Wednesday, September 28, 2005

So I just went and reread some older entries and wow, this thing used to be a lot more entertaining. A lot more angst-filled as well, but I'm considering that bit, the whole "portrait of Brian as a neurotic college Freshman" to be more entertaining than the whole "true tales of my boring life" thing.

The reason I was looking at old entries was to find a copy of this short, one-page love story thing I had written and reread it. It mostly sucks, but so does that Erica Bleeds thing mentioned in my last entry. Let's be charitable and say my writing is just hit and miss.

But, huh, yeah, I guess that's good, the lack of the neuroses, now. I guess this comes down to living with friends in what I call "the pirate ship life." It drains the perpetual nervousness and the "everyone hates me" right out.

Class tomorrow, at night. I wonder how that'll turn out.
So as for writing: I've got these two short stories I've been writing for quite awhile. One's kind of done only maybe not really because it's deeply flawed in regards to pacing, and by extension, characterization, as the pacing falls apart when I can't meditate on the character's beliefs for a long enough period of time. This is a story called Erica Bleeds and it's one of my traditional modern short stories that are very "I like Raymond Carver and want to be literary" and I try to have it be narrated from a first-person female perspective. Only she's really fucked-up in certain ways that probably seem like a cop-out to avoid writing straightforward female characters, but that was not my intention at all. Anyway. I don't know if it's done or not. If anyone wants to read it, and then tell me whether or not it works or if it's deeply flawed, that would be cool. No one is going to take me up on this offer, as no one ever does. Even though "it works" vs. "it seems broken" isn't really hard. Although yeah fuck it honestly I think I know it's broken. I don't know how to fix it besides letting it sit around my hard drive for awhile until I have more stuff to say in this character's voice. Which is unlikely.

Then there's "Reviewing The Dailies" a short story more experimental in nature that I've been working on since April probably, and I could probably just dive into and just write and write and add some words to it and boom it would be done but I'm mostly uninspired and unmotivated.

Then there's two novels. Both in the very early stages. One of which I'm excited about, the other of which is an idea I've had for awhile. I was waiting until the short stories were done to do the novel bit, which I guess I gave up on due to feeling more inspired by this stuff, if for no other reason than the fact that new ideas are forever appealing. Those new ideas are brilliant, let me tell you. The same issue nonetheless persists for these as that of Erica Bleeds, that of needing more stuff for the voices to discuss and to keep it in the voice and oh yeah I mostly don't know where I'm going with this stuff. So basically when those short stories are done (because they're good, Erica Bleeds is good, inherently, at some level, if only as a platonic ideal in my mind, I like what it's doing and what it's about and think it's saying something that kind of matters, and if I can bullshit enough filler, it will work, basically, so I'm not saying it's done yet, although I would like to and it's closer to being done than it ever has been before- it can be read from beginning to end now, with no glaring plot holes, there's just a really fucking weird emphasis on the narrative on shit that doesn't matter at all- the majority of what exists so far is the first section, which is basically characters bullshitting and being filthy shit-talkers, and the main reason it's so long is because such things are really easy to write, whereas insight and internal monologue are way fucking harder, especially as such things need to exist as a way of alluding sideways to a thing which is the key to the story and the character- it's tricky is what I'm saying.) I will go into these novels with vigor. They will take up my time and energy, although the amount of time and energy I devote to any kind of writing is lacking.

Oh and then there's two movies. One's a thing I hope to start shooting fucking soon, and I don't really have a screenplay, just a loose structure and an idea for approach. Yeah. Said approach doesn't really require a screenplay, in my mind. Anyway. The other's a screenplay for a comedy, an idea I got really excited for over the summer, and I know the next couple plot beats but I don't know how to play them for MAXIMUM HILARITY.

Basically pretty much all my shit is stalled for the same reasons, i.e. my lack of insight, coupled with laziness. These are the trials you face when you try for more than strict autobiography.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

So did anyone notice/know that three Jim O'Rourke album titles are taken from Nicolas Roeg movies, and that they were all released in the same order? (Bad Timing, Eureka, Insignificance) I just noticed that.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

So last night I did the most ridiculous job ever, received courtesy of the manual labor temp agency. I got in a van and rode four and a half hours to central Washington, (beautiful area, by the way) where there's an airport. Then me and some other temps were dressed in Arab garb ("man-dresses" as it was put my the boss people) and armed with M-16s loaded with blanks as part of some army training thing.

