Ramblings of an Agitated Mind|
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|Sunday, July 15th, 2007|
|Friday, July 13th, 2007|
|Grin and Bear it
I sit on the sofa in my living room and survey the pile of goods currently sitting on my coffee table. The ephemera of my weekend that never was; Happiness in Still Life: One (1) bottle of Log Cabin Maple Syrup; two (2) pints of Ben & Jerry's Just Plain Vanilla ice cream; one (1) box strawberries; one (1) container whipped cream; two (2) ice cube trays; one (1) set handcuffs; four (4) bungee cords; one (1) stethescope; one (1) box powder-free surgical gloves; three (3) feet surgical tubing; six (6) alligator clamps; one (1) riding crop; one (1) large candle; one (1) box matches; one (1) Sony high-definition video camera; six (6) high-definition digital cassettes; two (2) fifths of Wild Turkey.
This is all that remains of my plans; a pile of goods and exploitable foodstuffs. I take the camera and the cassetes and set them back in their case. Take everything but the alcohol and push it off the end of the table into a large garbage bag. I throw it out.
That leaves the Wild Turkey, sitting alone on the table like two guys on the corner waiting for a bus. I eye them with cool suspicion. The Fear and Loathing of the past 24 hours are certainly the kind events that drive a man to drink and other acts of Depravity. I, however, do not drink. Not any more. Not after The Night. But now, at this moment, I am tempted. Sorely Tempted. The Wild Turkey stays in place for the moment and I lean back into the pillow-back of the sofa to contemplate.
The hurt drove me Mad last night. I did not sleep, and went to work at 6 in the morning with the same foul mood and horrid eyes I left with the previous evening. I've reached the stage now where everything reminds me of Her. The scrap of ribbon that once wrapped up a gift of Rainbow Brite bedsheets. An Arby's bag that once held food she ate in my car. The bowl in my sink with ketchup she used. And then there are the the ambient things. Elliot Smith is ruined for me. My copy of From a Basement on the Hill
goes into the trash. The pillow case that smells like her is likewise added. And I have Things. A hair tie. Pairs of her panties. What do I do with them? Box them up and take them over? Mail them to her? Make like Monica and Rachael and peform a clensing ritual and burn them? I am at a loss on the ettiquite and protocol of the situation.
It's one thing to know you're about to stop being part of a duo. It's another entirely to see it from a mile away, watch it come at you in slow motion, and suddenly the girl you've just started to adore is standing in front of you telling you she doesn't want you anymore and all you can think about is how she's acting just like Angel when he turns bad again and tells Buffy how he used her and never loved her and you want to tell her that she can't be like that because she has
a soul. Only she doesn't watch Buffy.
The Big Things are still too much to wrap my mind around. So the little things suddenly overwhelm me with importance. My God. I have no one to play Scrabble with anymore. Who will teach me to play the guitar now? This is in addition to the memories of such wonderful things from our near past. Watching the fireworks from the rooftop of my building. The smell of hair as we hugged. Sitting in one of the floor spaces at my work listening to the jukebox that was there with her until 5 in the morning, downloading song after song then lying her down on the floor in front of the juke, kissing like raindrops as her jeans are wriggled down her legs. It's a place between pain and mourning, and it's not a pretty place to be.
The Wild Turky looks back at me. I don't know where it's eyes are, exactly, but I can feel it's stare. It's taunting me. Those big, brown bottles of gunk pepper me with ideas as to what went wrong and how it's my fault. Ultimately, this was avoidable. By me. By her. And don't get me started on him. He is beneath mention; beneath contempt. Karma will have it's way with him, as it does with all Heathens and their ruddy Ilk. The happiness of another man is sacrosanct. Messing with that is an easy way to get hearts broken and asses kicked. Men
don't do that. Boys; guys; worms. These are the scavengers who poach gems from other peoples crowns. This is not the realm of Men.
Time will heal. It always does. I know I'll mend, I know I'll go on. But I don't want to. I had what I'd wanted, what I'd strived for. I was, for once in my terrible existance, a complete man. Now I'm forced to move along down the road, having finally known what it feels like to be finished, and now having to leave that behind me. Shattered trust, broken dreams, scattered illusions. Dust in my wake, dark days ahead. The pain is not "I'll never go on", it's "why bother?"
