Giro means 'ride', not 'tasty meat sandwich.'

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I am a fully ordained minister (let's hear it for the Universal Life Church!). I got ordained online back when I was living up the hill; it was on a lark, one of those mad, impulsive things you do when your brain isn't getting enough oxygen, something like getting a tattoo or your temple pierced. The thing is, though, is that I get to marry people. Let's see you do that with your Donald Duck tat, Sparky.

So, I got asked to do one wedding this November. Now, it looks like I might do another the week before. I think this is a very cool thing, as I have not only been honored to solemnize the marriages of some good friends, but I also have the power to keep 'em from happening. That's right: you'll just be living in sin if you don't do right by me, kids!

Of course, doing right by me consists of a) promising to do your best to treat each other with kindness and respect, b) not be assholes and c) invite me for a meal. If you need to get married and don't want some stranger do the honors, I'm always available, provided you meet the above three requirements.

(Note: these marriages, while legal, don't come with a guarantee as to their success. That's up to you. Mazel tov.)

Monday, June 3, 2002
07:19 p.m.


I've never really cared much about professional sports. Never really got into it, especially when I got older and kept seeing how pros act like such wankers when they should be on their hands and knees thanking everyone and everything that they get paid to play games. The baseball strikes just cemented it. I will never go to a professional baseball game again. (The minor leagues are a different story, though.)

So, I've had a hard time getting into the Lakers. Last year, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a yellow or purple flag mounted on someone's car window. Big fat guys who looked like they never handled a ball in their life would walk around wearing jerseys with Shaq's or Kobe's name and number on the back. It didn't help that Shaq and Kobe were both acting like petulant children in the press. This year, I thought, would be more of the same.

But there's something to be said for events that unite an entire city, especially if those events don't involve killing people. As I walked through the neighborhood last night, every few seconds a cheer would come up from every open window. All at once. It was quite cool. And when I got down to the restaurant, the bar was packed and roaring at the game.

Of course, when the Lakers won, everyone honked their horns and cheered and hooted and hollared as if they had something to do with it, which is the one part I never quite got. But what the hell.

Monday, June 3, 2002
09:36 a.m.


Just one page...

This is just a little web page floating in a vast ocean. This is just me screaming out from my soapbox on the busy corner of Spring and 3rd. This is just me sending up smoke signals in the middle of a forest fire. But there are many of us out here, people who want a better, freer, happier world. I know there are. I've talked with them. I've had dinner with them. Hell, I've cooked dinner for them. And I know we have audiences, and those audiences listen and talk and feel the same way we do.

We want a better world. Plain and simple. We want to create a world that will allow us to grow and blossom and become the amazing beings we were meant to become. We want people to take a good, hard look at the things they think make them different and realize that we are all the same: radient beings trapped inside these meat cages that make us do stupid things sometimes. I've always thought it's the meat that causes most of the world's problems: the meat needs food, shelter, water, a little lovin', and it goes nuts if it doesn't get it (or is programmed to get it all). We need to evolve beyond the meat, I think, and we're doing a pretty lousy job of it right now.

I bring this up because of the latest steps our government is taking towards turning the FBI into the Thought Police. Mark my words: this is not going to turn out well at all. A government that is bought and paid for by giant companies, that acts to protect the interests of those companies first, itself second, and then the rest of us last, is not a good one. Giving an uptight, paranoid, clueless asshole like John Ashcroft free reign to look into our email and phone calls and chat rooms is not how you promote a better world.

(But, then again, guys like Ashcroft are more interested in what happens in the next world, but that's another rant for another time.)

We have to build this world ourselves. We have to do it one step at a time, one home at a time. We have to demand our clean water and energy, and then make it ourselves if we have to. We must continue to make our own tools, get our own facts, create our own art. We must continue to evolve, people, and we have to do it on our own. Everyone. Everywhere.

Oh, and, Johnny? If you want to know where I am and what I'm doing, have the decency to introduce yourself. I don't like snoops. Go fuck yourself.

Friday, May 31, 2002
11:03 a.m.


Just a thought...

Our culture is more interested in anesthetics than aesthetics. Pass it on.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002
06:20 p.m.


Meme ahoy!

B9 d+ t- k s u f i- o+ x+ e+ l c--

Wednesday, May 29, 2002
11:48 a.m.


Consuming Goodness!

1) Dogtown and Z-Boys was great. While it had a bit of a rocky beginning (talking about the Dogtown articles without talking about what Dogtown was first? Bad narrative, Stacey!), it was so infectiously groovy that it didn't matter. I learned some good things about my hometown, and agreed with my friend Jen that we're not doing enough to document ourselves. I need to figure out more ways of pulling down sights and sounds because these things will matter

2) Scored some hardware, but am having issues. Why does this damned hard drive not work now? Why doesn't the machine recognize the sound card when I told it to install every sound module under the sun? Argh...

3) Visiting my friends in their new homes was wonderful but scary. All of these people becoming domestic. Dara and Russ have planted roses, and Paul and Liz live in what seems like the Inland Empire's version of Irvine. Sweet baby Jesus, but I hope this isn't some function of getting Old and Responsible. Maybe I should go and get a tattoo...wait, Russ has one. That won't wash.

4) While the apartment is getting cleaner, I still have a way to go. How did I get so much stuff?

Tuesday, May 28, 2002
12:05 p.m.


A Better World

I just want the world to be better. That's all.

This is my standard answer whenever someone accuses me of cynicism (including myself). I think the world can and should be a better one than it is now, and it drives me up the wall when we (and I definitely include myself in that "we," 'cause, Lord knows, I do plenty to undermine myself at time) do stupid shit that just holds us back. Whenever someone gives up, gives in, or moans, "It's too hard," I go bugfuck.

And it's even worse when people act short-sighted, don't look at the Bigger Picture, at the Long Now. I think about the bullshit that's going on with our federal government right now as a prime example: all of the flurry coming down because of the Phoenix memo is showing how Georgie-Boy and his gang of thugs are covering their asses. They are not looking at the Bigger Picture, no matter what everyone says about about Paul Wolfowitz and his Magic 8-Ball o' Strategic Planning. What a crock. They're doing what every other politician does: figuring out how to stay in power. They don't give a stony rat's ass about government or building a better tomorrow or a safer world. What can they do today to make sure we don't storm DC and string them up by their entrails? 'Cause, man, that's what I feel like doing the more I think about how they dropped the ball time and again, all more likely to ensure that the guys paying for their campaigns can make a few more bucks.

The world needs commerce. I will not argue with that. Capitalism promotes the need to do better, to strive. Our country was built by strivers, man, and that's a beautiful thing. When you have a real incentive (if I make and sell a better product, I'll get more cash and be able to get that extension for the toilet), you have plenty of good reason to keep on living (which was yet another failure of communism. What the hell is the point of Doing Better as long as you're going to be rewarded for Doing Enough?).

But it gets carried to ugly extremes, as we in the West are wont to do. There *does* come a point when you only have to do Enough, 'cause your Better is so goddamn good. Keep striving to maintain that Enough, though, that's fine, but once you reach Enough you don't have to run over your neighbors to keep Doing Better.

Not here, man. Oh, no. We still haven't grasped the idea of when enough is really Enough. We need more: more profits, more dividends, more for the shareholders, more to fill up the voids we create every time we kill a little piece of ourselves in the name of Doing Better (which is not how it should work, man. Doing Better should bring more of you to life, not cut out and sacrifice bits of our souls). It's this overarching greed that's brought us to the point where parts of the world hate our guts, and we're not doing enough to make sure that *they* have a slice of Better. No, we're more intent on getting more for ourselves.

Don't buy it? Ask about Unocal, who should be on the top of everyone's Unpopular Bastards list. I knew they were swine when Dan told me about their polluting and then buying out Avila Beach. This Afghan pipeline thing just gets in my craw even more. And, oh, yeah, haven't they gone and destroyed a few more American towns in the name of profit? Or was that some other group of Unpopular Bastards? I get them mixed up sometimes. I'm pretty sure they've got Congress and the White House in their pockets, though.

See, it's because we have political creatures whose only job once they get elected is to stay elected. No, really. Whatever line they spew about serving the public, the overall class of representatives you'll find in government will not care about doing their real job (representing their constituents and making the republic better as a whole). If they say otherwise, ask how many fundraisers they've thrown lately. Ask how much cash they take into their coffers, both for their parties and for themselves. Follow the money, and you will find some sod who, once upon a time, may have cared about a better world, but are now blinded by the rush for power.

I think about my friend Tom over in Ireland and about their upcoming elections. Ireland has a young democracy, and I think they get some things right (like preference voting. That rocks. That would have solved a whole lot of problems here in 2000. I could have voted for Nader first, then for Gore, and put Georgie at the bottom...or maybe just about Buchanan. Whatever). But I'm sure their democracy is just as prone to having overambitious, corrupt, popularity-seeking bastards running for office because anyone with brains, talent, and integrity will know that politics is a mug's game and run for anything else. Tom is insane enough to talk about going into politics himself, and I'm sure Ireland will be all the better for it. I'd do the same, but I really couldn't afford the ulcers I'd probably get from dealing with the swine who are mutilating language and brain cells in order to inflict their narrow-minded weltanschauung on an unsuspecting world.

But isn't that the wrong attitude? Didn't our Founding Fathers hope for a group of philosopher leaders who would always be working for the good and benefit of the nation? Shouldn't I and everyone who really wants to Fix Things run for office? Shouldn't we make a difference? Why do I have the feeling that, God help me, one of these days I'm going to make a run for office?

If I do, beat me. Then ask me if I really want to do it. If I still say yes, beat me again and leave me for the coyotes. If I say no, then you can run my ass from here to the end of the world. Those who don't want power are the ones who should decide the fate of nations. If you're out for power, you need to be put down. Or sent to Jerry Springer. Whatever.

Thursday, May 23, 2002
02:52 p.m.


A Public Apology

All right, all right. Because I am a man of honor and can admit when I make mistakes, I hearby offer an apology to Scott Jason Cohen for casting dispersions on his good name and reputation. Scott is a lovely human being, and, since we're both in agreement that Send in the Clones was ass (we are in accordance on that one, right, Scott?), he's okay in my book.

I would like to explain my previous remarks by pointing out that, while he did clearly say that he liked Spidey, his positive vibes were immediately crushed under the weight of his curmudgeonly views of the future for superhero movies and of superhero movies in general. It's like saying, "I like donuts, yes, but they spell doom and destruction for anyone who makes them or enjoys eating them." And I, for one, enjoy my donuts.

But I also expect excellent donuts. And, for this, Scott is to be praised for demanding that those who would entertain us should bloody well blow our minds or, at least, put in their best effort to do so. After seeing the prelude to the Clown Wars with the people who made it, and seeing how their righteous talent was put in service of such a banal story, I felt gypped. I felt the same way after seeing Atlantis and Dinosaur with the people who'd worked on them; amazing artwork that was wasted on poorly-told stories.

