Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pregnant Pause.

Don't hate me because I make my own cereal milk.
Goddamn, I hate people. Not you, oh lovely reader of this blog entry, but people in my everyday life who feel the need to make every moment of this pregnancy suck. Like how making potentially bitchin' R-rated horror motifs into PG-13 movies sucks *cough* Ouija.

I'll just get to the point. Hope you don't mind if I tuck it into all these random photos.

Stupid-Ass Stupid Things Stupid-Ass Stupid Heads Do When You're Up the Stupid Duff

Ask if I'm feeling better after returning from a sick day.

I just smile and say, "I will eventually." But what I want to do is smash these people over the head with my keyboard. Which is wireless, so I could even throw it at them like a discus. It's pregnancy, you morons. Not the 24-Hour Slut Flu.

Jason Vorhies? Clearly this version was made by The Asylum.

Poke my belly.

A co-worker asked me if he could poke my belly. I let that brain fart go and replied that uh, hells to the no, he couldn't. He did it anyway. I looked at him like he stole my Salonpas. But what I was really doing was trying to activate my David Keith Firestarter powers to fuck him up, life style. I promise you, those powers are there. They're dormant, but they're real.

Point and laugh at how tub-a-lard I am.

Yes, Virgina, this shit actually happened. HAPPENED. In a Ralphs. I was just minding my own bidness in the canned soup aisle when these two pretty blond dial tones in their early twenties passed the aisle I was in, returned, pointed at my stomach, exclaimed "oh my God," laughed and split. Like I assume their legs do after a free Big Mac after 9 p.m. Btw, is that deal still on? Hashtag Mickey Ds, hashtag die bitches.

40% off?! Holy crap, now you can be that sexy shopping cart you always dreamed of being.

This hot British guy is giving me a boy.
Block me from shit.

Dude, I know you're dying to get in the elevator so you can go back to playing ping pong I mean work, but can I exit first so I can go buy some goddamned lunch? It only took me ten years to waddle to the lobby.

Also, if you could not stand in front of the loo-Starbucks-etc. with your iPhone like a douche statue when it's obvious that I can't enter otherwise, that would be great, mmeffingkay?

Telling me I don't even look pregnant.

Really? I don't look pregnant. So, what you're telling me is that I always looked like Nell Carter. Give me a break and cut the bullshit.
Robert Smith guarding our home while we watch Suspiria.

Tell me to enjoy "it" now while I can.

Enjoy what, motherfuckers? Edema, carpal tunnel, Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction, a karate-chopping baby, chronic fatigue, endless urgency to pee, nausea, fainting, rudeness from family, friends and total strangers, other knocked-up assholes looking at you like you ruined their whole 'only pregnant woman at work' gig and ugly-ass maternity clothes?

I can no longer feel my hands. I've developed skin tags all over my face and body. The baby doesn't let me sleep on my right side, and sleeping on my back is out. I can't even see my husband in bed anymore thanks to the Great Wall of Pillows. I average three hours of sleep per night before excruciating pain wakes me up. What exactly is this "it" I'm supposed to be enjoying? Piss off.

Talking about how easy they had it in their pregnancy.

Talking about how hard they had it.

Or, if they're not pregnant, talking about how much it would, like, ruin their whole deal. And stuff.

Now I just need a big-ass bowl, a spoon and some Dragon's Lair.

You don't want to get fat? But you want to do it before you get old. Because 40 is too old for you. Yep, my co-workers a few rows back love to have loud conversations about how much pregnancy would just suck for them weight and age-wise. Plus, that epidural needle! They heard it's really a saber sword filled with boric acid. Fortunately for them, they already look fat and old, so they might as well go for it.

I also love hearing how my mother gave birth to all of us without ever having had an epidural. Good. For.You. I'll bake you a cookie. With pot in it. Because I'm guessing that's how you got through most if not all of those deliveries.

I want a brick thrown at my head, and then an epidural. Wake me up when my baby boy is resting on my Victoria's Secret-flat belly and my face and hair look like Iman's.

Or, if I don't look like Iman, tell me I do, anyway. That's one stupid-ass thing I don't mind hearing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Angry Birds.

How "fucking lazy" of you, Paul Schrader.
Where do I even begin with this?

