K

Boo Radley

Arthur

When we got him, he was named Bourbon. Having lost two of my three cats in the previous year, K convinced me that it was time to get some company for Sylvester, my 16-year-old girl cat. At the pound, I found a great little guy named Basil, still mostly a kitten, paid his bail, and arranged to take him home. While I was filling out paperwork, a woman brought in a hissing, yowling ball of gray fur in a carrier.

The woman’s mother had just died, and this was one of her cats. She thought he was around seven years old. I reached in and scratched his neck, and he started to purr and rub against me, forgetting the terrifying situation. I knew that if I walked away from this freaked-out, already geriatric cat, no one would take him and he’d be euthanized within the week. We took him home before he was ever entered in the system.

As soon as I let him out of the carrier, he hid under my bed. And stayed there. For two weeks.

If I scratched him, the same switch flipped, he forgot his fear, and turning into a purring, drooling ball of affection. The rest of the time, he was terrified. We realized he probably had brothers and sisters, and was at a loss without them. K surmised an entire liquor cabinet full of cats to go along with “Bourbon,” a name we were looking to replace.

Remarking on our effort to get him to come out, it was my ex Rebecca who came up with Boo Radley.

One night, I was awakened by something furry slamming its head into my chin. Like his namesake, Boo had come out in the dark and was rubbing his face against mine, purring fiercely. From that first visit in 2002 until last night, Boo slept on me or next to me every night I was in my own bed.

It took another week for him to be comfortable enough to come out and relax during the day, but once he did, I discovered I had the most astoundingly affectionate and loving animal I’d ever seen on my hands. Boo lived for people. Lap. Chin. Shoulder. Face. He just wanted to be on you. He would leap from the ground into your hands to be held.

And then there was food. Boo wanted ALL the food, ALL the time. He once devoured an entire chicken breast – near as we could tell, bones included – in under 90 seconds when I left it unattended. At Thanksgiving, 2002, he attacked the entire raw turkey. Perspective was for lesser mammals.

Sometimes, he had a very mechanical way of moving. He walked like something didn’t work right in his transaxle. He got lost in our old warehouse, and would echo-locate like a bat. Often, we suspected that Boo was actually a mechanical cat piloted by aliens.

This morning, just over 10 years later, I said goodbye. He was ready; an exhausted, wobbly, rail-thin shadow of his former self. K came to say her farewells, and suggested that the aliens had finally learned all they could. Or maybe his batteries just ran out.

All I know is that Arthur “Boo” Radley and I had an amazing decade of borrowed time together, and I’m so glad I was in the pound that morning to benefit – as I so rarely do – from genuine luck.

Damn. Fine. Kitty.

Christ, I’m exhausted.

For the last several days, I’ve been watching eight years of life together disintegrate slowly into boxes and piles as The Ex-Box and the Souvenir get on with the process of packing to move out. No matter how stoic you are (and I’m pretty fucking  stoic, Sunny Jim), there’s a hollow, echoing noise that sounds in your chest when you go to reach for something and find it gone, only to realize it’s been packed in a box to move on as part of another life.

Thank Bob for Amazon. They should have a section designed specifically for men trying to reassemble their lives after a break-up. “All the niggling little shit you’ve forgotten about, but need anyway, in one place!  Oven mitts! Kitchen shears! Paper towel holders!”

 This is a whole specific circle of Hell Dante must have missed. “Here in circle 4.2 are people who need to replace their cutlery drawer organizers because they’ve been dumped.”

On Sunday, Mischief took me away from the chaos on a day trip to Lake Arrowhead. Apart from the fact that California really doesn’t want you anywhere near the actual lake unless you’re a home/boat owner or a member of the fucking yacht club, and our disagreement over the standup comedian she loves that I… didn’t…, it was really nice.

