Monday, January 31, 2005

Helpful Hint of the Day

If after a phone call, you feel inspired to say something like, "Oh I'd like to kick him in the throat;" or "Now why is that bloody c*nt calling me?;" or "Stupid F*ck;" or anything of that sort... make sure the receiver is firmly in place, and the speaker phone is hung up.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Just So You Know...

Movie rights to my life are available. I'll consider any reasonable offers...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cold, Snow, Winter Fun

It's hovering right around 0 degrees here in New York today. On the elevator on the way up to my office, a woman said to me, "You know, it's cold today, but it's a different kind of cold. You know?" I didn't know. She continued, "It's cold, but it's not windy." Yeah, it may be 0 degrees, but hey, there's no wind chill.

And if I can revisit a thought from a previous post: What is it about an impending snow storm that everyone frantically stockpiles groceries? Sure enough, the day before an anticipated good snow, there are hoards of people filling their carts in the supermarkets. Eggs, milk, bread. What do these people do when it snows? I picture them all sitting around the kitchen table drinking large glasses of milk.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Worst Movie Ever Made

Some actors I just can't stomach. I was just talking this over with some friends, and I came up with the cast of the worst movie that would ever be made:

Kill Me Now
starring Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jim Carrey!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Cabin Fever

Well, after over 15 inches of snow and an entire weekend hibernating, I would have pulled my hair out.. if I had any. It is amazing when it snows, everyone so desperately hoards food. I was down to very few things in my kitchen and went to the supermarket to pick up some things to tide me over, and it is truly amazing the number of people that looked like they were stocking up for the entire winter... entire cart completely filled to the top. The soups were ransacked. The cookies. Even the frozen food. Every old person in the neighborhood was worriedly grabbing milk cartons. I don't know. Give me a batch of cookies, a few netflix selections, a couple of bottles of wine, and a good book, and I'm more than happy to hole up for a day or two. I just don't understand why the YMCA wasn't open. Don't they know how many chocolate chip peanut butter cookies I ate?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Hot Business Opportunity

How come nobody runs a fast boat to China? Anybody who does is gonna make a fortune!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Lost To Me

Recently, in the last two years really, I started buying original pieces of art. Now mind you I am not rich or even comfortably well-off. But I've always loved art, not for art's sake but for the love and creativity that is put into a one-of-a-kind piece of visual creation. For me to own a piece of art and have it in my home is pretty darn close to what the artist must feel having created it in the first place. Being your every-day, work-a-day office laborer, I can't buy whatever i want whenever I want it. But recently I found out that a sculpture that struck me hard when I first saw it... was... bought by someone else. This is the first time that's happened and certainly, I'm sure, won't be the last. I'm amazed at the feeling. It's not just lost opportunity, like a movie I didn't get to see or a book I loved but can't find on my shelves. There is a finality to it. It goes deeper. Surprisingly so. It's amazing how art can affect us. Like a friend who's moved away, or rather, a friend who's betrayed you. I really thought he knew he was intended for me. But now he's turned his back on me. I don't know how I could have misjudged him. OK, I know, I couldn't afford him. And I had no where for him to live. But somehow, I thought he would stick around to work on our problems. Alas, just like a man, he's turned his back on me... When I saw him, I knew exactly what he was saying. The words were in my head before I could possibly have created them myself, so I know they were his words and not mine. Being an inanimate object, the words came out of his eyes not his mouth. He looked right into me and said them, only... I didn't think he was saying them to me. I was wrong. He always said the same thing, and now it's all he can say to me. "Laugh at me and never laugh again."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

An Alternate Fuel Source Found!

Now folks, don't freak out here, but I have discovered an alternative fuel source that could probably power the entire country from here on out. It may sound a bit shocking, but really, don't be surprised by it. It won't effect us in any way. Now recently a mediocre movie came out that gave me the spark for the idea, and trust me when I tell you, we can do this! It was 'The Day After Tomorrow.' I propose that instead of importing oil, we burn books to heat our homes. This can work! Trust me! Now, now, now. I know some of you are thinking, OH MY DOG! HE CAN'T BE SERIOUS! Hey, doesn't he work in publishing!?! Well, yes! That's exactly why I know this can really work. Don't worry, I don't propose ransacking libraries. No, just the remainder book business. You see, in the book industry, books are returnable. For full credit. Well, in order to sell 20,000 copies of one book, a publisher probably printed up to 40,000 copies and took back the ones that didn't sell. The unsold books either end up on bargain shelves or get... yes, destroyed. Think about it. Two books made to sell one. Why not burn the leftovers and heat our homes! Why recently I heard about one book, one book mind you... the publisher distributed 900,000 copies all over the country. Bookstores sold 400,000 and are in the process of returning 500,000 copies. Baby, that's Texas Black Gold! One to every household, and that one single book will keep an entire city warm for a night! Father can read from the copy he bought by the warm light of the fireplace.

Can't We Get This Winter Thing Right?

You'd think that by now, we'd be able to deal with winter. But alas, it's not to be. Boilers stop working; circuits are blown due to the use of space heaters; Amtrak has frozen tracks, and trains are delayed an hour; people show up at the train station in flimsy coats without gloves or hats; people try to speed during whiteouts. I think I will hibernate until late March. As a species, we're not meant to live places like this.

Friday, January 14, 2005

What's Wrong with Education?