I guess I should probably begin at the tweet that pissed me off. I retweeted it in order to set up my bitchy response in a separate subtweet, then un-retweeted it, wished the offender away into the cornfield, and leaped from my balcony in a spectacular swan dive, landing into a safety net held by the cast of RuPaul's Drag Race. Erica Kane would've been proud.

Dramatic? Well duh. But I was angry. And pregnant. And I still am. To both.

To paraphrase the pearl of wisdom that did trickle down my timeline like wee: making women prostitutes in a screenplay is "fucking lazy."


Um, yeah ... she actually, really, seriously did. And I was so fired up, I nearly fell back and blew my 23-week-old boy fetus out of my Special Purpose like a T-shirt cannon at a basketball game. My entire first script, Street Life, is about a prostitute. Why did I make her a prostitute, you (didn't) ask? Well, because it's always been my dream to fill 90 minutes with scantily-clad women doing nothing more than putting themselves in all sorts of situations in order to have sexy sexist sexual sex. Sex.

Or, I set out to write a script that felt like one of my all-time favorite films, The Warriors (1979), with one differential—I wanted to remove the safety nets. My heroine, "Dollar," is woman at her most vulnerable, adrift on the streets of Hollywood, hiding from an killer bent on finding her. There's no Warriors. There's no perceived sanctuary in Coney Island. My heroine makes her living by selling sex, which makes her situation even more volatile. And the police are mostly unresponsive.

But like the year in which The Warriors was released, Street Life is set in 1979—a pivotal year for women, reflected in the films of the time. Alien. Norma Rae. Hell, even The Fog. Women asserting themselves onscreen for better or for worse, with varying results. Off screen, women stood under glass ceilings, rocks in hand, poised for target practice.

Showtime, Synergy.
The prostitute in 1979 presented a unique, though disheartening writing challenge for yours truly: navigate a woman without options through a world where options are quickly becoming requisite. There is no upward career trajectory for a woman working the "world's oldest profession." Her success is defined by youth and beauty, two antiquated premiums that have no place in the new frontier of shoulder pads. Add to that a crippling lack of resources when the shit hits the fan. This is where we find Dollar. At 27, she is at a crossroads. She wants more, but does not know what that "more" is, or how to even obtain it. Obviously, she is stunted by the stigma of prostitution. She can't move in with one of her prostitute friends and schlemiel-schlimazel a job at Shotz Brewery. 

The last thing Dollar needs is a psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est? Anyway, I didn't feel "fucking lazy" writing Street Life, especially while doubled over with first-trimester nausea. I labored (pun intended) to make her very human. Relatable. Someone I'd like people to care about, cheer for. I've put her through a ridiculous set of trials and circumstances because I want to see how a 1979 prostitute without options can handle them. Because I think she can. Not because I just want a film full of delicious sexual situations.

No, I'm saving those for my next horror script, Spectacular VHS, set in a video store in 1985. Those hookers are going to be bonking all over the place.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Detachable Penis.

"Do you already know the sex?"
"Would you like to?"

Sure, doc. Tell me that you can't see the scrotum, like the technician at the previous ultrasound. Tell me that you are 90 percent sure that it's a girl. Tell me that you see the "three lines" that indicate girl, and I'll laugh and do a little woot and go skipping out of your office hand in hand with my husband to search the Internet for a baby Elvira dress and wig. Let's get it on like Tron and Donkey Kong 'til the break of Rae Dawn Chong.

I'm ready for Eddie.
"See? See there? There it is! That's a boy!"

Damn you, genes of British steel, the ones that survived the Blitz and public transport queues, and came up with bitchin' ideas like the World Wide Web and a sturdy pie filled with meat that you can eat with your hands like a Viking. Damn you, prominent British penis, wagging your majesty at me like a royal middle finger. Damn the Chance legacy, which bleeds testosterone.

In the words of Dame Florida Evans of Good Times, "damn, damn, damn."

I had actually seen this coming from the moment I knew I was prego. I mean, duh. My mother-in-law brought up two sturdy English boys. My brother-in-law is a wicked writer who worked as a bouncer, and could lay a dude down just by looking at him. My husband is basically MacGyver. And—little known fact—like Sir Christopher Lee, he shed the blood of four thousand Saxon men. To this day, he has a sexy scar just under his eye, which emerges when I get him hot (or bothered). The other guy, who dared make a disparaging remark about John's sainted mum, fared much worse.

