Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trouble Brewing

“This town stinks,” said the one with the beginnings of a mustache.

“Yeah, it fucking stinks, dude” said the tall one. He had the same haircut as his friend. In fact, they all combed their hair over their eyes like Wayne did.

No had yet figured out how to grow a mustache like him yet. This was damned shame because as Remy had once said, over a cigarette, “Wayne’s mustache fucking rocks!”

“Yeah,” Jean Marc had agreed at the time, after spitting, “It fucking rocks.” Jean Marc was smaller than the other two, but he knew how to fight. His dad taught him.

The three of them shuffled down the pier in their sneakers, laces undone like they just don’ care. They looked around but couldn’t find anything awesome to burn.

“This town stinks,” Remy said again, repeating Wayne.
“We should get some booze and rip shit up.”

Which, eventually they did.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Gift to You, Lousy as It May Be, You'll Thank Me Anyways. Because We Are Friends. Or Family.

I have been working on this piece for some time. And it has gotten pretty long. But no matter how long it gets, it's just not any good.

So I'm going to spare you, friendly reader. It was a great idea, but it just didn't work out as well as I had thought it would. And actually, now that I think about it, rye in hand, even if it had been perfectly wrought, it would have been of interest to maybe two people that I know. So perhaps it wasn't such a great idea afterall.

Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors and those who have read him will attest that his style is unmistakable. I figured I would write a little piece echoing his peculiar voice, but use elements of my own life instead: Zihua instead of a cat with a bent tail; Daniela having with small and beautiful ears; Jeff Buckley instead of dated jazz.

But to be honest, even those three that would have figured out what I was up to wouldn't have found it all that funny. So I figured I'd just tell you all the punch line and move on.

And now, I expect you have that empty, mildly dissatisfied feeling that comes with not being sure if you missed something or if that something wasn't there and what you read merely sucked. But at least you didn't have to read 2,500 words to get it.

Merry Christmas reader!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Book Review: What is the What – Dave Eggers

It will come as no surprise to any of those who know me or (or those few who read what I write) that I have a very soft spot in my heart for Dave and his McSweeney family. I won’t get into why. I will agree, though, that he hasn’t written a good novel yet. Even his short fiction has never even come close to his debut memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. But even as it seemed that he was possibly fading into the late 90’s and becoming simply an aging crack-pot celebrity philanthropist, it turns out he was up to much, much more.

Over the four years (2002-2006) he worked with Valentino Achak Deng to bring his story to our attention. With the same deft touch that he exhibited in AHWOSG, What is the What is touching, funny, and startlingly easy to identify with. There is virtually no hit of Eggers smarmy earnestness, the narration is given with a complete purity of voice. It is very difficult to tell where the writer leaves off and the narrator begins, but you quickly warm to Valentino, becoming engrossed in his complete melodrama of a life.

There are structural issues and a few low bits where a history lesson obtusely interrupts the action, but I wish to leave my issues aside. I have not been touched by a book (or maybe a person) in the way that I was by What is the What.

I encourage anyone who wants to know more about the Sudan and the Lost Boys who fled the country during its prolonged civil war to read it. I encourage anyone who wishes they could make the lives of others better to read it. I encourage anyone who thinks they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas to read it.

In You Shall Know Our Velocity!, Eggers muses about the urge to give. If you were shipwrecked on an island and discovered another person there, you would give him half of whatever you have. This would be obvious; no decision to be made. If a week or so later another person washed up, you would share with him too. But somehow, even with this natural urge to keep each other alive, there is some number at which people become not like us and we no longer feel the compulsion to share. Valentino has suffered a great deal and needs our help. It is no accident that Eggers has distilled the problems of a people into this one smiling man.

Please give to him anyways.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Entities The Famously Adventurous Poly-Sexual Artist Currently Known as Prince Has Been Sighted Taking Into His Minnesota Boudoir

A tall man with a side part.

A tall woman of unnatural beauty.

A tall pair of possibly Scandinavian twins.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

The Dallas Cowboys mascot, Rowdy.

