Spider veins, anyone?

Listening to: “Honeymoon” – Bombadil

Life is stories that you fake
And rake like leaves behind you….

Hiya, blog. Don’t be pissed that I’ve been MIA. I still care. I do. I’m popping in again because, well, I’m BLOCK’D. You know, that thing. Where I need to write shit, and the shit is not getting written no matter how many hours I sit a’plopped in front of my computer screen. Otherwise, I’d just be putting shit on my totally unnecessary new Tumblr account.

I’m trying to write an ad for a varicose vein treatment center. Here’s what I’ve got so far: Hey, 50something ladies! Get yer legs cut open here! Not catchy? No? It’s a work in progress.

……..

I have an interview tomorrow morning at my neighborhood bagel joint. Just imagine, this guy up before the sun every morning, arranging foodstuffs inside starchy rounds. Sleep schedules will have to be drastically, painfully altered. But I can deal with it.

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We are what we walk between

Listening to: “Skullcrusher Mountain” – Jonathan Coulton

So I’ve been diving whole-hog into this Infinite Summer thing. Have you heard of it, blogs? Basically it’s a summer-long, communal reading of David Foster Wallace’s giant, giant book, Infinite Jest. I mean 981 huge pages, tiny lettering, plus 96 pages of endnotes, written in even tinier lettering. And it’s full of passages like this:

So on 1 April, Y.D.A.U., when the medical attache is (it is alleged) insufficiently deft with a Q-Tip on an ulcerated sinal necrosis and is subjected at just 1800h. to a fit of febrile thrusive pique from the florally imbalanced Minister of Home Entertainment, and is by high-volume fiat replaced at the royal bedside by the Prince’s personal physician, who’s summoned by beeper from the Hilton’s sauna….

I’ll stop there, because the sentence goes on for another half-page paragraph. You get the idea. It’s tough going. But in between all this jargony gobbledegook (which may be some people’s thing, but not mine) are wide swaths of real brilliance, and those are what it’s worth pressing on for. In any case, I know I’d never finish this book in my life if I wasn’t adhering to¬† Infinite Summer’s bi-weekly page count deadlines, with a whole interweb’s worth of blogs and tweets to bolster my reading.

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Work and eggs

Listening to: “Dance Dance Dance (live)” – Lykke Li & Bon Iver

FYI: For those readers (do I have readers? WHO CAN SAY) who are not content with my sporadic blog posts or would like their updates in frantic miniature form, I now have a Twitter account. Lord help us all.

I’ve spent most of this week Moritzinterviewing theatery types for preview articles. I now know more about Spring Awakening (the play and the musical both) than I ever dreamt possible. I’ve been a little obsessed with the whole thing since I saw the musical on Broadway a few years back, so it was cool to actually get to talk it out. For those who live in Boston, there are two productions afoot: the Frank Wedekind 1891 original from Zeitgeist Stage Company at the BCA, and the touring Broadway musical at the Colonial. If Wedekind were pulled out of his grave today, I think he’d be laughing his ass off at how much play his oft-censored baby is getting in the Cradle of Puritanism. Chatting with musical lyricist/book writer Steven Sater yesterday, he had some pretty interesting stuff to say about the changes he made to the story. I guess amorality and musical theater don’t mix too good. Maybe one day they will.

Anyways, Blog, I’m tired of staring at my computer screen. I’ve been breaking up the time with egg parties, pub trivia, and concerts (Of Montreal tonight!) but my ass is starting to fuse to my desk chair. Enough. But you do what you gotta do, and I’m happy for the work.

Anyway, umm…WEBCOMIC!!

Hark! A Vagrant is for totes my new favorite time-waster. History is funny, fuckers.

Scribbly

Listening to: “All Tomorrow’s Parties” – The Velvet Underground

I was too lazy to scan it. I just took a picture of it with my computer camera thingy. (Face drawing style shamelessly cribbed from one of my fave webcomics, Girls With Slingshots).

What else, what else? Today my mom sent me a video of her trying to pull on a horse’s tongue. She keeps asking whoever’s behind the camera, “Did you get that?” And then the voice is like, “I dunno Gale, I can’t really see…”

…..

Joss Whedon

I saw the most exhalted Joss Whedon get a Humanism award last week at Harvard. It was awesome. He is my hero, and he was talking about constructive atheism. Double times awesome. He signed my comic book. I sputtered something at him. There was a giant fucking gold eagle in front of him, but that’s OK. He said lots of smart and funny things, including:

Faith in God is believing in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary.

And, on coming to grips with death:

When your time is up… y’know… worms are hungry. And they’re cute!

And on writing:

That’s why we write in the first place–to bring the darkest parts of ourselves up into the light.

He also said that if Buffy and River got in a fight, River would win. But I disagree.

…..

Also in life:

This gives me some faith in humanity. Go robots go!

– How did I not know about this before, and why isn’t there a button for it on my keyboard? It would make virtual communication so much less awkward. Also, “Irony Mark” would probably make a good name for a douchey band.

– Tomorrow I shall go to the beach with the mutt, yes I shall. Because I will have mailed in my taxes, and it will be sunny, and the beach is open to dogs till the end of April.

– I started a Twitter account, against my better judgment. I’m not going to give you the link, Blog. It will only lead to heartache.

– Against all odds, ended up at a Holiday Inn Express in Waltham last Saturday night. What? (PS: the Holiday Inn Express porn channel is really funny. And no one in Waltham delivers pizza at 3am. I had almost forgotten that from college).

– Today I wrote two theater reviews and two restaurant blurbs. I am EXHAUSTEDface.

– I’ve had the uncanny urge to add -face to the end of random words. Bewareface.