I've slept less than 5 hours out of the last 72. The aching anticipation of what I knew to be coming, then the shattered aftermath of the actual deed have left me stunned; numbed to the passage of the time and draining of my energy. I move without thinking, think without regestering. Things move of their own accord and time both flies by and drags on into infinity. Stuck in the half-waking stupor of the insomniac, everything dances and takes on a slightly story-book patina. I want to play Scrabble.
There is a statue in the courtyard of the building next door to my work. It was made in the mid 50's, and is made of concrete and steel. It's of a bird--some sort of raptor--in a diving position, wings swept back. It's a largely unremarkable piece, except for the fact that the artists name is Phil McCracken. I laugh everytime I see this, and spent most of the day eager to tell the girl because I know it will make her smile. When she comes down and we talk and yell and cry and sit, I mention it to her, appropos of nothing. She smiles.
The cap is off one of the bottles of Turkey. How did that happen? I look around for whomever is running around my place recklessly unscrewing bottle tops. Things like that could get out of hand in a hurry. This needs to be nipped squarely in the bud. But there's no one. It must have been me, I realize. I nod knowingly at the bottle; this round to you. Well played. But I am not a drinker. Loose and frequent sex? Gladly. Drugs? I'm not necessarily opposed. But alcohol and I are no longer friends. I've too much of my father in me and, one way or another, I become obnoxious when drunk. Whether it's fight-picking obnoxious, or self-loathing obnoxious, or ass-grabbing obonxious, it's all the same in the end: people stop talking to me and I need to call Ehren for a ride home. But now Ehren is a four day commute, so he'd probably be disinclined to help.
Will I talk to her again? Will I want to? Would I take her back? Could I ever trust her as completely as I need to again? Does she deserve it? Does she deserve me?
The 5 worst words in the English language are "One thing led to another."
I was doing things for her. Changing work schedules, putting plans on hold. Not moving. She was what I wanted to define myself by. Sounds silly, I know, considering the brevity of things. But I was happy. Really happy for the first time in a couple years, and I embraced the feeling. So much so that I talked myself into believing that the grinding in my gut--the feeling that is never
wrong--was wrong. There's nothing to see here folks; nothing to worry about. Move along.
I've done a good job of not playing the self-torture game. You know; thinking of her with him. Of them holding, touching. I've kept these thoughts out of my mind. Instead, I find myself preoccupied with the fact that she's supposed to be here right now. Regardless of what she may or may not acutally be doing, she's supposed
to be right here. I have a stethescope, for crying out loud.
I'd seen the trouble brewing for weeks, but the strongest indication that that night was to be the night of reckoning came when I sent her a text message saying "I've made a list of things I want to do to you this weekend." The reply came back:
I know it's not exactly "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen", but it's certainly anticlimactic. Not the stuff that dreams and wickedly debauched weekends are all about. Certainly nothing worth videotaping.
This town doesn't like me. It's been nothing but a pain in the ass ever since I moved back here, and now it's just picking on me. Denying my right to be happy like I'm some beige person from an undisclosed middle eastern country held at Git-mo without dinner until futher notice.
Have you ever considered the notion--and I'm speaking purely philosophically now--that a zero-sum life is a life not worth living? It's one thing to have a life of terrible deeds or wonderful kindnesses. But what of those lives that fulfill no one? Leaving even the person inhabiting this corpse-to-be feeling completely non-plussed with their station in life? Happy to be doing something
, but not actively interested in advancing or getting more. When that's the life you've got, have you really got a life? M*A*S*H* says suicide is painless. I say that if you do it right, the amount of pain doesn't really matter in the end.
I've lost so many people this year. 2007 has not been the Year of the Friend, that is for sure. Ironically, 2007 IS the year that I started watching
Friends. These are the things you think about when you don't sleep. You also find ourselves making sudden and dramatic tense shifts when I write. It can be disorenting, if you let it.
How much of this is real? How much fiction? How much splitting the difference, into the realm of bullshit? Different people will have different thoughts. Most will be wrong. None will have curiousity satisfied.
