Monday, February 28, 2005

Odds and Sods Part II

The above pic was taken the last time Julie played at BB King's and that's my other "son" Louie on guitar. Eric is of course on drums but he's hidden as usual.

Right now we are in white out conditions - it looks like a blizzard, in fact, it probably is a blizzard, and my boss said I could go home but I'm not particularly anxious to go out in that so I'm vacillating back and forth, no cab, walk, sleep at the office (ha), etc.

So while I try and make up my mind, I will drive you all nuts and tell you what my daughter made me for dinner last night. Her Sunday dinners are now legendary. I would have taken digital photographs but I was starving and she'd spent the entire afternoon tantalizing me with the various aromas coming out of the kitchen.

We started out with with hand made dumplings stuffed with chicken, dried shitake mushrooms, garlic, and scallion. She made a dipping sauce that was to die for -- soy sauce, scallion, garlic, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, honey, and chile peppers.

I really think I could live on that sauce and all it needs is some booze in it and I would never require another form of food or drink.

Next course: A healthy salad. Rock lobster tail meat tossed with red onion, celery, tiny chunks of steamed red bliss potato, vanilla oil (made from real vanilla beans) and a mixture of sunflower and hazel nut oils, creme fraiche, dijon mustard, fresh tarragon, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar served over red lettuce and maiche.

She surrounded our individual plates thusly...the lettuce on the bottom, the lobster salad mixture in the middle, and all around the rim of the plate, seared scallops.

I didn't want dinner to end, ever.

And what's maiche, you ask? Because I had no idea myself, it sounds like something you'd spray at someone trying to steal your handbag. It's actually a wonderful lettuce, nutty and buttery tasting.

Only Julie would know from maiche.

Dessert: A heart healthy key lime pie made from yoghurt. Now you might think that sounds gross, but it was one of the best key lime pies I ever ate in my life. I can't wait to go home now and eat another piece - that's going to be my dinner tonight.

Anyway, that's the news for now. I should really leave the office; I'm terrified of getting stranded here really. I was only joking about sleeping here - it's bad enough I feel like I do that anyway. And besides, that pie is calling my name...

Sunday, February 27, 2005


So as I've mentioned, besides his brilliant band with Julie, Teddi and Dan of Rock School, Eric has a side project with some other Rock School kids - Haffie, Matt Manser, Julia Ranier, and Dan Nitz. The name of their band is Flamingo, and they've just finished recording/mixing a six song demo called "Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires".

You get ten points if you know where that phrase orginates.

Okay, time's up, I'll tell you. It was the alternate title F. Scott Fitzgerald had chosen for The Great Gatsby.

Anyway, I got my first listen to the newly mixed CD yesterday and almost fainted. First of all, let me say this. I'm the world's harshest music critic. I may rave about my kids here, but there are plenty of times I'm dissatisfied and I don't hold back. I'm probably even too quick to criticize because these kids are such incredible musicians that I expect greatness from them all the time. I've been to Rock School shows where I leave on an almost magical high with a silly smile pasted on my face for days; but I've also been to shows where I've been pissed beyond belief at sloppy playing and/or bad, inappropriate set lists and I've even made nasty comments likening the shows to crappy suburban high school recitals. In other words, I'm no angel, even where Julie and Eric are concerned.

From the minute I heard the opening notes of Flamingo's CD yesterday, I had the chills. First of all, Julia's vocals...I can't even describe it. She's the way Norah Jones or Aimee Mann or even Natalie Merchant wish they sounded...with the sixties psychedelic soul of a Janis Joplin and Sandy Denny thrown in. You don't get that from her when you hear her doing covers for Rock School like Springsteen's Born to Run or Boston's Long Time. (Okay, I despise Springsteen and Boston so maybe that has something to do with it). But anyway, on this CD, Julia's voice is other worldy - she's fucking unbelievable.

And then you have the guitar players: Haffie, Matt, and Julia herself. These are three of the best guitarists in Rock School, apologies to the other Rock School greats because yep, there are many, but these three have a spectacular chemistry together. And I feel like a traitor saying this because my own daughter is a bassist, but Dan Nitz, who normally plays guitar, kicks ass on bass.

But most importantly - the song writing. It's fucking amazing! I tried to put my finger on their sound and to be honest, I couldn't, because it's so original they may be one of the few bands to be actually doing something NEW! It's fresh, it's modern, but there are influences of Zappa, Cream, and even the Allman Brothers... with a modern bluesy, jazzy twist. And the lyrics are also very, very impressive. But I think their time with Paul/Rock School and being part of his All-Stars and studying Zappa is what I hear the most - that unbelievable, intelligent musicianship and their tightness as a band. It's pure perfection. What's even more fun is that they are all such talented, well rounded musicians that on one song, they switch off instruments and some play glockenspiel, dulcimer, even trumpet.

Anyway, one of the Rock School teachers, Nero, heard the demo for the first time and immediately got Flamingo their first gig opening for his own band on March 19 at a really cool club in Philadelphia, The Fire. They aren't on the schedule yet because it stops at March 12, but of course I'll be posting updates here.

So that was my excitement for yesterday.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Time Fries...

