yo Spuds. OK, I know I've been rather short on the whole writing thing, and though I have no excuse, I'll point my boney finger of responsibility denial at work. ContractGigByTheOcean isn't the dysfunctional pit of crapola that was Phuqued Firm, but legal research is dull dull dull no matter how much frosty topping you put on it.

Anyway, last night, I was taking a look through my bookshelf in my addled "Had two beers finally winding down but crap I have to sleep but I don't wanna 'cuz I've just now chilled" stage, and rediscovered one of my fave cool cat obscure writers, Jeff Noon. OK, he's obscure in the states but well known in the UK.

To geek out for a bit, his first novel Vurt came out in 1994 when cyberpunk was still dominant. A lot of reviewers compared him to William Gibson, but those reviewers are fucking lazy. See, despite all the ooh let's try to be cool vibe cyberpunk tried to put out, at the end of the day, the stories were about a bunch of skinny, geeky drongos who spent most of their hours on/in computers cuz they didn't have real lives so they plugged themselves away. Put all the neon/urban decay description you want, the main character in Neuromancer doesn't do a whole helluva lot except lie on a couch with electrodes. If Neuromancer was the tubby guy who thought he was cool because he knew every B-Side The Pixies ever released and didn't understand why the Chick at the Record Store wouldn't give him the time of day, Vurt was the punkish guy in a local band who didn't give a shit who the hell the Pixies were but could play a mean fucking axe. And, oh yeah, he was going out with the Chick at the Record Store.

Anyway, I had so much fun with Marty Stark as Dave Eggers a while back, I decided to do a Marty Stark as Jeff Noon (yeah, it's short, really short, but hey, I haven't written in a while so suck on it). So, here we go my kitlings:

'Sometimes Sunny Days Don't Chase the Clouds Away'

Fog clung to the Santa Monica beach like bad memories. These past few days hadn't been West Coast power pop, sun on your face, wind in your hair. No, these were jungle dub days full of low bass lines and no escape.

I crashed out onto Wilshire all tweeked from hours of shovelling cups of java and Diet Coke. I wanted out of the office with a mad quickness. I wanted a warm body and a cold drink. I knew I wouldn't get any the first but plenty of the second.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Can't Even Focus on a Coffee Cup . . .

Too fatigued to write full thoughts. Fragments of last couple of days.

1. Going to go on sabbatical till birthday. No. Really.

2. Coffee coffee coffee coke coke coke wired crash tired nap awake late sleep coffee not good pattern.

3. Karma says Italian engagement. Just know it in my bones.

4. Blogging while tired stoopid. All can really say is meh, pphhhhhtt, mrrrrrrrr, gug.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Keeeeeeeeeeeping Me Down . . .

Sheesh, what is it about the third e-mails on I guess I should stop mentioning those steamer trunks buried in Jersey. Kidding! They're buried in the Sierras.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Time Goes Slow and Time Goes Fast

I can't believe it was almost a year ago that I fell for Certain Someone, and nearly half of year since the, well, whatever it was with Bee's Knees crashed and burned. This past week, I've been thinking about those situations, and what I've been thinking is this--"MAN AM I GLAD I'M NOT DATING EITHER OF THEM."

Obviously, it helps that my life is actually going rather well now. So ContractGig by the Ocean is folding up by the end of the year, but two partners striking it out on their own have offered me another ContractGig when CGBTO gets swallowed up by BigLaw. The hours would be about 25 hours a week, which is perfect for me to continue writing. Ballet Chick turned out to be another non-responder, but the same night I gave up on her yet another chick (Movie Chick) wrote back. Man, that line I've been using has been 3 for 3 so far with first e-mail response. And fuggit, I'll mention the potential interesting situation with Non-Married Blonde Lawyer, though that I'll put less credence in (informal gal pal poll on the Non-Married Blonde Lawyer sitch--2 Gal Pals: She shows interest; 1 Gal Pal: Concurring though with a be zen admonishment; 1 Gal Pal: Dissent - Don't mean nothing as Richard Marx would say--feel free to send your opinions).

So anyway, I guess the ABC Afterschool/Lifetime Channel/Hallmark Special moral I should get from this is time heals all wounds (either that, or I get fucking insane once in while--Jeebus, how can I fall for a chick who doesn't like to dance?)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Six Barrel Shotgun

OK, so yesterday, I found out from Married Blonde Lawyer that Non-Married Blonde Lawyer is seeing someone. But in the past two days, Non-Married Lawyer and I had two conversations each about thirty minutes long. Not once has she mentioned her boyfriend directly to me (while the lawyer I briefly had a crush on in law school mentioned her boyfriend within the first ten minutes of our conversation). The few times there have been gaps in our conversation, she kept looking and smiling at me. Plus, today, Non-Married Blonde Lawyer said, "When I get back, we should have lunch." (She's going to Italy next week.) In my oh-so-limited experience, women in serious relationships mention the boyfriend within the first conversation. Two of my gal pals backed that up--one telling me that she will work in a way to mention her husband if she's talking to a man she doesn't know.

