Sunday, December 07, 2008


...likely to be unveiled at some point in the next 48 hours, The Great Cave Offensive's NBA Enrichment Catalog. All the news and views to satisfy any devoted reader who'd have Charles Barkley's back in a fight.

Popular demand.

It's rare that anybody comments on these things, so when I found that somebody had requested that I be a bit more prolific with the blogging, I figured it'd be downright callous not to oblige.

The sad truth is that there isn't much in my life that I have a huge amount of verve to talk about, and my observations on the world are running a little dry, at about the same rate as my finances. Despite my disdain for money, I can't argue that it can rule my world, at least psychologically. If I had a Scrooge McDuck style money vault, I suspect I'd be a healthier person mentally. The amount of time I dedicate to thinking about the years of destitution I have ahead of me is pretty impressive.

I was somewhat distressed to learn that the system for getting a Medical interview (low income health insurance) is a bit thrown together. The scheduling is on a first come/first serve basis, and since I've been unable to sleep lately, I've never had the energy to drag myself out there and wait around an hour to beat the crowd. I'll have to go Monday, mainly because my body can't really absorb the alternative; more on that later.

There's no relief to be had in basketball. The last few years I was able to escape periodically into the scattershot, exhilarating world of Golden State basketball, as for nearly a calendar year the Warriors fielded a team and a style that very nearly entered the pantheon of cult favorite hoops squads, if such a pantheon exists. One short offseason later, and Baron Davis is gone, Monta Ellis is injured, Stephen Jackson is playing like a Doberman with a psychological weakness, newcomer Corey Maggette is making me tear my hair out, and Don Nelson is affirming the age old danger of giving guaranteed money to alcoholic old men. Andris Biedrins is a real delight, simply because with each great game he's vindicating all the insisting I did to people that he could be a top ten center. Brandan Wright should be starting, but you never can tell if that'll happen with a lunatic like Nelson at the helm. It took a year or two, but I finally understand why this guy leaves teams with such a bitter feeling. And with his contract extension, the bitterness is going to get worse before it gets better.

I had an incredible physical breakdown a week or so ago. My arm began to ache and I lost all feeling in one side of my face, as if I was having a stroke. I went to the emergency room, where a balding doctor, a chubby male nurse, and a masculine but still reasonably sexable female nurse informed me that my blood pressure was fine, my EKG was fine, and that I either had a pinched nerve, or was simply breaking down due to stress. The female nurse seemed to favor the stress explanation. As time has dragged on, though, it's become increasingly clear that there is something tangibly wrong with me; the back of my neck periodically gets stiff and wooden, and aches with a dull pain. The second I have the money, I'll be seeing an acupuncturist recommended to me by a friend who's quite familiar with back pain. Until then, though, I'm in the unpleasant purgatory of drifting about injured and lame, trying somewhat desperately to find a nice, interesting woman who wants to go on a date with a guy who possibly has the spinal cord of a sixty year old.

It's worth noting that despite the morbid tone, I'm not particularly morose about most of this. The Warriors anger me more than anything, and the pain scares me. The money depresses me in a societal sense, but I don't hitch my own worth to cash, so I'm not feeling that down. I need to get into shape terribly, though, as I've gone quite soft from inaction, but my array of aches has made my normal fitness routine next to impossible. Maybe I should take up shark wrestling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I just now...

...went to the gym, and warmed up, then did some leg extensions on the weight machine- but then i started to get woooooozy. I started to lose touch with reality a little and stumbled home. I don't feel too well; not entirely true, I feel peaceful, but odd. I think I need to take an iron supplement next time to keep my brain from slipping out ofplace.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

About love.

It was about one in the morning when I found I'd had about all I could stomach. I'd been trying to write, but between my roommate playing an aggressively annoying video game and a deep creative malaise, I was a bit beside myself. I opted, therefore, to go for a walk to clear things out.

So I wandered the streets for about forty-five minutes, in a meandering criss-cross with no particular objective. I had just resolved to head home when I heard a faint jingling noise getting louder by the second. I glanced over my shoulder to see the tiny outline of a cat, practically galloping over from a couple blocks down a well lit parking lot.

I immediately knew I was in trouble. Cats are my weakness. There is absolutely no better way to distract me for a long period of time than by putting a cute cat in front of me. This situation proved no different. Against better judgement, I crouched down and waited as it ran over to me. It seemed incredibly affectionate, which suggested to me, along with the jingling, that this cat had a place to call its own. I gently reached below it's neck and looked at the name tag. It read Lucy.

Lucy was being phenomenally playful and lively for this late hour. She spent a good two or three minutes there on the dimly lit sidewalk with me, jumping at me, meowing happily, and licking the back of my hand as I'd scratch her neck or stroke her back. For those few minutes, I was maybe as happy as I'd been in months, just me and Lucy playing around at two in the morning.

After this went on a little longer, I realized I needed to say my goodbyes and get out of there. I've desperately wanted a cat my entire life, but my mother's allergies, and now the security deposit figures on my apartment, have always made that impossible.  The downside of this cat brightening my life for those brief moments, I knew, would be the deep melancholy that would set in after we'd part. I wouldn't be able to shake it for a while. It always happens when I'm around a sweet cat. And this one was making like she'd known me all her life.

I gave her a quick nuzzle goodbye and rose, spinning on a heel, determined not to end up in too morose a mood. As I expected, Lucy trotted after me for a few steps before stopping. I kept going. Then, after about twenty seconds, I heard her collar ringing again and looked over to see her following me, not behind me, but walking alongside me down the sidewalk. At one point she darted into somebody's garden, so I'd figured she'd reached her home. She continued strolling alongside me through the garden, though, and then leapt out and trailed me a bit more cautiously as I walked up the steps to my apartment. Sure enough, though, when I looked down at my feet as I was digging around for my keys, there was Lucy roping around my shoes. My roommate was still up inside playing Final Fantasy, so the lights were all on. As if sensing an invite, Lucy parked herself in front of my door, occasionally crooking her head at me and meowing.

I was in agony. Maybe not complete agony. Just partial agony. But I knew what was and wasn't reasonable as far as the situation was concerned, and as much as I'd fallen for her and wanted to let her in, there's a big ethical leap between somebody's kitty following you home and you letting it come inside. That's straight up catnapping. Or at least a concerted attempt to cause cat stockholm syndrome.

I knocked on the door and my roommate opened it for me. I excitedly showed him the adorable creature staring wide eyed into our apartment from behind our screen door. "I've got a cohort," I told him, grinning.

"Oh, hey," he replied. If he was interested, he was doing a good job hiding it. And that somehow made me feel worse. I opened the screen door, and edged inside, shutting it behind me. I stared back out at Lucy for longer than I probably should have; prolonging the goodbye was just masochism at that point. I felt like I was going to cry; it was the same basic emotion that would normally cause me to flush out the old tear ducts, but I was somehow too aware of the oddness of the situation to let that impulse reign. I closed the door softly, not wanting to scare or surprise her. I think on some level I wanted her to remember my apartment fondly. As sad as I am now, it'd be terrible never to see her again.


After this was written, I heard a jingling behind my door. I went outside and played with her on my porch for another fifteen minutes or so. I can't help it. I'm a sucker for punishment when the crime is that cute.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why I get out of bed in the morning.

It's a trick title. Given my lifestyle as an unemployed youth who's obligations, both paid and unpaid, come in quick bursts, it's not unusual for me to be out late into the night and rouse myself a little past noon. That said, I trust the spirit of the title will remain intact.

I've found myself approaching a saturation point as far as the presidential election this year is concerned, but it hasn't been a process that has left me bored or cold with the whole thing, but rather it has pushed me against a psychological wall. The stakes, for me, seem very high to begin with, obviously. I view the potential of a McCain/Palin administration as about the least attractive thing since, well, the Bush/Cheney administration, except it'll be a new dynamic of awful so I won't be able to deflect the indignity of it all as easily.

My big concern though, and admittedly selfish one, is that if the GOP's gamble pays off and somehow voters are so charmed by Sarah Palin that they swoop into office, I'm not sure what will happen to my brain. I think I might suffer a legitimately damaging psychological or emotional trauma from such a happening. It speaks to a general distrust I have of the values and voting records of a portion (I guess a large enough portion to deliver two heavily contested elections) or the country in which I live. It's an isolating feeling; I've grown up in the Bay Area my entire life, which is irrefutably one of the biggest liberal communities in the United States, and while I tend to think of my own political views as being developed and not inherited, it does create a jarring sort of dual experience. 