That would be my daughter's boyfriend, Matt, on bass and his first cousin, future megastar, C.J. Tywoniak, on guitar

Wow, has it really been three days since I posted? Time fries, as I was told by my favorite waiter at a Chinese restaurant when I ate there with my kids. He hadn't seen them in a while and was shocked to see they were now young adults. Time fries is probably the most perfect expression ever, huh. Anyway, there's been a lot of turmoil in the House of Slick over the past 72 hours but it all seems to be straightened out now (I hope!) so I'm back.

First of all, thanks to the lovely and talented M.A. Burns who forwarded me the above photograph, several more of which I'll be posting, taken at the recent Tony Levin/California Guitar Trio concert. She is a huge prog rock fan and travels with the band snapping photos, and she was really freaked out by the talented Rock School kids who opened for them. Anyway, we met for the first time at the show, chatted a bit, exchanged email addresses, and then she sent me a disk full of her photos. How cool is that!

Also, thanks to everyone who has bought my book and coffee cups, etc. Sheesh, I didn't realize being a writer also meant being a saleswoman, but there you have it.

So without further ado, and because I need Eric to go on line and update my website which I've neglected terribly since starting this blog, here's a few more of M.A.'s photos and M.A., if you are reading this, YOU ROCK!

Louis Graff

Max DiMezza and CJ

Kenny Liu and Julie


Paul conducting the band

My wild child, Eric


Matt and C.J.

UPDATE -Eric's just wrapped up my website renovations for me. Please check it out at

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Quick plug for Flash Fiction Cafe (and me)...

I'm just popping by to let you know that you can now purchase one of my two stories selected to be on coffee mugs (and which will be shipped to cafes and coffee houses all over the world) directly from the site right here

My first story to go print is called Dreaming of Flying, and as you can see, you have your choice of two different mugs. I assume the mug with my story Last Supper will be forthcoming within the next few days.

C'mon, you know you want one. I'm gonna be famous someday. Even if it's for jumping out a 40th floor window naked screaming "I can't take it any more!"

Seriously, support your local writer. And there's some other really great writers with mugs for sale as well. Support them, too. And I must admit, they are very cool looking cups - you may even want a set of four. Ha ha.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Odds and Sods...

So I'm still depressed over this insane world and recent headlines -- who gives a fuck if Paris Hilton's address book is hacked and on the web and what Jesus looked like as a young boy (don't even get me started on that one). Or that Bush was a pothead in college (like we didn't know that - he should start smoking again if you ask me). Anyway, the word is that apparently Hunter Thompson took his life because he couldn't deal with getting old and being in pain.

I can relate.

But luckily, while I agonize over the above as well as my novels and a couple of short stories out there in "should we accept or reject" limbo land, I can live vicariously through my kids. There is a strong rumor that a MAJOR rock star is about to join them on both the soundtrack and in concert but again, I'm sworn to secrecy. All I can tell you is that this is someone I idolized -- have all the CDs/albums/even eight tracks dating back from the seventies...and well, I'd better not say anymore and jinx it. But of course more to follow...

Anyway, the poster above is about some upcoming shows in which my son is performing, and if they're anything like the one in Florida, I cannot wait.

Eric told me it was one of the most awesome shows ever. The sound man at the Broward Center worked for seven years for Pink Floyd among others and he was amazing. The kids opened with a Floyd song - Time - and they all had wireless mics. But of course here's my proud mom moment - they did a verson of the Band's The Weight -- which I have never heard them do; I didn't even know it was in their repertoire; and guess who did the vocals while he played the drums? Damn it! I love the way Eric sings but he rarely does it in concert. He told me he aced the song and had Stevie and Madison singing harmonies with him. They also did a killer version of Almost Cut My Hair and Fil did the vocals.

Another cute story was that Eric was doing the opening riffs to a Devo song and he's the only one on stage. So he keeps drumming, and he's looking around, like, where the hell is everyone? Suddenly, those maniacs - Joey, Mike, and Dan, came running down the aisles with their wireless mics screaming ARE WE NOT MEN? or something like that and the crowd went wild.

I hear the audience clapped and screamed throughout - it was completely sold out; they were all strangers -- no family or friends, and it was an amazing experience. I've of course been scouting all of the Florida newspapers to see if anyone reviewed them, and you know if I find something, I'll post it here.

Why, why, why did I miss what probably would have been my favorite classic rock All-Star show? But Eric tells me there will be more of that at the shows listed above in NJ and NY, so I really can't wait.

He also told me a hilarious story about getting lost in the van with Uber Lord Paul for three hours looking for fun and games in South Beach after the show...nuff said about that.

Another bizarre tale concerns the airport in Atlantic City where they boarded the plane for Florida. When Madison was asked to remove her shoes and she said "Aw, do I have to?", over the loudspeaker came "SHOE REFUSAL, SHOE REFUSAL". Then, when Eric put his duffel bag through the x-ray machine, alarms started ringing because he had his cowbell in it. The security crew removed it, held it up, and said WHAT IS THIS?

Yeah, he plans to bring down the plane and take over the world with a cowbell.

But anyway, Eric told them what it was, and they said "Oh, is this your know, what you play?"


