Friday, February 28, 2003

My birthday is creeping up. I really don’t care for holidays; I mean if someone wants to buy me a present, they’ll get it when something screams out my name, not when they have to. I’ll be 28. It’s almost 10 years now since I finished high school. 10 years I’ve been a vegetarian. Many things have come full circle, come and gone. 10 years ago I was dating a wonderful woman, slender and pale (I know I use that too much, it’s from a silly musical number that I listen to a lot.) She had almost waist-length, extremely fine blonde hair, porcelain-white skin that seemed impossible in the San Bernardino sun, and azure eyes; perfect Aryan complexion, even if her body was too thin for that ideal. She weighed about what I did, which is really not healthy for a woman. A woman that thin usually can’t menstruate and has very brittle bones. I remember that she had surgery on her wrists. I had such a circle then. The young, (dis)affected, and drunk. Someone gave me a Smiths tape; another drove me to Club Metro every few nights. We lived in the Cafes and subsisted on Cinema. (“Music in the Cafes at night and Revolution in the air.”) Context and time have gone supernova, red-hot plasma in a furious course across the Void (“Jaded reputation / on which you're staking / Lots of money for the making / For all the stars / they're just faking / Love in a Void.”)

Thursday, February 27, 2003

“I never took the smile away from anybody’s face
And that’s a desperate way to look
For someone’s who’s still a child.”
-Big Country “Big Country”

“Neon on my naked skin, passing silhouettes
Of strange illuminated mannequins
Shall I stay here at the zoo
Or should I go and change my point of view”
Alphaville “Big in Japan”

I went out last night with my partner in crime here in Toronto and one of the women that works at this center. We went to a café/restaurant. I had a few beers, the ladies and the two gentlemen they had also invited each had coffee. The women are very attractive, slender and pale. The lines of stress and pain haven’t started creasing their foreheads yet. They seem soft and naive but I know they have seen as much of the world’s sorrow as I. In another context, I might have held one of their hands or brushed a stray hair from a cheek, but this is a friendly encounter and besides, I had invited myself along for lack of anything better to do on my own. The two other men are also attractive. Not my usual type, they are tanned and strong. They look like they might have played sports in school but might just work out now. I think I might be interrupting something, but I stay. If they didn’t want me there they would have said so. It’s an enjoyable night but they have to wake early and we depart. I go to a bar near Bathurst and Queen, where the Goth places are. I’d taken the subway to Queen but I’d taken a wrong turn. A prostitute asks me for a cigarette. It takes me a while to figure out her story. I can be dense sometimes. The Goth places are closed, so I turn into another bar a block or so away. It’s somewhat seedy. I had a beer I’d never tried before, Molson 50 or something like that. An Asian man flirts with me and we play pool. He gives me his phone number. I only left to go to a cash machine, but it was too difficult to find one so I take a cab back to the hotel when one turns up.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I find myself getting drunk alone in my hotel room watching cable. Just like home without my computers, with cable tv, and I have to go out in the snow to smoke.

Monday, February 24, 2003

It's still snowing. I keep singing "Blue Savannah" to myself.

Somewhere 'cross the desert
Sometime in the early hour
To the orange side
Through the clouds and thunder

My home is where the heart is
Sweet to surrender to you only
I send my love to you