Yeah, I know, it's probably nothing, but give a guy his illusions. Anyway, knowing my luck, her boyfriend will propose to her at the Trevi Fountain while in Italy.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I'm Going Back To The Start

Most people I know never listen to lyrics. Sometimes, this leads to fun results--like an innocent conservative Italian-American Catholic school girl cheerleader singing The Violent Femmes "Blister in the Sun" in an office full of horndog twenty-something Jersey City traders (man that chick didn't appreciate it when I asked her to listen to the lyrics she was singing). Me, my ear is usually tuned to lyrics as well as the melody, and not just because of the whole wanting to avoid singing about masturbation at work. Poetry is poetry, whether it's on paper or set to two guitars, a bass and drums.

But like everyone else, sometimes I don't listen to lyrics--there are other tracks on the album that catch my attention or the melody is forgetable or the song is so popular with the K-ROQ crowd I assume the lyrics are crap. And sometimes, that bites me in the ass.

I've had Coldplay's "God Put A Smile Upon Your Face" in my head for the last few days. There's a menace that the insistent drum beat holds, the way Chris Martin sings "When you work it out I'm worse than you" that makes you feel dark, the descending chord of the electric guitar that drives you down--it seems to fit with my mood in the last week.

When I was listening to Coldplay on the drive back home (non-married doesn't necessarily mean single), I decided not to hit repeat on track 3 like I had the last two times the song ended. I finally saw the video for "The Scientist" this weekend. Despite the brilliant unspooling backwards video, the song itself never stuck in my head. The melody was too turgid, too syrupy--rearrange of couple of notes and you have the theme to Guiding Light. Then the words came.

"Come up to meet ya, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need ya
And tell you I set you apart."

Suddenly I felt a bit ol' lump in my throat. I listened the whole way through and boy is it a
heartbreaker of a song. A man pouring his soul, knowing that it won't change the fact it's over. And the song wasn't so turgid, so syrupy anymore. I think I'll weep softly now (stupid dayquil).

Monday, September 08, 2003

. . . So Much Love That It Blows My Brain Out

Things I've Learned from
1. Apparently I'm hot stuff to women in China, South Korea, and Malaysia--well, either that or I have a big sign that flashes "Green Card" on my forehead;
2. I'm also hot stuff to hot women who "are just trying" and who I can contact using their real e-mail at;
3. Grammar doesn't appear to be a high priority to chicks who write to me;
4. Nor does physical appearance (ooooh, karma is gonna get me for that one).

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I Can't Do It On My Own . . .

Non-Married Blonde Lawyer looks like the taller sister of the blonde doctor on Scrubs. She lingered around when I was talking to UCLA Contract Lawyer about my second novel. She had a smile that was all teeth when she said to me the other morning. Buuuuuuuuut on the other hand, no pupil dilation when we talk plus I think she said she had a boyfriend (I was talking with UCLA Contract Lawyer so I only heard Non-Married Blonde Lawyer with half an ear). Oh, and she works in the same office. Geez, do I never learn?

Soul Sauce (Fila Brazilla Remix)

Internal Monologue shortly before and after news of potential merger:

OK Marty, don't be the cheesy guy who asks about the office chicas a week into the gig. Don't be the cheesy guy who asks about the office chicas into the gig. Don't be the cheesy guy who asks about the office chicas a week into the gig. What, the office may merge/close?

"Hey, so what's the story of Non-Married Blonde Lawyer?"

That's it. I'm outta here. You're on your own Marty. And you wonder why Ballet Chick never wrote back.

I've Never Been Back to Georgia

That clop you hear? That's the sound of the other shoe dropping on the hardwood floor. ContractGig By The Ocean is supposedly in talks to merge with a BigLaw. If the merger happens, no more ContractGig By The Ocean for me. No worries though since shoo monnay, no matter how temporary, is still shoo monnay. Also, merger talks take a long while as firms do that nervous tango, checking each other out to make sure one won't trip up and land flat on its ass on the dance floor. Who this really sucks for are the two new junior associates who just did a stint at BigLaw. Sucks to be them if the merger goes through.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Climbing Up The Walls (Zero 7 Mix)

OK, a week into the new gig and no one has thrown anything at me. So that should be a plus. I talked with the chick who was a year behind me in law school and who started at the same firm right outta law school (different office though). She mentioned that almost everyone she knew from law school is doing this contract thing instead of going down the partnership track. It's nice to know that a lot of folk are in legal purgatory with me. She also mentioned her boyfriend--women like her are born with boyfriends so it wasn't a surprise. And also, office flings, gotta stay away from them. C'mon, that whole sitch at Phuqued Firm (OK, to narrow it down, that whole Certain Someone Sitch) was bad spelled with a capital FUCKED UP.