Of course, in the case of the Disney films, my friends had no control over the story that was being told, only the way it was presented. Disney stories are beaten to death by committee and an army of producers and executives who all want to make their mark, and it always shows. After reading Cameron Crowe's excellent Conversations with Wilder, I've started to think that one of the reasons older movies were better (and I think this is a quantifiable fact, not my own deluded opinion) was because the writers were allowed to, y'know, write. Granted, studio heads would always want their changes, but they were rightly shouted down by the people who knew how to tell a story. This, of course, has all changed as the balance of storytelling vs. profit has tipped way, way over to the Cash Side. The people who run studios want profits, and they want them by catering to the lowest common denominator, which usually means pretty lights.

Ah, but Send in the Clones was written by two men, right? Shouldn't it be better, then, seeing how it was the product of the vision of a small team, written and made by people who had some heart and feeling and care about the story? Well, no, 'cause George quit telling stories a long time ago to become a toymaker. Empire rocked because George let Irwin Kershner loose in the Star Wars universe to tell a story. It's the best one because it was made by filmmakers, who are, in my opinion, storytellers.

So, what should we do? Wait for Episode II to come out on DVD so you can admire the pretty pictures my friends made. And pray to God that George Lucas can unwind his massive, bloated ego from the blinding choke of fanboys and syncophants and let competant people loose in his toy shop. I expect nothing less than the best for my entertainment dollar, dammit. So should you.

Saturday, May 18, 2002
12:24 p.m.


Well.

All of this talk about politics and corruption, and then something like this gets dropped in my lap. Is it unpatriotic to say that the federal government is run by a bunch of corrupt, greedy thugs who will stomp anyone who gets in their way of making a quick buck? Is it? Then call me the unpatriot. I can't wait for 2004 to help vote you fuckers out of office.

Friday, May 17, 2002
01:52 p.m.


Time for Political Whoop Ass

So, our governor is corrupt swine. This isn't news; it's a fine Californian tradition. It's just that, see, the California Republican Party is run by scared, right-wing mouth-breathers who couldn't come up with a decent candidate to save their lives. Anyone who remembers Dan Lundgren back in '98 will remember a man so out of touch with the average Californian (and I think he was even out of touch with the rural and suburban parts) that he seemed shocked that he lost. Even without its three mellowed out, lefty bastions (San Francisco, San Diego, and lovely Los Angeles) to get in the way of things, this state doesn't lean as far to the right as the GOP would like to think.

Yes, I know about Orange County. I grew up there, dammit. And, yes, I know we elected Reagan and have passed many stupid propositions, but I refuse to believe that the Golden State is as far to the right as the Republicans want. Lundgren was a loon, and so is Bill Simon, who is going to get his head handed to him, but only while the rest of us are holding our noses voting for Gray Davis.

Which is why I have the following proposal for all Caliornians: we need a state-wide write-in campaign. We need to counter this stink of Davis and the nuttiness of Simon with someone who will sort out the mess that is our state budget. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to elect Kathleen Connell as the next governor of the great state of California.

Who? you may ask. Kathleen Connell is our State Controller. She's the one in charge of things like ferretting out fraud and waste in the state government, performing audits of the budget, and making sure state employees' pensions are safe. In other words, it's her job to make sure the ship is running high and tight. Shouldn't we have someone like that in the Governor's Mansion, someone who's, y'know, looking out for the state's best interests?

And, yes, I know that our present Gov. once had that gig. However, I think his move from the Controller's seat to the Lieutenant Governorship helped tweak his need for scoring political contributions. Let's face it: what the hell else does a Lt. Gov. do other than collect campaign contributions while he's waiting for his shot at the title? It was practice for his present gig, one that Davis excels at.

We need someone who has a shot at the seat. Dick Riordan is too goofy, Bill Jones is only a few steps away from Bill Simon (I mean, for Crissakes, they're both named Bill), and I'm off the Greens after reading their entire party platform and seeing the rich veins of Communism running through them (I'm all for socialism, kids, but that "Workers controlling the means of production" stuff just doesn't set well with me anymore). The Governorship is a job, a position of power, and one that needs to be done with a fair hand. Gray Davis is going to keep on screwing us taxpayers while he's shaking down people for contributions (and let's not get into the fun things like Oracle buying, er, winning a whoop-ass contract with the state, or the whole energy fiasco of last summer). We need someone who's going to do the goddamn job. I say we make Kathleen Connell the one.

I know this is a small, barely-read website. But I know that some people with mojo, savvy, and California drivers' licenses read it. I think this is a Good Call, kids. Join up. Spread the word. We have five months. Let's get some momentum going.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002
02:41 p.m.


"Into the air, Junior Birdmen! Into the air, Birdmen true!"

The mass of prisoners stared at Arturo. He strode into the middle of the room, spread his wings wide and roared, "For the love of Mike, don't you people know a Heroic Rescue when you see one? Get moving!"

From The Fearful Nightfall by me. Eventually

Tuesday, May 14, 2002
05:14 p.m.


Last night, I dreamt that I was walking along the Italian coastal countryside with a film crew from VH1. We were interviewing Dino de Laurentis, who was holding forth on actresses, breasts, and the importance of slow motion shots. His accent flittered between Italian and Greek, and the buildings we walked through changed. One minute, we're on a berm overlooking a river, a row of poplar trees running the length of the berm. The next, we're walking through a series of marble and sandstone buildings that jutted out into the crystal blue water. And then were sitting next to the moat of a castle on another river, one that was filled with religious supplicants. They wore white robes, and, as Dino talked on and on, laughing broadly like only he can, I noticed the supplicants were sprinkling magnolia petals the size of manila folders into the river. They floated downstream, gently, quietly, as if they had all the time in the world.

This is what I get for getting a full night's sleep.

Friday, May 10, 2002
10:12 a.m.


Excellent. Next week is, of course, Bike To Work Week, and the 17th is Bike To Work Day. If you haven't tried it before, and your office is within biking range, give it a shot. Yes, you'll be sweaty and tired, but you'll also be able to justify your morning donut afterwards.

Friday, May 10, 2002
09:45 a.m.


Ready?

Set?

Go.

Wednesday, May 8, 2002
05:20 p.m.


I forgot how righteous the library is.

Granted, it's not as well stocked as Amazon, but it's within walking distance, and it's free. And it has treasure. Oh, baby, does it have treasure.

It also has bums sleeping in the reference section, but what the hell.

Wednesday, May 8, 2002
12:36 p.m.


Spider-man absolutely fuckin' rocked. And, if you think otherwise, then I got a whole mess of web fluid for you and your mama.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002
10:44 a.m.


Sleater-Kinney kicks my ass.

Just had to get that out there.

Friday, May 3, 2002
01:56 p.m.


A Call to Arms!

While I've never had any trouble with Verisign, I've heard more than enough horror stories to know what an ass enterprise that company is. Their customer service is non-existant, their prices are ridiculous, and, of course, they have this tendency to be lax about domain ownership. My friend Leslie Harpold is a case in point: her two swanky domains, hoopla.com and smug.com, were both hijacked from underneath her. By fax. Some dink faxed Verisign, said he was the owner, and that's that. Verisign was more than happy to comply with the thief, but has given Leslie nothing but grief in her attempts to get her domains back. She has worked hard to establish herself as a publisher, writer, media maven, and all-around Force To Be Reckoned With, and it's absolutely inexcusable that these schmucks can get away with it.

In this day and age, when businesses are running our lives more and more, when companies who we didn't elect are taking over schools and utilities, when outfits who exist for profit and not to serve the public trust are put in charge, the only way we can vote is with our wallets. If you're thinking of registering a domain, don't do it through Verisign. Please. Try out Joker or Dotster. If you already have domains, you might want to transfer them over to these two companies. Give Verisign the finger by taking your business elsewhere.

Friday, May 3, 2002
10:01 a.m.


Regal, she is
A queen of the people,
The kind of ruler
That you're glad to be around.

Her grace belies her age
As she walks across the stage
To bow to the corners of the room.
And how she fills up that hall!
Her joy brims from every wall
As she sings to us.

She is a queen who rules with love
And respect
And song.
Her power does not come from fear
Or wealth
Or genes.
She is one of us.
She is who we'd all like to be.
We all want to do better.
We want to pay our debts.
We want to climb higher.

She is a beautiful woman.
Her voice is deep and strong;
This is a queen who greets you with a hug,
And you know that she will not fall over
At the first breeze to come along.
She's made of tougher stuff.

And I am only glad to be there.

Thursday, May 2, 2002
11:08 a.m.


The Karma Bank

So, the BHC and I have this theory about life: the Karma Bank Theory, which goes like this: if you do something good and kind, you make a deposit in the Karma Bank. If something really shitty happens to you, you make a withdrawl from the Karma Bank. I realize this has nothing to do with the true definition of karma, but it sounds good. The point is there will always be something to balance out the good and bad stuff in your life. (Note to self: maybe this should be the Tao Bank instead.)

I bring this up because, after this weekend's bad juju (pulled my quad dancing and had to deal with a flooding water heater), I am so ready to make a withdrawl. Please tell the manager to draw up the appropriate forms.

Monday, April 29, 2002
01:19 p.m.


You get picked up, you get dropped down. Life has a set of physical rules that affect only the soul, and there is no modern-day Newton to calculate and qualify them. I go to a punk show, I get spit on, stomped on, and I had a great time. Somewhere, on the other side of the world, there's a guy my age who's wondering if he's going to get shot on the way to work just because he was born with an Arabic name. I meet a pretty girl, and someone else out there gets blown up.

I want more balance in this world. I want everyone to have a good life. Is that so wrong? No, you betcher ever-lovin' A it isn't wrong. Shouldn't we ask for more? Hell, shouldn't we demand more from the people we put in power, from the people who usurp our trust, from the swine out there who are only thinking of themselves in the short, short term? (And, God knows I only of myself in the short, short term as much as the next guy, but at least I try to put a little forethought into my daily idiocy.)

There is room enough for all. No, there is. There is enough soil and food and water and light and air. We just have to be willing to share. Disengage your clutch, take down your blinders, go for a goddamned walk and look.

(I am, by the way, completely exhausted from last night. How I'm gonna get through the drama festival I'm going to tonight without passing out and drooling all over the poor person sitting next to me, I'll never know.)

Friday, April 26, 2002
11:12 a.m.


...but I see ye've won first prize...

Last night, I pierced the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles underground nightlight, and I have come back with tales of a marvelous musical genre that we need to support, promote, and help to take over the world.

Kilt rock.

I witnessed this at The Garage in Silver Lake. I saw this with my own eyes. As I sat there, talking with friends, in came a group of punks, and not just any punks. Take your usual piercings, spiked hair, mohawks, tattoos, and then put 'em in full kilt. I'm talking with sporrans, even.

We were all there to see The Real McKenzies, who are just as sloppy, raucous, and loud as you'd imagine. Even if I hadn't been wearing earplugs last night, I don't think I would've understood a single thing they were saying. Granted, I was doing my best not to get stomped by anyone from the mosh pit, but even if we'd all been sitting down in chairs and listening intently, we wouldn't have grasped a single thing they sang.

