Tuesday, June 29

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

I put one of her bras on my head and took a bunch of pictures of it.

              
              this is comfortable.. I could probably jog in this Posted by Hello

                     I don't know that it solved anything, but it made her laugh.

Fighting five with five
fighting five with five.


[Listening to: Nothingface, "I Wish I Was a Communist"]


Monday, June 28

Norman Osborne

Great.
Just great.

I spent a good half of my day describing in various ways and places how things are getting better, and how I'm feeling cautiously hopeful about the way things are going to turn out.

      and then, in 5 simple minutes that I wish I could get back,
      I've fallen right back into being a total fucking mess.

[Listening to: Drain STH, "Unreal"


Friday, June 25

Treadwell

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it's easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.

my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it's being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

When you said you loved me
when you told me you cared
that you would be a part of me,
that you would always be there

...did you really mean to hurt me?
no, I think you only meant to tease.
But it's hard to remember,
I've lost my memory.

my brain is like a sieve
sometimes it's easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.

my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it's being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

You ought to be ashamed of your behaviour
when you're treating me this way
as if I had deserved to be
a place to vent your ire
some day I'm gonna douse that bonfire

we make a crucial team for a dying world
and style is a word I never even heard
in your vocabulary -- victim of a murder mystery
...murder!

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it's easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.

my brain is like sieve
but it's a place where we both can live
if you wanted you could come in,

     ...so come in.

            - Thomas Dolby, "My Brain is Like a Sieve"

[Listening to: Aliens Ate My Buick


Thursday, June 24

Poor, Silly, Misguided A.J.

      I tried to warn you. I tried to give you advice.
      But did you listen to me?

              ...No, you did not.

[Listening to: Goldfrapp, "Black Cherry"


Wednesday, June 23

Detoura

Have you ever sat all by yourself in front of a 24-track digital recording console, looking out the window at the pouring rain while you listen to your own mixdown of "Stormy Monday" playing in the background?

        ...neither had I, until today.

There's something about this feeling, like you're caught between two poles, or being pulled by wires on both sides. The way one thing feels right even though you've found yourself somewhere else.

I suppose sometimes you can have both.
But sometimes that's not really what you want... you know?

          I wish you could see this rain,
          because it's really coming down.


[Listening to: David Torn, "Tripping Over God"


Monday, June 21

Mister Pink

I still don't know about you.

Where's the balance? Where's the edge? Where's my alpha, your omega? It's clear that we work together, it's clear we make each other better, but am I wrong for sometimes wishing that it were more me than you? For sometimes wanting you to show up a little later, if you even have to appear at all?

       I don't know, Mr. Pink.

Don't get me wrong -- I like that you're here. I like what it means. I like what it does for me, for her, for us ...but I still don't know, Mr. Pink. So much starting and stopping, so much stepping backwards. Like dancing without leading, or driving without any hands on the wheel. Maybe it's just what I need. Maybe it's doing me a lot more good than I'll ever know, but sometimes it messes with my head. Because you're always there, and it's like you're always right. No one ever tells you to wait, or stop, or slow down. You just keep going, and going, and going...

But who am I to complain anyway? I mean, look at all you do. It's not like I could do that. I wish I could, but I'm just not wired that way.

       Not like you, Mr. Pink.

Still, I know something that you don't. I know places that you've never been. I know that you need me too, don't you, Mr. Pink? No matter how you work, or what you do -- you still can't get there without me... can you? It's just not the same, is it?

We work together. We collaborate and we compromise. We perform as one.

...but I don't know, Mr. Pink.

          I still don't know about you.

[Listening to: Deftones, "Engine No. 9"]


Saturday, June 19

Travolta

I need to let you in on a little secret:

Most people think that clubs don't let people under 21 years of age in because it's illegal for them to drink. But the honest truth of the matter is that minors aren't allowed in bars for their own protection. Because there are some things in this world that children simply should never have to see.

       I danced Friday night.

Me dancing is a thing of horror and embarassment. It's angular, disjointed, and utterly caucasian -- and for those without the benefit of the proper level of life experience and maturity, it tends to become the sort of life-altering trauma that leads to a loss of all possible hope for all that is good and pure in the world.

Imagine the face melting scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford is begging Marion not to look at it, add some flashing lights and some nondescript techno beat and you'll kinda get the idea.

..But I was having such a good time, and for once the beat made a little sense to me, and K looked so incredible that I just wanted to be wherever she was at. So I danced. Or I did something that I thought would look like dancing to anyone not brave enough to sheild their eyes.

Maybe it was just the atmosphere of the place, or the desperate desire I had to find some way to shake off all of the tension that had unexpectedly risen between us that afternoon, (all that jagermeister I was pounding probably didn't hurt matters that much - oh and btw, is there anything people won't mix with Red Bull anymore?), but whatever it was - it got inside of me and let a lot of things loose for once. Probably a good thing, even if I did look like a marionette puppet on acid.

