Determination frightens God.
God has never had to try in his life,
he has always been able to accomplish anything instantly
with absolutely no effort.
So the idea that beings so much less powerful than he
would expend so much effort
attempting to accomplish things that to him seem so small
is at first laughable,
and then worrisome.
He could stop us if he wanted to
and often he will
but if we keep trying
in spite of how small we are
eventually he will realize
we are too crazy to fuck with.
Some more songs by Jason Anderson.
You can read my other posts on dude here and here and then go see him tonight at Pete's Candy Store, if you are such a thing as in New York. If I were a Jason Anderson song, I would remind you that you will have other nights, but it will never be tonight again. You know? So come hang.
Yay! I will say nothing more than, his music makes me a better person. No joke!
Let's all have one killer week.
It would be uncool to
talk to your girlfriend.
Everybody knows the best couples
just follow each other
down the subway platform,
taking slow half-sedated steps,
You walk a few steps past him,
then he walks a few steps past you,
then you walk a few steps past him,
then he adjusts his porkpie hat.
I have been doing stand-up for about five months now. I really, really like it. It is terrifying and amazing. Derrick has been hosting this weekly show, which is a great incentive to write new shit every week. My favorite couple of hours every week is sitting in a coffee shop paging through a notebook going "What does 'elf bridge' mean? Why did I write that? What did I hope to communicate to myself about what I clearly thought was worth communicating to the audience tonight?"
It's a nice receptacle for certain thoughts, things that don't want to be stories or screenplays or triple-CD concept albums, but could maybe be worth saying into a microphone for an assemblage of semi-drunk folks. It's also a good muscle to build, distinguishing between areas where funny things might live and the funny things themselves, like: "Is there really a joke there, or do I just feel a certain way about onions?"
It's also nice practice in the keep-it arts. For the past couple of years I've spent most of my time doing the push-it-away-from-you arts: improv is ephemeral by its nature. You didn't prepare the show. You prepared the skills to create the show at that moment, intensely, but the show itself you didn't work on before and is gone forever the second it's over. Videos, you shoot them and they live forever, but you don't work on them once they're done. You don't live with them. They don't evolve over time. Stand-up jokes live with you, you fall in and out of love with them, move words around, add tags and tags-on-tags, think "perhaps this will be improved if I pantomime fucking a chair." I'm excited to grow old with some bits I have now, knowing full well I will have revised them so that they're unrecognizable six months from now, or I will just fucking hate them and never want to see them again.
All this is a long preamble to saying I'm doing my first half-hour of stand-up tomorrow night at The Creek. I am probably not ready. But I'm just jazzed as hell. It promises to be sloppy and enthusiastic and hopefully endearing and funny. If you are in town, come check a man out. It would mean a lot to have you there.
DC PIERSON in AW, BULLSHIT
(my arbitrarily titled first half hour of stand-up)
hosted by Pat Macum and Rojo Perez
opening: Chesley Calloway and Dominic Dierkes
Friday Nov. 21st - 10 PM - FREE - The Creek - 10-93 Jackson Ave in Long Island City
See you tomorrow!
In WWII or one of those wars, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people...in the land of really good hardcore geeks. They all have a kind of intensity about what they're doing that makes it impossible for them to be bored or passionless. They are pretty driven, and they get a lot of joy from what they do, and it comes through, I think.
- Neal Stephenson
I love you, Neal Stephenson, and I cannot wait to read your new book. Apparently it concerns an alternate universe of science-worshiping monks in big behemoth war machines, or something. Any combination of those words reads, to me, as "literary boner fuel."
Winter is a good time to read a cumbersome epic book that, in summer, seems clunky to carry around and too demanding of your full attention. You're already carrying a lot more weight with your big heavy coat and other various itchy cold-fighting things, what's another couple of pounds? Especially when those pounds are filled with super-funny swashbuckling alterna-histories, or, you know, whatever you're into.
Jimmy Eat World to do tour playing the entirety of their album "Clarity."
