A little late to the game

Never been a fan of Saturday Night Live. I’ll go so far as to say that the only time the show was good was in the early 90s with Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, etc.

So when Bill Hader came out with Barry, my thoughts were ‘meh’…interesting concept, but I found recent SNL talent to be lacking. However that was a huge misconception on my part. When my wife started binge watching the show, I suddenly realized that everything I’ve done for this blog, Bill Hader was already doing with Barry.

In fact, when Henry Winkler’s Gene Cousineau opens a case containing a pistol, gifted from Rip Torn with note advising him not to “blow his brains out”, I laughed so hard because that was a joke I could have easily written for one of my many stupid ass stories.

Moreover, Hader and his writers like to find the humanity in absurd circumstances, which is a concept I’m always drawn towards. One of the recurring themes is the question ‘can people change?’. Barry, the titular character, finds his purpose in being an actor but is continually drawn back into the world of killing by Anthony Carrigan’s Noho Hank and Stephen Root’s Fuches. But despite being locked into the criminal underworld, even Hank and Fuches have their redeeming qualities.

In fact, every major character occupies a state of being both redeemable/irredeemable (much like real people. Go figure 🤷‍♂️) Barry, for instance, kills both criminals and innocent people alike for a variety of reasons. Sarah Goldberg’s Sally is absolutely selfish and egotistical. Fuches is a total scumbag. Hank is the head of a Chechen drug trafficking gang. Yet at every given opportunity we come to sympathize with them.

This is one of those rare shows that was perfectly cast. Bill Hader is able to effectively do his brand of low key humor while the supporting cast can really strut their stuff. I don’t think any other pair of actors could have pulled off something like this.

But I love the humor combined with gut-punching drama. Other shows and movies (AND fiction, from the likes of your truly) have tried to do something similar, but this is the only time I’ve bought in. Barry is absolutely the best show made in the last 10 years and it sucks that I only recently discovered it.

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part VII)

“Jesus Christ,” I said to Mr. Ree, “my head’s killing me! How long have I been out?”

“Two days,” he replied.

“Two fuckin days?!”

“Yeah, you were spazing out because you were suffering from narcotic withdrawals so Rockwell injected you with something and you’ve been knocked out ever since.”

“But but…it feels like just a moment ago we were outside looking for gold!”

“Rockwell caught us,” Mr. Ree explained, “so he took us by gunpoint and has kept us locked in his basement ever since.”

I sat up straight on the dusty floor and looked around. Something was off. Nothing in the basement looked like it belonged in the 19th Century. In fact, it looked like a laboratory from well beyond mine and Mr. Ree’s time.

“What the hell is going on here?” I asked, “where’s Oppenheimer?”

“Rockwell took him,” Mr. Ree shrugged, “probably to torture him.”

“What the hell?”

“Yeah man, Rockwell’s a strange dude. You should get a look at him when he comes back down. Try not to laugh though.”

“I doubt that I will find anything funny about this situation.”

“Nah, this is a little different.”

Seconds later we heard the door unlocking from the top of the stairs. The two of us fell silent as we waited for what came next. The door crept open then all we could hear was the sound of footsteps thumping down the stairs. Finally, in true dramatic form, Rockwell made his way into the basement and stood before us.

“Ohhh, I see what you mean,” I said to Mr. Ree.

Rockwell stood less than five feet tall with a buckle on his top hat and sporting a long red beard. “Ye boys coming after me gold are ye?” said Rockwell in his thick Irish draw.

“Where’s J. Robert Oppenheimer?” I asked while trying to hold back laughter.

“Ahh the foolish scientist man, eh? I’m just keepin’ him detained for questionin’. Strange how a 20th century scientist became a sheriff in 19th century Montana wouldn’t you say?”

“Look dude, I’m not here to argue with you,” I said, “seeing that you know that we’re from the future, all we need is some of your gold to get back to our time and then we’ll get out of your hair.”

