Sunday, December 28, 2008

in your face

Rios craved wings last night. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings to get the Garlic Spicy. What she really craved were potato wedges. Last time we went there the waitress sucked and forgot to give us/didn't pass the word along to the cooks about/never wrote down our potato wedge order.

We got there and ho-lee shit. Parking lot was packed. People parked on the grass. We drove for a bit, even Russell Stover's parking lot next door was full. After parking in Kohl's, we walked over a long bridge over muddy water and stood in a line outside the door, which I thought was cool. I've never been to a restaurant where they needed bouncers because they were over capacity. I didn't even know restaurant's listened to that whole "capacity" thing.

So we waited in line. We watched a couple people cut to the front and demand to be let in. They were denied. When when it was our turn to go in there was only room for one. I said, "Oh, there's three of us," because it was me, Rios, and Jimmy. The bouncers called out that if there were any parties of one, that they should go ahead and go. A girl that had tried to jump to the front earlier held her finger up and said, "Right here." And right before she could get to the door Rios jumped in front of her and said, "Sorry, I'm next." And I was like daaaaaaammmn.

Rios is cool.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

minor crisis

I put my whole novel on Kingston, a little flash drive. Lost the flash drive. Tore the house apart and didn't find it. Miraculously revived near-dead laptop, went into the folder, only to find that I moved the files instead of copying them. Meaning the novel is only on Kingston. Sat in a daze for a second or two, then went into my Gmail and there it was. Not the whole thing, but all the good stuff. Thank the lord.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

best of 2008

In no order, that I can think of.

Movies:

Punisher: War Zone
Inland Empire (might have been last year)
Rocknrolla
Iron Man
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Step Brothers
Pineapple Express
The Dark Knight

Stuff I haven't seen:

Quantum of Solace
Synecdoche, NY
Role Models
Transporter 3

Books:

Jorge Luis Borges - Collected Fictions
Roberto Bolano - The Savage Detectives and Amulet
Steven Pressfield - The War of Art
Michael Chabon - Maps and Legends
Jonathan Ames - I Pass Like Night
Jonathan Lethem - The Disappointment Artist
Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises
Marcus Aurelius - Meditations

Comics:

Scalped
Criminal
Unknown Soldier
The Boys

Music:

The Mars Volta - Bedlam in Goliath
Wale - Mixtape About Nothing
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Why? - Alopecia
The Roots - Rising Down
Ratatat - Remixes Vol. 2

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

reading

I start a lot of books but never finish them. There's something about that point after the first few chapters, when I get this feeling that the author ran out of steam. And that makes me run out of steam. Add to that the fact that there are millions of good books out that I haven't or will never read, and I throw shit out the window as soon as it loses that spark. I think it was Borges that said that there are an infinite number of books, and books are there to bring you joy, and that you shouldn't waste one second on a book that isn't entertaining. Wise words.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

one of those days

It was cold tonight, about 23 degrees. Rios and I went to Taco Cabana, then Hastings to return a movie. I locked my keys in my car. Rios didn't have her set, nor did either of us have the cell phone. We bounced some pretty ballsy ideas around, like walking to her mother's or killing a handicapped man and stealing his car. We settled on a locksmith. $45! You could make a killing. I quote the locksmith: "Best fucking money I've ever made."

I got an I-pod for Christmas, and candy, and an Indiana Jones toy, which are all badass gifts.

I bought a computer at Best Buy. 18 months no interest seemed good to me. I'm thinking of paying off half of it next paycheck, and the rest with the paycheck after that. My laptop literally melted. Pretty amazing. I saved the novel, and the early pre-writing stuff on the next novel. I lost all the stuff I didn't put on Rios's zip drive, so a lot of old (bad) stories and versions of BTTWLHWBF (back when I called it "The Calf"!) are gone. I feel like I have a fresh start.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

i got a new computer

Cause fuck the old one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

maybe it's the jack daniels talking

But sometimes you want to tell a good many people to fuck off.

Friday, December 12, 2008

brb

The cord that connects my computer to the wall is almost dead. I bought a new one for $100 about two months ago. I've gone through five and I can't keep spending that, but at the same time I don't have enough for a new computer. So, in all probability I will be computerless for about a month. I've got my book downloaded and will be writing and editing it on paper. I'll probably occasionally use Rios's mom's computer. The cord actually crapped out while I was writing this. Jesus.

Later!

-jdo

Thursday, December 11, 2008

bone

I feel good about the Indian Peoples final I took earlier today. I need to buy pooch a delicious bone.

botany

Up all night writing a botany report for extra credit. Prof says I'm on track for a C as long as I complete my independent project. This is mysterious. Does this project have to be good? Is there a possibility that my project might be so poorly executed that I receive no extra credit whatsoever? That would make my bean growing a waste of time. Besides all the character it built, of course.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

good npr interview

Tuned into NPR tonight on the drive home from school. Fresh Air was on. A gentleman named Frank Schaeffer was promoting his book Crazy for God, about how he and his father helped create the current evangelical right. There are several fantastic anecdotes, and I highly recommend listening to it.

Frank Schaeffer's NPR interview.

The title of the article is retarded, however. If you think abortion should be legal, then you are pro-choice. Pro-choice doesn't necessarily mean you like or agree with the practice of abortion, it means you support a woman's right to choose what to do with her body.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

past vs. present tense

I don't know if you know this, but I'm currently writing a novel, called "By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends". I've been working on it for a long time. I've driven myself crazy writing it and it's gotten rather complex. My problem was this: no matter how much I wrote, I couldn't feel connected to my characters. And now I think I know why:

I've been writing the fucking thing in the present tense.

I read this blog, by a woman named Emma Darwin (who's books, it should be noted, don't look like my cup of tea):

Past and present tense

A few quotes stood out to me:

"...Present tense is by definition unreflective. Because it's all present, there's less sense of even the past that happened on the previous page. It's just tap-tap-tap... one event after another. So although it can be quite thriller-ish, I sometimes also feel that the immediate past slips away for the reader as well, and to that extent you actually lose urgency, rather than gaining it, because you lose the pressure of those previous events on the characters, which is what ought to be propelling the story forward."

"I think it's that fiction is always about time and memory, at some level: not only does the experience of reading the book happen in time, but the story needs to exist in time - its own time, and the reader's - and if it's all present tense then you lose that: it's just a series of nows, if you see what I mean, no past underpinning it and no sense of the future ahead."

"Partly, perhaps, there are now at least two generations of would-be writers who are thinking in terms of scriptwriting as much as fiction, and of course film - even flashbacks - is always, you could say, in present tense. But more generally I wonder if it's one of the bastard tyrannical offspring of the revolution against the authoritarian author - not just the technically omniscient narrator, but what Gardner calls the 'essayist' novelist, whose opinions are explicitly stated, rather than implicit in the story and how its told. If a past-tense narrative at least implies a narrator retelling the past, it also implies their authority to tell it. Whereas present-tense narrative seems to be freer from any particular narratorial (sorry, horrible word) personality. This seeming objectivity is illusory, of course: in fact an author is always authoritative, and their personality forms the narrative just as a filmmaker forms the narrative of a documentary whether or not you see their decisions about what to film, or hear the questions they asked or the edits they made. Those events on film aren't happening now, any more than what's happening in a novel is."

I think she makes some good points. What do you all think? Do you like present tense? Does it annoy you? Give me some feedback, maybe some examples of novels you liked that were in the present tense.

my dog and failure

There's nothing more irritating, really, than unsolicited advice on how to raise your dog. Rios' mother went to visit friends, who live in the country. They have an ACD, and it herds their horses. Upon hearing that Rios and I own an ACD, they informed her mother that Kahlua must be depressed, because ACDs are meant to be outside dogs.

I do my best, I don't own land in the country, or horses, and I love my dog. I don't need to hear about how I'm failing, I think about that enough as it is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

messy desk

The mess on my desk changes, it's always some variation on: flyers, cords, pens, receipts, comic books, textbooks, and boxcutters. The Newsweek with Barack has been there for a while. I haven't moved it yet. There isn't a reason for this. Today I bought the Perfect Pushup. We'll see, won't we?

