Fender-bender. Two cars pull off the street into the parking lot of a convenience store. It is a rainy afternoon and power is out up and down the street.

One of the drivers asks the guy behind the counter if he’ll call the police.

“My cell phone is being charged.”

You can’t call while your phone is being charged?

You can’t unplug the charger and use your phone for the one minute it’ll take to call the local police?

Why are you a dick, man?


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As I write this it is the anniversary of Philip K. Dick’s death.

He died too young, just when he was on the verge of breaking through, perhaps. His novel VALIS had gotten good reviews–I find it overrated but valuable–and the movie BLADE RUNNER was about to be released to poor box office but critical acclaim.

The PKD cult is strong now, decades after Dick isn’t around to enjoy the benefits of his many years writing paperback originals to make the rent.

He wrote about buying horse meat, which many folks bought for their dogs, but some bought for themselves because it was cheap. He said the guy selling it knew Phil was buying it for himself and his wife because he was broke.



I recently watched some of the extras on the Criterion disk of Andrei Tarkovsky’s STALKER. It was originally going to be filmed in a much different place, more desolate, less industrial, but an earthquake caused a change in plans when the first location became inaccessible, or something.

A problem with the camera caused most of the film shot to be unusable. The movie was restarted, then restarted again, it seems–two cameramen were fired in the process. The crew had to spend a great deal of time in some highly polluted areas. Many of those including actors, Tarkovsky and his wife died of cancer; some think spending so much time in a polluted wasteland contributed.

Wouldn’t surprise me. And no, I don’t think it’s worthwhile, dying in your fifties because of a movie. Two hours and forty minutes of enjoyment for me isn’t worth someone dying.


Can you tell I’m very annoyed today? It’s about my writing, as usual. I finished a story I like very much. But it seems so small, in the face of what it takes to make it as a writer. I’m too old to be a young discovery, and I can’t write 50 Shades of Gray knock-offs, or retreads. I don’t want to read about a gruff macho man with a gun killing zombies, or about vampires. I don’t think you just write what you like and to hell with communicating. That’s masturbation. But that middle-ground between your own obsessions and what others are willing to read is either too vast or too narrow for some.

“And I’m gettin’ old…” Neil Young