So he explained further, even though he really didn't want to, and they started asking the usual lame questions: Oh, you guys are musicians, do you like being musicians, etc. etc.

Get used to it, Eric. The world is stupid and they get even stupider when faced with "celebrities".

In Julie news, she's still really into her band with Teddi, Eric, and Dan -- they had rehearsal here last night and they're just awesome, but before their practice, she made us dinner. Holy cow - fresh tomato soup with cheddar accompanied by a small plate of home made ravioli (!) stuffed with wild mushrooms in a light cream sauce. I thought I was eating in one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. She's amazing! And woo hoo, I get to take the left overs for lunch today.

And yes, as soon as I'm "allowed", I will be posting more news on Julie's band as well as a separate project Eric has with some other Rock School kids - I'm going to have my first listen to the mixed version of their CD tonight. I hear it's incredible, but then again, why wouldn't it be.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Damn it!

I was of course going to write all about Eric's spectacular experience playing drums at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Florida this weekend but I'm sitting here feeling very shocked and sad right now and unable to think straight.


Legendary US author Hunter S Thompson, a sharp-witted icon of the 1960s counter-culture, has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say.

The 67-year-old writer and journalist, best known for his 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, apparently shot himself at his home at Woody Creek, outside the ski resort of Aspen in the western US state of Colorado.

Thompson's son, Juan, released a family statement to the Aspen Daily News, saying: "Hunter prized his privacy and we ask that his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his family."

Thompson was considered by many to be one of the most important American authors of the 20th century.

The ever-rebellious Thompson was born in the southern state of Kentucky in July 1937 and frequently got into trouble with the law in his early years for drinking and vandalism, spending 60 days in jail on one occasion.

He was enlisted in the US Air Force in 1956 and managed to get assigned as a sports writer for the air base newspaper at Eglin Air Proving Ground in Florida.

But the unsettled youngster quickly became dissatisfied with the rigours of military routine and his high-jinks led to an honorable discharge after only a year in 1957.

He spent several years in Puerto Rico and South America working for various newspapers, mostly as a sports reporter.

In 1963, Thompson wed Sandy Conklin, a union that would last 18 years and produce one child, Juan. He also moved to Woody Creek, where he would spend most of the rest of his life.

Almost always writing in the first person, Thompson flirted with the border between fiction and fact and threw out any attempt at objectivity. His style became known as 'gonzo' journalism and made him a cult figure.

He shot to fame in 1966 after the publication of his book Hell's Angels, the story of his relationship with the then-feared motorcycle gang.

Thompson made his drug and alcohol-fueled antics and clashes with authority the central theme of his work, challenging the conventions of traditional journalism and creating a larger-than-life outlaw persona for himself along the way.

The book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the apocryphal tale of a wild, drug-fuelled weekend spent in the desert gambling hub of Las Vegas by the protagonist Raoul Duke, a thinly disguised version of Thompson.

Thompson claimed at the time that the book and its tales of LSD use were accurate examples of gonzo journalism but later admitted that some of the events in it never took place.

But the stories of his heady experiences earned him a popular reputation as a wild-living, hard-drinking, LSD-crazed writer bent on self-destruction.

The book became the basis for a 1998 Hollywood adaptation, starring Johnny Depp as Thompson's alter-ego, Raoul Duke.

In 1970, Thompson ran for the office of Sheriff in Pitkin, Colorado, campaigning on the "Freak Power" ticket. He lost by a handful of votes.

His other works include Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, a collection articles he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine while covering the election campaign of then-president Richard M Nixon.

Thompson became such an icon that cartoonist Garry Trudeau based the wild character of Duke in his "Doonesbury" comic strip on him.

Thompson is survived to his second wife, Anita Beymunk, whom he married two years ago, his son Juan and a grandson.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday, February 19

In today's news, my son is on his way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida right now to play a completely sold out show at the Broward Center for Performing Arts - that's in excess of 500 seats. Lucky bastard. It's 75 degrees there at the moment as opposed to 17 degrees here. But of course now I'm going into a total panic because I just heard we're getting a snow storm tomorrow just in time for his plane to arrive back in Philadelphia.

Oh well, worrying is what I do best, anyway.

I'm still sitting on some major Eric news but I'm not allowed to blab, just tantalize.

Anyway, I hope to have some additional information about a few different things later...right now I have to clean up after said son. He decided to have an impromptu sleep over here last night prior to leaving for Florida with other boys in the band so I had four of them crashed out overnight in the living room which means four sets of sheets and blankets to toss in the washer and about eighty seven dishes in the sink.

What the fuck, I love it. The kids, that is. The housework...feh. If it were up to me, I'd throw the blankets and dishes out rather than deal with cleaning them, but you know, that would be childish.

Or would it...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Eric and Rock School in Long Island Press...

In today's Long Island, NY Press - my son's prolific one sentence following an hour long interview. Ha! But still very, very cool.

The Original School of Rock Comes to New York
Jesse Serwer 02/16/2005 11:26 am

It's early Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, and a bunch of rocker types are discussing the merits of Jethro Tull and Devo, pondering the significance of how many Google hits their own bands get, and just generally hanging out.