       Man, I wish I could dance.

She loves to dance -- she moves so effortlessly. Half the reason I think I don't go out there with her most of the time is because I know it will take away from what she's doing. But I never really learned how. And like a lot of guys, I always feel like an utter tool whenever I try.

The strange thing about it is, put a guitar on me and I'm Fred Astaire. Free from worry or hesitation, in tune with rhythms and details, I love moving around when I'm creating music... like somehow the security of the instrument allows me not to think or be freaked out about what it might look like from the outside.

Because that's what it's really about. Men don't want to look bad dancing. Because like someone once said, dancing is a vertical representation of a horizontal desire, and the very last thing a man wants is for someone to start connecting the dots between an utter lack of coordination on the floor and any sort of clumsiness anywhere else. And maybe that's stupid or whatever, but it gets inside your head and it doesn't let go.

I remember once she said to me,

       "I know you can dance,
       because I've seen it when we're alone."


The kind of thing you live to hear,
the kind of thing you never forget.


Friday night I danced.

...And then we all proceeded to get so blitzed that we had to leave the car in the parking lot and take a cab home (but not before we pulled over so you could lean out the door and puke).

       ...but that's another story for another time now, isn't it?

[Listening to: KMFDM


Trickledown

Hidden in the woods near a national park in central Florida was a little place called Camp Wekiva. My parents used to ship me off there during summers when I was a kid. It was corny, and like any summer camp it was more an excuse for then to get some time to themselves for a week or two than anything else, but there are some things about it that I still remember vividly.

Like we used to have a "movie night" where we'd all gather in the cafeteria and watch a series of films on a fold up screen. The thing about this place was that no matter how many years you went (and I put in quite a few) everything was the same. Same skits, same food, same nature walks, same arts and crafts. So every year it was the same movies, in the same order, with the same bad jokes and hokey visuals. The films were about recycling, safe camping, conservation, the environment.. stuff like that. What's worse, these films were all like 20 years old, so they were totally scratched up, impossible to hear, and utterly out of date -- even for little kids in a summer camp.

The last film they'd show every night was this cartoon about the way the water cycle worked. There was this scene where water that evaporated from the ocean formed into a cloud. And then inside the cloud there was this little waterdrop with a little kid's face painted on it talking to another waterdrop with an old man's face on it. And from there the old man explained to how rain could form rivers, or sink into the water table, and then eventually find it's way into the ocean or back in the air, blah blah blah -- Truly mind numbing educational pap. But the reason I remember this movie is that there was once scene where the old waterdrop was explaining how sometimes water "gangs up" and causes trouble like floods -- accompanied by this scene with hundreds of little water droplets painted up like criminals with scruffy beards, toothpicks between their teeth, striped shirts, and that droopy "criminal hat" that you always see on old school drawings of robbers.

No matter how many times they played that film, that one scene always got a laugh from the crowd. After a few years, it felt like movie night couldn't be complete without it.

I suppose that's just how some things work. Somehow even the lamest of traditions can find a way to developing some sort of necessity about them if you do them them enough. Somehow it's those over and over stupid things that you tend to miss the most when they're gone...

I don't know -- when I started this thing I really was gonna write about something else. Something about those moments that you remember, the inside jokes we share. Something about cookie aisles, dove bars, supermarket price checks for condoms, and that thing you used to do whenever a hockey game came on television.

         Things that fade away, but still have a place, you know?

I don't always know what you think of me, and sometimes I worry. But this thing is worth fighting for, I truly believe that. It's not always new, and it's not always about discovering or pushing the envelope -- It's been too many years for that to be the case with everything anymore. I know that can be tough. I know what that feels like.

         Sometimes I say corny things.
         Sometimes I think too much.
         Sometimes I try too hard.

What I'm trying to say is, every movie night there's a scene that always makes us smile. And even if it is the same thing every time, and even if it's not really funny at all -- my life just wouldn't be right without it.

...It just wouldn't.

[Listening to: Bootsy Collins


Friday, June 18

Trick Mirrors

I can't shake this feeling, and yet at the same time I can't figure out where it comes from. This sense that even in the midst of all this sunlight you can find a cloud. I have no reasons, I have no proof. To be totally honest, I've probably got everything I need to believe that I'm completely off base.

But it's there. This feeling is always there.

       something's wrong

It's like an eddy of cold water running under your feet in summer-warmed waters, or a chill wind on a still day. It's this look that seems to go out of the window forever. Like something's brewing inside, like something or someone is on your mind. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe I'm still too far gone to be able to tell the colors apart anymore. But it's there.

     Is this the way things are going to be now?