Saturday, February 22, 2003

I miss you. I realized too late that I needed to spend more time in your arms. Our time together was far too short. I remember waking under your heavy blankets with you still clutching on to me in your sleep. It was so warm in our cocoon that I was sweating. The rain pelted the window; the clouds diffused the pale morning light. Any exposed flesh felt the steel cold from outside, but under here we only know our bodies¡¯ flames. Outside meant much more than the cold and rain, it meant coming to terms with my insecurities and loneliness. I realize now that I was holding on enough to keep my footing in the world and allowing you just enough attention to get what I needed. That really was not fair. If I wanted to be in your arms, I should have given all the love and attention that you needed. It¡¯s so amazing that you still care for me after all this time. Sitting here 2,700 miles away I imagine you teetering precipitously on the edge of the continent, your hair dye streaming in with the clouds and bootlaces falling through the gentle hills heading east over the dead bodies still hiding in the woods, victims of demons long since faded into the mist. The torches from the lighthouses guide your way, higher and higher into the blue void. The pink from your hair is washing out more now, staining the sky like we stained our pillows. I¡¯m clutching at your skirt hem, a slight muslin gauze that dissolves to my touch. The blue of the sky is staining your stockings; delicate silk stretching around your calf muscles and following your boots back down to the firmament. I don¡¯t know why these images burn themselves into my eyes.
The snow has become rain. The dry white night has devolved into a wet slush like a dropped Slushie from 7-11. I'm realizing I don't have the energy to do this. What made me think that, if I had trouble at home, flying across the continent would somehow change things? All it has done is put me farther away from the people that can help me. There are people screaming in Russian all around me. I miss the comfort and privacy of my apartment. Even if I don¡¯t like the apartment or where I¡¯m at, at least it¡¯s mine. I can sleep in the closet or the bathroom if the bed isn¡¯t comfortable, or if there¡¯s too much light. There is a stove. I know where my things are. I find myself between despair and panic, just like home, but it¡¯s more difficult to deal with here. Oh well, lesson learned. Time to grow up, Jim.
This sucks. Being in a different time zone from everyone I know makes it difficult to IM or email anyone.
I'm going to quote your diary here. It's posted elsewhere, but I'll take it down if you tell me to. "Life's Too Short." I keep telling myself that... It's a realization that I had during the Pet Shop Boys concert, sorta. It's something I have always known, and still need to remind myself of, actually. Said concert helped me with that, but over the last few days, it's become increasingly difficult to be in the moment, and to fathom that life's too short.
The night I saw the Pet Shop Boys I was with two women, one of which I had recently broken up with. Well, more than that. The previous night I punched her new boyfriend in the nose and then had him arrested. I was going through another friend's page tonight and found a link to this. I don't believe in Tarot or Karma but sometimes we are faced with synchronicities. We shared a few moments many years ago; your diary says you were near Las Vegas recently, and now this small conjunction. Vade in pace, my friend.
I just found out a former lover was in Las Vegas and didn't try to contact me.

Friday, February 21, 2003

My bottom wisdom teeth have started pushing two of my front teeth out. It's not visible from my smile yet, but it soon will be, if the teeth don't just pop out. It's a good metaphor for much of what is happening in my life. I’ve got some nasty things boiling to the surface. Chemicals, dramas, desires, and dreams pushing somewhere bad, but I’m not quite sure where or why.
There's a cam-ball on this machine.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

I cut my foot rather bad. I was hanging out before work and noticed there was blood on the floor ("There's blood on my hands, there's blood on my hands.") So I was late getting in, I probably looked like I was on drugs, pale and shaky. They made me go to the doctor. $100! Bastards. It's the first time I've ever gotten stitches. The doc was kinda cool, explained everything, answered all my questions. Not too bad. And I got the next day off work. I might be here past the 28th. I'll miss my birthday, which will suck ass, but whatever. It's good to see how other places work. So much has happened, I wish I had a laptop or a diary so I could have been making more notes. I knew this was going to be difficult, but I took it anyway. I find myself in the same situations as before, drinking too late and indulging in the vices inherent to such habitats. It didn't take me long to become a native. I've already met a dozen or more people (and didn't bother to get their phone numbers) just like home. At some point, I need to make a timeline so I can remember what has happened here.

A street protest, 30,000 strong. "Tout la Canada!"
A crime scene, blood but no body. Very few rubberneckers but dozens of cops.
Cut my foot open, first trip to a doctor in many years.
Record setting cold and snow. The sky is falling.
The tallest building left in the world, I think. This huge needle thing looming over the skyline. (When you can see the sky.)
I hope I survive this. I'm sure it won't take too much. I have to remember to budget so I can pay rent.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Everything got fucked up. I’m supposed to be on my way to Toronto. The airline turned me away at the counter since I didn’t have my birth certificate. “Your papers, please.” I ran around all morning trying to make this happen. My father is sending the papers to me and I hope to be on the way tomorrow.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Narg, ack, splat

Now that you've completed the "Zippy Tutorial", read
this unsolicited (and real) e-mail from a previously
perplexed Zippy reader------proof that you, too,

So I leave for kanukistan in a few hours. I'm busy getting drunk enough to be able to deal with the rest of the world; this could take some time. My overweight Samoan lawyer advised that I pack a
suitcase of drugs and head to Vegas, but I'm already in Vegas so I didn't quite see where this was going. I think there is still some Columbian Marching Powder in the salt shaker, and some beer in the fridge. Oh yea, and the Early Times whisky in the freezer. Geh,
I'd have a better time drinking the lighter fluid hooch I have. It's about half gone, mostly due to evaporation, I think. No one in their right mind has drank any of that, which is why I've had a few sips here and there.

Toronto Tomorrow: Light snow. Winds will increase during the afternoon. High 29F. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snowfall around one inch.