As for Anthropology Chick, well, I was off since Ballet Chick responded last Wednesday. When I logged on today and looked at Anthropology Chick's picture, I didn't feel any attraction. I hope things turn out differently with Ballet Chick. She actually took the time to respond to me and let me know she was going to be out of town for a week and to try to reconnect when she got back (according to, she got back today). On Thursday, I wrote my second e-mail to her wishing her a good trip/hoping she had a good trip (depending on whether she read it before or after she got back), blah blah blah, so I'm in yet another limbo. I know I shouldn't write to her and the ball is in her court, so I'm doing my best to just chill. Ah what the hell, I know I'll be writing, it's just a question of when. Singledom sucks ass.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Girl From Mars

One walks out, another walks in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I Waited For The Joke, It Never Did Arrive

I know. We never met. We e-mailed only a few times. But why does a part of me always feel like a scrawny five-year-old locked in the basement, huddled in the corner for heat and waiting for someone to arrive? Time to move on.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Swim Out Past The Breakers

First day of contract gig wasn't too bad. OK, so I don't have my own office and they use Lexis instead of Westlaw (for those not in the know, it's like using Mozilla instead of Explorer to surf the web), but ContractGig is paying $20 more per hour than Phuqued Firm, the office doesn't look like a dental suite, and I've been told not to work more than 35 hours per week. So far, I'm just doing research and writing which is the lowest key you can get as a lawyer. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

A Dream Unthreatened by the Morning Light

For the past couple of years, I've been having airport dreams off and on. I'm late for flight. I'm waiting for a flight. I'm rushing to get to a flight. Thursday night/Friday morning, I'm still rushing to catch a flight. My dad passes me looking pissed because I'm late. I think I know the gate number, but I realize as I pass security I have no idea where I'm going. Out of sheer luck, I find the gate. I get on the plane which is mostly full. I have an aisle seat, which I'm not too happy about. I love the window seats although aisle seats are safer--I just love the view. The flight is about to leave and I realize there's no one filling the window seat. Outside, the sun is setting beneath the mountains. The engines start.

This is the first airport dream I've had in which I've made it to the flight.

Friday, August 22, 2003

AM 180

By themselves, not so weird. Together, freaky. Things that happened today:

1. The heat wave has definitely broken.

2. I received a response from Anthropology Chick from an e-mail I wrote before our IM sesssion.

3. Technically the first day of contract gig (in a building by the ocean, oooooooh, purty). I was asked to come in at 2:00 p.m. This woman I had a brief crush on in law school is also there as a contract attorney. We also started at the same firm out of law school (me in the Silicon Valley office, her in the L.A. office). My first assignment is to do some research on misrepresentation issues in North Carolina and South Carolina law. I went to college in North Carolina.

Today had a very everything old is new again feel to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

From Rusholme With Love

I have an interview for a contract gig on Thursday. I IM'd with Anthropology Chick for an hour tonight (oh my God she is way way snarky). I have the advice from my wise-beyond-her-years younger sister ringing in my ears: "Marty, don't fuck it up."

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Airbag / How Am I Driving?

Random thoughts on a Sunday afternoon:

1. My memory is showing its age. The first woman I dated when I moved back to L.A. was not a professor of anthropology, but of archaeology. Apparently, my friend's memories are showing their ages too. Their first comment when I mentioned anthropology chick: "Hey, wasn't that first woman you dated when you moved back here an anthropology chick too?"

2. OK, in the last 2 days since anthropology chick wrote me, I've gotten 35 new hits on my profile.

3. I wrote back anthropology chick on Friday. Haven't heard back yet. If I don't hear back on Tuesday, as David Grohl would say, "DONE, DONE, ON TO THE NEXT ONE!"

4. Waking up around noon is not good for coherent thoughts. It is really good for making you sound like a fifteen-year-old geek pining after Kiki on the Cheerleading Squad. Pppphhhhhht.

5. A shout out to Alex in Cornell. Yo brutha, looks like the tribe of Cute Borders Chicks all ovah the United States have heard the drumbeats telling them to move on. Unfortunately, as a yellow brutha, I don't have the option of Whiteboy Rap. I'm all for bustin' stereotypes yo, but the yellow bruthas can't rap. We be all sounding like Elmer Fudd channeling Jackie Chan when we rap. Yellow brutha rap all be like "My Jade Princess got Beeg Spoilah, don’t mean on her Honda. I got beeg rims for her pleasure, my chassis so low to da ground.”