But did it matter? Good gravy, no. All we needed to understand were six men, two guitars, one bass, drums, and bagpipes. And, of course, the kilts. And, yes, they wore 'em the way a true Scotsman should. During their anti-monarchist work Take The Bitch Off The Money, the lead singer was sure to show us what God graced him with upon his birth.

And now, even though it's not in my heiritage, I want a kilt.

Friday, April 26, 2002
09:07 a.m.


I want the bullies of the world to get a taste of their own medicine.

Round them all up. All of them, from every nation, especially ours. God knows we've done enough bullying of our own, and we've allowed bullies of every stripe to pop up. Hell, we've even created and helped out those bullies. But round them all up.

Then let them live the lives they've inflicted on everyone else. I want Saddam Hussein to suck down all the nerve gas he laid on the Kurds. I want Kissinger and Pinochet to get the same torture as the Disappeared of Chile. I want Congress and every resident of the White House to live in filthy, polluted conditions. Let everyone from Yugoslavia who dealt out pain and fear get it back a thousand times more. Have Sharon and Arafat trade places; let Hamas and the IDF switch jobs. Let the Vatican know the shame and degradation and misery of molesation, poverty, and repression. Have Suharto live in East Timor. Send Putin to Chechnya. Have ETA worry about car bombs. Let Ziang Zemin live fear of practicing Communism. Put every tin-horn dictator that we've created and propped up in the slums of the cities he robbed and created, all the way from Pakistan to Zimbabwe to Libya to our own backyards. Disarm the IRA and the URC and FARC and and every fucked-up paramilitary in the world and let them know what it's like to live every waking moment in fear because some asshole with an agenda and a taste for explosives and guns doesn't like the tone of your politics/faith/accent.

And then, we're they're done and pleading for mercy, launch 'em out into space, and let the rest of us get on with our lives. There is nothing worse than feeling powerless, and these people, these unbelievable assholes are able to get away with it every day. No. No more. Bullies grow because we let them. Bullies are like weeds; they need to be stamped out without mercy. Maybe they'll turn into flowers, maybe not. But they won't interfere with the garden anymore.

I'm sick of this shit. Knock it off, the lot of you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002
02:27 p.m.


GNU this, you pukes!

So, because the music at my gym sucks more ass than it kicks (disco, bad Top 40, and awful techno are the more popular genres), I decided it was time to get me a personal music device. Most of my tunes are on mp3, so I had to get me a player. After a lot of searching and researching, I found a new Rio 500 for under $100 on Amazon. It had enough built-in memory to give me enough music for warm-up, work-out, and cool-down.

I brought it in today, plugged it into my work box, and then found out that the software didn't support Win2K. I then found out that there was no Win2K legacy support. No one had a copy of RioPort 3.2 for download (RioPort itself wasn't downloading anything at all). I had just bought a hundred dollar paperweight.

Until I found RIOsitude.

RIOsitude is an open-source project to replace RioPort and RealJukebox and all the other software out there. It has a few UI bugs (file lists don't refresh sometimes, and it still feels a little unfriendly when you remove songs off the Rio), but it's free, and it works, and my little Rio is doing its thing: playing music.

There was a PayPal button on the site, so I sent 'em ten bucks and a thank-you note. These are the things I dig about the Internet: twenty minutes of searching, I found what I wanted, I was able to thank the creators for their tool, and pay them for their time and effort. The cash goes right to the folks who write the code. It got me thinking about the solution I thought of when Napster burst on the scene: every song would have a link to an artist's page, and that page would have a button you press to pay the artist directly. I would gladly shell out fifty cents to a buck for each song that I dug; hell, I'm still figuring out how best to send cash to XTC and Robyn Hitchcock for all the stuff I've downloaded. (And especially after reading how XTC has had monetary problems for most of their career due to contractual shenanigans, wouldn't it be that much nicer to press a button and have cash deposited in a band account that would split the cash into equal shares for the members?). The trick would be to make it more secure, and I'm not talking about copy-proctection secure. I mean making sure the money would go to the right people.

Anyway. Time for the gym. Down with disco, up with the Dukes of Stratosphear!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002
11:12 a.m.


Plums deify!

(Thanks, Steve.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2002
03:54 p.m.


*swoon*

I am in love with Amy Alkon

Granted, she's probably more than a little nuts, but wouldn't you have to be to pull off a stunt like this? I'm only bummed that she beat me to it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
02:34 p.m.


Tonight, we dance.

It doesn't matter that we spent the day fighting our enemies or hiding from their bombers. It doesn't matter that we spent the morning comforting our screaming babies or burying our dead. The sun has set, and we have survived another day. So, tonight, we must dance.

We gather in the Great Room beneath the village square, the one we use as a bomb shelter during the day. We all can fit in here, and we do: the old, the sick, the young, the dying, the living, fighters, doctors, the priests. We are all in this Room, and, even when we open the vents and the children take turns manning the bellows to pump in fresh air from the outside, it is a stifling, sweaty hot. We don't care, for, tonight, we dance.

The musicians all play together, and it's a marvelous cacophany. Accordion, zither, bodhrán, guitar, viola, clarinet, gamelan: all play, and all play together. The music doesn't stop; when one musician gets tired, another steps in to take his place. Only when dawn arrives do they stop. Then we all return to day-to-day survival, whether it's gathering food, setting up ambushes, or tending to the dead. Those things must happen, but not now. Not at night. At night, we must remember that we're alive. We must give thanks and praise, but we must live, too. Our enemies would have us dead, but every night, we are able to say that we have lived another day. We have won. So, tonight, we dance.

From Land Ships by Barham Qadir

Thursday, April 11, 2002
11:29 a.m.


Big trees cover the streets
A living canopy that breaks down asphalt
Roots are taking over the lanes
And trunks crack the sidewalk

The world is taking itself back
Your car won't be able to deal
Put on your boots and grab the kids
We're off to a birthday party

Smell the air
Taste the water
For the first time in your life
It will nourish and feed you
For the poisons are gone
And the garden is blooming
There are rabbits in your living room
And birds in your rafters
And bats in the belfry
Eating the white flies that cover the basil

Wake up!
The world is calling you
And your tv won't work anymore anyway
Bring your book under the tree
That grows in the middle of your house
And listen to spring waking up.

Tuesday, April 9, 2002
11:47 a.m.


What the-?

Man, I go away to Fresno for the weekend, and I come back to find guacamole smeared all over the fridge (and I mean all over), exploded inflatable dolls in the sink, and empty vials of Vicodin on every horizontal surface.

That's the last time I'm giving Knauss the keys to this place.

If you haven't bought his book already, go and do so, huh? The man's got a drug habi -- uh, I mean, three kids to feed.

Monday, April 8, 2002
10:37 a.m.


Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard Virtual Book Tour

Hello, and welcome to the tenth stop on the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" virtual book tour, the kidney stone of virtual book tours, tearing its way down the ureter of the Internet. My name is Greg Knauss, I'm intimately familiar with kidney stones -- in fact, I've got another one, right now, and have just dosed up on Vicodin so I don't have to lie on the floor for the next few hours, wishing for death.

Of course, Vicodin is a Schedule 1 narcotic, so I'm well on my way to incoherent bliss. This, of course, won't affect the quality of today's presentation, as it very rarely makes sense anyway. Powerful drugs will probably help matters, as I'll want to take a nap and we can call it quits early.

"Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" -- which I actually got around to reading the other day; shouldn't you? -- makes a great gift. People with kids can give it to expectant couples and chuckle smugly because they know what's coming. People without kids can give it to expectant couples and chuckle smugly because they won't have to go through it. Expectant couples can give it to each other and then just sort of stare nervously.

Woo. My lips are tingly. Wuh wuh wuh. It feels like there's gauze wrapped around my tongue. Which means -- now that I've lost some significant percentage of my oral motor function -- that it's time for the reading:

I've just collapsed a lung inflating a punching bag for Tom. It's one of those bobbling ones -- Bugs Bunny on one side and Taz on the other -- with sand in the bottom, so it will bounce back up after it gets a good whack. I plug up the vent, set the bag on the floor, and call for his attention.

Tom looks up from a tangle of surplus cords that he's taken to playing with and sees the bag. He instantly jumps to his feet and barrels over, with what I can only assume is crazed bloodlust in his eyes and a fearsome "Eeeee!" tearing loose from his throat. As he approaches, he swings both arms back, brings them forward... And gives the bag a hug.

"No, no, Tom," I say. "Punching. You punch-- Oh, all right."

Hee. Hee hee. Tingly, tingly, tingly. Loosey goosey. Wooooo. Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean, really looked at your hand?

I like to think I can relate to what expectant mothers go through, as I've got a foreign object wedged up me, too, and it will eventually make its way out through an orifice that clearly wasn't designed for it. I even had an epidural for my last stone, so they could sonicly pulverize the little bastard. Not that that's the recommended procedure for babies, of course. That I know of. I usually spend my time in the delivery room concentrating on not passing out. Maybe that's why they always whisk the baby away after he's born, so they can reassemble the parts before handing him back to Mommy.

Have I mentioned wooooooo? Woooooo.

I was going to answer questions here, but now, now, all the answers in the universe seem so obvious. Totally obvious. Somebody should write this down: Tuna pancakes. Write that down someone. It's important. So obvious.

Join me and the six thousand purple rabbits behind me next week when the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" book tour crashes hard at Inevitable Backlash.

Friday, April 5, 2002
10:23 a.m.


I'll let you in on a little secret: whatever you have going on, whatever it is, whatever project or romance or whatever it is you're pursuing with love and joy, you must never, ever reveal its existence to the world until it's done. If you tell anyone about it, it will all crumble in your hands like a sand castle at high tide. If the suspense is killing you, good. Beautiful things can arise from such tensions. Be patient. Wait until you're done. And then, don't hesitate to tell everyone and everything about what you've done.

Thursday, April 4, 2002
09:52 a.m.


Jam

We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

That was on a promo poster for Starman, one of my favorite comics of the 90s. It used to hang above my desk back when I started doing this Web stuff. I wonder where that poster is now.

Every day we are reaching up and out. Every day we are fighting inertia. Every day we are growing and dying all at once, moving forward and shrinking a bit more. Our reach should exceed our grasp; else, what's a heaven for?

I ramble. I prattle. I dance with words, yell in pain when someone misplaces an apostrophe and doesn't care about it (except when I do it. But that's a typo, not ignorance. Usually). I break the rules, tap dance on Manuals of Style, mock those who use bigger words than are required. Language should be precise, but it should be fun, too.

I want to be the Gene Kelly of my generation's literature. I want to write epic pulps, comic books with depth, and novels that are ephemeral as farts. I want tweak the sensibilities of the intelligensia, and have bus drivers tell me they love my stuff. I want an army of groupies made of librarians and bookish girls with smooth skin and tailored blouses. I want to arm wrestle Ernest Hemingway and tell him that he'd be much happier if he just came out of the closet.

