Monday, 13 December 2021


  1. “Hey, quit feeling sorry for yourself. You have so much to be happy about. For instance, you haven't written the worst Succession spec script ever like Darren has.”

  2. “Just smile, that'll make you feel better! I'll certainly have to put on a big grin and be super positive when I give Darren my notes on his Succession pilot, because he cannot handle even the slightest criticism.”

  3. “Your negativity is really a drag. Of course, it's not as much of a drag as Darren's Succession spec script, which had about 80 spelling mistakes, including repeated mentions of 'fourskin'.”

  4. “Oh, cry me a river. You know, there are other people, like Darren, who have it so much worse than you. Darren was actually proud of the moment in his Succession spec script where Roman calls Kendall a 'goober.' A 'goober'? Has he even seen the show?”

  5. “Being depressed is a choice. You can stop being depressed if you want. Unfortunately, Darren probably can't choose to be a better writer. In his Succession spec script, he has Logan use the phrase 'get jiggy' 12 times.”

  6. “You just need to get more fresh air and hit the treadmill, then you'll feel better. Oh, that reminds me of the scene in Darren's Succession spec script where he describes Greg working out at the gym, and he explicitly points out that you can see the outline of Greg's penis through his shorts. It's completely irrelevant to the scene! Weird!”

  7. “You just aren't trying hard enough. Unlike Darren, who's actually trying too hard with his Succession spec script. About three-quarters of the scenes end in Tom loudly sobbing and tearing off his clothing. That should happen once at most!”

  8. “Depression is just you letting bad thoughts win. I had to beat back a lot of bad thoughts reading Darren's Succession spec script, especially when he described four different characters, in four different scenes, as being 'ugly as all hell'.”

  9. “You're being selfish. You only care about your own problems. What about Darren's problems? He quit his job at Petland to become a TV writer on the strength of his Succession spec script, which features Gerri quitting her job at Waystar to become a rodeo clown.”

  10. “Depression is all in your head, much like Darren's Succession spec script, in which it turns out that the entirety of the episode is a daydream Shiv has while waiting in line at the post office to buy stamps.”

Monday, 17 December 2018


It’s always a shock seeing famous people without makeup. When you’re used to seeing a celebrity in movies or on TV, it can seem like you’re looking at a different person when you see them without mascara, lipstick or eyeliner. It’s amazing how transformative a little makeup can be—almost as transformative as my cousin Devin’s performances in such plays as Cabaret and Death of a Salesman in the Phoenix regional-theater scene. He recently earned a Rising Star nomination from the Arizona Regional Tonys, which should bolster his profile and lead to more bookings—and, god willing, allow him to work fewer hours at Menchie’s. You won’t recognize the following actors and pop stars without makeup—but you will damn well recognize my cousin as a force to be reckoned with in community theater!

Madge may be the Queen of Pop, but without makeup she looks more down-to-earth than regal. Speaking of regal, my cousin Devin earned a rave review from the Town Blurb, the third-largest neighborhood newspaper in Phoenix, for his performance as King Henry II in a production of The Lion in Winter. The reviewer took note of Devin’s convincing portrayal of a character far older than him, while offering some mild criticism of his tendency to loudly clap his hands together whenever he isn’t speaking.

This Oscar-winner may be one of Spain’s most glamorous exports, but sans makeup, she looks like the lovely yet approachable barista who brews your coffee in the morning. My cousin Devin played a barista in a play he wrote called Beany Baby, about two coffee shop employees who decide to steal Christopher Plummer’s chair. It ran for ten performances at the Arizona Theater Company until Christopher Plummer found out about it and sued them for defaming his chair.

The Santa Clarita Diet star may not be wearing the kind of accoutrements that we’re used to seeing her sporting on the red carpet, but that doesn’t mean she looks any less lovely! I’m proud of Drew’s stripped-down look, although not as proud as I am of my cousin Devin, who in 2014 managed to break the record for the longest production of Glengarry Glen Ross, at eight hours and forty-four minutes. He managed the feat by instructing his actors to leave eight-minute pauses in between sentences. Every audience member demanded their money back, and the Guinness Book of World Records refused to print his record due to what they deemed its “rank insignificance,” but I still admire him for earning no fewer than 400 death threats for his efforts!