All of a sudden, the crew gets the word: It's showtime. The group's ringleader—a short man with wild, bugged-out eyes and a beer gut protruding from his Led Zeppelin shirt—places his hand against that of a little boy who will later be running around the room with a pair of drumsticks, and tells the child's mother, "He's a drummer all right."

It's not the precocious 5-year-old but his reserved older sister that Paul Green is interested in selling to, though, and he begins making his pitch to 12-year-old Ilana Roth and her parents.

"Isn't this a cool place? Don't you want to hang out here?"

It's open-house day at the newly minted New York City branch of the Paul Green School of Rock, a loft space-turned-musical playground in Hell's Kitchen that opens for business this week, and is the latest in a chain of nine similar schools opened by the Philadelphia-based Green. By April 1, Green plans to have his 6- to 17-year-old students—many of whom, like Ilana Roth, have never played a rock song before in their life—tackling Pink Floyd's The Wall. On May 13 they play their first show at the Tribeca Rock Club.

"You know the show South Park -- Crank Yankers -- His band was on those shows," Green tells a young guitar player, gesturing to Dave Dreiwitz, the bassist of Ween, and one of several notable artists who will be giving lessons and helping Green run the New York school (the others include Guided by Voices drummer Kevin March, drummer Claude Coleman of Ween and Eagles of Death Metal, and Eddie "Eyeball" Cisneros of 2 Skinnee J's).

"Wouldn't you rather have a teacher who goes on tour, comes back and tells you stories about what it's like as opposed to some guy that's all washed up?"

While his natural ability to talk kids' language might make Green seem like the perfect babysitter, he lets his potential students know right away he means business.

"I am not nice," Green says. "You just think I am because your parents are here. Once they leave...."

If you think that the idea is inspired by Jack Black's 2004 hit comedy, School of Rock, then you have it backwards. The Paul Green School of Rock actually dates back to 1998 when Green, a self-described "bitter, failed musician" who was offering guitar lessons at a Philadelphia music store, decided to start bringing his students to his band's practice space. Before long, Green was molding groups of kids—average age 14—into full-fledged Led Zep and Pink Floyd cover bands, and performing with them at area clubs and art spaces.

"At first, I thought no one else could do what I do," says Green, whose résumé includes playing guitar in Philly metal acts Sweet Pussy and Apollo Creed, as well as time spent in the Jersey Shore cover-band circuit. "Then I let my staff run the program when I went to Germany. After the sour grapes, I realized that I had created a system that gives confidence and a positive, meaningful experience to our alienated, MTV youth culture."

With investment capital from some wealthy students' parents, Green began opening up satellite schools in Philly suburbs before heading to New Jersey's Bergen County, then San Francisco. Concurrent to the Hell's Kitchen open house, an associate of Paul's is greeting prospective students at the new School of Rock in Salt Lake City.

"We hope to open as many as 25 new schools in the next two years in all the cool cities, and their suburbs," says Green, who will make the trek up to Manhattan from Philadelphia to teach twice a week. He lists Brooklyn, Nassau County and Westchester among the locations he and CEO Jake Szufnarowski are currently scouting. "Someone is going to get the idea to open schools of rock all over the place. It might as well be us."

Green is just back from the Sundance Film Festival, where Rock School, a documentary on the School of Rock, screened to favorable reviews, and where kids from the "Rock School All-Stars"—a group of Philly program veterans who tour and perform about 150 shows annually—got to jam with Alice Cooper.

"A lot of the movie reviews called me a failed artist," says Green. "Which I am. I am very bitter and I live vicariously through the kids. I didn't want to do what it takes to be a rock star in the '90s. I didn't want to hang out with Fred Durst or Carson Daly. I wanted to hang out with Joni Mitchell."

So, while Green likes to call himself the kids' "Überlord," his All-Stars have already soared to heights their mentor never made it to. In addition to Cooper, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, Heart's Ann Wilson and Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan all make appearances alongside the All-Stars on Rock School's soundtrack; they'll play alongside Zappa sideman Ike Willis at a March 5 Zappa cover set in New Jersey.

"We did a 19 shows on the west coast last summer, we're doing a 19-day tour in Europe this summer, we might go to Japan," Green tells his potential students. "We've been in Spin magazine. We are doing a lot for you, so we ask that this be pretty high on your priority list. It should be school, family, then rock school."

A number of Green's original students now work for their mentor, giving lessons at the Philly-area schools.

"Paul's long-term dream is a music scene of real rock 'n' roll that erupts from the rock school rather than the pop rock that is dominating the radio," says Eric Slick, a 17-year-old college freshman and School of Rock All-Star who teaches drums at the Philly headquarters. "He wants to save rock 'n' roll."

Near the end of the open house, things are moving slowly. Only seven kids have enrolled in the program Green expects will soon hold 180. "The only advertising we did is we brought brochures to our show at B.B. King's in December. This is kind of what we wanted—kids who have already seen the shows, so they know what to expect. They will tell their friends. When kids sign up, they usually stay until they graduate high school."

Sensing his newly hired staff might be a little concerned, though, Green pulls them aside.