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line.

A Septuagenarian couple who had recently confessed to the artist by the salad bar at Friendly's that the might have lost that loving feeling.

Three Lamas and their handler.

A Bowling ball.

Thirty thousand silk worms.

A wet-nurse.

A rough-handed dairy farmer.

A princess.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elements from the Periodic Table That Would Serve Well as Names for My New Baby (or a Character in a Shakespearean Comedy).





More Margarita Ruminations

Equatorial sunsets don’t offer much in the way of twilight. The mustachioed bartender flicked on a string of little illuminated plastic sombreros. In your apartment, this kind of decoration would be depressing, but here, they imbued the bar with warmth that made the patrons lean in a little closer.

“You ever see ‘Braveheart’?”

His tongue was getting a little fatter, this being the margarita that would inspire his girlfriend to ask, “don’t you think you should slow down?”

“Or ‘300’?”

At least the little bar didn’t play Mexican music. It was hard to find a drinking spot in small towns that didn’t constantly have mariachi’s belting out “Cielo Lindo” from a tinny mono.

“‘Gladiator’, ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Rome’? I mean, they’re all pretty much the same: epic tales about very tough men persevering in the face of enormous physical resistance. Middle ages, Rome, Greece: it doesn’t really matter when it takes place, it’s unrecognizably different from now, and so are the impossibly hard heroes. Sitting there, watching them swing their swords, rally their loyal followers on horseback, and make the tough decisions that shape histories both personal and global, you’d like to think to yourself, ‘Man, I’d fucking lay down and spill my innards on that wheat field for the safety of my people too. I’d be epic too. I’d be hard if I had too.’ ”

The sound of a blender too can be grating in your home, but somehow it too had a reassuring, comforting sound here at the Cantina Fresco.

“Invariably in these films there is a foil for the hero. A lizard-like senator or court sycophant who skulks in the halls of power, bending to the fascist will of whichever power is oppressing our hero. Preening his long hair with soft, slender hands, he sides with the establishment for no other reason than it will afford him the greatest personal luxury. Sometimes he is a traitor, which I’ll admit is bad. But mostly he’s just a man who has been faced with overwhelming odds, and decided not to resist. He saw the paradigm changing, and positioned himself for the new reality.”

No one at the bar liked the direction this was taking. A crew-cut teenager paid his tab with wrinkled notes from his bathing suit.

“How come his story is never told? He behaves like just about every single man in the audience would, if faced with similar a similar reality. I, for one, know that I wouldn’t cauterize my own wounds with a firebrand just to bound back into muddy battle. No sir. I’d be in the Senate, planning; or in the palace, counting the King’s money. And I’d be thanking my fucking stars that I was clean and dry.”

Not even the cicidas argued.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Friendly Giant

Jim is gone. He's not coming back and there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it. There will be no more, no seconds, no matter how nicely we ask. All we can do is look back, because the present is simply too sad.

Jim was among the first adults to speak to me as an equal, as if I too, were an adult. There are about five people in my life who offered me this respect while I was growing up, and each of them I still try to emulate to this day. He listened to me as if I was the very first to speak the adenoidal platitudes of a teen aged boy. He laughed with me, not at me, though often at his own jokes. He swore not freely like a child, but carefully and with precision. He showed me that just because you took life seriously, you did not necessarily have to be serious. He taught me that everyone deserves to be heard, and that everyone is interesting if you listen carefully enough.

It would be hard to describe Jim as an athlete. It was only due to pure luck that he didn't fall down the stairs more often than he did. But by no means did his lanky frame and disobedient limbs prevent him from competing, he simply had to do it in his own way. It's infinitely easier to win at tennis, for instance, if you only play with children. And thrash me he did! Until I turned thirteen, of course.

But over those years, he taught me that telling me how badly he was going to beat me was much better than actually beating me. In fact, since his racket mysteriously went missing a few years ago, his play was sublimely reduced to a simple essence of trash talk. Our "annual" game was since replaced by a brace of Bloody Mary's on the veranda where he would outline all the improvements he had made to his serve the previous winter and what it would mean to me and my (not-so) imminent humiliation.