I have never, over the course of my life, been in a large room of people who I knew were political conservatives. I've probably never been in a room where there was a half and half balance in a large group. So I've grown and thrived in an environment that, if sometimes more in intention than in function, reflects many of my views and desires in the political realm. This creates a brutal contrast, though, when a man like George W. Bush is elected. I was just fourteen his first year. I had, even at that point, identified him as a cancerous politician. The idea of voting for a man because he seems like your buddy that you'd invite over to a barbecue struck me as stupid at age fourteen, but apparently carried enough weight to land Bush in the white house. Granted he dealt with some last minute tumult in Florida (you can likely deduce my stance on that situation), but he was in, and now I had to live with him.

I started out hoping the best that I felt I reasonably could hope; that Bush would be a terrible president (which was a certainty), but that he would be most impactfully terrible on people other than me. There ought to be a limited number of ways a jackoff president can screw you when you're a white fourteen year old with a passable amount of money in your wallet, I reasoned. And for a while there, it seemed like I was correct.

One morning I didn't get out of bed was September 11th of 2001. I was, gosh, a sophomore in high school then, so I guess I had Social Issues first period. My then girlfriend was in that class, and I was starting to smell blood in the water that she might dump me. I was exhausted on top of it, and didn't want to face the school day, so I lamely suggested to my mother, who had knocked on my door to wake me like every morning, that I was tired and didn't feel like going to school. Oddly, she and my dad offered no protest. I would learn after another three hours of slumber about the World Trade Center going down.

After the attacks everything about the Bush administration took on a familiar, sinister edge. It was the edge of a type of power that I could find no philosophical agreement or comfort with. This feeling towards the president, and indeed a feeling which perverted what I considered the office of the president to ideally embody, has stuck with me from then till now. From when I was a fourteen year old starting out in high school to now, I have lived under the Bush administration, and I've hated it. I've hated what it's done to our country, what we've done to other countries, and what it's done to my optimism. There's been such a constant downpour of offensive stink off of everything I've watched this government do over the past eight years that I find myself incapable of relating as the next election looms near.

I realized it was becoming a problem during the Republican convention. As I was driving home, I listened to Rudy Giuliani on the radio, enticing the St. Paul crowd into the chant of "drill, baby, drill!" I punched the radio off in disgust. Minutes later I strolled into my living room to find a woman from Alaska, among others things, thrash community organizers, cause I guess trying to do good work in your community is, uhm, stupid? And then I listened to a slate of pundits talk about how energizing and transformative her speech was.

All I can say is... really? This again? All of these folks are going to vote, again, for somebody who boasts little to no stated policy positions, but seems like a good ol' boy from the neighborhood? To be fair, Sarah Palin specifically called out the "good ol' boy" establishment, but that ignores the fact that she embodies many if not all of the values of that group; she's a conservative, pro-life (even if your dad rapes you), NRA sponsored hunter who thinks that global warming in a myth. She's basically a... good ol' gal, I guess? Also, she has too many kids. Overpopulation, man. I bet Sarah Palin was the kind of person who would play Oregon Trail on the Mac Classic and shoot waaaaaay too many buffalo. "You shot 1565 pounds of buffalo... but you could only carry 225 pounds of it back to your wagon!"

In any case, as the election gets closer, I've begun to see a worsening in my nerves. I recently picked up a copy of Obama's book The Audacity of Hope, cause I was at an airport and needed something to read. I was struck rather quickly by what a great writer he is, and in a distinctly different and more thoughtful way than he even appears in interviews and such. I got about a hundred pages into it, and then something happened. I couldn't read any more. I was enjoying the book so much that somehow it didn't feel safe to keep reading. Until I actually know for a fact that that's the man who's going to be taking over, I feel like reading his work is opening me up to sustain an additional wound. If America won't elect an Obama now, after eight years of what's almost universally seen as a train wreck presidency, I can't envision a scenario in which we ever will. And the idea that Sarah Palin could ultimately be what stands in the way, well, that'd be enough to send me to the mental hospital.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Splish splash.

I am presently sitting in my bathtub. The tub is not full of water, though, because it's not a comfortable enough tub to warrant a bath anyways, and it's also 6:30 in the morning. The water would also not be recommended thanks to my obvious desire to blog from a bathtub. So, the question might linger, assuming for a moment that I have living, breathing readers, why?

In truth, I don't have a great reason. Perhaps a rundown of my last twenty-four hours, even if it fails to illuminate why I'm sitting fully clothed in a bone dry bathtub when I should be asleep, will put you in a state of mind in which you can better understand. Or not.

I lied when I offered (or rather proposed) to tell my last twenty-four hours. Well, I didn't exactly lie, but I didn't wake up till two in the afternoon yesterday, so the first chunk of that time is me sleeping in my dirty, oversized bed in my dirty, disorganized room. The recent streak of hot days has reminded me why I cherish the bay air the way I do; I can't help but cure under my breath when I wake up to find I'm already coated in sweat. My room traps heat, and sometimes my roommate who sleeps against the window will not open/close it in the appropriate situation. This particular day the temperature wasn't awful, though.

I awoke to a phone call from a friend who wanted to hang out. This plan, as it turns out, went off without a hitch. Sitting on a couch and watching a friend play a video game while you skim through any and every news article that you can find that day is a good time killer, and it doesn't take a terrible lot of planning. Just one part sloth and one part curiosity. I began eying the clock at around four, and pulled out my phone to place a call. I found that I had a few missed calls, as I forgot to switch the ringer on after the preceding night's rehearsals. I dialed up notorious friend of the blog Carla Zilbersmith to confirm plans we'd made the week before. At 7:00 PM, I left my home to head to Albany and meet her.

I had decided to cross the Richmond Bridge at the precise moment the sun would reflect directly off my side mirror into my eyes. It wasn't dangerous exactly, but I suddenly felt exhausted when the bright glare vanished, almost as if I'd been on a limited stipend of energy, and the extra effort in keeping vision on the road had sapped me. I ended up parking my car an absurd distance from Carla's apartment, mainly because I circled the whole street and block once and couldn't find a better spot, despite the fact that there were plenty of spots when I walked down towards her apartment. I had clearly somehow proven an incompetent parker. I felt reflexively regretful about this when I met up with Carla and her son, Mac- despite the fact that Carla has a motorized wheelchair, there's a certain melancholy in knowing your inefficient parking has inconvenienced somebody for whom transportation in general is clearly more difficult than anybody would hope.

We ended up dining at a very nice Chinese restaurant in Oakland. We ordered three different items, but Mac was the only one who really made a dent; both Carla and I seemed to be grazing through our food, each of us as deliberate as a priest weighing the pros and cons before ducking into a strip club. In truth, while I wasn't phenomenally hungry, I likely wouldn't have eaten that much even if I was. I was much too busy chatting it up with Carla and Mac, which is something I don't get to do often, exactly, although we do cross paths with a decent frequency. For the record, though, the hot and spicy tofu was still quite good.

After dinner we went back to Carla's apartment, and they invited me up for a bit. I went up, had a cup of tea, and continued to shoot the shit, as they say. Mac showed me how to use the webcam on my computer, but seeing as most of my friends with webcams live within a stone's throw, I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it. 

I must digress for a moment. The hard surface of the tub has begun to cramp my legs. I shifted my weight to help it a little, but I'm clearly living on borrowed (or stolen) time. My legs will soon be numb if I don't stand up...

I left Carla's at around 10:20 or so. I jetted back to my apartment where I spent another few hours chatting with friends and drinking only the finest of chilled, bottled water before they started heading to sleep. Thanks to my late start to the day, I couldn't follow their example; I found myself alarmingly untired. I continue to be. There's a guy sleeping on my couch, so I didn't want to make a ruckus in the living room. There's a roommate sleeping in my room, so clacking computer keys there isn't ideal. So here I sit, crunched into this tub, completing the self-fulfilling prophecy; I'm writing about why I'm in the tub, but the only real answer is cause I couldn't write anywhere else.

P.S. - I also read the first twenty pages of Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope in this tub before grabbing my laptop. I bought it yesterday, along with a copy of the U.S. Constitution and an issue of SLAM magazine. I highly suggest, should you read these three things as I have, that you follow this order: Constitution, SLAM issue, Audacity. It's just better that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The church and me.