We prowled through the shops, snickered our way through several terrible art galleries (and one very good one), ate the world’s worst excuse for a Belgian waffle ever, and had a generally terrific time. As we drove through around the mountain looking at some of the great old A-frames, she tried to convince me she really did like Corruption.

I don’t buy it.

We stopped at Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse on the way home, and I discovered that the steakhouse of the same name I know from Arizona pre-dates the oldest California restaurant by a decade, and is apparently unaffiliated. I suspect it must have been at some point.

Today has been largely dedicated to chores, arranging the pickup of various pieces of furniture from myriad locations around the Valley, and going to pick up more furniture from CraigsList. After carrying a fullsize sofabed/couch solo on my back to get it to the truck, I’m a wee bit knackered.

Hopefully, tomorrow, I will be able to find a, eye of quiet in the ongoing hurricane to appease the monkey which clings eternally to my back and edit.

I think my body just told me to get off of its lawn.

As I mentioned, James Deen and Joanna Angel hired me to light and shoot their June feature, Doppelgänger (last I heard), a horror comedy in which Joanna’s fantastically un-lifelke blow-up doll comes to life and tries to kill her. It would be completely incorrect to say they shoot features like I do. Their approach is very different, but their passion and commitment are the same, a rare occurrence in porn, so I was happy to give it my all.

Any time you’re trying to make something good with the tiny amount of money the business affords to features, it means long, hard shoot days. It’s one of the reasons so few mainstream people can truly hack it in porn. This business is broke, and having a work ethic that means you start phoning it in at hour 13 unless someone is offering overtime just doesn’t cut it. Anyone in the business who does features will tell you that looking at the wrong side of an 18-hour day just ain’t that uncommon.

After we wrapped late last night, J&J bought us all dinner which was a great gesture. They really are good people, and I like them both a lot. We’re talking about how to make their July movie possible on the budget they have. I’m prefectly happy to take that ride with them again next month.

My body had other ideas, though. On Thursday, I shot Naughty America with Ben all day. Thursday night, Mischief & I went on an actual “date” in Hollywood; cruised Amoeba; saw Micmacs (I have a love/lethargy relationshipwith Jeunet — this one I loved); had Thai food; hit Borders; fucked like beasts. Really nice.

Friday was a 16-hour day for Burning Angel, and even though the Goth Biscuit was planning on sleeping at her place, we both decided is was a “wiser” idea for her to sleep at the Shelter so I could wake her up briefly when I got home. Yesterday was another long day of shooting, planning and humping gear. When I’m tired during a shoot, I tend to apply Newton’s laws of motion to myself: An object in motion tends to remain in motion, an object at rest tends to remain at rest.  I think during all of the production on Friday & Saturday I sat down maybe four times.

I walked in the door at around 1:30 a.m., talked to the Ex-Box, the Souvenir and the Photographer in the Attic who were all buzzing over some industry gossip in the kitchen, and then went upstairs. I sat down on the edge of the futon in my office to make some notes annnnnnd…

Yeah. Woke up five hours later, still in my clothes, a ferocious kink in my neck. Needless to say, Uncle Joe is movin’ mighty slow in the Junction today. I’m doing some organizing, maybe some editing, and then going to Allison’s place in Long Beach for the evening, where I will hopefully not be required to move anything heavy or blister my fingers. We’re still finding our way through the minefield of her past relationships, but it’s good. We click.

Tomorrow, I’m chained to the desk again, trying to make headway up the river of Kiss of the Strangler and possibly pulling an all-nighter if I can hack it. Hanging out with all these kids is great until you become an object at rest.

I felt like I was living someone else’s life for a bit there on Friday. At the beginning of the week, Friday had been targeted as an editing day, one in which I could have the kind of sustained, uninterrupted focus I need for cutting.

Of course, by mid-week, that was all shot to hell.

When I got word that I had to spend another crapload of money on History’s Most Costly Vacation (will I never stop paying for this trip?) I decided quickly selling off some junk was more sensible.