Friday, December 5, 2008

reminder

There are times when you hate everything, sure, but it's never all bad.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

shit on the floor

When you have a dog, sometimes when you take her for a walk that walk becomes how you define yourself as a human being. If she doesn't take a shit, you have failed. Especially if she's not shitting because she has already taken a shit on the floor, which makes you a double failure, because your dog is house-broken, you thought. The reason why she did this is obvious: you've been gone a lot, lately, and even though you were only leaving for a few minutes this time, you even told her, in plain English, "I'll be right back", she doesn't know this, and she acts accordingly, logically. Put yourself in her shoes, or paws, maybe: you have to take a shit. The bathroom has just been closed off, indefinitely. Do you sit around, patiently waiting for the doors to open, or do you just say "fuck it" and enjoy your time alone without undue asshole pressure? The answer is clear: you shit the floor. Then the owner returns, minutes later. He eyeballs your big steaming load and he starts saying "Shame" as hard as he can, but how were you supposed to know? Stepping back out of the dog's perspective, we can see that you, as a dog-owner, are failing in the very simple task of giving your dog a reliable schedule. This reflects negatively on you, because you also have no reliable schedule. You are stretched thin, doing this and that and in the end having nothing really to show for it. You are a grocery list that's gotten to long, and you want to say "fuck all this shit, I'm going to fucking Taco Bell". But you don't. You eat Taco Cabana, instead. And it is good. You and your wife spend time together, and when you return to your apartment, there is no shit on the floor.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

me and the girl

JLB rationalizes God

Picked up a collection of Jorge Luis Borges's fiction, and opened it to a random page. This is what I read:

"I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts a second or perhaps less; I am not sure how many birds I saw. Was the number of birds definite or indefinite? The problem involves the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because God knows how many birds I saw. If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because no one can have counted. In this case I saw fewer than ten birds (let us say) and more than one, but did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one, which was not nine , eight, seven, six, five, etc. That integer—not-nine, not-eight, not-seven, not-six, not-five, etc.—is inconceivable. Ergo, God exists."


JLB, that doesn't make any sense, man.

hell day 3

Third hell day of the three-day hellathon. Morning. Took pooch for a walk. Didn't bother to put a shirt on, or underwear, because that's not the kind of day today is. It's overcast and windy. Chilly. Kahlua's turd was bigger than mine usually are. She is a beast.

Went to dinner with the family last night. It was fun. We joked around, there was no serious family talk. Grandma and I shared a Mudslide.

At work we play this song by the Jackson 5, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." It bothers me because the kid in the song has two options: 1) His mother is actually kissing his father, and there is no Santa Claus, or 2) His mother is a whore. It's interesting that a child's revelation that there is no Santa Claus would coincide with his understanding that his mother, his totem of purity, actually has sex (!) on a regular basis.

Friday, November 28, 2008

BOLANO

The word of the day is BOLANO. There's an en-yay on that N but fuck it, I'm tired and lazy because Black Friday kicked my ass.

I will keep this short: please go out and read Roberto Bolano. I'm working through his whole oeuvre before I get to "2666", which he never finished before he died. Words I've seen used to describe it: apocalyptic, noir, pulp, sci-fi, raunchy, violent, inventive, brave. It's essentially five novels in one, all circling around the murders of the women in Ciudad Juarez, right over the border from El Paso.

This is a big deal. I'm in the middle of "The Savage Detectives" right now. All I can compare it to is when I tore through "Infinite Jest". Never been that engaged in words since.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

saturday and sunday

I decided to say "Fuck it" and go with the flow. I wasn't going to kill myself at work, trying to do three things at once. Occasionally I did, it can't be avoided, but I didn't freak out about it. At the end of the day I felt much better and I think overall people were much nicer, as they could sense that my vibe was much more laid-back.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BLOOD'S A ROVER

From Sobel Webber Associates:



BLOOD’S A ROVER
by James Ellroy
(Knopf, Fall 2009)

Foreign Publishers
France: Rivages
Germany: Ullstein
Italy: Mondadori
U.K.: Random House Century

At long last—James Ellroy’s greatest work of fiction.

BLOOD’S A ROVER is the third volume of Ellroy’s Underworld USA Trilogy. Volume 1, AMERICAN TABLOID, covered 1958-’63 and ended with the JFK snuff in Dallas. Volume 2, THE COLD SIX-THOUSAND, covered Dallas to the MLK RFK hits and their hellish aftermath. BLOOD’S A ROVER takes us on the wildest historical ride of them all.

There’s a horrific armored-car heist, replete with a stash of missing cash and mysterious emeralds. There’s J. Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes moving into their psychopathic dotage. The FBI’s out to infiltrate two evil black-militant groups in L.A. The mob wants to plant lush hotel casinos in the Dominican Republic. There’s a voodoo vibe in Haiti, and, brother, it be bad gre-gre. Two rogue cops and a kid private eye are locked in a consuming fury to claim the Red Goddess Joan.

Sex and history—on an unprecedented scale.

Raging love stories, the clash of race and ideology, the moral fire of a great American time.

Playboy will publish a 10,000-word excerpt in this year’s Christmas issue on sale Nov. 10.

Alfred A. Knopf will publish BLOOD’S A ROVER in fall of 2009.

Feel the all-encompassing heat!

Fear this book.
I must have this. Now. Going out to buy Playboy. Need...excerpt.

flight of the conchords

Rios loves Flight of the Conchords. I pretend that I don't like them. But they're funny. Sometimes. She rented the DVD, which is now overdue. She's watched the season...twice. She listens to it in the car all the time. It's not so bad, but the songs aren't really good song-wise (like Tenacious D, for example), so it's basically like listening to a comedy sketch over, and over...

Bought some stuff at Atomik Pop, today:







Wednesday, November 19, 2008

language

I am obsessed with learning Spanish. Every course is a language course. If you're taking Spanish, you learn that these words, in this sequence, stands for this idea. If you're taking Botany, in the same way, you need to learn the language. Take the word "xylem." You might build a little word bridge in your mind, i.e. xylem = tissue that conducts water in vascular plants, but what you really need to do is destroy that bridge and set the tiny islands of thought like transparencies on top of each other, until you understand the words qua the words, the same way when you see "agua" and you think "water" in English, you should be thinking of WATER, the stuff you drink, otherwise you'll be a translator, a human Babel Fish, instead of a speaker of Spanish or Botany. Compartamentalize ideas into the shorthand of words, make it second nature. Every course, I'll say again, is a language course.

Monday, November 17, 2008

stray dog

Today there was a fat-ass labrador wandering across the road in the neighborhood that I drive through on my way home. I pulled my car over and got out and said "Come here." He smiled and listened. He licked my hand, not really shy or excited, blind in his left eye, no tag on his collar, eager to get back to sniffing the grass.

I looked at the houses in the neighborhood. I shrugged and decided to start ringing doorbells. I left my car on the side of the road, running, and made my way up the sidewalk toward the first house I saw and turned and the dog was standing in the road, looking at me. I started towards it, and I shouted, "Get the hell out of the road. The fuck is wrong with you?" He bumbled up onto to the sidewalk, keeping his head cocked, so he could see me with his good eye.

I grabbed him by the collar, intent on taking him to each house with me, but a hundred pound dog doesn't go where a hundred pound dog doesn't want to go, and he had grass to sniff. He licked my hands a couple more times, saying, "Hey, man, it's cool. Let me do my thing." I watched him trot along the grass between the sidewalk and the road, sniffing, maybe going home, and I got back in my car and drove away.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

holiday season request #1

Don't go to a store near closing time. Seriously.

If you glance at the clock and your desired retailer is 30 minutes from closing, and you absolutely must go, it's like a life or death thing, then go, because there's obviously something specific that you can run in, grab, and purchase all before closing time.

If you glance at the clock and your desired retailer is 30 minutes from closing and you think, oh, I'll have a few minutes to just glance around, you are a piece of shit.

Don't go. Stay home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

kahlua hates leashes

"Come on, Kahlua. Wanna go outside?"

"I would love to take a walk."

"You're a good girl."

"Thank you."

"Here's your leash."

"NO. NO. A THOUSAND TIMES NO."

"Kahlua, quit fucking around, put your leash on."

"I WILL NOT."

"Dog, you know we can't go outside till you put this on. We do this every day, and it never changes anything."

"WOULDST THOU NOT COWER UNDER THE MASTER'S LASH THE HUNDREDTH TIME SAME AS THE FIRST???"

"Jesus Christ. Here. Would you like a potato chip?"

"I would love one, thank you-- OH YOU'VE DISTRACTED ME."

"There. Now let's go for a walk."

"I am so melancholy."

"Quit being a baby."

"Sigh. I just...my, the air is fresh. And look, Father, over there! A squirrel! Oh the butterflies, how they tickle my nose! How the leaves crunch delightfully beneath my paws! How the sun shines upon my cool fur! Nature, you truly are God's gift to dogs. I believe I'll take a shit."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Wins

I am so fucking elated.

Been saying it for a while now.

I love this country.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Rocknrolla" was very cool. I liked it a lot. I think Guy Ritchie is one of my favorite filmmakers. "What??" you say. "He made 'Swept Away'. And 'Revolver' made no sense."

But you see, that why I like him. He fucks up. It adds character. He's obviously talented, but sometimes the bitch wife demands a starring role, and love can make a man do crazy things. And sometimes a man tries to be like Lynch, and really, only Lynch can be Lynch, except for sometimes Miike, another fuckup that I love dearly. What I'm saying is, when he's on, he's on, and when he's not, he's human.