But I had wanted a girl, and I had expected a girl. I already had the name picked out: Cassandra Linnea, after two women who have been my heroes since before I had boobs. John wouldn't go with Cassandra Linnea Adrienne Pam Wonder Woman Donuts Depeche Chance, which was what I originally wanted to call her. Her. My little baby girl. Now, my little baby boy.

So, what do I do?

Well, to be honest, the exact same shit I was going to do. I was pretty much already taking my child to horror conventions, to concerts, to the Halloween haunts, to Comic Book Day, etc. I was going to bring my child up on Transformers and The Goonies, and dance with them to Chic and Wire and Gang of Four. We were already going to discuss the genius of Mike Patton, and watch old slashers ad infinitum, and build a Lego Death Star with daddy. And you know what the stupid-hilarious thing about this is? All of these things are (traditionally, if we have to label here) boy things. Yes, I won't be able to dress my child up as "Baby Elvira: Mistress of the Park," but if this child turns out to be gay later on? Elvira impersonator! Yes, I'm doing jazz hands.

I think the biggest reason why I was so bummed at our OB's office was because my relationship with my brother (who was born when I was 16) is so crap now. Out of all the values I ever tried to instill in him since he was a baby, the only thing that stuck was music. The Police. Dead Kennedys. Tool. Seventies soul. His taste in music is flawless. You're welcome. But he'll steal your shit and sell it to buy weed in a hot minute. Yep, I'll give that "you're welcome" back now.

My little brother—who I diapered and held, and introduced to music, and sat with through countless hours of homework—now hates me. What did it? Well, my parents had the nerve to want to go to a wedding in Portland a few weeks ago without their house being trashed, and they asked me to keep an eye on it. My brother, on the other hand, had other plans, which apparently were to turn the house into Coachella. But like, the new shitty Coachella that closes with Beyonce and Tupac holograms (look out, Kurt Cobain: you're next).

Long story short, I've "got a bowling ball in my stomach" and a "desert in my mouth" (love Tori Amos), and I wasn't about to put up with a 23-year-old manchild who I can only describe as Ted Bundy before the van. This kid thought he had it all over me. Everything I said was stupid. For example, when I said, "mom and dad don't want anyone in this house while they're gone"? Totally stupid, I know! But he? Oh, he was like the second coming of Koresh. Talking over me, under me, through me, as if I was the lamest person on earth. Inviting all his equally-brilliant friends to Occupy Backyard night after mother-effing night. He actually creeped me out. I prayed for telekinetic prom powers that, unlike with Carrie White, never kicked in. Finally, the boy ran his mouth a bit too much, the power of Christ compelled me, and I unleashed like a level-5 tornado of unawesome in front of everyone before John and I packed our things and split. My parents returned a day later. No cookie for you, Cam.

So, this episode rocked my world a bit. I questioned my ability to raise a boy. The delicious bowl of batter I helped raise turned out to be the shitey first pancake somewhere between 2008 and now. But you know what? I've thought about it, and I didn't ruin this kid. I was a kid myself when he was born, a sophomore in high school, and from his first day on earth, I had given him nothing but love, and guidance, and boundless amounts of patience. Certain things have happened to my brother through the years, very terrible things (when my brother was in high school, his two best friends, who he was supposed to meet, were trapped when the van they were smoking in caught alight; they were both burned alive). None of them had anything to do with me.

Plus, parenting-wise, my little brother had it far easier than I did growing up. It wasn't all cherries on the slot machine (by the Nineties, my dad had become a staunch conspiracist), but at least my brother had a father who was engaged. I will just say that the father I had for three decades was carrying some hard demons that played out in a series of self-finding missions in which I had suffered greatly. I love my father very much, and we get on now. But you reap what you sow. I took root into a strong, inspiring, lovingly interconnected foundation of Horror. My brother simply grasped aimlessly at false anchors until he grew out of the hard patriarchal ground like a ragweed. The former might dictate how our son will turn out. The latter will certainly not.

