A tumor the size of a grapefruit.I saw it on the x-ray, filling the space between his liver, his spleen, and his stomach.Perhaps encroaching on his lungs as well.Suffocating Kilgore Trout from the inside out.
At first we thought it was a reaction to Previcox.A drug given to him just about four weeks ago to help with his hips.He was having the worst time walking, this glorious pup who would jump, would bounce, like on a trampoline whenever he saw me.
(watch the clip that now opens my website as proof…it’s 45 seconds that will make you smile.)
At first the drug did wonders, until he stopped eating, starting vomiting.Side effects all, so many serious side effects.How could this fucking killer pill be on the market?
I am angry.I am seething.I know Previcox did not kill my dog, but it certainly didn’t help there in the end.A shot of Pepcid did for a while.But still the appetite nowhere near the vacuum cleaner-like enthusiasm with which he used to eat.Less and less every day.And the vomiting returned.Bile, from his mostly empty stomach.
More Pepcid.But it didn’t seem to help this time.Finally a trip to the vet.You could see it in her face as she checked him stomach.Perhaps we should get him x-rayed…now.The normally busy hospital would take us NOW.
So I dropped my wife at home so she could tend to our other dog, and drove Kilgore down to Central Hospital in New Haven.It was quick.He sat by my feet afterwards as I waited on word.The receptionist said the vet wanted to speak with me.She gave me the news.None of it good.
How long does he have? I asked.A few days, was the response.Or perhaps to the beginning of next week.(This was a Thursday.)The x-ray technician showed me the tumor.It was massive.All encompassing.There was nothing to do but make him comfortable during his last few days.
But a small meal of Kentucky Fried Chicken pulled from a breast was all he could manage.A few strips of it really.And a little water to follow.That would be his last meal.My dog who could eat anything and everything, from a full edition of the Sunday New York Times to financial magazines (he especially loved to “tear into” MONEY and KIPLINGER’S) to, well…anything he could find in the yard., gross or not.
Whenever I put a 12-pack of beer away, he’d wait patiently, then snatch the empty box as I pulled out the last beer and put it into the fridge.Then he’d play keep-away with it, or tug-of war.Or he’d lie right down and start ripping it to confetti. He especially loved Rolling Rock boxes.
But he could eat anything and everything, always without repercussion.Now, nothing…
He walked around on his own on Friday.Venturing out into the yard, up on the couch with a little help.He wagged his tail, but mostly slept a lot.
That night, Friday, what would be his last night (october 24), I slept on the couch with Mr. Trout.Well, he slept on the couch.I was mostly on the coffee table, but that was ok.He rested his chin on my leg, I scratched him behind his ear.
My wife and I kept asking anyone we knew…how would we know when it was time to put him to rest?Well, he told us.
Kilgore got up twice that night, went out into the yard, slowly, but surely.But then came the morning.Almost two days now without food or water.And when it came time for him to go outside, he made it through the door, but had to lie down after only a few steps.He couldn’t get up.We knew…
We had already made an appointment at the vet for Saturday morning.Originally for a check up to see if there was anything else we could do.But now I needed to call them, and change the appointment until late in the day.The last appointment of the day.
He couldn’t really walk, so I carried my friend out to my Jeep and laid him down in the back.And, the three of us took his final ride.My wife sat in the back with him, as I went into the vet office to make sure everything was ready.Then I carried him in and laid him on the table.
After a while the vet came in an asked if we were ready.No, how could anyone ever be ready?But I knew he was in pain, I knew he was so tired, and I certainly didn’t want that thing inside of him to burst.
He lay, as he always did at night, two paws straight out in front, his chin resting perfectly centered between them.I squatted down so that I was nose-to-nose with my friend.He never took his eyes off me as the doctor administered the drug that would put him to sleep.
When his eyes finally closed, I kissed his head. Something he so hated until a few weeks ago.I’d always do it at night, and he rub at the top of his head with his paws as if I’d given him cooties, or something.It was a ritual.But he was wagging tail.And in my heart I always believed he was perhaps embarrassed in front of the other dogs, like why was I kissing his head in public?
But this would be the last time I’d get to kiss the top of Kilgore’s head.
Goodnight, my sweet prince, perhaps one day we’ll meet up on the other side.
Recently I posted an ad looking for musicians to score my new film, and/or to provide additional songs for the sountrack.I wanted to see what was out there.
One particular West Coast musician responded and provided two links, neither of which I could get to play.I wrote back and said as much, asking politely for another link.As a response I am told that my computers are not working properly and/or perhaps I don’t know how to use them.But the bright young lad does provide a working link this time.After hearing the music, I write back telling his thanks but it’s not really what I’m looking for…I had in the ad requested a Replacements-like sound, i.e. drunken bar music…guitar based rock n roll.(He seemed to overlook the description of what is was looking for.)
This musician in question responds, telling me that I should have known that because of his training classical music he could write a drunken rock song in his sleep…anyone could.
Now, yes, I should have lived by my asshole rule.Instead I rightfully argued that no one genre of music was easier or harder than the next if done to perfection.That “Here Comes A Regular” by the Mats was just as hard to create as any piece by Bach, Chopin, whomever.I also tried to (again politely) inform the musician that when attempting to get a job attacking the potential employer is not the best way to go about it.