The movie has gangsters, rock stars, Russians, and loud, awesome music. There's also a painting. It's sort of like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, except in Pulp Fiction we all know the suitcase holds Marcellus Wallace's soul. In "Rocknrolla", we have no idea what's in the painting. It's the property of a Russian gangster, who calls it his "lucky painting." It captivates whoever looks at it, and it changes hands several times throughout the film.

What could be in the painting that is so enthralling> Oh, come now. I think we both know.




God. Just looking at Statham puts hair on my nuts.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the polls are not wrong

Let me just rant real quick.

First of all, the handle of Kahlua ready-made White Russian is heavier on the vodka than the airplane-bottle kind. This strikes me as backward.

Secondly, I've been reading a lot of right-wing denial regarding the current Obama vs. McCain polls, i.e. they are skewed, they are biased, they don't take into account that America is racist (really! that's a right-wing argument...that America is racist, and that they lie to black pollsters because they'd feel bad about voicing their support for McCain), etc., etc.

A gentleman over at Wizbang (a right-wing blog) lays out a very calm, reasoned argument for this being the most incorrectly polled race since we've really started polling in 1936. Here's the link for that:

Wizbang says the polls are wrong.

But, it's like this. And I could be wrong. Polls, overall, are normally very correct. Here's a bit of a crushing link:

Record of polls from 1936-2000.

And that doesn't include the results of the '04 election, so I looked them up:

2004 polls.

My point is this: even if the polls are inaccurate numerically, which they have been (NBC News's poll in 1980 for example, was 14 points off [that's both ways, now, don't get it twisted]), from 1936 to 2000 the polls picked the correct candidate 54 out of 62 times (87%). It should be noted that, with the exception of Truman v. Dewey (in which there was only one recorded poll), the polls have never been more in favor of the wrong candidate. And just fucking look at that 2004 compilation of polls from Real Clear Politics...I think I counted Kerry three times among a fucking overwhelming onslaught of Bush.

You can rationalize it all you want, but unless this is every single poll doing, quantitatively, far worse than the worst job since polls (sort of) began, Obama's headed for a victory.

Hell, David Frum, Bush's former speechwriter/neocon radio talkshow host, said it best, here:

"Sorry, Senator. Let's salvage what we can."

I have to go eat tacos. More on this later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

migraine

Today was the first truly cold day of fall. The air had that blue tint that I love. The porch was wet from the sprinklers coming on over night. In the winter the sprinklers still come on, and it makes my stairs slippery. When I left the house for school this morning, it wasn't cold, and despite the overcast blue of the day I didn't figure rain would come. Oklahoma's a big tease when it comes to rain. One of its favorite tricks is to give you three overcast days, and on the third day to give you fifteen minutes of rain and then to just fucking unleash the sun, which is one of the things I hate the most. An overcast day is calm and introspective, and then the sun comes out and warms the back of your neck and the skin under your clothes and suddenly your shirt is too tight and you want to punch something. So what I'm saying is fool me once, etc., so I wore a T-shirt and shorts. I got to the OU parking lot, which I might have mentioned is a seven minute walk from my class. It was pouring down rain. Icy rain.

I walked to class and was fucking soaked when I got there. Sat through Spanish and then walked back to my car and cranked the heater. I got home and fell back asleep and when I woke up it felt like someone nailed a rail spike through my head. Kahlua was interested in giving love, which she shows by curling up next to you and jerking her head backward like a spaz, so that she can recieve kisses. This is cute, except you get smacked in the teeth 100% of the time. Normally my jaw takes the abuse in stride. But today I had to make a mad dash for the Advil.

I'm afraid I've inherited my mother's migraines. These things are cripplers, man. My legs felt hollow, and I experienced nausea and this crazy dizziness. I think I'm going to upgrade to Advil Migraine, even though these aren't clinically diagnosed. The regular Advil brought this beast down to a normal headache, but didn't do much past that. Hot shower helped.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

god (with plenty of parentheticals)

Regarding God, people are allowed to believe basically anything they want to. As long as it doesn't manifest as, well, you've heard this spiel before. I'll spare you.

There's two options when believing in God: one, that He (or She, or Them, or whatever... for the sake of brevity let's assume I'm talking about the Western God, more specifically the Christian God) is something that is separate from the reality that you and I, assuming that you and I aren't fucked in the head, see every single day, or two, that He is in fact everything we see every single day.

There's the archetype: God has a big beard, and he has agendas. He exists...I don't know, he sits on a cloud and is constantly thinking, sort of Atlas-ish, but at the same time he's doing shit, so he's like an Atlas/Shiva hybrid that occasionally comes to Earth and impregnates (un?)willing young women. He loves Republicans, because they love him the most, despite the fact that Democrats CLAIM that they love Him just as much, but God knows your heart, donkey fuckers. He will always favor the team that wins (and those teams, let me tell you, they'd better fucking thank him when they win [or at least give a point at the sky], because without his help, I mean, for God's sake, he could put their asses down, I'm telling you). He loves Christians and hates Muslims and Hindus, but he makes them by the billions, just to give the good guys someone to hate. He hates gays. He hates abortions. He's at the very least amused by Sarah Palin.

What's wrong with this isn't any of God's positions (I mean, he's God, FGS, and since he's right, then I'm wrong), it's the idea that God would even ever HAVE positions in the first place. That He (It) would have opinions, that it would really care either way about anything at all.

Rain doesn't intentionally fall on people it hates. Wind doesn't blow your hat off because it thinks that it's ugly. Your family member didn't die horribly because God was testing you. Reality doesn't do things to TEST you. It just. does. them. Rain, wind, disease, shoes, dogs, couches, computers, beer bottles (several of them, I need to move the trashcan over here) don't do anything to intentionally influence your opinion in any way whatsoever, except maybe dogs. Reality = God, and reality is something that happens to you, not something that cares what happens to you.

But I'm fine with people going with the first option. That God is some person-like being that somehow exists outside reality and everywhere inside of it. That's fine. God exists. Woo-hoo. Thing is, you have to accept that anything you can't prove, must be real, on some level. Can't prove Bigfoot exists? By your logic, it's more important that you can't DISPROVE his existence. So you have to err on the side of him existing. I'm sure there's clever rebuttal to this somewhere, that would lead to an perhaps less-clever retort from me, which would end in some very tired (much like this whole post, now that I think about it) argument that we should all save ourselves from by just accepting that, at least on a hypothetical level, what I'm saying as true. Being positive is more fun than being negative, anyway.

I was going to follow this up with an argument that my disbelief in this type of God gave me a better bullshit detector, but in a way, this would be a false statement, as someone would be completely capable of recognizing shit for shit and truth for truth, the only difference being this "other" would believe that some force was behind the shit and the truth, which said force I don't believe in, neither of which position can be proved, etc.

However, I can POINT to God. I can prove that the God I believe in exists, because He exists right in front of me. Hey, there's a chair. God. There's a bird. God. This is reality. This is God. There is nothing outside of It, though It's boundaries are ever expanding. It's what I believe in, I guess. Seems rather like a matter of semantics, but not once you get into the whole heaven/hell/Bible/Jesus thing. Cause that, dude, that stuff is bullshit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

sick

I can't sleep. Something about laying down really fucks with my lungs. I got this sickness about a week ago. First symptoms were dizziness and slight out-of-body-ness, with a little cough. Now all the scary shit is gone, and I'm left with a pain-in-the-ass cough. Big, hacking, roaring coughs. Retching coughs. Lovely stuff. I left the room because, although Rios covers herself with a blanket, I can tell that she has trouble sleeping with all the noise. I'll probably sleep on the couch.

I've been on a steady diet of Robitussin, but the cough persists. I wonder what this would be like w/o the Tussin...wonder if there would be any difference. My chest is shiny, slathered in Vapo-Rub. I'm sucking on a cough drop. The tingle is fading, a little.

Found out today that I have 10 days of vay-kay saved up, which is fantastic news. I'll be able to get some good writing done, catch up on school, clean the house, and have some real quality time with the wife and dog. Which is great, because now it feels like everything is half-assed. There is so much going on that everything is last minute.

I just read the new graphic novel written by Jonathan Ames, "The Alcoholic." I love Jonathan Ames. His writing is straightforward, and I think that's why it's so compelling. The point is never far away. The art is by a guy named Dean Haspiel, and it's very good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"choke" sucked

I am a terrible student. Studying is not my friend. This is especially problematic when I am faced with a subject I find boring. I've got a stack of books TBR that keeps getting deeper and deeper (including the new Dennis Lehane!), and I'm stuck at my desk, my computer whirring and sputtering and struggling to stay alive, one window open to Wikipedia, the other to the Huffington Post (because I'm that guy), an empty, foggy Starbucks cup pushed to the side of a half empty pint of Heineken, the little roll-out keyboard area crowded with my Spanish textbook and my botany notes and a spiral-bound photocopied leaflet called "Oklahoma's First Statesmen" and an I-pod wire and an empty gum packet and my elbows. I'm a fucking slob. I like Heineken, but have you ever noticed that it kind of smells like a fart? Also, it gives me a bellyache if I drink it too fast.

