Friday, March 30, 2007

New Beginnings (or is that redundant, also, too?)

The river district... On one hand, the run-down but still used warehouses, day laborers keeping warm around an oil drum filled with burning scrap wood, waiting to unload the next truck to back in to the dock. On the other, abandoned factories, their interiors open to the sky, scraps of roofing clinging to structure exposed like the ribs of roadkill in the penultimate stage of decay.

Between the dangerous and the merely dark stands a relic peculiar even for this street: three stories of brick which might once have been red, built as offices some time before the Depression, derelict for years. Swept up in the late-1960s counterculture as a place to "experience" psychedelic bands (and the substances that made them sound so much better...), then sold and converted to the next craze, disco.

Disco died -- too slowly for most, but eventually -- and so, nearly, did the neon above the door to the edifice in question. It once read TEQUILA REY (no one remembers why Spanish for "King Tequila"), but now only three letters sputter and hum into asynchronous, intermittent illumination.

But soft... what light through yonder broken windows? Is there life after disco? Or is the place haunted? Are those human figures occasionally entering and leaving, or the ghosts of would-be Saturday Night Feverites and Feverettes? Has some semblance of commerce returned within the crumbling walls of the wreck that tentatively announces itself, in no particular order, as T...Q...R..?

A charcoal-gray Mercedes passes the flickering neon, then turns to inch cautiously up the side alley to the rear of the haunted disco. Its driver gestures, and the reinforced steel door concealing the loading dock from the world rolls up. Inside against one wall is a haphazard stack of four-by-sixes and a pile of rotting straw (the odor hints at other ingredients). The Mercedes parks; its driver arms various anti-theft ordnance, then steps from the vehicle and walks back up the incline to the alley. He gestures again, and the steel rolls down, clanking in its tracks.

Back up the alley, across the street, and down a couple doors, is the only other lit sign on the block. An ancient gin joint, later an "after-hours club", it retains its name from the disco's heyday (but lost its originally intended double entendre with age): The Queen's Rump.

The driver of the Mercedes pushes open the door to the Rump and strides in with utter familiarity, though no one in the place has ever seen him... and they are staring hard, to make sure. He reaches into a breast pocket of his near-floor-length leather coat and extracts a Franklin with a flourish, like conjuring a paper bouquet. He slaps it down on the bar.

"Santino! Round for the house, twice. Whatever they're having... and don't you dare water it down, unless it is water they're having."

He turns to the classic Wurlitzer jukebox in the corner, which glows like a multicolored shrine to the Past that everyone remembers but never happened. Just beyond it is a plain gray metal box about the same size as the juke, with a single convex circle of glass set high in its center. At the stranger's approach, the glass lights up from within, a baleful red with hints of yellow.

"Hello, Hal," the stranger says in a soft baritone, and reaches out to momentarily caress the metal with his fingertips.

"Hello, Hal," replies the box.

"Hey!" comes an inebriated voice from the other end of the bar. Its owner is pencil-thin, but his necktie is thinner. "Who the hell is this guy?"

The stranger turns, fluidly removing his extra-dark RayBans to reveal a pair of eyes to match the single one on the gray box.

"Hi, kids... I'm home!"

DePlancher looks up from the cranberry juice, her focus switching from the tiny brown fleck of something spinning 'round on an ice cube in her glass to the tall, lanky shape at the bar. The stranger's features are slightly obscured by the heavy smoke suspended in the room...is there no air in this place at all?

Smell of leather and polish. Is that a strut or a stride? A hint of rooibus or anise. Maybe hot wiring on plastic.

Then he speaks! Is this le vrai Hal who has emerged or is this some kind of machine-incarnation? At the very least, it's storytime at the Rump...he who was lost is found again. With new, uhm, parts.

Welcome home, mon chere! if that is you... [whispers to Magz: how will we know it's him??

holy jesus in hell, says Doomey. hello... hal.

If there is a hell, Jesus is there, comforting the damned.
--Daisetz Suzuki

I'll be damned, Hal, says Theo, coming down from his delusions of buddhism-ary grandeur. The poetry prize you ostensibly received in Kobe has made quite a difference in your disposition.

indeed, how will we know it's hal, maggie whispers to herself. she sips hurriedly from her glass-- amaretto-- she's trying to take it easy these last coupla days. her teeth hurt with the sweetness, and she feels she needs that punishment though she just can't say why exactly. the stranger's eyes, those eyes--well, she's just got to jump down from this barstool, do something, she's got a case of the jitters. peanut shells crunch under her boot heels. she feels a little wobbly but will keep on with her approach. she runs a slightly sweating palm down her short corduroy skirt and then offers her hand with a tilt of her head, and a quizzical, estimating look. "compadre?" her hair falls in her eyes and she's a little embarrassed. but why?