Friday, August 15, 2003

So Damn Beautiful (Chris Coco Mix)

I wrote a lot yesterday. Unfortunately, it wasn't on the novel. I spent a while on my l'il political rant, then spent a good three hours writing and revising two single-spaced pages worth of comments on Dubois' screenplay (wow, don't I sound all Hollywood). But maybe the karma points I accumulated helping out Dubois got a cute blond chick to write back to me on Hmmmm, she's blond, studying anthropology and the first woman I dated (albeit very briefly) when I moved back to L.A. was blond, a professor in anthropology . . . Aaaaaaaaaaaagh! What's up with me and blond anthropology chicks!

Thursday, August 14, 2003


I've avoided writing about politics on the blog. The problem with most blog political entries is that either they preach to the choir or they piss people off, and nothing in between. Anyone who believes that all Republicans are fundamentalist Christian pro-corporate non-thinking tree-cutting racist white men who beat their wives on a regular basis is not going to be open to other views. Anywone who believes that all Democrats are Commie Jew-loving tree-hugging crypto-anarchist baby-killing secular humanists who love sodomy is not going to be open to other views. Neither of those aforementioned folk are going to put forth informed, intelligent arguments but are more likely mistake virulent hate-filled crapola for discussion. (For the record, I'm a moderate Asian blond-loving recycle-when-I-can spiritual-but-not-religious Democrat.)

But, this whole California recall has been sticking in my craw. I'm not a fan of Gray Davis. I would've voted for Richard Riordan had the California Repos not shot themselves in the foot by nominating Bill Simon. But I wonder how many of those folks who support the recall actually voted in November 2002. When the idiot local newsman interviews the idiot local man on the streets, he never follows up with, "Did you vote in 2002?" Only 45% of California's registered voters turned out for the November 2002 election. There's something wrong about calling do-over in a game you haven't even played.

The standard line you hear about recalling Gray Davis is that, under his watch, California's largest budget surplus became California's largest budget deficit. Gosh, if that's a valid reason, Dubya should be shaking in his boots come 2004. Dubya inherited the nation's largest surplus, and, quel surprise, we now have the nation's largest deficit. Yet I doubt the same folks screaming for Davis' blood are going to be calling for Dubya's head in 2004.

I heard someone defending the cost of the recall (currently estimated at $35 million) say that would only be $1 per Californian. See, cheap when ya think about it, right? Well, wouldn't you rather have that dollar go to, ummm, I dunno, fixing California's crap ass public education system? Priorities, people, priorities.

I get pissed off at the stupidity of this recall, but what scares me is the implications for future elections. Let's spend $35 million each time someone out there with too much money and too much time on his hands decides he doesn't like the outcome of a vote! Yay! Know that in lovely sunny California, your vote doesn't mean shit if some asshole decides he doesn't like how you voted.

OK, sheesh, I have to admit, some parts of the recall reinforce my belief in karma. Let's begin with Darrell Issa. OK, so technically, maybe Issa didn't lie about his background. Right, just like I technically get a handjob if a woman waves at me. Issa clearly funded the recall for his own political aspirations instead of from any grass roots anger. He clearly thought the Republican party was going to reward him by endorsing him for governor if the recall vote went forward. Then Ah-nuld comes in and blows Issa's dream outta the water. You know someone spoke to Issa and told him not to run. Told him very forcefully and in no uncertain terms. As Nelson Muntz would say, "Haa haaa!"

Plus, if the recall goes through and Ah-nuld gets elected, California basically gets a Democrat in office - pro-choice, pro-gun control, gay friendly. Not exactly what Issa or many neo-cons were envisioning when they hijacked the process. Jackasses.

OK, that was the first (and hopefully last ever) political post from Marty Stark.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

You've Been Drifting For A Long Long Time . . .

I got massively sick of sitting in the hot, stagnant air trying to write, so I decided to head down to Santa Monica for lunch at my favorite diner. Lo and behold, the diner was closed--after 28 years, the owners decided to retire. Crap. The sign that informed me that the diner was closed also stated that the menu would be transferred over to the British pub next door.

I headed over to the pub and no, the menu wasn't transferred over. But there was a nice breeze, the first I've felt for the last week. You could almost believe that there was no heat wave. Anyway, bottom line, I decided to stay for lunch. I ordered the fish and chips plus a pint of Guinness. Someone plonked in a couple of quarters in the jukebox, and "Driftwood" by Travis came on.

Next thing I know, it's a Friday in August 1999. I'm having lunch outside with my BigLaw buddies--fellow associates and the litigation paralegals--at the British Banker's Club in Menlo Park. This is one of the few times I was actually relaxed while at BigLaw. For a couple of hours, I wasn't thinking about coming in during the weekend to finish up any reply briefs or worried about discovery issues.

OK, so I'm not exactly Proust, but I sorta get what he was trying to do.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Obscene, Filthy, Dirty, Immoral . . .


At a dining room table cluttered by wires and books, Marty is hunched over a laptop. He is rapidly clicking a mouse and muttering to himself.

Someone pounds on the door. Marty does not look up.

MARTY: Go the fuck away!

KARMA POLICE #1: Open up! We know what you're doing!