"You guys understand this is a start-up business, right? I would rather hire a good staff than a skeleton crew. We'll just jam the rest of the time."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Some stuff...

That's Don Argott, director of Rock School, filming Julie for a scene in the movie.

So the film premiers exactly two months from today. Am I excited? Uh...a little.

Julie and Eric are both at Studio 4 right now as we speak, recording Zappa's Inca Roads for the soundtrack. How cool is that.

Meanwhile, Eric has a tough life. While the rest of us spend depressing February in cold, gray Philadelphia, here's how he's spending this weekend: 11:45 Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He's staying at the Marriot Marina Hotel
and then playing a set at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts .
He's doing an awesome classic rock set and it starts at 7:30 so if you're in the Fort Lauderdale area, he's worth checking out.

Eric may have some other exciting, interesting, even shocking news soon but I'm not saying a word until it's confirmed. But one thing for sure - he's interviewed in the Long Island, New York Press and it will be on line and in print this Thursday so you know I'll be posting a link for that when it's published. The interview is in conjunction with the grand opening of the NYC Rock School and Eric got the honors because he's now the student in attendance the longest out of like hundreds...he was one of the original fourteen and all of the rest of those kids are all in college now though a few left before "graduation". Funny, I didn't realize that he was the elder statesman but of course got immediately nostalgic again for the good old days at pre-corporate Rock School when we were like one big rag tag family who had barbecues and played baseball together, etc.

That's the hardest thing about being an adult. You realize things change and there's not a fucking thing you can do about it. Worse, you've got to accept it.

Oh what the hell. I still have a good time.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I may not personally be a fan of Valentines Day...

...but my publisher is

Take advantage of this sale and get my book at a reduced rate here

Also, please send me your proof of purchase, credit card info blocked out of course, to For every 25 books sold, I'm holding a raffle, with the prize being a $25.00 Victoria Secret gift certificate or, if you can't use that, a gift certificate to a store/restaurant, etc. of your choice.

I'm not that far from print benchmark and I'm counting on the support of my friends here to help me get Three Days in print and in a store near you!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My tribute to Valentines Day (bleh)

Yeah, I hate Valentines Day and all other commercial Hallmark holidays.

But I do like this piece of art which is called "Two Broken Hearts".

Friday, February 11, 2005

Nymphs and other news...

Literary Nymphs gave me a five nymph review for Three Days in New York City.

In case that link doesn't work, here it is:

Date: January 22, 2005
Title: Three Days in New York City
Author: Robin Slick
Publisher: Phaze
ISBN: 1-59426-504-6
Genre: BDSM, Women's Fiction
Rating: 5 Nymphs
Reviewed by: Kira Stone

Summary: Elizabeth lives the life desired by so many. A devoted husband, two fine sons and a job as a high-priced lawyer that nets her enough to buy the extras that turn life from a drab existence into a pleasure. Why then is Elizabeth so unhappy? Why then does she feel like a stranger in her own house, among her closest family?

To find the answer, Elizabeth experiments with cyber sex and quickly finds a man to set her body aflame. The book actually starts with her arranging for a wicked NYC weekend with another attorney from London, Richard.

Richard does drive Elizabeth to some sexual, and emotional, places she'd never before experienced. But she doesn't discover the true kernel of her discontent until she meets up with a second cyber-buddy, Rob. Rob is not the cyber-slut that Richard is, but Elizabeth is very drawn to him. She finds he's living the life she gave up when she sacrificed her art for a stable, corporate job. He encourages her to do the same, leaving all she knows for the creative life she'd once dreamed about.

It doesn't take Elizabeth long to decide that getting a divorce, quitting her job, and moving to NYC is what she wants more than anything. A change that is far easier to say than to put into practice. She knows she will not be able to walk away from her family, her responsibilities without terrible heartache. What to do about her new revelations is a question she takes home, and only time will tell how her Three Days in New York City will impact the rest of her life.

Review: Amusing. Honest. Wicked. Three Days in New York City, published by Phaze, uses with these three words as the foundation upon which a wonderfully compelling story is built. Told from the first person perspective, it is impossible not to fall into the mind and body of the very realistic forty-something heroine as she learns more about herself in three days than most women learn in a lifetime. I strongly recommend you give this book by Ms. Slick a try. The last page will definitely leave you begging for more.

Buy it here


So thank you, Kira, I really appreciate that most excellent review. It was awesome of you.

In other news, I actually got to talk to Martin Bayne on the phone this morning. It was incredibly cool -- he's a very, very interesting man. We may end up collaborating on something which would be amazing. Amazing for me, that is -- I hope Martin knows what he's getting himself into. I could say a lot more and I probably will but first I'd better see if it's okay with Mr. Bayne.

Work was horrific today but I didn't jump out any windows...well, wait, to be honest it's because we can't open them, but still.

And um, in the middle of all the office insanity, I heard from another agent today. She likes the book.

I'm trying not to hyperventilate.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

M.K. Bayne

As I've mentioned on a few occasions, for the past four years I've been a member of an international on line writing group 65,000 members strong. I've met incredible people from all over the world and have had the pleasure of meeting many in the real world as well.

