Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feeling Kneedy

My body continues its series of no-holds-barred attacks on me; a few weeks ago I was on a business trip, and,, that evening, I sat down on the hotel bed. You wouldn't think such an innocuous action would invite immediate and drastic punitive action, but make no mistake about it; Parkinson's is a stern and unforgiving taskmaster. It loses no opportunity to remind me of who's in charge. This time was no exception; I heard (and felt) a large CRACK!, and when I tried to move my leg, couldn't help but notice that my kneecap, instead of occupying its usual position, was jutting out at a 45 degree angle. From this I deduced that I'd dislocated it. Well, that and the intense pain.

(I don't know why the medical terminology is "dislocate". Believe me, you have no trouble finding it. It hurts like a motherfucker.)

Anyway. I wasn't in a position to snap it back myself, so the hotel called First Response, who immediately cut my favorite pair of pants to shreds so they could splint me. I had a long ride in an ambulance, and a longer still stay in the ER. I was annoyed that they didn't empty a bag of morphine in my arm before popping my knee back, but I didn't want to look like a wuss, so I only screamed a little when the ortho moved it back. Believe me, it's nothing to how I'll scream when I get the bill.

This was due (big surprise) to the PD. It has the curious ability to make my muscles both weaker and stiffer. (The Latin name for the disease is Paralysis agitans.) I've noticed lately that every time I feel myself losing my balance, I instinctively snap to rigidity, and all my joints and muscles hyperextend. In the long run, this isn't good. In fact, it ain't all that much fun in the short run either.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Random Memory

I got to direct Leonard Nimoy once.

I was a writer-producer on a prime time animated series named Invasion America, for Steven Speilberg and Harv Bennett. Harv managed to convince Nimoy to do a limited run as a character. Nimoy agreed, provided that he'd be in and out.

So, of course, Steven didn't like the performance. Nimoy, who was only supposed to be there for four episodes, kept being brought back to do the role again. He tried to be gracious, but it was obvious he wasn't enjoying himself.

So one day we were working our asses off trying to get a reading, and we just couldn't get it the way we needed it from him. It was a short line, which means it's actually harder to get the reading right. We didn't want to just give it to him, cause that would be like saying you can't act. But he was getting increasingly surly.

So we're in the booth, trying to think of a way to get the read from him. Then I had an idea. I opened the mike and said "Lee, gimme the line and raise one eyebrow while you read it."

He nailed it, one take.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Haven't had one of these in awhile, so I thought it worth mentioning ...
I just had a short story fall into my head.

I've been a working writer for the past 30-odd years; primarily in television, at first, now mostly books and film. Since I tend ofttimes to focus on the more ... unpleasant ... vicissitudes of my life (we all do; it's a human thing), it's good to be reminded that the word "vicissitude" can connote something positive as well as negative. The word itself is neutral.

It's true that one of the biggest curses of my life has been being inflicted with Parkinson's Disease. It has devastated me, both mentally and physically. And it will ultimately destroy me.

So it's good to remember that I've also been fortunate, enough to do what I love most to do for pretty much my entire adult life. In that respect, I've been incredibly lucky. (And I'm not saying some kind of karmic balance is being addressed here; one in no way evens out the other. Obviously, the best life would have been the life of a writer sans PD. I'm just saying that it's good that I had the courage to go for it. Otherwise, I might've been just some guy who worked at some anonymous job all his life and wound up with a chronic degenerative disease. That would have been truly awful.)

As for the short story idea, I've poked at it, driven it around town a little, and it seems pretty solid. So, as soon as I get a chance, I'll write it. It won't be right away, though -- I've got two books under contract that need to be finished first.

It's good to keep a sense of perspective about life ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Green Lantern flickers

Although I've decided to confront the fact of my disease in this blog, that's not all I'll be blogging about. I also won't shy away from the fact that I've made extremely bad decisions about other things. Such as going to see Green Lantern of my own free will.

I've never known what to make of Green Lantern as a superhero. Conceptually, he always struck me as better villain material -- especially with that whole charging the ring with a Coleman knockoff from Big Five and a "Power Oath" that smacked obscurely of some type of cryptofascistic dialectic. Not only that, but he had a ridiculous weakness -- he was powerless over the color yellow. Even in childhood I knew that you made green by mixing blue and yellow, so it seemed to me that this could've been thought out better.

Of course, even the Silver Age Green Lantern's jaundiced view of the color yellow paled against the absurd limitation of the power ring worn by the Golden Age Green Lantern. His was powerless over anything made of wood. That's right -- wood. (I don't know if this includes plywood or wood-grain plastic.) I'm thinking of stopping by the drugstore, picking up a box of number 2 pencils and making 'em both my bitches.

As for the movie ... Save your money for Captain America. With the madness going on in Washington currently, it's likely the closest you'll ever get to seeing what this country might've been ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Living With The Monster

So I've lived with this beast for nearly 20 years, now. The first 10 got steadily worse, until I had what was then a relatively-new operation called DBS (a sorta generic acronym which just means "Deep Brain Stimulation" -- which could be anything from a procedure done in black-and-white with the accompaniment of electrical arcs crackling from Van de Graaf generators, to just really good porn). What it does is squelch the tremoring and lack of balance, and just sort of generally slow the whole process down. How it does this, they don't have a clue. Nor did I -- I just wanted my life back.

Which I got. For about another 5 years. At which time things really started to fall apart.

But I'll talk about that the next time. I've to pace myself -- while I might happily chatter away here all day long, there are lots other things that demand my attention. And I'm not moving that fast, any more ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tech Wars

So ...

Once this blog was finally up and running, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Finally I had someplace to post TO.

But that was too easy, of course.

It seems that the browser I was using (Firefox, which has never given me the slightest bit of trouble before), simply became hysterical at the notion that I could have another blog. I finally gave up (on Firefox), and am now using a browser I've never heard of: Atomic Lite. It seems to work -- so far. I'm not resting easy until I'm sure it's posted and others can see it.

There's nothing like a few setbacks on the Internet to bring out the existentialism in one ...