Hal takes Maggie's hand in the European manner.

"Maggie, I'm delighted to finally meet you. You returned just as I was preparing to leave, and we didn't... that is, I didn't get a chance to know you from that perspective..." He tilts his head toward the gray box in the corner, its cyclopean eye once again dark; then he leans toward DeP.

"How will you know it's me? If the ocular similarity isn't enough, then I daresay my reviewing style will be recognized immediately."

Still gently retaining Maggie's hand, Hall steps toward the flabbergasted Doomey. "Boligard, my partner in capital advancement... how's the cap this quarter? Are we going to sweep the field again when the Exec's meet at the Ides of March?"

Before Boli can frame an answer, Hal turns to Theo Himself. "Baas, where ever did you get the idea I was receiving a poetry award, of all things? I would have mentioned it publicly before leaving, if it were true. And I might have needed to publish some poetry beforehand, to be eligible...

"Oh, by the way: there will be some coming and going by the service elevator in the next day or two. I've ordered office furniture for myself, and for Maggie. That rusty institutional steel from the Salvation Army that Guevara has to use when he's needed is sorely inadequate, especially if meant to be shared by two. My treat -- and I'll be here to supervise the delivery and installation. Just thought you'd want to know. Oh, yes, and the fumigators will be here tomorrow afternoon, in case of lingering agricultural odors."

He turns back (and down -- Maggie is not tall), "Oh, I'm sorry... I still have your hand captive." He releases, but slowly. "I hope you like the desk and credenza. They're nothing extreme, but it's real wood, not that particle-board crap with the printed vinyl skin. If you're not pleased, or if the chair's not comfortable, back it goes.

"Now -- may I monopolize you for a bit longer? We're going to be close for the next few weeks. We should talk strategy... oh, and there are some things you need to know about my new form, to avoid shock."

He guides her toward the booth farthest from the bar.

New furniture! Defumigation in the Terminal! The new Hal is flashy, a man of action. Mmmm.

Soft touch with Magz. I knew that machine had its ocular on her...Magz, beware the buckle, ma petite. You are young, delicate and now in the presence of a tall, dark...person.

Maggie sits down (more like collapses), smoothes her skirt. She hooks her hair behind her ears. She clasps her hands on the booth table. Her hands unlace, in fact they fly apart. She reaches to tuck her hair, but the strands are already quite in place. She stands up, sits down, stands again, and calls out to the room: “Anybody got a smoke? Santino? Theo? Boli? Gabby, what about one of those French thingees?” Her voice quivers a little more with each naming.

Hal’s eyes watch her curiously, almost amused, but also as if he’s observing such girlish discombobulation for the very first time.

She has craved a cigarette since the moment this stranger, this stranger WHO IS HAL, walked across the floor to her, the halves of his long coat flapping.

Shit, I should be more considerate. She says to Hal,” Do you mind if I smoke?”

Behind the bar Santino’s waving her pack of Marlboro reds aloft.

She scoots from behind the booth table, pauses there, nervously tugs on the sides of her skirt. Her glance ricochets off the jukebox, her compatriots lined up at the bar, and the grey box, so lonely-seeming and quiet. Abandoned? Sleeping? Plotting? Inside her throat she feels moth wings-- just her pulse, exaggerated and erratic. She reaches into her old bag of tricks, bats her eyelashes, gives Hal a quirky smile, and even rests her hand on her hip. “Get me a drink while I go get a light?” She raps the tabletop with her knuckles. “Then we’ll talk strategy.”

"Of course, Magz. Sticking with Amaretto, or perhaps something less... cloying?"

[doomey had wandered over to the grey box over in the corner of the rump. he pokes at it now with the tip of a rolled up manuscript he holds like a sword.]

machine. hey.

[gives it another poke. looks over his shoulder at the tall dark and handsome sitting in the booth under the blinking Miller Lite sign.]

hm.

[he kicks at the metal box, a resounding phwom the result. he winces in pain. a broken toe? and digs inside his jacket, pulls out a cigarette, fingernails to life a swan vista and fires up the tip. makes a trip to the bar where santino has a drink ready. then he makes the long trudge, thinking himself a soilder in some wayward distracted war, to the booth.]

some sort of devilry. wicca work.

[doomey shuffles up to the booth dragging one foot, a pall mall hangs from the corner of his mouth, a manuscript rolled up in one hand, a scotch in the other]

hacksaws and hummingbirds, hal. how'd this happen to you? it's still you, right? same ol' same ol'? exciting, this. wondering if mayhaps i might be able to abscond with that there former shell of halness. what do you say? can i have it?

Maggie’s molars are singing: Enough Amaretto.

Can he read her mind????