I texted her today. I said I never would again, but I had to. She has a CD, and I want it back. She did not reply, and I am again at a loss to ettiquete and protocall. I should probably have her mail it, but the US Postal Office is run by fiends. They'll steal anything that's not tied down, and I'd never see my White Stripes CD again.
I put the cap back on the bottle of Wild Turkey and add both bottles to the already brimming bag. I tie it up as best I can, sling it over my shoulder, and heft it out to the dumpster where it lands with the high pitched clang/whine of Things that do not wish to be discarded before their time. I even have reciepts for some of it. But I don't want to see any of it. Scoarched earth.
I turn my back on the crop and the Wild Turkey. I walk away from Elliot and the strawberries and the gloves, just as I finally had to turn and walk away from the door and the girl in the glass beyond it. I'm done for now. And I'm sober. I've won, but I haven't Won. Salvation won't come this night, but perhaps sleep will.
|Wednesday, July 11th, 2007|
So I've had a lousy couple of days.
No one thing to point to, really, but it's culminated in me being something of a miserable cuss to people and ultimately resulted in me directing a bit of that anger where it absolutely wasn't deserved.
I've apologized to her on the phone already, but this seemed like just another positive step, so here it is: my public and sincere apology to the Girl for barking at her over my own insecurities. She's a very, very positive thing in my life, and there's no reason to go being an ass and jeopardizing what we're building together.
Betsy, I'm sorry.
|Friday, July 6th, 2007|
|Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007|
|I'm just sayin
My girl is the best girl in the world. Current Mood: happy
|Wednesday, June 27th, 2007|
Would you like me more if I had pizza?
|Tuesday, May 31st, 2005|
I don't think that anyone who reads my LJ actually watches ESPN, so I don't think any of you will understand the following statement:
Melissa Stark was a pretty woman, but Rachel Nichols...Oh. My. God.
I'm just sayin.
|Tuesday, May 24th, 2005|
|Thursday, May 12th, 2005|
|If any of you get a chance...
...You might want to make your way over to the Art Institute in the next couple weeks. There is an Alumni show in the gallery now, and it's some really fantastic work to be seen.
|Saturday, April 23rd, 2005|
This screenplay is giving me fits.
I've written a couple before, but none that were feature length. I planned on it taking more time and effort, but I didn't anticipate it giving me this much trouble. I know I can write (loathe to do it though I am), and I've done plenty of dialog in my day, so I know how to do that as well. But for some reason, each time I sit down to write this story, everything gets lost. I've thrown away three rough drafts. Just pitched them straight into the recycle box, never to be seen again. I didn't even want to LOOK at them again, much less salvage anything from then for a further draft. Everything sounds ok as I'm actually typing it out, but upon a second reading, the point just seems to get lost in all the words. "C" put it most eloquently when he said that 90% of our job isn't finding the things to say, but finding the right words to say them with. In a smilar vein, Sam Clemons (Mark Twain to you and I) once said that the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug. Right now I've got 98 pages of lightning bug, and nowhere near enough lightning.
I'm getting together in an undisclosed location with the closest conspirator I have on this side of the Rocky Mountains to drink copious amounts of alcohol and decide what the fuck is to be done about this screenplay. Hopefully, his experience coupled with my own, and aided by several pints of what I hope are unnecessarily strong drinks will clear this fog I've been writing in, and get me back on the path to righteousness with his story.
I wouldn't classify my current flailings as "writers block", since I have had no problem with what to write. I have the whole film story-boarded out in my head, and I know the thing from teaser to credits. The problem is this: I have every scene mapped out and ready to shoot. I just can't hear exactly what is coming out of peoples mouths when I envision them talking. I have lines here and there, but nothing that you could yet even call a coherent conversation, much less a screenplay. I need--for lack of a better word--inspiration. I need a kick in the pants. I've seriously considered writing the whole thing tanked out on Absenth.
I'd planned all along to film this bastard in the summer. This coming summer. What do I do if June rolls around, and I've still not gotten a completed script? I won't have the financial resouces to be able to just let the film roll and see what happens. I can't afford to improvise this time. If it was going to be another 45 minute short, I could play around and see where my actors take things, but I'm probably going to be shooting the entire 2 hour feature on only 20,000 feet of film.
