Friday, December 30

Elizabethtown, the Bread Guy, and Thank You Notes

There's this guy named Dan who was supposed to meet a dear friend of his for drinks and old stories last night, but he got really tired and had to cancel out at the last minute.

And all I have to say about it is
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
[Listening to: Ryan Adams, "Come Pick Me Up"]


Thursday, December 29

The Thirteen Dollar Cup of Coffee

Don't fret precious I'm here,
step away from the window
and go back to sleep..
It's weird how bad ideas work. How they kinda get into your head sometimes and just ..sit there.

I'll never understand it about myself, but it's like sometimes I have to go through with dumb ideas just so I can assure myself that they aren't that great. Like I have to step on the teeth end of a rake just so I'll can be absolutley certain that the handle end will come straight up and hit me in the face.
I keep buying these lottery tickets
even though I know they'll never win
It's one of those things -- this idea that inside me that not going through with things will somehow lead to missing out on some sort of grand experience. Like the week I don't buy that ticket my numbers will surely win it all.

So you go there again. You put that message in the bottle, you take it to the edge of the island, and you throw it out into the ocean. Sting does it and it's cute. You try it and it turns into some kind of grand comedy. It's not the greatest feeling in the world to realize that the hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore are all from yourself. That of all the castaways on the island, you're the only one who wants to fix the coconut radio and build a boat.

But if you're clever about it, you can turn it into a funny story that you can laugh about later with your friends. That time you tried to drive the uphill corkscrew turns on Ft. Caroline road backwards. The day you tried to drive to Atlanta and ended up somewhere in South Carolina. That night you let the bartender pick the shot for you. Casting George Clooney to play Batman. Forever holding this torch. Going to the last place in the world you could ever go to escape the lonliness that 4 silent walls and a string of Christmas lights can bring.

But you go. And you pay. You mix your coffee and you stare at the mirror. What you came for is here, but all you can see is yourself. It's not the band-aid you wanted it to be. It's not the band-aid you wanted at all.
Tip the waitress
Drink it down
Go back home.
[Listening to: Skindred, "Selector"]


Thursday, December 22

Do I Have to Think of Everything?

So let me get this straight -- There's a rare baby penguin that's been stolen from a British zoo, and nobody in the world has any idea who's behind it?
Open your eyes, people!
[Listening to: MeShell Ndegeocello, "Liliquoi Moon"]


Wednesday, December 21

Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle

I just got the news that the very best Christmas present I could have possibly hoped for arrived yesterday afternoon, as Samantha Reese Luft was born into this world healthy and happy to my brother Joshua and his wonderful wife Amanda.

Needless to say, my holiday just got infinitley better.
I'm an uncle again!
[Listening to: John Coltrane, "Moment's Notice"]


Monday, December 19

Book of Saturdays

Standing among the shelves, spines all around. Titles like textures under my fingertips, sliding past my touch as I searched for something specific, something unique, something right. My mind full of tides, sands shifting underfoot. Lost in my task, seeking yet not finding, hoping for something more than just a gift to reveal itself.

When suddenly I looked up to find a pair of beautiful brown eyes looking back into mine, peeking out from behind thin-rimmed glasses and a wave of jet black hair. It lasted only a single moment, as almost by reflex they turned again to the shelves in front of them. The surprise of detection, that unexpeceted electricity that comes when someone catches you looking -- she turned away.
But I couldn't.
In a word, she was stunning. Tall, with long legs wrapped tight in form-fitting jeans that disappeared underneath a sweater and a short denim jacket that served a sense of fashion more than any protection against the elements. The kind of woman who makes you notice things you wouldn't normally see, like the shade of her lips, or the curve of her calf. We caught glances now and again as we browsed, her Asian features becoming more and more hypnotizing to me as each moment passed.

In a different life it would be all I could do to look upon her from behind a window, imagining conversations and possibilities before letting the notion fly away like some exotic bird on the wind, appreciated for it's freedom and beauty, but released almost as soon as it was discovered.

