Ladies and gentlemen, the starting lineup for your All-Star Arizona Drunken Blogging Team:
"I should be a reality show. Then I can edit myself out of every shot and probably have a hit."
"you know the timeswhere you know you could have something but chose against it, and make the rithgt decision as opposed to the rwrong one? well tonight owas one of those night.s i made a good decision."
I think we may have a shot at the title this year.
Today was a with-friends-like-these kind of day.
As in, with friends like these I don't need to make more friends, ever, 'cause these ones are the best.
Case in point: Two minutes before the second staged reading of my play, my director told me "Yea, just so you know, usually the rule is if we have fewer people in the house than in the cast, we cancel the performance, but it's totally up to you."
Number of people in the cast: 6
Number of people in the house, at that time: Decidely less than six
So I thought hey, these people want to go home and I had to get up Fucking Early for work today, let's all go take a nap and skip this theatrical shit.
And then, the friend floodgates opened and the house was miraculously filled with all my best boys and girls, and people I haven't talked to in a while, and their friends and family. It was nuts. My lovely friend Rowena's entire family came out. At two o'clock. On a Saturday. For a STAGED FUCKING READING. I love these people.
And not only did Chelsea H come, she brought me a mix CD. Totally unprompted. I 'bout died from gratitude (I'm listening to it now, and it owns, and I have the best friends and you don't, so screw.)
Tonight I hung out with my boy Tim and his friend from middle school Elora. We met up with Elora's friends at some gorgeous house deep in the heart of Tempe. We discussed lame-ass substitutes common to our respective high schools, and special ed kids, and it was not what I'd expected out of the evening and altogether better in its innocent, fun way.
Oh yea, and there was a summarily lame 80's party in there, but Chuck was being entertainingly drunk the second time we went back, so it was worth it.
If I never have to set foot in Good Sam hospital ever again in my entire life it will be too soon. It looks like some manic depressive 60's architecht's idea of what the future would look like. I hate how it looks and I hate how it smells, I hate its chapel and gift shop and Healing Garden, I hate its waiting rooms, I hate the way it brings back memories of being thirteen and very very scared.
Not so lucky, then, that I would end up there tonight, with my family, visiting my grandpa after he underwent (relatively) minor heart surgery, which I didn't even know he was having until this morning.
There was a sign on one of the next-door patient's doors, I pointed it out to my dad as we were waiting for an RN to finish up whatever it is they do.
"I need one of those for my room," I said.
"What's that?" he said.
Then he saw the yellow construction paper sign, which read "FALLS ARE PREVENTABLE."
Gramps is doing fine, when we went in he was watching the baseball game and was completely lucid. The helicopter ride down from Prescott, he said, was the "least spectacular part of the whole ordeal," and it's all pretty unspectacular. He'll be up and out of there by noon tommorrow, if all goes well. Probably back among the pines in time to flip on the TV for the D-Back's 3:05 first pitch.
On the way out, I wanted to hop up on the nurse's station and tell all the doctors and RNs they were saints, saints for buzzing around that antique tower of births and deaths. But more I just wanted to get out of the smell and the memories, past the gift shops and the chapel and the wall with framed pictures of former hospital chiefs of staff, and go see a show.
Open Memo to the employees/volunteers at the Phoenix Public Library, Ironwood Branch: If you really want to encourage youth literacy, how 'bout not being a douchebag when I bring my brother in to get him a library card? Maybe kids don't read books anymore because they don't want to get bitched at by suspicious spinsters at the circulation desk. I can't blame them, really. TV has never been a douchebag to anyone.
Tempe Library for life.
It wasn't easy tonight but it wasn't going to get any easier, certainly not as the days went on and we got more and more used to the contours of each other's hands.
Better to say Goodbye Forever out in front of her house instead of at an airport.
She said she understood, which was nice. Because right at the moment I couldn't understand how anyone could give something like her up. But here I was. Here we were.
If you're in the Phoenix area tonight there's one thing and one thing only worth doing, and that's coming to see a staged reading of the play "Skip" that I wrote at ASU's Prism theatre, presented as part of the third annual Moon Dance Theatre Festival. It's free and it starts at 9 PM, so if you're not so keen on seeing funny people read funny words on a stage, you can at least do something entertaining before that time and still chalk your evening up as a good one. But I'm proud of it and proud to have all these wonderful people read my words. If you can't make it to that one, there will be another performance Saturday at 2 PM, which in all likelihood will be different from the one tonight. Collect 'em all!
And if you can't make it on Saturday, either, well, then you disgust me.
Go here for maps and directions and things, as well as the schedules for all the other shows. It's a week of free theatre, free GOOD theatre, and you have no excuse for not partaking, you cultureless freak. Unless of course you're a homebound reclusive cat lady, in which case your implacable smell of urine and dead cat would fill the rather small space that is the Prism and make everyone else want to leave. If this is you, don't show up. Stay home and watch TLC. (Mom.)