Don't you get it? I just want to expand all over the Universe, baby, until I know everything and everyone. And then, go for a walk. Maybe in that order.

Wednesday, April 3, 2002
09:52 a.m.


Instructions

Here's how it works:

You sit down in front of the keyboard, and you go. Just go. The story wants to get out. You have the scene and the players, and they are both living and breathing and want to do stuff. You have a world inside your head that's just standing there, tapping its foot and cocking its head and saying, "Well? What's it gonna be?" How can you not breathe life into them?

Tuesday, April 2, 2002
05:17 p.m.


"Sweet Jesus...how much living can you do in a lifetime?"

"Not enough," he replied, packing his bong with his Special Blend (two parts Fruit Loops, one part ground chinchilla toenails). He clicked on his butane micro-torch and held the white-blue flame to the bowl. He inhaled deeply, and the water in the bong bubbled and gurgled like a happy brook. When he'd had his fill, the bong fell away from his face, like it was done feeding and had to move on to the next mouth. He looked at me with deeply-stoned eyes and choked, "Not enough."

From It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Stories You Never Heard About College by Prof. Peter Grigson

Tuesday, April 2, 2002
04:05 p.m.


A Brief Prayer

If there's anything I learned from the year of living in the mountains, it's that I should never, ever, ever piss off the Travel Gods. They need to be appeased all the time, every time, whether it's something as simple as reciting the Road Trip Prayer (Sben knows what I mean) or as complex as sacrificing an inflight magazine. Now, as I sit here, waiting for the cab to pull up, I will offer up my prayers to the Travel Gods.

*Ahem*.

O Travel Gods, who watch over our paths
I thank you for your protection in the past
I thank you for boring seatmates
I thank you for tailwinds
I thank you for smooth sailing
I ask you to watch over the plane
To watch over the roads
To watch over the mountain
Get us all there and back.
Amen.

And now to go and pray to the Snowboard Gods. Banzai!

Friday, March 29, 2002
04:28 p.m.


I always get passed when I bike to work, which is fine. I expect it. They have multiple horses under the hood, while I have but one Lithuanian. Not to say that I'm not working on getting faster; hell, I broke 28 mph yesterday morning (though I was going downhill. With a tailwind. And a straight shot of green lights. But still, 28, dammit!), and plan on breaking 30 by summer's end.

Anyway, I get passed, and I usually get funny looks because of my bike. Today was no exception. As I pulled to a stop at Broadway, I heard the whine of a motorcycle. To my left was a woman on a Honda bike. She was wearing leathers, sturdy boots, and had a little braid poking out the back of her helmet. I smiled and nodded. She rolled her eyes and took off when the light changed.

As I crossed Colorado, I heard the putt-putt of a motor scooter. To my left was another woman; she could have been the sensible older sister of the woman on the Honda. This one was on an old Vespa, and she had an ankle-length grey flannel skirt, a parka, and a full wrap-around helmet. I smiled and nodded. She rolled her eyes and took off when the light changed.

I swear. I get no love.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002
09:32 a.m.


"Why are you doing this again? Why can't you just up and go to France for a few weeks like everyone else."

Jake stopped fiddling with the pannier's strap for a moment and looked up at Mike. "Anyone," he finally said, "can go to France, tour vinyards, drink cafe au lait in the Deux Magots, and pick up chicks in the Louvre." Jake went back to adjusting the strap. "Anyone can buy an experience, Mike, but not enough people actually live them."

Jake patted the now-secured pannier and stood up. He looked his friend in the eye and said, "I've spent the past eight years working my ass off, and what do I have to show for it? I have no stories, no changes, no nothing. I have a whole bunch of junk that I never use, and an apartment that I hate in a neighborhood I hate even more. None of my neighbors return my hellos. The only human contact I have is with people at work. There's more to life than business, Mike."

"You're nuts, you realize that?"

"Of course I'm nuts! Christ, I'm about to ride my bike to Maine! No rational person does that in this day and age! But I'm gonna do it anyway." He looked at his watch. "It's now 6 o'clock. In three hours, Margie will be coming by to take the keys to my place. In twelve hours, I'm gonna be on the road. Let's go get a beer, huh?"

From Two Pedal Horse by Gunther Sandoval

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
11:30 a.m.


"Bitterness is a drug, drugs are a luxury, and you're too broke to afford luxuries right now."

"The hell are you talking about? I just got a raise and a bonus."

"I'm talking affording energy, you dip. Look: you have time and energy and about a zillion different things to do that you've been putting off 'cause you've been focusing on other things. The other things are gone now, dude, and if you'd only let go of them, you'd see that you have all the bandwidth in the world. Jesus, you've got stories to write, and networks to set up, and rides to ride, and you're sitting around, watching...what are we watching, anyway?"

"I'm not sure. It's a Korean soap opera, but I've never found out the title. I just call it 'One-Eyed Korean Battle Monk' 'cause the main character's this--"

"--okay. Okay! See? Case in point? You're wasting bandwidth."

"But--"

"No. Off with the tv."

"But the Battle Monk!"

"Off! Out! Work!"

From Igor and the Bastion Host by Michelle McClure

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
09:58 a.m.


I'm a firm believer in Good Mailbox Karma. When I was living up the hill, my day would always get better when I'd walk into the post office and see something in the glass window of my PO box. The day would improve even more when I found that the something was an actual letter or a package slip. It didn't matter if it was a card or a letter or what; the fact that someone had taken the time to write something out, put on the stamp and send it winging its way up to the mountains all for me was all I needed.

There needs to be more Good Mailbox Karma. The world would be a better place for it.

Monday, March 25, 2002
04:32 p.m.


Pump! Pump! Pump that Iron!

Sweet Jesus, Sarah, but that's a hell of a routine. You make me feel like a piker.

I'm not about to publish my routine, mostly because it's repititous and boring, but mostly 'cause it'll make me sounds like a lightweight who can't lift his iron. I'm working on it, man, I'm working on it.

Monday, March 25, 2002
10:52 a.m.


"Flogging Molly!"

"What?"

"Flogging Molly!"

"What?"

"Flogging Molly!!!"

"Ooohhhhh..."

Thursday, March 21, 2002
03:00 p.m.


I live in fear that, once I get this car thing settled, I will become one of those people who live for their cars. The past month and a half of carlessness has been a pain, social-wise, and I'll be glad when I don't have to bum rides off friends who have to come out of their way to get me. I am not, repeat not looking forward to the return of payments, insurance and the inevitable new-car-owner paranoia. Is it time to become more careful when I'm eating a bagel and driving? Or should my first act as a new-car-owner to be to smear creme cheese all over the shotgun seat? Questions...

Monday, March 18, 2002
04:30 p.m.


If you say so...

"I want you to repeat this after me: I will not chase them anymore."

"What?"

"Trust me. It works."

"...all right. 'I will not chase them anymore.'"

"They can come to me."

"'They can come to me.'"

"One more time. They can come to me."

"'They can come to me.'"

"Excellent."

"This really works?"

"Trust me."

Monday, March 18, 2002
10:15 a.m.


Oh lovely, lovely Tina Fey
How we love it when you look our way
With your flipped hairdo and horn-rimmed glasses
You get us to plant our asses
Every Saturday night...

Oh Tina, Tina
It would mean a lot
If you could tell us if you've got legs.
Your lovely torso, even moreso
Is all we see on tv,
Lovely Tina Fey...

I'd write more, but, what with the restraining order and all...

Monday, March 11, 2002
10:41 a.m.


Real Life Excerpt (Though Not As Funny As It Could Be)

"You know who rides those kinds of bikes?" he asked. "I'll tell you who: crazy old men with beards."

"Why do you think I shaved?" I replied.

Everyone cracked up. "Admit it," he said, "you really don't want to be a programmer. You want to be a high school philosophy teacher. You want to ride your weird bike to school and rave about Kant all day."

"Um...yeah," I said, walking my rig towards the door. "If anyone needs me, I'll be at the local coffeehouse reading Sartre."

"I expect a full report on Proust when you get back on Monday!" he shouted as the door swung shut.

Monday, March 11, 2002
10:37 a.m.


Speaking of Thin Mints, I'm glad that you can't buy Girl Scout cookies online. The day that happens, I'm doomed. They might as well just back up the truck to my front door and prepare my spot on Jerry Springer ("I Ate Nothing But Thin Mints And Now I Can't Leave The House!").

Mmm...Thin Mints...

Thursday, March 7, 2002
11:09 a.m.


Give me inspiration, give me endurance. Give me skill, give me art. Give me a story to tell and the desire to tell it. Give me time, give me space, give me a place in my head to let imaginary people come to life and help people to tweak their view of the world just a *wee* bit.

And some more Thin Mints, too. I wouldn't mind another box of 'em in the freezer.

Thursday, March 7, 2002
11:06 a.m.


Look...

You have these moments, sometimes, when you want everything around you to stop, just stop, so you can grab the first person you see and tell him, "Look...wouldja just stop and look and see that it's a beautiful goddamn day outside?"

What he does with it then is his own business, but you've done your job by getting him to pause just for a moment to consider that you may not be mad, but may be right.

Thursday, March 7, 2002
11:04 a.m.


Don't Forget

Listen:

There will always be someone better looking, better smelling, better dancing than you. There will always be someone who writes better, cooks better, tells stories better, gets better booze, better action, better onion rings. There will always be someone who is more creative, charming, and crazy than you.

There will, however, never, ever be someone who is better at being you than you. And don't you forget it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002
12:12 p.m.


You wanna know what's weird? It's not going to Rob & Cat's wedding and finding out that Jenn Scott now has four kids, or that Frank Murphy is still as cool as ever, or that Mary Keegan's sister graduated with my brother. No, what's weird is finding out that one of my high school classmates was on Temptation Island. No shit. And what was equally weird was realizing that she was the one who came to the island with the crapweasel boyfriend. I hope to God they'll be at the reunion, just so we can ask her, "Good Gravy, woman, what were you thinking?"

(This, of course, meant that I watched that thrice-damned show. God have mercy on my soul.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
04:38 p.m.


Recently consumed media:

Saw Metropolis last Friday, and I'm still humming tunes from the soundtrack. If this gorgeous anime is playing near you, go, go, go.

Also, went and saw Amelie last night. Gorgeous. Jean-Pierre Jeunet rocks the free world, and I now have a major crush on Audrey Tautou. Or maybe a crush on Amelie herself. Dunno.

Aaaaand, don't forget it's Valentine's Day! Celebrate your love by giving that special someone a ton of chocolate, candy hearts, and more chocolate! 'Cause nothing says "I love you" like early on-set diabetes!

Thursday, February 14, 2002
12:31 p.m.


Shh!

The Bridge is a ridiculous movie theater. Let's get that out of the way: it's a huge place, its lobby is cavernous enough to hold the Spruce Goose, it has a cocktail lounge, it has mozzarella sticks at the concessions stand, and it has decor right out of the Jet Age (think of the ugly orange and green carpet patterns you'd see at LAX in the early 1960s. Why was that ever popular? Why was that allowed back into the public consciousness?). It has ridiculous prices.