What to drink? Hmm. Something cleansing and new slate-ish. She cannot decide, she cannot think. And here comes Boli to save her, but then, what’s this? Boli only wants the box. That just creeps her out. Wouldn’t it be like a photographer stealing an Aborigine’s soul? She looks to Hal, this new Hal, who certainly seems soulful, with those crazy red eyes that insist you look. Reconciling what resides in the box and what comprises this man before her—sheesh, but it’s confounding and circular.

“Order me whatever you like,” she says. “I trust you.” And she walks toward Santino for the Marlboro he’s tapped out for her, cursing herself, not for the trusting, but for putting it into words.

She grabs the cigarette with trembling fingers, and steps to the woman attired in cape and chapeaux, the woman with perfect posture among the slumps at the bar. I must talk with Gabrielle. She’ll right my rocky boat.

[doomey looks over his shoulder, eyes the bar leaners]

Dep and mags, conspiring. lord help us all.

[Ted sucks on his cocktail through two of those skinny, little drink straws, wondering on the dearth of cap this quarter moreso than the appearance of a more mobile Hal, wondering if the Terminali will even be able to glean some goodstuff enough so the Exec's will have something to work with... but not totally unaware of the sexual tension being weaved about their fairer sexed compadres by this stylish rogue machine and his now standardized parts, or Boligard's insistent fascination with the empty particular space enclosed inside of boxes. The dregs are sucked loudly through crushed ice, and Theodore disengages his lips long enough to say]

Confound it, Boligard! Welcome back, Hal. I don't know where the poetry award came from. Just keep your wandering hands occupied with business, will you? Santino, another Shirley Temple, if you please. I've got to keep the old cabesa lucid.

whatever gabby says will not dissuade maggie.

"so," she says, flouncing into the booth across from hal, flaunting her lit cigarette. "i take umbrage at this insinuation that your & boli's choices will be cream of the crop when the cap rises, kinda casts down on me & gabby before we've even had at it, ya know?"

she taps a fingernail on the tabletop. "don't count your chickens, mister. "and what's this you've got for me?" she sniffs at the rim of the glass, then drinks, swallows, offers a precious smile. "by the way, did i say thanks for the new digs?"

he smiles at her (maybe he's been smiling all along. maybe he's stuck on "smile mode.")

"and, um, compadre, i love the mont blanc."

Oui, you must trust yourself here, Maggie.

I know little of matters of the machine or the heart.

"Oh, Maggie... umbrage isn't necessary. I had to say something to Boligard to help along his realization that this," he gestures, both hands spread, toward himself, "is the same Hal he's worked with up to now. Oh, that reminds me..."

He stands, to call out toward the bar, "No, Doomey, you may not have the box! It is still as much part of me as is this finger... and you wouldn't want me to give you the finger, would you? Or have one of yours removed, as you suggest about mine?"

Hal sits back down. "See -- I can do expressions other than 'smile'. And did I really choose correctly with the Mont Blanc? I have been given mobility and dexterity, but the electronic analogue to taste buds are still in the future. Just as well -- there's no, shall we say, internal plumbing, nor need for it. \

"Anyway, it's merely the luck of the draw, or whatever coin Theo uses to decide, which incoming ventures goes to Gabrielle and which to Boli, thence to either you or me. And so it is also, in essence, random chance as to which of those we elevate to the Exec's are finally chosen for investment. The rivalry over successes is all in fun.

"Our position in the Terminal is as a second filter -- the difference is, we must justify our decisions in the public forum. In a way, we are also justifying the decisions made by our respective partners on the Floor... except for those rare instances when they send up a clinker, and, " he lowers his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, "I sometimes suspect they do that on purpose, just to give us something to rail at, for variety's sake, and to entertain the troops."

"Wait a minute..." Hal's face freezes in mid-utterance for a few seconds. "Damn. I need to be elsewhere. And to save everyone the shock of this body sitting here, seemingly dead, while I am 'elsewhere', I'd better go.

"One more thing, though... an invitation of sorts. I left Japan with very little in the way of wardrobe. Would you care to accompany me on a shopping excursion in a day or so? A second opinion would be valued."

He rises, donning his coat. "No need to answer now. I'll see you in the Terminal tomorrow, after noon, so you can decide where your furniture is best placed." He bows, "Sayonara, Maggie," and leaves swiftly, coattails swirling.

[doomey, sitting at the bar, hangs his head, sighs, and then he finishes off his scotch and sucks the last dregs from his pall mall. he eyes the exit where last he saw hal.]

feel like that hunchback when he says to that gargoyle high atop notre dame, "why was i not made of stone like thee?" and all those 'hallelujahs' and that fantastic pull back from the cathedral to end the film.