I was born to a mother who comes from a sprawling Italian brood and a father who comes from a now nearly extinct Irish/Scotch bunch. The mother's side of the family, although it never occurred to me until recently, must have initiated some sort of pressure to have me raised Catholic, because in retrospect, it seems unlikely that sort of thing would've been my mother's idea. While I have no memory or idea what the determining factors were, although I suspect it likely drove a further wedge between my father and my mother's family, I began taking classes in middle school to prepare me for confirmation into the church. The program was called CCD, but I never thought to ask what that stood for, outside of my knowledge that Catholic must've been one of the Cs. 

The classes were precisely the sort of thing I had trained myself to blithely accept at that age. I didn't (nor do I now) bear any particular grudge against the Catholic church, nor did I think very much about the implications of shooing a child towards a particular faith. I guess I understand it now insofar as absolute faith is concerned; if a parent believes deeply that the unrepentant soul will go to hell, they're going to go the whole nine yards to make sure their child is on the holy path. 

The puzzling thing was that my mother never seemed particularly religious, which was the fact that began my questioning of the entire process. While I didn't care all that much that my Tuesday afternoons were being spent in a conference room next to St. Patrick's (being taught religion by the younger brother of former NFL QB Bernie Kosar, no less), I did care about the familial implications of my presence there. My grandmother was in her heyday a somewhat abusive figure in my mother's life, so I naturally began to wonder if the studies were somehow being organized under her influence. At this point, I don't think that was the case, but it made me increasingly resentful of the position I was in.

In the eighth grade, I was slated to be confirmed into the church. The morning of the event I mentioned to my dad that I didn't feel quite right committing to something at twelve that I didn't really have any interest in. My dad reacted somewhat strongly, insisting to me that I shouldn't go through with something like that if I didn't want to. I didn't know at the time that my father had an innate disdain for most religions, as he felt his grandmother's death was the church's doing. Her husband was in the military, and she worried so much for his safety that she went on some sort of blessing pilgrimage that culminated in climbing a hill and kissing the priest's ring. It was, according to my father, a terribly stormy night in which she did this, and she fell deathly ill from the toil and passed away soon after.

While I appreciated that he supported my right to back out, we both knew on some level that it wasn't an option. Family members had gathered for the ceremony. There were people who had cleared their schedules to attend. I was, in a sense, obligated to feign this vow of faith. It wasn't that I flatly denied the faith I'd been taught, but rather that I had no concrete opinion and definitely didn't want to be tied down in that capacity.

I've been pleased to see that my younger brother, who is now eleven, hasn't been run through this system as I was. In a sense I'm envious (which will land me in some hot water if what they taught me was correct), but I also know that the experience was centrally involved in shaping me, so I wouldn't change it, certainly. I think the biggest regret and biggest anger I have is the fear. Namely, the fear of going to hell and suffering for all eternity.

It's not a fear that I really have on a conscious level, because at this point I'm all but openly atheistic, but it is something that by virtue of society I don't think you can really shake. There's an entire line of thinking devoted to the idea that when I die, because I haven't gone to church, been a diligent Christian, and dedicated myself to god and the bible, I'm gonna be set ablaze and eviscerated for all time. That's eternal. Neverending. No human being deserves unending hell. Adolph Hitler does not deserve to be subject to unimaginable pain that will never, ever end. The maximum amount of suffering that a human being can cause with his or her mortal body upon other mortal bodies cannot possibly be fairly countered with an infinity of torture. The entire reason the idea is effective and lingers is because the punishment is so out of sync with the crime.

The fact that, in my most private moments, I still have an inkling of worry that when I die I'll retire to an unending hell is the biggest reason I turned away from religion and have never really looked back. One of my biggest dreads is that at some point in my life, somebody will dupe me into thinking I have to turn to god by scaring me into it. When I'm about to die, I want to appreciate the rest I'm about to receive. Nobody should die worrying.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Manifest destiny.

My efforts to take over the internet continue. From here on out, all my poetry will be posted on this page's new sister blog. This way anybody who doesn't want to read my poetry won't have to worry about finding it here, while those who don't want to hear about me loitering around can visit the new page to see if my creative work is a little more interesting. Whether or not it will be is yet to be decided, personally, I advise caution in taking anything I say with any sort of seriousness or certainty. Without further ado, I hereby present creak creek.

Monday, August 11, 2008

As you go, I can never not follow.

It's been a fairly busy little while this week, at least by my standards. I am what is commonly known as a deadbeat. You could also call me a wastrel, an ne'er-do-well, a slacker (I don't like this one, because Hollywood has managed to romanticize it), and an unshaven, jobless tool. These are titles that haven't been hurled at me, but I accept them now in the event that they one day are, not unlike a toothless man waking up each morning and slurring "tym tah goh, yoo toofless bahtard!"

So, understand that when I say my week was busy, it was certainly not by conventional standards. I only worked one day the whole week. It was a day for which I earned approximately $275 for eight hours of work. A handsome wage for a handsome man, they (me) told me!

I also attended two separate east bay (pig latin for beast) events, both of which were highly enjoyable but taxed my emotions in a immeasurable grab-bag of ways. I ran an impressive gauntlet of feelings this week, from happiness and optimism to sadness and heartache, with the ever popular tinglings of lust, which at points ranged from casual and harmless to uncomfortable intensity.

I wrote this a few minutes ago. I have more on my mind, but slumber beckons. I'll continue these thoughts tomorrow.

disembodied franchise voices
spill cups en masse
streaming down the floor
and puddling up in front of a
movie screen
down by the waterfront
a popup moon with tassels and lace
where some were but others shall not be
lions leap from branches hanging
towards a child pinned under an an errant log
on his way home one sunday evening
through a forest patched with cloth

Monday, August 04, 2008

Matrimony, familial smug.

I had a busy weekend for the first time in a while. On Saturday I arose bright and early to film a wedding with my buddy Kevin- a service for which we were forced to drive to Windsor (Windsor Water Works, you're gonna get wet!). Once there, it seemed to be an ideal and incredibly simple shoot. It was only scheduled for eight hours, and it was an early ceremony; arrive at noon, hitched by two, drunk by five, danced out by eight and we leave.

Unfortunately for me (and Kevin, as it would turn out), I had a rather nasty flare up of a long standing physical malady. When I was younger, around nine or ten, my mom enrolled me in tennis classes to get me some exercise, concerned that I spent too much time laying around. The tennis class quickly became my least favorite thing on earth as the exertion under the summer sn would feel like it was scorching my brain and turning my stomach. It was a debilitating pain that called to mind what I imagined one must feel right before spontaneous combustion. The truth of the matter was that I had anemia, the iron-deficiency kind, not the sickle cell kind, so all that I needed was a small amount of supplementation and I was good to go.

As time wore on, though, I forgot about the unpleasant feeling, as it happened so infrequently as to never be on my mind. So it came as quite a surprise to me when, not halfway through the wedding shoot, my legs began to get shaky. Kevin asked me quietly which of the waitresses I'd sleep with, and to stomp my foot when she passed. Not more than twenty seconds later, the compact, auburn haired waitress with the deceptively large breasts strolled by carrying an empty platter that was shortly before full of mini-pizza. I stomped my foot, despite it sending a slight chil up into the pit of my stomach. I told Kevin I needed to stretch out behind the house out of sight of the wedding party. He told me to go ahead. 

I did indeed stretch my back initially, as an earlier stint on the handheld had done a number on my back, leaving me with an unpleasant feeling of compression in my spine. After only a dozen seconds or so, I simply laid out on the deck and tried to sleep, my heartbeat pulsing in my head and crippling my breathing. I knew the nature of the pain, but also knew that in that heat I was powerless but to ride it out. I managed to doze off halway for a couple of minutes before a woman from the wedding arty stepped behind the house near me to talk on the phone.

"They're not talkin' to me cause Im the ex-wife," she complained. Under my breath, I found myself cursing her. "Stupid goddamn bitch," I thought, "shut the fuck up, I can't deal with this."
Her conversation continued as my mind slipped into some sort of state that has made it impossible for me to remember anything else before Kevin roused me. He told me that I had to go to the car, that it looked bad for me to be lying prone on a yard deck during a wedding I was supposed to be a videographer for. Despite my state, and my knowledge that the car would be even more arduous from the heat, I couldn't argue with Kevin's logic; at likely around $3000 for eight hours, they deserved not to have one of the shooters passed out like a drunk, village idiot.