“Aye, five tons of gold that is, which just so happens to be all the gold here.”

“Well shit, that’s pretty unfortunate,” I replied, “welp Mr. Ree, I guess we’re gonna die in the old west after all. So Rockwell, do you want to let us go or do you want to kill us now? I don’t give a shit which.”

“Wait wait wait,” a perplexed Rockwell stuttered, “you won’t let me question you?”

“Nope,” I said, “Keep the gold. I’m ready to die.”

“Alright alright,” Rockwell replied, “I’ll let you have the gold. BUT, I want access to this time portal device developed by Oppenheimer.”


What wud u do?

So word’s gotten out that I’m exceptionally good at making toilets. Another toilet factory reached out and offered me more money to come work for them. In short, I’ll once again be taking 10 hour shits, albeit at a higher rate of pay.

It’s good money. I’m pretty good at it (at wasting company money by taking extra long shits, that is). Unfortunately I also have an opportunity to pursuit my true passion but for much less money.

So what would you do?

Continue phoning in life (but making a shit ton of money)?


Pursuit something you actually want to do (for a lot less money)?

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part VI)

“Man, I can’t see shit!” Mr. Ree yelled.

Sheriff J. Robert Oppenheimer led the way through the dark of night carrying a shovel and lantern. Mr. Ree and I kept tripping over rocks and branches as we followed behind him onto Mr. Rockwell’s land.

“Shut your goddamn trap,” Oppenheimer ordered, “Mr. Rockwell will shoot us dead if he finds us digging up his property.”

“Bob,” I said, “if several tons of gold is on his land, how will we carry all that weight back to your barn?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” the sheriff replied, “in the meantime, we just have to determine if it’s here at all.”

“How will we do that?”

Oppenheimer turned around and smiled. “You think I don’t have a plan?” he rhetorically asked. Bob opened his duster and inside he carried a small metal detector. “I’ve been itching to try this thing out,” he continued, “it ain’t easy inventing something like this in the old west. But I’m nearly certain it’ll work.”

We finally arrived at a dried up creek bed some hundred yards behind the Rockwell home. “If the gold is anywhere,” Oppenheimer said in a lowered voice, “it’s right around here.”

Bob took out his makeshift metal detector and began listening for certain radio signatures. Mr. Ree and I stood back while he walked up and down the creek. After 10 minutes of watching him do this, we sat down on a large sandstone rock.

“So we’re gonna die in the old west aren’t we?” Mr. Ree asked.

“Almost certainly,” I replied as I pulled out a flask.

“Well I gotta say, it’s certainly been a lot of fun riding around out here palling around with you. I have no regrets.”

“Yeah, I suppose we’ve had some good times,” I said as I took a few swings of whiskey, “it’s just a shame that I’ll never see my son.”

Mr. Ree patted me on the back. “You never know,” he said, “sometimes impossible things happen.”

I ignored that comment as I passed the flask to him. “Tell me, since you no longer work for the Admiral because he fell into a lava pit, what would you have done if we made it back to LA?” I asked.

Mr. Ree pondered for a bit after lowering the flask from his lips. “Prostitution probably,” he responded, “why do you ask?”

“We make one hell of I team,” I said, “if we do make it back, you should come work with me at my detective agency.”

“Say,” Mr. Ree nodded enthusiastically, “that’s not a bad idea!”

Right then, Bob came rushing down the creek bed. “Grab your shovels!” he ordered, “I think we hit the jackpot!”

Several meters down the creek, the metal detector was wildly sounding off. Oppenheimer put down his lantern and began eagerly digging. Meanwhile, Mr. Ree and I were cackling away. “We might make actually make it out of this shithole town!” I exclaimed.

Seconds later, from out of the darkness I heard the clicking of a Smith and Wesson. “Drop dem shovels fellas,” the Irish accent ordered.