Strange fast food catastrophe dreams, offhand remarks, things that I wish didn't drive me up the wall the way that they always seem to. So much that I don't understand, so much that I need to let go of, but can't.

Lunch today was nice. Any time together is nice, welcomed, and adored. It's just that there's something that's been broken in a way that I never expected, and I'm not sure how to handle it. Something strange. Something I need to fix.

         ...It's there.
         It's always there.


[Listening to: Van Hunt


Monday, June 14

Bracer



How to make a HexaCorde
Ingredients:
3 parts intelligence
5 parts courage
1 part joy
Method:
Blend at a low speed for 30 seconds. Add lustfulness to taste! Do not overindulge!


[Listening to: Air, "Cherry Blossom Girl"


Saturday, June 12

Backs to Each Other, We Click Away

So many things I want to say, so many things I need to learn to hear better. I don't know how we got here, but these sleepless nights where you can feel us both lying there with eyes open are harder than I could have ever imagined them to be.

And yet, it's like I still can't figure out where I stand. I still can't feel secure in the things I should never doubt. All of this makes me question things about myself, things about you, things about us.

what's worse, just having those questions swirling around my mind hurts me deep inside.

       Why can't I just reach out to you?
       Why don't you respond when I do?


...How can we sit this close sometimes and still feel so far away?

         I want this to be a great weekend.
         I need this to be a great weekend.


[Listening to: Andrea Doria, "Bucci Bag"


Thursday, June 10

They Called Me Jack


          

Sheesh, of course this is the result I get.

Do you remember that night, four in the morning, stereo blasting, the neighbors banging on the walls?

Do you remember the next day, that same neighbor pulling me aside, arm around my shoulder, saying, "Jack, does it always have to be 4:00 am?"

        Because I do, Dirty Girl.
          I do.

[Listening to: Mindless Self Indulgence, "Molly"


Wednesday, June 9

The Shrieking of Nothing is Killing

    You are...

    Which David Bowie are You?



[Listening to: Mingus


Tuesday, June 8

Ta Republique

Walking through shelves.. what catches your eye?

Sometimes it seems like there's a movie box for every emotion, and a rental price for every memory. DVD-quality ethos in four color process, screaming "me, me, me!" as you slowly stroll by. The faces familiar but the titles obscure - it's all about the words in the name, the pictures on the cover...

     Walking through shelves.. what catches your eye?

...They made it, Rick.

Like absently running your hands over old scar tissue, the unexpected but unfortunatley familiar sting appeared. That horribly melodramatic LA Gang/love story novel we read in your literature and composition class so many years ago, the beginning of what would be one of the most important and yet short-lived friendships in my life.

     I didn't expect to see it there.
     I never expect it all to come rushing back
     ...but it always does.

That day, after class - catching him on the way out the door:

"I'm really sorry for going off on a tangent like that and sort of dominating the class discussion," I said, "but you gotta understand just how much I think this book really sucks." And he gave me this knowing sort of smile and a wink and said, "Yeah, I know -- I'm just glad someone else finally figured it out."

I'm sure everyone has a story abotu the teacher or professor who affected them more than anyone else. I'm sure everyone has that one person who helped turn on the bulb, and push the ship in the right direction. But Rick Straub was more than just an incredible teacher, he was more than just a mentor, or an inspiration.

      Rick was my friend.

I wasn't his only friend, and I wasn't the only student whose life he touched by any means. But Rick helped do things for me that I doubt he'd even beleive were his to take credit for. Rick wanted me to write. Rick wanted me to make something of myself. Rick wanted me to get over my stupid hangups about Ernest Hemmingway. Rick wanted more than anything for me to teach.

I'll never forget the time I got a six am phone call from him, telling me that he
was suffering from a sinus infection, and that he needed me to cover his classes for him that day. "They're just doing peer reviews, it's no big deal" he said. I was half dead from a late night radio shift, but I went anyways. Button shirt, yellow legal pad. His students didn't know who I was, but halfway through the day we were making progress, and it felt more comfortable than I'd ever expected it might have to be standing up there soliciting opinions from writers. Hell, it felt pretty good.

That was, until Rick walked in the door (looking healthy as an ox), with a big smile on his face. "See," he said, "told you it was easy."

      Rick wanted me to write a book with him.

He also wanted to shoot hoops, go to Seminole games, and meet over at Buffalo's for beers and Big Tuesday on ESPN. We'd meet his friends, and every time we did I'd feel on the edge of something true and real. It was like that sense that if you walked through this door, everything would be different. If you'd just take the chance, you'd never be the same.

As my graduation kept getting closer and closer, Rick began to ask me countless times about grad school. He pulled some strings my last semester to get me into one of his grad-level courses, and continually supported me as I struggled at times to keep up. It was like he was holding the door open for me, working to help me build that last bridge of confidence.