I was listening to Tom Waits, but I can only listen to his music for a certain amount of time before I feel the shame of being probably the ony person in the world enough who's not cool enough to not be occasionally annoyed by how raspy (grizzled? worldly?) his voice is. So now I'm listening to Tomahawk. I used to be a HUGE Mike Patton fan. Like, really huge. I kind of lost track of what he was doing after the so-so Xecutioners [sic?] and the awful Peeping Tom record. But I like Tomahawk, even the one that sounds like American Indian music, which I think has been criticized for...I don't know.

Oh! I watched "Choke" today, and it was really bad. Which makes me sad, because it's probably my second favorite Palahniuk book, after "Survivor". The acting was bad across the board, especially, and most tragically in the miscast Anjelica Huston as Victor's mom. I'm a bad critic, so I'll keep this brief: she was bad, and delivered her lines almost like she was ad-libbing them. Actually, the same could really be said of the whole movie. It all had this ad-libbed feel. Like here's this scene and this one and this is funny too, and at the end you don't understand the relationships between anyone enough to really care. Which, like I said, is a shame, because the book is fucking awesome. The adapter really fucked with the structure, too. The first scene in the book happens at the end of the movie. Which I think was a poor choice, because that final scene would've really put some shit in perspective from the get-go. The way it stands, at the end of every scene we shrug and wipe our minds and move on. The narration kind of just disappears after the beginning, if I remember correctly. Point is, I didn't like it. Whack.

Goodnight, folks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

tennis players

My impression of tennis players is that they're mostly assholes. When I think of tennis players, I think of stubbled, intelligent young men with good posture, bouncing on their heels on hot pebbled astroturf, smiling with big white teeth and quoting Adult Swim shows to each other. Have any of you ever watched Adult Swim? Is it funny? Aqua Teens is meh and that one Seaquest show or whatever was good. Dadaism doesn't amuse me, never really has. Having your living room invaded by a shark wearing a Burger King crown and a Mets jersey is random, sure. And maybe it's funny, I don't know. I don't get it. "Burn After Reading" was funny, but on a smile-on-the-inside kind of way.

I'd wager a bet that 75% of male tennis players between the ages of 18 and 22 are youth ministers. I have no money for betting.

I played tennis when I was in eighth grade. I was an asshole in eighth grade. I think that's why I hate high school kids.

I'm sick from McDonald's. Back to book writing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Spanish 3 book was $100. It contains numerous exercises and grammar lessons. The online workbook was $50. I tried to enter the code, and the website let me know that that online workbook had already been sold to some woman, somewhere, and was off limits to me. I can't find my receipt. I bought a new online workbook, this time online, for another $50. I bought a Spanish-English dictionary. $9. FTW.

I love buying the big can of Chef Boyardee mini-raviolis and eating them with Tabasco sauce.

Rest in peace David Foster Wallace.

Monday, September 8, 2008

america's abusive boyfriend

Think of the Republicans, or the right wing, as a man. The Democrats, too. Two men. Now, think of the American people as an insecure woman.

In 2000, the insecure woman was torn between the nice guy and the bad boy. The nice guy was smarter and had better ideas, but the bad boy was tougher and had swagger by the truckload. When the woman grudgingly picked the pussy, the bad boy went out of his way to lie to her and win her over. It worked.

In 2004, the relationship had turned abusive. But at this point, which is at times the unfortunate case, the abusive boyfriend held sway over the insecure woman. "Don't leave me," he says. "It it'll kill you. You need me." And in her broken-down state (achieved, as it always is, over years of subtle manipulation), this woman once again chose the boyfriend over the nice guy.

Now, in 2006, the woman grows a pair and sends the bastard a message. She says, "You're on your way out, I'm done with this."

But in 2008, when it comes time to choose again, the bad boyfriend, this GOP motherfucker, shows up at her door nicely dressed. With some roses. With cardboard cut-out promises of change. And for just a second, he looks attractive again. He was so nice when they first met...

You are not this stupid, America. C'mon. I love you, grow a brain and stop letting these fucks have their way with you. Don't listen to that bastard's silver tongue. It got you twice, twice. He stole eight years of your life.

Please, for the sake of my sanity, do not make this mistake again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

my dog is driving me nuts/barack obama

Every time I sit down to write she crunches on an empty water bottle. If she's not doing that, she's placing her chin on the chair and setting her wet rubber Kong toy on my lap. I constantly have a dark spot that looks like I wet myself because this bitch will literally stand there, Kong in mouth, for ten minutes until I take it and throw it. I've timed this.

I like taking her on walks, she gets two from me a day. Sometimes we go out and throw the Kong around. But she is fucking insatiable and it's driving me bonkers.

Watched a Barack Obama speech from Indiana. It was good. Expect the blog to get highly political soon, I've been getting fired up lately.

I was in Atomik Pop buying some comics the other day, and Rob and I were shooting the shit about politics and whatnot. Barack Obama this and that, blah blah. Anyhow, a gentlemen also shopping the store decided to throw his two cents in after he bought his books. He said something like:

"I was walking in the mall the other day and a black guy got right in my face, like this close, hollering about how Barack Obama is the savior. If people are getting that riled up about someone, that scares me."

So he basically admitted that black people getting excited scares him, which amused me. This guy might have to stop being a Christian, you know. I mean, have you seen how excited black people get about Jesus?




Terrifying.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Walked into Wal-Mart to buy water and beer. Had to reach around doe-eyed shoppers to grab the big $2.17 pint of Heineken. Cradled the water in the other. Bought it, drove home. Sitting at the desk drinking the pint. Mapped out the outline for my next novel and I'm not done with the first, yet. Got a title for the new one, too. Tentative. "Guijarra". This first book, "BTTWLHWBF" is a straightforward kind of thing, at least by my standards. "Guijarra" is a mindfuck. Lynchian shit, with maybe a little Jodorowsky in there. I'm excited to write it and it's actually jazzed me to finish the first one.

I really cannot explain how hard it is to write a novel. When I wrote short stories, that shit was easy. Had a rough draft in a couple weeks, finished product in a month. This has taken forever, but I really love the book and want to see it done.

Anyone who wants to start a Norman writer's workshop, let me know, and we'll talk about it. It's insanely hard to write in a vaccuum.

From Emerson's "Scanners" blog:

"...without a sufficiently lively critical culture to encourage discussion and appreciation (including evaluation), they [in this case, filmmakers] feel their work simply disappears into a vacuum. It can become popular or not, but it doesn't matter unless somebody cares enough to engage with it."*

So, yeah. Back to writing the first book.

*From "Yes, But is it Art?"

new music

It's not the end of the year, but here's a list of the shit I've been listening to, lately. All are strongly recommended.

Wale - "The Mixtape About Nothing". This unsigned (sort of) D.C. rapper has best flow I've heard in a while. Intricate and clever and fresh sounding. Pro-woman. Contains a few classic punchlines and metaphors, ex: "I keep my chin high like a Japanese pilot."

Walkmen - "You & Me" and "Hundred Miles Off". Dylanesque sound that's at its best when it's quiet.

Tom Waits - "Orphans" and "Mule Variations". Tom Waits is sort of like a god, I think, but I'm new to his shit. The production is dirty, like I like it.

MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular". This album actually chokes me up a little bit. They've managed to create this record about growing up, in which they make the music itself sound like an entire era is dying. Listen to the synth lines on "Time to Pretend" and "Kids" and you'll see what I mean. Fucking epic accomplishment.

The Roots - "Rising Down". Angry rap with big, aggressive beats. I likes.

Beck - "Modern Guilt". I picked this up for the Danger Mouse credit, and surprise surprise, it sounds like Danger Mouse. Artists like Beck are wise for just sitting back and letting DM do his thing. He makes records sound timeless.

Go check this shit out.

There is nothing cuter than watching a dog that's too big to lay on the top of the couch try to balance and fall asleep at the same time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i got annoyed at a restaurant

Skip this if you don't want to read a fucking petty rant.

This afternoon Rios and I ate at a nice little place on Main, by Atomik Pop. It's all stone and Tuscan pictures on the inside, really nice place. I ordered two sandwiches and two drinks. The girl wrote out the order and handed me a slip of paper, which I brought to an elderly gentleman, whom I'm assuming is the proprietor of the establishment. He rang me up for one sandwich, and I corrected him, fucking myself on a chance to get a free $7.25 French dip. In addition to the $18 tab, I paid out a $3 tip. The gentleman thanked me.

We sat in the comfy seats and drank our Cokes, and the girl who brought us our food (they aren't waitresses, they take your order and bring you food and that's it) offered to refill my Coke, and I said sure. I drink a lot when I'm eating to refresh my palate, so I go through a lot of Coke.