So long toilet factory

For the last time, I will walk through those doors, pull down my pants, and take another 10 hour shit while on the clock.

I don’t like how things are ending. I gave that place so much of my blood, sweat, and tears (and so, so much shit). But this is the way it’s got to be.

Monday, I’ll embark on a new career working at the nut factory. God knows how that’s gonna pan out. Instead of shitting, I wonder what I’ll do in the bathroom for 10 hours? 🤔 😉

Anyway, my schedule’s changing. Hopefully the new job will give me a renewed sense of disdain for both my audience and life in general.

That’s when I write my best work. 👍

Tetris, blackberries, and air Jordans

Now that Hollywood is making boring movies about boring subjects…like Tetris and BlackBerries…why don’t they make a movie about Giga Pets and MySpace?

Those things were way cooler anyway. I can imagine it now:

Bryan Cranston as a lonely toy developer that wants to punish children by subjecting them to the stresses of keeping something alive; a washed-up Adrien Brody stakes his comeback by playing Tom Anderson who compulsively masturbates to Internet pornography as he gains inspiration for MySpace.

What the hell started this trend anyway? Who’s asking for these movies to get made?

I’ll admit, Moneyball was good. But that’s really the only highlight from this odd genre. Critics loved The Founder at the time, but does anyone talk about it nowadays?

I consider The Offer another example here. I imagine that we’ll be seeing more of “making of” dramas of our favorite movies in the near future. But we’ll know all of these stories will have happy endings. So Hollywood, if any of you degenerates are reading, here’s a suggestion for ya’ll:

The making of Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate: the movie that nearly destroyed Tinseltown.

The Paul Schrader method

Of course I worship the ground Paul Schrader walks on but our writing methods couldn’t be farther apart. I would be interested though in seeing if I’d make the cut for his screenwriting class. I’d think he’d let me in if I disclosed my insecurities over having an average penis. That would make a fascinating discussion over 10 weeks.

But Paul’s method is a little too structured. Naturally, writing 101 tells you to utilize metaphor in place of a real world problem. As Schrader said, fiction allows us to see all the drama and complexities play out through the filter of metaphor. I also agree that we need limitations in art (Nicholas Meyer has echoed a similar sentiment). But I think that’s where our philosophies diverge.

To me, I approach art, or writing, as an ongoing activity. It very much exits in the present. That’s why I rarely take time to develop a story. If I have a concept, I run with it. Of course, like Schrader, I filter my own concerns, thoughts, and insecurities into the story and watch it play out. But the spontaneity is where the fun is.

That’s why I wish I was a television writer. Give me a story and a deadline and let’s see what happens. I’m not saying that it will be any good, but I’d certainly have a good time!

Maybe my writing suffers because of this “method”. I don’t know. But this was an interesting lecture by Schrader.

The man who came to play

I’ve always said that the greatest movie ever made is The Deer Hunter. And it’s no secret that I experience the most insane dreams possible.

So last night, I dreamt that The Deer Hunter was never produced at all and instead, in its place, the original script titled The Man Who Came to Play was made. I know nothing of this apparently “spec” script, other than it involves friends going to Las Vegas to play Russian Roulette. Michael Cimino and Deric Washburn later repurposed this screenplay into The Deer Hunter, switching out Vegas for Vietnam.

In fact, as far as I know, only the Russian Roulette scenes survived in the final draft from the original treatment. There’s no telling what The Man Who Came To Play would have looked like, but if my dream is any indication, it would have fit in well with the dark 70s canon.

This script, written by Louis A Garfinkle and soap opera actor Quinn Redeker, is apparently for sale online. There’s no telling how much it costs and I couldn’t find any of its story details, but my main question is why did this friend or friends go to Vegas to play Russian Roulette?

Did they do it willfully?

Were they coerced?!

I understand why Cimino and Washburn repurposed it. It made sense for the time and it absolutely worked. But I like to play this game of “what if”. Nowadays, I find the original concept to be far more darker and nihilistic, especially if the friends were written to be Vietnam vets.