The star of That 70’s Show and Black Swan rocks a casual, Sunday-morning kind of look here, as if she’s running to the corner store to grab coffee. My cousin Devin once threw hot coffee in his own face onstage to increase the buzz around a production of True West he was costarring in. There was no scene in the play in which anyone throws coffee in their own face, which made the decision more incongruous than compelling. It also didn’t help that Devin spent the rest of the performance writhing in pain on the floor while—it should be noted—still nailing his lines. Still, Devin’s decision was to me just as bold as Mila’s lack of blush, and presumably left more scars!

Monday, 5 November 2018


Trevor Hamilton, a data-entry clerk whose contempt for his tedious, completely inessential job has grown into silent yet consuming fury, announced today that he’s not really looking for new work right now.

“I don’t know, I just feel like I’ve settled into a bit of a groove here,” said Hamilton, who typically drinks at least six cups of coffee a day to give himself the energy to complete the repetitive, mind-numbing tasks that make up his work day.

“Plus, the pay isn’t too bad, and the people I work with are fine,” added Hamilton, who makes $15 an hour without benefits and eats by himself in the strip-mall parking lot across from his office so he doesn’t have to listen to his coworkers talk about the weather.

“I also just hate looking for work. It’s such a bummer,” he complained, without mentioning that he dreads getting out of bed to go to work so much that it often feels like an anvil is sitting on his chest when he wakes up.

The 27-year-old Hamilton was first hired at Rutherford Industries five years ago after graduating from university with a B. A. in Anthropology. He had originally intended the job to be a stopgap position until he found something more suited to his background and interests, a goal that never came to fruition.

“I don’t get it,” said Mike Thiessen, a friend of Hamilton’s since high school. “When I talk to him about his job, it’s clear that he hates it, yet every time I send him a link to an employment opportunity I think he’d be interested in, he never follows up on it.”

When told of Thiessen’s comments, Hamilton sighed. “Mike means well, but honestly, he can be a bit overbearing when it comes to telling me what I should be doing with my life,” he replied, neglecting to bring up that he routinely refers to his mode of employment as “my stupid fucking job.”

Hamilton, whose daily commute is marked by a mood of oppressive, suffocating gloom, claimed that his job “wasn’t ideal, maybe, but it’s, you know, fine. I just don’t see why I should just uproot my life and go through that kind of major change.”

At press time, Hamilton was standing in the office bathroom, staring into the mirror and swearing just out of earshot of anyone walking past outside.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

It’s Been a While Since I’ve Seen Phoebe Cates in a Movie or My Youngest Son in Real Life

 Remember Phoebe Cates? She played Linda in Fast Times at Ridgemont High? She was Kate in the Gremlins movies? She was kind of big for a while there in the eighties. She was a very talented and attractive lady, even though her career petered out a bit after the first Gremlins. You know, it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen her in a movie. Whatever happened to her? Did she retire from acting? It’s like she just vanished at some point! And since we’re on the subject, you know who else vanished out of thin air? My son, twenty years ago!

I guess that just happens sometimes with people like Phoebe Cates in the movies or my youngest son Trevor in real life. They decide that the grind of auditioning and getting rejected is just too much for them, or they wander away in a crowded mall when my back is turned just for a moment. That’s life, I guess. I wonder how long it’s actually been since Phoebe Cates was in a film. Let me check IMDB here…Wow, she’s only done one movie in the last twenty years, and that movie was fourteen years ago. So basically, she retired from acting in 1994.  That’s so funny-that’s the same year my five year old son Trevor walked away from me in that mall, possibly into the arms of a stranger!

Hmm, it says here that she stopped acting to focus on raising her kids with…Kevin Kline! I didn’t know she was married to Kevin Kline! How about that! Well, I can understand that. I’m sure a lot of people, if they had enough money, would prefer to stop working to spend more time with their families. Not me, though. I’m actually pretty relieved that I don’t see my husband or our other son Adam that often. Trevor’s disappearance pretty much severed whatever bonds had sustained us. My husband and I divorced fifteen years ago, and Adam is twenty-eight now, so he’s in prison. So I just work as much as I can at the community college cafeteria, just like Phoebe Cates works hard at the boutique she owns in New York!

I wonder if sometimes, when she’s cleaning out her attic or basement, she finds a memento from one of her old movies, and starts reminiscing about her old career. I know what that’s like. About six months after Trevor left, I found one of his jump ropes sitting underneath a bush on the edge of our lawn. It was cut in half. I don’t know why. I held it in my hand for a moment. I didn’t feel anything. I was going to keep it in Trevor’s memory, but I ended up throwing it out. It was broken. His case is still open, but the police, to this day, have no leads.

