I Hate Romance

Uh oh. You've made Donnie Yen angry. Prepare for asskicking.

Even before the love of my life died, I hated romance as this post from 2010 attests. This is nothing new.

Immediately after Male died, I couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t concentrate or do anything productive, which left the boob tube as my only option besides silence. I hate silence unless I’m reading. I didn’t so much watch television as have it on in the background while I blankly stared at walls (like my cat) or cried a lot.

I couldn’t watch anything that had even a hint of romance in it. If there was so much as a conversation between a man and a woman that didn’t involve work, I’d turn it off.

This left me with few options since almost every form of entertainment today has a superfluous love story. I absolutely hate the superfluous love story. If you’re going to have romance in something, put it right there on the cover or in the description, because if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s getting sucker-punched with a romantic subplot that doesn’t need to be there in the first place. This applies generally, but particularly in the weeks following the death of the love of my life.

This penchant for throwing love stories about willy-nilly is the exact reason I don’t watch a lot of Hollywood movies even though I live in Hollywood. In the same way that restaurants don’t feel the need to mention on their menus that fucking onions are in everything they make (I hate onions), Hollywood throws the unnecessary love story into practically every movie produced.

There’s a movie about aliens coming down and taking over the human race? Add a love story. Action flick? Love story. War movie? Love story. Horror movie? Love story. A movie about genocide? Throw in a goddamn love story, because love and genocide go perfectly together I guess. I find it rather sexist, as if the only way they can get women to watch their schlock about stolen cars is to add romance in there.

I hate the superfluous love story. If I want to see a love story, I’ll watch a goddamned love story, but why must you ruin a perfectly good action movie with a love story that adds nothing to the plot? Not only does it not add, but it actually slows everything down. I don’t want to see that. If I watch an action movie, I want to see action not bloody love.

So, this left my viewing options very limited. I watched a ton of war movies, kung fu and wuxia (I’m all caught up on Donnie Yen now), and Korean revenge flicks.

Uh oh. You've made Donnie Yen angry. Prepare for asskicking. (craveonline.com)
Uh oh. You have angered the Donnie Yen. Prepare for asskicking.

Did you know that Korean revenge is a genre? It is in my world anyway, and it’s one of my favorite sub-genres. South Korea has been making some mighty fine cinema for the last decade or so. If you haven’t seen Oldboy (not that godawful American abomination that has no right to exist, but the real one), go watch it now. I’ll wait.

Fucking amazing, right? Is that not the best movie you’ve seen in the last fifteen years or more? Damn straight it is. Park Chan-wook is a cinema god. Granted, nothing he’s done since has touched the cinematic brilliance of Oldboy, but I cut him some slack. It’s hard to rival that movie, because it is so unbelievably tits. Just like Ridley Scott can never touch Blade Runner, they should keep making movies anyway, just on the off-chance that they manage something nearly as good.

Anyway, Korean revenge movies. It’s a thing that I adore. They rarely throw love stories in there, and if they do, they’re integral to the plot, as in Oldboy, so it doesn’t bother me overmuch.

I’m the same way with books. The only romantic type stories I can deal with in literature are the kind that end badly like Wuthering Heights or Romeo & Juliet. I don’t mind romance in there as long as it’s the star-crossed variety. If one or more of them dies in the end, I’m in.

So, after all this preamble about disliking love stories, why is it that when I wrote the latest part of The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton, a detective series I’ve been writing that has nothing to do with love, I added some sexual tension between Walker and Betsy? I haven’t published the latest installment of The Dwarf yet, because this fact chagrins me. I’ve even written the book’s ending where, well, I don’t want to add spoilers.

The romance in my writing is a lot like the horror in old horror movies; implied, but never  shown. Have you seen the The Haunting (1963)? It’s scary precisely because they don’t show anything scary. It’s all implied. It could be because of a tiny special effects budget or it could be that the director knew that the phantasms created in the imaginations of the viewers are way scarier than any animatronic creature Hollywood could invent. They remade The Haunting in 1999 and it’s boring, because they thought special effects could top our imaginations. They were wrong. They were wrong to remake it in the first place.