When I think on this, and all the other jokes we shared, well, wow, it is hard not to feel like I was smiled upon with very special favour. But in reality, I suspect that each of his nieces and nephews thought that *they* were quietly his favorite; that he was particularly mirthful with them; that he sought them out in a crowd because they were the most fun; that he understood them for what they really were; that he was just faking being an adult.

Which, he might have been. Faking. It was clear to anyone of us that he had undergone a marked change in outlook after he took his retirement. His jaw unclenched and his whole demeanor opened up. Others were invited into his world.

I believe I was in University when he hung up his wig (or whatever it is that lawyers hang up: pens? foolscap? it can't be cleats!). Young, ambitious, and aggressive, it didn't make much sense to me at the time. Here I was, doing anything to start a career, and there he was walking away! To help people! Inconceivably romantic. But as I grew older, and learned to hate my first job, I began to find that I hoped that one day I too would wake up, look around, and decide that I had all I needed; that I could contribute to my community in ways that far exceeded the reach of my checkbook.

The last time I saw Jim was a few weekends ago up at the lake (where else). We had brought Adrian over to the Wright dock so he could splash around in the shallows that had been cleared by Nancy and Dad and the great Mr. Mac so many years before. Mostly we just milled around while Adrian generally made a mess of the place. The conversation volleyed about in its typically lazy summertime way: how many more boats there are this year than others; what Nan and Dad used to do to leaches; whether the fish would eventually eat the discarded water slipper resting on the bottom of the lake off the end of the dock; why Jim's canoe was the fastest on the lake, a marvel.

When it came time to pack up the boy and take him home for some supper, I hoisted him up on my shoulders, where suddenly he was staring directly into Jim's eyes. (Jim was, it turned out, one-half an Adrian taller than me).

"So long Adrian! See you soon!" Jim bellowed, smiling wide and giving my six-toothed son a good view of his dental work.

Adrian shrunk into my my hair, tears welling up in his eyes. A small sniffle.

I swung him down and cradled him in my arms so that he was sitting facing outwards, "It's only Uncle Jim," I told the little guy, trying to smooth over the situation, "Jim!" I said.

Sniffle. A tiny moan and a furtive look for escape routes into the woods.

Jim raised his arms high above his head and waved them around, all elbows and freckles. His knuckles dragged through the clouds above and he laughed, "that's right! I am scary! Lookout for Uncle Jim!"

But that's the end of the story: finished in the middle. Adrian will never have a chance to think that he is Jim's favorite nephew. He will simply wonder: who is the laughing, bespectacled man towering over us in all the family photos?

"Papa? Tell me about the friendly giant again."

And I will.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Review: Murakami – After Dark

It’s hard to tell if Murakami is recently prolific or if it's simply his translators who are are. Nevertheless, this is the fourth book from him in three years, and in that spell, it's his most elegant submission. A “slim” volume, it could be described as Murakami light, but even so it retains all the key elements that longtime fans love so much. Dualism, dream worlds, sinister fascist overlords, coffee, women with small ears, American food, cats, minimalists, and jazz all make their appearances in this light-hearted and ultimately very touching story.

Murakami’s Japan, often criticized in his own country for being too foreign (American), is a strange and spooky place where the characters never really feel at home. Through simplifying their lives, lives which are inevitably complicated by the author, and seeking solitude, they tend to find happiness. It is a most therapeutic journey for a busy western mind to take and I recommend it highly. Think of it as the modern literary equivalent of Zen meditation, but with chicken salad sandwiches and Jazz.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Urgency in young music

As I get older, look older, and heck, even act older, the music I listen to is changing: it’s getting younger. And not just in the way the very dazed and confused Wooderson observed of high school girls, the ones who highlight your mortal velocity by merely standing still in their pom-poms. No, my musicians are actually getting younger. And I know why.

