Last July, I was walking the floor of the San Diego Comic Con, doing my typical shopping/people watching thing. I kept noticing posters and T-shirts for this movie Oldboy everywhere. It got me curious. So curious that, nine months later, I had to rent it.

And it is good.

You all owe yourself an Oldboy rental right. This Korean story of imprisonment, revenge, and truly twisted love is one helluva beautiful, brutal ride.

You have your orders. Get snapping.

Get Your Shine On

The Twilight Singers show was nothing short of incredible. A few hundred people crammed into a tiny bar with maybe another hundred listening frmo the street. Amazing. Thank you Emma for coming out and talking to me, and thank you to Paul, Cliff, Julie, and the other Julie for keeping me in free drinks.

Oh, Dammit.

Jessica Simpson snubs President Bush.

Does this mean I have to respect her now? I’m not sure I can do that.

And I love how an NRCC spokesman responds with “It’s never been a problem for Bono.” Maybe we should run down the differences between Bono and Simpson.

Bono is Irish and gained fame by being in an incredible band.

Simpson is American and gained fame by having incredible legs.

Bono is an intelligent, thoughtful person who cares deeply about the plight of the world.

Simpson… isn’t.

And yet she still snubbed Bush. It’s like my world is spinning out of control.

* * *

Tonight, I’ll be heading downtown for my first full-on South by Southwest experience, trying to get into the Twilight Singers show. Pray for me, friends. Pray for me.

An Evening with Dallas

Dallas Mayr (who some of you may know as Jack Ketchum) is in town this week for the South by Southwest film festival, where the adaptation of his novel The Lost is premiering. I was a student of Dallas’s at the Borderlands Boot Camp, so I was allowed to head down to the Hyatt to hang out last night.

And that’s what I did.

I met Dallas on the Hyatt’s back porch/terrace thing (whatever, there was a bar there), and we proceeded to bullshit for a few hours, just hanging out and getting all chum-like. Dallas is a great guy, friendly as hell, and apparently had at least mentioned me to most of the cast, as the actors I met (Shay Astar, Robin Sydney, and Jesse Hlubik, who were all so friendly they made me want to meet more actors) were like “The student? Nate? Great to finally meetcha!”

Maybe Dallas told them I was a producer or something.

So, a few expensive drinks and a lot of great conversation later, Dallas had to split for a small party at Angela Bettis’ place. I was invited (I say with some pride), and the actors I met really seemed to want me there, but I declined, happy to go home and hang with my loved ones a bit. Y’know, ’cause I love them. Instead, I shook Dallas’s hand and made a quick stab at getting some passes to tonight’s screening of The Lost.

Fifteen minutes later, Dallas calls my cellphone.

So Shawna and I are going to see The Lost tonight.


This post may read a bit like I’m a starfucker.

Well… duh!

The Sopranos are back

And to say I was underwhelmed would be like saying Colorado has some nice, gently rolling hills.

Beware. This may have spoilers from last night’s episode and previous seasons in it.

I can say, in all honesty, that the season premiere of The Sopranos was one of the most boring hours of television I’ve ever seen. One hour focusing mostly on a character we’ve never seen before, ending with his suicide. Oh, and Tony likes sushi. Don’t forget that important nugget.

Remember two seasons ago when it looked like Paulie was going to flip to Johnny Sack’s crew? Hell, remember when Paulie was allowed to speak? Remember when lines were being drawn and it looked like everything was gonna go to hell in a handbasket? In other words, remember when things used to happen on this show?

So here’s what we learned last night…

Janice and Bobby had a baby, and Bobby looks funny in a train conductor hat.

Carmela sees an imaginary Adriana who looks much classier than real Adriana ever did.

Meadow dances for her weaselly lookin’ fella.

AJ finally lost his baby fat, probably because Robert Iler is coked up.

Oh, and Tony likes sushi.

And that’s about it.

And the shocking ending? What shocks me is, once Junior started showing signs of dementia, nobody thought to take away his guns! C’mon, people! If anybody knows how dangerous a gun can be, I think it would be the head of a Mafia family!

So, my interest in The Sopranos has officially disappeared. Maybe if next week’s episode starts with Tony’s funeral, I’ll grow interested again, but we know that’s not going to happen.

The fish that made me cry

I fancy myself a pretty good cook.

I didn’t always. As a matter of fact, when I used to work in a restaurant (buffet, really), I considered myself an awful cook. My basic duties consisted of place chicken on sheet pan, sprinkle pepper, place in oven for one hour, dump into pan. If I was making steak or fish, I just changed the time in the oven. Terrible cook. It was like saying I was a mechanic because I could fill my own car with gas.

And then I met Shawna.

Since then, I’ve made it my mission to become something close to useful, and I’ve gone about that by learning to cook. Mostly, I stir fry. You want Kung Pao Chicken, a nice spicy vegetable dish, or even Spicy Chili Shrimp, then I’m your guy. I’m also working on my Cuban skills, and can make a fairly serviceable drunk chicken or chicken adobo.

And then there’s fish.

I used to hate fish with a fiery passion. See, Fridays at the buffet were seafood night, and for two years I went home every Friday night smelling like those scale-covered bastards (or the shrimp or crablegs or whatever the hell I was “cooking” that night). Then Shawna grilled up some fish one weekend, and now I demand we have that blessed food once a week. I’d really prefer to have it two nights a week, but I’m a little afraid to ask after swearing I hated the stuff for four years.

