I'm tired as capital ass but I wanted to tell you the story of the Marathon Maker-Outers of One Fifth Avenue.
Okay, so tonight I was walking home from a mass table read of sketches for the next Hammerkatz show. I was happy because a sketch I thought was mediocre at best went over like gangbusters, and I was cold because it was windy and I was characteristically underdressed. Emilie calls, and soon I'm on my way to get falafel with her and her roommate. I walk along the northern edge of the park, and on the last corner of Fifth Avenue, in the shadow scaffold-girded Washington Square arch, are two old people making the fuck out. They are going to town, and bringing gallons of each other's spit for good measure. Okay, so they weren't that old. Late forties. Early fifties. But old enough that I contemplated suggesting aloud that they get a room using their AARP discount.
I start to feel sick, not naueous, simply gross, on the way to Mamoun's but I end up getting falafel anyway, because anybody who knows anything knows fried chickpeas cure stomach bugs. Emilie and I watch my old estranged friend TV in the lobby of her dorm. She's cold-sick, I'm stomach-sick, we're neither of us feeling too well and I'm tired, so I leave.
I walk around the park. I look at the Empire State Building, like I do, I watch the shadows of drug dealers dart in and out of corners near the rowhouses where law students stay, like I do. I get to Fifth. And they are still going at it.
It is a melee. There's that awkward shifting moment where you're changing whose head is slanted where, and their middle-aged tongues are still flying all the while. They have been doing this, in that spot, through the time it takes me to eat a falafel, and watch "South Park" and "Kid Notorious" and bid my best New York friend good evening, that is to say, an hour and change. They were probably doing it before I walked up and for all I know, an hour later, they might still be shamelessly flaunting their flickering distinguished-touch-of-grey libidos, disgusting dealers and taxi drivers and sick college students full of falafel and anyone else who passes by.
It's like, someone is clearly cheating on their longtime spouse here, but that doesn't mean you can't go inside to do it. It's cold, you silly old people. It's really cold.
That dark blurry sole-evidence-of-Bigfoot quality pictures is the legendary Marathon Maker-Outers themselves. How could I not? It is the duty of man with the camera to unflinchingly record atrocity. Like that guy in the Vietnam War, who took that picture of old people making out for a long time.
Shout out to Allison, who is going to be a sexy abortionist for Halloween.
Updated: New, brighter picture.
Who said this college thing was hard?
Seriously, who? Whoever it is, I want to find them, sit them down, whip open the yellow binder in which I turned in my first big assignment for Writing The Essay: Art and the World, and direct their attention to the A minus written on the last page.
Then I will slam the folder shut forcefully, and before they have time to react, roll it up and hit them in the head with it; a painful physical illustration of just how wrong they were.
I mean granted, I slaved away on that essay. But as any token high-school yearbook staffer will testify, hard work does not a good finished product make. ("You spelled my name with none of the letters my actual last name contains!" "I know, but we worked really hard!" You know the type.) I spent more time with that essay than probably anything I've ever written that I was forced to. I attempted (poorly, I thought) to incorporate all our required sources, the professor's feedback, personal anecdotes; I rended it limb from limb only to realize at five AM that I could no longer string phrases and clauses together and it was probably time to hang it up, secure in the fact that we get to rewrite one essay of the three (four?) that will eventually compose our grade.
So I was expecting a high C. Praying for a low B.
I ended up getting an A minus minus, sexiest of all the A's because it's almost not, and it has that element of danger, like an infant in the open jaws of a crocodile.
Is it a friendly crocodile? When did it eat last?
I don't know.
All I know is college is not all that hard.
Question of the day: What malevolent force could change this:
this shaggy haired heart-breaker, this laid back easy-taking-it cool customer, and transform him into this:
a confused-looking Florence-Henderson-resembling sap, shorn of five pounds of blonde and even worse, dignity?
If you guessed "Russian Hair Assassin," then you, my friend, are correct.
All I wanted was a little trim, especially in the back. There was no denying the mullet-y things that were going on back there. It was with these simple intentions at heart that I stumbled into a salon a few blocks from my dorm whose window advertised fifteen dollar haircuts for students. Hey, I thought, that's me!
I would think those very same words about a half an hour later when I passed a pizza place advertising dollar slices for anyone sporting a retarded hairstyle recently applied by a portly Russian lady whose conceptual grasp of "just a trim" is spotty, at best. I would've stopped in and ordered one with pepperoni, but I had just used all my cash (fifteen dollary-doos, plus tip) to pay someone to rape my hair.