Hope to see you tonight.
First things first. Last night:
This man is the MVP. The hero. The all-time home run king, the secretary general, the prime minister. You had to be there.
A bird is nesting in the tree over where I park my truck. Correction:
A fucking bird is nesting in the fucking tree over where I park my truck.
And not even a pretty bird. Not the kind of bird we read about in Junior English in that one story, "The White Heron" or what have you, where the girl scales the tree and her and the bird in said tree have a moment and she can't sell the bird out to the hunter even though her family's starving. We did not have a moment, me and this bird. Because you can't shit on my vehicle and expect me to be appreciative of your mother-naturely serenity. I'm pretty sure this bastard is a pigeon, and I'm pretty sure I will hose off my Behemoth and then stream of water will find its way upward, to where a certain winged rat perches, breeding probably at least three or four more feathery shit factories.
Bipeds win again.
Around one I gave my truck a respite from bombardment and took it to the Mail and More, where black and white copies are three cents a piece, as opposed to Kinko's obscene eight. Made copies of new pages for rehearsal for the reading. I laughed at the fat stack of Arizona Divorce Kits next to the copier, promising me every document I could ever possibly need to sever ties with my loutish spouse. I would've picked one up, but the $27.50 price tag stopped me. Lord knows that fucking ice queen holds the purse strings around here so tightly I'd never be able to come up with that kind of cash, so it'll probably be another couple of weeks of stilted conversation, seperate beds, no sex, and listening to her flirt with the poolboy while I'm in the upstairs office playing Bounce Out and crying.
Then Wendy's to hit up the Extra Value Menu, then QT for the forty-nine cent thirty-two ouncer. Come to think of it, everywhere I went today was motivated by the promise of miniscule savings, all of which I wasted it all on gas.
Everywhere, that is, except rehearsal, which went well by the way.
Then it was Mexican food with the family at Los Dos Molinos. The only thing better than Los Dos is my family, although my family significantly lacks the presence of Hatch chiles.
And as if my day couldn't have gotten any better:
The sticker found a good home.
If you weren't me, today might've sucked. But if you were me, you got Mexican food and pins, and one of your friends joined the cast of your staged reading, and all pigeons aside, things were allllright.
Today was even less productive than yesterday.
Actually, no. No, that's not true. I got up today and said dammit, if you're going to do one thing today that something is go to the gym, because I haven't been in what feels like forever and what's actually something like a week or two. So I got up, and on a lark, called Trevor to see if he'd want to go. I was betting he wouldn't, considering he was at the gym 'till 6 AM working. But true to his self-appointed Twisted Steel nature, he went. We rocked.
So there was that. And then I ate a sandwich and read Franny and Zooey and kind of half fell asleep on the couch until people came home, then dinner, then hanging out with the girlfriend while Tim took my brother to the driving range.
Now I'm leaving, 'cause Timmy and I have a midnight rendezvous with a mischevious Mexican.
Thanks to Chelsea H for introducing me to The Long Winters, Kevin at Nosebleed Section for "Everything Hits At Once" by Spoon, and a girl known to me only as Shesamusicjerk for "Shady Lane" by Pavement. It's hard to fall in love with three songs in one night but it's nice to do when you can manage.
Hold down the fort while I'm gone.
There's somebody in the Ahwatukee area who comes into the store where I work, checks my schedule, and then about half an hour or so into every shift comes in and knocks over a big box or bag full of something tiny and granulated. They know that I will inevitably be the one called to go sweep it up. Last time I worked it was rice. Today it was space-age cat litter, with white and blue crystals that, when you walk over them, turn into an invisible powder that's a bitch to clean up. So I did my characteristic shitty job, knowing that nothing will ever come of it one way or the other because I have, in the words of Randall, what basically amounts to a monkey's job. To be fired I'd have to make a Slip-n-Slide of rum and broken glass down one aisle, but even then I'd probably just get a Stern Talking-To.
So why, then, you ask, don't you get another job?
Well, Mr. Italics, that was the plan, until the twins called Procrastination and Leaving In Two Months teamed up on my application-getting interview-seeking ass. They're like those twins in The Matrix sequel, except their dreadlocks are longer and they actually serve the plot. The plot, in this case, is me needing money, more money than I make at my job that won't give me any hours despite my seniority, and them getting in the fucking way. It's just too easy to stick with my current employment, so close to my house, so unchallenging. It's too easy to lavish in my free time, taking showers, reading books, hanging out with my gangsta boo project chick, laying out in the backyard on a sheet basking in the moonlight.