That said, I get through half of this giant, delicious sandwich and my cup is empty. I bring the cup to the counter to ask for a refill, and find that since I've recieved my food the place has become overrun with high school kids. Norman High is right across the street. Since I'm not going to stand in a line stretching out of the store for a refill, I inch close to the counter and after waiting about five minutes manage to slip up to the old gentleman running the register. He looks at me and I ask if I could get a refill and he waves his hand at me and says "This is for orders only." It's not that they don't give free refills, it's just that he's not going to do it. He's above it, I guess. And as for the waitresses, they've seen me standing there, and have already decided, "Fuck this refill wanting pain in the ass motherfucker, I'm fucking busy," and have gone about their business trying desperately not to make eye contact with me, so that I'll go away.

Fuck that shit up the fucking ass. I saw those highschool kids pay. Not one of them left a tip. If I'm polite and leave $3 for basically nothing, considering there ARE NO fucking waiters, the least the old guy could do is turn around to the machine behind him and fill the fucking cup. The least the women could do is reach over the high school kids and help me. The guy who runs the Subway where I work does it all the time. Why make someone wait for a refill? Hook them up so they can be happy and fuck off.

Now, I understand. I work in retail, and some days are busy as hell. The women working there, they're trying to take orders and serve food at the same time, and it can be busy. They have a million things on their mind, and a guy like me is their worst nightmare. The old guy had numbers to punch in and money to put away, so he's busy, too. But it's little things like ignoring the guy standing around with an empty cup that keep people from coming back. I could be a douche and I should still be helped, that's the nature of the beast, but if I tip and pay for something I could have let slide then I deserve a FUCKING REFILL, sharpish. Shitty as it is, if you make your customer feel that they are under-appreciated or a nuisance, they won't come back. Even if it's off of some petty shit like this. Life's kind of a bitch like that.

Anyway that bugged me. Felt good to get it off my chest, in a way, but at the same time I feel very small.

Monday, August 25, 2008

is "the wire" sexist?

Sophie Jones has an article over at Popmatters, in which she complains that The Wire is sexist, or at the very least doesn't call much attention to women's issues.

She has her points. The Wire's staff of writers and directors is mostly a boy's club.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/61210/women-and-the-wire/

Sunday, August 24, 2008

my dog fell out of the car window

Kahlua, my pooch, likes to feel the breeze when we drive in the car. Can't blame her, there's no AC. Most of the time she puts her whole top half outside the car, little chicken legs frantically trying to balance on the carseat.

Making a sharp left turn onto Main, physics kicked in I heard the fumbling of dog nails on the car door and looked over in time to see Kahlua's unbalanced ass tumble out of the window and into traffic. I slammed on the brakes and opened my door to oncoming cars, which thankfuly stopped. A woman in a stopped car yelled "Did you throw that dog out of your window?" I chased Kahlua, tail between her legs, leash clinking behind her, all the way to the curb. I picked her up and felt tears in my eyes. Holy shit people, I don't know if I've ever been that scared. She is fine. Unscathed. Another woman, the one who stopped to avoid hitting my car door said, "Did he jump out?" I nodded at her and she said, "Well, bless his heart."

Everybody thinks the pooch is a man.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/23/08

Drunk again.

When I was parking to drink at campus corner, some band was playing in the alley between University and Asp. Didn't know the name. Almost ran over some hippies cradling skateboards.

Went to Louie's Too, on the corner of Asp and Boyd. Nice place, had a Blue Moon. Then we went to Logan's, and I had a big fucking stein of Old Style, topped off with a bottle of Old Style. It tastes like shit out of the bottle, but good from the tap. So you know.

I sat at the bar and watched an Indians vs. Rangers game. I don't even watch baseball, normally, but I was fucking rapt. Fucking pissed when they stopped the game to show a Ciara music video. People still listen to her?

Stopped at Taco Bell on the way home. Making typos a lot. Keep having to backspace.

Going to eat my tacos. Goodnight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here's a little equation for you:

"The Dark Knight" is the shit and everyone wants a piece of its nuts.

Plus:

"The Dark Knight" is dark.

Plus

"Superman Returns" flopped at the box office.

Equals

Retard studio suits greenlight a "dark" Superman movie.

Somehow they are going to fuck this up. They always milk things the wrong way. "Jaws" had an explosion and was huge, so we got twenty years of explosions, minus the solid acting and plot that "Jaws" had. "The Dark Knight" is moody, so now we're going to get twenty years of brooding emo superheroes.

I can't wait for the Thor movie, now. Probably be something like this:

Malekith: Thor. I have come to battle.

Thor: Not now, Malekith. I am wallowing in darkness.

Malekith: Pick up your mighty hammer, Mjolnir, and fight me.

Thor: What is the nature of this violence? (looks longingly out of a window)

Malekith: Fuck this. I'm out.

(It begins to rain outside. Thor takes off his helmet.)

Or what about the Captain America movie? I'm sure we'll have a whole bunch of "dark WWII scenes" where a shit ton of soldiers die and not one of them bleeds. Then the director can cram fifteen shots into one minute of a three hour movie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

problems with "the dark knight"

Drunk rant:

I saw this movie opening night at the Warren (no beer seats). There was a kid there who was dressed like the Joker, and he had a wonderful costume. There was a bald man who introduced the flick as "the best movie of all time" and the whole crowd went crazy.

I watched it and I liked it. You can go online and read probably a million reviews about why the movie was awesome. The funny opening robbery, the magic trick, the scene with the Joker and Two-Face in the hospital, the giant burning pile of money, the lights in the interrogation room coming on and OH SHIT BATMAN, all awesome. The score is great, the look of the movie is perfect.

But...there are some flaws that I noticed, though, that I feel like I have to put out there. I doubt I can rain on a a half-billion-dollar (think about that) parade too much, but here are some things that really kept me from digging it as much as I could have.

1) The fight scenes are shit. Every last one of them. Nolan cannot direct action to save his life. You see the flailing of limbs, somebody gets hit, somebody gets tossed, Batman wins. I gave up on trying to understand the action scenes halfway through. For a clinic on how to direct a proper action scene, watch Hellboy 2.

2) The introduction of Two-Face late in the game. Too much, too late. I went into the film expecting Dent to MAYBE get disfigured at the end...I didn't figure his entire villainous arc to play out in thirty minutes. And then the big finale: Dent gets tackled off of a high place! I've heard rumors that he's coming back for the next one, so it sucks both ways: Either I feel cheated if he comes back (I hate fake deaths in movies) or I feel cheated if he's dead (really? he fell?)

3) The fake death of Gordon. I fucking hate that shit as a plot device. Fake deaths are in the same category as "IT WAS ALL A DREAM" or "HE'S THE SAME PERSON" (which is excused in the case of "Fight Club", which was the first movie I saw that used that trick).

4)The Bat-Growl is hilarious and horrible. Every time Bale does it it makes me giggle.

5) The lack of sex, blood, or profanity. I understand that Batman is for kids, too. I get that. PG-13. $500 million. Sure. But I get pulled violently out of the movie every time Batman is talking to a gangster and not a single "Fuck" is dropped, or Joker caps some fool without even a little blood leaking out, or Batman develops sonar-spying shit which has like a million screens and on not one of them is someone fucking or shitting or beating their meat. That mess is whack.

That's about it. I'm done drinking for the night. Sleep well.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

i can't fit in a laundry basket...but rios can

Today, I tried to fit myself into a laundry basket. My attempts were unsuccessful.

Some pictures:





And a video:

video

Then, Rios tried and succeeded. Video evidence:

video

Here are some pictures, because she rules:





I love her.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

keep it shiny

My dog is running. On the couch. On the carpet. In the kennel, little toenails on the pebbled tray floor, scraping until she's back out and running some more.

I am more tired right now than I have been in a while.

I'd like this watch:


And this chain:




This pen:



Except not a fountain. Rollerball would be fine.

This shoe:




This T-shirt:



And so far I can afford...the t-shirt. Upper Playground ftw.

The Mont Blanc shit is out of my league right now. Shallow though it may seem, it helps to have concrete capital-oriented goals. It's hard to get the words flowing if you're typing for something nebulous, like respect, but it's pretty easy when you're doing it for shiny shit. The end result is self-gratification either way, so why the hell not? Good words + hard work = shiny. Keep it simple.

Friday, August 1, 2008

8/1/08

I didn't so much decide to quit drinking soda. Whenever I put it in my mind like that, all bolded and grounded and firm, it never sticks. I don't like being told what to do, even by myself. But Wal-Mart had Tropicana Berry Punch on sale, 4 for $3, so I picked it up and drank it out of principle and now I'm hooked. Soda, why? Why, when there's Berry Punch?

I'm a grower-into-er, not a changer. I won't start rigorously exercising tomorrow, carefully monitoring my carb and saturated fat intake, but what I will do, is maybe today I'll do some crunches and drink some OJ. Maybe scoop a little of my powdered "vanilla" protein into a cupful of tap water and choke it down. And it might become a routine, but not one that I plan for.