MARTY: I'm surfin' the web for porn, now leave me alone!

KARMA POLICE #1: C'mon Mr. Stark, we know that's not what you're doin'. You're looking at profiles. Just let us in so we can have a talk.

MARTY: Fuck off!

KARMA POLICE #1: Look, you have a problem. This just isn't right, looking at all those profiles at three in the afternoon on a workday. We just want to help. Open the door and let's talk.

MARTY: You don't know me! You don't know me! Go take a Hoover to yourself and have it suck on you, fascists!

KARMA POLICE #1: Aw fuck this noise. Barry, got the other end of the battering ram? OK. Mr. Stark, you have given us no other choice!

The sound of three slow booms come from the door, which is buckling with each pounding. The door breaks at the fourth boom.

Two men in black riot suits burst in, guns drawn.

KARMA POLICE #1: Move away from the laptop Mr. Stark! Now!

MARTY: OK, OK. See I'm lifting my hands from the laptop and I'm . . . damnit, just let me check who's online now! The next one could be the one!

One of the men tackles Marty off his seat. Marty continues to squirm.

MARTY: Let me up you asshole! Let me up! I have to see if SchoolTeacher777 is into Asians! Aaaaaaaaaagh.

KARMA POLICE #2: You will calm down, Mr. Stark. All I have to do is twist my hand to the right and I have a new pair of dice for my windshield.

KARMA POLICE #1: Barry'll do it too. So just calm down.


KARMA POLICE #1: OK, let's take a look. Fuck, Mr. Stark, have you even written any of these women?

MARTY: I'm gonna get around to it.

KARMA POLICE #1: And a couple of chicks have winked at you. Why don't you write them back?

MARTY: Fer Christsakes, they're either FOBs or Fatties!

KARMA POLICE #2: Man in your position can't be too choosey.

MARTY: Screw you. Eeep.

KARMA POLICE #2: Hand must've slipped.

KARMA POLICE #1: OK. I've seen enough here. By the powers that be and all that she hath created, yadda yadda yadda, access to and all other internet dating services shall be denied to you. Access to your account shall be granted to Janos Wanoski, 55 year old recent Polish immigrant residing in Secaucus, New Jersey . . .

KARMA POLICE #2: He likes 'em really curvey. Loves those white trash chicks with the folds of fat hanging out between the tube tops and the low rider jeans. Reminds him of badly packed bratwurst.

MARTY: Noooooooooo!

KARMA POLICE #1: . . . and to Wah "Erwin" Chang, 28 year old seventh-year applied statistics grad student at U.C. Irvine, originally from the Fujian province, recent born-again Christian and huge fan of the TV show Coach.

MARTY: Gaaaaaah!

KARMA POLICE #2: Yup, he likes his women FOB-ish and subservient. The worse the grammar, the better for l'il Erwin, if you catch my drift.

MARTY: Why? Why are you doing this to me?

KARMA POLICE #1: Pphhht. You know why. You have a novel to write.

KARMA POLICE #2: Plus you keep forgetting that is just one tool in your belt, partner. C'mon, just talk to Borders chick or comic book chick. What's the worst that can happen? So what, you may get kicked out, but there's other Borders.

MARTY: Thanks for the vote of confidence. Ummmm, you mind letting go of my nuts?

KARMA POLICE #2: Whoa, sorry there. So, you're going to be good, right? OK, I'll let you up . . . Hey!

MARTY: Just let me check if HOTCHEMIST999 has logged on.

KARMA POLICE #1 tasers Marty. Marty shakes like an epileptic crack addict and falls to the floor.

KARMA POLICE #1: See, that's why Marty is single again. Man.

KARMA POLICE #2: I say we dump him naked at Borders, then get some chili cheese burritos.

KARMA POLICE #1: Chili cheese burritos are good. Sounds like a plan.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

I'll Find My Sanity When I Find My Glory

I chopped twenty pages yesterday and wrote about two. I keep telling myself that I'll buckle down the next day, just sit and write for hours and hours and hours. But come the morning, I'm still groggy from the beer still in my system. I make myself some java and end up surfing the web for more hours and hours and hours.

If I didn't live in my own skin, I could tell myself follow the same routine I had when I was a lawyer - wake up at 7:40 a.m., get showered and dressed by 8:10, have my three cups of java, surf the web until 9:00 a.m. and buckle down until 8:00 p.m. But living in my own skin, I find that a lot tougher. When I was working in an office, I knew I had to be in the office or else no check. Now, I don't have to be anywhere. Plus, now that it's nearly three months since I left and I still have twice as much in my checking account than I had when I left the law the first time.

I guess this is a roundabout way of talking about motivation, to be more exact, my lack thereof. I should've been finished with my second novel by now instead of tearing it down and building it back up. I should be writing every single day.