I wonder how I got where I am being as lazy as I am. And then I realize I'm not really anywhere that astonishing. They said "Do this shit" and I did the shit like I was sleepwalking through it, but they still ate it up because I could write an essay that would impregnate you, literally, without even thinking about it once.
Kali and I watched The Breakfast Club last night, which I'd never seen, and it's her favorite movie and it beat renting one, so we watched it. I enjoyed it, especially the ending. Emilio ends up with Ally Sheedy. Judd Nelson with Molly Ringwald. And Anthony Michael Hall ends up with the essay. He kisses it, ferchrissake. And I thought that...that's me.
And I looked at the beautiful girl nestled in the crook of my arm and I thought, maybe, not anymore.
Chicks be all lookin' at me now. I think it's the hair. And the not having a double chin anymore. But I don't know, America, you be the judge:
AND I can write a bomb-ass essay. You know, if you're into that.
I think everyone should take the last year of their lives and write down everything that happened to them. Getting everyone to do it might be a problem, because I wouldn't want to make it a law, because making things laws is just asking for trouble. And it would also be hard to know when the last year of your life was going to be. So, better, then, if we all write everything down as we go along.
Some people have Livejournals, some people have blogs, some people keep actual paper-and-pen journals, and some people never write anything down. And I would be one of those people if it weren't for a wonderful gift known as "audience feedback." Turns out I like to have people read my stuff, but sometimes I run out of stuff. So I just have to write about what happened today. You might think it's sad that to preserve my experiences for the ages I need the encouragement of a constituency of anonymous internet people.
You would be right. But we all like reading about other people's traumas, so I wouldn't complain if I were you. Better than writing it all down during what I'm betting is the last year of my life, when all I'll be able to focus on was the fact that a cheeseburger only cost fifty cents, and gas was only a buck fifty-three a gallon.
No traumas today. Just the first rehearsal for the staged reading of that play I wrote. Reading something you've written on the page and having something you've written read out loud is the difference between hearing gunfire in the distance and the barrel waving in your face. You can't forgive yourself anymore, all you have is the naked words and other people's perceptions, which are infinitely more honest than yours could ever be. There would be times where I would skip ahead a little from where we actually were in the reading, and see a line coming up, know that it was terrible and know there was really nothing I could do but just grit my teeth and listen to the poor actor say my stupid line I was too lazy to change. Nothing, that is, except re-write and hand out new pages before the reading itself next week.
I just made it sound like it was mortifying, but it was actually really fun. I let the director, AJ, cast it with no input from me, which I think will turn out to be a good decision. I wouldn't have immediately thought of anyone as the roles they've ended up playing, which is great, because their interpretations, so different from the ones in my head, give me a new lead on the characters. They probably thought I was a jackass laughing at my own script, but it wasn't the lines, it was their readings, and my astonishment that six talented people didn't have anything better to do on Father's Day morning.
Kiki, who's playing the girlfriend, asked me who this girl is I keep talking about on the blog. That girl is Kali, my girlfriend. She lives across the street from me and we started going out in April and her smile simply flattens me and we both know we only have 'till I go off to school in August and our acknowledgement of that fact gives our every meeting a sense of dangerous immediacy, but I don't like to think about it.
There, now everyone's clear.
I dropped fifty-three bucks on copies. Fifty-three bucks. Can you fucking believe that? Fuck Kinkos, mang.
On the online journaling devices tip, here are some people I don't hang out with regularly but have livejournals that need your love and attention:
Ben is playing the main character for the reading. He kicks ass and I'm honored to have him be a part of it.
Ryan is Andrew's older brother. Andrew is one of my bestest pals, true-blue friends to the end. Ryan is...well, Ryan is Ryan. He used to have a band called "2 Ninjas and a Retard," my friend Tim was the retard. He has a tattoo he designed himself of an anime-looking fellow with a shotgun and a Bible, 'least I think it's a Bible. He's lovesick for this girl, but it's one of those "if-you-saw-my-love-you'd-love-her-too" type deals, I can't really blame him. I once saw him slap a puny emokid out in front of the Bash on Ash for no reason. It was hilarious in a way only senseless violence can be. It's best if I don't sum him up. It's best if you just go read his badass livejournal.
i did paperwork. wore my fake smile. secreted charisma. i won the masses over. we ate with a waitress who ignored us. no shakes. i am cleaning the machine.
And Chelsea H. edits the best zine my old high school ever did see, and she likes robots. What...more...is there? Her journal led me to Ryan's because they met each other dancing at a show. Small fuckin' world.
After rehearsal and a four-hour shift o' fun I came home just in time to go out to Father's Day dinner at Outback, which kind of threw a wrench in my plans for my Father's Day present to be taking the old man out to Outback some night this week. Guess I'll get him a book instead.