Arizona, stand up! We used to rock that in several first cars and parents' borrowed vans, knowing full well we were hearin' the truth.
My friend Margot made a very funny short film called "I Love Serial Killers: Manson." I narrated it, and Dominic from Derrick is in it as well. ANNOUNCER VOICE!
Uh Huh Uh Huh - May 2005
On the evening when you make your greatest
most perfect-ever exit,
from a party
at exactly the right second
leaving all the right questions hanging
and all the proper hearts aflutter,
you will realize you have forgotten
You will have to go back,
and drag your bare feet
over the shards of your
The quest to convert the entirety of New York City to the Church of Jason Anderson continues. (He's playing every Monday in November at Pete's Candy Store. I wrote about last Monday here.) I won't write about last night in crazy detail, but suffice to say there were three times as many people there as last week and we all left with smiles on our faces as big as all outdoors.
"It sounds so obvious, and that's the best goddamn part!"
I don't think I'm going to make it next week because I have to go back to Kalamazoo 'cause I'm in this movie that's shooting there, which takes me out of the running for the perfect-attendance prizes at the end of the month. But you should go. Last week and this week and how it all made me want to tell people "GO!" made me think about overhype. And how we're so superinundated with opinion that the only ones that rise to the top are the ones that say "This absolutely sucks" or "This is far and away the greatest thing of all time." And how we feel burned when those things aren't true and that makes us tune out the next time someone comes around heralding something as the greatest.
Seeing dude live is really, really, uniquely great. And if you go and you don't agree, that's cool. But at least you went and at least you're developing the habit of going and seeing instead of the habit of shrugging and staying indoors and resting assured that you're smarter than everyone else and that the world is largely bullshit. I guess that oughta be true in general. Trying stuff that disappoints us is good practice. It's a badge of openness. More and more I'm starting to think openness is the greatest characteristic you can have.
(Also: I don't believe you'll be disappointed. For real.)
Anyway, more songs! "Watch Your Step" is in the running for my favorite song of all time. No joke! (You can download whole bunches of songs at Jason's website. "Tour Support" and "On The Street" are both downloadable EPs, ferrinstance.)
Jason Anderson - "Watch Your Step"
Jason Anderson - "Jonesboro"
Jason Anderson - "Hidden Light"
STORIES, REMASTERED! - A couple years ago a weird glitch fucked up a bunch of stories I'd posted. I am (slowly) going back and fixing them. Here are some I've fixed.
Pretty Much Everyone - June 2003
Eliza Skinner Is The Most Beautiful Girl In The World - November 2005
Listen To My Demo - January 2006
About a year ago I quit my temp job. My friend Eliza had recently said to me "You should write a novel." And I believe I said "I'd like to someday." And I believe she said something about how everybody says that and nobody ever does it.
I was temping in the accounting department of a big book retailer's website and getting stress headaches and I was convinced I was going to be struck dead by some mysterious malady. I had just graduated from college and I was going fucking nuts. I looked around and thought "I don't want to die here." I was not dying. That was never a possibility. Unless my thickly-accented Russian supervisor Yuri got so tired of me misplacing decimal points on spreadsheets (which I did ALL THE TIME, and it's a thing accountants hate for some reason) and bludgeoned me to death with the ancient, heavy keyboard on my spreadsheet-updating terminal.
Yuri had told me my second day of work that "there is a subway exit that comes right up into the building, so you never have to see the sun" on your way into the job. He was really excited about it and eager to share this fact with me. I guess he was the kind of guy who's excited about stuff that's crushingly depressing.
So one day I decided I just wasn't gonna go back the next day. I had jerry-rigged my spreadsheet-updating terminal to get Gmail (it was blocked by a firewall, which considering the antique nature of the system was probably an actual wall of actual fire) and I e-mailed Eliza and said "I am going to quit my job and write that novel. Please be my 'novel sponsor.' Please call me and bother me and harangue me every time you see me. Do not let me not write this."