When I started choosing my own music as an adolescent, I listened to the blues greats: Muddy, John Lee, Bo, Pop, Buddy (!). Sage old-timers imparting me with lessons hard learned, they bestowed upon me an unearned gravitas. My adventures restricted to the hushed streets of Westmount, I thirsted for something more, grander: something as big as me. And I was unwilling to wait. It wasn’t just me; all adolescents want desperately to grow up. They are ready for life, god-dammit, why won’t anyone take them seriously? For fuck’s sake I’m not a child!

Well, Albert Collins took me seriously. I would lie on the carpet of my room, stuck in there for the night, and listen as he slowly told me about the women he had loved, the whiskey he had drunk, and the cars he had stolen, now that’s OG. And I wanted all of it.

Now that I am no longer grounded, and I look on those years of identity crises with the knowing smile that my parents probably hid from me, my emotional deficits lie in other accounts. I miss the yearning. I miss the drama. I miss the sense that any one moment will define the rest of my life. I miss the complete lack of perspective. I miss the urgency.

But I can find it in music, the music of young people. Their music is all those things and it brings electricity to my grey-suited subway rides.

Adrian surveys the lawn, considers a dip in the pool

Scuff scuff go my shoes. Down the stairs, feet first!
My shoes are green.
Grass is green! Maybe I’ll sit in it for a while.
Maybe not.
Sitting is for sissies. I’m going to go.
Hey! Water! Over there! I see water, look!
Scuff Scuff.

There’s mum over there. She’s waving. Nice Mum.
I’ll just tell her about the water, “Agua!”
I don’t think she sees it, “Agua!”
I like when she smiles. It makes me think of puppies.
And I like puppies! Also: trains.

Scuff Scuff. I’d better just move this little stick.
But where shall I put it?
Maybe in my pocket?
No, it won’t go in there: this pocket is a fake.
I’ll just put it over here. There.

Did you hear that? Up above?
“Choop Choop!” That is what birdies say.

Whoa! The pool is over there. Water.
I’m just going to put my hands in there for a minute I think,
Maybe shovel some water onto the grass, which is green.
What’s that floating in my pool? Oh yeah, Dad said it is a Narwhale.
But it not built to “scale” that’s why it fits.
A small narwhale. I like narwhales.
And water. “Mama! Agua!” Yup, she’s looking. She sees the water.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: Amis – House of Meetings

Amis is deeply interested in Russia. He is an accomplished student of its history, and a huge fan of its literature. With this novel, he has made a very personal attempt to craft his own Russian novel. In fact, I know this because he tells us this in the text.

Most of the story takes place in a Siberian gulag, and this is where the novel’s best scenes take place. Amis’ account of the labour camp is both horrific and thrilling, but also curiously funny in many places. Reminiscent of Primo Levi’s account of Auschwitz, one probably needs the full 70 years of intervening time to find humour in such places, but even so, it is there. But the secrets that bind this text together are ultimately disappointing. Amis lords the Magoffin over the reader in an uncharacteristically clumsy manner.

It will surprise no one to learn that I have not read as much Russian literature as he has. But I do share a deep love for his hero, Nabokov. And, from this perspective, I regret that he has not nearly equaled any of Nabokov’s work, nor Dostoyevsky, for that matter, whom he is also clearly emulating here.

But even as I tire of his increasingly over-ripe leering, and occasional hubris, the fact is I will never tire of Amis’s style. Whatever the topic, and regardless of his age, the man is a delicate (though sometimes brutal) craftsman. I will keep reading him, but certainly won’t advise new readers to pick up this volume of his as their first.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Book Review: Pynchon – Against the Day

So I finished it. And it was pretty darned amazing. I’m not going to say it was an easy six months of my life. No. It certainly wasn’t. There were, of course, the obvious physical challenges of spending all those hours (those miles) with six pounds of hardcover bound small print, hard edges threatening my eye sockets, but that was the least of my problems. My wife did suggest that it was “un-sexy” to wear those sport goggles in bed, and she also threatened to ban it from our marital boudoir after I used it to stop that bathroom flood; wine lovers refer to that smell as “ash” or “barnyard” at worst, and even so they find it sexy.