Emilie would later ask Why didn't you just tell her to stop? Because it didn't look that bad at the time. I felt like I was in the hands of a professional. We were discussing how when she says she's from St. Petersburg, people think she means St. Petersburg, FL, and how this misunderstanding had resulted in hilarious foibles at her previous job. I was listening to the old woman in the corner, getting some hair treatment from a guy that looked like Uncle Billy from It's A Wonderful Life, the two of them discussing (of course) how they just don't make movies like they used to. I was watching the blue sky outside, reflected through the mirror, thinking how great of a rest of today I will have, mulletless and feelin' groovy. My hair was still wet, the scissors were still in motion, anything was possible.
Then the scissors fell silent. Then the blow-drier came out. Then the horrible reality of my new hair started to become abundantly clear.
Emilie helped. She hid me away in her room and undid some of the damage with scissors of her own. It hasn't been as bad as I initially thought it was going to bel the response from the female community has been tepidly positive, but I think they may just be trying to be nice, hoping my long-haired self may here of it and come back from the past and sleep with them. He would if he could, ladies. He would if he could. But he's dead. And the Russian Hair Assassin killed him.
No more haircuts. Ever.
That was the worst thing that happened all week, meaning that it was a pretty damn good seven days. My dad was in town for Parent's Weekend. I didn't get to see him as much as I might've, as the Hammerkatz show went up Friday and Saturday and he left this morning. But he did get to see the show (claims he loved it, and who can blame him, any show where you get to see your firstborn son be an androgonyous Fuddrucker's waiter, a bloodthirsty viking, and utter the line "TiVo made my sperm grow tails" is a good one) and we did get to bum around the city on Saturday afternoon. Most importantly, we got to eat. Saturday lunch was Spice, pretty much my favorite thing of all time, and dinner was in Little Italy, where I gorged myself on lobster bisque and pasta with all manner of seafood. We received World Series updates by way of the three mobbed-up couples sitting across the room from us, loudly discussing their "contracting businesses" and swearing at their significant others. The waiter kept bringing them drinks and desserts compliments of the house. They'd periodically get phone calls from people watching the game. One of the husbands (his name was Tony, of course) remarked, upon hearing of the Yankee's loss, "I'm gonna give the guys in Miami such shit next time I'm down there." I hoped, for the sake of the authentic-Italian-restaurant ambience, that it's the kind of shit where guys named Rocco end up wearing concrete shoes at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Matt's aunt Chris was at the Saturday night Hammerkatz show. That was a surprise and a half. Apparently she was in town visiting her daughter Rysa (probably butchered spelling), and she read about the show on this very page. I don't know how I feel about people's aunts reading the blog. It's not necessarily aunt-appropriate, but she saw me say "fuck" on stage so I guess everything's fair game now. Hi Matt's Aunt Chris. Thanks, as always, for coming to my show.
Popped my Daylight Savings Time cherry last night. We don't have it in Arizona, but since the rest of the world does all it meant for us was that TV shows were on an hour later (earlier? I don't remember.) I used to set my clock 10 minutes ahead, just so if I was ever late somewhere, I could look at it and think, "Well, at least I'm not as late as I would be if that clock were correct?" Daylight Savings Time seems like that, but on a global scale. Just once, you get to look at the clock and say "It's five o'clock in the morning! Holy shit, I'd better hit the sack--- but wait! DST! It's only four! Awesome! Pass the crack pipe, Denise!"
Schwarma time. I ate very early tonight, I've got some of Pop's money burning a whole in my pocket, and right about now the big spit o'lamb from which they carve the schwarma is getting down to its fatty juicy center, and it's turning just for me.
You say "it's three AM and cold and rainy." I say "pita full of onions and lamb for four dollars seven blocks away." We'll see who goes to bed hungry.
I sleep far too much and write far too little. There's no way around it. I'd like to say "Every night it's a different excuse," but that would imply that my average evening consisted of more than coming home very late from a rehearsal of some kind, kickin' it homework-style, reading people's blogs, eating some Halloween Oreos and calling it a night; and the universal excuse on those nights is fatigue: It's obscenely late and I have to be up for class, or I was up obscenely late last night and I promised myself I would Get Some Sleep Tonight, which I rarely end up doing but for reasons that don't involve me blogging. I've had Hammerkatz rehearsal every night this week, because the shows are tommorrow and Saturday night (8 and 10 tommorrow night, 8 on Saturday at Palladium for those of you in the New York area) so that accounts for this week's drought in particular.
What happened today: I woke up too late to take a shower and was fine with that, thinking, I ain't gotta be all neat and pretty for ConWest (Short for Coversations With The West, short for Class taught by a professor who thinks every piece of Greek literature from Homer on down is about how terrible the Bush administration is), nobody can keep their heads up and their eyes open long enough to notice how freaking balls-out hot I am anyway.