I ended up falling asleep in the car after half an hour of obsessed, seething fidgeting. I woke up an hour and a half later when Kevin phoned me, saying he needed to call his wife and asking me to film while he did. My absence from a practical standpoint wasn't a huge tactical issue; the only B camera coverage they paid for was for the ceremony, and I accomplished that before falling apart. Generally the B operator wouldn't shoot anything else anyways, except when the lead shooter has to use the bathroom or eat a snack. I took over briefly, but I lacked the strength to hoist the camera very far, so my shots were mostly from the same angle, with the zoom level changed to create the illusion of motion. I was truly useless from a functionality standpoint.

Slowly but surely following my awakening, however, my body began to regulate itself back to normal. My headache faded into a warm numbness, my limbs stopped aching, and my stomach, which had at the worst moment felt prone to regurgitation, settled quickly. It reminded me of a similar incident that happen to me on the beach in Guernville, where I stewed in the sand trying to sleep while Annie read David Sedaris aloud. Like the scorned ex-wife at the wedding, I found myself mutters words of intense dislike towards Mr. Sedaris as I slowly wilted in the sun. But also like that day, a brief sleep somehow turned the incredible pain into little more than a warm, drowsy feeling.

I recovered so fully at such a rate (one that truthfully confounded me) that I seriously doubted whether I could objectively convince Kevin it wasn't some kind of laziness induced hoax I had pulled at his expense. I knew he would believe me by virtue of our friendship, but if we hadn't known each other, he likely would've though me terrible. I felt so good by the end of the night that I found myself rooting for overtime; if they wanted to keep us an extra hour it would've netted us around forty bucks extra apiece. It was a rather humbling experience, because despite needing to film for only a mere half hour, and really only having to stand around for the rest of the gig, I essentially flunked. It's a flunk I still get paid for, but objectively speaking, I wouldn't say I earned it. Actually, I guess it wasn't humbling. It's only humbling if I don't get the cash. But, the month is still young. Maybe I'll get taken to small claims court.

I followed yesterday's effort with a more personally taxing event today; my grandmother's birthday. Those of you who know me well know that I'm not crazy about my grandmother for certain reasons, so the celebration in and of itself wasn't very gratifying for me, but also my recent turn to veganism became an issue. My mother's family is a sprawling, boisterous (predominantly) Italian clan that prides itself in eating nothing but greasy meat, cheese, and pasta sauce every chance they get. As I knew would happen, everybody began asking why I wasn't eating, and apparently "I'm not that hungry, but thank you" is not a sufficient reply these days. Somebody finally ventured the guess that I didn't eat meat, and I admitted it, opening the floodgates to a solid twenty to thirty minutes of discussion (including the million dollar queston; so, like, what can you eat?), culminating in one cousin taking "my side" by expressively discussing how bad conditions are for animals for either livestock or productions. 

She essentially, albeit unknowingly, exuded the exact sort of attitude towards my meat guzzling family that I wanted to avoid during the stay, and it ended up costing me much more conversation that I would have liked. I don't quite understand why people seem to take it as a personal threat when I make a choice about my dietary habits; I encountered this skepticism during my semi-vegetarian spree in high school, and it's been worse with the veganism. There's an odd amount of resentment that some people have seemed to brandish upon learning of my choice.

For the record, though, I would eat meat if it meant a night of passion with that waitress. Seriously, that was some fiiiiiiiine looking woman.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Power for passion's sake.

I sold a car yesterday, at long last. It was a car I had acquired late last year, and over the course of my ownership it had caused me nothing but grief. It didn't run at all, because there was some sort of electrical leak issue that had clearly drained the battery permanently. When it did run, the engine was strong, but it had the sort of inescapable uneasiness that seems to radiate from a car that's about to fall apart at sixty miles per hour. So, I managed to sell it yesterday. My price? $150. Sadly, my mother was the registered owner, and upon learning that it wasn't running, she went to the DMV to register it non-operational (which makes the sale more attractive because it negates registration and insurance necessities). 

Unfortunately, be it through her own mistake or (more likely) a miscommunication by the DMV worker, she registered it as "junked" instead, which is a completely different set of rules that make it very unattractive to a buyer. Hence, the car that cost $1300 which I thought I could get $500 for a week ago sold for $150 early yesterday morning. As I watched the new owner tow it away, I felt my heart swell. One more thing that was in my way, outta my way.

I have an assortment of casual plans for the day ahead. I'm going to be getting together for lunch with a friend from high school in Berkeley (a lunch possibly of our own creation), followed by hopefully some hardcore writing time. I'm becoming increasingly stagnant in my efforts to write, simply because I invariably end up loathing whatever I write before I can get even a third of the way into it, and unless you're at least that far into an idea, it becomes too easy to say "fuck it" and kick your start into the trash.

I'm curious as to how I might go about increasing my web presence. Maybe I should get involved in some of this viral marketing. I'd set up a bunch of satellite pages that vaguely allude to something big, paranormal, or conspiratorial happening around the world, and I'll get people to devote a bunch of time to cracking my code to understand my message, but then my message would just be, "gotcha!"

I'm downloading a torrent full of music by Beirut. It's been downloading for days. One of those slow ones.

I've recently adopted a vegan lifestyle (although I guess really just a vegan diet, I don't know if there's a distinction... my wallet is made of leather, so there you go), and thus far it hasn't been all that difficult. I've leaned heavily on the few things I know how to cook, but by and large, the transition has been more seamless than I had anticipated. I find that I have more physical stamina when I work out, as well, although that could also be because I've been spending all my time hanging out near radioactivity hazards to try and superhero myself.

I think I have to lay off the politics for a little bit. My verve for political news comes and goes with dramatic flash every few years, and this election obviously feels like the one where if it isn't interesting or pertinent enough to grab you, you probably aren't going to feel that draw for any election (until, of course, I become mayor of Corte Madera in 2042). In any event, the massive amount of articles and information I've consumed regarding Obama and McCain has begun to temper and diminish my goodwill towards the world at large. All due respect to any of my Republican readers, but the world in which somebody enthusiastically votes for John McCain is a world that will probably always leave a trace of sorrow or disdain in me. I'm not as fanatical in my admiration for the Obama machine as perhaps some might be, but I come away with nothing but interest, respect, and clarity when I hear the man speak, in stark contrast to the Big Mac Attack.

My problems with McCain are frankly too numerous and at points too nuanced to disclose in full, but I suppose on a basic level I would feel abysmally unsafe in McCain's America. I have no faith in his abilities as an orator or a communicator, and thus by extension his abilities as a diplomat, a trait that is sorely needed in the post-Bush world. It seems to be that there are a group of media personalities (most of which are on channel 59 where I live) who seem downright annoyed at the idea of foreign countries warming to an Obama presidency. Obama is cheered in Berlin? Fuck that! We're Americans- they're just germans- they don't live in the "greatest best country that god ever gave man on the face of the earth," we do. Our country is so great that we can eat bratwurst without having to leave, a fact McCain is clearly desperate to illustrate firsthand.

On the topic of temper... let it be known that I don't think being an edgy guy means you'll necessarily be a bad president. If John McCain calls his wife a cunt and that's fine by her, well, I guess it's fine by me then. But the problem is that when McCain has let flash any anger, irritation or bite during his campaign, it seems to be when he's at his most shaky with facts. My friend Seth Millstein's blog (McCain Screws The Pooch, check the links section) documents an impressive selection of the man's missteps, but the alarming thing is the confidence with which he seems to spit fire at people who raise very pertinent policy questions to him. His recent appearance on ABC's This Week, while notable for his blatant unwillingness to state his views on gay adoption, is in my view most damning in what McCain says when the question is first posed to him: "That's not why I'm running for president."

That is not an answer. It is, in fact, a travesty. I understand that McCain likely views himself as the last man standing in support of a war he deems important. While I personally think his Iraq policy is wrong-headed, dangerous, deliberately vague, disingenuous, and likely the result of reactionary emotion, I can't in good conscience think that he doesn't believe his plan is the best strategy for the country. But the fact that the war is his first priority as a politician does not absolve him from having a duty to tend to domestic issues as well. The notion that he feels a president can pick and choose what issues he should have to answer on and that a simple "I certainly don't want to talk about that" is satisfactory explanation otherwise is worse than a difference of opinion; it's a fundamental misunderstanding of what a president ought to be.

Anyways, the point I was making before those last few paragraphs was that this political stuff is stressing me out, and I need to think about it less. Good first step, huh?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Live from the crime scene.