Soap box over.

Why is it that when watching or reading something to entertain myself, I look for something without romance, but when I wrote it, I added it in there? Why am I such a huge hypocrite? It doesn’t really add to the plot. It doesn’t really move the plot along. It doesn’t have to be there, but it’s there anyway. Perhaps later today or tomorrow, I’ll pull the trigger and post it, and you can let me know if you think it’s superfluous or not, because obviously, I haven’t a clue.

Do you write romance in your stories that have nothing to do with romance? Does the superfluous love story bother you? Do you love Donnie Yen? Do you wish I had gotten to the point much sooner? Do you even know what the point is?

6 Genuinely Scary Things

Nazi hammers are the worst kind.

I don’t believe in demons, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or most other things that go bump in the night. I’ve gone through some terrifying experiences. I’ve been tied up, gagged, raped, and shoved into a dark closet when I wasn’t even double digits. I’ve been choked, punched, kicked, and had a gun pointed right at my head. I’ve flat-lined at least twice and been resuscitated.

My point is, it takes a lot to scare me. Haunted houses are laughable. They’re not even allowed to touch you. How can it be scary when none of the blood, guts or monsters are real? I have an excellent imagination, but I find it nearly impossible to be scared when I know things aren’t real.

Movies don’t do it either. They’re even less real than haunted houses. They’re just images captured on film (or digitally) of actors doing their thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely am not implying that I don’t get scared, because I very much do. I am startled at least once a day just passing people in the hallway that I didn’t notice. It’s a fun part of PTSD called hyper-vigilance. That’s me. I am as startled as a fainting goat.

I also get creeped out, grossed out, anxious and I can even tie my own imagination into knots. I was sick a few weeks ago and watched the latest season of The Walking Dead in one weekend. When I left the house, I was seriously on guard for zombies until I realized that was silly.

So, I am capable of being startled and I definitely can be scared. It’s just that movies and haunted houses don’t do it for me. With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I’d talk about things that genuinely scare me.


I’ve been financially independent (not by choice) since I was fifteen years old. In all that time, I’ve never gone an entire year without a job. Unemployment scares the bejeezus out of me. First, there’s the loss of financial security and not knowing where your next meal will come from. Second, there’s all that time on my hands. I don’t do well with a lot of time on my hands. The last time I was unemployed, about four years ago, I ran aground on the second thing that scares me…


If you’re unlucky enough to have the chronic kind, depression is one of the scariest things I can think of. It means your brain is working against you. Your own brain is trying to convince you that you’re worthless. It’s all hopeless. You might as well give in to the darkness and end it all now… Seriously, how scary is that? It takes a tremendous amount of strength to fight it.

The Environment

I just finished watching the new Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. If you haven’t seen it, you should, because the cosmos is awesome in the original sense of the word. It will make you realize just how significant all of humankind really is on a cosmic scale, which is to say, not very. Anyway, in one of the episodes, Neil takes us through global warming and spells it out for us that we humans are very much responsible for global warming and what will happen to the planet if we don’t halt our evil ways. Terrifying business.

Outliving my body

One of my biggest fears is having my mind intact inside a body that can’t do anything about it, like being paralyzed from head to toe as in Johnny Got His Gun. Being trapped in your own mind sounds awful, but honestly, I’d take that over the next thing on the list…

Is that nurse lighting up?


The flip side of having a sound mind trapped in a broken body is abject insanity. When I watched Pink Floyd’s The Wall, I related just a little too much with Pink. As I’ve said before: “Aside from the giant marching Nazi hammers, the man-eating vaginas, children being put through a meat grinder and all the rest, the scariest part about this movie to me is being trapped in your own mind with all of that. Pink has completely lost touch with reality and is living in a world that no one would ever choose to live in and there’s no way out.”