I was supposed to be paid 14 dollars an hour, but transport was nine hours for which I was paid for three, and the work bit (which was mostly just waiting in the cold- I did maybe five minutes worth of acting, most of which was pretending to be dead. I did not fire my weapon.) I was paid for eight hours out of nine, because of a strictly theoretical lunch break. After taxes, I made like six bucks an hour. And had a day of my life (1 PM to 7 AM) sucked away by the military-industrial complex. I will not be returning.

And this morning I did some moving for ten bucks an hour. I haven't really slept, besides a few snatches of nap grabbed on the job in discomfort and cold.

Before I did any work, and was just going with these offers, I ordered the Chris Ware Acme Novelty Library hardcover from Pantheon and the new Broken Social Scene album with bonus EP from

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Today I got two job offers. One is for Wednesday and Friday, courtesy of a manual labor temp agency I applied to months ago. This is for security training. I am not a trainee, mind you. I play the part of a terrorist and get the shit kicked out of me for $14 an hour. I need to be there at 1 PM, they then arrange for my transport 3 hours away, paying for one direction, and I imagine I'll be back in Lacey at 3 AM, if my understanding is correct. Hopefully I will get a ride back to Olympia from a coworker.

Thursday, at 9:45 AM, I do some moving. I don't know how much I will get paid, but I imagine big bucks. This is because professional movers: kind of a scam.

I ordered the new Broken Social Scene record, along with the new Acme Novelty Library Pantheon hardcover just now. Also, last night I heard the Theater Of The New Ear plays written by the Coen brothers and Charlie Kaufman. The Charlie Kaufman play is particularly strong.

This time Saturday, I will have stories to tell. Classes at Evergreen start next week.
I received two job offers today. And I can do both jobs. This is what they are:

On Wednesday and Friday, courtesy of this manual labor temp agency, I will be used in security training. I will not be in training to be a security guard, mind you, I will be what people demonstrate on. I will be playing the part of a terrorist and getting beat up, basically, for $14 an hour. I need to be in Lacey by 1 PM, they pay for the three hours of transit to the place of unknown destination, but not for the ride back, which I believe would begin around midnight. Hopefully I'll be able to get a ride back to Olympia. Otherwise I will be waiting around until the buses start running again.

On Thursday, at 9:45 AM, I'll be helping a moving company move an old woman's stuff into storage. I don't know how much money this will get me, but I imagine the big bucks because oh man professional movers are kind of a scam.

Hope and pray for my safety kids. This time Saturday I will have stories to tell.

With this promised influx of cash money, I bought the new Broken Social Scene record (with bonus EP) and The Acme Novelty Library Report To Stockholders etc. hardcover, out October 4th and tomorrow respectively. This is a sign of getting too cocky but whatever. Classes start next week.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tonight I went to see Growing play at Yes Yes, then came back and watched Jules Feiffer's Little Murders on DVD. Both of these were amazing. Let me record this for posterity, as sharpness tends to deteriorate. Oh man. Oh, and pay no attention to the Netflix summary of Little Murders, as it blows the ending even worse than the poster for 3-Iron.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I went to the school bookstore to look at my class reading today. It's not too bad- One Brecht play (Galileo, which fits with the astronomy theme and so is at least partially forgiven), one Shakespeare play (Romeo And Juliet), but there's also Sophocles' Oedipus The King as translated and adapted by Anthony Burgess, which I'm excited for. In his version of the play, the blinding is shown onstage, which it isn't in the traditional version. Oh, that Anthony Burgess.

It seems like the class to take would've been the 16-credit Business And Society though, with its use of Vonnegut and Calvino, and possible teaching of real skills. Sometimes I wonder if teachers just assign shit they like and then ask in seminar, "So, what does this have to do with anything we're learning?" Which, depending on how the book or the rest of the class strikes you, could actually work, as certain things effect everything else around them and can serve as a lens for interpretation. But only if you're really invested, sometimes past the point of what can really be condoned.

I also submitted my story For Those Who Lived It, previously rejected by McSweeney's, to ZYZZYVA. Fingers crossed, team. Truth told, in my skimmings of the thing, I didn't find it too awesome, so any rejection shouldn't sting too much. Which is not to say I'm not getting my hopes up.
So I've started writing this novel which is untitled and I don't quite know where I'm going with it and reading over what I've written so far I don't think everything's coming through that I want (like that I'm a supergenius, I don't know if anyone would pick up on that yet even though that was what I wanted to get across early on more than anything else) but I haven't given up on it yet.