Well, Phoebe Cates, if you happen to be reading this, you’ve still got a fan in me! And Trevor, if you’re still alive and reading this, I hope you still remember me, and you’re not left wondering who your real mother is—not unlike Phoebe Cates as Lili in the TV miniseries Lace!

Monday, 8 December 2014

2014: My Year in Review


Turned the bitter, acrimonious end of my marriage into a cult hit Adult Swim show

Took several tentative bites out of crime

Cooked and ate a lobster roll every time I felt like a phony

Conquered your father to become Wino Daddy of the Year (Regional)

Stole a machine gun from my priest

Wrote an incendiary yet tender, acidic yet achingly emotional, witty yet piercing debut novel. Butter Butt Bobcats on the Loose in Lusitania!

Convinced myself that isolation and loneliness are just extremely painful abstractions


Pined with great futility for the phantom maiden of Ogden Creek

Failed to change the face of Scottish Highland dancing

Unlearned everything I was taught at the feet of that sinister cult leader

Became convinced that I could change the rabid, brain-dead mountain lion I dated for two months

Emotionally alienated the brilliant and drop-dead gorgeous woman I am blackmailing

Took a devastating punch to the sternum for five hundred dollars below my usual rate

Lent hundreds of thousands of dollars to that guy who turned out not to be Boz Scaggs

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Quotes from the Screenplay I'm Writing That Is a SCATHING Critique of Our So-Called Media Landscape

"If it BLEEDS, it LEADS!"

"I don't care about nice stories, I want stories about MURDER! That's what gets viewers!"

"I may not have a soul- but look at all of my TWITTER FOLLOWERS!"

"If we're not making grandmas afraid, we're not doing our jobs, gang!"

"Like I said previously- if it BLEEDS, it LEADS!"

"But people are gonna think-"
"People are gonna think what we TELL them to think!"

"Guys, we're not broadcasters. We're drug dealers, and our viewers are jonesin' for that fix!"

(Evil station owner runs comb through slicked-back hair)

"'Politician Embezzles Money'? That's not a story to me. 'Politician Kills Guy With Chainsaw'? Now THOSE are the cookies daddy likes!"

"For the last time: if it BLEEDS, it l- oh, shit, I'm bleeding."

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

You Wouldn’t Ask Me to Move My Bag from the Seat Next to Me If You Knew Its Dad Had Just Died

Look, I understand. You had a long day, and you’re exhausted. What’s worse, this bus is packed; literally every single seat is occupied. If I was in your position, I’d probably be somewhat desperate too. It’s only natural to start looking around, anxious to find someone—or yes, something—that may not be in dire need of a seat. I get it. You see my backpack placed on the seat next to me and you think to yourself: “Why does a backpack need its own seat? Surely a backpack wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a seat and a lap; it would be just as comfortable sitting on either.” This sentiment, while understandable, is highly presumptuous and, quite frankly, insensitive. I have a feeling you wouldn’t be quite so indignant at the placement of my backpack if you only knew that, just yesterday, my backpack’s father passed away.

Hmm, not so annoyed now, are you? In fact, you look downright confused as to how I could offer such a seemingly outlandish explanation with such confidence. The reason for your bafflement is a simple one: prejudice. You’ve been conditioned by your upbringing (one that, no doubt, came at the hands of a starved and angry pit bull) that backpacks can never know the pain of losing a loved one, particularly in a tragic backpack fire that took out an entire city block of Dayton, Ohio. It never once occurred to you that a being of cloth and vinyl might know the exquisite, incendiary pangs of loss. Well, take this to heart: this backpack has lived. It once had, for a short yet intense period, a serious problem with alcohol. (I put a flask in it but forgot to screw the cap on tight enough, so it spilled.) It has loved. (A dog humped it once in the park.) It has lost. (Well, it’s been lost. I left it in an Applebee’s after I got blackout-drunk on my step-grandma’s birthday.) It has certainly been mistreated. (One time, in order to impress his buddies, a very rude teen humped it in the park.)

And so, in light of these indignities great and small, is it really such a tall order to allow this backpack, a being that once saw Lou Reed in the store in which it lived before I purchased it (he was drunk and lost on a Labor Day weekend), its own temporary square of public real estate? Its own zone of comfort and tranquility? Yes, I’m sure we agree that it isn’t. And I would challenge you, upon leaving this bus, to go out into the world and spread my backpack’s message of kindness and peace to all whom you meet. Perhaps you can start with those three ten-pound bags of potatoes you’re towing? Revolutions begin at home, after all!