I rollercoaster up and down this line graph, the valleys being a day wasted reading a geek forum on the Watchmen movie ("There's no way it can adequately translate, Moore's already said that the story is tailor-made for graphic sequential storytelling"/"Give it a chance"/"But Zack Snyder makes juvenile films"/"So did Peter Jackson" etc.), the peaks being a day where Pooch and I run and I do a load of laundry, wash dishes, dust, clean, exercise, and unload ten thousand words into my novel.

Normally, I can't sit down at my computer and just write for hours on end, every day. Introspection is the hardest thing to do, so I either don't or refuse to know why I can't. What makes me happy, though, is that every once in a while, randomly, instead of sitting down and being blocked and bombarded by thoughts that snort and snarl and kick up all this dust but never break out of the stable, sometimes I shrug and start to write, and it's like a fucking snowball, and I can't stop until it's three in the morning. Pooch makes sure to wake me up at 8 AM for a walk, don't worry.

Does anybody live a regimented life outside of the military? They say laziness is encoded in the genes, and I can feel it, flecked like paint on my DNA, a morse code of productivity and vegetation.

I'm thirsty for Berry Punch.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a fun post

ON MY WRITING:

My computer's been down for the past week or so. Bought a $100 replacement cord for the old, burned out one. And like an idiot, I didn't write a single day of that hiatus. I've got my book open in Word and this open in Firefox, and this is me recharging the batteries, trying to get going again. If you stop, most times you don't start again, so this is a plus. It's hard every time.

Two great things have happened with the writing of this book. One, I threw out all the rules I made for myself. My book was going to be this, it was going to be that. But what it ended up being was stifled, and I wasn't able to get anything out for fear of breaking the "quality control" safety net. Once I said, "Fuck it, use an adverb or two." Or, "Fuck it, tell instead of show, just this once," or "Fuck it, use 'as though'", the writing flowed much more easily.

The second thing is I stopped taking myself so seriously. I think I understand where my place is going to be, when I start to write full time. I'm comfortable with it, and I can be the best at it, so long as I kick the self-loathing to the curb. And I think so far I'm doing that.

BIRTHDAY BINGE:

Went on a buying binge today. It's Rios's birthday come Tuesday, and I got her a whole bunch of shit. I can't tell you, because "you" is also "her" and it'll spoil the surprise. But I'll type it up on Tuesday, it's some good shit. All books and graphic novels. Plus Season 3 of "House" on DVD and "50 First Dates". She knows about those, she asked for them.

LONG STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS PARTY STORY:

On Friday night we had an 80's party at Rios's friend Shelly's apartment. I helped them put streamers up at about five o'clock. They had pictures taped on the wall with 80's themes, names of bands, etc. Beer pong table and LOTS of alcohol.

At about eight some friends met up with us at my apartment. Eric and Laurie, Lawton people I've known forever, Melissa and Jeremy, two of Rios's friends, both of whom are cool, and Chermaine and Jamil, the former a friend of Rios and mine, and the latter his roommate, who is a good guy. He and Melissa were the DDs for the evening. At this point Chermaine and I have been drinking Hpnotiq and Blue Moons and Bud Light. I'm already moderately buzzed.

We get to Shelly's at about 10:30, and I wander into the kitchen area to find some booze. I think I was hunting for Captain Morgan. There was a tall, athletic black guy and a short, slightly overweight white girl, who we'll call Red because of her hair (or maybe dress, memory is fuzzy) that I'd never met before talking with each other by the stove. Red was saying something like, "I'm black on the inside. No, really. All my friends are black, I only listen to black music, I should have been born black." And the black guy seemed to be getting a kick out of it. I said something about being black and he laughed really loud. I forgot what I said. I grabbed some Captain and left, but that wasn't the last I'd see of Red.

The rest of the night is blurry up to a point. I know there was beer pong played, one game was won and one was lost. I rolled down a hill with Eric. A shit ton of people showed up who I've never seen before and the living room got crowded with all these gyrating motherfuckers and that's when shit got crunk.

Some ho-ish types (not friends of either Rios or Shelly) invaded the place and decided to replace the half 80's/half crunk mix with just straight crunk. This involved going behind the stereo we brought, unplugging the shit, and plugging in a different stereo. I got pissed because it upset Rios, so I took matters into my (drunk) hands. Some chick was rubbing her ass on this guys crotch (dude's wearing aviators inside...in a blacklit room at midnight) and I did the obnoxious, drunk guy, "I'm-just-going-to-walk-through-motherfuckers-who-don't-move" shove to get them out of my way. The music was that pulsing Lil' Wayne shit, and I hit the power and the place got quiet. One of the ho-ish types got in my face and said, "Excuse me?", so I put my finger in her face to shush her and went about the business of re-plugging in the 80's stereo. Someone else, maybe the same girl moved to turn the crunk back on and I slapped at her hand and turned it back off. She said, "Um...excuse me but why you turn our music off?" To which I said, "Oh, my bad, I didn't realize this was your house. I'm sorry. Oh wait, it's not."

Boosh, son. Surprisingly, this worked. The girls vanished. Never heard anything from any of the dudes in the room. Katie Gaddis came over and tried to help me figure out how to reach the electrical outlet, which was inconveniently close to the heavy entertainment center. A few minutes later, I got a tap on my shoulder from some chick. We'll call her The Law.

The Law: What are you doing?

Katie Gaddis: This is my stereo and my I-pod, and we're trying to turn it back on.

The Law: Okay, well this is my house, okay?

Shelly had uninformed roommates. So we said fuck it. Katie took her stereo and I grabbed all the alcohol I bought, the Captain and the Smirnoff and the whole cooler full of Everclear punch. I heard the tall, athletic black guy yelling at me that I'm going to get my ass kicked, but liquid courage is a hell of a thing. The Law latched on to my arm and repeated her, "What are you doing?" mantra again and I shrugged and said, "I paid for this shit, it's mine," and left.

We were all trying to leave, and Shelly was upset and drunk that we were leaving, and we explained that it's not her fault, but if the party turned sour we weren't just gonna stand around and watch other people have fun. It's Rios's birthday, for Chrissakes.

This is where Red comes back in. Chermaine was drunk and had mad beer goggles on and was exchanging numbers with Red, who was obviously trying to fuck the nearest breathing black dude, sharpish. We separated them and head for the car, but Eric, also wickedly drunk, decided it would be funny to text Red something to this effect:

"I gotta get my dick wet, nigga."

Thinking this will piss her off. Evidently this is common and not offensive at all amongst the Reds of the world, and she simply walked outside ready to do this thing. We once again had to peel Chermaine off of this beast, and the whole rest of the night I got to hear about how we (being Eric and I) are some cock blocking motherfuckers and how he could have hit that (which he demonstrated by pounding his fist into his palm).

Already too-long story short: about ten of us went to Katie Gaddis's and 80's partied it up. I woke up for work with a wicked hangover and got the shame treatment from my boss the entire day. Oh, and I thought I was going to die.

INSERT CLEVER SEGUE HERE:

Read some pompous windbag from "Reverse Shot"'s essay (via the Scanners blog) about how the recent superhero movies, in particular "The Dark Knight" and "Hellboy II", are being critiqued as serious films, and that this is a travesty because the serious critiques should be left to serious movies. Hollywood has managed to make "seriousness" and "quality" marketable, franchise-able buzzwords, so the masses eat that shit up and pay no attention to the real seriousness, not the "faux-seriousness", as he calls it. Whatever, dude. Those movies are good, and you can eat me. This guy, Andrew Tracy, is basically advocating ghettoizing movies. Celluloid gentrification. "Comic-book movies" have to stay in their goofy little ghetto, and can't come out and play serious, no matter what. If a "Comic-book movie" tries to act serious, it's all phony. It's all corporate bullshit. The suits finally figured out that quality = ticket sales, so what did these bastards do? They went and hired TALENTED people to make COMIC-BOOK movies. And how dare they? And what else should a good punk, non-conformist, elitist prick do? REBEL AGAINST QUALITY. Whine about the fact that good movies are being taken seriously because of the TYPE OF MOVIE THEY ARE. Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

beer lotion

In beer commercials, when there's a bunch of guys hanging out and one of them says something girly, a giant beer can falls on him. I had one of those moments tonight.

I came home and my hands were dry from a day of working in the stockroom. I put some lotion on. Bath and Body Works Sexy Apple or some shit like that. I went to get a beer and tried to twist it open, but my hand wouldn't catch on the ridges of the cap. I say to Kahlua, "I can't open my beer because of all this lotion on my hand."

Ker-thunk.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

7/6

Haven't felt much like eating. Tonight I bought some chili but it smelled suspect and the Nutrition Facts said 65% your Daily Value of Saturated Fat, so I was like "Fuck that."