I had the good fortune to attend the Lisa Klein wedding earlier today. It was an extremely heartening occasion, especially because it was a genuinely beautiful ceremony. I used to film and edit weddings for the Thomas Hughes Video Productions company, and my experiences at such taught me some small lessons regarding the martial scene. The biggest disappointment was witnessing the glut of hugely grandiose,  masturbatory weddings. Now, some people will argue that there's no such thing as a masturbatory wedding; that the years of anticipation in waiting for one's true love merit whatever pomp and circumstance that the two lovers or their planners can dream up. I respectfully disagree. I believe that there's a line between beauty and tackiness in every situation, even if people are really excited an are dropping 100K to rent out an entire Sheraton.

Thankfully, yesterday's affair was wonderful. The ceremony and vows were laced with poems and songs, and the whole thing was orchestrated in a beautiful backyard grove. I later somehow got roped into hoisting the groom up in the air in a chair, as these Jewish folks are known to do. 

I got a new MacBook yesterday as well, which is pretty slick; I was dying to have a place to keep all my files consolidated, and now I have just that. I can also sart working on ome recording I've been meaning t do.

Also, I'm a vegan now. So I'm gonna whip up a salad and some asian seasoned seitan and rice later. Delicious...? Depends on how I do.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I fell asleep on the couch in my living room last night. I was so tired at the time as to be useless to everyone. I was incoherently, incomprehensibly tired, and yet a mere five hours later I found myself wide awake.

It's partially a sleep scheduling issue. The past two weeks I've basically been up all night and asleep for most of the day. It was sparked in large part by my recent vigor in working on a screenplay, for which I was willing to throw caution to the wind to get a head start on. It would now seem in my botched effort to switch my sleeping back to its proper state, I've managed to get in the habit of waking up at between five and six in the morning. This isn't terribly useful, because as much as I hate to admit it, I always end up wasting the nice mornings. I wish I were the kind of person who woke up early and made the most of being awake on the cusp of the new day.

The new Batman movie came out on Friday, and I saw it on the IMAX screen at the San Francisco Metreon. It struck me as easily the best Batman movie, but at the same time, I think it wasn't as affecting for me as it seems to have been for the public at large. Let the record clearly state: Bat-Sonar is dumb.

I think a big issue I have with the past two Batman films has been that I don't really enjoy Christian Bale's performance. Roger Ebert, when reviewing the movie Jumper, said that Hayden Christensen exuded "a physical and moral weakness." Similarly, I always get a vibe of insincerity off of Christian Bale, which works great for "American Psycho," but not so well for Batman. Consequently, I ended up enjoying everything in the movie less when Batman was around. The scenes of the Joker intimidating the mob bosses were far more enjoyable to me than the scenes of him scuffling with the titular hero. The action sequences revolving around Batman's hand-to-hand combat sort of bored me. All told, it's a very good movie, and maybe the best movie I've seen originated from a comic book, but I can't fully embrace it the way I'd like to.

I'm gonna try to work on this screenplay. Here's a sample of some dialogue:

You should get e new breakfast special down at
Dooney's! They give you two eggs, bacon, sausage,
and a cake waffle for $3.50!

Cake waffle?

Yeah! It's like the Cookie Crisp concept, but with cake,
and in waffle form.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The master of disaster.

I've begun to rekindle my aggressive and definitively unpleasant brand of physical fitness. It's been almost a year and a half since I stopped working at 24 Hour Fitness, at that point being at my most svelte, but since then I was sort of coasting, and it's caught up to me. I've gotten a little soft around the edges, so I'm getting back into that boot camp mentality. Not the mentality of working like I'm in a boot camp (cause I hardly think going to the gym constitutes that), just the mentality of knowing when I wake up that I have to do something that day that will feel unpleasant.

I've never understood, you see, the people who insist that they love the feeling of working out. I cannot conceive it. While I have begun taking regular yoga classes in recent weeks, and have absolutely fallen for it, I find the sensation and relationship between the psychological and physical realms of myself the most alluring thing about it, not the fact that I'm sweating in a dim room with a bunch of menopausal women (at least two of whom have been very nice to me and chatted with me about how they wish more men like me would take up yoga - thanks!).

The down and dirty exercise, though, which for me consists of lifting, pulling, or pushing weight, followed by no less than a half hour of cardiovascular frolicking, is maybe the worst thing on earth. I have trouble precisely remembering how I managed to do it six days a week those couple of years ago. I think I was less confident then, and wanted to have an easier time charming women, so the desire to shed the seventy or so extra pounds was a little more primal. I'm going back to it now for health, which is important, as well as because I want to be looking lean when I head to LA for acting next year, but in all honesty, there are times when life and career don't seem quite as motivating as sexual desire does.

I think my weight loss and subsequent increase in confidence put me in an odd place, though, because my newfound confidence that I could entice a woman by appearance hadn't synced up with my intellectual side. I used to lean very heavily on the brain in such matters in lieu of the body, and not unlike a muscle, the mental impulses weren't really ready to let go. Consequently, I found myself very relaxed and able to charm women I would meet in that sort of casual, flighty way, but they'd seem to invariably retreat when exposed to the truer parts of my personality. I think the contrast between my laid-back approach and the passion of my personality was too great.

That idea was actually sugested to me, albeit phrased slightly differently, by my friend/at that time director Carla in the midst of our first check-in before rehearsals started. She speculated that I was likely the kind of person who would think my way out of kissing a woman regardless of how well the moment suited it, and she told me that my homework for the show was to go for it the next time I was in a romantic spot. There was also a basketball analogy in there about me being too much like Jason Kapono and not enough like Baron Davis, although I'd probably rather be a Canadian than a Clipper.

Unfortunately, that homework assignment never got finished. Despite the fact that between that suggestion and now I've seemed to have had good things going on with three- count 'em, three!- lovely ladies, one died the death of non-communication, one never got off the ground, and one jumped the shark when my lady friend expertly dodged my kiss attempt and turned it into a goodbye hug.

Following that last one, I was concerned to find that I wasn't that upset. I had devoted a couple months at that point to this particular girl, and while I don't really have that head-over-heels for almost anybody, I thought I'd at least be upset by loss of time. It was at that point that I realized that I think I've been undergoing a shift in my personality recently. My general goodnaturedness has turned to general disinterest. The people I know who I love I still love, but the people who I'm ambivalent towards I've found myself becoming shorter with, and the people I used to secretly disdain I now openly do. I've begun to have trouble sleeping, and some nights I wake up with the sort of upright jolt that you'd see in a cliche 80s horror flick, only having a foggy image of the last instant of my dream that caused me to shoot up in my bed. I feel absurdly aged, sometimes prone to muscular weakness and physical exhaustion when I've done nothing exaustive. My attitudes towards women have become increasingly and flatly sexual, and in particular when I'm wearing my reflective sunglasses that render my eyes invisible, I catch myself staring at women's breasts and hips with a frequency and carelessness that I would've been preturbed to observe in somebody else this time last year.

I had a self-reflective revelation a couple days ago, while I was waiting with friends at the Sol Food restaurant on 4th Street. I was wearing the aforementioned sunglasses, as well as faded green cargo pants and a heavy, black leather motorcycle jacket. I had a toothpick hanging from my lips, and I was spending my time watching an unfathomably sexy waitress saunter from inside to outside, bussing people's plates. The last time she passed by me, it struck me; I was sitting there dressed like an extra from Rebel Without A Cause on a Sunday afternoon, spending my time drooling over some woman I'd never met, and my fingernails were dirty. I decide to spend a few minutes staring at a woman's ass, and I didn't even have the decency to wash my hands first.

I'm curious about all this sort of stuff (the joking nature of that last paragraph aside) because I'm worried I'm becoming the kind of person I'll wake up one day and be unable to respect. When I was a kid I wondered if there was something that happened when you became an adult that allowed you to be capable of greater greed, deception and sleaze than you could when young. I hope this isn't it.

Maybe I should just go to the gym.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The line between early and late.

I walked outside of my second story apartment tonight to find that the normally pitch black, cutout silhouette of the San Rafael hills that looms over the town was almost imperceptible. Northern California occasionally sucumbs to the wildfire season as well, and the winds have brought a thick layer of smoke across the north bay for the past couple days. It's disgusting and ugly during the day, but the smoky smell mixed with the night air really appeals to me- possibly because the burning smell at night reminds me of a fireplace.