People in that class say retarded things. It's a lecture, and a lecture that takes place in the collegiate buttcrack of dawn (nine thirty), but people still manage to muster the fortitude to say some of the worst things I've ever heard, ever. Like a girl who just couldn't stomach the fact that nobody in the world saw much use for woman's rights until a hundred or so years ago. It wasn't that she thought they were wrong, oh no: she wanted to re-write history so they'd agree with her. Her argument centered around Machiavelli, and despite all the sexist things he said, he just couldn't think women were inferior, right? Right? I wish I'd written it down exactly. Same girl was responsible for some sparkling gems of insight today, let me tell you.
Jessica, who's also in Dramatic Writing, was sitting next to me, and was nice enough to provide some sympathy groans. I wonder which one of us dozed off more.
Tommorrow I have the recitation section of the same class, the portable snack-size version, smaller in size but no less yawn-inducing. Is it the Socratic method or the Platonic method, teaching by asking your students a lot of questions? Whichever one it is, it's employed by the TA that runs the recitation. And, perhaps in keeping with the intent of Socrates or Plato or whoever, it's fucking annoying. It annoys me into talking, weighing in heavily on required readings I haven't, you know, read, babbling just to keep myself awake. I probably say things infinitely more daft than anything correctionist-historian ditz could come up with, but I don't remember any of them because I'm usually too tired, and on a couple lucky occassions hung over, for them to stick.
Then I came home and took the nap to end all naps, instead of having the Fantasy Afternoon I had intended to have. I guess it was more a Realistic Fantasy Afternoon, since nowhere in it were the phrases "scantily clad" or "chests still heaving, rendered unconcious by sexual exhaustion," and it actually involved a briefer nap than the one I took, a leisurely lunch, some blogging, and maybe banging out a sketch if I was feeling ambitious. None of those things happened. Several trips between alarm clock and top bunk, however, did, and then at two forty five I got a sandwich and went to class.
Tonight was waiting around for rehearsal to start, getting in a car for only maybe the fourth time in three months, even though I ended up taking the subway instead, missing persons, and a raggedy-ass tech run. If the old rule about the worse the dress rehearsal goes, the better the show will be, holds true, tommorrow night is going to be awesome. I have a sneaking suspicion it will be.
My dad's coming out for Parent's Weekend, which means he'll get to see the show. It also means I get to eat People Food for at least two meals in the coming days. Bonus.
I was up all late hanging out with Emilie and studying for the midterm I have tommorrow morning (ConWest Greekery, argh.) so excuse me not writing much.
Remember when I went to Pittsburgh and saw my family?
This was the best part.
There is acoustic Christian contemporary music being played LIVE, outside my doorway. The lyrics go something like "Holy, holy, hoolll-eee, holy, holy." The vocals are a harmony, a girl and a boy, reassuring me that kids from across the country can come together to sing toothless porridgey soft rock.
Now it's "Stairway to Heaven," thus proving that anything can be turned into toothless porridgey soft rock if played to you by an 18 year old boy who's casting the wide "sensitive guy who's proficient at acoustic guitar" net and seeing what he'll reel in.
It's all right. I know the axeman, he's a good guy. Some of my best friends have cast that net, with mixed results.
This isn't all I did tonight, sitting here eating Halloween Oreos my aunt and uncle sent me, in the dark, listening to the hootenanny outside.
So I woke up from my nap and it looked like this outside. The morning had been spent meeting up with Jaclyn, barely being able to walk her past the Tisch building before having to go be in a video sketch shooting in the park. After playing pretend football, seeing Famke Janssen, proving (visually) that there is no masculine way to apply Chapstick (the point of the sketch), and watching other people eat schawarma because I couldn't possibly justify the expense when I had about 4 meals left on my card and only one day to use them, I went home. My lips were covered in layer upon sedimentary layer of cherry Chapstick, and it's safe to say I was in one heck of a kissin' mood.
So I ate lunch, read some of "High Fidelity" and fell asleep on my bed for several hours.
Andrew (Alyx's boyfriend) called me at four asking if I wanted to see a play tonight for just 10 measley dollars. I replied that I did. He then asked if I wanted to come down to Water Street, his dorm, and chill out beforehand. I replied that I did. I then proceeded to take an inordinate amount of time to get down there, what with a shower I'd needed all day, a package waiting downstairs for me from my aunt and uncle full of Halloween candy, subway delays and retardation on my part, and hot dogs that were screaming to be bought and eaten.