It also has, most ridiculously, the Director's Halls. These are theaters with ultra-plush high-backed leather chairs and assigned seating, a concept I thought ridiculous at first but know think is worth the ridiculous extra three bucks. It is definitely the way to go when you want to see a movie, provided that movie is one you'd gladly pay thirteen bucks to go and see. I went there this weekend to see The Fellowship of the Ring (my fourth time seeing the movie, and my second time seeing it at the Bridge. I am a Supa-Powa Geeque), which I've already said is one of the best movies I've seen in a dog's age.

The nice part about seeing a movie so many times is that you have a chance to look and listen and catch stuff that you miss the first time 'cause you're so wrapped up in the wonder of it all. I was able to pick up on how the chapter titles worked into the dialogue ("A long expected party," "a shortcut to mushrooms"), the extra snippets of speech ("That's for the Shire!" "And that's for my knee!"), and the extra details that Peter Jackson's team worked in (Boromir's gauntlets had the White Tree on them, and when Aragorn was confronted with the Ring, it whispered "Aragorn...Elessar" to him. Whoop ass!). I'm that much more excited about the four-and-a-half hour director's cut DVD coming out later this year.

I suppose the only part that blew about going to the Bridge was the party of assholes who sat in front of us. Talking to each other, answering their cell phones, and then one of them looked to pick a fight with me when I, rude swine that I am, shushed them during a quiet part in the movie. I swear, the day when we can all carry electric cattle prods and be allowed to use them on rude schmucks who talk in thirteen dollar movies, there will be celebration and mild shocks throughout the land.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
11:03 a.m.


Update

If you've been wondering where I am, I have been writing, though not enough. I took up the challenge, and, I'll tell you right now, I'm not going to make it. Work has eaten into my life, and, with the month half-past and me barely past 10,000 words, I know I'm not going to make it. But I will press on as best I can, and this might turn into FebNoWriMo. The things I have so far may be crap, but they also amuse the bejeezus out of me. And, in the end, isn't that what counts?

Wednesday, January 16, 2002
05:45 p.m.


The man reached into his coat and pulled out a milk crate. I don't know what kinds of pockets he had there, but they impressed me. I wondered if he was going to pull a crash of rhinos out of there for his next trick.

Alas, no, he merely put the milk crate down on the sidewalk at the corner of Lachlustre and Divine, climbed atop it and said:

"Listen to this:
We are bringing you news from the Real World."
The dark times are here, the forces of evil have been abroad.
They are in your homes.
They are in your lives.
The only way to combat them is to reach out to each other.
Darkness hates company.
Greed dislikes friends.
Share what you have, and the world will be like the best Friday night you can ever remember."

He climbed down from his milk crate, tucked it back in his coat pocket, and walked on. I think I was the only one who stopped to listen.

From The Seat of God's Trousers by Fillbert Leganza

Wednesday, January 16, 2002
05:39 p.m.


Page 342 of the Manual

Every time you try something new, you are allowed ten seconds of frustration. When those ten seconds are up, you are done being frustrated and will then make another attempt. If you have saved any of those seconds, you are allowed to use them again. You are not allotted another ten seconds however.

Note: as the difficulty level of your activity increases, your allotted frustration time decreases. By this point, you will have realized that learning new things, gaining a deeper understanding, getting down with the get down: it takes time. Breathe and get back to it.

Thursday, December 6, 2001
06:07 p.m.


If I can't set things right with you anymore, the least I can do is set them right with the rest of the world.

Thursday, December 6, 2001
09:48 a.m.


What I Would Like

If there are any two things I'd rilly, rilly like for Christmas, it would be this and a Wahoo's jersey. Yes.

Saturday, December 1, 2001
03:48 p.m.


"Do you remember what it was like, then? The whole galaxy at our feet, a thousand systems to plunder, treasure and adventure at every turn?"

"I remember how you wired the navigator up to a dartboard."

"Ha!"

"We'd dance about the bridge after dinner, drunk, and then you'd toss a dart at the board, and wherever it landed would be fed into the navigator. And that's where we'd go next."

"Ah, yes."

"I remember falling asleep in your arms, and, the next morning, we'd wake up and be somewhere new where no one knew us. And then we'd do it all over again."

"Whatever happened to us, then?"

"We got old, love."

"Ah, yes. That."

From Eat the Peach by Livingston Stewart

Saturday, December 1, 2001
11:54 a.m.


All Things Must Pass

Now I've watched you sitting there
Seen the passers-by all stare
Like you have no place to go
But there's so much they don't know about Apple Scruffs

You've been stood around for years
Seen my smiles and touched my tears
How it's been a long, long time
And how you've been on my mind, my Apple Scruffs

Apple Scruffs, Apple Scruffs
How I love you, how I love you

In the fog and in the rain
Through the pleasures and the pain
On the step outside you stand
With your flowers in your hand, my Apple Scruffs

While the years they come and go
Now, your love must surely show me
That beyond all time and space
We're together face to face, my Apple Scruffs

Apple Scruffs, Apple Scruffs
How I love you, how I love you

Apple Scruffs by George Harrison.

Good night, George. Rest well.

Friday, November 30, 2001
09:11 a.m.


Aphorisms

Aim high. Aim big. Always shoot for the greatest joy. Mediocrity is for everyone else. Make your life extraordinary. Be thankful for the amazing gifts given you. Never get bigger than your britches. Make sure your head never gets too big for your hat. Save during the feast for times of famine. Share your joy when you can, and don't be afraid to ask for some when you're running low. If someone declares himself an expert in something, demand a demonstration. Martha Stewart has a staff. Always have alt bevs at your parties. Always have too much, but make sure it's stuff you like. And, above all, dance!

Thursday, November 29, 2001
04:51 p.m.


Laugh-a while you can, Monkeyboy!

If there's anything cooler than seeing The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension in a beat-up old theater with a loud-n-rowdy crowd, I'd like to hear about it. Last night was a pitch-perfect blend of Goofiness, scenery-chewing, and 80s clothing. Double belts! No shirts and bandanas! Bow ties and white shoes!

Plus, I have the theme song stuck in my head. Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 28, 2001
01:17 p.m.


Sweet!

Think snow.

Oboyoboyoboyoboyoboy...

Tuesday, November 27, 2001
04:42 p.m.


Beware anyone who advertises "humor" on his website. This person will not be funny in any way, shape or form. Pointing out humor is like pointing at a naked woman standing in the middle of the crowd: it's rude, and it tends to ruin the wonder of the moment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
01:29 p.m.


Tired. So. Very. Tired.

Just thought you should know.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
12:03 p.m.


'Brazen and overly casual.'

I collect words, see. I hear something I like, I write it down. Maybe I'll use it one day, maybe I'll forget about it. I always hope for the former, though; I think of notebooks and web pages and other repositories as idea gardens. You plant a seed and leave it alone and one day, *poof* you've got something.

So, that's what's up with that. Someday I'll use those words. Or maybe not.

Thursday, November 15, 2001
03:55 p.m.


Two Real Life Excerpts

"Well?"

"Well, what?"

"What the hell happened, huh? Tell me?"

"Nothing to tell, dude. I met her there, we danced, we went our separate ways."

"Man, living vicariously though you is slow."


<*****>

"What's the theme for dinner?"

"'Adam gets to cook a good meal for his friends rather than have pizza with his sweaty, man-breasted co-workers.'"

Thursday, November 15, 2001
12:45 p.m.


This is a photo to remember.

There's something about that look of defiance, that faintest of smiles that gets to me. I know this woman's life has been hard and will probably be hard for a good long time (here's hoping we pull off some kind of Marshall Plan in South Asia to make up for all the mistakes the New World Disorder made), but you can see the smallest glimmer of hope there. Quite a contrast from Steve McCurry's photo of an Afghan girl.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
02:19 p.m.


Pass the mashed potatoes...oh, and the limes, too...

One of the producers at work always takes in strays during Thanksgiving. This is from his invitation he sent to the company.

"It's like Thankgiving with your family, except there's more swearing, and more tequila."

Of course, at my parents' place, it's pie and Animal House, but what the hell.

Monday, November 12, 2001
12:09 p.m.


Horton has a Who again.

Anyone who's been in my living room will know what I'm talking about, and know that this is a time to rejoice.

Monday, November 12, 2001
10:26 a.m.


The toughest part of it all was convincing Ernesto not to belch in her face. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, dude, and I'm glad you're looking out for me, but it's just gonna cause more problems."

"I know. I just don't like it when my friends get hurt."

"I know. I appreciate it. But, please...no belching."

"Not even a little one?"

"No."

"Can I sneeze on her?"

"No. No bodily fluids or gasses."

"What if I just smile and stare at her?"

"...yeah, okay."

Thursday, November 8, 2001
02:29 p.m.


Take a Memo...

Note to self: ask Rusty and Peter on Monday how to do that cool open armed spin-in-a-circle twirl-around hippity-hoppy thing.

Also: what it's called.

Thursday, November 8, 2001
11:03 a.m.


If there is any one thing that's always bothered me about the Post Modern Detatched Ironic Iconic Urbane Urban Sexual Re/De/Evolutionary Struggle (as signified by Nerve and the like), it's the photography. I dunno whose idea it was to ape every bad trailer park amateur photo shoot for the setting (with bright, bald lighting, imitation wood siding, and furniture from the mid-60's) and put a bunch of angular, pissed-off people with glassy stares in uncomfortable positions, but he should be drug out in the street and beaten with Klieg lights. His followers should be made to cover dog shows for the rest of eternity.

I don't think it's Bold And Daring to deconstruct sexual mores and images; I think it's a sign that You're Not Getting Laid Enough. Or, rather, You're Not Getting Laid Very Well Enough. As the Unamerican shirt says, bad sex sucks. And not in the good way. And, God knows, the world could use more Good Sex right about now.

Let me spell it out for you, you sad, sad beautiful people: sex is something light and airy and playful. It's dancing that gets closers and involves less clothing. It's tree climbing for grown-ups. Quit analyzing it and start doing it. Jebus.

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
11:04 a.m.


"Take mine eyes from out their sockets, and burn them with a sulf'rous brew! The evil I have bourne witness to shall haunt me all my waking days! It shall plague me in my sleeping hours! Curses! Curses!"

"Dude, it's just 'Jerry Springer'."

"Begone!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
02:42 p.m.


Some thoughts on the war...

Just some things that popped into my skull:

I'm not happy with the discrepancy between the Pentagon and the New Yorker, either. Someone's not getting it right, and I know it's going to be bad juju one way or the other. If Seymour Hersch got it wrong, then there goes a reliable news source. If the Pentagon got it wrong, then we are being lied to. Bad scene.