No, I’m happy to report the real challenges lay in the text. With over a hundred characters to keep track of, working in multiple timelines, sometimes alternated dimensions or even media, there was frankly more than I could often handle. Encyclopedic is probably the best way to describe it, and many reviewers do. Except, it would be more like if someone decided to make a novel out of a “B-side” encyclopedia, compiling stories from all the slightly-less-significant-and-sometimes-even-a-little-obscure people and places of the early 20th century: Salzburg, not Paris; Venice, not Rome; Montenegro and Kazakhstan, not Moscow; Denver.

There were spells when I walked away from it. There was one occasion where I left three rather long voice mails on Liesl Schillinger’s phone. But each time, just when I thought I was on the verge of leaving my dollar-bill bookmark in that bad-boy for the last time, I would wind up with a pair of espressos in my hand and a quiet morning ahead of me. And when approached in this way, the book would roll over and show me its marvelous insides. Complex, funny, strangely touching, it could confuse as well as enlighten.

One of the Pynchon fan-sites that I appealed to for help midway through the first third (this would be, what, February?) offered up some advice that really resonated with me. Paraphrasing: reading Pynchon is like listening to jazz, you can listen and try to understand to as much or as little of it as you like and still enjoy it. If it gets to hectic, or you are not sure what is happening, just lie back and let it wash over you. It’s not supposed to make sense, it’s just meant to make you feel good. Feel good, and think.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Today I said some things. We said some things. These things we said can never be unsaid. And they will ever linger out there in the aether of memory, would that I could, but alas I cannot: all I can do is to apologize.

Horrible, horrendous things. Surely, some of those words you probably had never heard aloud before. No doubt you wondered if some of them were even fit to be considered English. But they were. English of the bawdiest sort. Terrible English fit only for terrible deeds performed by terrible women. And surprised men!

But to be fair, there was no way I could know you were listening. Or, for that matter, that you weren't going to be out of town. So, though no doubt the words were mine, the ears were yours. And, my love, your ears were supposed to be in Sept-Isles this past weekend, were they not?

But for shame. How terrible of me to lash out at you again. I cannot blame you. It is only my love for you that makes me lash out at you so. What cowardice!

Though it bears mentioning that it wasn't technically the same bed we had slept in the night before you lied about leaving. I would never do that to you! I changed the sheets. Plus, she was wearing your perfume, so that business about "the stink of her" was a little over the top.

But I'm getting off track again. I really want to apologize for my brutish behaviour. Sure, things got a little out of hand, but I had no right to threaten your cat. That was out of line. Especially considering your cat is, in fact, a male, so many of the proposals I made in anger would be biologically unsound if not simply impossible. Similarly, your sister. Except, of course, she is female, so, well, I guess not so impossible. But still: I mean, especially if she was willing to undergo some intensive grooming and so on. Boy oh boy. She is something else.

Not that I'm looking! No! I have been so upset since our row that I have been shut up in my room, unwilling to speak to anyone. Idling away my afternoons, wimpering through my Twin Peaks DVD set. Barely able to eat or drink. Maybe a little schnapps to help me get to sleep at night. And who's kidding who, I have never been able to say no to cured deli meats. Oof, remember those sandwiches Dagwood used to make for himself in the middle of the night? Sausage links and ham-still-on-the-bone all packed in there? There was a guy who knew how to handle life's up and downs.

Has anyone ever told you your sister looks a little like Lara Flynn Boyle?

Look. We'll never be able to go back and change what happened last Friday. Not without some major, major pharmaceutical advances combined with a massive uptick in my purchasing power.

Speaking of which, while we're baring the wounds of our hearts, I should tell you that you are out of gas. I had to pick up my cousin at the airport yesterday and, well, I still have a set of keys to your car. I probably should have filled up on the way back, but, well, you were pretty low to begin with, and so it seemed pretty ridiculous to think that I should have to fill up just for a quick trip to the airport. I was careful to drive slowly so we didn't actually use that much. Riff says hello, by the way.

