Friday, November 30, 2007


So my wife is on her third round of antibiotics and her first batch of steroids for what the doctors believe is a sinus infection migrated south to retire permanently in her lungs as bronchitis. My son has awakened us every night for the past two weeks complaining of a recurring nightmare involving a bad man with a tail who lives in a lamp. I have a rash that I don't want to talk about, and my dog has had a recurrence of something that requires its own special canine dermatologist.

So something's up.

Because besides the bee death cult and the devil dreams and the wife's death rattle chest, there's also now the flood.

In my previous post I believe I mentioned the possibilities for floods?

Sometime last week, possibly on Thanksgiving but who really cares, a very small pinhole leak developed in a hot water pipe in my attic. An attic, that, due to a condition I possess which I can only define as "ladder-impairedness," is hardly a place that I frequent. It's dark up there, lots of air-conditioning ducting, a creaky wood beam floor, and most likely very large furry jumping spiders from Brazil.

This leak, tiny as tiny can be, sprayed hot water continually for days and days, drenching the creaky wood floor of my attic until such wood could no longer contain all of the water and passed it along to various portions of my house. The ceiling of my office. The wall behind a built-in bookcase. A large wall along a staircase. The ceiling in my kitchen. And the wall of my basement.

It was a very ambitious little leak, an uptight little overachieving leak, the kind of leak you want to beat the shit out of in high school. One that did its dirty work under the cover of darkness until paint started bubbling off my walls and small, amber colored drops of water started landing in my King Vitamin cereal at breakfast.

So for two days now my house has been the L.A. equivalent of the Amish barn-raising scene in Witness except you take out Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis and replace them with my handyman George and four other dudes who, every time you walk by them, smile and shake their heads and say: "Mucho trabajo." Which I understand now is Spanish for "Isn't this black mold?"

It's enough to make a man pine for the Hochleitners.

Plastic hangs over my doorways like a Dexter death room and rolls of butcher paper have been spread all over my floors with such enthusiasm that I am beginning to feel like a pork loin. One wall was dried out and plastered over and six hours later that wall had turned an ugly shade of brown--suggesting that it was not actually dried out in the first place or I am living in Fucking Amityville.

In my previous post I rolled these bones and saw signs of the labor apocalypse. And given the AMPTP's recent "New Economic Partnership" proposal it's certainly possible that the latest pox on my house is simply an anaphylactic shock brought on by the Big Media Beast as it slouches towards the Ivy to eat crab cakes and Rickey's Fried Chicken.


As devoted father and loving husband it is my DUTY to explore alternate explanations for whatever dark materials have found their way to my family and my hearth.


If we are to eliminate:
a) nature and all naturally occurring sources
b) the Old testament and related religious explanations
c) coincidence
d) the possibility that I am a delusional paranoid hypochondriac who is so fucked up that his family, pets, and house suffer from Munchausen's by Proxy--

We are left with only one option:

Joss Whedon is very upset with me for casting Summer Glau and has somehow invoked a powerful curse and relocated the Buffy Hellmouth underneath my home.

I saw how the Hellmouth operated for many years, I know its signs and symbols. And while there may not be any vampires yet to slay, I swear to God I saw Alyson Hannigan tongue-kissing a werebear in my laundry room when I was washing my strike shirt.

What kills me is I saw Joss two weeks ago at the Showrunner March. We talked about Summer. I didn't sense anything weird. Looking back I do remember seeing Shawn Ryan and the dude from the 4400 both give packages to Joss that at the time I assumed were Mrs. Beasley's muffin baskets but now I clearly believe were animal sacrifices.

(At another point during the march I saw Joss and Ron Moore huddled together but when I tried to eavesdrop on what they were saying I got this hot burning sensation in my ears and I may have blacked out and peed for a second.)

So because I think there is no other choice and also because I'm on strike with a lot of time on my hands I decide to make a donation to the Church of Joss.

I buy the Firefly boxed set (24 cents to Joss); I watched Serenity on cable (maybe .5 cents to Joss), I already own and have watched the entire Buffy series on DVD (75 cents to Joss). I have spent DAYS OF MY LIFE devoted to the works of Joss Whedon and I'm pretty sure I haven't even sent A WHOLE DOLLAR OF RESIDUALS in his direction.

Which is obviously not enough of a sacrifice to break the curse.