Ok, I'm off for now. Here's hoping tonights liquid conference holds some answers.
|Wednesday, April 20th, 2005|
|The Joys of Networking
I'm not a writer.
Circumstances put me in a situation where I am--for the time being--forced to write screenplays but I am not, by definition, a writer. I'm a director. With 33 legit theatre productions to my resume. So as soon as I get to that level of respect and accomplishment where I am no longer required to write the screenplays I direct, believe me brother I'll stop.
That having been said, I was talking last week to my good friend and former agent. He's no longer my agent--not because he's bad at his job--but because I wish to keep him as a good friend and it's best to keep your friends out of this line of work. Even though he is no longer my agent, he continues to look out for my interests in the somewhat passive way that any good friend takes in interest in the life of another good friend. It was in that vein of interest that he suggested that I spend my past weekend in Portland.
"Why?" I queried.
"There's a writers conference you should attend."
"We've been through this, Charles (not his real name). I'm not a writer."
Charles sighed at me. "You say this. But the simple fact of the matter is that you are writing a screenplay even as we speak, and it's not your first. So until you can afford to hire OTHER hacks, YOU, my friend, are a writer. And you need to get down to this conference. The keynote speakers are people you should meet."
This piqued my interest. "Who?"
"C and D." In point of fact, he said both of their full names. But in order to make at least a vague attempt at propriety, I shall refer to them strictly by their first initials.
"And what are they speaking about?" I continued.
"It doesn't matter. I'm having dinner with them and other sundry V.I.P.'s after the fact. Should you be in Portland, you will be my "and 1"."
So I packed my bag and headed down I-5.
I didn't attend the writers conference. I have no idea what the keynote speakers spoke about, but by Friday night I was checked into my hotel, showered, shaved, and partaking in highballs with two rather well selling authors.
One thing people are always doing in this business, is trying their damndest to meet OTHER people in this business. Especially if the other person is higher up on the chain of success than you. The name of the game is Networking, and doing it poorly can stagnate a career more quickly than a recently-uncovered gay-porn video you may have done in college. There is an art to networking. Or rather, a knack. The knack lies in being able to engender yourself to someone without sounding like your selling a used car. You think it's difficult to meet a random girl in a bar? Try introducing yourself to a celebrity. There are so many ways you can prematurely end a conversation that just saying 'hello' in the wrong way can ensure that your subject will spend the rest of the night putting bodies between themselves and you.
For example: bringing up someones work. "I love...(fill in the blank)" is a spectacular way to make your subject assume you are one of the countless "fans" he or she meets every hour of every day when they are feeding the meter, or trying to buy milk. That's quite the sure way to get yourself a handshake, an offer for an autograph, and a hasty retreat to the side of the room you're not on. "I admire/respect your work" is a good lead in. However, a common mistake is to follow "I respect your work" UP with "and I LOVE..." This puts you in the same situation. I made this very basic mistake myself not two weeks ago, when I spoke to an aquaintences' actor friend. He's done some stuff that I truely DO admire, and there is no arguing his talent. However, speaking to him in the context in which I did kind of ambushed my better judgment, and I gushed. Needless to say, I'm not expecting to speak to him again. Cest la vive.
So I'm hoping you can get just an inkling of an idea from just the horrible jumble above about the kind of pressure you can find yourself in when you are trying to make a good, professional first impression on someone who's had success in a field you hope to excel in. For example, two gentlemen who have each sold more books than I have personally ever touched, much less read. While it's true that I'm not looking to be a professional author, it's also very true that they are very much professionals in that larger club known as the Entertainment Industry, and that's a club to which I wish to belong.
Alcohol--and I don't think I'm giving anyone a news flash here--is a terrific social lubricant. Not to say that anyone was drunk or anything, but when you have an open, laid back atmosphere and a couple of free highballs, it makes conversation a free-flowing and wide-ranging affair. It is thanks to this very circumstance that I found myself in a conversation with "C" that started while we both happened to be washing our hands in the restroom. The small talk progressed back to the bar, and we sat there, heads lowered and voices in conspiratorial tones, for a good three hours.