Oh and I borrowed a few dollars too. I'll get them back to you at the end of the month. Or maybe I'll just pay you back when we go to Stowe in June; get a nice bottle of wine or something. We could pop it in the hot-tub, pump up the Vangelis a little.... Maybe I'd better make it two bottles. You shouldn't leave that kind of cash in the car you know.

Cupcake. My little chocolate chip cupcake. Look at me going on like a fool! I'm sure you can see how distraught I am over our little misunderstanding. I am so sorry. It will never happen again. Not as God nor Eros himself still fills your lungs with the sweet breath of angels.

When does your sister graduate anyways?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Items I have attracted via careful application of The Secret

The admiration of all men

The adoration of all women


An unearned air of erudition

That windswept look

A great deal on gently used all-season radials.

A Jack Russel Terrier named "Champ"

A boxed set of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" DVDs

The scent of freshly baked bread

A family of swallows in my garage

A bowling 'C' Flight championship

Surprising amounts of lint

Six knee-scuffed and somewhat androgenous kids trailing me on bikes.

A new credit card

A possible lawsuit

A wishing well

$45.90 in small change

Friday, May 11, 2007

At the bar in bare feet.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure Johnny Depp wouldn’t be all that into hanging out with me.”

“Why not? He seems like a pretty cool guy.”

“Oh, very cool. That’s not the issue. I mean, no doubt I’d like to hang out with him, but I just don’t get the sense that he’d be very interested in me. Which, in turn, would make it a lot less fun to hang out with him.”

“I think you’re selling yourself short.”

It was a nice thing to say, but in truth, he really didn’t think he was. The sun leaned down and pressed its forehead into the fringe of palm trees across the bay. His shirt stuck to his back a little in the heat, and they watched the waves, always optimistic that the swell might be picking up.

“I have pleats in my jeans.”

This was also true. He didn’t like the pleats; he knew that they weren’t cool. But he didn’t do his own laundry and really hadn’t worked up the nerve to give his cleaning lady more strict instruction with regard to how his factory distressed jeans lost much of their appeal when pressed with an iron. Plus he didn’t speak Spanish.

He took a sip of his margarita. Little white wisps of smoke rose out of his glass as the humid air met the drink’s little whipped frozen peaks.

“If he got a chance to know you, he’d like you. I like hanging out with you.”

The bartender touched his new mustache lightly; he hadn’t shaved during his week off and was trying it out. The reviews had been positive so far. Being Mexican, the mustache was entirely without insouciant irony.

“Thanks, but who’s kidding who? I wouldn’t even get into the Viper Room.”


“Shuffle your feet here, there are often sting rays and you don’t want to step on them,” said Sam, and it seemed like sound enough advice to me. I didn’t want to step on a sting ray, it was true. Sting ray barb to the heart, died instantly: who could forget that diagnosis? Not me. Nope. The poor Crocodile Hunter. And I think it’s fair to say that it’s possible that I have a weaker heart than Steve Irwin.

One of the nice things about surfing is you are tied to your floatation device.

Let me tell you: my physical victories in the water were few. I spent a lot of time floating or paddling out of the way of large waves and other surfers (Sam’s other advice with regards to my personal safety had been the highly direct, “stay out of the way of the Mexicans.”). Ultimately, other than frequent beatings and a few brief but wonderful moments when the ocean I moved together in just the right way, most of my time on the board was spent swimming or watching.

And herein was the most surprising part about surfing: there is a very quiet, universally understood social order to it. It’s beautiful and fascinating to watch. Some rules are simple, like “the man closer to the rocks/shore is considered ‘inside’ and he has right of way.” But the other aspects of the lineup are much more intricate, and like so much in the ocean, simply elude accurate description. But it is crucial to grasp them, and quickly, because ultimately, the area in which the actual riding gets done, is not very big.