So I'll offer up one of the most humiliating moments for me as a professional writer:

Some years ago I am invited to a dinner party for screenwriters. There's about fifty of us there--including most of the A list people I had always wanted to call my peers. At the time the only credit I had was a shared story on Chain Reaction but I knew a couple of the people throwing the dinner and so I was invited. Terrified, but invited. At some point I am introduced to a writer/director whose work I had admired for years. He was a little older, kind of a legend. Here's how the conversation went:

ME: God, I can't tell you how great it is to meet you. I love your work. Especially (BIG MOVIE).
LEGEND: No. the pleasure is mine. I'm such a huge fan of your writing.
ME: Really?
LEGEND: Of course. It's fantastic. My kids absolutely love Buffy. Just love it.
ME: Uhmmm....
LEGEND: They're gonna be so impressed I met you. They're always going on about you...
ME: Uh, Mr. Legend? As much as I want to be Joss Whedon right now...I'm not. I'm Josh Friedman.
LEGEND: Josh Friedman?
ME: Josh Friedman.
LEGEND: Hm. Oh. Well, I'm sure you're a good writer, too.

And then he walked away.

So please, Joss. Do my family a favor. Take Back the Hellmouth. I know it's fucking huge and you might not have room for it at your place. Maybe you could donate it.

Maybe we could include it in the New Economic Partnership.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Three years ago my wife and I pulled into our driveway and just as we were about to get out of the car my wife grabbed my arm and pointed. Hovering over our car some thirty feet in the air was an angry black cloud of bees, probably fifty thousand of them. We could hear them from inside the car, and it wasn't a buzzing but a deep thrumming, a low electric sound, like a power line.

I've seen that bad movie so like the pansy I am I backed my car the fuck up and drove it around to the other side of the house where my wife and I could sprint into the house squealing like the terrified children we were/are.

Three phone calls later and a man shows up, dressed in a bright yellow hazmat suit carrying some sort of vacuum cleaner type deal. He proceeds to fill a very large bag with bees, focusing on getting the queen and removing her from the premises. My wife is extremely PETA proud but at that moment if the bee guy had told her he was going to take out the queen with whatever cruel and unusual method bees hate the most, she probably would've tipped him an extra twenty bucks to do it quicker.

The vacuum cleaner did the trick, however, and afterwards we knocked open a wall in our porch and pulled out an enormous beehive which had been built inside. Free of the terrifying bees, there was an air of sadness to the whole affair, and the various pieces of broken hive reminded me that in this story I am Legend, the Omega Man who hunts and kills mercilessly and yet considers himself not monster but persecuted victim.

But I'm sensitive like that.

So we've been bee-free for years and whether or not that's a good or bad thing for the ecology of my own little biosphere I can only say what is what.

But recently I have this:

Every morning for the last few months I walk out onto my driveway and find it covered in dead bees. Not a few, or a dozen, but hundreds of them, curled up on the concrete directly under my porch light. I know they're attracted to the light at night, I see them buzzing around there when I take the dog out. But some time between then and morning something wicked this way comes and I have no idea what it is.

Of course there's a rational explanation for this, and I've heard the cell phone theory and a few others, but finding hundreds of dead bees on your doorstep every day tends to get a body feeling apocalyptic. I fear a bee death cult, and a very determined bee Marshall Applewhite leading thousands of others to their demise wearing the tiniest of black bee Nikes.

Why the bee death cult has picked my house is currently unclear but surely my fault. More than likely (and certainly more than once) I have not thanked the correct authority, or bent my knee to the proper idol. I cut sugar out of my diet two months ago and lost some weight, but in the last week or two certain stressors have caused me to revisit an old friend (breakfast pastries) and make a few new ones (waffles and beer). I'm sure there is a curse attending those actions, but I've been fat before and it never brought a rain of dead insects down upon my land.

If I didn't make it clear before I've always been afraid of bees; it's not just the stinging but the hive mind that freaks me out. Is it that they actually think the same thing at the same time, or is it that they communicate with the queen so quickly it's as if they're of one consciousness? Either way and with apologies to Alice Krige it scares the fuck out of me.

So it's even weirder when I consider the thousands of bees who have made their way to my home recently in order to buzz around my light one last time and die. Surely if there's something specifically deadly about my house, something murderous to bees and all bee brethren, surely if that's the case at least one or two of them could get word out to the others to stay the hell away from me. I'm sure what happened three years ago is legend in the bee community--if my bees were relocated as promised then it's certainly part of the larger Bee Diaspora; and if the guy in the hazmat suit was full of shit and he killed my fifty thousand bees then surely their names are written on some wall somewhere so the other bees will Never Forget. In any event, if the bees are harnessing the horsepower of the hive mind like I think they do, then it is inexplicable why they would ever venture near my property lines.