But here, alone amongst the thralls of bustling shoppers and stand up cardboard cut-outs of John Grisham and Narnian Lions, there was a different sense. A new thought, as uncomfortable as it was exciting, like a thick sweater that hadn't been washed yet, or a CD not wanting to let go of it's jewel case without a struggle.
I could talk to her.
I could say something.
But the words wouldn't form. The needle wouldn't thread, no matter how much I turned the thought over in my mind. Perhaps it was the weight that this particular winter has brought in it's wake. Or maybe it was the gift held in my hand and the emotions intertwined to the ribbons it had been wrapped inside. But most likely I think it was just me still being me -- regardless of the changes I've been through or any sense of boasting I might want to try and believe about myself.
I stayed behind my window
and I watched her fly away.
[Listening to: Ours, "Fallen Souls"]


Sunday, December 18

Wassailing

I heard the winterthru the evening
I saw the winterthru the trees
Knee deep in silence
Immune to the world around me

Winterthru a crack in the door
Winterthru the bones of the poor
November's wind, December's wind
Are getting warmer now...

                          -Echolyn, "Winterthru"
For a while there all I wanted was this break from work. Worn down, burned out, pulled in all directions like leaves on a water's surface. I just needed time away, time to myself, time to try and recharge, regroup, and recover.

But somehow in the midst of all of that wanting I missed the thoughts of what was coming. I mean, this is a different kind of Christmas for all of us, it's not like I didn't know that. It's just that I don't think I fully realized what that was going to mean. How it would suddenly weigh all around me like the way a rainy day sits in the air just before the water begins to fall.
..and then I went Christmas shopping.
It's strange that this should be the trigger. That this should be the floodgate. This thing that used to be such an inequity. This issue that too many times became more of an argument than anything else...

Christmas is a big thing for me. When I'm able (and even sometimes when I'm not) I really get into going overboard and spoiling the people I care about. I take a great amount of pride in being able to lock little things into my memory -- those times you're wandering through a store and someone says "I've always wanted one of these!"

There's more to this season than just gifts, of course -- but to me there is definitley something special about giving people things they like. Things they can treasure. Things that mean something to just the two of you.

For me there's nothing better than the moment, that "How did you find this?" feeling. That smile in the eyes that reduced me to nothing even as it made me feel a million feet tall. It's part of how I express myself, I guess. I don't like gift certificates. I don't like re-gifting. I like significance. I like resonation. The kind of thing that you can't get in just any gift.
I don't know if you ever really understood that about me.
Somewhere in the aisles today it began to fall on me. Like snowflakes or rainfall. Gradual at first -- only to become drenching, inescapable. I won't be able to do that this year. I won't get to do that ever again.
..Not like that.
[Listening to: Miles Davis, "All Blues"]


Friday, December 16

Crystal Vision

Middle of the night, darker than space. Eyes open, not sleeping, watching the illuminated shadows of passing car lights running across my ceiling. People rushing by. People speeding home.
People drifting away..
A thought, turning slowly like a diamond shimmering in a window.

I see too far. I think too much. I dream movies that I don't really want to see. But I do see them, again and again. This isn't the first time I've been too far away to catch eyes under a veil. This isn't the first time I've seen these lights rolling over.

The image burned, I can't help but see it again. I can't help but imagine the words, the look, and the answer. I don't even know if it's real, but there's a point in this darkness where it doesn't really matter. Because it's real enough. It makes sense enough. I can see it happening, because it's exactly what I would do.

Of course, he isn't me.
But then again, maybe that's the point.
[Listening to: Nothingface, "Blue Skin"]


Wednesday, December 14

A Sahara of Snow

Seasons change. There's not much you can do about it.

Sometimes you welcome it. Sometimes you need to break a mood, change the colors, get a little cold air into your lungs just to remember what it's like. Just to have something different to work from. Especially in the South where it's like we get the microwave dinner version of things. The weather never really gets radically different. Down here the leaves fall so quickly, there's barely any time to appreciate the colors as they go.

I like winter. I don't know if I like it so much better than summer, but I really enjoy having a little chill in the air. I wish it would snow here. That there could be that much of a change outside to somehow separate this time from the other parts of the year.
Especially this year..
But you make due. You get by.

All I know is that this break from work can't come soon enough. There are so many things I need to do. So many things I want to do. I want to travel. Get away a little bit -- see my brother and his family, get back to New York, or even points west. Maybe it's because the word "family" has such a different meaning for me this year - but I don't particuarly want to be alone this holiday season.
Or maybe I do.
Some nights I get home and just sink into the couch, lose myself into whatevers blinking on the television screen in front of me. Still some other nights I have to get out and find crowds of people, strangers in arms. There are nights in front of computer screens, and phone calls that you hope will never end. I go back and forth on these tides.. wondering why the path isn't clear, going with whatever instinct feels the strongest at the time.

But lately with every new thing that I discover, it's like something else seems to slip away. Like I'm trying to hold on to leaves on branches even when I know it's time for them to fall. Like I can't let go of things that have to be released. Like I don't know how to open my arms up to the things that lie ahead of me.