For the most part, people are very nice to each other in the lineup, largely, I think, due to this unwritten order. The very worst thing that anyone said while I was there was nothing at all. Sometimes, as I understand it, there are altercations. Infractions against locals are particularly egregious and often result in light violence or threats thereof. But as my friend Chris told me, “The Ocean is like a dick-drain. Everyone has a little dick in them; you get it just from walking around, taking care of your shit, y’know? But when you get in the ocean, and you take some waves, all that dickness drains right out of you. And if you’ve still got some dick in you when you’re surfin’? Well man, then you must be some kind of dick.”

I certainly felt drained.

By the end of my stay there, surf was pretty much all I could think about, and I couldn’t even do it right. I usually wound up upside down for God’s sake, ass-kicked and sneezing out salt water for hours afterward. But it doesn’t matter. It’s very much a physical sport, but the deep appeal is social, and ultimately spiritual. No opponents, no finish line: just you, the ocean, some other nice people floating around you, and a few sting rays. I can’t wait to do it again.

Items My Son Put in His Mouth While on Vacation and His Reviews Thereof

Sand, dry: "Mpph!"
Sand, wet: "Eh?"
A Guitar Neck: "Eh?"
Mango & Custard Pastry, warm: "Ma! Ma!"
Stray Grains of Rice, yesterday's: "Kakk."

Fagment of a coconut husk: "Ba?"

His own shoe: "..."
A lime: "Thew"
Sunglasses: "Eh?"
Squirting Green Spcckled Frog, toy: "Ah!"

Hibiscus Blossom, pink: "Ba."

45 SPF Ombrelle Sunscreen, one squirt: "Huuunh."

Chupon (Suess), his: "..."

Chupon (Suess), Isabelle's: "..."
Cheek, Isabelle's: "Eh?"
Hair Brush, his: "Mehh..."
Polished Stones, five: "Eh?"
Pat of Butter, wrapped: "Nah!"
5 Pesos: "Ba!"
Molar, new: "This sucks."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Private Dancer: A Dancer for Money

And Jon stripped for them. Not so much in private, as he was standing on one of the beer hall picnic tables as the crowd swayed and sang, but very much with "private eyes".

The good news is he was clean and smooth all over, like a newborn mouse.

Elena, who is not in fact Brazilian, had given him one of her very special "wax three ways" jobs just a few days before: long enough ago that any unsightly swelling might have subsided.

She starts with a traditional bees wax "slap 'n' pull" and follows with quick application of watermelon flavoured Fruit Rollups - a tasty paraffin based fruity treat both soothing to the skin, highly nutritious, and bizarrely erotic.

Then, she drapes a broad silk cloth across the area(s) and neatly places three dozen votive tea candles in a pattern that tends to look like the Greek character of Pi. The subtle scents of chamomile, lavender, and lawn clippings fill the room and Elena, with a final dramatic flourish, pulls the silk covering out from under the candles - the classic tablecloth trick. The candles burn to completion while he snoozes and all the while his distressed pores are flushed of any last root-matter.

Needless to say, the German waiters appreciated a powdery soft grundle as much as anyone, so Jon was a huge hit. Plus he smells like crushed peaches.

Friday, March 30, 2007

An incomplete list of things Dave Chappelle has never said to me:

"Bitch, you can barbeque like a motherfucker!"

"How do I know what size of stay goes in this here shirt collar?"

"Seriously, you should come by my place after the show. I got a six-pack of ice dancers coming by and none of them speak english."

"How much you bench?"

"I don't care if it's ironic or retro or whatever, scooters ain't cool. They just ain't."

"I once saw Al Gore at the airport. He's smaller than I thought he would be."

"Since when is everybody a DJ? Maybe about the same time that everybody got tatoos."

"I have 175 pairs of shoes. One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Five, bitch."

"You know, it's funny, I never get tired of that Howard Dean bit either. And you'd think that if anyone was going to, it would be me. But gottamit, it just never gets old. 'Beyyaaaaaaaaa!' Man! Too good."

"Sometimes I like to lie in my front yard shirtless. It makes me a bit itchy afterwards, but the feeling of being close to the earth that it gives me is worth it. Sometimes I'll also bring a beebee-gun along and take shots at squirrels or kids riding by on their bikes. What? I mean shit: they're wearing helmets."