[he looks at his yellowed fingertips, tries to flatten a particularly wrinkled patch on his suit front. glances at the grey box in the corner, shrugs his shoulders and pushes himself off the barstool. he trots out the exit, into the deluge]

no, boli cannot have the box.

truly deft the way hal smoothed her ruffled feathers over combat & the cap. maggie appreciates the soliloquoy about work. nothing like a sound directive on what we're all about here. succint & to the point, with no tinge of emotional investment. yet, maggie gets entangled with every single piece of cap. they are like children to her--or what she imagines that bond between mother & child might be. and she heard clearly what he so neutrally dropped in among all the rest--no internal plumbing, nor need for it.

tis a right pity. what seems like a long-held breath travels up from her center and escapes her lips as an audible sigh because she, maggie, definitely bears allegiance to the corporeal.

all this notwithstanding, she must smile with giddy anticipation for, without knowing, he knows her--this girl does love to shop.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

mambo is ruining my life

down again. the site is down again. wrestling with bull, needing to post and express my stupid opinion, but the site is down again. third time in the last four days. ted, is there some work being done to the site? if not, might i throw in the suggestion that SOMEONE IS FUCKING WITH THE SITE, YO! some heathen, probably bull, maybe any one of our other enemies (we do tend to make those, don't we, ted, ha ha). anyway, just wondering what the hell is going on.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Musings of a Grocery Clerk

boy oh boy, somebody went in to the TQR offices and fucked shit up, bro. all the posts in the free market are gone. what happened, me wonders. did the oh so mighty on high archie come down and tweak something? did theo slide his fingers into the pie and fiddle-faddle? hard to tell. can't get in the back door to check things out, either. my passcode (for the super-secret back door sensor lock) doesn't work. hm. strange days.

so, ted, you got yerself some identity issues? gee, i'd feel sorry for you (yeah, i know, that's not what you want from anyone, you just wanted to come here and vent, thought it was safe, but then i, boligard doomey, showed up! hah hah!) but i got a friend who's a grocery clerk that has a wife who is slowly crippling him into a crumpled shape every mother in the iowa would love and he wants to write (don't know why i hang out with this guy, i hate writers) the next great horror novel but only succeeds in setting aside 3 hours a day to scribble down his crazy thoughts, 3 hours that could have been spent doing something useful like maybe putting in time at a second job seeing as how the money is gone and stocking shelves just barely pays the rent on the crappy apartment and the videos, plus there's the fact that he is getting old, and there's a rule somewhere that says when people get old they are no longer allowed to dream. this cat, this writer, says he's about to turn the corner of Crazy and Pitiful street, and he looks it; wan, waxy, sunken dark circles under his eyes, twitchy yellowed fingertips, a funny smell (urine? mildew?), unkempt hair. you might have identity issues, ted, but this writer cat is facing a deep pit few step back from. one good push...

i should send him here to vent. type out his life story, seeing as how he is a writer and that's what writers do, eh? maybe he'd do it, and maybe that'd help him get back on his feet. but he complains of having no time. he complains a lot. i'll ask him and see what he says. maybe we'll save a life, you and i, ted. maybe we'll save a life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fragged and Fragmented

What's a motherf'er supposed to do? I could compartmentalize better too if I was getting blowjobs from some vixen in the oval office. But that is, most definitely, way old news. But my point is that the day-to-day different worlds I'm facing these days(fatherhood; capital manager; wage slave [ie healthcare slave]; husband; erstwhile writer) is making me somewhat dimly defined as to what or who I am.

I'm finding the fact that fatherhood is winning out most often when I'm not at work earning a chance to earn affordable healthcare (my wages after the fact of the healthcare premium are negligible) because I really enjoy my son and watching him grow into himself a bit more each day.

The e-zine thing is still fun, but slow as hell. I'm no whizz kid when it comes to marketing. So, the forums are next to dead. Maybe I could get some affordable hospice care for them, too? Tell me how, and I'll do it. I want TQR's death to be as painless as possible, you know. And the writing is slow as hell too.

My relationship with my wife Pam is one of necessity right now and me trying to stay out of the way of her pregnant hormones. Hell hath no wrath like a woman impregnated? Isn't that how it goes? Well, it should...

Work sucks, but what can I do? It's my own damn fault for earning a college degree in English and Religion (double major, so fucking what?). Any of you young-uns out there reading this be warned: get a degree in engineering or something concrete enough to where you can apply it directly to the real world once you get out of the theoretical la la land of college.

I'm out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Musing of an editor, twice removed.

What's it all about? You work, you have kids, you raise them to go to work. I don't know. You love. You hate. You try to leisure up, then realize that leisure is over-rated. What the hell?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jesus H. Christ...

has deigned to set down again in the dank confines of the Floor. Thus, did I open said department early this quarter, in order that the prophet could have a forum. There is little activity anywhere right now, so his sermons will be welcome. Although my faith lies elsewhere (JD and coke, selah), I am eager to see what this superstar has to say. You be too.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

TQR Process: What it is, was and always will be

And then, the paradigm shifted...