Ate Taco Cabana this afternoon. It was good. Hung out with Jimmy and Rios and Chermaine. Don't see him often. He's fun.

I came to a realization today: it is every white man's dream to be loved by black people.

Been getting bits and pieces of Cody Chestnutt's album off the interwebs. "The Headphone Masterpiece" so far has been equal parts cool and vile and sexist and funny. Those are fourths, so my mind is torn.

Monday, June 30, 2008

trucks

It's nine in the morning and I am not looking forward to unloading the truck today. I get there at ten, wait for the truck to get there till about noon, throw the rollers in and roll the boxes off the truck. The cardboard tends to make the stockroom claustrophobic, then it's a monotonous process of cutting the taped up slits of the boxes and throwing away styrofoam and wanting to go home.

When I get home, I think I'm going to watch eps. 6-7 of The Wire Season 3. Easily my favorite show right now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Starting out, I want to say two things:

1) Writers get paid shit. Unless you are in the top 5-10%, you don't make money. If I remember correctly, Brian Keene did the math. Hours spent writing divided by how much money an author makes = about $1.82 an hour. Maybe it was David Morrell. The logical step after this, of course, is that all writers need "a day job" until they get to the point (which for some, is never) when they can write full-time.

2) The need for a day job is a tricky thing. On one hand, I'd like to be able to make a little coin. Not sweet coin, per se, but coin nonetheless. $30 grand a year sounds good. I make $12 grand now, and with help from my grandparents, who pay for my gas (about $100 a month) my insurance (a lot of money), and so far a majority of my school, I usually have about $200 in the bank after every paycheck. In my mind, $30 grand would be fine. The mistakes people make happen when they want too much. They start to make $50 or $60 thousand and they realize: "Hey...I can afford to buy a HOUSE. I can have CHILDREN. I can buy a fucking BOAT." And then problems start. With $30 to $40 grand a year, plus the same from Rios, I'd be able to pay for pretty much everything in my life (bills, car and health insurance, etc.) and live comfortably. I have high aspirations for myself, but I've never associated my "self" with what I can own, so comfortable is modest. My point is that I'd like to make money and live comfortably and do a job that I like.

Both those points are starters for me discussing the conversation I had with my grandfather today. I love the man. He is intelligent and logical. But he and I differ in one extremely important way: He believes you should do what will make you money, and I believe in doing what you love.

He is staunch in his opinion. When I gave him the example of "not wanting to go to work for a paper-clip factory" he sighed and said that a valuable skill to develop is to be able to learn to love what you do, instead of doing what you love to begin with. I could not disagree with this more. It's fundamentally wrong to me. How can you do something you hate for your entire youth to make money to spend when you're past your prime? Ignorance of the future is silly, but offering up your present life like a sacrificial lamb to the god of the Future is fucking stupid. If you train yourself to hate the now at this moment, you'll hate the now just as much when it's five years in the future. You'll develop that, "Happiness is just around the corner" mentality and you will ALWAYS be rounding that corner.

I made an effort to compromise. I said I had an epiphany earlier today, which I did. I was getting life coaching from my boss, and she threw out that maybe I could be a teacher. A teacher! Yes! I would like to teach community- or university-college kids some shit that I think is cool. I tossed that out to my grandfather and he sighed, again, and said that he was a professor because he'd had years of experience in the military. They offered him $55,000 for his first year contract, he said, and the yearly pay of the English and Philosophy types was only $35,000/year. I kept it to myself that I thought that was perfect pay. Riffing off of that, he told me flat out: "I don't think that you have the social skills to be a teacher. I don't think you'd be any good at it."

Further discussion revealed that he felt my talents would best be put to use as a lawyer. I was listening intently, eager to hear what exactly I was good at. "You're a good writer," he said. "You're a good reader and you research well. You'd be good at figuring out the law and using it to help the impoverished." He went on to appeal to my hippy side, saying that there were people out there that needed help and that I was the guy to do it.

The cliche has come full circle. We beat around the bush for a while, sort-of lying to each and sort-of playing it cool. But now the shit is all laid out on the table:

I want to be an artist and he wants me to be a lawyer. I don't care about money beyond its practical implications and he sees it as the end-all-be-all measure of success. Life is hilarious.

After I get my bachelor's, maybe I'll see what's up with law. I respect the hell out of my grandfather, and I'm also an advocate of "Gray Areas". Usually a healthy balance is needed. I will live my life as I want to, but I will never be an impenetrable douche-bag fortress, closed off to even the best of suggestions.

I work retail at the mall. I genuinely like my work and the people I work with. It takes up about 35-40 hours of my week, usually. I deal. I still write. Getting a serious job wouldn't take up any more time, even if it tried to. I'll write and do the best I can with that, but I won't ignore the pragmatic side of life. Money is important. But it's not everything.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

jesus thinks it's okay to be gay

I was in Hastings today and Mom called me and said she had a funny story that reminded her of me.

To wit:

"I was in my Bible class and an old guy, about 75 stood up and ranted about homosexuals, how they were doing this and that and blah blah and how he'd like to take them and just..." (the elipse here is supposed to imply something, I don't know, maybe the forcible shaking of the lord into them) And John (the Elder of the church) stopped him and said, 'But...' and the old man got quiet and John said, 'Jesus wants us to love them anyway. To treat them as equals.' And this old guy goes, 'Well, I just can't', and I thought, oh come on. Bigoted old man."

And my mother is right. This gentleman is a bigoted old man. The story reminded her of me because I have a sore spot when it comes to people using their religion to condemn people who don't do any harm to anybody else. I think she called me because she knew it would get me going, and she wanted to hear the pro-homo side of the argument. I think it was her roundabout way of admitting that I was right, in a discussion we'd had months ago about homosexuality, in which she decided to acknowledge my points whilst still clinging to that outdated POV that being queer is "just wrong."

I'll tell you like I told her: Jesus never said that being gay is wrong. Never. Paul did, and even that is debatable.

The verses used to decry homosexuality, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 are the subject of debate among scholars of ancient Greek. The word that's supposed to mean gay is "arsenokoitai". You'll notice "koi" in there, as in "coitus", and "arse", which everyone knows is the stupid way Brits say "ass". The retarded leap would be to propose that arsenokoitai means "no butt sex". But of course, it doesn't. Arse in the ass sense is Old English, first recorded in the 1400s, though it is cognitive to the Greek orros. The real meaning of "arse", or "arsen", is "male. " And koi, though etymologically related to coitus, doesn't mean "fuck", it literally means "bed." So it translates roughly to "male-bedders." Still sounds pretty gay, right?

But here's where the disagreement comes in. You see, at that time, Paul was whining about the rampant prostitution of males in the Temples. Every time the word "arsenokoitai" is used in ancient Greek, it's not referring to simple homosexuality. It's referring the "homosexual slave trade" or those traded within. There are plenty of words that could have been used if Paul meant "straight-up gay". "Pais" is a good example. This one usually meant a young boy servant who was also his master's lover, as opposed to normal slaves, or "duolos". Still kind of similar to "arsenokoitai", but a little more interesting in that Jesus once healed what Matthew describes as the "pais" of a Roman centurion, the one that told Jesus all the prophet needed to do was say the world and his butt-boy would be healed. Jesus was like, "Damn, you've got faith," and healed the little gay kid. That's Matthew 9:10-12.

Another interesting point here, in the NT adultery is mentioned 47 times, and homosexuality (and questionable homosexuality at that) is mentioned twice. Even if the verse was clear cut, it's evident that these guys didn't give too much of a crap about homos. And the OT is old covenant, washed away by the teachings of Jesus. I don't think you all use that for much besides a historical record, anyway. More on that in a second.

On top of all this, there is even more debate about whether certain verses in the King James Bible were translated to condemn homosexuality because King James himself was a flaming homosexual, and his staff didn't like the influence his lovers had on the court.

Finally, and this should be the final word, Jesus said not to judge, and to love your enemies. Even if he came out and said, "Don't be gay", you'd STILL have to love your neighbor. You STILL couldn't judge them. And remember, the only way for a Christian to get into heaven is through Christ. That means you need to listen to the man himself, and leave gays alone. Let them get married, and stop being so weirded out.

But don't let them commit adultery. Stone them for that shit.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/religion-philosophy/130207-being-gay-against-bible-5.html

http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.com/biblical_evidence/gay_couple.html

http://www.jeramyt.org/gay/arsenok.htm

http://www.answers.com/topic/arse-1

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

just

Gotta quit using "just". It's even starting to bother me in my blog writings, which normally I don't care a ton about. I pretty much write like I talk, here, and anyone who's talked to me for any length of time knows that a conversation with me tends to stay pretty simple and light on fancy vocab, and it'll probably end up revolving around poop or dick. Even so, I'm tired of using the word "just".