Snow?!? I saw snow once, a mountain in the back of this Mexican's '67 Impala. Wait, no, about 3 years ago, the only time in recorded history it snowed in Bakersfield. We were on some of Leary's best; it was purple with a pink moon on it. No cramps, just visuals and this man walks in the room, I think I know him. He's got long hair and he's wearing a leather jacket. There's white shit all over his jacket, I thought he'd lost a pillow fight or had to eat the cracker. He said it was 'snow'. Since we were high as a kite, I didn't think he meant Cocaine so we went outside. This white stuff was falling from the sky.
"Do you know the street value of this mountain!!!"
Um, or something.
"I'm tired of livin' and 'fraid of dyin'"

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Shit. It’s currently 16° F with light snow in Toronto. I’ve never seen weather like that in my life. I’ve been to the mountains in California, I think I’ve seen it snow once or twice in my life. It’s going to be fucking cold there. We got the itinerary today. I fly from LAS at 7am Monday morning. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that. The same way I handle everything, I suppose – wait until the last moment and then panic. At least our hotel is near the Goth clubs. I found out that I’m going with someone other than originally planned. She’s a young woman; her 20th birthday is on Sunday. She’s also gothish, so we will be hitting some clubs together no doubt. Our boss warned us that he doesn’t want to see us on ‘Cops – Toronto’ when we get back. I’m sure we’ll manage to not get arrested. The flight is over 6 hours plus layovers and time changes, 11 hours total. We get to YYZ at 5:59pm. The laundry room in my complex is out of order so I can’t do laundry, but I should at least sort out what needs to be cleaned and hand wash some things. Maybe in a few, in a while, something will happen. I will make it happen and show up at the airport a total wreck and drink some and after some stress be okay and have some fun. I’m not doing this for fame and fortune, just for a change of pace.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Looks like I'm going to Toronto for a month. I'm leaving 8 am monday. Geh.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Found another one, Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Terror. Awful film, 49 votes. Maybe I should change this to things you own...

To Kill a Dead Man. 35 votes. It's a short film done by Portishead.
Porky in Wackyland. 35 votes. Obscure Warner Bros. cartoon.
Ah, Pook is here. 11 votes. Spike and Mike cartoon of Bill Burroughs reading one of his poems. Saw this at LACMA and the Spike and Mike fest.
The only one of these I have a licensed copy of is Tenderness of the Wolf, I have copies of the others with the exception of Night of the Day... and Ah, Pook.

Wow, found one that hasn't been voted on. Inki and the Minah Bird, another Warner Brothers cartoon.
How about a game? Find a film that you have seen on IMDB with the lowest number of votes. I found Thank You Mask Man (which might not count, since it's a 10 minute cartoon.) It has 34 votes. For actual film, I found Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe (Tenderness of the Wolf) with 88 votes. I'm sure I can get it lower.
I wake up on time. I think I fell asleep at 5 or 6, I can’t remember. I was trying to download Tetsuo: Iron Man from the various peer-to-peer clients I have with little luck. I did get Lenny Bruce’s “Thank You Mask Man” after months of searching. The light that manages to peek out behind the cardboard and blankets I have covering my window bothers me. I wonder why I haven’t foiled it over yet. I shower, taking my time since being late doesn’t matter all that much. On my way to the bus, I stop by the office to drop off my rent check and my lease renewal. They are closed today, so I slip it into the mail slot in the door. I signed for a month-to-month rental. My rent will go up, but I will not be tied in if I find the means to escape, or suffer the meltdown I’ve been so close to. The squeak of the mail door brings me back to this moment, I need to get to the bus. It doesn’t look good to be late every day. A new bus schedule came out a week or two ago and I don’t think it’s been given to the drivers yet. The Flamingo bus was over ten minutes late. As I am waiting for it, there are two school children with musical instruments standing on the sidewalk near me. One is a black girl, the other is a possible Hispanic male. It can be difficult to tell sometimes. The two are trading CD-R’s and then placing them in their portable CD players. Their music cases are for either a brass or woodwind. The male walks away as the bus approaches and the girl embarks with us. On Eastern, there is some Catholic stronghold. It’s called “St. Viator’s Rectory” or some such. A line of vehicles, perhaps 50 or 60 strong, snakes through their parking lot. All of the vehicles are SUV’s, minivans, or trucks. I feel an intense rage, I want one of Russia’s missing suitcase nukes to turn this corner into a shrine for bloated consumption. The Pecos bus was also late, making a synchronicity that manages to coincide my arrival at work with the time I’m actually supposed to be there.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

I just noticed a bunch of junk I threw out of my backpack covering my couch and floor. I just wanted to lie down and was faced with context. The last few times you have come over I have missed that context. I said once that you did too much cleaning, but I think I just had an epiphany. You are an art director, making a stage for actors while I have been an actor waiting for a scene. You have been cleaning, making a place to live while I have simply been trying to live, looking for a place.
[1/26/03, revised]
I'm watching the Seventh Seal; a friend got it for me.