At the start of each quarter, all works begin on the Floor [see 'Free Market' menu item, as well as 'Staff'] where the capital managers either reject them or pass them along to the Terminal [ibid]. Specific works will not be discussed by the Floor. It will only discuss capital successes, trends that lead to capital failures, problems with upper management, or who could win the Stanley Cup, as well as various other general concerns. Their rejection gmails are personal form rejections.


A wrench the Floor is tasked with throwing into the otherwise smooth gears of the machine, is choosing two pieces that will bypass the remaining vetting apparatus and go directly into the hands of the Chairman, allowing him the option of rejecting the works presented him by his department heads in favor of the choice picks given him by the Floor.

...the static bastions of a saturated e-zine culture were forced to take notice of a new dynamism...

A third of the way through the quarter, the Terminal shifts into gear. The capital managers manning this interface will mention the specific titles of the works judged therein: in an editorial meeting in the Conference Room, or a discussion in the Terminal's Free Market office. All discussions will skew positive, concentrating on capital successes instead of failure. A rejection e-mail from the Terminal will be a personalized 'big picture' of what it was about that particular piece that didn’t allow it to continue on

...a publication that embraced the strengths of the Internet (its transparency, immediacy, fluidity and intimacy)...

The works that go on will be parceled out to one of two TQR departments, depending on whether the Terminal deems it 'genre' or 'spec/lit fic' -- the former going to The Quarterly Report, the latter to The Quarterly Revolution. The respective department heads (Tessa Quinlan-Renaud and T. Quincy Rockefeller) will then winnow their capital down to two or, at most, three pieces. The rejected works will get a personal e-mail from Tessa or T. enumerating the reasons why the piece was rejected.


...instead of misappropriating the opaque, stagnant and impersonal aspects of a passe ‘print’ world.


Tessa and T. will either come to a settlement or agree to go to court. A settlement consists of the two managers bargaining for which pieces will become capital gains and which will not, assuring that investors a potpourri of genre and literary work.. The nuclear option will be going to court before Rorschalk, in which he will rule on the genre vs. the literary cache held by each litigant and choose between one group to the exclusion of the other. In either case, the discarded works will be given a thorough 'just missed' letter from one of the parties mentioned above.

Friday, April 28, 2006

This Damn Thing is Pretty Near Dead!

Well, most of the action has shifter over to the TQaRchive blog that I opened up specifically to archive old material from the site, and it's since morphed into the catchall this here blog was meant to be. So... updates are in order. The Lobby is way improved. I'm actually proud of it and it's like one stop shopping whereas you ahd to click through men items that were labelled like business files and nobody knew what the hell they were advertising, so we lost a lot of business that way. So... anyhow. Proud of that. John Phillips came aboard recently. His cap The Travelling Scapegoat almost gained, but he was so enamored with the process that he just had to be a part of it. And boy am I please to have him! Lalo will be thrilled to have somebody to play off of, too, I'm sure. So, it's late and I can't think of much else to say. Adios!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sent Gmail: February 3rd

Seeing as how Tessa is AWOL again, I've decided to work with Rokky myself during the Executive Suite cycle. So... I'm just easing his mind by letting him know.

Hey,

This quarter it'll be me and you facing off in the Exec Suite. I figure it'll be good this way cuz we'll show how to do it right by actually doing it instead of trusting in another 'Tessa' to put my vision into process. So... let not your heart be troubled.

I'm a bit worried about Maggie's status since she has not been answering her Gmail updates lately. I've been able to contact her through other outlets, so maybe she's just forgotten her Gmail password. Wish I knew. Anyhow, I'll address this with her soon if this missive elicits no response.

Hiya,

Each Terminali was sent an early bird special in order that we might get the Terminal started, if not a bit early, then at least on time. Did you get yours?

And lastly, I've been getting an error message when trying to modify the Capital Gains, and this worries me cuz I'm thinking I won't be able to layout the next quarter's CGs! Hopefully my concerns can be fixed by the all-powerful Archi.

Can't revise the bio of Danny Rhodes from the back end. It's giving me this error message.

Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /administrator/index2.php on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apache/1.3.34 Server at www.tqrstories.com Port 80
###


I didn't have any trouble logging in -- where would I find this bio to
edit it and see if I can determine the prob?

It might have just been a HostedToday thing.

-Archi
###

I can log in, it's just that when I try to modify the CapGain The Knowledge, I get that error message. So, the concern, that I won't be able to layout the next quarter's CGs because of this error message.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Jan27 '06 Sent Gmail: Taking Care of Bidness

Sent this to the Brat and Maggie Murdock as a supplement to their stints in the Terminal upcoming Feb 15.