There is a part of me, deep in that dark corner, that place where angels fear to tread, that thinks I'm not a real writer. Writers write everyday supposedly. Their muse is always there, whispering ideas in a neverending stream of creativity.

Then I think about my past. I think about Duke's creative writing program. Over 200 students submitted pieces of fiction each semester, only 15 were chosen. And just because you were chosen one semester didn't guarantee that you were accepted the next. I was chosen both times I applied. I take a look at this blog, and yeah, there's a lot of maudlin crapola in here, but there's some decent stuff in here as well. The Three Visit Barrier and A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action will make it in some form or another to the novel. And I think, OK, I have the tools. I just have to friggin' use them.

One of things that brings me down on a daily basis is this dip in the dating. I get on and almost every profile reads "I need a man who is financially secure." Totally understandable - no chiqua wants a layabout mooching off her. But here I am, the checking account slowly draining, doing something most folks don't consider real work. I'm no mooch and have never been one, but try telling that to a chiqua as she deletes my e-mail. Now, the rational part of me realizes that I will not be happy with a woman who's bottom line in a relationship is money and work. That part also knows that L.A. is probably the best place to be a creative-type underemployed male (and definitely way better than Silicon Valley). Hell, there was a cute chiqua who e-mailed me while I was dating Bees Knees who thought it was really cool that I left the law to pursue writing. (Stupid me being a monogamous dater, cute chiqua was no longer a member by the time the relationship with Bees Knees imploded.)

So, not all is lost. The sun is shining. I have some tunes on the headphones. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Provider (Zero 7 Remix)

"Writers block is the temporary paralysis caused by the conviction, on an unconscious level, that what the writer is attempting is in some way fraudulent, or mistaken, or self-destructive."

--Joyce Carol Oates.

I was going to power through the novel and do the editing afterwards. However, I've been stuck and unmotivated for the last month or so. I've read the Oates quote a while back, but it didn't really hit me until yesterday when I was at Borders. I saw the American copy of my favorite book. Since I made the mistake of lending my treasured original British paperback version to Bee's Knees and the American version is hard to find, I decided to shell out the seven bucks for a book I theoretically already owned. If I were to list inspirations for my style of writing, first and foremost on the list is Michael Marshall Smith (I usually say Nick Hornby to mixed company because he's better known). His writing is funny, violent, sentimental and very very snarky all at once.

Anyway, I was rereading a couple of my favorite passages while waiting in line and I realized how for off course I was with my novel. I realized the inconsistent motivations. I realized I included a character that was only there for my therapeutic reasons, but I couldn't see progressing the story at all. Then I realized I was going to have to trash about two-thirds, if not more, of what I've written. I realized that I was being fraudulent and self-destructive. So, today, that's the goal. Push out the jive, bring in the love as Mr. Burns would say.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Angels Falling Through My Head . . .

She looks like Poppy Montgomery and sounds like Lauren Bacall. Sheesh, what is is with me and bookstore chicks?

Monday, August 04, 2003

you're a hero, you're a freak-oh

Friday night, my buddies the Big Jew, Dubois and I got together at 217 down in Santa Monica. The place has always been hit or miss--either it's a nice place to look at the betties or it's a total sausage-fest. I hadn't been to 217 in a while. The last time I was there, there was some belly dancing function which is much cooler than it sounds. Sure, there were three gyrating scantily clothed-women of dubious morals on stage, but they were the only women in 217. Suffice it to say, I bugged out of there quickly the last time.

Anyway, I hadn't seen my buddy Dubois in a while. He'd been doing some contract work at a major BigLaw putting in long hours of document review, saving up the cashish so he could then follow his bliss--writing screenplays and producing flicks. Oh, plus his live-in has him on a short leash. This was supposed to be a long overdue boys night out.

My goal was just to hang out with the boyz, decompress, maybe (OK, definitely) check out the pretty babies. I've learned the hard way that, at least for me, going out with the stated goal of picking up some digits is a straight path to disappointment. The body language that's either too cocky or too unsure, the overly roving eyes, everything that signals desperation as the 2am last call comes closer and you haven't got the digits, boy does that raise red flags for the chiquas. I know that there are a lot of guys who can pull the rico suave, but different things work for different people. Me, I gotta go for the zen approach--not looking for digits, if it happens it happens. Body language is less tense and I don't feel like too much of a gumba. If there's someone I think I'll click with, then I'll talk to her. If there's no one, oh well. (And to the peanut gallery--yeah, I have approached women at clubs and danced with them, so keep those "yeah, I've never seen you talk to women at clubs" to yourselves).