I've recently found myself skirting the line between agnosticism and atheism. I think I'm both too smart to comitt fully to a god belief, as well as too whimsical to dismiss it, but as political climates fluctuate, the balance tilts. I'd probably be more inclined to a spiritual lifestyle in Barack Obama's america than John McCain's, even though I think it might be of more benefit in the latter case.

I recently recalled an interview that Fox News' chief antagonist Bill O'Reilly did with Richard Dawkins. To call it an interview is being a little coy, though, unless watching Bill O'Reilly talk smugly to himself and fail to register any irony or mental awareness qualifies as an interview. In any case, at one point O'Reilly tells Dawkins that he can't prove to him that god doesn't exist, and Dawkins' reply is that O'Reilly similarly couldn't prove that Zeus doesn't exist or Apollo doesn't exist, the implication being that O'Reilly had no argument in favor of Judeo-Christianity that you couldn't cut and paste in another religion for.

This got me to thinking... when someone talks about Zeus or Apollo nowadays, it is typically in conjunction with the label "greek mythology." I was taught about such mythology as young as twelve in my middle school literature class. But the leaps of faith that those tales ask me to make from a religious standpoint are no greater than Christianity; essentially acts of magic and nature that are explained by the presence of divinity. So why is it that I'm taught about a previous civilization's religious structure with the fact that it's mere myth and legend stated up front? Is it simply because those religious beliefs aren't reflected in today's society? If not, why would I not then be free to lecture a class about the bible as a work of historical fiction? The answer is pretty obvious; people would be outraged (although I'd probably started scoring some counter-culture women that way, and they know how to have fun). Organized religions tend to have spiritual blind spots that rub uncomfortably against societal blind spots, until you have oozing, raw sores that start to whip up fervor. And I'm becoming more and more humorless by the moment.

Figured I'd go out with a poem... I wrote this last year.


in crooked houses by crooked creeks
where silent mothers kiss their babies cheeks
its got to be warm in there
candlelight drenching the ground outside
a comfort by silhouette
finding yourself at night
too restless to grab a bite
or fight or spit or spin and dash
no people to see
no parties to crash
a subdued singsong soul lacking in support
both moral and emotional
can be drawn to scale
taken apart up and down
and reassembled in traditional mosaic style
but be no more logical than it was before
lying on the ground staring straight
up up up
not a star in the sky
too embarrassed to knock on the door
worried that they wouldn't care
that you're stuck in the cold
and its got to be warm in there

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's the point?

That is to say, why even bother getting excited about Chris Paul, Steve Nash, or Baron Davis when I know that come Finals time all I'll be hearing is announcers gush over what a gutsy pro Derek Fisher is? I might be more sick of Derek Fisher than any basketball player still in the league, which is saying a lot while Jason Kidd is still playing. And, for the record, no matter what anyone tells you, Derek Fisher is NOT a great shooter. A cursory glance at his career averages show that he is a decent three point shooter, but an abysmal shooter by field goal percentage. He also looks like the kind of guy who's always going to clubs but is too old to do so smoothly. Just sayin', is all.

I rode my bike to and from my house a couple days ago. I must say, to whoever coined the expression about never forgetting how to ride a bike... there is a bit of a rust to shake off, you know? I have little to no idea how I'm supposed to work the gears on it, and I'm sure I looked incredibly stupid swerving unsteadily down the road at night, but it rides well. I'm pleased with it.

I applied for a part time job at a movie theater a couple weeks ago. I wanted to work twenty hours a week or so, just make some money to cover bills and maybe save a few hundred after a little while. The theater was visibly desperate and understaffed, and I had three years of consistant experience working cash registers, including an assistant manager credit from 24 Hour Fitness that was awarded to me based on my "excellent customer service abilities." Those abilities speak to my skill as a showman, I guess, because I absolutely hated it whenever any of those punks would waste my time complaining about the bathrooms or locker rooms being dirty. I ain't the fuckin' janitor; not for eight bucks an hour. If it's not over ten I reserve the right to think ill of the people I interact with.

Anyways, the theater turned me down, which was surprising enough that it got me thinking about past jobs that had been refused to me, and I began to ponder whether I had any desire to function in the sort of system in which I'm deemed unsuitable to tear tickets at a theater three days a week.

I went to Guerneville a couple days ago to hobknob with a friend of mine who was staying out there with her sister. I woke up feeling pretty sick, but by virtue of my general overconfidence about my health, I decided to go anyways. By the time I was ten minutes from Guerneville I began to reflect on what a bad choice it had been, as the muggy humidity mixed with the vegetation around the Russian River was wreaking havoc on my sinuses. I took a decongestant when I arrived, but quickly developed a headache thanks in large part to the pastime of choice for my friend that day; watching trees get chainsawed and toppled. While it was pretty impressive to watch (as I'd never seen a tree fall over before), the impact of the largest tree triggered an occasionally pulsing pain in my forehead.

We went to the beach where I ended up lying under some brush cover sweating and trying to sleep while the others went swimming in the river. I managed to doze for five minutes or so before realizing there were ants crawling all around me, and thus likely on me. I felt like I was going to vomit and pass out all at once, a feeling I'm familiar with from my iron-deficiency days. I struggled to stay coherent and conscious while listening to a David Sedaris story being read aloud. It was about his relationship with a linguistics teacher he'd had in school to help with his lisp. I'm sure it was a good story, and I could tell it was well written, but all I thought at the time was "man, fuck David Sedaris. I'd rather sit around in some speech class than be dying on this godforsaken patch of bug infested sand, that fucking prick."

We made our way back to the house soon after that, at which point I staggered into the bathroom, splashed and rubbed water all over my face for about five minutes, then sprawled out on a guest couch/bed and fell asleep. When I woke up I felt more or less fine, which shocked me, although I did managed to sprain my ankle on the way down the stairs as I left, just to round out the trip. Let it be known that I realize this story sounds whiny to the extreme, and it's certainly true that it wasn't that bad in the cosmic scheme of things. But in the moment, I was pretty miserable and my brain felt like a hairtrigger pistol that was going to blast somebody. I don't doubt that having a more experienced or broader perspective on things would've helped, and I normally do have a pretty mature, accepting perspective. The only thing that can really malfunction it is when I'm sick with something fleeting, minor, or casually annoying. The few times I've been really ragged I've always been very quiet and calm. It's somehow the little things that wear my patience out the quickest.

I plan to attend a concert being put on by my dear friend Carla Zilbersmith tomorrow night- or, rather, tonight, I guess. June 14th at 8 PM in Berkeley, there's a post on her blog with the info that presently eludes me- just click the "carlamuses" link on the sidebar, under "those who demand your attention." Also, remember, it's really more me demanding you pay those links attention than it is them demanding it, so don't hold it against them, ne? I'm the asshole here.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Filthy human garbage.

I haven't showered in almost four days. As somebody who normally showers every day, this is taking its toll on my state of mind. I could also stand to get a haircut. There's plenty of things I need to do to re-groom myself in the coming days.

I finally got my bicycle fixed. It's a pretty durable mountain bike I got in middle school, but I lived in East Corte Madera in those days, which is sadly disconnected from much of Larkspur, San Rafael, and Mill Valley (unless you take the long route through Corte Madera proper, then either down Magnolia into Larkspur/San Anselmo/San Rafael or over the hills into Mill Valley) so I never rode it much. Now that I've recently come into a car, but am still a bit strapped for cash, I figure to bike anywhere if it's a reasonable trip. The driving is a little steep.

I'm wearing a pair of kelly green Converse sneakers right now; I wore them during the first game of the NBA Finals without realizing it, but now I figure I may as well keep it up, provided the Celtics keep winning. I view this as nothing less than a battle of Star Wars style unsubtlety, pretty much good versus evil.

A few repetitive bars of trance-y techno have begun to undulate their way through my living room window. It sounds like my downstair neighbor is listening to it. He's an odd fellow, a man in his mid-thirties who lives with a woman much older. He's got a shaved bald head and wears a cowboy hat when he smokes outside. My former roommate once came home once to find this fellow washing his (my roommate's) windshield. "It looked a little dirty! I worry about you sometimes," was the reply to the obvious question.

I recently found my old collection of Tintin comics from when I was a kid. I decided to read one, The Blue Lotus, and I was shocked at how riddled with racial stereotypes/commentaries some of those books are. I feel a little cheated that nobody explained that stuff to me. It's a similar feeling to the one I get when I think about my elementary school. The entire fourth-grade year we did nothing but talk about the gold rush, the wild west, and rugged frontiersman. Obviously, everything we were told was riddled with holes to cover up all the racism, corpses, and general bloodiness. So I just have to relearn everything later? Fuck that. If you feel your only option is to lie to a kid, I think you should just remain silent til you're able to be truthful. Children have a tremendous ability to comprehend and cope with things, but it seems risky to raise them as if everything's jolly and then spring the darkness on them at sixteen, when things start to seem dark anyways.