Hello you two,

I'm very excited to know you are both ready to go this quarter. Gabby DePlancher will be splitting her haul of Terminaled works between you both. You'll both still have to read all the stories sent up to the Terminal in order to comment on them intelligently, but each piece that originates with you entails its own set of responsibilities, ie you are tasked with writing the VC their acceptance or rejection notice. Being three of you (H3K with you two) makes it easy to break ties with the opinion of the third Terminali in.

Anyhow. You have any questions, just gmail. Meanwhile, go to the Archive on the site and click on it, search for the Terminal Discussions from last quarter and read some of those for homework. And you'll be set.

Sent this to Hal 3000 to see if he still had time to do Insider Trading with one of the characters from the Winter issue's Tribal Convictions.

I realize your reality has changed, hence the question: Are you still planning on interviewing a character from Mr de Vries's CG Tribal Convictions? I totally understand if you can't cuz you berry busy man. Just let me know if you can't and I'll work on it or get somebody else to do it. Thanks.

Next, I gmailed Gabby and Boli a note listing all the submissions I had them doing and asking them if I was up to date. I'm not going to duplicate that list here for reasons of doctor patients confidentiality.

Then, my final gmail went out to GuyLaFloor, who'd voiced her admiration for the CG
Slayground earlier in the week, which led me to think she may want to do some Insider Trading with it as her frame. And lo and behold, Guy was the only same-day reply out of all those gmails. So, here's the whole conversation as it stands at this moment

Gmail Titled: Slayground Interview...

Sent mail

...by The Closer?

I know you're busy, but since you liked Slayground so much, I figured I'd give you the first option on interviewing the author as any of the characters you see fit from within the aforementioned work. Lemme know if'n you're hep to this. If you are, here's Mr. Finch's e-mail: Paul_Finch@sussexmyrichard.orgasm. Give him a buzz.


Guy to me

I am hep to this, with a couple of questions for you first:

1) Do I have to be "serious" about it? Cause my original thought would be about asking Gary how much he works out and how kickbacks from the gun feel and suchforth. In other words, it'd be nothing like the story; it'd be more like when Bridget Jones tried to interview Colin Firth and just kept asking him how many takes he had to do with his shirt off. Is this acceptable?

2) At the end of the story, it pretty much implies the complete annihilation of the human race, at least certain death for the characters in it, so I was a bit stumped about who to interview, unless I interviewed the "terminator" character. Can I sidestep this issue and interview Gary anyhow?

TQRto Guylafloor

The whole concept is that you 'seriously' interview a character from the story, not the author. The types of questions you ask are up to you and Mr Finch. I'd suggest e-mailing him and letting him know what you have in mind so he may be able to get himself geared to be 'in character'.

Your call on who to interview. My inference caused by the ending is that Gary and Pirate are probably now part of the armed resistance fighting the alien terminators to the bitter end right now.

This is so great! Just go with it.

Oh, and you don't really have to set up a time (unless you want to), but can do it in a more leisurely style, like tell Finch you'll e-mail your first question, then wait for his answer in order to send your next one; understanding the process might take a few days or a week. So... knock yourself out. And if you want to post the interview on your blog, cool as hell. Just give attribution and a link to TQR.


Guy to me

That's cool. I understand that it's a character, which is why I picked Gary. I just wanted to be clear that it'll basically be flirting with him cause he's hot in the story, and that it won't be "serious". So if it's ok with Finch, that's how I'm going with it. If you want more serious stuff, I am not your girl for this interview, or probably any of them, cause I can't fake serious like that.

TQR to Guylafloor

Well then you'd better interview Gary as Susan D! Yes. That would be great. Give me some copy!

And so, I assume Guy is in contact with Mr Finch at least. I await the replies from the rest of the crew. A lot of this business is a waiting game. Some of it is a Crying Game. Most of it is a crying shame. But there are the rewards. Which are...the smell of fresh capital in the morning, driving your enemies before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

Another Testimonial: Yeah, that's right, we bad!

Received this in response to my Informal Follow-up Gmail to all the VC who submitted capital for our Winter Issue. I thought it might be of general interest, and good PR, to boot.

Dear Theodore,

What a pleasure to hear from you!
I'd accidently lost you somewhere in cyberspace,
and then poof, you appear on my doorstep.
Now, you've been branded and corraled (hope you don't
mind).

At the risk of sounding like I'm brown-nosing,
my rejection at the hands of TQR was the kindest,
most encouraging rejection I've ever experienced.
I've been writing for less than a year, and haven't
submitted very often yet, but still, I can't imagine
a finer rejection.

The responder (perhaps you?) said nice things
about my piece and how far it had gone, and
encouraged me to expand it and resubmit.