I can’t help but think that The Man Who Came To Play would have made a terrific spiritual sequel to Taxi Driver. Think about it: Bobby DeNiro as Travis Bickle. We’ll pretend that the ending to Taxi Driver wasn’t the dying dream of a mass shooter. Instead, Bickle survives and goes to Vegas where’s he’s once again disgusted with the crime and decadence of Sin City. One way or another, he finds himself reliving the nightmares of Vietnam; he begins entertaining depraved businessmen by hitting the underground Russian Roulette circuit.

I see a lot of Paul Schrader’s “God’s lonely man” in Garfinkle and Redeker’s concept. But oh well. We got The Deer Hunter instead and we should all be thankful for that.

But if anyone knows anything about this script, please reach out to me.

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part V)

“Goddamn Mr. Ree!” I said while gazing upon the bodies of nine hired guns; their brains were splattered across the dusty Elkhorn street, “I thought you were only decent with a rifle!”

“Heh! I guess I’m better than I thought,” he replied.

“Billy Friedkin and Dickleburg managed to ride away,” said Sheriff Oppenheimer, “we gotta get these bodies off the street.”

Right then the town’s undertaker, Fred Ward, stepped out of the whore house wearing only his long johns. “Sorry for disturbing you on your day off,” Oppenheimer said to him.

“Oh it’s alright,” Fred replied, “I got the whiskey dick anyway.” He immediately began loading the bodies into his carriage.

“When Dickleburg returns,” the sheriff said to me and Mr. Ree, “he’ll bring an army.” He then looked back over the carnage in front of his office. “Son of a bitch!” he yelled, “this went worse than I expected!”

The three of us rode back to Oppenheimer’s place where Maybelline and Malachi were waiting. “Thank goodness you are all alright!” Maybelline declared. She strutted right past her husband and hugged me. “I don’t know what I’d do if you were killed,” she said.

Oppenheimer spoke up. “Maybelline, bring me a bottle of scotch,” he ordered, “come on men, we have work to do.”

We all went out to the barn where Oppenheimer removed the tarp over his time portal device. He began scribbling down some equations on a note pad. “According to my calculations,” he said, “we’re gonna need five tons of gold to get this thing operational.”

“That’s a lot of gold,” I replied.

“And we have very little time to get it.”

“Any idea where we could find that much in such short of time?” asked Mr. Ree.

“The average prospector will only find a fraction of that amount in his or her lifetime,” Oppenheimer responded, “but…”

“But what?” I asked.

“But, the mother load is here in Elkhorn.”


Right then Maybelline brought in the scotch. Oppenheimer opened the bottle and started chugging. “It’s under Mr. Rockwell’s land,” he finally stated.

“So what’s the big deal?” I asked, “we’ll just go over there and take it under the cover of night.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“How do you know it’s there?” Mr. Ree inquired.

Oppenheimer took another swig of scotch. “Because history says it there. One of the largest gold deposits of all time is there.”

“I thought you said history is slightly different in this timeline. It might’ve been there in our timeline, but there’s no guarantee it’s there now.”

Oppenheimer closed the bottle and straightened himself out. “That’s the risk we gotta take,” he said.

I shook my head. “I don’t understand this time bullshit,” I stated, “it’s either here or it’s not. You’re the scientist. Make it make sense.”

“Time isn’t necessarily linear,” Oppenheimer explained, “it’s more like a color wheel. Our timeline might be orange, for example, but the one we’re in now might be light orange. There are some similarities between the two but there’s no telling where the timelines might diverge. To make make matters worse, even if we could get the gold, time is not only a color wheel, but it’s an INFINITE color wheel, seemingly. Pinpointing your EXACT spot on the wheel would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. No…worse…a needle in an entire universe!”

“So we can only hope for the best,” Mr. Ree responded.