One of the first things I did this summer was go to the library, 'cause during the school year casual reading just falls of my list of things to do for some reason. And man, it was like a diabetic kid let loose in a candy store. Oh, by the way, the kid's diabetes had been cured, somehow, magically. That is important to the similie, for his health and mine. Because some of you might be in need of summer reading recommendations, I will now review each and every damn book I got that day.
Now when I think literary criticism, I think PUBLIC ENEMY. Which is why HFT Labs has developed the FLAVOR FLAV SYSTEM OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC EVALUATION. Observe:
4 Flavor Flavs: A masterwork! So perfectly literary it's like Dickens banging both the Bronte sisters on your coffee table!
3 Flavor Flavs: Pretty damn good. Emily and Charles going at it while Charlotte watches.
2 Flavor-Flavs: Not a complete waste of time. Drunken foreplay that later becomes awkward. Maybe James Joyce breaks in unexpectedly, killing the mood.
1 Flavor Flav: John Irving and Danielle Steele dry-humping on your sofa. Not even early John Irving. Old fat hack John Irving.
Got it? Good. Here goes...
All Families Are Psychotic, Douglas Coupland - A fucked-up Canadian family reunites in Florida to see one of the family's children be shot up into space. Wacky familial hijinks ensue.
Wasn't a huge fan of this one. It was trying a little hard to be both a crazy caper and a summation of turn-of-the-millenium culture at the same time. Half the family has AIDS through an implausible turn of events, the matriarch revitalizes her life via the Internet, one son is an anti-globalization protestor, the daughter's an astronaut with one hand thanks to thalidomide in the womb. There are a few good passages, a few laughs, but most of it is sunk by Coupland's contrived dialogue. (One choice example: "Don't you dare try to put bullets in our reptilian cortexes!") Not terrible, but not what I was looking for.
Drown, Junot Diaz - Back in September I went to see my favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk do a reading. He recommended a couple of authors during the Q&A. Amy Hempel and Junot Diaz were among them. Hempel I'll get to in a second.
This is the only book by Diaz so far, and I think the highest compliment I can give it is that when I found that out after reading it I swore audibly. It's a collection of short stories, most either about kids growing up in the Dominican Republic, or Dominican kids growing up in New York. For the fairly limited subject matter, Diaz finds numerous stories to tell. Every one is poigniant, sometimes funny, often sad. His voice, though, is astounding. It's not overpoweringly literary, it's not forced in the least. It's just breezy and effortless, with the occasional read-that-again jewel thrown in for good measure. Can't recommend it highly enough. I'll probably buy it and wear it out.
Tumble Home, Amy Hempel - This is the other author Palahniuk mentioned, and the book consists of short stories and a novella.
It's safe to say Amy Hempel likes two things: Dogs and moments. These are not terrible things to enjoy, life has lots of dogs and lots of moments. So does this book. One of the "stories" is only a paragraph long, most are no more than 10 pages. Most are plotless in the sense of beginning, middle, and end, they're stream of conciousness, for the most part, although not in that annoying Gertrude Stein way. "The Annex" makes the whole book worth it, a story about a housewife tormented by the presence of a child's grave across the street from her new house. Good, weird stuff.
She reminded me a lot of Denis Johnson, author of Jesus' Son, one of my favorite all-time books. Worth a read, if you like dogs, or well-crafted yet somewhat meandering short fiction.
White Jazz, James Ellroy - I like James Ellroy books, because James Ellroy defines "hardboiled." Hardboiled meaning, men in hats in 50's LA pummelling each other and coercing testimony. Although for this one, Ellroy seemed to have boiled a little to hard. He boiled away all of his complete sentences, leaving this book a hodgepodge of clipped speech that I guess is supposed to mimic the mindset of the narrator, LAPD detective Dave Klein. Like this:
Back to his apartment, toss the place.
Photos, B/W, S&M stuff. (Kafesjian connection?)
That's not a quote, the book itself has long since returned to the Tempe Library stacks, but it's not far from how all three-hundred plus pages of the thing go. It works for certain scenes, but it just gets to the point where you want to know who's screwing who over and why, and why you should care, and four-word half-sentences don't really get the job done. Probably wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't been hoping for Ellroy to shake the conceit and give me a page monologue (featuring subjects and verbs), toward the end, summing the whole thing up. He didn't. Boo.
How To Be Good, Nick Hornby - Nick Hornby, better known as the guy who wrote High Fidelity, worries, through his main character, that being a down-the-ticket liberal may not be enough to get you into heaven. Well, not really. But sort of.
The book concerns a British woman who's always assumed she's a good person, after all, she's a doctor. But then again, she's cheating on the father of her two children. Right into the middle of her morality crisis walks a faith healer, who ends up moving in to their house along with his plans for a new world order of do-gooderism.