Nazi hammers are the worst kind.
Nazi hammers are the worst kind of hammers.


Part of the reason that ghost and ghouls and goblins aren’t scary to me is that I’ve seen the most evil creature on the planet in action–humans. Humans are the worst kind of monster there is. They kill, rape, steal, torture, enslave, make lampshades out of each other, and then look you right in the eye and lie about it. They can convince themselves that no matter what kind of evil they’re doing, it’s not that bad. Someone else is to blame as much as they are or more. It was an order. It’s their parents’ fault. It’s society’s fault. It’s video games, heavy metal music, comic books… It’s always someone or something else. I’ve never heard of a lying ghost. They tend to be pretty up front about things.

Humans are capable of selfless good, too, but they let the evil take over so often.

What’s on your list?

L.A. Woman


That’s what I am, though I don’t much feel like it. My Levi’s, always a little too long, drag on the ground in back since I’m too tall for medium height and too short for tall. My Converse All Stars, caked with mud from kicking tennis balls at the dog park. My ubiquitous t-shirt and black hoodie–I have a closet full of them. These are hardly what The Doors had in mind.


I am just another lost angel–city of night.

I’m not what the rest of you have in mind when you think of L.A. either. You’ve all seen the Hollywood version of me. The glowing skin, the big tits, the blonde flowing hair and a smile. That smile. I don’t have that smile. I have a smile, but it’s not the smile you know. It’s not the smile the rest of the world sees. I am not on the billboards. You won’t see me in the glossy magazines.

I try to remember what I thought of those shimmering images before I saw the truth. I haven’t always been an L.A. woman. I was a Boston woman before that and a Detroit woman, too.

I try to remember my impression of L.A. and L.A. women before I became one, but it’s all so hazy. It was too long ago; it’s not new or fresh anymore. I’ve lived in L.A. long enough that it’s a part of me. If I ever leave this sprawling city, I will still be an L.A. woman, at least for a little while, until I become something else.

L.A. isn’t much like the movies, but it never has been. What you see isn’t what you get. There is a reason it’s called movie magic after all.

There aren’t many Raymond Chandlers or Charles Bukowskis in Los Angeles anymore. They left a void of booze, brawls and busty dames that we just cannot fill, even though we try. Sometimes, I wish I lived in Chandler’s Los Angeles, even if it means wearing heels, a hat and doing nothing all day but practicing my smoldering look like Lauren Bacall:


The little girls in their Hollywood bungalows.

I don’t think of myself as an L.A. woman, but then, I don’t often think of myself as a woman at all. My gender doesn’t define me. Really, I only consciously categorize myself as a woman if I’m filling out a form or searching for a public bathroom.

Important distinction right here.
Important distinction right here.

I’m the one with the A shape. That’s where I need to go. That’s as much as I pigeonhole myself.

After a brief fifteen-year temporary arrangement, L.A. still isn’t my city and it never will be; I was not born here. But, we’ve reached a détente. We don’t fight each other anymore. We accept each other as we are. Even though neither the city nor you see me as the type of woman who moves clear across the country to Los Angeles, that’s just what I am, muddy Converse and all.

Just another lost angel in the city of night.

25 Songs: Day 11 Soundtrack



Day 11 – A song from my favorite movie.

This one seems simple, but it’s not. From the age of whenever I saw Star Wars, that was my favorite movie. It was replaced by Blade Runner, which was supplanted by Fight Club. So far, nothing has replaced Fight Club. Although Blade Runner is still my favorite under certain circumstances, I’m going to pick the song at the end of Fight Club because it’s really the only “song” in both movies. The rest of the soundtracks to both are mainly just movie music.

This is the song that appears at the very end of Fight Club. It has always been a favorite song of mine since I’ve long been a fan of the Pixies, but the use of it at the end of Fight Club was a stroke of genius. When I first saw Fight Club, the fact that they used this song took my breath away.