My world was changing so much at that time. Everything was open in front of me, and maybe somehow that was the problem. Because I couldn't help feeling all of this unintended weight on my shoulders, this feeling of utter expectation and hope all around me. But instead of feeling charged and excited by everyone's confidence, I somehow let myself twist it all around, and got it all knotted in my stomach.

      What if I screw it all up?
      What if I fail?
      What if I let everybody down?

And so I started making this and that into big deals, and without even knowing what I really wanted, I started to back up. I started to hedge my bets. I started to retreat from the open doors. "See you Tuesdays" became "I'll calls" and before I knew it, life got in the way. It wasn't that I didn't want to teach or write, it wasn't that I didn't desperatley need a friend... It was something else, I suppose.

Years later when I started to get a better picture of what had happened and what had not, I started to want to find a way to reconnect with Rick. To tell him about the stories that I had gotten published, and about the things I had done -- but it was always hard to find the words. Always hard to find a way to ask for that sort of forgiveness.

      Until one day, when it was too late.

I got this email from one of his former students who had found my site from a google search for Ricks name. I don't know.. there was just something in the tone that she used when she wrote, the way his name appeared on the screen. Something was wrong.

Something was terribly wrong.

Once upon a time someone believed in me. Pushed me, inspired me, and helped me. Once upon a time I feared what all of that meant, and worried that I couldn't live up to what they felt I should become. Once upon a time I turned my back on a friend. And then I lost him.

And now, standing here in some video store on Merrill road, staring at the rental box for the movie they made from the first book that you ever made me read, I feel that emptiness more than ever. Here, in this time of storms and suspicions - in this time where so many precious things in my life feel like they could be slipping away from me if I don't make a move, don't make a move now to hold on to them, I wish I could just call you up and tell just you how much you meant.

      I'm teaching, Rick.
      I'm living, Rick.
      They made it, Rick.

[Listening to: Dwele, "Find a Way"


Saturday, June 5

Heimdallr

I don't remember sleeping last night. I mean, I must have at some point or another, but I can't seem to figure out when it was. Somewhere between going to bed at 1:30 and getting up just before seven, there had to be a moment of peace, but I can't seem to find it.

     Was I simply dreaming that I was awake?

I sit here in this silent morning, remembering only the glow of red numbers and the sounds of breathing beside me. How many hours did I just lie there, my mind afire, wanting to just find a light, forget the hour, and touch your skin?

When I finally did stir, the house felt cold. I found myself wondering at shadows, looking again for telling traces, differences in the pictures. Everything seems covered in dust, everything somehow out of place.

        ...I must have slept at some point.
        I just can't remember when.



[Listening to: Jay-Z, "99 Problems"


Friday, June 4

Lost

I don't even know what to say. Something's happened. Something's broken. I'm in a place where nothing is stable, or hopeful, or sure. I can't be sure that what I say, think, or feel is right or pure anymore. I can't sleep. I don't want to dream like that ever again.

Only to wake up
and see that
it was true.

[Listening to: Bjork is on, but I'm not really hearing it...


Wednesday, June 2

My Name Isobel

What if you knew something, but you didn't understand it? What if you could look through, but you couldn't quite figure out what it was that you were seeing on the inside?

It's like vines on my legs -- winding around, binding me together. All I can think about is the scratch of thorns against my skin. All I want to do is find the roots and pull it out of the ground for good.

The bank account is upside down and the gas tank has to last. I'm free to do whatever I want -- but I understand that what I really need to do is not go anywhere or spend money.

The house is bare, save for me and my distractions.

      It gets
      so quiet
      in here
      sometimes


It should be heaven - days on end with nothing to do. But somehow it's eveything but. It's like a boat in the water; sails sagged, waiting for wind. I have energy, but I can't find the tack. I want to go, I want to move, but there's no inertia. Instead there's all this stress. All these threads of knowledge, these little puzzle pieces on the ground. I don't have the middle yet -- just the corners and the edges. But I've learned some things lately that I really wish I didn't know. And it's getting under my skin, eating away at me until all that's left is a skeleton of fears and half truths that no one wants to talk to.

...Maybe in a perfect world, I could take what I have seen and leave the rest for later. Gather more information, or maybe even just get some perspective on everything so that the colors all around me wouldn't be so glaring and raw.

But all I have is myself, these silent walls, and the voices that I cannot seem to quiet.

Lately it just seems like I just pace the place like a cat in a cage. I think about the music I could be making, about the writing I could be working on. I think about the time in my hourglass, slipping down like snow.

There's so many things I could be doing. So much time now to get things accomplished.

But instead all I do is read your words.

          Again,
          and again..
          and again.


[Listening to: Bauhaus



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