We saw it together once, many years ago.

I was 17 or 18, I think. I lived with my mother in rather modest accommodations. It was a three bedroom house, roomy enough for 8 people or more by our standards. We lived on beans, rice, and homemade tortillas much of the time. We had no phone, and for some months, no power. My friends were an escape, him more passionately.

We go to a café, some distance away; he has a car. I10 is an easy drive now, this late at night. 10 years from this moment it will not be so. We are in Claremont, in a new place. He orders a cup of Joe. The barista (if I can call her that, so naive) doesn’t know the term. I have an Italian Soda; I have not developed a taste for caffeine yet. The setting is like the others I know, post-Edwardian drawing room. Board games are scattered about, they are not so concerned about the pieces like most that require you to turn over your ID to check out the pieces. We are face to face, leaning over the table and excitedly discussing the mundane…no, moot points of the universe. I am becoming restless and I want to be home. We leave for a video store. I leave his side to search for something that will occupy my time long enough to Forget. I return with a copy of this film. He is no doubt an intellectual, but such bleak fare is seldom on his palate. He nods his consent and we proceed to the check out. He can be such a Jew, and such a Neurotic. They ask for his ID and he presents his credit card, and visa-versa, he asks about prices and settles for some answer, as long as it takes a fight. Such hurdles are overcome by the service industry’s need to serve (read: “make money”) and we are on our way.

The train tracks were a few yards outside my window, like a parody of the Blues Brothers. Every so often the house would shake and conversation would become impossible. My window is foiled over, no light comes in. Only an 18” black light provides any visibility.

This film is not bleak, really. It has a gaunt, black and white visage, don’t get me wrong, but there are visions of Life and Love; the knight is really looking for something to give Meaning before he dies. My partner makes an off-hand comment; that I consider silent German cinema as light viewing. Compared to the Sorrow and the Pity, yes I do. His barb is misplaced- I enjoy films created by artists and intellectuals, not hacks and hired guns. That’s a difficult boundary, I know. Film is only made to make money for the most part. There are some exceptions, I know. I prefer things that tackle uncommon moments, embrace uncommon beauty and grace.

The pale face of Death is a stark figure, looming over the frame. The idea of watching a film about a knight playing chess with Death might seem boring, but it sets up so many Icons that I nearly weep. The knight meets a family with a beautiful child. Their names translate as Joseph and Mary. They hold their boy with such care and love. Their emotions flood over me. I can watch well-made contemporary films, but there are so few films that move me to the point of tears. I don’t cry from sadness, but from a flood of emotions that I can’t control all at once.

He sleeps. My black light is still on. I have a book, Doug Coupland’s Generation X, which glows under the black light. He is restless; I am still in his arms. I believe he is asleep; he rouses every so often to make me believe he is having trouble sleeping, but I am not tired.

Later, he claims the books I read then were like some medieval monk's prized few manuscripts. These films, texts, moments are all that to me. He bought be that book on a trip to Venice Beach, in the time before I learned to have a job. The object is still one of my treasures, but less so than the memories.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Just an aside, one of the dead astronauts was an Israeli fighter pilot. How much blood does this man have on his hands?
When I was in elementary school, it was a somewhat rare treat to have a television on in our classroom. In 1986, not every classroom had a television so when the teachers decided that we needed to watch the flaming wreckage of the shuttle Challenger with its school teacher cargo, we double- and tripled-up in the rooms with screens. For hours we watched these talking heads babble about shit we didn’t care about. It looked like fireworks to me. It might have been a national tragedy, but as Comrade Stalin put it: “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.” The teachers lost ‘one of their own’ and seemed to think that we cared to see them in some context other than in our crosshairs. Dumb fucks will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

The talking heads (not the band, the news announcers) will be second. I think there is a filter on their voices designed as a sedative. The first overwhelming television media response followed the Kennedy assassination. For four days the country’s eyes and ears turned to this magic box for comfort. For four days, all other shows were cancelled as our nation tried to define itself. I don’t think our nation defined itself as much as the Fourth Estate consolidated its power. The newspapers had started flexing their muscles in the US during the Spanish-American war (I’m sure you can find much earlier examples, but this one sticks out in my mind as the largest policy driven by Media.) After Kennedy’s assassination it didn’t take television long to follow suit, affecting policies in Southeast Asia.

I was watching the late shows last night, no one interesting was on so I fell asleep early. My eyes opened sometime after 8am and I thought I might watch a Saturday morning cartoon then return to my repast. When I turned on the television, I saw 1986 all over again. I think it’s time I throw that box out the window.

Insert bad joke here.