I was reading in the Monitor about how tough the Taliban are, how they can march all night through the snow, live on nothing but tea, eat Green Berets for breakfast, etc., etc. And then I remembered the Gulf War, how terrifying Iraq's Republican Guard were supposed to be, and how they were turned to mulch. (Or, in the immortal words of Bill Hicks, "They went from the Elite Republican Guard, to the Republican Guard, to the Repubicans Are Making This Shit Up.") It's propaganda, sure, but whose? Sure, we know they're a brutal bunch of swine, but are they really that tough in combat? Did those stories come from Afghans who were too beat up by civil war and starvation to put up a fight? Did the Taliban come up with this crap to put fear into the hearts of infidels? Or is the Pentagon letting that one go so their defeat will that much more crushing (assuming, again, that the Pentagon hasn't been lying about casualties and the ineffectiveness of the Taliban resistance).

Fight terrorism. Ride a bicycle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
12:34 p.m.


An Excerpt

I am writing these notes to you on rice paper, so that I may send them to you. Instead of melting wax, I will seal them with fire; the ghosts of my words will reach your ghost out in the Realms Beyond.

What I want to tell you, love, is that I feel your ghost with me, and that I have missed you these many months. I go out for tea with my friends, and I turn to them and say, "How I wish she were here right now. She would have enjoyed this." And we will nod, sadly, then continue our conversation. Or I will walk down the street and see something in a merchant's window and think, "How she would have liked this." And I will pause for a moment, wondering if you are walking just behind me, so that if I turn quickly enough I will see your shadow before you vanish from my sight.

I remember your laugh most of all, that burst of joy that would subside to a trickle as you covered your mouth with your hand in an attempt to be more demure. I remember how we first met, at a fete in the village square, your not-so-subtle request for me to get you a cup of rice wine. I remember that's when I first saw you laugh, how I told you the story about my Uncle's first attempt to brew rice wine and how the overfermented jars exploded, leaving the family cat half-drowned and fully drunk. That's when that laughter exploded out of you, like rice wine out of a clay jar. People turned to see what was so funny, and you put your hand over your mouth, your eyes darting around to see if anyone had discovered you. I fell in love with you that very day, and now you are gone.

I know there is nothing I can do to get you back. You are far away in the Realms Beyond, and I cannot hope to follow. I can send you food and money so you may live well there, but I cannot join you. I miss you with all my heart.

From Two Pounds of Flax by Tadakano Hirosuna

Monday, November 5, 2001
01:02 p.m.


You know, that was just a good weekend all around: a demothed kitchen, clean laundry, bike rides in the rain, brunch, dancing, movies good (Time & Tide and Monsters, Inc.) and not-so-good (Zardoz! "The gun is good! The penis is evil!"), sizzling rice soup, and, above, sleep sleep sleep. Everyone in the world needs weekends, baby. Everyone needs time and the resources to enjoy said time. Why doesn't anyone make that a plank in their platform?

Monday, November 5, 2001
10:47 a.m.


I Swear To God This, Too, Is True

Last night, as Rebecca and I drove home from the Derby (after dancing to Lee Press On and the Nails!), we pulled down Wilshire. Just as we came up to Barrington, a car in the left turn lane decided, no, he really wanted to keep going down Wilshire. So he pulled out. Right in front of us.

"Oh, shit!" we both cried as I hit the brakes. We'd slowed down enough to miss him. Our new moronic friend continued on, oblivious.

His license plate? BAD DRVR.

Sunday, October 28, 2001
02:19 p.m.


Reason #7,321 Why I Love Wahoo's

The sign on the cash register that reads:

My name is Abdullah Ablangatta.

Saturday, October 27, 2001
03:42 p.m.


Angst (Part 27)

"You cannot guess the depths of my despair. My agony knows no end. The torture I endure, it is beyond description. How I am able to get out of bed every day to face heartache and adversity is a tale that cannot be told."

"So...do you want whipped cream with your hot chocolate, or what?"

"Please."

Friday, October 26, 2001
04:53 p.m.


If there's any one thing I need to let go of, it's this: you and I dancing together.

Everyone, I think, has some recurring fantasy in the aftermath of a break-up. It usually starts like this: "If I could give anything, it would be to do [insert activity] with you one more time."

I think most people would want their Inserted Activity to do something with sex. Mine would be dancing. I would give anything to dance with you one more time, the way we used to when we started dating.

What made it so different? Probably that I didn't care what the hell I was doing, as long as you were having a good time. It was before I started second-guessing myself, before I took lessons, before I kept wondering, "Oh, God, am I ever going to be good enough out there with her?" It was when I could dip you as we walked to Father's Office, and you'd look up at me and, "As long as you keep doing that, I'm yours forever."

If I could, right now, with everything I've learned, walk up to you, and ask you to dance, and lead you out on the floor and spin you and make you laugh and smile and then give you one last dip...

I don't know if I can enjoy dancing with you again, and that bothers me. It means that there's a part of me that wants to keep hanging onto anger and bitterness and recriminations. The part of me that won't let me enjoy dancing takes pleasure in your pain and joy at your discomfort, and it bothers the hell out of me that I have a part like that. I don't care if it's normal, I don't care if everyone wants me to start saying things like, "I never liked her anyway." Bullshit.

If there's anything I'm going to let go of, it's that part of me. I know it's there for self-preservation, that it's there for my protection. Thank you for caring, you bitter little part, but you're not welcome here. I don't need protection like that. I don't need to hide behind a shield of fear and doubt. Go away and don't come back.

One day, we will dance. And I hope we enjoy it.

Thursday, October 25, 2001
03:38 p.m.


Hee...

I'm usually not one to follow a trend, but this seemed too funny. Fuck me.

We'll see how long until the meme gets hijacked.

Thursday, October 25, 2001
12:45 p.m.


I Swear To God This Is Also True

So, Mark walks into my office, tosses a book down on my desk and leaves. He only does this when he finds Something Awsome.

He has never let me down.

The title of this magnum opus: How to Good-Bye Depression : If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way? by Hiroyuki Nishigaki.

I do not think the source of Nishigaki-san's Awesomeness comes from poor translation. On the contrary, I think he embodies concepts that defy language.

From the back copy:
I think constricting anus 100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to good-bye depression and take back youth.  You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway.  I have known 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years.  As a result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger.  His eyes sparkle.  He is full of vigor, happiness and joy.  He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circumstance.  Furthermore, he can make * * three times in succession without drawing out.

In addition, he also can have burned a strong beautiful fire within his abdomen.  It can burn out the dirty stickiness of his body, release his immaterial fiber or third attention which has been confined to his stickiness.  Then, he can shoot out his immaterial fiber or third attention to an object, concentrate on it and attain happy lucky feeling through the success of concentration.

If you don't know that concentration can give you peculiar pleasure, your life looks like a hell.

Surely, truer words were never spoken.

Monday, October 22, 2001
06:11 p.m.


Compare and Contrast

What people are buying where I grew up.

What people are buying where I now live.

Discuss.

Monday, October 22, 2001
02:07 p.m.


Edgar was slowly pedaling, his energy reserves finally tapping out. He had about two more miles to go until he reached town, and he was already thinking about how wonderful the cheese and crackers were going to taste. He was picturing himself, wrapped up in his camp blanket and munching on cheddar, when he was snapped out of his reverie by an explosion of squaking. He looked up; a lone oak stood on the side of the road, and a murder of crows had burst out of the branches and into the air.

He put on the brakes and touched his feet to the ground. He fingered the bite valve of his water pack and thought about taking a sip when he got a better look at the tree. Or, rather, a better look at the sky behind the tree.

The day had been one of those perfect Midwestern ones; the sky was a clear, brilliant blue, and giant clouds rolled across the horizon like white, cotton buffaloes. And now the sun was finally sinking low enough to set the entire world on fire. Everything around him was washed golden, as if Rembrandt had passed through and done a little touch-up job. The clouds were turning to molten brass; oranges and reds he'd never seen before luffed before him, and pinks he thought were extinct winked into existence long enough to make his heart burst into tears.

He grinned, put foot to pedal, and shot off. Those crackers were going to taste excellent.

Sunday, October 21, 2001
05:59 p.m.


All it takes is one annoying guy, one film student from Chapman We-Used-To-Be-A-College-But-Wanted-To-Charge-More-So-Now-We're-A University with an axe to grind and access to Final Cut Pro to bring down a party. Thank God we were leaving anyway.

Oh, and, news flash: the 80s are dead. Dead, dead, dead. Take the few good cultural artifacts (XTC, Degrassi Junior High, and Robotech) and move the fuck on.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 20, 2001
03:25 p.m.


A List of Friendly Words

Pants
Accordion
Fudge
Beer
Album
Sandwich
Blanket
Elbow
Toes
Eggplant

Thursday, October 18, 2001
08:18 p.m.


I Swear To God This Is True

I decided to indulge myself this morning by getting some chai and a scone for breakfast. As I stood in line with the rest of the slumbering masses at the local Caffeine Emporium, I couldn't help but look around at the other people in line with me.

In front of me were two polished, stereotypical Production Types. They looked too professional to be geeks and too casual to be management. Their hair was perfect (including their facial hair), their clothes were perfect, and their shoes were clean. They had Producer written all over them.

One had a clipboardy thing in his hand, and I glanced at the paper it held:

WOODEN MIRACLES PITCH
The show will be a Bob Villa home improvement show, except that it's hosted by Jesus Christ and set in the 1st Century...

And people wonder why television sucks such ass today.

Thursday, October 18, 2001
09:13 a.m.


You tell me right now, chief: are you gonna do it? Are you gonna go all the way? Are you gonna see this one through, or are you just going to file it under Ideas That Would Have Been Nice?

Are you gonna study? Are you gonna build? Are you gonna save? Are you gonna train? 8000 miles is a hell of a haul, pal. You up for it? You gonna put in the roadwork? Or will you just watch 2.2.04 roll by and say, "Well, there's something else I didn't do"?

Are you gonna do it?

You're damned right I'm gonna do it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
03:02 p.m.


One of the things Nate brought up when I told him about The Mad Scheme (aka the bike trip across America) was tech. As in, was I going high or low tech? Now, while there's this appeal in just taking my rig, tent, stove, and a spare pair of shorts, I know enough about me to know that I like having as much support as possible. Bike trip support means tools, and those tools are going to have some tech.

I'm already thinking about bringing a laptop along for end-of-the-day writing, and I'm now thinking that that little beastie will have a more active role in the trip. After reading about Steven Roberts's Nomadic Research Labs, I know that I'm gonna have to do something with myself while on the road. As Nate pointed out: the Great Plains will be pretty for the first 10 miles, but then there's a whole lot more of them afterwards.

So, I'm going to need a way to:
-write on the road
-talk to people on the road
-know where I am on the road
-entertain my ass on the road

The talking and entertaining part could be handled by mp3 and DVD players. Speakers can be mounted on the seat of my rig, and I can go and install a monitor on the nose of the rig, or use a helmet-mounted personal monitor. Either way would require a way to pipe the video signal out of the laptop into the external monitor. I'm sure it can be done, but it'll have to go on the Experiments list.