I wrote back with a couple questions and got
answers immediately.

And now, you're requesting feedback on that
experience!

My god, much more of this humane treatment
and I'll suspect you're up to some crime! (File
as potential story plot.)

If I could change one thing, it might be making
your website easier to find. My search for Total
Quality Reading got nothing and I couldn't find
you with a search for literary ezines although
I don't recall the exact words I used in my search.

One other thing I appreciate is that you are
looking for stories of up to 12K! Thanks for
giving us long-winded storytellers shelter
from the flash storms.

I'm looking forward to submitting again soon.

Ruthie Andrews

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Seek & U shall find, ask and the Door will Open

I felt the love today. Jetse de Vries (of CG Tribal Convictions) and new VC Maria Schneider took up the gauntlet I somewhat gently threw down in my January 25th installment of From the Chair:

Dear Investors,


Ten days into the new quarter, we’ve received 15 new ventures. If my math is correct, that’s an average of 1.5 pieces per day, and that’s not good.


The good news is our Winter Issue capital gains are some of the best works, bar none, assembled in one place I’ve ever seen on the Web or in print. Where else can you read a haunting literary piece such as The Knowledge side-by-side with a science fiction action/thriller like Slayground? Not to mention a psychological thriller/horror piece like Wild at Heart next to a sci-fi/literary triptych think piece like Tribal Convictions? Based upon the dichotomy of styles and genres displayed for this Winter Issue, it is clear that TQR’s formula of ‘quality’ being the only benchmark for acceptance is not an idle threat.


The problem may be that TQR is such a different animal than the everyday e-zine that it shocks the sensibilities of most venture capitalists, turns them off to the proposition of passing their hard-earned capital our way. And this was, indeed, part of the plan, that the threat of public scrutiny would act as a scythe to cut down on the random acts of submission by the more spam-oriented VC layed down like tracers from an aegis cruiser upon the ocean of hapless e-zinedom.


I never meant to scare them all away, however.


To remedy this malaise, I call upon those investors who have bought in to what it is we do here in service to the gains and the venture capitalists, alike. While most outsiders look at us with scorn as some kind of Midway distraction complete with cap manager carnies and rigged 3-card-monty grifters, it is a small minority of you who know that this impression could not be further from the truth. That’s why I’m calling on you people, at the grassroots of this floundering revolution to rise up and post your testimonials on writing message boards throughout the land and over the sea. In the hedgerows and wherever malnourished investors gather to ply their trade may be.


Though we be small in number, the force of our will is strong and the sanctity of what we stand for cannot be denied. Don’t let this excellent Winter Issue be the start of something died in vain. Post about us for all you’re worth and then mention how we are open for submissions. If you believe in what we’re doing here, don’t just say so, but write it down where others may see it and respond to your enthusiasm and sincerity.


Sincerely, TQR


The previous ten days of this quarter had yielded 15 capital ventures (math: 1.5 per diem), with 7 of them coming on the very first day, so that pathetic 1.5 ratio is really even more pathetic if you take the first day off the books. Anywhat. Gmailing Web sites, hounding editors with killing kindness and aplomb, not to mention the help and advice of the aforementioned Minutemen VC de Vries and Schneider, and the bounty wrought was 7 cap this fine day. That is the sound of one PBR cracking. Proost!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Capital Gains' Venture Capitalists -- Adam Denny v. Paul Finch: A study in Contrast

Case in point. Paul Finch, writer of Slayground's bio:

Paul Finch is a British-based full-time writer, who works primarily in TV and film, but who is no stranger to short story markets. His first collection, AFTER SHOCKS, published by Ash-Tree Press in 2001, won the British Fantasy Award, while his short novel, CAPE WRATH, made the final ballot for the Stoker awards in 2002. Other recent anthologies that he's been published in include: CHILDREN OF CTHULHU and SHADOWS OVER BAKER STREET from Del Rey, THE DARKER SIDE and A WALK ON THE DARKSIDE, from ROC, QUIETLY NOW (A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES L. GRANT) from Borderlands, and DAIKAIJU (GIANT MONSTER TALES) from Agog. Paul has contributed regularly to THE BILL, the popular British television crime series, while SPIRIT TRAP, a teen horror movie, which he co-scripted, was released to cinemas in the late summer of 2005. Paul lives in Lancashire, northern England, with his wife, Cathy, and his children, Eleanor and Harry.

And Adam Denny's, writer of Wild at Heart:

Adam Denny is a student at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Up until now he has been a freelance journalist and film reviewer. This is his first fiction publication. Currently he is writing a novel bringing the mythology of vampirism into the 21st Century.