The McDonald's Monopoly game has been excessively kind to my boy Andrew, and we stopped in at his local Golden Arches so he could redeem a one-free-sandwich-of-any-kind prize. We soon learned that in New York, even a transaction as simple as giving someone a free quarter pounder with cheese requires the involvement of an orca-fat sassy manager, who has to be summoned by the girl at the counter, from where she stands, across the restaurant, telling a timid Asian girl she cannot move a chair to sit with her friends (and that, the manager later intones to the register girl while punching in the necessary free-burger code, she can "fucking sit by herself at another table.")
We walked around the southern tip of Manhattan, among office towers empty for the weekend, shooting the shit. We went to the Cyber Cigar Cafe (which is not called exactly that but a variation on the theme, an open air Internet cafe with a humidor wall and a number of import beers on tap) so Andrew could get cigars for Poker Night. We sat on benches in Battery Park, looking out on to the water and the Statue of Liberty, and agreed we both need to get out more. That's our view, at right.
We met up with Alyx at the theater. The play was Jezz Butterworth's "The Night Heron," being produced by the Mamet-founded theater company/school Alyx and Andrew are in, Atlantic. It was fantastic, and I'm glad I went.
Alyx went uptown to her dorm to memorize and Andrew and I went downtown to play poker back at Water Street. Poker was played, Andrew's friend Patrick did interesting card tricks (ever notice how even the BEST card trick is still not all that great, because it is, after all, a card trick? Deep.), whiskey sours were mixed and consumed, as was the substance responsible for this entry's rambling nature and dogged preoccupation with sweet sweet food.
I got up a buck twenty (it was a high-rolling five-dollar nickel dime quarter evening) and left at around 12:30 to go to a Hammerkatz (sketch group) party. By the time I got there the party was over, partly because I was directionally addled, and partly because I kept stopping to take seemingly crucial at the time pictures like this one:
A subway walkway, gated off and seemingly frozen in time since 1995. Fascinating social document. Note the posters for Outbreak and Boys On The Side, as well as one announcing the latest Boys II Men tour. It's like looking at a star, and realizing that the light being emitted from it is not actually from the present, but is just now reaching you, having travelled from a time when people paid to see a movie starring Whoopi Goldberg as a lesbian lounge singer.
Honey, I brought you to Subway because here they make your sandwich right in front of you, a degree of honesty I feel is lacking in our relationship.
Then I went home, started this blog entry, got locked out of my room, woke up Justo the roommate and got let back in, and that pretty much brings us up to speed.
But here's last night, in brief, if you're interested.
You know that old joke about How many freshman hipster film majors can you cram in a room, blasting dance music off someone's iTunes, before the party gets broken up ten minutes after you arrive?
I found out:
Thanks to plain-sight rules and the kinder half of the RA team that busted up the shindig, the girls whose room it was only got written up for having too many people in the room, noise, and, of course, possession of candles.
Luckily, before the party got broken up I was able to use the bathroom and take mastrubatory pictures of myself in the mirror, which seemed like a really important thing to do at the time.
If you listen closely you can actually HEAR my hair dissolving into a self-parody.
I would later loan that sweater (which I promise is draped over my shoulder out of convenience, not a desire to join the Harvard crew team) out to a girl who was cold. "Nice jersey," she said. If you have the opportunity to keep a girl who has cute European ways of referring to things warm, I suggest you take it.
Later we saw an Asian girl inexplicably climb up onto the walk-don't walk sign outside the dorm.
It changed my life.
Have a good rest of your weekend.
Looking in the greasy brown bag next to the computer over and over again will not make it contain more pizza.
I ate the pizza. There were two slices, I ate 'em both reading people's blogs, now they're gone, but I keep looking.
Looking in the ziploc bag full of aluminum foil and crumbs will not make there be more of my Grandma's brownies.
I ate the brownies. They were in one giant square fresh from the pan in Pittsburgh, my grandma asked "Do you want a knife?" and I said no, I'd get one from the dining hall back home (I don't have any silverware) but there were no dining halls open at 1 am the other night when I ate half of the giant square and I still didn't have the promised knife last night when I demolished the rest. But I keep looking.
Looking in the Tower Records bag will not make it contain another copy of Transatlanticism, Death Cab for Cutie's new record. If it did, I'd give it to you, it's a fucking good album, and I wish I could go to their shows next week (I'll be doing the sketch show and the Sunday show at Bowery Ballroom with The Long Winters has long been sold out.)
I really should clean off my desk.
There have been a couple times today where I've been the happiest I've been in a while. And not for any good reason, really, which is the best kind of happy sometimes because you know it's not dependent on the world, which is often unreliable when it comes to serving up the things you love the most.
Often, but not always. As proof, now I get to go perform improv comedy.