I'm also writing other stuff, including two short stories which I really should've finished by now but they are tricky. Also I suck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rob Schrab's involved with Sarah Silverman's upcoming show for Comedy Central. Rob Schrab was involved with the Heat Vision And Jack pilot which sounded awesome, but I knew about when I was in seventh grade and he was writing and drawing Scud The Disposable Assassin comics. It's wacky to me that dude's done so well for himself and is still involved with good stuff.
I've heard things regarding the syllabus for this class I'm taking fall quarter that instill nervousness in me. Brecht and Shakespeare. Do I sound like an ass when I say I don't like Shakespeare, that he doesn't speak to me, that I find those classical tragedy structures which can be placed on so many things, boring?

Is it at least interesting iconoclasm to go after that and not the language (which I have no problems reading, although I don't find it especially compelling or beautiful)?

Oh well, we'll see how it goes, what we're actually reading, as opposed to just what I've heard.
Paul Thomas Anderson is working on an adaptation of an Upton Sinclair novel. He's also apparently assistant directing Robert Altman's movie of Garrison Keilor's The Prairie Home Companion, and he's supposedly really involved in the production, as Altman doesn't get around too good anymore. I'm down for both movies, despite my reservations about the source material. (And Altman, actually.) Dude also got Maya Rudolph knocked up.

The next Terry Gilliam movie, Tideland, is done and on the festival circuit. It's getting bashed, but in a way that still makes me want to see it. The criticisms are different than those being thrown at The Brothers Grimm: complaints of self-indulgence and a dark tone, as opposed to being compromised. People bitched about Fear And Loathing too. People know nothing.

In my last blog post, I might imply that the new Modey Lemon album is more awesome than it actually is. It has its moments, although it's sometimes kind of dumb. It fits with the other stuff I mention it in the same context as, although those records are better.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I had this dream where Johnny Cash did a version of Folsom Prison Blues that was just covered in fuzz and noise. It was really cool. Someone I know should make that song a reality.

Good year for music, this 2005. Seems like every other thing I download is all powerful guitar rocking (Not guitar rocking like riffs and classic rock or even indie with the treble, but a thickness and a distortion to this huge sound like of the Boredoms/MBV type, the kind we call next-level shit around these parts) kind of verging on psychedelia: Serena Maneesh, The Psychic Paramount, and just now, the new Modey Lemon record. This is probably abated by other stuff which isn't like that, but is noisy in its own way, like the new Black Dice, and the new Jason Forrest.

So like imagine that crossed with Folsom Prison Blues and sleep.

More people will be in Olympia shortly. Financial aid hopefully soon. Nothing ever came together, but things are improving nonetheless.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Oh wow, did you know Home Movies Season Three is coming out in November on DVD? Season two came out already this year. I am poor, and so don't have it. But maybe I don't need food. I can imagine myself buying the Season Two DVD tomorrow, is what I'm saying.

Also, did you know that Louis CK, stand-up comedian and director of Pootie Tang, was the voice of Brendon's dad?

I was into this show when it was on UPN. Good God. This show is probably the best thing I was ever way the fuck on top of and leading the curve on. And so maybe I don't have to be a huge geek with all the DVDs, I don't have to prove anything, but I mean, shit. Good show.
And oh man, it seems like I'm starting to see people talk more shit on philosophers, including favorite of piss-poor college professors Foucalt. Plus I saw message board kids talking shit on Plato and Socrates and yes yes yes. It'll never be a total backlash because the pretentious kids will forever be down but yeah what I want is solidarity and I am getting solidarity.

Live your life logically and nicely and never quote philosophers to back up an argument. I occasionally quote the idea that Nietzche once said that everytime you laugh, that's a part of your soul that's died. An idea I don't even completely believe, but find interesting and humorous. That's pretty much it. All the rest of my philosophy talk is based on logic and saying shit I think is obvious. Some people might think this makes me look dumb. Haha to them.
So today I found that the dude who was my best friend in Elementary School is into cosplay. Cosplay is dressing up as characters from anime.

I stayed close to this guy for awhile even after elementary school, and only started to drift in high school, really. When he started to get more and more lame, by my reckoning. So this is sad and depressing, rather than just a fun little fact of someone I was friends with ages ago.

Did I ever post about why I think divorce is so depressing? Because it's just the realization that you were dumb when you thought someone else was going to be like you forever. And the reason marriage is a hard and a weird idea is because you're not counting on them always being the same, because I don't think anyone expects themself to never change. Marriage, you're hoping on someone changing in the exact same ways. Or, that the closeness will make you travel on a similar path. We were never that kind of close. Well, perhaps in elementary school. But then changes happened, and so we grew apart. How things do.

The other old thought is my envisioning how tricky it is to age gracefully, while simultaneously being unchanging.