Although it wasn't as laugh-out-loud hilarious all the time as I was expecting, looking back on it, I liked this book. Hornby paints some excellent characters, and I cared about what happened to them, which is important. It also calls in to question everyone's natural presumption that they're a Good person. A lot of wishy-washy hippieness gets bandied about, but it doesn't go unquestioned, either. Worthwhile.
Screwjack, Hunter S. Thompson - It was in the Fiction section, so that's where I'll put it, although it also features "Mescalito," a nonfiction recounting of Thompson's Mescaline adventures in an LA hotel room.
It's Hunter S. Thompson, so there's drugs, guns, black humor, a man beating a blow-up doll, alcohol, and let's not forget everyone's favorite: despair for the state of human affairs. Good times, but an all-too-brief read.
On Writing, Stephen King - The most inspiring part Stephen King's "memoir of the craft" is that he essentially admits he's not that good a writer. He didn't get into the game to astound everyone with his prose, he was just dedicated and persistent, and now he gets to make millions doing what he's loved to do from the start: tell stories.
This book has some great anecdotes, some decent tips on writing and getting published, and is a fun read from a man who's made his living off nothing more than that.
And Lord knows he owes me after Dreamcatcher. I mean seriously, Steve, what the fuck.
The rest of the stuff I read were plays, and if you don't give a shit what I think about books, you really don't give a shit about what I think about plays. (The short version, for those who give maybe a half-shit: True West GOOD, Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner BAAAAAD! SMASH!)
Thanks for joining me today, and remember: a good library book is like a good woman. Give them some of your time, and they'll duly reward you, and they smell musty, and they have a barcode and a date you have to return them by if you don't want your account charged.
One or so last night, me and two Andrews in the cab of my truck going to Vaquero's to get burritos.
I ask the Andrew with the whiteboy fro from Boston, Alyx's boyfriend, where he lies religiously.
"I can't summon up the strength to believe strongly in anything," he says, "I respect people who can."
"So atheist, then?" I ask.
"NO. No, no, no. I have qualms with atheism, too. I can't prove shit. And neither can atheists. Agnostic. You?"
"Atheist," I say.
Eight-fifteen or so tonight. I am in a room with a big vaulted ceiling surrounded by 200 or so singing Lutherans, all our pews facing an altar, over which hangs a big wooden cross. Only one commandment, to me, seems certain: We will do funny things for girls.
For me, one in particular.
Her mom, who's sitting next to me, loans me a pen so I can write her a note on an offering envelope. She told me to get here late so I'd miss most of the singing, as if 15 years of Catholicism hadn't prepped me to rock a fat hymn like what. By the time I finished the note they'd taken away the box all the notes to the campers were supposed to go into, so I just handed it to a guy I like to think of as Capt. Teen Lutheran, as he was going around lighting people's candles. I'd like to say he promised it'd get to her, but he sort of just grunted.
The fact that I got here at all was kind of a miracle, considering I realized halway down US-60 headed for Mesa that I'd forgotten my directions. That is to say, both sets. The one from her, and the one from her mom. It took a combination of the vague memory I had from glancing at them before I left and sheer pimposity to find the thing, rising, a beacon of vintage 60's church design from Mesa crapsville.
Her smile when she saw me. That was a miracle as well.
Do you like the newness? I sure do. For a while, I guess, the banner up top wasn't working, and it would demand my server password when you opened up the site. Jason pointed it out, good eye. Chalk it up to my inexperience with FTP, and just general idiocy.
Zak has been doing some excellent blogging since somebody tried to kill him. So that's how that works...
Once again, please update your links to befit the handsome new url and the handsome man whose name it bears.
You know, that guy Http. I think he's Belgian.
UPDATE: Zak's URL fixed.
Some friends of mine, namely Chuck, Alecia and Brian, moved into a condo last week. Now I can safely say that I sympathize with the trials and tribulations that come along with switching residences, because I've had the immense pleasure now of switching bloghomes.
Sure, there wasn't a whole lot of sweating or moving of boxes, at least not literally. But there was definetly as much, if not more, what's it called...oh, right, eye-gouging hair-pulling frusturation.
Getting your old stuff off blogspot is a lot like getting your old stuff from an ex. It's a painful, ardous process, and in the case of blogspot, without the outside chance of a pity fuck. Much thanks and praise to Dean for liberating HFT and tips on making the transition less grating.
In the coming days, this will in many ways resemble somebody who's just moved someplace new. New crap will get moved in, things will be shuffled around as I get accustomed to the space, maybe one day you'll show up and there'll be a whole new couch just sitting in the middle of the living room, and you'll say "Where'd you get that?" and I'll respond "Some old lady next door died and this was just sitting in the back alley for like a week" and you'll say "Well, that accounts for the smell!" and then we'll both crack open frosty cold beverages and stare at the wall because I've been too lazy to bring the TV in yet.