You’re older now and you’re a clever swine

Listening to: “Rubber Ring” – The Smiths

The weather today (rainy, gray, not too cold) reminds me a lot of London in the winter. I was thinking of London today, how sort of aimless, cash-strapped, seeing lots of plays, drinking lots of beer, I was when I was living there–and it reminded me a lot of now. Oh, how life runs in loops.

Anyway, thinking of that time and that place, I ran across this video:

When I was there, I spent a whole lot of time just wandering the city, looking for weird little bits of historical shrapnel and back entrances to hidden places. The Shunt Vaults, which are mentioned in the video, is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Trippy performance art and tequila shots in old wine cellars under the London Bridge. One of the things I really love about London is how much history is piled on top of other history, how many and old stories you can find just by ducking down a side street. It’s something I really want to poke into in World’s End, once I get up and cracking on that project again.

Blargh. Time to keep searching for gainful employment. Got an interview at Starbucks next week, yup yup.

Somehow this wasn’t where I pictured I’d be three years outta school. Oh, younger self, if you only knew.

…….

In case you haven’t heard, journalism is getting wicked dead. I’m torn between wanting the Globe to hang in there and wanting them to get scared so witless, they actually morph into a decent newspaper. Let’s not talk about possibility number 3 just yet…

birthday post!!

Listening to: “For Beginners” – M. Ward

A quarter of a century, people. This guy (points, Fonzi-like, at self) is OLD. I promised myself that by my birthday, I’d get a job, health insurance, and a haircut.

…. hey, one out of three ain’t bad, right?

At least it’s gorgeous as shit outside. (If shit were gorgeous). Maybe I’ll go to the beach or somethin’. Party the other night with buddies = amazing.

……

The first two things I saw this morning = this comic:

…and this poem by Matthew Rohrer, from a hand-printed zine I once picked up at The Strand for 48 cents:

Into the vessel, pour your great work.
Each of you is the universe, though occluded.
Expand hungrily into other people’s routines.
Open the door to protein.
Three purple trees and new groundcover in the wet woods.
Stand beside their occult murmurs.
Your friendship is the great work.

Blizzards and skeezy Santas

Listening to: “Another World” – Antony & the Johnsons

Greetings from the heart of the Northeastern Seaboard’s Neverending Blizzard ’08! It’s already put me on postpone for 2 plays this weekend–luckily rescheduling is set to occur. Can’t afford to miss out on writing assignments this month. You know that old carol “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc. etc.”? Yeah, I’m the one who hasn’t got a ha’penny and needs some god-blessing.

Still, I think I’ll always have a Pavlovian joy response to snow days, even when I’ve got no work or school from which to play hooky. Last night Tuck and I holed up at Ryan and Rog’s and watched Mad Men and had Schnapps-spiked hot cocoa, while the snow piled up in drifts over Brookline. The mutt definitely digs the snow–sometimes it even makes him forget his debilitating fear of the Green Line–all old smells covered up, fluffy whiteness belly-high, and the whole world fresh and up for grabs. He leap-runs through deep snow in winter the same way he does through the tide in the summer when I bring him to the beach. I wonder what the beaches must look like now–totally surreal, no doubt. You never really see the image of snow falling on ocean waves.

Today out my bedroom window I saw a scrawny guy standing in a full Santa suit on the sidewalk, just chillin’. A girl walks up to him and–I shit you not–sticks her hand down his woolly red pants. And we’re talking deep–like, grab-the-dude’s-dick-and-flail-it-around-a-bit deep. Santa didn’t seem particularly aroused, but it was hard to read the eyes buried between the beard and hat. I’m telling you man, only in Allston.

Alright, time to go dig out the ol’ car so I can get to Cafenation and get some actual productive freaking writing done. I’ll leave you with an image of what I wish I were doing this fine, snowy evening:

R.I.P. Opus the penguin

Listening to: “Everyday is Like Sunday” – Morrissey

It’s election day, yes, and you need to go vote. GO VOTE GO VOTE GO VOTE.

——-

In other news (wait, there’s other news?), Berkeley Breathed, the legendary cartoonist who brought us Bloom County, Outland, and Opus, all starring an earnest-eyed penguin and his fellows, has officially ended his run. After Calvin & Hobbes, this was my favorite comic strip. As a kid, it was my first introduction to political issues and lying naked in the periwinkle alike.

In this interview from Salon, Breathed talks about why he thinks his brand of gentler satire can’t survive intact in our increasingly sharp-toothed, snark-saturated cultural landscape:

It’s not so much dark times now, as profane and loud. Satire you’ll have, oh dear me, indeedy yes. “Vomitous” and “awash” are two words that come to mind. It used to be that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. How antediluvian. Rather, everyone will now want a satirical YouTube film with 15 megabytes.

Satire we’ll have. Rather, the real dearth in our world will be sweetness, comfort, thoughtfulness and civility…

There’ll always be great, classic cartooning. There’ll also be radio. Concept rock albums. Theatrical movie dramas for intelligent adults. Little kids riding bicycles down a neighborhood street without a grown-up. Family dinner hours. Eleven-year-old girls who dress like children. Instant coffee. Buggy whips.

They’ll just be much harder to find.

The very, absolute last comic strip characters destined to become true household words across America were invented 23 years ago: Calvin & Hobbes. There are and will be no more new ones.

That’s a technology and cultural issue. Not a talent issue…

For the old “Bloom County” fans who take me as a cold-heart cynic about my cartoon, know that I made the mistake of playing Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly” at midnight while I was drawing Opus for the very, final, last time last week and I got rather stupid. I’ll just leave it said that way. It’s an odd business.

Here’s to ya, ol’ penguin ol’ buddy.

——

Righto. Off to volunteer at an Obama phone bank! I’m crossing all my appendages and knocking on piles and piles of wood.