I picked up a textbook for the first time in 17 years last night. Is it any wonder students are bored, lazy, uninspired? OH MY DOG! OK, so the one I'm reading is an introductory text to therapeutic massage. I read for an hour, and what topics did I get to?

What is touch? [Um, excuse me? Is this an issue?]
What are the personal interpretations of touch?
What kinds of touch are there? [Well, the author of this textbook is touched.]
The experience of touch [He touched me... He put his hand in my hand and...]
Touch as communication
Cultural and gender issues associated with touch
What is professional touch? What is therapeutic massage? [Or, how to deal with hairy backs]
Forms of appropriate touch
A history of massage [First, man developed hands.. kill me now...]
Massage in the ancient world [or, warming stones without a microwave]
Massage in the Middle Ages

All this to learn how to rub someone's neck!?! I'm glad I'm not studying linear algebra! Egads!

Thursday, January 13, 2005


We are obsessed with dichotomies in society today. Democrat/Republican; Liberal/Conservative; Yes/No; Black/White; Man/Woman; Gay/Straight; For/Against. We are letting the C students of the world run things. The people who are completely unable to accept and acknowledge the grayness of the world, because it's too much for them to think about. Democrat/Republican/Independent; Liberal/Conservative/Moderate; Yes/No/Maybe/Sometimes; Black/White/Asian/Latino/Native/Antarctican; Man/Woman (OK, not really any other choices on that one!); Gay/Straight/Bi-sexual/Asexual; For/Against/Just Don't Care. You know, I think if all the Thirds took control of things, we'd discover utopian living.

The worst disagreements are not, however, between people who are diametrically opposed to each other. The most annoying arguments to listen to are between two groups or people who actually agree with each other for the most part but are saying the same thing two different ways. What's the worst thing about it? When both sides want to have the final word.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Where Does Bush Get His Strategy?

Interesting quote here. I found it in the opening pages of George Carlin's wonderful new book, 'When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?' He's brilliant.

If you wonder where George Bush gets his politics, this could very well be the source. The comparison between these two administrations is obvious:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Hermann Goring at the Nuremburg Trials

Friday, January 07, 2005

Does It Have to Mean Something?

Whenever an idea for a story comes into my mind, I usually end up thinking about the meaning of it. Is it a metaphor for some other worldly debate, and how does it compare to my own views on such a topic. Even a vampire story I think about in my head leads me to think, well, what if people take the vampires to be a symbol of gay people, and in my story vampires are dangerous freaks that need to be eradicated from the world. Sometimes I think it holds me back from ever writing anything. Other times I feel that eventually always seeing these connections may lead me to write something truly great. Or maybe I'll end up writing the quintessential good vampire story.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I Remember Mommy

I had a moment this morning when I had a quick memory of my mother's voice. It's been 12 years since she died, but I can still hear her from time to time. I wrote a short-short story about it once, how I hear her sometimes when I'm cooking, telling me what to put in the mix or how to stir. But this morning it was in a very odd place. It was on the train into Manhattan. I stood in the vestibule, and I saw a sign that could only read itself to me in my head in Mother's voice. 'Danger. Do Not Exit Train While in Motion.' Ah, Mom...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Spark

A writer can usually identify what the first thing about a story was to come into their head. What was the spark or catalyst that started a work? Whether it is a particular place or time period or a physical thing, a concept or plot point or character, something in the writer's head said, 'hey, this would make a great story.'

For me it is always different. When I went to the San Juan Islands, they went immediately to the front of my brain as a wonderful place to set a story. Particularly the town of Olga. When I was in high school, my father gave my mother an extravagant necklace that was fashioned after a necklace owned by the queen of England. It was so over the top, however, she took one look at it, and instead of being thrilled, she shrieked, 'Where the heck would I ever wear that!' As a lark once when I a silly kid, I drew a map of an imaginary place. I filled it with caret mountains and squiggly line rivers and dotted line borders and named cities and countries all over the flimsy piece of paper. I keep it, because I can still look at it and remember the politics of the regions and the trade routes and roads and the clandestine order of wizards that have shut themselves away from the world in their tower by the sea.

But I tell you. One thing I don't find a tellable story in... a geeky gay boy from New Jersey suburbia, who read too much, and grew up to sit behind a desk every day.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Merry New Year!

2005. Definitely going to be a transition year for me. My life will be ver different a year from now. Especially if a giant tsunami destroys the East Coast. But even if it doesn't, I think I will look back at this year as being the banner year that changed it all. Let's hope it's in a good way!

Morbidity. Dear ol' Dad got very morbid over the holidays. He's gotten to a point where he has seen his own mortality. But still, it was very creepy to walk through his house with him, having him point out things that he thinks are worth something and things I should take care of, split with my sister, dispose of in a certain way. What a fun project for a Christmas afternoon.

Well, anyway, here's a belated toast to the new year. I'm not usually one to make resolutions, but this year, I've decide to make one. What with everything else that is going to happen around my life, i decided to make a little, vapid one to keep my mind on silly things where it is usually happiest. I want to lose a few inches around the waist. Now mind you, it sounds so incredibly vain, shallow, and self-absorbed, but it's not my fault. I completely blame the guy at the gym who took off his sweatshirt the other day and had his tank top underneath accidentally ride up with it, exposing his entire torso. Oh my stars... Yeah, it's his fault.