I'm pretty fuckin' hungry, I got to say. Whatever shall I do?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The sarlaac pit.

My concerns have begun to peak the last two days. First, I learned that my premonitions voiced in a recent blog about my father were and continue to be correct, albeit not in the manner I had supposed- he's been in the hospital for a few days due to apparently massive arterial blockage, and for all I know is getting his heart sliced up as I type (he's scheduled for bypass surgery today, but I don't know when, so I'm pretty much useless as far as productivity goes). Even given the occasional fears you have about somebody you suspect might not be well, this has the potential to render me useless for some time if something bad happens. I sort of wish that I had still maintained some vestiges of the Catholic upbringing I'd been forced into as a child and could've prayed for his wellbeing with the idea that there's a specific god listening, but while I still thought those thoughts, I had no particular faith in where they were going, nor any hope that they were being heard. I think it's still valuable from a self-reconciliation standpoint, though.

So, unless I'm pretty chummy in general with anybody reading this, I should warn you it might not be too chummy a day for me. I'm presently wondering lamely how I'm gonna get it together to deal with all this other shit that's swirling around, most of it financial. It's a bad position, because the financial stuff is very important objectively, but until I know how my dad is I can't physically muster the verve to work on it. I don't think I'd be much good in a job interview anyways, though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This is just to say.

I just finished listening to a particularly entertaining/disturbing episode of This American Life which had been recommended by a friend of mine (and thus friend of this blog), Jason. It's called "Mistakes Were Made," and tells the story of a cryonics salesman who got in over his head and began stuffing three to four bodies into a single chamber while bouncing checks to keep the liquid nitrogen flowing. The second part, though, regards the poem by William Carlos Williams that is alluded to in this post's title.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

It was mentioned that apparently poets will have some fun by trying to make the most humorous or interesting satirical offshoots of that poem. I had recognized the poem from high school, but hadn't thought about it in a while, so I think I'm gonna ruminate on it for a day and then offer up my best shot at it.

Saw a video online yesterday of some lady on Fox News- named something like Trotta?- who first mistakenly called Barack Obama "Osama" (hardly new territory), and then states "well, both, if we could," to the notion of the two being assassinated. She offered up this apology:

"Oh yes, I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor. I fell all over myself, making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm or any other candidate, for that matter, and I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It is a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said."
I can sympathize. I always end up cracking especially bloodthirsty jokes when my field of expertise is at a level of unprecedented interest and intrigue. It sucks, too, cause everybody's all watchin' and shit.

While it kind of goes without saying at this point, this blog officially endorses Barack Obama (earning him at least one general election vote!), although I like to think I'd want people to not joke about killing him even if it didn't.

I applied for a job at a theater in Sausalito a few days ago. It's the first job I've ventured to take in over a year, since my notorious fall from grace as a wedding video editor. Incidentally, my two roommates who worked the same job months after I quit (or rather, stopped showing up) had the same sort of burn outs I did at approximately the same pace, so I think that exonerates my behavior (although my climatic bridge burning with the 24 Hour Fitness people doesn't help my reputation).

Plans for today? Gotta make a call to a northernly neighbor, hit up the DMV, then birthday dinner for my mom. If you've never eaten at the Robata Sushi Grill, it's quite a treat.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's my reading rainbow.

I always used to watch that show on the KQED station when I was a real little kid. Same channel that aired Sesame Street and Donohue. I remember loving the former and being not so crazy about the latter, although I did think he had a funny name (the Phil part, I had no gripe with the Donohue surname). They also held lengthy pledge drives from time to time, so their normal broadcasting would get booted in favor of the cash gathering telethons. Not understanding this as a four-year-old, I once dumbly waited and watched almost an hour of people answering phones until I realized there wasn't going to be any Sesame Street that day.

Anyways, my laptop burnt out a couple months ago. It doesn't boot up at all anymore, and seems to have some sort of massive hardware problem. I have all but conceded my laptop, a loyal companion for the past two years, is deader than Strom Thurmond (voted America's deadest man in 2007!). I lament the lack of on-the-go tech (I'm writing this on a laptop borrowed from my little bro), but until I can save up for one of them MacBooks, fuck it. No more of this PC shit.

Point is, all my documents are gone-ish. There's a possibility they may have been saved on my roommate's external hard drive, but I don't have a computer to transfer them to. I had written a tremendous amount, and had kept the files safe for a long time. Somewhere lurking in that burnt out husk of a computer is a fantasy-fictiion story I had to write for a middle school assignment but ended up extending to five chapters of my own volition (as I recall it involved a hypercompetitive hockey-esque sport with three player teams and sharp, treacherous spears). All my creative writings and essays I wrote in high school and my one year of semi-academic college. An I-Search report from sixth grade for which I read all three of the Oedipus plays (heavy stuff at age twelve) and put in nedless hours of research, only to get a ninety-five percent because I didn't indent the second lines on my bibliography. I resented Ms. Mesplou deeply for that, but she was also the hottest teacher at my middle school, so being twelve, I couldn't stay angry for that long.

This momentary loss of documents has rattled me, because I'm a very nostalgic person in certain ways. I recently discovered a bag full of my old schoolwork from first grade, and I spent a whole night sifting through it, reading over it as best I could. Terrible handwriting. But when i could make something out, it felt sort of chilling, like reconnecting with something I'd lost a long time ago. It's a disturbing but also seductive feeling, having those gateways into your past. It's one of the reasons I wan to write as much as I can. I want the fifty year old me to know what the twenty year old me was all about, in the event that I can't piece it together for myself.

Here's a poem I wrote about a year and a half ago. It's a romantic sonnet I wrote for somebody. I didn't come clean to her at the time that it was about her, but that's since been rectified. I think it's probably the piece of poetry I'm proudest to have written, maybe because the breadth of emotion that enters a romantic poem makes it seem somehow greater than it is. Worth noting, it does break form, since there's only eight beats per line in the closing couplet. But the words were exactly as I wanted them, so I left it.

It’s sweet and fine to sit beneath a tree
Tangling eyes and hearts beneath the flesh
Where romance is but doesn’t try to be
When every deep breath feels so pure and fresh

Such love could only strike a man by luck
To dive headfirst into a soul so deep
To fight to keep his eyes from getting stuck
As soft lips and hips through his mind do creep

It’s the light of the world you give to me
With windswept features that burn my memory
And selfless courage that sets my worries free
If only you could be my one, my every

Your eyes, your nose, your ears, your hair
Have left my heart beyond repair

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The big sleep.

I was often told when I was in high school that I seemed to have an overly morbid worldview, or at the very least that I pondered my own mortality more than seemed normal for a kid in his late teens. Let it be known that I was at my angstiest not the sort of guy who'd romanticize suicide, not least of all because all of my angsts were about things I wanted to do that would be decidedly difficult were I dead. Whenever I'm at a party that goes into the early morning, and people start playing ten fingers or truth or dare or any of those personal revelation games, I'm always surprised at how many people admit the thought of suicide brushed their minds in their teen years; not a judgemental surprise, just surprised because it's such a foreign idea to me.

In actuality, my morbid reputation was the result of me trying to protect what I perceived as a fragile body and a fickle life. I admit some of my instincts seemed strange. For instance, I'd often curl my hands into fists when riding in a car, the idea being that if we got in an accident, I didn't want an errant bit of glass of metal to shear off a finger (one of my greatest phobias of that time, and still a decent one today). Never mind that if the car accident was sending blades of metal slicing around I likely had bigger problems than losing my pinky, but the worry always stuck.

My mother's side of the family also has a bad history of heart disease for males. Having been pretty overweight in high school, as well as pretty sedentary (I had, unbeknownst to me, an iron deficiency which made physical fitness feel like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer), this also worried me, knowing full well that my grandfather (again, mother's side), who died before I was born, was only in his early fifties when his heart exploded as he was driving to work. Certainly those worries ignored my father's genetics, as well as the fact that my grandfather was living a hyperstressful lifestyle managing a business while supplementing enormous amounts of cigarettes and coffee for food, but I was still a bit spooked. I remember vividly being unable to sleep one night because I'd become gripped with fear over the idea that someday I'd know how it felt to die. I stayed up a whole night trying to fathom what that would feel like, and when I felt like I had best approximated the feeling, slumber overtook me.