I heard the taxis honking outside when I was trying to take a nap but couldn't because it hit me: oh, right, I'm in this New York. I am about to perform in New York City.
And granted, it's just in a theater in another dorm, and granted, the Cubs lost last night. But it doesn't matter.
I remember now what show night feels like, when everything you do beforehand takes on a sort of anticipatory importance, everything is charged.
You're thinking, This is the shirt I will wear when I perform in New York City.
You're thinking, This is the crappy dining hall pasta that will be in my stomach when I perform in New York City.
This is the reason I'm alive, and I'm glad someone gave me a reason because being alive is a wonderful amazing thing to be.
You don't get a man out of bed at 4:45 on a Saturday morning after he's had a fitful two hours of sleep, have him find that the shower water is ice cold, make him stumble downstairs and put him in a cab to LaGuardia airport. You just don't do it, it's impossible. Even more impossible is getting him to do it himself.
Unless that man is getting on a plane to see his family he hasn't seen in a couple months.
Unless that man is me.
My dad told me maybe four weeks ago that my family would be heading out East this past Saturday. The boys have Fall Break this week, so they were planning on flying out to Pittsburgh to stay with Lori (my stepmom)'s parents for a few days, and then they would all drive down to our nation's capital, go back up to Pittsburgh for a few more days, then call it a week and go back to Phoenix.
Pittsburgh, eh? I thought. That's flyin' distance. Then I remembered how much my parents are paying for me to be here. Correction: That's bussin' or trainin' distance. Hell, I woulda hitchhiked out there, rucksack over my shoulder, one hand holding out a sign reading "Iron City or Bust," had the need arisen. I was seeing my family this weekend, and there wasn't anything you could do to stop me. No, not even that.
A couple of problems arose right off the bat:
- I couldn't leave until Friday afternoon because I had class 'till 12:15, and the afformentioned ginormous sum my parents are dropping now and I'll be dropping in the future on loans makes me wary of missing class as a rule.
- I had to be back in town by two o'clock today, because I had to go to a play for Classic Drama at three.
- AmTrak schedules are six kinds of retarded, no trains were leaving anywhere near the times I needed. Privatiiiiize, man.
- Chinatown Buses go to Philly but not to Pittsburgh, dag blaggit.
- Greyhound Buses were looking like the way, the light, and the truth, considering their schedules are only five kinds of retarded, but their Board of Directors approved the addition of a sixth kind sometime around the beginning of the past week, gumming up what I thought was the Master Plan for Getting To Pittsburgh.
So my dad agreed, after the Greyhound debacle, to fly me out. I could argue only on the basis of feeling guilty for the expense of the trip versus the time I'd be seeing them; I was getting all the things I wanted: a quick trip and most importantly, a day with my family.
So I walked shivering, hair still wet from a cold shower, up Fifth Avenue looking for a cab to hail at five am on Saturday morning.
As you might imagine, I found one with not too much difficulty and Hossain Mohammed conveyed me to LaGuardia.
Driving, or more accurately, being driven through New York is always an experience for me, mostly 'cause I never get to do it. I have been in a car four times in the past two months, kind of a change from being in a car every day back home, not to mention being at the helm of said (crappy) vehicle. (I miss you, F-150. I kid 'cause I love.) So even just the physical sensation is fresh.
Also, I see much more of the city per minute in a cab than I do on a day to day basis. At five AM whole swaths of uptown I've barely even laid eyes on were screaming, explore me, or more NY venacular-accurate, explore me, fuckwad. I repented in my head and promised uptown I'd take the subway to the northern tip of Manhattan and walk all the way down to Battery Park on some theoretical Sunday, bringing my camera and someone to walk with. Uptown was placated. Hossain drove on.
When we got to the terminal, he told me the damage. "Twenty four fifty," he said. "You understand everything."
I paid him a sum I won't reprint here because I thought it was a good tip but I'm not sure and I don't want to look like a tightass, and thought if I understand everything and still act like I do sometimes, I fear for us all, Hoss, I fear for us all.
I love being places on early mornings that are open but practically empty. I'm always that strangely good kind of tired walking through these ghost towns, the kind you're afforded for a couple of hours after waking up from literally no sleep, and the world looks amazing. I don't love paying three dollars for a muffin because the airport cafe is out of egg and cheese. I do love sitting at the gate watching the sun rise listening to Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister (which I bought for the trip and is the drop-dead balls-out over-and-over-again Current Favorite Record you need every now and again. I hope my roommates are gone when I wake up tommorrow so I can bump it for the whole hall, if bumping Belle and Sebastian is something you can do).