A few days ago, in a private office I'm in on the site which is limited to discussions about agents and publishers, I met a man named Martin Bayne. Here's his biography:

Martin Bayne took a leave of absence as a 19-year-old journalist and began training as a novitiate in a Soto Zen Buddhist monastery. Within five years, he received the Dharma Transmission from his teacher, the Very Reverend Jiyu-Kennet, Roshi and returned to the secular world.

There, he would begin his "traditional" studies, including completion of post-graduate work in at MIT, under the guidance of, among others, Nobel Laureates David Baltimore and Philip Sharp.

In the late 1980's, he brought the crisis of eldercare into the light of day by publishing what would become the Internet's largest web site on long-term care, 10 years running. His interviews included President Jimmy Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Ram Dass, Dr. Andrew Weil and baseball legend Harmon Kilibrew.

He was also co- founder (with Kevin J Johnson) and CEO of New York Long-Term Care Brokers, the state's premiere long-term care insurance firm.

Today, at 54, courtesy of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease, he is confined to his bed in an assisted living facility in Albany, NY, where he continues to induldge in his greatest love - writing short stories.

"You have what so few writers do: real passion. When you write, the keyboard is on fire." - Mike Vitez, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer

"I want to thank Martin for his commitment to improving long-term care and to educating the public about the great need for affordable quality care in this country." - Hillary Rodham Clinton

Dear Martin, I have tears streaming down my face. Your story did for me exactly what a short story is supposed to do - it hit me down deep where I really want to live and so rarely get to. It’s why I read them. It gave me entertainment, hope, joy, sadness, and pleasure. In a few minutes, in a few hundred words, my life has improved, my day made, just because you decided to tell me a story. - Mark Whalen
"Everything we write brings us closer to drafting the first chapter of that most precious of all books, our autobiography." -Martin K. Bayne.


Anyway, Martin posted a request in said private office that because he is unable to do so himself, he was wondering if there were any services who would submit his wonderful stories to publishers/magazines for him. Some authors on the site responded by saying that there were a few companies that might provide these services, but basically, I thought the hell with Martin having to pay someone, I could easily submit his stuff for him so I dropped him an email accordingly.

He responded today by sending me this link to a new story he'd written, and to say I'm teary eyed at the moment is putting it mildly. Please click on the link, and while you're there, stay for a while and savor his other amazing work.

Zen For Tough Guys

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I interrupt my usual broadcast to annouce:

My novel is now available at Fictionwise.

I'm not that far away from reaching print benchmark, meaning, Three Days in New York will soon be an actual paperback sold in actual stores with a little help from my friends.

I'm not above begging, bribing, you name it.


Back to your regular programming.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Super Bowl Part IV - (oh well)

I really thought today's post was going to deal with the big party and parade we'd be having here in Philadelphia in celebration of the Eagles' Super Bowl win yesterday.

Oh well.

Instead I will post a picture of what Julie fed us during the meal - Indonesian chicken - skewers of boneless chicken breast which we dipped in the most incredible sauce I've ever eaten - a Julie Slick invention - coconut, peanuts, ginger, garlic, onion, and other interesting spices.

For dessert we had sliced fruit - these beautiful perfect ruby raspberries, banannas, apples, red pears - that we dipped in another Julie Slick creation - creme fraiche with cinnamon and vanilla.

And then we watched the game and got nauseous.

Well, the one good thing is, I have absolutely no appetite at all today.

Oh, in closing, let me add that much to my surprise, Sir Paul McCartney was awesome at the half time show - probably the best half time concert ever. And this is coming from a woman who has considered Paul and Ringo her least favorite Beatles...I'm the big Lennon and Harrison fan who thinks Paul was never even close to ever being in their league. But last night, his choice of songs, other than Live and Let Die (feh, feh, feh) were amazing and he executed them really well. I don't think he did any lip syncs but my daughter the bassist said no way was he playing that bass while he sang. I'm pretty sure he did really play the piano on Hey Jude and having the audience sing along with the chorus was a nice touch although at one point the camera panned in on this African American kid who looked like "What the fuck? I ain't singing along with this shit."

Hahahaha - I don't like sing-a-longs, either. I always hated, even when I was a teenager attending rock concerts, when bands tried to make the audience participate. Screw that. I just wanted to sit in my seat and enjoy the music, not fucking sing (and trust me, no one wants to hear me sing anyway) or even clap along. I needed my hands free for that beer, smoke, etc. etc.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowl Part III - more pre-game

Gina Randazzo

Gretchen Wilson

The Fox pre-game show continues to freak me out -- it's been non-stop on T.V. like the last 48 hours -- but c'mon, give me a break, I live in Philadelphia and we haven't had a team in the Superbowl in 24 years so I gotta watch it.

I just saw a pre-game performance by a Grammy nominated singer, Gretchen Wilson, and giggled because she looked like a less attractive and sounded like a less talented version of Rock School's former All-Star (now graduated) Gina Randazzo. Gretchen wore tight jeans and even stood like Gina and made Gina gestures. But oh my god, if this chick is nominated for a Grammy, wait until the world gets a load of Gina.

Man, she's gonna be such a star.