Malachi wondered into the barn. “Are you okay daddy?” he asked while rubbing his eyes.

Oppenheimer kneeled down before his son and held him in his arms. “Of course I am,” he said, “everything will be alright. You and your mother shouldn’t worry.”

Maybelline picked up Malachi to escort him to bed. Mr. Ree and I stood silently while we watched the small family comfort each other. After the mother and son left, Oppenheimer kept his back facing us. “Dickleburg will stop at nothing to get what he wants,” he uttered, “if anything happens to me, I want you two to take my wife and son to whatever timeline you end up in. Being there will be safer than being here.”

After he turned around, the sheriff and former scientist wiped a tear from his eye and picked up a shovel. “Tomorrow we’ll ride out to Mr. Rockwell’s land,” Oppenheimer stated, “and we’ll pray to god that we’re in the right timeline.”


Unresolved anger issues

Everyday I ask myself ‘should I start therapy?’

Let’s take a look at my dreams for example. I assume that dreams for most people, when they’re not nightmares, are mostly nonsensical and benign. For me though, they’re an opportunity to engage in rage-fueled fantasies.

From last night, I dreamt that I was getting a mani/pedi/massage from some high end resort because someone felt that I needed a stress reliever. Don’t know why they thought I needed a mani/pedi, but there I was. Suddenly the power went out so the resort thought it was a good idea for all the patrons to go outside for a jog.

I didn’t like my fellow patrons because they were a bunch of stuck up, rich, white people. You know the type: they wore plaid flannel shirts with North Face vests and thick rimmed glasses. Anyway, the activities director suggested we all go for a jog. Halfway through it, the director announced that whoever finishes their lap first will get all their expenses paid.

Naturally, I bolt for the finish line but some jackass and his wife were in lockstep with me. I eventually run out of steam and the couple cross the finish line first. Afterwards, when I was cooling down, the asshat that beat was annoyed, saying something like “if you didn’t start sprinting, you might’ve beaten me!”

I fly off the handle, replying with something like “maybe if you weren’t such an old sack of shit, I’d kick the fuck out of you!”

Then the dream ended.

The next dream was a bit more unusual. So I was at a Six Flags when I get off a rollercoaster that took you around the galaxy. It was really fuckin bitchin tbh. Unfortunately I walk out the wrong door and accidentally leave the park.

Unable to get back in, a police officer…who’s obviously a homeless guy and not a real police officer…stops me and asks to see some ID. I play along because I felt sorry for the guy, so I take out my wallet and pull out my driver’s license. Right then, I get distracted by ANOTHER “police officer” and the homeless guy grabs my wallet but bungles the attempt at thievery. He drops the wallet on the ground and I shrug. “Look, you don’t have to steal my wallet, I’ll happily give you $15,” I say to him.

But it was all a set up. Some odd gang of sociopaths kidnap me and subject me to a series of tests. They inform me that if I survive, I’ll be initiated into their gang even though they kidnapped me and I never asked to be initiated to begin with. So I thought fuck this and instead of playing by their rules, I instantly begin a reign of terror where one by one, I track down individual gang members and torture them.

The dream suddenly shifts narratives of the same story. Word reaches the CIA that I’ve been kidnapped. Harrison Ford is my father and Jon Hamm is his partner. Hamm informs Ford, my father, that I’ve been kidnapped. But my father proceeds to do nothing believing that he’s teaching me a lesson in “trusting strangers”.

So Don Draper takes matters into his own hands and he’s off to the rescue. Together we torture, mutilate, and kill my kidnappers in a glorious and satisfying bout of revenge.

I don’t know what any of these dreams mean but they are not uncommon. Clearly there’s a deep rage seething inside of me. Thankfully I’m not dreaming about murdering random strangers because that would be cause for concern. But clearly I’m looking for someone, anyone, to start some shit so that I can indulge in some indignant rage..