Of course this unleashed a torrent.My films sucks.My novels suck.Lots of big words, like a 5-year-old jacking off with a thesaurus.He just knew from the ad that FWB sucked.(Not really sure why he answered the ad if that was the case.)The emails get longer and longer, despite my one line replies.I finally tell the asshole in question I don’t read long emails.I don’t.This is a fact, a rule, that I live by.I simply refuse to.If you can’t say it in a couple of lines, then don’t bother saying it at all.Or pick up the goddamn phone.Yet he continues writing these thesis-length missives, of which I read the first line, then delete…and delete again…until I finally block his email.
Of course, instead of listening, instead of taking a hint, he throws a tantrum, and writes me from another email address.It’s another long one.Didn’t read it.As soon as I realized who sent it, I reported it as spam.Hopefully the spam police beat him to death with their billy clubs.Save me the effort.
I guess this leads me to ask, why?Can a musician in a band (note, I never insulted his music, though I might say now he listened to a little too much Emerson Lake and Palmer in the womb) whose claim to fame is a MySpace profile really think that much of themselves?Does one really believe a degree from any university makes their shit not stink?Does any musician worth the weight of their string actually believe their genre of music is the hardest?And hold other genres in little respect?(Really now, to write a great piece of music, no matter the genre, takes a lifetime of pain, or experience.And to think otherwise is nothing short of, well, a racism of sorts…genre-ism…bigotry…the MySpace lad might as well wear a white sheet over his head ready to lynch the blues, rock, CW, folk, etc., and so on.)
I hope not.Because if this were true we are in a sadder shape than even I first believed.
OK…locked the cut of FWB.Sent it off to Sundance.Fingers crossed.Still need to work more on the score, need to do the sound mix, tweak the color…(it never ends…making a film is like having a child)
Speaking of children…there’s been a producer trying to turn my last book UNWOUND into a feature for some time now.And it looked like it was finally going to happen.A lot of Canadian tax credit funding crap…and with a decent leading lady on board.The only hitch: the leading man.Now Iknow how difficult it is to make a featyre, especially on a limited budget, so I try to remain open to casting possibilities.When the list of potential leading men was presented to me, I approved all but one, Billy Zane.
Why?Well, I directed Zane in my film THE KISS.Every day (EVERY FUCKING DAY) he’d show up on set with his scenes completely rewritten.I’m not talking about a few line changes here and there.I’m saying nothing remained of the old scene, not even its intent.Instead there were pages of mind-numbingly dumb dialog which had nothing to do with the story we were trying to tell.When I would explain to Zane that I appreciated his effort, but we were shooting the scene as written, and that he had over a month to address any potential problems he might have had with the script, he’d sulk, he’d moan, and our spineless producer would give in.
When I’d try to explain to Zane that the caps and hats he insisted on wearing in EVERY FUCKING SCENE looked silly at best, and gay at worst (not that there’s anything wrong with that, except that the character he was playing was not gay), he’d throw another mini-tantrum and refuse to take it off.
Twice on set I had to be restrained from lunging at him.Not that to beat the living crap out of him would have done anything other than get me fired.Instead I stood back and allowed him and the producer to destroy my film.
So when the producer of UNWOUND finally admitted that Zane would be the one she could get and that her backers would approve, I said NO.The check wasn’t worth it.I wasn’t going back in time.I had made YOU ARE ALONE and now FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) to take the vile taste of THE KISS out of my mouth.(When I signed on for THE KISS I thought I was making a cool romantic drama with Eliza Dushku and Terence Stamp. I didn’t realize that the producer was just in fact making a $3 million demo reel for his wife…but that’s another rant.)
Life is too short to deal with assholes.A good rule to live by.
I LOVE the new poster design for “Friends (with benefits).”I offered up the chance to design it to a few graphic students, and came away with a number of great ideas, none better than the final choice.It just pops.It makes me want to see the film.Just hope the damn movie can live up to the poster.
I need to learn to delegate…to not try and take on everything myself.That’s always been a problem for me, finding people whom I can trust, people who kick ass with what they do, work-a-fucking-holics.I know a couple…but they are so few and far between.
Next I begin the process of finding someone to replace Matthew Ryan to do the score for Friends.He’s so busy touring with the new cd…and I understand never having enough time.Hell, he’s got kids!Can’t even imagine.
Did the old CraigsList ad to start.Got deleted as spam or some such nonsense.Reposted.There’s a lot of bad music out there…there’s also a lot of good.Though part of me thinks I should tune up the old Tele and just let her rip.I can certainly do stark.And lord knows, I’ve got all the extra time in the world.
I guess “time” is the theme today.Never enough, unless your staring at the wall.Then time stands still.Then time wants to hang.Time wants to be your fucking best friend when you’re ready to slit your wrists.It’s there for you.
When you think of it that way, time is like the biggest asshole of all time.The insincere frat boy with date-rape face.And yet there are people out there who make a movie or more every year without fail.Who write a novel, sometimes two, every year without fail.Have they ever met time?Or are they just better at managing it?Can they simply afford people to do their work for them?Or perhaps they have no life outside of work.I’ve certainly been accused of that.Guilty as charged.
But it was nice not to spend a lot of time on the Friends poster and be in love with it.Be proud of it.Be happy that is was the face of my film.
I’m sure I’ll be happy with the music when I find the right composer, the right musician…again.Until then I’ll envy the dust clinging for dear life to my Fender’s frets.Its safe for the moment…