I have been a horror fan for my entire cognizant life. It was a refuge for me when real life was far scarier. Horror never hurt me for leaving my toys at the park. It never rejected me for being mixed race, or wanted to beat me up after school. It never insulted me at the dinner table, or took away Halloween because the cult said so. Horror was pure in its intentions, transparent in its actions, and consistent. Freddy does not exist in real life (I know, I know), because if he did, the Fresh Prince or the Fat Boys would never have recorded rap albums with him. They would have been running for their goddamned lives, as we all would. Dokken knew better. They recorded far away from Freddy, in an underground bunker on Tatooine. But the idea of Freddy is delicious, isn't it? And Jason. And Pinhead. And the Tall Man. And even Chucky, which (let's be honest) is just Talky Tina with mad potential (although I was never really a fan).

I'm digressing. Anyway, I graduated from a great school (go UCI Anteaters), work gainfully as a writer and editor, married the most perfect man on the planet, and never robbed graves, or slashed a lovable chubby loser's throat for his hockey mask, or killed anyone with finger knives for being beautiful and bad. This little boy growing and kicking around inside me will be just fine. He may disappoint us all and become a doctor or a lawyer instead of the next Mike Patton or David Cronenberg. But I don't need a heart scan to know that I am 100 percent sure that I already love him more than life itself.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reality Bites.

T-Mobile only sends me a bill. But is she happy?
When I started my script, an ode to good ol' Seventies Grindhouse and 'Sploitation titled Street Life, I had no idea that I was already knocked up. In fact, I was preparing to fly to England to visit my in-laws and friends for a month, and it was easy to knock out a few pages in the glow of excitement. I had also just finished my stint as a contract copywriter, and the freedom from being Princess Leia chained to my Jabba the Hut of an employer gave me the extra gusto to dig into the process of creating that Great American Screenplay (albeit with blood and guts and balls and boobs).

And then England happened. And then two pink stripes on the pee stick happened. And before I knew it, my script was not happening.

If you've never been pregnant, or if you're thinking about getting pregnant, or if you're a random dude who will never have any idea of what being pregnant is like, I will tell you. It's not just those happy-ass viral videos you see on the news or Inside Edition, where Grandma-to-be sits on the settee all a-wonder as she stares at the camera like a deer on Valium before her daughter and son-in-law reveal their pregnancy with all the charm of a father-daughter breakdance at a wedding reception.

Here's what it's really like: you crave, you eat, you puke, you sleep. You wake, you pee, you hurt, you weep. You crave, you eat, you puke, you sleep. Rinse and repeat. Somewhere in there, you make it to the OB/Gyn, where you get confirmation that a baby's still in there, and then you weep some more because you're reminded of why you bother with any of it. And you're always hot, but not in a sexy way. You're hot in a Golden Girls way, except Blanche was sexy. And you're so not.

So, what did I do when I wasn't working on my script? I read drivel. Pure crapola, courtesy of the Daily Mail app on my husband's phone. I read about the daily goings-on of WAGs and British TV presenters. I learned that Dubai had become the new Ibiza. I discovered that Rihanna has a mental condition that compels her to be naked everywhere she goes. And I read about Kim Kardashian.

Let's focus on that bit for a mo. I read. About. Kim. Kardashian. The adorable baby she's hardly seen with. The nutbar of a delusional fiance. The unromantic baseball stadium engagement that makes me glad I was proposed to outside a coffee kiosk at Heathrow. The life struggle to find a hardworking pair of jeans. The tacky wedding plans in France that turned into tackier wedding plans in Italy. But reading about everything Kim K. did something unexpected for me. Well, besides making me feel better about my own simple little life, if not my inferior finances.

Reading about Kim Kardashian made me resume writing.

Say whuuut? Now look, the older I get, the less I crave that deep-down body thirst for Haterade. I'm at the end of my Thirties. I'm housing a growing entity currently the size of a tangerine. I don't have it in me anymore to loathe anyone I don't know. Well, that's a bit bullshit. I still get that stomach wretch when Gwyneth Paltrow promotes $100 plain white T-shirts on her goopy blog, or when Beyonce stands there like a Stepford wife while her sister beats on Jay-Z in an elevator for sucking so hard. But Kim Kardashian? She never did anything to me except be everygoddamnwhere on the Internets. Sure, Siri is smarter by a good mile, but let's be honest—Kim Kardashian, like her fame-hungry mother Kris Jenner—is only still around because she works it.