Yes, that is what it will be like.
The new site is up and running thanks to Dean Esmay, but don't look at it yet, ain't shit to see. I can't decide whether I should go all-out with a new template, or stick with the old standard. Since it's on MovableType, though, and I don't know anything but the basest of HTML, I don't really know how to do either. Should be interesting.
Pretty much everyone's parents are divorced, it seems like, and like most problems it's only going to get worse. I imagine my son coming home from his first day of school twenty years from now telling me about how they all had to share an interesting fact about themselves and one kid stood up and said his original parents were still married, and everybody was a shocked sort of quiet, and nobody talked to him for the rest of that all-important day, and I imagine telling his mother about this later that night on a long-distance call to Bermuda, where she's having her honeymoon with her new husband Ricardo.
Since it's the future, I will be able to smell how it smells on their honeymoon in Bermuda. Every movie portrays the future as full of holographic video-phones, but the movies' vision of the future has never, ever come to pass. Which is why there will be smell-o-phones, not holo-phones. The home office where I ply my futuristic trade will suddenly fill with the scent of tanning oil and sea salt while I tell her the story of the outcast in our son's class.
Halfway through the conversation my son will be on his way to get a glass of water and hear his mother's voice through my office door, so he'll knock softly on the door and of course I'll let him in. She'll say how much she misses him and he'll say much the same thing, and she'll ask how school went today and he'll say good but he can't wait for summer, because according to the terms of our divorce she'll spend summers with him and right now it is very much winter where I live when I'm forty-two.
Phones will have changed greatly, but guys named Ricardo won't, he will be taller than me and more rippling with muscularity and vaguely Latino, and I'll hear him enter the room in Bermuda as soon as my son leaves the room in America. I'll have met him first at our Christmas party a couple years before this conversation, him being my wife's personal trainer at the time. At the party, shaking his hand, I won't have expected our statuses relative to the mother of my child to someday change this much. But maybe I should, it's the future, and you will have been married to just about everyone by the time you hit the grave.
She will get up to help Ricardo with suitcases, and her head will bob towards the table with the phone receiver as she rises and sensitive futuristic instrument that it is, just for one second in my office a thousand miles away I will smell her hair.
We will exchange pleasant goodbyes, and I will hang up the phone, stand up, and go and clean the house, top to bottom, even at 11:45 at night, which is what forty two year-old me does when he can feel his heart rebreaking.
It was four AM, and if that Dashboard Confessional guy would've been there, I would've shot him through his goddamn heart. Through his guitar, into his ribcage with the more shotgun pellets the better. But he wasn't there, his music was playing loudly from an upstairs bedroom while I was downstairs on a leather couch trying fitfully to Sleep It Off. At first I'd had a blanket and a pillow, but Alyx and her boyfriend Andrew were curled up on the floor on the other side of the coffee table, and I was feeling benevolent, and warm. So I gave them the blanket first, then minutes later realized that I had the natural pillow of the couch, all they had was new carpet and each other's arms, so I gave them the pillow too, great humanitarian that I am. I tucked my bare feet in the couch cushions and went back to trying to sleep.
Borders are meant to be crossed. Limits exceeded. Records shattered. Toilets clung to. Kierkegaard said having a rule means you automatically have to break it, to prove you're alive. A clever t-shirt at my store today said "My drinking team has a wakeboarding problem." Another shirt said "Old No. 7." I just about wretched.
Matt Welch on blogging:
I was going to make some joke complaining about having to be on the record 24/7, but the truth is Iím glad there is historical evidence -- and lovely, at that -- of joyful days that my leaky brain is almost guaranteed to forget later.Indeed. I just realized that, going back through my old blog entries, how many little things I would've completely lost if I hadn't written them down. Welch details a funny experience in Prague years ago he almost forgot, I'm talking about things that happened last week.
There, among all the other colorful produce, is the Angry Grapefruit.
There are other grapefruits, sure, but none of them have quite the same level of personality.
As you walk by, all the other grapefruits remain yellow, round, and respectfully quiet, but the Angry Grapefruit will tell you just what it thinks.
"Hey fatty," it might say, or, "Hey, ugly," or "How 'bout you go die, you fat ugly...uh..."
Occasionally the Angry Grapefruit will lose its train of thought in the middle of a long tirade of insults and swear words.
"Aw crap," it will say, "I can't think today. I need a smoke." It is not only the Angry Grapefruit, it is also the Smoking Grapefruit, on the occasion where it can convince people to buy it cigarettes.
"Come on," the Angry Grapefruit will say, "Just a pack of Camels. That's like $3.69 with tax." Then, as you walk by, inisting to yourself that you have never bought tobacco products for a fruit and you certainly aren't about to start now, the Angry Grapefruit will scream "Where you headed? You can't spare that? Too big a chunk out of the Food Budget, fatty?"