"What one question do you always WISH you'd get asked in an interview, that you never do?" I asked at one point. I'm not sure what prompted me to ask, or what kind of answer I expected to recieve, but I was nevertheless surprised at how quickly the answer came. It was as if he'd been thinking about that question for ages, and was finally glad that someone asked.
"Everyone wants to know about the process, or the inspiration, or the book as a whole. But no one ever asks about the words
. It's almost as if they don't realize that 90 percent of our job isn't thinking of things to write, it's figuring out how to write them."
I could have hugged the man.
Not only because he hit my own personal nail on the head, but because he used the word "our" in the sentence. "Our job." "90 percent of OUR job." Earlier in the conversation he had asked if I had directed anything yet, and I mentioned that I had a auditioned a short at Sundance the same year one of his books had been adapted into a movie staring Brad Pitt. He mentioned that he had gone to Sundance that year, and while he didn't lie and say that he had seen or remembered seeing my piece, from then on out he used the word "our" when talking about his work. He obviously didn't see us as peers, but he understood that on our own vastly different levels we are both involved in the business of telling the stories that we have boiling in our souls. The fact that he is currently infinately more sucessful at it than I did nothing to diminish the fact that I was trying.
Actors, writers, athletes. They are all the same in so far as they don't like talking to people who want to suceed in their profession, but expect that success to be handed to them immediately. They all have a level of respect for those who respect their field, and understand that a certain amount of dues must be paid. C was once where I am now. He saw that I am not looking for the quick road to fame and money, and understood that telling my story the way I want to is more important to me than the accoutrements of celebrity. While your celebs keep much of the world at an arms length (and understandably so), they are people, and most do respect--and some even accept--those who are willing to put in the time and the effort to climb mountains they themselves once had to scale.
When I gathered my things for the evening, and was searching for my valet stub, C approached me one last time on his way out the door. He shook my hand, and said to me: "Where you are at right now requires you to crawl through a bunch of shit. If you've got the tenacity to see it through, and the talent to make it worthwhile, you WILL be heard. Do not stop."
I need to write.
|Monday, March 14th, 2005|
|Thursday, February 24th, 2005|
|Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005|
Hunter S. Thompson is dead.
What have we lost? The most brutally skeptic American wit since H.L. Mencken. The most honest liar since Mark Twain. One of the three funniest writers in the history of written language. The greatest sports journalist of the Apocalyptic era. A fading burnout, coasting on his formidable reputation and residuals. A shit-kicking, heat-packing, hard-living, Republican-hating, Kentucky redneck liberal. Hunter S. Thompson was all these things and more.
Trying to explain why Thompson's voice was so important to so many people would be as fruitless as a full English breakfast. His collected writings are easily available. Find them, buy them, borrow them, steal them and (important, this) read them. It's all in the words. The man played his typewriter the way Thelonius Monk played piano, and when you read him, you get to hitch a ride with a mind that churned and burned like a steam locomotive. The movies, as enjoyable as they are, present us with mere Technicolor pantomimes. The jazz is in the prose. You either get it or you don't.
Some say that, by taking his own life, Thompson's last act was one of selfish cowardice. I believe the opposite is true. Ralph Steadman, Thompson's friend and illustrator, once quoted him as saying: "I would feel real trapped in this life if I didn't know I could commit suicide at any time." This strikes yer old pal Jerky as an altogether reasonable ethos, harkening back to the Stoic philosophy of self-determination. An imposing physical specimen with a life-long love of all things sport, Thompson promised not to linger too long in the darkening twilight, and he kept his word.
I also find it fitting that Thompson should choose to leave us at this darkest of turning points in his beloved America's history. That he should choose to eat a bullet and reunite with the Brown Buffalo in the Great Beyond rather than tilt at the windmills of inexorable decline is perfectly understandable. Thompson lived long enough to see his worst suspicions come true. I imagine he took a measure of grim, I-tried-to-warn-you satisfaction from the depraved pageant currently unfolding on the national stage.