Incidentally, if anyone is in the market for a killer V1U package, or some 12” Sideshow figures from Episodes I-III, just drop me a line.

Then Ethan Cage asked me if he and Lexi Lamour could shoot content for her site here on Friday as they had lost the location they thought was free. Sure, what the hell. Ain’t gonna interfere with posting crap on Ebay.

I decide, since I’m now not editing Friday, I should stay up Thursday night and work. This might explain some of Friday’s slightly surreal quality. Or maybe it’s a flashback from the acid I’ve never dropped.

K and her Souvenir were out bright and early Friday morning. Lexi, Ethan, Courtney Cummz and webmaster Bill Fox show up around 11:30 to do their thing.

Around 1, Mischief showed up. She’s in San Francisco this weekend, so I invited her to stop by on her way out of town for lunch. We left the porn folk to their own devices and hit the Lost Soul’s Café. Fine, but unremarkable food. The same excellent company. She’s incredibly easy to be around, this girl. Smart, sexy, warm, and so very, very familiar.

Good for the ego, too. I figured she would be anxious to hit the road, holiday traffic being in full ass-suck by the time we got back from lunch. Not so. She was anxious to find a relatively private spot to get naked and make out instead.

Which we managed to do. Briefly. Until Amelia June — a friend of 20 years who I was expecting around noon and had written off as a no-show — came up to the second level looking for us around 3.

Conceding defeat, Mischief and I got dressed. I walked her to her car, necked in front of the cold storage guys, and sent her on her way.

Amy, who worked for me at The Castle adult store in Arizona back before it was a chain, hung out until 5:30 talking relationships and break-ups and catching up and falling apart. She likes the Goth Biscuit a lot, but can’t imagine dating someone 16 years younger. Amelia June skews older in her relationships, and is just breaking up (2010: The Year We Break Contact) with a woman 15 years her senior.

By the time I fed cats, caught up with Ben Hoffman, the Photographer in the Attic, and made dinner for myself, I was sitting down to post things at 9:30.

I was still awake at 3 a.m. when Amber Rayne texted, having a meltdown (see the previous post). Finally got to sleep around 5.

Today, I’ve had other distractions. Errands to run. French photographers. Temporarily abandoned Andy San Dimases.

In a few minutes, I’m headed out to door for dinner and a movie and I dunno what with the stunning Adrianna Nicole. I’ve gotten fuck-all done again today.

And I’m okay with it.

Gene Ross has come a long way from his beginnings running a trophy shop in Philly. Time was, he had customers, clients and responsibility. Now all he has to do is stir up shit day-in and day-out. Really, that’s his one true gift; dispensing fresh manure with a vituperative skill that would make a Holstein blush.

There’s a long history of bad blood between Gene & I. For about two years, I, along with Paul Fishbein, Mark Kernes and a few of my close friends, were top-of-the-pops on the hit-list when Gene and Luke Ford were out to exorcise AVN from the adult business nearly a decade ago. Between the two of them, they did everything they could to wreck all of our lives (well, everything that didn’t involve more effort than simply typing up whatever nonsense popped into their pointy – or, in Gene’s case, well-carpeted – heads).

Luckily it became quickly apparent that both Gene and Luke were completely irrelevant and, like athlete’s foot, if properly treated (i.e. ignored), would go away. The first time I saw Gene in person post-fusillade was a few years later when he showed up to cover a Lauren Phoenix project I was shooting camera on. We said not a word to each other, and he didn’t mention me when he wrote it up. Since that time Gene and I have had an unspoken, tacit agreement to essentially pretend the other didn’t exist.

Until today.

This industry being the gossipy communal equivalent of Gladys Kravitz, Kylie and I got a few calls when Gene posted a juicy piece about a recent shoot that rented our place as a location. According to the article, Kylie – who Gene sez was banging John Strong on the side during that rental, even though she wasn’t in the movie – was not only bad-mouthing me and SexZ Pictures and just about everyone else in the industry, she was digging up little bits of gossip from 2001 to bitch about all over again.

