Thanksgiving, Pittsburgh style.
It turns out that in order to have Thanksgiving, Pittsburgh style, you have to have Day Before Thanksgiving, Syracuse Airport style.
It looks something like this:
For some reason completely beyond me my flight to Pittsburgh wasn't one short jaunt on a big bird like it usually is. It was two hops on cramped little prop planes divided by a two-hour layover in scenic Syracuse, NY. The highlight was getting to walk out of the plane and across the tarmac like a high-rolling international traveller at the dawn of the age of aviation. The lowlight was the Syracuse airport. I finished the play I was reading (The Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson, highly recommended), called Emilie, tried to take a nap, and finally got onto another tiny, tiny plane and got the hell out of Syracuse, which, judging by the 50 square feet of airport I paced, is the singly the worst city in the union.
When I got to Pittsburgh I thought You know, if there's one thing my blog doesn't have enough of it's pictures from the Pittsburgh airport.
I bought the new Belle and Sebastian CD 'cause when I go to Pittsburgh I get a Belle and Sebastian record. That's twice now, anyway. It's a disappointment, but it's hard not to be disappointed when you expect transcendant perfection from a band and then some. "Step In To My Office, Baby" is the most fun song that ever funned, but the rest of the album is middling. I listened to "Piazza, New York Catcher" three times while waiting for my grandparents to pull up outside the baggage claim.
This greeted me upon our arrival. That is, from left to right, hot Italian sausage, wedding soup, and cucumbers and tomatoes in oil and vinegar. Do your grandparents love you as much as mine do? No, I didn't think so.
Five kinds of dip? What a country!
The rest of my weekend consisted mostly of relatives with whom I'm only vaguely familiar (this is my stepmom's extended family, whom I've only seen in full once or twice), watching obscene amounts of TV (I don't have one in New York so that was a joy), sleeping in a big comfy bed (ditto), reading Tony Kushner plays and essays (did you know if you aren't as ultra-liberal and super-socialist as Tony Kushner, you're a Nazi? Well, surprise!), and the coda to my every epic homemade meal was not one but two pieces of pie, one pumpkin, one apple. It was glorious.
Oh, and I played with the dog.
Here's the pitch:
A blog consisting entirely of a blogger psyching himself up to blog. Berating himself for not writing more often. Bemoaning his dwindling number of hits and the dreadfully close correspondence between that and his decrease in productivity and perceived (or real? Oh god, real?) drop in quality. Excuses and apologies by the barrelful. Clever postmodern self-referential one-offs and playlets about his lack of blogging. All this is founded on a firm commitment to provide absolutely zero content.
I think it could take off.
I didn't buy anything on Buy Nothing Day.
I struck a blow against consumerism and capitalist excess by letting my grandma buy me everything.
Three new sweaters and a scarf from Old Navy are liberating the proliteriat from the chains of primitive capital accumulation.
If one can affect sweeping social reform merely by eating pie, these past couple days I enacted universal health care and freed Mumia all by myself.
Think Globally. Fall Asleep On The Couch Before Acting Locally.
That is, as they say, how I do.
Eat obscene amounts of turkey.
And something with cranberries in it.
I know I will.
Blogging's like working out.
For a while you're doing it every day and feeling like a badass. It's just a habit, you don't even think about it. You feel mad productive. The props are rolling in from the ladies. You are having sex with seven, eight attractive people a day, easy, where as before it was more like two.
Then for whatever reason, usually something along the lines of "I just got too busy," it drops out of your routine. Its absence makes you guilty and you make the occasional half-hearted attempt to get back in the swing, but you're out of breath, running at half-capacity. You're shit.
But you have to try. Because A) you really enjoyed it, and B) you have the completely mistaken notion that it makes people want to have sex with you.
I've done a lot of things in this city I've just completely neglected to mention.