The post about writing had some ideas from awhile back, when I was internetless, and wanted to write a blog entry against autobiography. One of my thoughts for me is that I'm young, and yet don't want to write about youth. I don't like the idea of a coming-of-age story, because I think such things are misnomers and give false closure. Who ever comes of age? There are rituals for such things, but those rituals are hollow. Coming of age is a continual process, because you never reach the point where you stop changing. I had an idea for a coming-of-age story that would get past these problems by containing paradoxes. Basically, the ritual in the would be the ingestion of heroic amounts of drugs, which is how many people spend their teenage years. They end up incredibly permanently damaged, in a way that is unchanging, they can't grow past this point. The paradox is that the person they've become is basically a child in terms of mindset and capability. The mentally insane are the only true grown-ups, for they're the ones for whom the concept of growing can be placed firmly in the past tense.

Wow, this post was all over the place.

Is it sad and stubborn for me to say either "No way man, I'm going to keep on rock and rolling forever" (because I mean, despite my doubts, that is my goal) and obnoxious to think that I am so very much king shit of the awesomeverse to think that I changed as a person better than my friend (he of the orthodox Christian republicanism and the dressing up as Sailor Moon [I don't think he actually dresses like Sailor Moon])? I have my self-awareness that such things might be the case. (although I'm obviously certain of my coolness over other people, because I mean, you have to be, that's how things go, no one thinks that other people have better taste)

And my interests that I think are so great? How are those, you ask?

Well I am maintaining my grip on my perception of coolness, in that I am keeping up with new music.

Stuff downloaded and enjoyed recently include: new music from Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, The Psychic Paramount, Serena Maneesh, Black Dice, Jason Forrest, The Double, Sunset Rubdown, New Pornographers, Kanye West (although enjoyment is a bit less on those last two) and old music from the Godz. Oh, and I'm downloading a cassette made by WFMU called The Happy Listener's Guide To Mind Control.

I'm technically still reading Ulysses, although I'm stalled due to the fact that it's not very compelling, but I don't want to start other stuff yet. Other stuff includes such things as Don Delillo's Libra and Paul Auster's Moon Palace.

Last movie watched was the rather good Howl's Moving Castle. I would watch The Forty-Year-Old Virgin had I friends in town with which to see it with. Olympia is basically dead these days.

Have I mentioned that Michael Kupperman's comics, notably his book Snake And Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret, are really funny indeed?

So basically I'm a nerd but not the dressing in costume kind. So that's why I think I win.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hey everybody, I've got the cable internet at my home now (downloading new Kanye West and Wolf Parade records as I type- as a sidenote, that new Broken Social Scene record is indeed really good) but I wrote up a blog post on Monday, which can now be posted.