There’s only one problem. It’s bullshit. Kylie wasn’t here. At all. She wasn’t evenin the county; hadn’t even slept here Monday night. She was in Rosamund, CA working on an Adam & Eve movie Gene claims I was directing (long-distance, apparently).

Audrey Hollander – who actually was here that day – even made a point of asking where Kylie was, and made me promise to tell Kylie she wants to work with her (Incidentally, Audrey, I passed it along and she blushed).

I would say I’m surprised by the foolishness of the whole thing, but I’m not. Style over substance has always been Gene’s trademark. His patience for fact-checking begins and ends at how much dust he thinks he can kick up with any given story. In that regard, I’m adding fuel to the fire by posting even this, but really, this isn’t a response to Gene. It’s to those of you I’ve been telling for years not to believe ANYTHING posted on Gene’s site.

It’s myth. It’s fantasy. You’d have better luck trying to catch a leprechaun or believing in unicorns. Here’s an example of something posted – at length – shouted from Gene’s digital soapbox that is patently, demonstrably, and easily proven to be untrue. There are more than a dozen people from two different sets who can be contacted to verify that it didn’t happen.

It’s not just a lie; it’s a stupid lie, bordering on retarded. That doesn’t make it unique among Gene’s postings, it simply makes it one of the rare occasions where it’s a black-and-white fact that can be proven.

So for those of you who love to believe Gene’s happy crap, let me give you a quick primer on a man I worked with for years (I would never claim to “know” Gene as I believe Gene fancies himself to be dark and unknowable, and goes to great lengths to create his public persona).

First off, there is no “Grand Vizier.” He’s a front. A blind. A convenient fiction to allow Gene to shit on people who consider Gene to be a friend while maintaining plausible deniability. He did it in his final months at AVN when he was feeding gossip to Luke Ford (go back and look up the posts from “Clemenza”), and he did it again to Rob Black and Tom Byron when he got bored at Extreme Associates and starting posting inside gossip from there as retaliation when they began to shut him out (don’t take a viper unto your bosom, boys). This is Gene’s S.O.P. Don’t fall for it.

Also remember, no matter who you are, Gene is not your friend. Gene used to expound at great length about how no one in this business is really your friend,everEveryone is out to get you all the time. Y’see, Gene has this romantic notion of himself as the hard-boiled newsman from a Dashiell Hammett novel who sees friends as luxury detrimental to honesty. To Gene, people are a commodity, nothing more. It always made me feel slightly sorry for Gene because truly I’ve never met anyone as utterly alone as he is.

Lastly, always remember that, to Gene, accuracy is nothing but an impediment to drama, and truth is a flawed concept suitable only for lesser mortals. I can’t tell you how many times Gene came out of his office at AVN with some piece of gossip, giddy with the prospect of calling the target to get their side, knowing it would set off a flame war (before anyone had coined that term) he could dine out on for weeks.

Gene’s greatest – perhaps his only – joy in life is setting people at each other’s throats and sitting back to watch the furor grow. For him there is no greater pleasure than instigating and nurturing ill-will. If you’ve been slandered on Gene’s page, I encourage you not to write to him in response. As long as he can get a rise out of you, he will never, ever stop. For that reason, you won’t see thisincident mentioned here again.

If you must respond – and I felt this occasion was worthy – do it like this. You see, I copyright this blog, and since Gene makes income from his site, he can’t cut and paste this and claim fair use. If he uses it without my permission, I can force him to take it down, and if he doesn’t, I get to sue him and his hosting company.

Winner!

The most he can do if you follow suit is link to you, which means you know you’re getting your side of the story out there. And really, that’s the point, right? If you can’t ignore it, at least you can control it.

I also recommend a hearty dose of what I’m doing right now: shake your head and laugh.

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