I've seen an amazing volume of plays. More plays than movies since I've been here, by an effortless five to one ratio. One of the benefits of being in the Dramatic Writing department is the free and low-cost (five buck) tickets to productions on every end of the quality, prestige, and production value spectrum. Some have been pretentious and awful, (The Hot Month, a work in progress in which a gay man goes on a spirtual quest through the Southwest, egged on by the ghost-spirit-astral-projection-something-or-other of his comatose lover, who looked like the guy from Blue's Clues, falls madly in love with a denture-wearing shotgun-toting hippie lady, gets molested by a lonesome gas station attendant. Let's not forget the morbidly obese woman giving birth on stage. I know I can't) (Note to the author: You tried to hard to be quirky. You used too many unnecessary storytelling devices and forgot to have a story. This is why nobody goes to plays, dumbass.) some have been inspired (I Am My Own Wife, a one-man Broadway show about a real life eccentric transvestite who ran a museum in Berlin and endured the reign of both the Third Reich and the Communists, written by an alum of the department. Tickets are sixty to eighty bucks, we got to watch the final dress rehearsal for free.) but all of them have been worthwhile experiences I wouldn't get to have anywhere else in the world. That's one thing that I love about theatre, and could just as easily be an indictment of why it sucks: It happens in one place for a given number of nights and then it's done. If you missed it, you missed it. The text lives on, but that's only half the story. There may be other productions, but it will be nowhere near the same. It was a moment, and moments pass.
And yes, I'm sentimental and not a very good writer.
Something else I've made no mention of is the way, in art school, you end up in everyone else's projects. Well, maybe this doesn't happen to everyone. Maybe it's just people like me, who not only make friends for life every time they leave their dorm room (five times since August, thanks) but are also hot-ass hotness with a side of fuckable and a tall cold class of Man. But since I've been here, I've been pleaded, bullied, harangued, coerced, and even ASKED to be in several random artsy-fartsy projects. I played a depressed depression victim in Roger's short film. I fell in love with an imaginary character named BoxHead. I smoked in Roger's bathtub, wrapped in a blanket, looking generally sour. We did everything in one take, then I walked home in the rain.
I was in Dent's project for Digital Frame and Sequence, where he has to tell a story using a series of still pictures. A slide show, if you will. In this case, a slideshow in which my character picks up schoolgirl whores from their educational institution, takes them to the park for a phallic hotdog which they consume much to my delight, adjourns to a seedy Chinatown hotel with the whooers for a good ol' fashioned single-bed lines-of-coke-off-my-bare-back-cut-with-an-NYU-ID-style romp, while all the while my wife is across town preparing a surprise dinner to commemorate our first anniversary. She finds out. The whores end up tied up as we eat. Doing this project only fufilled most of my fantasies.
I posed shirtless for Abby's photo project about masculinity. Apparently some people intepret masculinity as black-and-white pictures of exposed Aryan rib. Whatever. Once I can get my hands on a scanner we can all revel in my hotteration. I ended up making out with Abby. Abby, Emilie's best friend. Oh, the drama. The drama and the awkward and the mixed signals about who really likes who and who just wants to make out with cool fun pretty photography students. College is awesome. Regressing to middle school is not.
The other thing I did here that I've only scantly written about is briefly date and then just exhaustively hang out with a girl from my Craft of Visual and Dramatic Writing Class, who is funny and brilliant and caustic and well-spoken and beautiful and has the best eyes ever on a human being and invented kissing, but has a boyfriend, but regardless, says she loves me back.
I don't know why I didn't mention that.
Stop being afraid.
Stop being afraid to fail. Or to say the wrong thing. Or to do the wrong thing, even when it seems like that's all you're capable of.
Stop being afraid of trouble. You didn't do enough things wrong when you were a kid, you didn't build up a tolerance. Conciously do regrettable things. (More, I mean.) Grow thicker skin.
Talk plenty of shit there's no way you can back up.
Allow yourself emotions. When you're sad, don't be mad at yourself for being sad. Be sad. Then stop.
Get a job. Or don't.
You have been going to the gym more lately. Well done there.
In every other aspect of your life, stop settling for laziness and mediocrity. Read more plays. See more movies. Write more, asshole.
Make mistakes. Not that you don't. But you know what I mean.
Stop trying to be wise. You're clearly not. Accept that. Socrates did. Now it's your turn.
Just be young. Ferchrissake, be young.
Fondest regards, DC
Let me tell you about exciting things:
My dad e-mailed me today, he booked plane tickets for me to go to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and back home for Christmas. This is awesome for obvious reasons and not so obvious ones.
I didn't think I was going to get to take a plane to Pittsburgh, where I will be spending Thanksgiving with my stepmom's wonderful Italian family and their sweet sweet homecooked food. I thought I would be bussin' it, or trainin' it. But without my asking, Pops booked me a flight for next Wednesday afternoon, to return Saturday, hopefully ten pounds heavier, plus a backpack FULL of baked goods. That guy: he gives me birth, he raises me well, he sends me to college, he puts me on planes. If I'm ever half the man he is I'll quit while I'm ahead.