I get to the 217 on time, which means I'm there fifteen minutes earlier than everyone else (damn Asian punctuality gene). At 10:00 pm, the club isn't too crowded and women outnumber men. So far, good sign. Then about ten minutes in, all these guys start walking in. A lot of guys. My buddies came in around 10:20 pm, and a group of slender model-types also arrived (unfortunately, not with my buddies). Among the slender model types was a lone Asian guy who was talking to this blonde a lot. At first, I thought "Hey, it's possible for one of the yellow bruthas to be pickin' up on the round-eye." As I observed the group further, I noticed he was the only guy among the hotties. I also noted that the hotties' body language toward the yellow bruthah was friendly, casual and not at all I want your hunky Asian bod. Either he was marked as "safe" or he was gay.

So me and the boyz were drinkin' and catchin' up on the haps. I'm the only guy outta the Mira Hershey Hall group who's not coupled (both the Big Jew and Dubois have live in girlfriends), and Dubois gets this idea that I should start mackin' on the pretty babies. I caught the eye of this one stunning woman with raven hair at the bar, but then I caught a gander at the bracelet she was wearing - a diamond studded black band that was worth more than my car. I looked away with a mad quickness. By the time Dubois got this idea in his head, 217 was packed (unfortunately, it was packed with more men then women). There was this one woman who I tried to make eye contact with, but she kept looking away. She was a dark blonde wearing a white beret, and a one-strap white retro-70s top with capri khakis. A friend of the Big Jew who joined us late called her "Britney Spears" in a derogatory way.

Anyway, it was about fifteen before midnight and the original plan was to bug, head over to the Circle Bar or World Cafe to see if the ratio was better. Then Dubois says hold on, and with horror, I watch him pull a high school move. One of the chicks at Britney's table went over to the bar. Dubois walks over to her, starts talking, then points over at me and point over at Britney. Fuck. Learning a lesson from a story the Big Jew told me about his pal a long while back (dull story, but good lesson which is PLAY THE FUCK ALONG), I say hi. The next thing I know, I'm buying the table drinks and having a conversation with Cindy (Britney's real name).

Cindy had an accent, a Guatemalan accent to be exact. How did I know? Because she said she was from Guatemala (that's what you get for asking stupid questions). Dubois loves Latin American accents, but he has a better shot with chicks from Latin America (his mother is black, his dad is Irish which apparently makes him sexy to women of all races but leaves us guys shakin' our heads in disbelief-- he just looks like a goofy guy with slacker fashionwear to us--the man also backs that up with game because he's able to follow the simple rule of listening to what a woman has to say and asking her questions about herself). Me? As soon as I heard that she was from Guatemala, I knew this wasn't going to go anywhere except for conversation. OK, this isn't low self-esteem speaking here. This is the realities of culture. You think some young thang who came to the U.S. with her family is going to be bringin' home a yellow brutha to the devoutly Catholic and traditional parent's dinner table?

Cindy invited me to sit with her. We talked for about fifteen or so minutes. We both kept up our ends of the conversation, so it was very easy and casual. Neither of us had to pull too hard to get the other to speak. I found out she was planning on becoming an American citizen in the next couple of months (another big yikes in my book), that she left school early, that she did billing for some doctor's office that had a lot of creative type patients. She wanted to go back to school to become a fully certified RN. She learned I was a lawyer taking some time off to write. When she went off with one of her friends to the bathroom, Dubois said, "OK Marty, tell her we have to leave and get her digits when she gets back." Well, he said that after saying, "OK, how cool am I, Marty? How cool am I?" So she comes back, and I make a couple of minutes more of small talk. Then I told her I have to go, and asked her if I could call her sometime.

She smiled and said, "Um, I'm married and I have three kids," putting up three fingers. I smiled back knowingly, and said, "You're a sweet kid. Nice talkin' to ya."

Yeah, she could be married and have three kids, and I could be the King of Siam.

Oh well. She really was sweet when we were talking, she was nice enough to invite me to sit. But c'mon, she could've thought of a better blowoff line.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Things I've Thought About In The Last Hour

I really need to figure out how to add links to the side of my blog without it going kablooie and being replaced by a Portuguese web page.

Sad fact that I will never admit on a first date: I was on my high school math team.

Sadder fact that I will never admit on a first date: I joined my high school math team out of peer pressure.

I didn't drink enough coffee today. On the other hand, I did drink enough Diet Coke to give cancer to five generations of lab rats.

The random chick who "winked" at me today is a hottie. She reminds me of the first girl in college I had a crush on -- blonde, slender, hazel eyes. So why do I feel like this is some sort of scam that will end up with my body in someone's trunk as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde make of with my checking account? And why did I just "wink" back at her despite my whole rant against winks a couple of entries ago?

When I see Natalie Morales on TV, my first thought is generally "What a hottie." Then I realize she's thirty, like me. Then I realize she's on a national cable news channel whereas I'm at the dining room table in front of a blank laptop screen. I hate TV sometimes.