In less appetizing news, I also got to see Sir Paul McCartney do a duet with former Pittsburgh Steeler now loud obnoxious fuckwit Fox Announcer Terry Bradshaw. Oh my god, they butchered She Loves You. But worse, and even more embarrasing, was when they showed footage of Paul and Terry doing a duet the last time Paul played the Superbowl - they did A Hard Days Night, and Terry got all dyslexic and sang (loudly:

It's been a hard days night
and I've been working like a log
It's been a hard days night
I should be sleeping like a dog.



Okay, now Clinton and former President Bush and doing some kind of right before the game speech. Oh wait, it's for tsunami relief. Okay. I can deal with that.

Anyway, Julie's about to bring out our next course. All I know is, it's "Indonesian".

Super Bowl Part II , or my tribute to John Fogerty

Oh man, John Fogerty rules! He just played two songs live on the Fox Pre-pre-pre game show for the Super Bowl in front of trillions of people worldwide and what does he come out singing? Fortunate Son and Bad Moon Rising - a big fuck to you every Republican and Bush supporter everywhere.

For those of you unenlightened, here are the lyrics to each:


Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays hail to the chief,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord,

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no,

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yoh,

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, one.

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son, no no no!



I see a bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Now, it may be me, but I swear, instead of saying "there's a bad moon on the rise, he deliberately said "there's a bad moon on the RIGHT". (No, not bathroom on the right, ha ha, but just the word RIGHT)

But Fortunate Son, man, that was blatant. Long live John Fogerty!

Super Bowl Sunday

Julie is in charge of the Super Bowl menu today. We're having "small plates" all day long and here's the first batch. Homemade blackbean salsa with cilantro, lime, chopped tomatoes; really sick homemade guacamole; little balls of fresh mozzarella that sit in basil boats drizzled with imported olive oil and topped with a grape tomato; thinly grilled salami chips, and cubes of another mild Italian cheese with walnuts.

Green and red grapes to clear the palate.

Oh god, and this is just round one.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Latest gossip...

So, today's news:

(1) If anyone is around the Philadelphia area tonight, try and make it to Indre Studios at 8th and Reed Streets for an awesome Steely Dan tribute. My son on drums; my daughter's boyfriend Matt on bass and for both of them, it's wind down time and their second or third to the last Rock School shows since they are of course both in college now.

(2) The Flash Fiction project which recently accepted my stories Last Supper and Dreaming of Flying for publication is looking better and better. Here's the latest on that: Cafe will feature two styles of coffee mugs : an 11 ounce white and an 11 ounce morph mug. The morph mug is either blue or black when cool, and turns white when hot to reveal the flash fiction story. Writers will receive a $1.00 royalty for each white mug sold and $2.00 royalty for each morph mug sold. The sale prices will be $10.00 and $15.00 (USD) respectively. Customers will be able to pay using Paypal, Visa or by check or money order. The Cafe is in progress, and should open this month. Thank you to everyone who submitted stories. A list of accepted stories will follow here soon.

(You know I'll be posting that link when it's up ha ha and also hawking coffee cups)

(3) A few more very well respected agents have expressed serious interest in my book, The Tour, via e-mail over the last few days. I'm going to be low key about that news for the moment because I don't want to jinx myself.

(4) Go Eagles! I can't believe Philadelphia has a team in the Super Bowl. We're having a party at our house - anyone who wants to come, just let Julie and Eric know because we'll be cooking insane goodies all day (Julie is in charge of the menu and that girl can really come up with some incredible food) and shooting off fireworks afterwards when they win!

But here's how oblivious I am -- I'm riding home in a cab yesterday past LOVE park (a small pretty former skate boarding park in downtown Philly, home of the famous LOVE statue) and I notice that all of the street lights in the park are lit up green with tiny white lights around the posts. I think to myself "Hmm..they're decorating really early for St. Patrick's Day this year, aren't they?"

Oy. I'm not even Irish. And I watch the Eagles every Sunday. (If you don't know from sports, the Eagles wear green). I'm even wearing that stupid Go Green Lance Armstrong rubber band around my wrist for the past couple of weeks for good luck.

So why I didn't put two and two together can only mean one thing: I am focused on my writing! Yay!

(though it's more likely because I still have a horrible head cold...)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I didn't know these photos existed...

Man, I love Google. I just found all these pics of the kids in concert, two of which are my daughter at her Rock School graduation...the final show she played at the TLA. All graduating kids get a portrait done by Tom Lessner, the incredible artist who does all the Rock School posters, and the portrait then hangs on the Wall of Fame at the school. Of course you can see Paul in that first one, about to make the presentations.

Actually, I had to really shrink these down to fit here and there's a whole slew of really great photos of all the other kids as well. So here's the link. Enjoy!

Today's news

Another great Rock School performance photo - Keyboard wizard Allie Hauptman on vocals performing at the TLA in Philadelphia.

Sorry about the lag in posting - this has been the winter from hell for me. Another freaking head cold. What am I doing wrong? Oh yeah. Right. Not exercising and pigging out on "illegal" food.

Anyway, here's the latest.

I got an email from an agent today, asking for the first 100 pages of The Tour, so I'm pretty psyched about that.