I felt awesome. I called my temp agent and left her a voicemail saying "Way more accounting than I can handle, I'm sorry to flake, I know this makes your job difficult, but I can't go back." Then I took a nap. When I woke up I had a voicemail from her saying I should call her immediately and this was extremely unprofessional and I should at least finish out the week. I didn't call back and that's the last I've heard from her. It was pretty dumb and juvenile. It also felt great.
I started auditioning for commercials, and I kept bartending at UCB, both of which I'm still doing. Eliza did her job so well that eventually I had written the book.
Anyway, I just got the go-ahead to say out loud that it's called The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To and it's going to be published by Broadway Books. I'm profoundly honored and excited. I have always been absolutely geeked out by books and words, we're talking old-school pencil-necked-geek-who-pronounces-"my library card"-by librerry carb-because-his-nose-is full-of-snot type shit. This is a dream of mine.
I'm going to be writing here more. Partially so I have more regular readers to pimp the book to when it eventually comes out and also just to get better. A long time ago, a weird glitch made it so a great deal of the stories and essays and stuff I've written here in the past six years are entirely punctuated with question marks. I am going to go through and re-punctuate all of them and then re-post them. Some are good. All are weird. It's what I've got going on.
I'm also going to try and generally make the site spiffier. Comments will come back (they haven't worked in, I think, three years.) If there's any other beef you have with the site you'd like to see something done about, please e-mail a dude at dcpierson at gmail dot com.
You guys, I'm psyched. I may start wearing argyle sweaters and conservative spectacles and pouring water into a clear glass from a clear glass pitcher and drinking deeply from it before saying, "Well, the thing people forget about Faulkner is..." But mostly I'll probably keep writing strange shit about girls, burgers, and sentient penises from beyond the stars.
THANK YOU ELIZA, GREG, DIANNE, DANIEL, AND GERALD.
I think I am going to be writing here more, for my own nefarious purposes. The idea is you will read more if I write more. That seems fair, right? Right. Let's go.
My friend Ben just came out with a book. How neat is that? It's called Grandma's Dead: Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals. I think it make a good Christmas gift. It would be fun on a coffee table or the back of a toilet. It contains pictures of adorable baby animals, with brutally honest captions. I guarantee you will like it.
My friend Christine just got a thing published on McSweeney's. Well, "just" implies it happened very recently, which it had, when I originally intended to write about this. But Christine's short essay "A 39-Year-Old Wedding Photographer Makes Her Pitch at the Ramada Inn Bridal Expo" has not gotten any less funny or horribly, horribly sad in the intervening period. Read it up!
My friend Trevor, probably my oldest friend (who I met in fourth grade when he was drawing a comic in his spelling book), got hit by a car while he was riding his bike in Scottsdale, AZ last week. It was touch and go there for a minute but he is out of surgery and is supposed to be up and around today. From what I understand he is now full of metal and lucky as hell. Get fully well soon, pal. I was thinking about it and most of my best memories feature you in some way.
I went to see Jason Anderson this Monday night in Brooklyn. I discovered dude a couple months ago after his new album got an insanely good write-up in The Onion AV Club. I listened to the embedded song, "Watch Your Step," five hundred times. My iPod was broken and I promised myself I would buy the whole record when I had the money to buy a new iPod and I would walk around and evaluate for myself whether or not the review's heaps of praise were justified. (I have myself on a very complicated schedule of motivational rewards. "Walk around weighing how much I agree with online music criticism" is not that strange, as they go.)
Finally that happened and man, do I ever agree with that review from several months ago.
When I write about music, live shows in particular, I get pretty hyperbolic. I will tell you this band or that band will save your life. I will say sell your kids and possessions and see them immediately. The thing is, rarely ever, especially in the immediate afterglow of the show, when I'm still kind of sweaty, do I feel like I'm exaggerating.
