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.


Punisher: War Zone
Inland Empire (might have been last year)
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


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


Unknown Soldier
The Boys


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


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


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.



Thursday, December 11, 2008


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


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


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.