And along those lines, here's the most recent news article published on the upcoming soundtrack. I'm not sure where this comes from - it's a Sonic something or other website:

The Paul Green School Rock was founded in 1998, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. There are currently 9 branches of The Paul Green School of Rock: Philadelphia, Downingtown, and Bucks County, PA; Sommers Point, Cherry Hill, and Bergen County, NJ; New York City; San Francisco; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Another round of rollouts is planned for September 2005, and will include Austin Texas, Portland Oregon, Los Angeles CA, and Las Vegas, NV.

The Paul Green School of Rock was the apparent inspiration for the hugely successful Jack Black film ‘The School of Rock’, as it’s existence preceded the movie by 5 years and had already been the subject of a VH-1 pilot filmed in 2003. VH-1 is owned by Viacom, which in turn owns Paramount, who produced 'School of Rock’.

Green’s school is now the subject of the upcoming feature documentary 'Rock School.' which top indy distributor NewMarket Films has acquired for worldwide distribution rights. There will be a wide domestic release in March 2005 right after its premier at the famed Sundance Film Festival. ‘Rock School’ has 6 screenings scheduled for Sundance, as well as a live performance by the School of Rock All-Stars, featuring a guest appearance by Alice Cooper.

Following the theatrical and DVD run, A&E has purchased the Television rights to the film. Negotiations are also currently under way for a television series to follow, as well as with Warner/Chapel for a line of School of Rock Instructional DVD's.

The finishing touches are currently being put on the Rock School Soundtrack, to be released on Jive/Zomba, a division of Universal Records. The album is being produced by Paul Green and famed Philadelphia producer Phil Nicolo (The Fugees, Cypress Hill), and will feature the School of Rock All-Stars performing with various rock icons including Jon Anderson (Yes) Alice Cooper, Dave Mustane (Megadeath), Ann Wilson (Heart), and Billy Idol.

To Date, The Paul Green School of Rock has played over 350 concerts. Some of our highlights include: The Wildflower Festival, The Zappanale Festival, The LA Film Festival, and performances at The Knitting Factory (LA+NY), BB Kings (NYC), The Big Easy (Spokane and Boise), the Trocadero and TLA (Philly), and Slims and Cafe DuNord (SF).

The Paul Green School of Rock has been featured in/on: CNN, The NY Times, SPIN Magazine, Tracks Magazine, MTV's TRL, The London Obsever, and Reuters, as well as dozens of local articles and TV segments across the country. During a recent run of concerts featuring the music of Frank Zappa, the School Of Rock All Stars were joined on stage by such touring pros as Ike Willis, Jimmy Carl Black, Don Preston, Napoleon Murphy Brock, and Mike Keneally, all members of his various nationally known touring bands.

For more info on The School of Rock All-Stars, the film and soundtrack, plus the schools and their extensive programs visit

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Some writing stuff

So, I came downstairs at dawn this morning to two great surprises. First, there's an awesome review of Three Days in New York City appearing in today's Blue Iris Journal which has me really thrilled.

Second, and I'm pretty stoked about this, my short story "Dreaming of Flying" has been accepted at Flash Fiction, where it will end up, in the words of its publisher as follows: "If your flash is published here it will also embark upon a journey unlike any your words have before...once permanently imprinted to ceramic coffee mugs your story will be bubble-wrapped and boxed for a trip to perhaps Australia or China, or simply to a cafe on 52nd street in New York. In its new home your flash will bond with a homo sapien - that's right, with a homo, sapien, who will not only read the story on numerous occasions, but will mindfully wash and polish your story so it continues to shine for future drinking's and readings. There will be no tattered pages or dusty bookshelves for your story, although in the environs of some it may sit abandoned in a clumsy sink or dishwasher, awaiting human intervention. And I might as well tell you now, in the hands of some your story may be introduced to a shot of Kuluah in the coffee or perhaps in Russia a toss of vodka and cream with the above. In any case, your flash will maintain its integrity, remain intact for inspiration or entertainment, for the pure joy of reading to experience anthers' take on these journeys we call life. So the call for submissions comes to a conclusion this weekend. The deadline January 31, 2005 looms in the very near distance, like a ring of tawdry Mardi Gras beads in the hands of an overzealous masquerader."

So, that works for me. My story on a coffee cup distributed internationally. I dig that concept, especially as I drink eight cups of the stuff a day. Even better, I get paid for this. It occurs to me that I really can call myself a writer now - I earned enough money in 2004 via my addiction (yep, won some contests, got paid for some short stories, etc.) to have to declare it on my tax return.

Finally, Monkeybicycle lit mag will be running a series of one sentence stories which will be published any day and they took one of mine, only they haven't told me which one, because I sent two, and the editor told me he hadn't decided because he liked them both. Of course I was dying to bug him and say Why not take them both ha ha but I stayed quiet for once so as soon as I find out and it is published, I'll post a link. Or you could keep checking every five minutes via the link above like I do. (yes, yes, it's already been established I'm pathetic)

Anyway, that's the writing news for today. I'm so busy being obnoxious proud Mom I forget sometimes I have an identity of my own. (heh...just kidding. I'm so into being proud obnoxious Mom I may have a t-shirt printed up)