But you'll buy it anyway, even if you don't like grapefruit. Because let's face it, the Angry Grapefruit has personality.
Forgive me if this comes out muddled, I can barely see the screen. Was just watching the replay of the MTV Movie Awards, and I think there were two Russian girls screeching an obscenely bad popsong, and I'm fairly certain there were thousands of shameless wannabe actress/dancers dressed as schoolgirls making out, but I honestly couldn't tell you because there was TOO MUCH FUCKING STROBE LIGHT. I was on the ground, thumping and twiching, and I'm not even epileptic. It was bad. It's as if they realized the American public could no longer be shocked, and decided to blind us all instead.
It's true, the American public CAN no longer be shocked. But MTV hasn't gotten the memo yet, which is why this year's Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from one of Christina Aguilera's ovaries. Which one? Call our 800 number now and vote!
Alright, Blogosphere, now we're going to play a little game. It's called "I blather on and on about how you should link my friend Guillermo's blog, and then you link Guillermo's blog. Deal? Deal.
Guillermo lives in what I'll describe here for the sake of you going and looking as a haze of booze and women, although he's trying to cut down on the booze, and fend of the women with whips and chairs. He's like Hemingway with skin pigmentation. Tony Pierce with capitalization. This majestic post features Charles Dickens, drunken old ladies, rancher's daughters, and nostalgia. This one, intoxicated escapades and faded love behind the scenes on a Disney cruise. A good portion of his archives aren't working (thanks, Blogspot) but what is working is worth a read. And if you like what you see, you should link him. I know links are like your special flower: you should only give them away to someone you love, or promises you acting work. But I think you could learn to love Guillermo. Don't you?
While I'm on the begging-for-other-bloggers tip, is Grandma's medication-she-needs-to-live money burning a hole in her pocket? Why not steal it while she's sleeping and give it to Treacher? Like Grandma, he's bone-thin, but his condition is caused by poverty and starvation, as opposed to extremely advanced, logic-defying, downright repulsive old age.
Come on, people. We're all in this Internet together.
Tengo que hacer un otro "draft" de mi obra de teatro. Que lastima.
Sorry, we were speaking bad Spanish at dinner (not like this house is bilingual, it was just fajita night) and it sort of stuck with me. If you didn't take four years of high school Spanish to reach the pinnacle of linguistic comprehension that I have, I said I have to do another draft of the play, what a shame. And it is a shame, not that I have to do another one, but that I will probably once again put it off until the deadline, and it will both suffer and be bolstered as a result.
Basically, I've gotten into the habit of doing the real meat of my playwrighting in long, caffeine-powered late night binges, more often than not the day before deadline. It's good, because it forces me to do it, and if I didn't have that gun to my head I'd fart around endlessly and produce less-than-stellar work. It doesn't matter if I don't have it all figured out yet, I have to figure it out, hopefully before sunrise. And I do. Problem is, the frantic pace sometimes makes me sloppy, and while the resulting stuff is at least COMPLETED, it's sometimes a little rough around the edges. So it's two sides of a pretentious writerly coin. It's like if you discovered heroin enhanced your creativity. The good news: for whatever reason, it seems to help. The bad: It's HEROIN, dipass.
You can see my concern.
If Pixar were a woman, I would marry it.
If Pixar were a man, it could probably talk me into things I wouldn't normally be down for.
If the Bible were about Pixar, I would follow it religiously. (HA!)
Because you see, the thing about Pixar, that differentiates it from the opposite sex, or all-powerful deities, or life in general, even, is it never disappoints. Five movies they've made, by my count, and every one of them has ranged in quality from great (A Bug's Life) to obscenely wonderful (Monsters, Inc.) And while not every one of them has been my favorite movie in history, you'd be hard-pressed to find more perfect films, both in the technical and the classical sense. They take us places we've never been, they make us care about the characters, they make us "ooh" and "ahh," they make us laugh, and if you're a girly-man like me, they occasionally make you cry.
They could easily fall back on the milquetoast Disney formula, and trust the stunning visuals to keep the audience subdued (Wachowski Brothers, I'm looking at you.) Disney tried that, in fact. The result was called Dinosaur and it was a piss-poor excuse for a movie. Why? Because it has soul. Pixar's like James Brown: It's nutty, it's eccentric, but dammit, it's got soul. (Pixar has not to my knowledge ever gotten fucked up on PCP and threatened people with a shotgun for using its bathroom, but I'd probably forgive it if it had.)
If I were a modern Hollywood actor, I would loathe Pixar. I'd drive by their offices at night with a Mercedes full of molotov cocktails, because they were threatening my career. They manage to create, with a bundle of pixels and elbow grease, a multitude of believable emotions greater than the combined abilities of all the Freddy Prinze Juniors, Paul Walkers, and recently, Ben Afflecks, all of whom can barely muster one (naked desire for a paycheck.)