The fact these two outsanding CGs came from VC with this much difference in experience and (I'm assuming, pardon me, Mr Finch) age just goes to show how TQR's vetting system is all about quality and very little about the 'Old Boy'ishness that so infects the electronic Literati these days. Although I reserve the right to act like an Old Boy, which, ironically enough, is how Slayground was shunted up from the Terminal into the Executive Suite. Here is me interjecting myself into the process like Zeus's thunderbolt:


Date: 2005/12/13 18:55 By: tqr
Status: Admin
Karma: -1999999

Perhaps we have a budding Hollywood insider on our hands! At the risk of being labeled sycophantic, I suggest we send this venture up to Rockefeller without further ado. The capital sounds deserving enough, future considerations for networking and quid pro quo are indubitably that much more gravy.


So, you see, we can be as arbitrary as the next guy, it's just that in our case, it has worked out to our advantage ... so far. Stay tuned! And I suggest you travel here and invest in the above mentioned capital gains, as well as the outstanding two others available for your reading pleasure.

It was not until I requested and received the VC's bios that I realized what a potpourri of experience TQR's Winter issue roster encompassed. Not to mention the fact TQR -- judging from the locale of its contributors (2 Brits, an Aussie and a plying Dutchman) -- is a truly international enterprise. One other thing, I had no idea of the experience or lack of experience of the 4 writers whose stories were chosen until after all the decisions had been made. Just turns out we got a first timer in with a consummate professional. Ain't it cool?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Last Luddite Leaps

For months smoggy has been caught in the weblike tendrils of the blogsphere. How to post, how to comment, how to make a marmalade sandwich without dribbling orange peel on the strange shuffling spheroid posing as George Bush in a tutu. But this works! Never since the chatfest golden days of Zoe hath the smogster felt so empowered. Now, if someone can explain in English how TQR works the fur lined tooties might get dampened.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Slings and Arrows and Fucking Off

The following is an interesting e-mail exchange that kinda sorta spiralled out of control. Maybe I was a bit premature with the person who was going to be Tessa and make the final decisions with her counterpart Rockefeller on the capital to be published at TQR [who I've renamed Madame X here to protect the no contested]. But I was tired of sitting around waiting for her to do what she'd volunteered to do, and, with a deadline looming, took matters into my own hands. I wasn't positive it would end so badly, but I wasn't surprised when it did either. So...fye (for your entertainment).


Sent by me:
Due to your mitigating cirumcstances, I'm going to take the pressure of you this quarter. I've read the work and will send off rejection letters before I go to negotiate with Rokky. I hope you two have more time next quarter to do your thing.
###

hey!
I wasn't ready to back out just yet! I was pulling over the [John Doe] and [John Doe2] as contenders. what do yo think? maybe we could do this quarter together a bit?

xx Madame X
###

Me
I just sent [John Doe2] a rejection notice. [John Doe] is my favorite story so far. So we're batting .500.

I just figured I better take over this quarter since you said you couldn't get to it until this weekend, and the deadline is Friday or Saturday at the latest. Like I said, bad timing. You're trip to the [Lower Slobovia] set us back two weeks to begin with, and then once you got back, you've had other commitments to attend to. I understand how real life intrudes and don't hold it against you. I just had to step in this time to make good on the deadline. So forget about this quarter, and here's to a better one next time around.
###

Madame X
can I add that I was told [Jane Doe] was genre - it's sf and she's publishing it under her [pseudonese] whatist name? Pretty important to get that right i think

I think in the light of this I'd better formally withdraw completely. you seem to have it in hand
###

Me
Yeah, you seem very busy, what with teaching and writing and everything. Thanks.
###

Madame X
well you've hardly given us much time for this. plus [theo] this doesn't address this question of whose [Jane Doe] should have been and what she is publishing under. on the site you have it wrong.

and please so{sic} not get snotty with me
###

Me
I know. There have been some mix ups with the stories. I take responsibility for that. Sorry. [Jane Doe's] story could be called literary though, too, I think. Anyhow. I'm not getting snotty. I'm just tired of waiting. I realize you were in ... and would be back Jan 3. So. I waited patiently all that week [Jan4-10]for something to get started. Nothing happened. I sent out cajoling gmails and the like. I'm sorry it didn't work out. You're very busy and I realize that this TQR non-paying gig is not a priority for you. That's very understandable. Let's just call it a wash.
###

Madame X
jesus [theo]. i'd been sitting on my arse waiting for months . you say i set you back 2 weeks - it WAS FUCKING CHRISTMAS! I'm supposed to jump when you say so! and when I returned I was FUCKING ILL! I still am!

I am sorry my priorities like working and having a phd paper due in otherwise I'd lose my funding bothers you.

just fuck off and do not bother me again. Just fuck off
###

The only thing that confuses me is why she didn't end this last missive with 'xx'? Just kidding. As the saying goes, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." And there can be no better example than experiencing it for yourself.