I also love when your plane lands, taxis up to the gate, the capitan turns off the "seatbelt" sign, and everybody and their mother leaps out of their seat, even though half of us won't be able to get to the overhead compartment to get our shit, and none of us are getting out of this thing for another ten minutes at least. I always make a point NOT to stand up, to keep reading my book, and think of all the energy I have saved in my life by not standing up to deplane until I can realistically expect to walk down the aisle. Quite often I pull out a pen and make a note in my I Am So Much Smarter Than Everyone Else Journal while I'm waiting.
The woman next to me, in the middle seat (thanks to pop's frequent-flier miles, I was on the aisle and loving it), she was a jumper-upper. All flight I'd watched her toy with items in her big folder of travel documentation paraphanelia: Mapquest directions, boarding passes, airport maps. Now it was time for this anal-retentive pro traveller to take action, and here I was in her way. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her look at her daughter on the window, then at her watch, then peevedly at the unmoving pillar of people in the aisle. She shook her head in disgust. I kept reading, not actually reading, but just feeling the tension build, awaiting the point where the contrast between her fidgety caged-lightining jumpiness and my cool, calm, collected take-it-easyism stretched, like two opposite magnetic poles or cold water poured into a hot glass, to the breaking point, and this fifty year old lady and I would just MAKE THE FUCK OUT.
(I love New York. Where else in the world can you write, "I stopped blogging at this point to run to the window of my dorm room and watch a street fight involving a car colliding with a bakery truck and four guys attempting to pull the driver of the truck from the window?")
But alas, it was not to be. In lieu of pressing her middle-aged lips to mine, she used them to form words along the lines of "Would you mind? We have to make a connection very soon." I said I didn't mind. I closed my book, stood up, backed into the aisle, and watched her get her bag out of the overhead compartment. Then I watched her stand idly because, bag or no, the line was not fucking moving and we were all going at the same time. I watched her stand, like I'd avoided doing for minutes by just chilling the fuck out.
It's three thirty and I'm tired as balls, so I may just have to Part One And Part Two this, which I realize is incredibly lame because nothing in my story of weekend family seeing has, uhm, happened yet. Don't expect it to. But I will finish up tommorrow. Have a good night.
George Carlin says he doesn't really smoke pot much anymore. What George does, he says, (this is is a tribute-to-George-Carlin hosted by Jon Stewart you can probably still catch on HBO) is he hides one joint in his house, waits 'till he's written a bunch of new material, then he finds the joint. Then, as he puts it, it's "punch-up time!"
I have this essay I've spent more time on than anything I've ever ever written, ever.
Okay, that's not true. I have spent agonizing hours, dusk-'till-dawn type hours, on things I've actually wanted to write, usually plays. But this just FEELS longer. Every hour feels like three hours of something I actually want to be punching up. Like dog years. Dog years of tortorous shards-of-glass-under-my-fingernails essay pecking. The final draft is due tommorrow, and for this class, "drafts" defy my usual definition for in-class writing (punctuation corrections, a sentence or two trimmed or added for clarity.) Oh no. Every draft is required to be dramatically different from the last. And I feel like I have more drafts of this thing than a Hindu god has appendages.
And I just don't know where else to go.
So..."punch up time?"
Today I got a package from my fambly, it was mostly business-type stuff (bank statements, a health insurance card), as well as a check reimbursing me for the money I spent on books (a sum that's not good for encouraging me to get a job) and two MetroCards my dad bought when he was here. They should keep me in subway rides up to my ears for a while, especially because I rarely need to go anywhere.
So maybe tonight I'll go up to Times Square tonight after improv rehearsal, when the day of reckoning for my essay has come.
Maybe I'll hop out to a median in the glowing commercial heart of the world,
sit down in the middle of traffic indian-style,
old-school laptop battery heating my knees,
be filled with the smell of nuts (Times Square smells like hella roasted nuts),
listen to what it sounds like when everyone in Manhattan decides to lean on their horn at the very same second,
and have punch-up time.
Maybe not. It'll be pretty late by the time I get out of improv.
PS- I just got up from a three-hour nap, so I've got the door open and I'm filling floor 14 with loud-ass Iggy Pop, and I feel pretty fucking awesome.
Now it's time for lunch, and class.
Molly is not that kind of girl. But she's also in Belgium so it's really a non-issue.
Why is it the things I don't have are so much louder than the things I do?
It's like having a conversation with someone sitting across the table from you in a restaurant and as much as you really, really want to hear what they have to say someone at the next table is being much louder and you can't help but eavesdrop.
I was disappointed today 'cause I found out I didn't make that Ten-Minute Play festival thing, and I was tempted to think, like maybe we all are at times, "Man, disappointment sure seems to be the leitmotif of my life."