And isn't that what you want a show to make you feel like? The distance between you and the guy on the recording singing the song, the distance (that makes him feel famous, if only to you) is bridged, they're right there, human, and you and some other people who feel the same way about these songs are gonna let go and enthuse. Cut loose. Leave exhausted and in love with something besides yourself.
Remember when you were sixteen and you felt everything immediately and in the first person? Outsized and hormonal, either enraptured or completely pissed off. (Maybe you're sixteen right now and you're like "I never feel that way." The thing is, you do. There just hasn't been another way you've felt yet. You might know what I'm talking about when you're not that much older and you start feeling things and then going "You know what? I'm not going to feel that right now. I'm going to feel that this weekend when I have time," or "Hmm. What is happening right now should make me feel a certain way. It would be pleasant to feel that way right now. Why am I not feeling that way? Is it because the other night when I was able to successfully NOT feel that sucky thing I didn't want to feel right then, I diminished my ability to feel things in general? I dunno. I'll figure it out this weekend when I have time.") Jason Anderson writes about feeling the little magic stuff our lives are secretly full of, right there in the moment. This has the amazing effect of making you feel that way too, for a minute. And if you see him play live, you feel that way the entire time and for a long time afterward. Anyway, I did.
There were about twenty people at the show. I think four of them were in the band playing after him. It was the night before the election. I'd like to remember forever the very specific tone of that night. Anyway, he was the man for the evening. You might see a droning, detached indie band that night and they might make some sideways remarks about rooting for Obama, but you couldn't buy it because, like a lot of bands, they look like they aspire to not be excited about anything, including their own music. Jason Anderson is a dude for when you want to believe in the best about all of us, no winks or caveats. He is just excited as all hell.
The walls in the room were lined with chairs. It's a narrow little room and instead of playing from the stage he walked up and down the aisle with his guitar. And stomped, and jumped up and down, and stopped near you and tapped his foot in time with the music, so close that you could feel it in the floorboards beneath your own feet, and somehow that little vibration easily achieved the effect that huge subwoofers in clubs are going for, which is stirring up that primal place in us where we really feel music, and way more effectively for being small and in one place rather than overbearing and everywhere.
At one point I looked over at a girl standing in the doorway and she smirked at me, like, "How can anyone be this sincere? This is stupid." I wanted to somehow communicate to her, "No. I love this. I am not part of your city-wide emotional-detachment squad. Actually, sadly, I pretty much am, but tonight, just let me bask in this tiny pulsing place of non-irony and not think about how we all smirk at everything all the time." I may have misinterpreted the look, but she left right afterwards and now I have no choice but to post a Craigslist "Missed Connection" for her reading: "To the girl who shot me a conspiratorial we're-above-this look at the Jason Anderson show at Pete's Candy Store on Monday night: I am not above this. Lighten up, jerk." Anyway, it was cool to see dude in the irony capital of the world. He should have an inscription on his guitar that reads "This Machine Kills Brooklyn."
For what turned out to be the second to last song Jason asked us all to stand up. He stood on a chair and asked us all to gather around the chair, as close to him as possible. We weren't close enough to him or each other when we assembled the first time and he asked us to get even closer, so we did. Then he sang "The Post Office," one of the few songs he sang that night that I had heard before. He asked us all to sing along with the end, so we did.
"This will be our last sing-along of the evening," he said before the last song. And then he sang what we were supposed to sing and we got it and sung it back to him, back and forth like that and then all together several times, and it was insanely way-too-perfect for the evening, the nerves, the anticipation, and the next day:
"After so many years of it being today,
If you were as old as Jason Anderson makes you feel when he plays, you could not get into the bar where he's playing in Brooklyn every Monday for the rest of the month. I'm gonna go again. You should come too. The guy has the songs and the commitment. Go and be open, be willing to be sixteen or even younger, and I think you will really love it. Dude has his heart right there on his sleeve. You can see it. You will be really close.
Both songs are from "The Hopeful And The Unafraid," which you can go buy on iTunes right this second.