I could also, by the way, go bananas and get a second laptop to act as an entertainment server. One in each saddlebag, with a network connection between the two. Or an external hard drive? I'm not sure about the capacity of laptop hard drives these days, and I'm going to have to figure out the weight-to-storage ratio (in addition to the weight-to-storage-to-required juice ratio...this is going to be engineering at its finest!).

I'm not quite sure about the writing part. I know that was one of Roberts's requirements for his adventures, so I'm sure to get some info from his book. But I'm going to have to find/buy/make a solution that can work with my bike the way it is. I'm hesitant to do a lot of customization to my rig, including changing from under- to over-hand steering just to mount a keyboard.

More later.

Thursday, October 11, 2001
11:45 a.m.


The one thing I don't get: how is America godless? It says otherwise on our money, in our Declaration of Independence, it's argued about every day in every corner of the country. That we don't worship your idea of God, well, no question there. But I keep thinking more and more about Spain under the Moors and then under the Inquisitors, and how much more tolerant the former were than the latter. What a disservice. What a disgrace.

And there's nothing I can do. I can be a good citizen, a good human being, but unless I follow one person's way of thinking over another, I'm no goddamn good. I remember being harangued by a street corner evangelist: in his mind, I wasn't a good person unless I accepted the same savior he had, and I was to be condemned for all eternity until I did so. That really stung me, to think that someone disliked me on a base level because I didn't believe in what he did. I'm not perfect in this regard: God knows I've let people's philosophies get in the way of my talking with them. But I hope to God that I haven't laid any condemnations down.

Except for telemarketers. May they burn in hell.

Tuesday, October 9, 2001
05:32 p.m.


I'm still not sure if the worst thing about working on the weekends is the simple fact that I'm here, or that I am bound by the First Person In Gets To Use Speakers rule. My officemate and I both use headphones during the week, but that's put aside for weekends. And, seeing how I was out late cavorting with belly-dancers, actors, and other assorted degenerates, there was no way I was going to be the first one in. I had sleep to catch, an appointment with Victor The Barber to keep, and laundry to fold. No, I'd be the second one in, so I would be held to the whim of Tim.

If I have to hear "The Final Countdown" one more time, I'm going to commit unspeakable acts with a spoon and some granola.

Saturday, October 6, 2001
03:04 p.m.


Asparagus polka-dotted nostril ferret.

(How's that for random?)

Saturday, October 6, 2001
02:57 p.m.


You wake up and the day has already gotten away from you. You go to sleep and the world keeps rolling on. We live off energy that comes from food, but we run on batteries that come from sleep. You can't squeeze blood from a stone just like you can't get effort from someone in the throes of sleep dep.

Saturday, September 29, 2001
04:41 p.m.


So, just who the hell am I anyway?

I always know that you're supposed to get yourself back after a break-up, but now I'm wondering what parts of me there are to get back. What parts are me? Just who am I?

Am I defined by this page, by the things I write? Yes. Am I defined by the people I know? Yes. Am I defined by my job, my hobbies, my house, my garden, my bike? Yes. But is all this me?

Just who in hell am I?

Saturday, September 29, 2001
01:46 p.m.


Minimal Requirements for Paradise

-Friends and family are all within walking distance.

-Everyone in the neighborhood knows and looks out for each other, but also knows when to leave each other alone.

-The air, water, and soil are so clean you could live off them.

-There is no fear. I know that's a tough one, so I'll change that to the only fear the people have is fear that their attempts fail, and even then it wouldn't be a big deal.

-People can (and do) dance in the streets without any prompting.

-Everyone has the opportunity to blossom.

-Pretension, class lines, caste systems, all of that crap is right out the window, because, in Paradise, we'd have evolved past that point.

-We settle our political and religious debates by duking it out in armored power suits, and then going out for a beer afterwards.

-Culture is no longer disposable, because we recognize that we make up culture, and we certainly are not disposable.

-That said, we also Get Our Shit Together.

Is that too much to ask?

Friday, September 28, 2001
05:59 p.m.


The more I push things, the longer they'll stay around.

Feh.

Monday, September 24, 2001
04:21 p.m.


The thing about writing fiction is that, yeah, you can go and write about the world the way it is...

...but I'd rather write about the world the way I want it to be.

Monday, September 24, 2001
02:42 p.m.


*poof*

I've felt like she's been gone for months. Last week just made it official.

What happened? Where did I go wrong? Where did she go wrong? Were we just fooling ourselves? Are we both terrible people?

Am I just going to make the same mistakes? Am I not capable of sustaining love? Am I boring? Am I lost? Where the hell am I going? Am I on the right path?

More questions to follow. Continue until dead.

Monday, September 24, 2001
12:47 p.m.


I've only heard a bit of jingo talk around the office, and it's all had this shivering, Scared Little Kid wavering underneath it. I can look at that person and tell he's scared out of his gourd, and he copes by acting tougher than he really wants to be. I so want to grab these people by the shoulders and shake some sense into them, but how can I? How can I do anything but reach out and hug him and say, "I don't know what's going to happen, but it will work out. You must believe that."

That, of course, would only get me a lot of cursing and homophobic talk. But all I can think is, "America: love it enough to change it."

While we're sorting through all of the horror, we need to see that the best of America has already risen to the surface. We need to hang on to that spirit and share it with the rest of the world, especially to the huddled masses who are ripe for recruitment by the swine who attacked our country. Now is the time to say, "We know you are lost and hurting and don't have any way out of the life you've been given. Please let us help you. Please take our hand and we'll help you out of the hole you're in. We're sorry if we helped put you there; now is the time to make amends.

"The people who scream and shout and burn the American flag, they are as much your friends as they are America's. Have they ever told you how they're going to help you? Have they ever mentioned any other part of their solution other than, 'Kill every American you see'? The movements that do have some politcal backbone, a true mandate from their people, what do they say? What can they tell us? We're listening."

Tuesday, September 18, 2001
01:12 p.m.


There is nothing sexy about plumbing.

Nothing.

Plumbers may be sexy as all get out, but I think that's only when they're off the clock and have had the first five layers of their skin stripped off. It's probably the only way to get rid of the muck sticks to you after a day's pipe rooting. God knows it's still hiding in the cracks in my fingers, lurking beneath my fingernails. Yeesh. Vile, vile crap lives in the pipes of America, and woe betide the man who goes after it without getting paid for it.

Monday, September 17, 2001
12:02 p.m.


Before Tuesday, I was used to the sound of Lear jets taking off from Santa Monica Airport, which is right next to my office.

Today, I froze when I heard that sound.

Friday, September 14, 2001
02:27 p.m.


Of course it's easy to spit out little bits and pieces of Moral Certainty in times like this. That's doesn't mean any of them are right.

Friday, September 14, 2001
02:05 p.m.


America doesn't need you, Ann Coulter.

And, no, I won't bother to post a link. I don't want her to get any more hits to use to justify the "rightness" of her editorial.

If there is anything I've been agreeing with, it's this editorial on Salon. The upshot is that if we want to win, if we want to defeat terrorism, if we want to create a truly safe society, we need to bind together and treat the people who planned and carried out the bombings as what they are: criminals. Not soldiers or enemies of war. They are criminals who need to be hunted down and brought to justice in a court of law.

We need to show them and the world that our ways work.

We need to make the poor of the world realize that these people are not their heroes. We need to show that we are not their enemies. If the feds are right and it's the world of "Islamic" groups, we need to make the world know that these people are the enemies of true Islam and that any righteousness they claim to their cause is spit in the face of a true faith.

We cannot fight a war with cruise missiles and nukes; that will only escalate the situation and bring on more and violent attacks on our soil. We must fight with police and judges, with courts and lawyers. We must show the world that our ways work.

So, Ann, be quiet. Take your hate elsewhere. America doesn't need you.

Friday, September 14, 2001
11:05 a.m.


None of the shit I've written for the past few days has made much sense, and none of it will make sense for some time, just in case you're wondering. This is more a sounding board, a chance to let random thoughts skip out of my skull before they pound it to pieces.

Thursday, September 13, 2001
06:33 p.m.


I know I can trust you to do the right thing. I know that you will stand up for any of your fellow Americans who become the focus of people's anger. I know you will hold your families close and help them look out for each other. I know you will not give into jingoism and flashes of temper.

Justice will be done. But it must be justice, not vengeance.

Of course, it's easy for me to say.

Thursday, September 13, 2001
06:26 p.m.


Real Life always catches up...

Last night, the kitchen sink backed up. When the girls upstairs fired up their garbage disposal, I heard a gurgling sound from the kitchen. I walked in to find the right-hand side fill up with water, soap foam and an unidentifiable black gunk. I still don't know if it's years of backup in my own sink or it's because the upstairs sink hasn't really been used in months. Either way, I get to do angioplasty on the thing tonight when I get home.

And all I can do is laugh.
The biggest crisis in my life
Is a sink that won't drain.
Who am I to cry out?

How dare I dare complain?

Thursday, September 13, 2001
02:21 p.m.


My God...

One of the things about living in Santa Monica (and Los Angeles in general) is that the city is so spread out. There are a few skyscrapers here and there, but nothing concentrated. I am always in awe when I drive on the 110 through Downtown, though there's only one building there on the same scale as the Twin Towers.

The only time I went to New York, I was slack-jawed at the height of the buildings. I was at the floor of a thousand-foot tall concrete and steel canyon. I only saw the sun at high noon, and then it dipped down on the other side of the street.

I mention all this because the footage of the planes smashing into the Twin Towers didn't strike me with the same sense of horror as these pictures of the dust cloud consuming the city.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
02:38 p.m.


Almost everyone I know is okay. I'm still waiting to hear from a few other folks who live in Brooklyn.

Actually, I shouldn't say "okay." Everyone is alive, and definitely not okay. I don't think anyone will be after this. All I keep thinking is that if something were going to happen here, it would have happened already. The office seems like it's limping about its business, though I'm sure everyone's going home early tonight.

And there's nothing more to say. Give blood if you can; give anything else if you can't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001
10:24 a.m.


AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)

Week of September 6, 2001

Consider the Greek word pharmakon. It has several meanings, including poison, scapegoat, recipe, and remedy. All of these happen to be major themes in your life at this time, Aquarius. Oddly enough, they are also interrelated. How? The metaphorical poison you've recently ingested will not, thankfully, hurt you, but will turn out to be a cure for a malady you didn't know you had. And the person who is currently serving as your scapegoat will reveal a valuable recipe for self-transformation if you'll only make yourself a bit more receptive. (Hint: The recipe will free the part of your own psyche that feels like a scapegoat.)

How in hell does he do that?

Monday, September 10, 2001
04:37 p.m.


Stop what you're doing. Look. Listen. The signs are there, the map is right in front of you. Stop beating yourself that you don't get it, breathe, and pay attention. You're only going to hear this once.

Monday, September 10, 2001
12:40 p.m.


Then again, sometimes I'd rather just press the Reset button and see what happens.

Monday, September 10, 2001
11:32 a.m.


F17

There are those days when I just want to find the Reset button for the world, press it, and type in at the prompt: JUST GET IT RIGHT.

Monday, September 10, 2001
11:00 a.m.