As of 4am Wednesday, Google's news page linked to three times as many stories about Paris Hilton than it did about Hunter S. Thompson. Perhaps being lorded over by a sinister cabal of reptilian cannibal pederasts is exactly what we deserve.
|Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005|
|Random notes to semi-anon women in my life
J#1 - The last time we saw each other, it ended somewhat awkwardly. The rest of the day was fabulous, and I always dig seeing you, but the ending was kind of weak sauce. I feel bad that we haven't talked much or seen each other again since this summer. I'm not even sure who's fault (or planning) it is.
J#2 - I hate that we don't hang out anymore either. It's been entirely too long, and you are truly once of the coolest people I know. You're just about the only reason I keep checking up on Livejournal, because I like to see how things are going for you.
J#3 - We haven't hung out in ages, but for different reasons, geography being what it is. I think about you as often now as I did when we first met 8 years ago. The thoughts are of a different nature now, but the overall tone is the same: I wish the best for you. And I'm glad you have everything you do.
L - I'm noticing a leitmotif here: we don't hang out enough. We have our reasons: jobs, life, general laziness. But I've watched you grow, and am constantly amazed and proud of who you have become, and the progress you continue to make.
B - Things could have been handled better. If I don't know it's broken I can't fix it. However, considering how you chose to handle things, I guess that tells me how much you valued our friendship.
M - I don't know what we had. It was so fast, so big while it lasted, and gone so quickly that I look back on it now and shake my head. I check on you, from time to time, and am glad to see that you are doing--all in all--well. To know that we're both happy makes me smile.
E - You are the greatest thing to ever happen. To anyone. I can look at you doing absolutely nothing and smile, because you have no idea how amazing you are.
Some of the women on this list will know I'm talking to them. Some won't. Several probably won't even read it. For better or for worse you've all touched me and inexorably changed me over the past year. None of you care, but that's not the point of the exorcise.
|Monday, November 22nd, 2004|
|More from Chads Cryptic Corner
I hold you in contempt. I always have, I've just been better at hiding it in the past. You think you're so fucking deep and complex and interesting, but you're really as common and base and transparent as they come. To that your personality lacks depth is like polishing brass on the TITANIC; your flaws are much deeper than that.
I've been diplomatic, up to now. I no longer feel the need nor the desire to hold back any longer. You are a flake, you lack taste of any kind in any arena, and are one of the most eye-rolling-ly self interested people I know.
That last point is made worse by a rather annoying paradox: you are completely self absorbed, and yet lack any depth. There's nothing there for you to be so hung up on, and yet the rest of us are just the scenery upon which you act in your very own play.
I considered you a friend, at least partly because I have and keep so few of them that I don't like to give up on them. But now it occurs to me that I'd rather be completely friendless then to spend one more minute dumping my energies into someone as hopeless, as devoid of any real depth or talent for personal interaction as you.
Enjoy your pathetic microcosm, and the smoke and mirrors of self-delusion that you call your life. And be sure to look around you at the sad little accoutrement of what I laughingly refer to as your life; because this is as good as it's going to get for you.
|Thursday, November 11th, 2004|
So I interviewed for that other position here at the AI. It's morning hours, and would require me to actually work for my paycheck (gasp!), but it's full time, comes with vacation time and full health benifits, plus an extra $7,000 a year tacked onto the salary.
I'm supposed to find out by tomorrow what they decide, so...we'll see.
|Monday, November 8th, 2004|
So the Girl and I are effectively living together, and this makes me happy for a number of reasons. I'm applying for a different position at the Art Institute; more money, full benifits make Chad a happy boy. All in all, life in MY world has been pretty happy, election nastiness aside.
Time to turn this off and go cuddle.
|Thursday, October 7th, 2004|
Barb. I need to get my DVD's and games from you. If you bring them down to moms house with you this weekend, I can drive up to MV and pick them up on Saturday. Otherwise, I'll have to drive up to Ferndale next Thursday. Just let me know. Call me, write me an email, send me a fucking carrier pidgeon; I don't care. Just let me know.
|Thursday, September 23rd, 2004|
|So I have a date...
Her name is Kasey, she's 25, intelligent, funny, witty, and engaging. She likes movies, reads Kafka and doesn't like it, reads Chomski and does like it, and digs cartoons from the '80's. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Oh yeah, and she's a Playboy model. *glee*