want to talk about writing, as writing is something I'm interested in. That first sentence isn't a well-written one, and neither is this one. It's too self-aware a beginning. Any sixth grade English teacher will tell you that starting off with that kind of declaration of intent is a bad idea. And they're right, which is why I tend not to do it in my actual writing-writing, the non-blog stuff. Which is a venue where I generally tend to avoid discussing writing, as it seems too autobiographical, not veiled enough. I view the blog as the best place to put stuff like this, the direct thoughts, the declarations of intents, and the insertion of real anecdotes as they happened.
I'm kind of hoping that the whole blogging thing for today's young writers ends up being a good thing for the future of their work, as the blogging will provide a venue for autobiography and ill-informed political opinions and so their actual fiction writing will be freed up for any weirdness and insight they may have. There is the possibility that the blogging will just encourage their solipsism and self-indulgence though, and they'll write books written in the half-assed style I'm writing now. The fact that there are books being published that are nothing but collections of blog entries probably suggests the latter, more negative possibility is the one that will come true.
There's a new Kurt Vonnegut book out, which I didn't know until today. It's kind of bloggy, actually. It's his thoughts on this current political situation, and there's advice and stuff. He doesn't have a blog, so he writes these kind of books. It's kind of repetitive- there's stuff he says in there that he said as recently as in Timequake, and probably numerous times before that. These things are forgivable from Vonnegut for a number of reasons. One is that he doesn't have a blog. The other is that he's an old man, and should be allowed to repeat himself. Also, he has a voice people want to hear. I would read his blog, but he wrote this book instead, so I read that, for free, in a bookstore. Kurt Vonnegut's basically the kind of grandfather I'd want to have. I am certain I'm not alone in this sentiment. But a man can only have so many grandchildren, and so he writes, and fulfills much the same purpose for a lot of people. And according to his memoirs, he's not much of a hugger, and not one for saying "I love you" to his children. This is not to say he's emotionally distant, but rather to say that for the people like me, the ones for whom he is but an imagined grandfather, so what if he is? Art and media gets to serve as family for the emotionally distant. Kurt Vonnegut's one of Jon Stewart's favorites. Jon Stewart's another imagined family member of mine. And I'm fairly emotionally distant, you know? I'm not saying media's all I need, but it helps enough. I mention this kind of stuff because it's for reasons like this that I want to write. In the new Vonnegut book, Man Without A Country, he talks about how creating art makes the world a better more human place, and as such is a good thing to do. To this I say yes, although he gives more allowance for bad art. Which I guess is acceptable for him to say, as a man who is a grandfather to so many people. Best to be supportive in a position such as that.
Then I looked at Jonathan Lethem's book of essays, The Disappointment Artist. I had looked at it before, but I thought I'd use this as an introduction to talking about Lethem's The Fortress Of Solitude, which I read in something like three days, but was unmoved by. Reading the essays I find a lot of stuff with which I'm familiar. Not through first-hand experience, but through writing of other people. Lethem's got the tastes of many other writers, including more than a few music critics. He doesn't really seem to have particularly interesting life experiences. There's nothing that sets him apart, really. He's just a pretty average dude. And The Fortress Of Solitude reads like a book that any number of people could've written. However, that doesn't necessarily include myself. Although it comes close. I haven't lived the stuff he's lived, although that is not to say his life was more interesting. He had artistic parents and came of age in the seventies. That's what makes him different, basically, although that says very little. He's lived a lot of stuff I've read about, basically. That's not to say he was there in the shit, just that he was less removed from it. Like he was really into the Talking Heads. He was not in the band. I don't even really like the Talking Heads, but I've heard a lot of talk of their importance. Basically, The Fortress Of Solitude feels like a book that have of my brain could've written. The part that hasn't had experiences, but has just read stuff. It could've then extrapolated a book based on a handful of concepts of that which makes up a great American novel. There's no spark of the maniacal in The Fortress Of Solitude. And for me, there wasn't even really a shock of recognition which is so key to good writing. It was more of a dull bath of recognition, like talking to a long-time friend or something similar. The only shocks occurred in the prescence of stuff I didn't recognize, a handful of moments that didn't feel real. The most notable of these would be when the two best friends start to jerk each other off. Basically I came at the book from a weird place. Paul Hornschemeier, a cartoonist who's coloring an upcoming Omega The Unknown comic that Lethem's writing, said in an interview that Lethem's one of his favorite writers, (along with Kurt Vonnegut and Kelly Link) but sometimes he's not weird enough. I haven't read enough of Lethem's stuff to know how weird he can be, and I don't necessarily know how Hornschemeier meant the word weird. But I can imagine how that would happen, basically.
Anyway, now for an anecdote and political opinions.
I saw Richard Simmons on CNN. Last night, as the scroll-feed told me that William Rehnquist was dead. I was saying "Oh shit." And the reason Richard Simmons was on CNN, talking to Larry King, was about another kind of oh-shit type of occurence, that being the hurricane which ripped New Orleans the fuck apart. I talked to my mom yesterday, and the hurricane came up. She seemed wrong about a lot of stuff, her perception of the events. She was aware of the thing about FEMA predicting a hurricane hitting New Orleans as well as a terrorist attack on New York City, so I guess that's made the mainstream media. Although that the Bush administration kind of told FEMA to fuck off and shut up was news to her. These predictions that FEMA made were presented as being two of the top three most likely disasters to occur. I've talked to a handful of people about this fact, and a lot of them knew it already. No one knows what the third one was, and neither do I. We all want to know. I imagine it was the concept of peak oil and the moment when we're all shit out of luck when it comes to transport and the economy. But that's not as direct people-getting-killed so it probably wasn't that. My mom has gone on mission trips to Jackson, Mississippi. No one in Jackson was killed by the hurricane. My mom found it interesting, that in Jackson, where there's a ministry she knows about, nothing bad happened, but in New Orleans, all hell broke loose. I just had to say "Mom, no," as a response to that, over and over again, telling her to stop thinking like that, and then pointing out that her conception of the south is extremely limited and narrow (a point she denied but I mean come the fuck on) and that stuff like geography really should be taken into account- like the fact that New Orleans is a city that exists below sea level. But that's just a digression from my point. My point was Richard Simmons, who was on CNN because he's from New Orleans. And Richard Simmons said, in regards to his city and what has happened there, and I quote, "The south will rise again."