I've since lightened up a little (a lot, really), mainly because nothing ever seems as important in the adult world as it does in high school (although I still really wanna keep my digits from getting sliced off) , and because I think I've managed to replace a mild propensity for gloom and doom with a mild propensity for aw shucks optimism. It's a more calming lifestyle, and with rare exception it keeps me from getting too up or too down.

I think the reason this has been on my mind is my father. I have, for those who don't know (and why would you?), a pretty old father, for my age. I believe he's sixty-five now, or getting close. He grew up in Brooklyn through the fifties, and eventually moved out to San Francisco where he became a successful (critically, not at all financially) poet. I've never read as much of his poetry as I should. He recently sent me a small volume for my birthday, and while I can read it and tell how good it is, it's not something I feel I can relate to. I've written a bit of poetry over the years, and in some respects reading his poetry feels like seeing a writing style that fights or clashes against my own. It at times seems to make no sense, and doesn't seem to care if it does, which is a very alluring quality to me, but one that I can never achieve. While I recognize it as being great poetry, I don't feel like I can use it as a touchstone the way the son of a blacksmith might use his dad's technique with metal. It embarasses me in a strange, personal way, so I shy away from reading his stuff.

In any case, he moved to Philadelphia some time ago (my inability to recall exactly when betrays a certain detachment from it all), as he and my mom had a falling out when I was in high school and he had little enough money that housing in Marin was a complete uncertainty. We probably talk about once a week, mostly about my acting, both of our writings, and whatever's happening in basketball at the time. The last couple times we talked, though, he mentioned in a very casual way that he was trying to get a doctor's appointment because he was having a great deal of pain in his esophagus. While I think my concern barely registered over the phone, I remember very clearly thinking, "holy shit, is my dad dying?"

When he'd been living out here but not in my mother's and my home, he had lapsed back into a smoking habit. I had once asked him to stop, a conversation in which I fell apart crying halfway through because it felt so damn awkward. He was a heavy, debilitating alcoholic before I was born (although I guess the way alcoholism is defined, he still is), and met my mom at the treatment center where he finally sobered up. Knowing this, I couldn't understand how he couldn't recognize the nature of addiction, or even short of that, addictive habits. He told me he'd cut out the smoking, but he didn't. He'd have to be pretty damn foolish to think I couldn't tell. I don't hold it against him for not keeping the promise, because I know that most addiciton mantra states that you have to want to quit something for yourself, and that saying you're doing it for your family can be a foil that won't work. But I also know that I opened up a pretty big wound in talking to him about it, and I can't not feel bad that it continued to go on.

Anyways, my dad never takes proper care of himself, something my older brother (half brother, actually) has seen more of firsthand than I have. He takes a dim view of doctors. He wrote off his high blood pressure to momentary stress, which might be reasonable if not for the fact that he has naturally low blood pressure in his youth (I seem to have inherited this... better than high, I reckon). So the fact that he called me, mentioned this mysterious throat ailment, and admitted he was actively trying to see a doctor because it hurt so bad he was having trouble eating... I have an instinct that it's something very bad, maybe lethally bad. And I feel somehow corrupt to have that instinct.

I think what worries me most about the possibility is that I have trouble communicating myself emotionally to my father. I feel like when I'm in the position to, I'm already starting on the verge of tears. And in addition to being unable to articulate the kinds of things I'd want to, I'm not even sure what I'd want to say. There's some frayed wire somewhere that makes something not feel right, and I don't know anybody in the electrician's union.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just a pinch.

I've come to a horrifying and soul-crushing revelation this evening, been dealt a scar that may hear physically, but never emotionally. I believe I may be allergic to onions.

There's a bit of a history to this. The first time I realized something was wrong was at a birthday being held for the father of my dear friend Jason. They were serving hamburgers off the grill, so I nabbed one and proceeded to apply the three same things to it that I always do; lettuce (only the green leafy part, fuck that crunchy white shit), a bit of ketchup, and of course, a copious amount of sweet yellow onion. Onion, you see, is the ultimate thing to put on a hamburger (not to mention almost any other savory meat dish). If you feel I need to provide more reasons as to why the onion is king, you probably won't end up sharing my passion, anyways.

I got the slight inkling something was off with the first bite I took. The delicious onion taste seemed to linger in my mouth longer than usual, and I felt an odd itching on the roof of my mouth. The itching masked a soreness that felt to me to be otherwordly. I have never had any sort of allergic reaction to any food of any kind. When I abandoned vegetarianism in high school (made it two years), the return of meat to my system barely registered, and was in no way uncomfortable. This considered, I wrote the odd pain off as an anomaly.

Tonight, however, was a bit different. Jason and I were fulfilling a tradition of ours. We enjoy trout. When he's in town, we'll end up snagging a few trout from the seafood counter and frying them at my apartment. We've had varying and interesting degrees of success, perhaps the least fortunate outcome being when, for lack of oil, we attempted to fry the fish in salsa. It did work, mind you, but it wasn't terribly smooth. Regardless, Jason shares a few of my culinary tastes, so we decided tonight to stuff the fish with sliced onions while they fried. It's a genius tactic, mind you, because the onion taste cooks into the fish, while the onions themselves are sauteed in the oil (in this case in butter).

The trout ended up being as delicious as expected. I ate the whole thing over the course of fifteen minutes while watching the end of the Hornets/Spurs game on TNT (by the way, am I the only person who thinks Gregg Popovich doesn't get called out enough for being a sore loser? Listen to him get snippy in his postgame interviews. What a fuckin' baby...), as well as every bit of onion that was packed inside. I had noticed the familiar soreness on the roof of my mouth, but thought little of it, perhaps because I'm a moron. Within five minutes of finishing the meal, though, I was burning up.

My head felt tingly and I had an uneasy warmth in my stomach. My legs and arms felt weakened somehow, and an immense, exhausted gloom fell over me. When I explained the series of feelings to Jason, he immediately guessed food allergy, which wasn't good since he's a man very familiar with them. I ended up lying on the couch sweating quietly for a couple hours before starting to feel better. Even now, four hours later, I feel peculiar and uncomfortable.

Tomorrow I'll have to eat a little red onion and see how I do. This is deeply worrisome to me, especially since I'd always prided myself on my ability to take a bite of an onion as if it were an apple, without batting an eye. Odd thing to be proud of? Certainly! But when you're not a great dancer, you take what you can get.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And away we go.

I've decided to start using this damn blog, for a few reasons. First, it's five thirty in the morning, and I haven't slept. That isn't exactly a unique happening, especially since I just wrapped up doing a play that ran me through the wringer as far as my sleep schedule was concerned (my fault ultimately, though) and it's still lingering in my system. Nonetheless, the thing I hate most about sleeplessness is the boredom. I don't have any good books I haven't read (I owe the library money), masturbation is only so charming every so often, and my XBox is always more interesting in theory than in practice. So hopefully this blog will help everything slip into a proper priority slot.

The second reason is that I really snagged a slick title for this thing. The Great Cave Offensive, for anybody who doesn't know (and how could you not), was a chapter of an old Nintendo game called Kirby Super Star. In it, you played as the lovable pink marshmellow Kirby, and you had to spelunk through a treacherous cave and underground castles to find fifty treasures chests. It was all on you whether you got all the treasures, some were easy, but some you'd only get one shot at. It was simple to beat, but very difficult and unforgiving if you wanted all those cool treasures. I loved those treasures.

The third reason relates again to that show I mentioned before, namely that uber-director Carla Zilbersmith, to my surprise as I idly surfed the web at this abysmally early hour, updated her blog at four in the morning. Now, I suspect her four a.m. wake up call was a result of an early bedtime, but still, I can't sit around comfortably doing nothing when I'm up at four knowing that other interesting people are blogging that early. Not gonna happen.

I also want to write more, just anything at all more. I don't think I've ever written anything that somebody didn't like, so even if all I talk about is self-indugent crap, my average life experience suggests that there's somebody who'll be following along (I actually used to think about that when I was a kid, like what if there was a person in Brazil who somehow knew about me and was a huge fan of mine? Seems more likely now that we have internet, and that I'm 22 instead of 8, but also because of that, it seems like less magical of an idea).

So, anticipate a few thoughts each day. I know that's an ambitious goal, but I'm running on fumes right now, and I have nothing if not my confidence.