"Six pints of bitter, and quickly, please; the world's about to end..."

Bitterness does not set well. I don't like having a bitter taste in my mouth. I don't think I like it in my writing, either.

Three years ago, the woman I was dating emailed me to say that she'd read everything that I'd written online (which was a heckuva lot, I think). And, like any other creative person, I asked what she thought.

"You sound bitter," she replied.

On the one hand, I can see her point: my first essays and stories were me venting about the working world and what it's like to go vaulting out into the Real World after four years of the safe Womb O' College. I was not a happy camper back then. Of course it was going to sound bitter.

I used to think, though, that the best stuff I wrote was when I was angry and couldn't take it anymore; I had to write and get all the bile out of my system or I'd choke on it. I know realize that it wasn't the anger that made it good; it was the passion. I felt so strongly about whatever it was I'd written about that I had to, um, write about it. I had to take the effort to translate all those jumbled thoughts into coherent words and send 'em to my fingers to the keyboard. (And, yes, I know it would've been nice if I'd made the additional effort to edit all that stuff, but that's beside the point. Jesse, I'm looking at you.)

Looking back at the stuff here on the Scratch Pad and on the Ride and at the small garden of fiction I'm planting, I find that the things I like best and think are funniest are the ones that latch onto that same passion, that burning need to scribble. And not all of them are bitter (though Christ knows there's still a bit of that flavor mixed in there). There are some that certainly qualify as examples of that most wonderful of Life's Great Things: Goofy Shit. And Lord knows the world needs more Goofy Shit.

The point (if there is one) is that the toughest thing anyone who likes to create things is maintain a level of passion that lends itself to creativity. I still don't know if it's a matter of discipline or organic skill or just Dumb Luck, but I know enough to recognize when it comes on. I think I may finally be smart enough to remember to Let It Happen; the discipline (or organic skill or Dumb Luck) just sets the stage. It sets the table, cleans the house, changes the sheets, stocks the larder, but the passion still has to come of its own accord. You've got to Let It Happen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2001
04:26 p.m.


Dialogue

"You tell me...would you rather sit around and dream about being a writer, or go and actually be a writer?"

"..."

"Then what are you waiting for?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2001
04:21 p.m.


Inhibition is a dangerous thing when you write. You cannot hold back, you cannot lock yourself into anyone's framework but your own, you cannot be afraid that you're going to screw up. You just gotta write. You just gotta cut loose.

So, it is in the spirit of Cutting Loose that I will write the following:

Pants. Pantsu. Good gravy. Yer mom. My mom. More pants. Dammit, why won't this clock work? Duct tape for my officemate. More donuts. Great big freakin' pair o' pants. And, for all of you still listening, BOOGER.

Friday, July 13, 2001
09:16 a.m.


What's Snoo With You?

Easy to get out of the habit, ain't it? Of course, it could be another case of Having Nothing To Say, though it just might be a case of Not Being Sure What To Say. Yeah, I've been to Lithuania, I've been to Catalina, I've had all sorts of preconcieved notions broken down and beaten into the ground, I've banged my head against routing tables, and, above all, I've been figuring out just what in hell I'm going to do with my life. Haven't had much progress on that one, but it's all been pointing in one direction: Any One But This One. All signs point to Change, even if that Change is as simple as losing the beard and spending the summer with a naked chin. But something's got to change, baby. That much I'm sure of.

Tuesday, June 19, 2001
02:27 p.m.


Buy Local, Live Loco

Attention, men of the South Bay/Marina/Culver City area!

For all your floral needs, I highly recommend Matsumoto Flowers (310.274.5648). They do good work. Bypass that cold, unfeeling florist web site you use, pick up your yellow pages (or go online for the yellow pages...I guess that's okay), call the first listing that catches your eye, and make your order.

Though farmer's markets are still good if you've got the time.

Friday, April 27, 2001
02:05 p.m.


It's Friday the 13th. Beware of anyone in a hockey mask.

(That doesn't do me a whole lotta good, seeing how I'm working on a hockey game now and this part of the office is littered with people's gear. I just hope no one gets any funny ideas.)

It's also Good Friday, and, once again, I'm thinking what I always think on this day: dude, could someone tell me what's so good about it? I mean, from Christ's point of view, this day must have sucked.

Friday, April 13, 2001
10:58 a.m.


Jukebox

So, like everyone else with a fast connection and a computer, I've been pulling down MP3s off of Napster before it gets shut down/sued out of existence/has nothing but Britstina Spearuilera. And there has been one overriding though going through my head:

Good God, this program sucks.

Not the guts of the program, the search and download parts. I'm talking about the GUI. The stability. The things that would cause Napster to get eaten alive if it were a commercial product.

The prioritizing function sucks. You can't drag and drop songs in the download list to change their priority. You can click on a bunch of songs, move them up in the queue, but God help you if you try and move that whole group down.

You can't use the damn mouse wheel to slip up and down lists.

Oh, and there's that one little annoying thing: the way Napster suddenly becomes inaccessable. You can click on Napster all you like, but it won't come back. It's still working, but you can't do a thing with it anymore.

I know the program is a Beta, and the company would probably be working on these problems if they weren't using their resources fighting lawsuits and leading marches in Washington (good grief). But it all makes me wonder: is someone working on an open source Napsteresque app? Wouldn't that solve the stability and legal problems? You could have an army of geeks making the thing work, and you'd decentralize ownership/responsibility.

If there is something like this out there, I'd appreciate it if one of you smart people told me about it. In the meantime, I'm going to listen to Wolverine singing "Surrey With the Fringe on Top."

Monday, April 9, 2001
12:14 p.m.


This morning, barrelling down the hill at El Segundo Street, I actually said, without irony, "Wheeeeeeeee!"

That makes four "Wheeeeeee"s this week, and I've only ridden my new rig twice. I may have to watch it; I don't want to run through my ration of "Wheeeeee"s for the month.

It'll be tough, though...

Friday, April 6, 2001
03:43 p.m.


There's a beautiful irony in reading Time's recent article on global warming and having pop-up ads for SUVs appear.

Did I mention I got a new bike on Saturday? It's very nice. My crotch has never been happier.

Tuesday, April 3, 2001
02:03 p.m.


I'm through with imagining drama and dark events and all kinds of down events in my life. No more. If I'm going to imagine me a new world, it's going to be one in which I'll be happy. It'll be one in which my kids will be strong and safe. It'll be one in which I will ask the Babe From Michigan to dance, and I'll make her blush every time I dip her.

I mean, if you're going to build yourself a world, why aim low?

Tuesday, April 3, 2001
11:34 a.m.


Form allows for function.
Function allows for form.

Two sides of the coin,
One does not weigh more
Than the other.

What will you do
With the framework you have?
What will you add to it?

Thursday, March 22, 2001
06:02 p.m.


Now That's Comedy...

This past Sunday night, I went to the ACME Comedy Theater over on La Brea with the Babe From Michigan. A friend of mine is in the Bravo Company, and the group was trying out all their sketches before they open for real in April.

Los Angeles, as I've said before, is chock-full of these little theaters and troupes, and they're worth the ten bucks most of the time. I've been some incredibly awful shows before where it wasn't even hit-and-miss; they were more miss-and-miss-in-a-big-horrific-way.

ACME was more hit than miss on Sunday, and it was a miss just because of one or two sketches that were...well, lame. Juvenile. Dependent on the cheap laugh. They didn't fit well because some of the other sketches (like the one my friend Dara did with Ebenezer Scrooge or the screamingly hilarious "Relationshape") were just so well written and...funny. Funny takes work. Funny takes forethought. Funny takes timing and character and soul, and there's only so much of that in crude humor.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I dig a dick joke as much as the next guy, but I certainly appreciate the thought and effort that a writer puts forth into her work a lot more than the quick "Let's use a naughty word" brand of sketch.

No point, really, except that all of you native to Los Angeles should go and see the Sunday show at ACME. And the next show that Beth Burns puts on, whenever that is.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001
02:35 p.m.


Bombs Away!

I really, really hope Mir nails the target dead center for two reasons:

1) What an astronomically amazing coincidence it would be! Think about it: this giant hulk of Soviet steel, lurching on a decaying orbit that's about as accurate as lobbing rocks off an overpass, comes screaming through the atmosphere and nails a 40-by-40 target that's been drifting in the South Pacific for a week. What are the odds? What a cool roll of the dice that would be!

2) Though it's only a pipe dream, if everyone in America decided to get a free taco, and only a free taco, it might help put enough of a dent in the Taco Bell empire that PepsiCo would stumble, and Wahoo's would make a stunning advance out of nowhere to capture the hearts and stomachs of the nation. Viva los tacos de pescados!

Tuesday, March 20, 2001
02:23 p.m.


Because I love you, I will let you in on a secret:

The best pizza in the Universe is on the corner of 18th and Pico. Abbot's II.

No, don't give me your crap about, "I'm from Chicago" or "I'm from Brooklyn" or "You granola-eating California freaks with your Thai chicken and alfalfa sprouts...the hell do you know from good pizza?" Word is bond: Abbot's II on 18th and Pico is so good it'll bring tears to your eyes.

Last night, I had a slice of wild mushroom with pesto and a slice of tomato, basil, and goat cheese. With a root beer. For 6 bucks. And it filled me up fine. And tasted incredible.

Go, ye Angelinos. Get thee hence.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001
02:55 p.m.


Wow.

As hellish as the last three months of this project were, it's always nice to get some outside validation. I was the sound guy for this one, and they really, really liked me.

Would I buy this game? Maybe. I'd rather play ball or go to the park myself, but the game is a pretty good simulation of the real thing. If you play it, let the game idle for a while. You'll hear the PA announcer call me to customer service.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001
10:28 a.m.


In the spirit of Trying New Things, I had a hummus sandwich at Togo's today.

Now, I'm no stranger to hummus. I love the stuff. Can't get enough of tahini and chickpeas, especially with a bit of tabouli and falafel. Tasty.

So, I thought I'd give it a shot rather than the usual roast beef. The sandwich girl was a little unsure of my order, even though it's right there on the menu.

I should have known I was in trouble when she reached for the ice cream scoop. Hummus, dear friends and neighbors, should have a good consistency, but it sure as hell shouldn't be...applied to bread like caulk to tile. I was less than thrilled with the result.

But I tried something new, at least. And I also avoided the Girl Scouts who are camping out in from of Ralph's, too.

Monday, March 12, 2001
03:30 p.m.


Time to clean the slate again.

After a mad rush of cleaning up the homestead, I am filled with an urge to renew. I want to renew my career, my writing, my relationship with the Babe From Michigan. I want to look at it all with new eyes and see what the heck's going on. I want to keep it fresh. I want to remember every day when I wake up why I love writing, why I love computers, why I love *her*. I want to see life from all the angles at once. I want to notice the little things that God put into the world just as reminder that there's beauty and wonder and joy if we just let it happen.

I also want to keep my kitchen clean, but that's another story for another time.

Monday, March 12, 2001
01:54 p.m.


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