"If it were up to me, people wouldn't be allowed to wear ballcaps for teams they don't play on. It just gets so fucking confusing! I mean how the hell am I supposed to spot the real Yankees?"

"I'm rich, bitch!"

Social Networking Sites

There seems to have been a rash of Facebook adaptation in my group of friends. Admittedly, a handful had been there for some time before I openned up for business, but I've been really surprised in these past 3 weeks how many of my very close friends were also in their infancy of use in this or other social network sites.

The interest of the first order is that the virtual world intersects neatly with the real world when a group of people who are physically close (as well as emotionally and temporally "close" - i.e. do/feel things together, often within relatively close periods of time) would all adapt a new mode of expression at precisely the same time. It's akin to a new movie openning up in a small town; the small town being my group, the film, in this case, being facebook. It's not all that surprising (it's how networks grow, and ergo exist), and I won't dwell on the pondering of the interplay between the virtual and real any further here as it is certainly better considered by others with much more intricate worldviews than my own.

Suffice it to say, that it's been pretty cool to see it pulse through our group with a sense of urgency rarely seen outside of half-way houses. My status: kicking ass in a seriously funny way. Who are you friends with? Check me out, I'm Charles Bronson today! What's your favorite book? Here's a shot of me when I used to wax my chest! Joy!

Another friend, openly skeptical of the whole phenomenon, has told me directly that we are too old for this space; that we missed out on being "myspace fuckheads". Catching up now, he suggested gently, could serve only to compound our folly and publicly display us as fools. It should be noted that this friend is exceptionally grumpy, most of the time, especially as relates to aging. Unless he has a short path to vodka-tonix, in which case he is the greatest, youngest guy alive.

And now, having concentration span of nearly unparalleled brevity, I grow bored with facebook. I set into it in order to share some laughs in a new way with the six people that I communicate with on a daily basis. I have done so, to some degree, but mostly I have reconnected in the most minute and distant way with people that I have not thought about nor cared about for years. So that's interesting. And, sure, it's a little unique, but ultimately, not all that much fun. Plus, now I know much more than I need to about some kid three years back from me in high-school who apparently remembers my name. We barely spoke when I used to kick his bag away from my locker, but now we are facebook "friends". Great.

I am not looking for love, nor sex, nor events. I am not looking for a job. But there I am: out there, looking.

I know things about people that I don't need to know and never would have asked. In fact, I probably wouldn't speak to a good many of my facebook "friends" if I saw them in the street, let alone ask them who they were dating and whether the sex was any good.

My brother "retired" from facebook very shortly after I joined, for reasons unrelated to my arrival. He had his reasons, and they were good ones. He told me that after he hit the retire button, he was surprised not to find to much protest from the facebook server; he had expected at least some modicum of effort on their behalf to retain his patronage. But all it did was supply him with a very short multiple choice question: "Why are you leaving facebook?". The first option in the list was "facebook is causing me social problems."

He didn't need read the other choices.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Passing Notes with Frank Miller in the Back Row of a Screening of "300"

"This is incredibly cheesy."
"You wrote it!"
"I swear it didn't sound like this in my head."
"I'm sure it didn't!"


"Who's that lady?"
"That's the Queen"
"Was she in your book?"
"Not really."
"Zack Snyder really understands nipples."
"You know there were no nipples in your book. I thought it was a weak point"
"I'm trying to watch."
"Lotta penises though. In the book."
"I'm just saying."
"If you want to talk about it after or anything, that's cool."
"No penises in the movie, you'll notice."


"I'm glad you threw the narrator in, otherwise I'd never figure out who the tough guys are."
"I hate you."
"They're the ones in the red capes, right?"


"Do they grow wheat in Greece?"
"They do. I looked into it."
"Huh. I'd like to have a conversation in a wheat field."
"Seriously, why did you come tonight?"


"Did that fruitcake just drop Persian currency out of his purse?? Really?"
"Fuck this, let's go."