Finding Nemo raked in 70.2 million dollars this past weekend, and earned every last damn one of them. Compare that to Disney's last animated effort, Treasure Planet, which opened with 12 million bucks and dropped, fast. People trust Pixar to deliver good family films, ones they won't have to praise by saying "At least I didn't want to claw my eyes out!". People trust Pixar to tell a good story, and Pixar delivers. The same can probably no longer be said about Disney, who, Lilo and Stitch being the exception, stopped being about good stories a long time ago.
So, long story short, see Finding Nemo and remember it is that makes movies wonderful, and what miracles can occur when smart people do work they enjoy.
Also...this just can't come out soon enough.
UPDATED: Spanish at the beginning fixed. "Tengo que." Yea, I knew that.
This is almost like Freshman year all over again, staying up all night and on into morning for no good reason, except there is a good reason: Finishing a painful rewrite, fueled by Diet Mountain Dew Code Red and a deadline. Then taking JP to hockey practice at 6:10, which my dad would usually do: There's no reason for more Pierson men to be up at this ungoldy hour than is absolutely necessary.
Aliens cruising at low altitude at 6:00 am on a Sunday morning would conclude that the human race consists solely of old people, old people's dogs, spandex-clad cycle enthusiasts, and guys in white trucks taking their little brothers to hockey practice.
That's where I am right now: the hockey rink, writing on a thick stack of "Hockey Summer Camp" flyers because this table is one of those molded plastic ones with all the holes in it, and the book I brought is too small to use for a writing surface.
I was going to write, in that annoying newspaper-feature-writer kind of way, "Taking the kids to hockey practice on a Sunday morning seems to be largely a paternal obligation," because it was just me and a bunch of dads sipping coffee, leafing through newspapers, until two moms showed up. I'll bet my dad knows all these faces by heart. Poor bastard.
Out there on the ice 27 skates back and forth, side to side, backwards, whatever the drill calls for, better at skating at 12 than I am at walking at 18.
I stole the pen I'm writing with from the table where I got the flyers. It was chained to a plastic box full of sweepstakes entries, I liberated it with every intent of bringing it back, but ten bucks and a night of missed sleep says I won't.
Ooh, a comprehensive drill...They line up at the back, behind the net, then one at a time skate down, pass to one coach, get the puck back, pass to another, get it back, then shoot on their goalie.
27 shoots...misses. Better luck next time, buddy.
This place is pretty Zen at 6:45 like it is now. Just muffled inter-dad conversation, the rustling of pages, coughs, the clattering of pucks we're two sheets of plexiglass away from.
Dig this, if you can: My girlfriend's parents are out of town this weekend and I haven't seen her since Friday, when I dismissed myself from a birthday party to go write. She's staying at her friend's house, which is a block away from our houses. I passed by it last night walking to the store to get Diet Mt. Dew and peanut butter, neither of which I needed desperately at 11:15 PM but I just had to get away from THE PLAY. I walked by on the way back, couldn't remember if the only window available for knocking on was her friend's bedroom. Cursed her lack of a cellphone, then my lack of a cellphone, then walked back home and faced down the Behemoth again.
33 is dangerous, fast, aggressive, and about three feet tall. He and my boy 27 make a hell of a team.
A lot of these kids have whole clans attending practice, three little brothers in giant sweaters accosting the switched-off arcade games. Why not leave them at home? Church after this, maybe? If at mass this morning there's a bunch of kids sitting next to you, one of them giving off the none-too-faint odor of sweaty fungal hockey ass, you'll know where they were earlier.
33 just shouldered a kid a little bit into the boards, he hit 'em and crumpled. There are coaches on this side of the rink now, surrounding the wounded. His dad's waddling out there now, birkenstocks on ice.
They're diving across the ice, now, sliding like penguins. Then push-ups. Suddenly I feel I've never exerted myself to do anything.
Practice ends at 7:30, he'll be changing 'till 7:45. Home at 8, screw the last nuts into place on this damn hell ass third draft of a play succintly titled "Skip," send it off saying I need a 2nd set of eyes to tell me if it's any good because after this long continuously with anything it's like a mouth of thoroughly chewed food, rendered flavorless by familiarity. Type this up, post it 'cause if not now, when? Bed by 9. 9:15 at the latest. Awake at 3 ideologically, 5 realistically. Dinner. Promised Dana and Nicole I'd come to game night, well, didn't promise, but said I would, and on my last day of school an embattled near-retirement wizened old Irish english teacher told me out of the blue in the hallway, "Your word has to be gold, because it's all you have."
27 shoots, scores.