Then there is Winter Break. Most other Tisch (School of the Arts) kids get to go home the first or second week of December, because they don't have finals, because they don't take, you know, actual classes. Dramatic Writing kids have to take classes on what's called the Morse Academic Plan, which is essentially Gen Ed stuff. There are just a few Actual Class requirements, it's not as bad as it could be, but the upshot is ancient Greek literature will keep me here an extra week and a half.
Of course, it's an extra week and a half in NYC. No classes. Explorin' time. Also, my favorite person in this city of six million will be here too. Could be worse. Could be way worse.
And then when I get back, it's fucking on. On in two senses: the wholesome family sense, whereby I will sleep in my own bed and wake up to the people I love more than anything in the world you can name, and go to my brother's hockey games and my other brother's soccer games and generally remind them of why they liked me in the first place.
The other sense is the unwholesome friends sense, whereby I will let my loving compatriots fill me with all kinds of substances and we will talk about how much we missed one another and stumble over to Vaquero's and get burritos and stumble back for more senseless debauchery.
And I will drive my big white truck between the two worlds, arm hanging out the window, bangin' the door, blaring classic rock radio (Creedence, anyone? Yes please. Two for me.) and be the happiest person alive.
New York has plays and school and comedy groups and the center of Western Civilization and an indescribable buzz.
Phoenix has my family and my friends and my shitty ol' vehicle and giant gas-station sodas and cheap delicious Mexican food.
I am lucky to have a life where I get to have both.
I can't eat as much since I came to college. I don't know what happened. I used to be able to tuck in with the best of 'em; not even my rampant early-this-year weight loss restricted my gorging abilities. Now, after three months here, an amount of food that would have just tided me over back home has me feeling like The Oil Trust in an old-school political cartoon, absent the awesome top-hat and monocle, but definitely featuring the giant belly from hell.
I think it's the dining hall food. It's just, lord help it, not all that good. I've gotten used to not eating so much 'cause...I don't usually...want to. I know. It hurts me, too.
I used to fat-kid with the fat-kiddiest of them. Now I can barely muster the skinny-boy heart to go back for seconds.
If there wasn't falafel and schwarma and pizza and Wendy's and hot dogs, I would shrivel up and blow away. If you think I'm kidding, you weren't here last week when there was bearing down on Manhattan the kind of wind that makes you think if there are gods, they most certainly hate you and would like nothing more than freeze off your appendages for sport. If it weren't for junk food, I would be an emaciated chunk of ice bobbing somewhere in the mid-Atlantic.
Just think about that.
This entry will not be terribly extensive.
You can blame the inventor of car alarms.
Car alarms in the dashboards of station wagons parked down the street from your building, shrieking out a unique pattern that combines all the fun of massive dental work with the pleasing tone of robot kittens being ground to death in some large machine.
At six in the morning, an hour after you've climbed into the top bunk after a long, long night of playwrighting, knowing the meager sleep you're about to grab before your eleven o'clock class will not be enough to combat your lingering cold, but you're bound and determined to enjoy it anyway.
And you think, I'm an atheist, but I hope there's a heaven for all the angels and saints I've known.
And a hell for the inventor of car alarms.
Trevor will entertain you in my absence. There is much good to say about my best friend and his documented misadventures, but succcinctly, he makes me the most consistently glad that all my friends have blogs.
You know when they say, "Put a jacket on or you'll catch cold?"
Yea, apparently that's not just buying into some sort of old wive's tale.
Apparently that's how people actually get colds.
I would know. I got one. I looked out the window when I woke up Saturday morning (11:45), saw that it was perfectly sunny, and figured it would be one of those unseasonably warm days. There were a disgustingly wonderful amount of those last week. I thought the trend would continue.
Halfway to the Tisch building, late for a meeting, without a sweater, I realized, no, the trend has no intention of continuing. It's November. On the East Coast. No one's ever too behind schedule to grab a sweater, dumbass.
I want to know how people get away with doing so many stupid things on a daily basis and evading the results. All the stupid things I do have very clear-cut consequences.
See also: my runny nose and sore throat.