Now, notice I didn't say works hard. A garbage man works hard. You over there—you work hard. Kim? She works it. The opening of an envelope? She's there. Someone unveiling a new vodka bra in London? She'll wear it, and give you a suckle for an extra hundred grand. I saw an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians a few years back, and in it, Kim K. had just arrived in Vegas without sleep after making an overnight appearance somewhere else just a few hours prior. And—First-World Problem alert—she had another appearance to make not long after landing. So what did sistagirl do? She passed out on the sofa for 30 minutes, then got up and did the Vegas appearance, fake smile and big, bouncy booty intact. If the girl worked at a strip joint, she'd make it rain so much, Al Roker would show up to do Today Show weather remotes.

While it would be easier for me to sit at home and grind my teeth over the knowledge that no one will ever pay me a kabillion bucks to sip their drink poolside at Mandalay Bay, I'd rather take the lesson here, which is to keep going. If I don't finish my script, I'm always going to be the stupid bitch who sits home on her ass dreaming about writing that Great American Script while Kim Kardashian gets paid every time her phone's autocorrect doesn't add an "e" to Absolut in a tweet. Yes, Kim Kardashian is famous for doing nothing, but she does nothing like a goddamned pro. I don't wish to be famous, but I want to write the film that could be. And because I kept going—through every crave, eat, puke and sleep of my first trimester—I'm happy to announce that my script is now nearly complete.

So thanks, Kim. You keep getting everywhere doing nothing. You're like the Highlander of Hos, and there can only be one. For the rest of us, doing nothing will get us nowhere.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never Sleep Again.

Two negatives equal a positive.
From the moment the thought of coffee made me want to hurl, I should've known.

I had just returned from a month in England, and had chalked up my horrible feelings to extreme jet lag. So of course, I wasn't clued in by the huge box of Del Taco burritos I inhaled upon landing at LAX, or how I nearly passed out while buying groceries (I just thought it was the prices), or how my boobs felt like two angry water balloons filled with aquavit, or how I started to fall asleep in the middle of my sentences, or how everything smelled like sugar-coated shit—finally nailing the scent that Sara noticed in the taxi on the way to the library in Inferno.

One pee test—and then another— confirmed it: the culprit wasn't jet lag, or Mater Tenebrarum.

It was Mater Fahker, I'm knocked up. As in, the rabbit died. As in yes, we have no more bananas. As in, there was this duff, and I got up it. With some help, of course. This is actual natural sound from the moment when I saw the two lines on the home pregnancy test:

What followed was me in total shock, followed by (I'm sorry, I'm not going to lie) thoughts of pure selfishness: our bed becoming covered in dust and cobwebs from disuse, the lights dimming on my beloved Vegas Strip, another beautiful lazy stoner summer at Cinespia going up in smoke, and the sympathetic looks of street monsters at Knott's Halloween Haunt and Universal Horror Nights carefully dodging my waddling 8-months-pregnant frame in order to scare the crapola out of younger women with flat tummies and tiny asses and not a care in the world.

My second thoughts were of my worst nightmares coming true, worse than anything Freddy could conjure up. Having a perpetually "metal" baby who would keep me, John and our neighbors up at all hours with his/her best Dio howl. Hanging out with other moms. Play dates. Parties. Gross. By the time I took mental inventory of every stupid thing I'd now have to do with a child, I was actually lying on the ground, kicking and screaming like one.

My third thoughts? Those came after John and I saw the baby's heartbeat. At that moment—as we looked at each other as if we couldn't believe that we had actually made something a) other than a sandwich, and b) with a beating heart—I thought that my own heart would surely stop beating if I couldn't carry it to term.

I will be 39 in June. I wasn't thinking about a child. But now, this child is all I think about. Well, that's not true. I think about how some of the coolest horror people I know (@greencapt, @twistedcentral) are parents. I think about buying cool DOTD onesies, and Googling the appropriate ages to take a child to their first concert, or horror film, or Halloween Haunt. Can I take a child to Cinespia? Can I smuggle a baby in my handbag while I play the penny slots at Excalibur? Obviously, the last one is a joke (or ... is it?), but yes, I really, truly, absolutely do want this baby to happen, and can't wait to introduce the little one to the rad life I share with his/her dad.

I'm due at the end of November, so maybe I'll start while they're in the womb. Practicing my waddle now.