Still, they do. And they pay for it. Every night. So maybe something takes them by surprise and they don't have a chance, or even lures them in with some carnival barker's promise of a resurrected Queen. It's Los Angeles, after all. Shit like that happens all the time.

Our city is nothing if not dramatic. She will not be ignored or left off the front page. We have earthquake weather and droughts and storms of fire. These recent days I look through the haze to the Hollywood sign and all I see is the Statue of Liberty from Planet of the Apes and wonder if we're already living in the Forbidden Zone but nobody's told us.

Instead of pilot season it's plague season. The power-mad and the craven and the greasy quisling fat from the king's scraps huddle nightly to plot their next incantation. Perhaps the bees are just the first wave. There may be frogs next. Or locusts. I recall reading of cattle-death, and darkness. But this is ultimately a battle for the firstborn, and the concrete scar we call our River teems with orphan baskets thrown over the wall in a last desperate attempt to save our babies.

There are those who would burn our city to the ground, scorching the earth to smoke us out. They would have us believe the fire is ours, that we are the masses of our own destruction. They would have us believe this but we do not. The tremor in the city is not a tremble but a quickening, and I choose to read the bees at my doorstep as a sign and not a curse. Our numbers grow, in the streets we move as one. For this is not a planet of apes but a city of Infinite Monkeys. And if there is a hive-mind at work it creates, it honors sacrifice and does not destroy. The red you see is the bloodmark we've written on our doors, protecting our children from a wrathful God. The sound you hear is not a buzz but a thrum, like a power line, or a chant. And all the pharoahs hiding behind their walls should hear it loud and clear:

Let my motherfucking people go.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


So it's been a little while and you've all found other roadside attractions and ten months without a post is brain death for a blog so I get it if there's no one out there when the digital tree falls in the binary forest.


An Infinite Fucking Monkey walking a near-infinite number of footsteps around Warner Brothers for eight hours fueled by chex mix and two burrito supremes starts to wonder if silence does truly equal death and if taking back the day means riding the blogosphere deep into the night.

Which is to say:


Since I visited with you last I have shot a pilot and eight episodes of television on my wonderful little art house show we like to call "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." (Those of us in the know call it "Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles" for short.) Unfortunately, I've only locked picture on the pilot and each one of those other eight precious little diamonds is now sitting uneasily in an editing bay like a toddler whose parent has passed out on the couch from too much Vicodin.

In this case, the couch is the picket line and the Vicodin is my vow that I will do NO WORK on my show until the strike is finished. No writing, no editing, no sound mixing, no casting, no notes calls, no publicity, no NOTHING.

What will happen to our work of the last year? Couldn't tell you. Ask the AMPTP. It's their show now, along with a hundred other shows whose creators and showrunners have chosen to walk the picket line instead of doing their producer duties.

(There was some confusion that I was actually doing this work due to an NPR report about my show this morning that quoted my NONWRITING producer as to his feelings about the strike. I was NOT QUOTED in this report because I had refused to be interviewed--I initially thought it was to involve promotion of my show...Still, some people thought it was me on the radio. It was not. In fact, the AMPTP would probably tell you that radio is still an immature and unknowable media, and the fact that some people could confuse me with my nonwriting producer because they didn't see my face proves that we should wait a few years before trying to figure out how radio might be used.)

AMPTP: Wow, Ms. Prostitute. That was some great sex we just had.
PROSTITUTE: Thanks, AMPTP John. That'll be three hundred dollars.
AMPTP: You're kidding. I'm not paying you.
AMPTP: I paid you three hundred dollars for sex last week. I consider this promotional.

So Tyra was just the tip of the iceberg and now Kate Winslet's fully soaked and blue-lipped as twelve thousand of us try rowing to shore in the good ship Norma Rae. After one full day I can say with certainly that I have a particular facility for standing in one place for hours at a time but chanting while standing seems to escape me. I was asssigned to Gate 4A at Warner's--a very small gate only frequented by executives. I thought this was sort of the generic toothpaste of gates until a few fat white dudes rolled past us into the executive lot driving eighty thousand dollar cars and giving us the finger.

And while I have had many suits in many forms over the years tell me to figuratively fuck off as they mangled my screenplays, it is not til you see that actual finger from an actual person do you realize how few times in your adult life someone has actually told you, to quote the great Arnold Schwartzenegger in Terminator: FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE.

And I have to admit that it pleased me just a little because I'm tired of the polite and earnest way we get screwed by them every other day of the year and sometimes you just want someone to slap you on the ass and scream in your fucking ear.

So now it's day two and we know where they stand and they know where we stand.

And we will continue to stand there.

All day.