To which I replied, "What are you, fucking blind? What exactly about your life is disappointing? What is there not to love? You auditioned for two comedy troupes and you made them both. You get to make funny several nights a week, that's what you like to do, isn't it? You're on the writing staff, two of your sketches are getting produced, people are liking your shit. You get to go to school to learn about something you actually want to do. So you're lonely? MAKE MORE FRIENDS. So you're bored? WALK AROUND. Just. Quit. Whining."
Which seemed like pretty good advice, if I do say so myself.
I wonder how it is we can learn to really truly appreciate the fantastic things in our life and disregard the bad.
And how some good things can turn into fantastic things, just not in the form we were expecting, which keeps our sorry asses from appreciating them like we should. And we should.
Is the grass-is-greener tendency something that can be beaten out of you?
Coaxed? Coerced? Fucked?
Ooh, please say fucked.
And then please volunteer.
I have a laptop. Woot woot.
She's a Pentium II 400 Mhz Win-98-pre-loaded dinosaur with no internal disk or CD-rom drive, but she's thin and she's light and she's mine all mine.
I've actually had her for a couple of days, and I know I promised that my receipt of a computer would result in this unprecedented avalanche of blogging and that it, well, hasn't, and I'd like to say it's because these last couple of days have been motherfuckers, but they haven't. I don't know what happened, I woke up from my trance today and realize that I hadn't updated.
And this night isn't going to be the one to remedy that, because I'm tired as balls and have class at nine thirty and promised myself some sleep. So enjoy these pictures.
Last night I said to myself, From now on, whenever I feel like taking a nap, I'm going to go to the gym instead! thinking it would even out my current naps-to-gym-trips ratio, which is hovering somewhere around 5:1. This was as I was exiting the gym, feeling like a million bucks even though I hadn't slept much the evening previous and was on my way to eat and then go to improv rehearsal.
This lack-of-sleep-and-endorphun induced resolution lasted all of 12 hours. I woke up at nine this morning after five hours of sleep, because I had to go to the library and see if anybody found a disk I'd left there in one of the computer labs, which open at nine. This disk had, effectively, my life on it. (Yes, that's right, my life consists of a handful of writing activites, a seven-page essay, a screenplay for a short film, a ten minute play, and a jpeg of Chairman Mao. You, Saavy Reader, always suspected it, and now your suspicions are confirmed. I congratulate you, as does Mao.) I was there when the lab opened, and checked the computer I'd been at when I decided going and getting dinner was more important than remembering to take my disk out. I asked the Nice Lady if they had some sort of lost and found. Indeed they did. She pulled out a bin of wayward homeless disks, all of which were labeled, making me feel not-quite-so-bad for not having the foresight to label mine. Labeless Life-Containing Beige 3.5" Floppy, as I had taken to calling him, was not present. Fuck. I went back to the dorm and slept 'till two.
Long story short: I had saved the two things I really needed (my ten-minute play and my seven-page essay) on the computers where I typed them, because I have developed these sort of idiocy buffers, like an animal that develops sonar because it's blind, only dumber. I remembered this when I returned to the library at two, thinking I'd have to retype the play from a hard copy. I congratulated myself, and saved them on a disk I'd bought at the bookstore.
Then I found the stupid disk I'd been missing. Life was awesome, except for the fact that I hadn't eaten, I was in the library, and all of the day's trials and triumphs had revolved around small beige data storage devices.
I revised my play, printed it out, printed another one out, turned them both in at the Dramatic Writing office for consideration as part of the Undergraduate Ten Minute Play Festival. I sure do hope I get in (they only take about six, and the whole undergrad department can submit, so my chances are less than good. Ah well.)
The rest of the day was spent job-hunting. Then I took my second "trip to the gym" being sure to work out the part of me that reads a bit then goes to sleep in my bed 'till dinnertime.
Seriously, though, I do need to gym it more often. It's not even a health thing, it's a mental welfare issue. I feel so much better after one of my characteristically half-assed workouts, I have more energy, and I see way more naked old men than I would at home in bed. It just hasn't been the same since Ernest died.
Saw Lost in Translation tonight. It did not live up to the hype. Everybody who likes the movies I like has been raving about it, but I was left cold. A movie featuring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson (If I was married to Scarlett Johansson, you would never see me again. You'd be all, "Where'd DC get off to?" and the person you were asking would be like "Do you have to ask?" and you'd be like, "Oh, right, he's off fucking Scarlett Johansson." And I would be, too.) should, for all intents and purposes, be my favorite movie of all time, especially when it also features Japanese hipsters. But I was left cold.