See also: "I really hope we can still be friends." Turns out it's about as much fun to say as it is to hear, even (especially?) when you mean it.
Yes, I'd love you to make me chicken soup, bundle me up on the couch and let me watch movies all day. I never stayed home sick in elementary school very much, but somewhere along the line I got the impression that that's what happens.
That is what happens, right?
What if I promise to wear two sweaters next time?
I had an excellent day today.
It was gorgeous outside. After my one class, I took a sandwich to Battery Park. I ate it, listened to Belle and Sebastian, watched seagulls and German tourists and a crazy old man dancing on rollerblades. It was glorious.
Then I walked along the water up the west side, through insanely nice parks and piers I had no idea were there.
I passed this, so I stopped on a pier while the sun was setting and it was getting cold, and wrote this:
Youíll be tempted when you hear this
To label me a fool
But Iím quitting college to enroll
In the New York Trapeze School.
College social life appealed to me
The campus was nice, too
But Iíve noticed, as of late, a lack
Of feats of derring-do
In trapeze school, there are no exams
No answers, right or wrong
And my advisorís meetings will go something like:
ďNeck not broken? Great. So long!Ē
My every course will take place
In a classroom, four feet square
No room for detailed taking notes
up this high in the air
Iíll be graded on my landings,
And write with rope burned fists
my thesis: a lengthy symphony
of midair turns and twists
Upon graduation, Iím hired by
A circus of great renown
And after a season or two Iíll find us
Back in my old hometown
The ground gets not a second glance
Iím now a seasoned vet
My death-beating stunts performed without
The safety of a net
My parents are in the crowd tonight,
Dad whispers ďHoly shit,
Why couldnít he just have gotten that
BA in English Lit?Ē
My mother shuts her eyes
As she endures that deadly pause
Between the time I leave the platform
And the thunderous applause
Post-show, Iíll run into a girl I knew
When I was young and fat
Who changed her mind once I became
A world-class acrobat
Weíll adjourn to my tent after I
bid goodnight to cast and crew
Her fingers tracing hardened muscle
as she surrenders to
a desire so different from the one
that first caused her pulse to pound:
Tonight, in her darkest heart,
to see me dashed upon the ground
She sees itís not so far between this
and my rope a tad too frayed:
A thrill , a chill, and Iíll be gone
tomorrow either way
There is only room for this kind of love,
(limbs entangled on hard cots)
no more, in a life whose length depends
On gravity and knots
The road is hard, and also thereís
the outsized chance of dying
But I say, ďWeíll all meet fate some day
At least Iíll meet mine flying.Ē
My laptop power adapter just shot sparks. Honest to God Fourth Of July S-P-A-R-K sparks. And smoked, too. Let's not forget smoke! So I'm gonna go to bed instead of updating.
Take 'er easy.
And now, people who suck at poetry are joining their ranks. Namely, thanks to a tiring night of essay second-drafting and one-act outlining, me. Here goes.
I like her
so I hand her a knife
and bear my chest
she doesn't stab me
so I love her
What they forget to tell you before you move here is how seriously everyone in this city takes Halloween.
They take it more seriously than they take, say, religious icons...
...seminal figures of popular music...
...or even the clergy.
Weird shit happens on this night of nights.
You're just as likely to do inadvisable things in the presence of your best friend's roommate...
...as you are to see the Cat In The Hat sharing with a subway car with a couple Armies of One...
...as you are to meet your friend Roger, drugged out of his bean, on your way to get free dessert...
...which never actually shows up...
...so you, the elf, the nymph, and Roger (who has proclaimed in the street to everyone within shouting distance that he is dressed as "JOE MILLIONAIRE! FROM THAT POPULAR TELEVISION PROGRAM, JOE MILLIONAIRE!" in between singing Velvet Underground) go get pizza. Because everyone in Manhattan gets pizza, and tonight is no exception. No one is ever not getting pizza.
Not Roman emperors.
Not the FDNY.
Oh, and keep in mind, this is all taking place while you're dressed as The Jesus from The Big Lebowski.
You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus.
It's a good night to be in New York, and there's no reason why you shouldn't be here next year.
My roommate Ryan, stumbling like a drunken marionette out of the bathroom, where he has spent the last 20 minutes dry heaving, pants around his ankles:
This is our room? Sweet.
imagestation is down at the time of this writing. Blowout smash-n-grab Halloween entry coming soon, oh girl.