Some nights it's like I've got it wired. Then sometimes I feel like I don't have any idea what I'm doing. And it's frustrating to feel like I don't have enough focus for everything that I need to be doing. Like I can only attend to the most desperate thing that I've got going at any given moment, which leaves everything else vulnerable to the tides rolling in all around my feet.

Winter's here. I'm glad for the change.
But sometimes I wonder if I'm ready for the cold.
Or if I even know what true cold is like at all.
[Listening to: Sam Maudlin, "The Good Stuff"]


Sunday, December 11

Actually Spoken During the Course of Syriana

"My god, this movie sucks so much even Clooney is trying to sneak out and watch something else*."
*One of the scenes I was awake for in this film involved George Clooney's character holding a secret meeting in a Washington movie theater with one of his contacts (played by William Hurt). Unfortunatley, the sight of someone walking into a theater to watch another movie after what seemed like endless hours of absolutley nothing happening in the one I was watching was basically too much for me to handle, so it wasn't so much something spoken during the course of my evening as it was shouted out loud for all to hear.
Apparently government and oil company
corruption in Iran isn't just widespread,
it's also boring as shit, too.
[Listening to: Nothingface, "Ether"]


Saturday, December 10

Strikes and Gutters

Sometimes there's a man band - I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero? But sometimes there's a man band. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here; sometimes there's a man who, well, he's the man for his time'n place. He fits right in there -- and that's the Dude, in Los Angeles. ...and even if he's a lazy man band, and the Dude was certainly that -- quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles, which would place him high in the runnin' for laziest worldwide--but sometimes there's a man band.. Sometimes there's a man band.
Things have been really heavy lately. Stress here, stress there. The clouds all around me on a bunch of fronts seem to be getting darker and darker. What's worse is that it's starting to effect everything around me. I'm not answering email, I'm finding myself coming home at all hours of the night and then just falling asleep on the couch only to wake up hours later to the sound of the remote falling onto the floor and the TV blaring some informercial. Next thing I know I'm half awake saying things to myself that make no sense like:
"Esteban, is that you?"
But through it all there are sometimes these rays of sunshine that seem to break through the growing tempest. Letters from friends far away, christmas socks, rings like snowglobes with glitter inside worn on someone's toe -- things like that. Little flashes of ok sprinkled amidst the rising tides of things that suck.

I may not know much, but I do know that you've gotta hold on to those things, no matter how small they might seem.

Which is why I'm stepping out from under the umbrella for a second here with the happyDan moment of my morning. I don't know -- maybe this one's just for me, but my eyes absolutley lit up when I heard the news.

Wow, I lost m'train of thought there. But..
-- aw hell, I done innerduced him enough.
Nothingface is back!
[Listening to: Mudvayne, "Pulling the String"]


Tuesday, December 6

Mustafa

I'm really convinced that the reason the world is not continually threatened by the kinds of mad scientists fiction writers live to invent is that all the brilliant minds that would normally be focused on world domination have been recruited into creating new innovations for consumer product corporations.

Today on a break I headed out to a nearby store to get a couple of things for the apartment. While I was there I picked up a pack of gum to try to fight off the coffeebreath that I find myself dealing with every morning.
What I ended up with was something called "Citrusmint"
Maybe it's because I wasn't fully prepared for the shall we say, unique taste combination that comes when you fuse peppermint with orange juice -- but all I can say is thank god for it, because otherwise the scientist that dedicated years of his life creating this little taste of hell might have otherwise kept himself busy building a death ray.

I mean think about it. You know why we never hear about someone trying to drill their way underneath Fort Knox and bankrupt our nations gold reserve to feed his own selfish whims? Because the only guy smart enough to pull it off has probably been spending his time trying to jam even more micro-thin razor blades onto one vibrating razor for Gillette.
Stone skinned bulletproof supersoldiers? -- Viagra
Flying robots that turn into cars? -- Segway
Exploding Fembots (with guns in their Jumblies) -- RealDolls
Global Thermonuclear War -- The George Foreman Grill
I mean sure - a cure for cancer sounds dandy and all, but what's that next to those little strips you can put on your nose at night to stop snoring, eh?

[Listening to: Shiny Toy Guns, "Photograph"]


Saturday, December 3

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Evening

"I wish I could, but I just don't have the time -- I'm supposed to be meeting up with a guy named Havoc tonight to talk about dildos."
[Listening to: Morningwood, "Jetsetter"]


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