"Just" is easy to slip into your daily speech, much like its eviler twin, "very." Unlike "very", however, "just" has two unique ways that it can fuck with you:

1) For some reason, we as humans need to constantly reiterate the fact that something occurred in the recent past: "Did you just see that? That bitch just told me she just bought this and she should be able to return it. She just dropped it." We get it. It's recent. Drop the J-bombs.

2) Not only can you use it in the typical adverbial sense, but you can also end your sentences with it, usually followed by an elipse. "That bitch, she thinks she can talk to me like that, I just..." And then I have the perfect opportunity to trail off into righteously indignant speechlessness, a state that I love to be in at my worst.

Got to stop that shit.

Unrelated note: Did you know you can hide that section of your Myspace profile that shows how everyone's feeling? Hooray! No more semi-dramatic non-sequiturs! "~*Failure*~ is giving up before it's too late... Mood: thoughtful." What was at first an interesting way of keeping up with/spying on your friend's daily goings-on has once again been overrun by douchebags. Clicked and hidden.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

spoiling ramblings on indiana jones

Quick thoughts before I go to bed:

It is an Indiana Jones movie. It is good. The action is fun, the character development is nill, and in the hierarchy of the films it is last. Having said that, I still feel like, if you took these four films as scripts and put them together, you'd see less of a discrepancy between the original trilogy and this new one. Koepp did okay.

What makes Skull nowhere near the other three is its heartbreaking use of CGI. After it was done I had this vision: a retarded, fat fingered George Lucas poking a patient Spielberg and whining: "Add more computerized monkeys! They are funny. They make me laugh."

Take, for example, the scene in which Indy and the Evil Russians stroll into the Area 51 box-hangar. The shot is CGI. Is it completely fucking impossible for you motherfuckers to build one fucking set? An airplane hangar with wooden boxes. WHY DID THIS NEED TO BE CGI????? A cartoon airplane hanger with cartoon wooden boxes with CARTOON FUCKING INDIANA JONES AND CARTOON RUSSIANS.

I dislike digital film as a medium. Bring back the 35 mm. Digital makes everything look...plastic. Film is wonderful for suspension of disbelief. Everything looks "movie." With digital film, everything looks "realer", so it's easier to tell when something looks like "shit." This was probably the biggest hurdle I had to get over. Further viewings, I'll be ready for this ugly, too-defined picture.

George Lucas, I want your head. The computer animated gophers and monkeys, that's you. You fucker. Greaser kid swings from the trees with monkeys. Seriously. Seriously. Seriously??????? Raiders had a monkey. A real fucking monkey. This movie has a real monkey, until you decide to get retarded and make a fucking gang of monkeys attack the villians.

Stunts. The first movie, you had a stuntman roll under a car. The second, there was a bridge (a real bridge) that broke, that stuntmen latched onto. The third, you had a real tank. Real boats.

Nothing in this movie looked real. Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. The amphibious boat going off the cliff onto a tree branch. That's a cartoon.

Jesus. All this whining makes it sound like I didn't like it. I did. I'm extremely protective of the Indiana Jones series.

So here's the thing. I don't want to hear any complaining about the aliens, unless it's related to the retarded CGI aspect of said aliens.

In the first movie, Indy is going after a magic box. With ghosts in it. The second flick he is force fed blood that turns him into "Evil Indy", until he gets burned. He is chasing magic stones that burn holes through bags. In the third movie, he throws a member of the Gestapo out of a blimp in Nazi Germany, and the blimp still takes off (it takes the Nazis a few hours to decide to turn the blimp around). He is chasing a magic cup guarded by an eight-hundred-year-old Templar. The wrong cup in his gallery turns people into skeletons. In Skull, he is returning a crystal (plastic-looking) skull to a temple built by (now undead) Mayans. The skull turns out to be an alien head. A flying saucer destroys the temple. Okay, it's a little weirder than the other flicks, but I can roll with it.

This thing needs further viewings. With beer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

adventure spoon

Rios got me the box of Apple Jacks with Indiana Jones on the cover. It comes with an Adventure Spoon.

This morning I stumble out of bed and go to the pantry and get the box out. The back of the box declares that there are three colors of Adventure Spoon: Green, Red, and Yellow. I tell myself it doesn't matter, but deep down I really want the green one.

I pop open the box and tear open the bag inside. I always seem to fail when it comes to opening cereal. The box gets fat in the middle. How does this happen?

In a surprisingly un-adventerous move, the Adventure Spoon is placed at the top of the cereal pile. Kids today, they are lazy.

I struggle with the plastic wrapping and connect the bowl of the spoon to the handle, which sports the words "Indiana Jones" in red letters. There's Mayan type etchings in the handle. Mysterious.

I pour the Apple Jacks and dump some milk on them and sit at the table. The moment of truth. I thumb the little red button and the light comes on, illuminating the spoon in a sultry red.

The Gods have spoken. Red is the true color of adventure.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

impeccable

Sitting in my computer chair with my leg propped up is comfortable but it crushes my balls.

My dog loves to stare out the window, evil genius-style. Today I was in the shower washing myself with Bath & Body Works apple scent because it smells good and she just howled. Like she was in pain. I threw the curtain back and bounded out of the shower butt ass sexy naked. The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. She was staring at something out the window. I filled her Kong with peanut butter and she chilled.

On my desk: empty bottles of water, empty bottle of Jones, empty bottle of Imperial Porter, Glade air freshener, Moleskine, Burt's Bees chapstick.

Aesop Rock's remix of "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" is what some may call a "banger." It makes me tap my fingers, so I'll call it a "fingerbanger."

Today at work an old Indian lady spent a half hour trying to decide if she wanted a picture frame. She inspected it. Checked it for the slightest imperfections. I had this daydream of this woman's house. It was empty except for a couch wrapped in plastic and this picture frame. You had to take your shoes off before you could enter, and you couldn't touch anything.

We hung up balloons for Mother's Day. Tiffany brought candy. I ate many little Snickers and Twix bars. Passed time by tearing the wrappers. They don't tear easy from the side, you have to split them vertically, between the wrappers' little teeth. My belly hurts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

live from the plantation 2

http://www.ryanholiday.net/archives/thinking_strategically.phtml#comments

Spooky-relevant post to my college talk the other day, and perhaps the answer that I was looking for. Quitting school would make me like Sparta, basically. It is not strategic thinking.

As for Eric, I think the most important thing I noticed was that you mentioned all these things you were scared of. What was especially telling to me, is that you are afraid that if you drop out and fail at music, you'll be fucked. This is valid. But what about the flip side? What if you fail at "regular life" and you leave the music route unfulfilled? You end up with a job that you hate or that you suck at, a degree you don't need, and a sacrificed music career always sitting on your shoulder going "what if?"

We're young, and I think it's fantastic that we're thinking about these things now. We have to be careful, though. Talking about things, I believe, is your mind's way of relieving itself of the responsibility of doing them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

live from the plantation

I'm sipping dark beer. The box had Hunter Thomspon on it. Good marketing. Some of the money goes to build the Gonzo Monument, that two-thumbed fist. I'm for it. I'm on the fence about the beer, though. Dark beer is foreign to me. I fear it. I'm intrigued by it. I make faces when I drink it.

Speaking of foreign, I had my Spanish final today. I passed it. I may even get a B in the class. I'm a horrible student. With my student loan count tipping the scales at about $8,000, I'm thinking it might be time to cut my losses.

My boss, Regina, is a woman who at times is hard to understand. The other day, however, she imparted advice to me that rang crystal clear: "Unless you need the degree for a specific job, college is mostly pointless."

She's right. My mother went to college and got a degree so that she could become a teacher. My dad completed college to be an officer, but when he got out of the military, what good was a Bachelor's in English?

My uncle has a degree in History. He works for BMW.

At Kirkland's, I work with two ladies that have their Bachelor's. At one time, I worked with a woman who had her Master's. These people make the same money I do, give or take a few bucks an hour. None of them make what Regina makes, and she has no college education.

What good is my Communication bachelor's going to be if I want to write for a living? What good, for that matter, would a Creative Writing degree be? Rob Vollmar, a gentleman I greatly respect and a writer himself, told me that "No one ever became a better writer by going to college."

Unless, I suppose, you want to write about colleges.

Now, don't get me wrong. College was fun. Anyone who says, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey" with regards to higher education has a point. That is, if you don't have to pay for it. The first few years of my matriculation in El Paso were paid for by my grandparents, and they were awesome. I'm already nostalgic for them, and they only ended a year ago.

But the fun ends where the bill begins. And I have quite a bill.

I wonder how long it would take to pay $8,000 off? With my earnings, probably five years.

Is anybody else having similar crises? Anyone feeling crippled by the cost of college? Anyone picking up their diploma and finding that they have nowhere to go with it?

I've been finding a lot of comfort and understanding in Mr. Lif's "I, Phantom". That album has been spinning in my car consistently. Specifically number 4, "Live From the Plantation." I can relate.