Two years ago, Sofia Coppola was sitting at her Powerbook, thinking, "How can I show that (character who would eventually be played by the girl I'd never stop fucking) is depressed, disillusioned and lost? I know! I'll just show her staring out the window at Tokyo one more fucking time!" Good choice, Sofia. I got it. I got it again and again and again. So much did I understand that this girl was depressed and disillusioned that I was almost wanted you to move on and show something else. And you did! You showed handheld shots of Japan. And just when I thought you couldn't possibly have anymore handheld shots of Japan, guess what I got? Oh, alright, I'll just tell you: MORE HANDHELD SHOTS OF JAPAN! It was a bold choice, so bold that I felt a bit out of my element as an audience member, and was ready for you to bring me back to Scarlett Johansson staring out the window. It sure was a good thing you did.
Don't get me wrong. It was worth seeing, the karaoke scenes were priceless, Bill Murray is a genius, I laughed. It's just that it could've been better served in the hands of say, a Wes Anderson. Or a Wes Anderson's dog. Or a coat in the back of Wes Anderson's closet Wes Anderson hasn't worn in a while.
One more thing, Sof: What was with all the out-of-focus shots, especially in the last bar scene? They didn't even seem like a respectable stylistic choice. When you have Scarlett Johannson letting you put her face on film, that thing better be crisp as a fall morning. ("Where's DC this fine crisp fall morning?" "Dude, do you even have to ask?") Emilie noted the irony, since your production company is called "Focus Features." Pretty sloppy, Sof. I can call you Sof, right?
In Recent Triumph news, I am officially on the Writing Staff of Hammerkatz, two of my sketches are in the show, the other night a thin dorm room wall seperated me and an Olsen Twin, and my Writing the Essay teacher e-mailed us AFTER THE FACT to tell us the criteria she'll be using to grade drafts of essays she ALREADY HAS (I didn't meet about four of the criteria), for seemingly no other reason than just to ruin our weekends.
Oh no, wait, that last one's not a Recent Triumph. It's Bullshit. I was so busy being blinded with rage and using capital letters that I confused the two.
Yes, I realize the irony of only writing about the library, more specifically, the underground den of study carrels and ancient computers my current PC-less status relegates me to, when I am in the city with more things to see and do than perhaps anywhere else in the world.
I see things. I do things. One thing I do a lot is stay in this library really late banging out page after page of Writing The Essay homework. It's five minutes 'till four AM right now, I just got done slogging through a seven-page essay which was but a heading at ten thirty when I actually sat down to write. I would talk myself into a congratulatory falafel-and-smoke (a girl down the hall, Tia, gave me some cloves when she was drunk because I'm her "favorite straight guy"), and I'd probably go along with myself on that one if I wasn't due for an even longer one of these epic library sessions tommorrow night. Y'see, there's a ten minute play festival going on in the ol' Dramatic Writing department, and if we want to enter (I do) and want to have our plays looked over (although I haven't written it yet, I can safely bet it'll need some revising) we have to turn them in to our Craft teacher by Thursday at the latest. The entry deadline is Friday at five o'clock. This would be very daunting if I weren't so fucking clutch.
Between tonight and my return here tommorrow night, though, is Hammerkatz rehearsal, where we'll be doing table reads of a bunch of sketches in consideration for the first show, two of which are mine. Yee haw.
To continue in the life-as-extended-baseball-metaphor vein from last night, a high school baseball coach has taken up residence in my head. I never played high school baseball, or any baseball, really, for that matter, which is why my coach is so very one note. Last night as I was falling asleep he had one message for me:
Quit playin' loserball.
I couldn't help but listen. He has a big poofy hat, a track jacket and a whistle around his neck, he must know his shit. He's right. I have been playing loserball. In a life with so much to love, I have of late been chosing the self-pity woe-is-me route, which, while a fine compliment to rainy days, is really pretty depressing and pointless in the long run.
It's like here I am, in this great city (metaphorically) and all I can see is the stupid B-level computer lab at the library (metaphorically.)
And now I am going to put on my sweater (literally) and my jacket (literally) and get the fuck (metaphorically, dammit) out of here.
PS- HFT has a new synonym for "hero," and that synonym is "Omar Noory." He hit up the Paypal with five dollary-dos. (I miss The Simpsons so much.) Tell it, Omar:
I figure when I embark to college myself I would find it cool if a random person I've never met gave me five bucks for Wendy's or something.
PPS- Happy 2nd Anniversary to Achewood, not just a fine alternative to gettin' puzzled on some brew, but a seminal artistic acheivement. Chris Onstad is cold singin' the song of America, and we are all lucky to hear it.