Well, last Friday (seafood night!) I decided to blacken some tilapia. Tilapia’s not your sturdiest fish, and a lot of people will tell you it’s about half-a-step below starkist chunks on the fish chain, but Shawna and I adore the stuff. So I oiled up the pan, rubbed in our blackening seasoning, and started blackening.

And then it all went horribly wrong.

Maybe the pan was too hot, too cool, or I didn’t use enough oil. I don’t know, but when I flipped the fish for the first time, I left all of the seasoning and about half of the fish behind on the skillet. The next flip did more of the same. Soon, I didn’t so much have blackened fish as what looked to be a torn up paper plate that smelled kinda spicy.

Shawna tried to help, and I responded in the most mature way I knew how, by throwing the spatula down, screaming “I can’t so this shit!”, and stomping into the hallway where I started to cry.

Why? It’s just fish.

Because I felt like that useless piece of shit who used to stand back by the ovens in the Argosy kitchen, waiting for the chicken to cook.

I don’t take pride in a lot of things. I’m sure Shawna’s figured out my appearance and my car certainly aren’t on the list. I also don’t take much pride in my general level of cleanliness, as a glance at my writing room will tell you. In reality, I only take pride in three things…



And cooking.

And I screwed one of those up on Friday, and I couldn’t let that slide.

My mom’s coming into town tonight, and I’m making stir fry for her tomorrow night. She doesn’t like fish, and that’s fine with me, but I’m going to find something new to make for her, because screwing up one Friday is too much for me, and now I have something to prove.

Preview: Brian Keene’s FEAR

Brian Keene posted a few images from the upcoming FEAR, the comics adaptation of three of his short stories. I scripted these for Frequency Press, and now artwork s starting to roll in. Here’s two small shots of Roy Anthony Amado’s pages from “Castaways.” You can see larger images at Brian’s blog, Hail Saten.

STAPLE! in pictures, or “I’M VERY DRUNK!”

Well, STAPLE! 2006 has come and gone. A lot of drinks were consumed, both friends and sales were made, and a whole shit-ton of fun was had.

Let’s review, shall we?

I’m starting on Saturday, because I forgot to take my camera to the Pre-Party Friday night. If you’re interested in that, you can check out some pics here.

The Frequency Press table in all its glory.

Buddy to the right, Rafael Navaro.

Buddy to the left, Ronee Garcia-Bourgeois

I meant to take pics of everybody who bought a book. Sadly, this is the only one I remembered to take. Must have been the case of beer I had stashed under the table.

The STAPLE! crowd starts rolling in.

And they keep rolling in!

Drew Edwards and Randy Lander strike the Geek Chic pose.

Ms. Monster shows up in all her glory…

…and attacks a moderately shocked Shawna.

At this point, we flash past the end of the con and the bitchin’ dinner at Korea House to land at the live art show.

Did things go horribly wrong or horribly right? You be the judge.

At The Ritz. The party gets started for Shawna, Chris, Leo, Toby, and Leo’s significant other whose name I can’t remember. That’s why she’s flipping me off, I’m sure.

Mahfood and Crosland get to painting.

Rafael and I displaying our man-crushes.

Ronee with Harris O’Malley.

Me and Ronee.

A disgusted Gary, an attentive Jillian, and a drunk Randy (the last four times I spoke to Randy that night, all he could say was “I’m very drunk!”)

Brunettes, collect them all!

Zach says “Cheers, bitch!”


I’M VERY DRUNK… with Shawna, Chris, and myself.

Greg gets angry and I’M VERY– oh, shit.

One of the brunettes has disappeared.

Dave and Gary after I can only imagine how many drinks.

Me with Marianne (I was getting pretty good at taking my own picture by now).

Could Dave possibly be dancing?

Because Chris sure as hell is!

But nobody beats Alex Cahill on the floor.

Nice try, but not quite.

Ian walks away with some art.

I tried to buy this piece off of Dave Crosland, but it was already spoken for.

And finally, Rafael, Gary, Manton, and Chris gimme what they got.

STAPLE! made for a great weekend that I’ll probably be recoving from for a long time. Have a blast, everybody, and we’ll see you next year!

There we went!

Good morning, all! It’s Monday, and I have successfully recovered from the STAPLE! weekend. Once again, STAPLE! was a mad success with great growth over the previous year. I’ll be bringing my STAPLE! wrap-up tomorrow, as I still have pics to download and resize.

On Wednesday, I’ll be bringing you a tale of how two tilapia fillets reduced me to tears. You don’t want to miss that.

And now, Oscar thoughts.

Good year. Philip Seymour Hoffman really deserved this one. Was this his first nomination?

And Crash his picture of the year. I can deal with that, because it was an incredible movie. The little conspiracy theorist inside me, however, is wondering if Crash won because, in a group of films about homosexuality, terrorism and revenge, and journalistic integrity, it’s really the safest pick. Oh, well. It’s a deserving movie (I don’t say “film.” It makes me feel like I have my head up my ass.), so I have no complaints.

Here we go!

Look, you all know what’s going on this weekend, and you all know how much I’ve been looking forward to it. I’ll report back on Monday.

In the meantime, I’m tired as hell because I kept waking up from 4:30 on thinking I was late. My plans for today involve bouncing in my seat at work, wishing STAPL! was already here, and thinking about the White Trash Hero mythos I’m working on.

See you Monday.