Sometimes, when you're feeling craptastic, when you're wondering if you have any talent at all or if you're just deluding yourself like that guy on the corner of Wilshire and Veteran who really does think that the CIA wants to steal his brain waves and secret string, you get signs. You get support from unexpected places. Go give a nice shout out to Kim, a fellow blogger and genuinely nice human being.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


Throw in two parts writer's block, one part laziness, a spinkling of self-doubt and a garnish of mind-numbing apathy, and you get the wilted house salad of sit-on-your-ass-ism that I've been suffering for the last two weeks. Well, that and really bad metaphors. I have some of the major points of the novel plotted out, but the last time I went to that special word document that is my manuscript, the words poured out with nary a trickle. Hell, that's crap imagery too because "poured out" implies that there was more than a trickle. Sigh. Maybe I need to up my caffeine intake.

I'm trying to finish the paperback edition of Dave Egger's novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity!. I have to admit, the guy can write. His phrases are crisp and simple, yet descriptive. But after I put the book down, I have to wonder why I think the writing is good -- yeah the writing is crisp and simple, but also rambling and random. There are several times I think, "Yeah, so what" when I'm reading this. But I keep reading and reading.

Anyway, for shits and giggles, here's Marty Stark imitating Dave Eggers:

I was sitting upstairs in the loft. The fan was on the floor pushing hot air around my calves. I was thinking about writing. Actually, I was thinking less about writing, and more about the lack of writing. I haven't been able to write in the last two weeks. I sit in front of the computer with my coffee and feel guilty about not writing. I sit and sweat drinking coffee in the summer heat with no air conditioning. I sit and let my cat crawl onto my lap, hear her sigh as she falls asleep. She doesn't move because I don't move. I don't move because I'm not writing. I just sit and sweat with a distant cousin of a panther dozing on my lap. Sometimes, I hear the chainsaw roar of lawnmowers as immigrant gardeners do their weekly trimming. I know lawnmowers aren't chainsaws, but that's what they sound like.

Because I'm not writing, I'm just sitting and sweating in front of a blank screen, I let my mind wander. I think about what those gardeners would think if about that gringo two floors above them that has it easy, that just sits there up in his loft, sitting there and sweating and not having to work in long sleeves under the sun. (If I could do footnotes in Blogger, there'd be a footnote next to gringo. The footnote would read "Well, I'm not a gringo, but I don't know the derogatory Mexican term for Asian. Chinquo maybe?").

-Yo Chinquo, why aren't you doing real work?

-I did real work. I was a lawyer. I hated it.

-Ah, lawyer, accidente, that is bad work. But it is work. Look at me. I work in long sleeves on this hot day, and the pollen and the grass, they make my eye water. Yet I still work. It is the way of the world. You must work too.

-But I'm trying to work. I'm trying to write a book.

-Book? That is not real work. And anyway, it looks like you're not writing at all. It looks like you're just sitting there sweating, drinking coffee with a sleeping gato on your lap.

-Don't you think I wish a torrent of words would come to me? Don't you think I wish words like spawning salmon would rush through me onto paper? Anyway, leave me alone. I feel bad enough already about sitting and sweating and not writing.

-Alright, amigo, I will continue back to my mowing and getting grass in my eyes and leave you to your sitting and sweating. Just think about what I said about real work. It is the way of the world.

Eventually, the chainsaw sound stops. My coffee turns cold. And I haven't done any writing again for yet another afternoon.

Chili cheese burritos are good.

Monday, July 21, 2003

United States of Whatever

I'm taking a quick break from writing novel to update the blog. Unfortunately, I have to admit the reason for the blog silence over the last several days was because of me geeking out. Damn you LucasArts! I have to write at least 5 pages a day straight until the 31st if I want to hit my self-imposed goal of one-hundred pages written by the end of the month.

So, in no particular order or relevance, some random points:

1. Not only has it been a hot July in Lalaland, it has also been humid with a capital hugh. I can't remember a cloudy day being so damn hot since college where August was like walking into a dryer overstuffed with soggy clothes. The weather also reminds me when I visited my cousins during the summer in South Carolina as a kid. Maybe it was the oppressive feel of the heat, the type of heat that made you sweat with the first breath of the morning, that made me want to kick my cousin's ass on a daily basis. Or maybe it was because my cousin was an annoying dull yokel of a snot as a kid.

2. Damn you LucasArts! OK, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating. I logged in over 25 hours of gameplay in less than two days. I'm as bad as a smackhead in my addiction. What's the geek version of methadone?

3. has this new feature called "Winks" whereby you can let a person know that you're interested by sending an electronic "Wink," an electronic version of a note stuffed in your locker saying Jimmy from Algebra likes you. Where this may be OK in Happyland Junior High, this is not OK in Adult Singledom, USA. Maybe chicks can get away with this, a coy wink across the ether, but a guy doing this? C'mon, it shows that you lack enough chutzpa to start a frigging conversation. If you can't do that by e-mail where the stress of conversation is taken out, then you might as well just spend the money you funnel into on porn.