You May Be Right

This is called foreshadowing, folks...

This is called foreshadowing, folks…

“The unexamined life is not worth living, man” –Demetri Martin

It has been since March last I darkened this particular internet doorway. Apparently having fun is no reliable bridge-troll on one’s path toward the flight of time. But there has been some fun, kiddos…fear not.
My family and I have moved from the Garden Island to the Emerald City (Emerald City adjacent) after only lasting one half of one year in paradise. I guess we’re just purgatory types; who knew? I have yet to determine whether or nether the leaving of the Island County of Kauai belongs in the W (win) or L (loss) column of life. My honest suspicion is that it’ll land in the WGAF (who gives a fuck) column. This is a column reserved for the score-keeping of existential crises too complicated to solve in the years I’ve been allotted. It’s best just to move on. Mayhaps I’ll revisit the issue.
I had hoped to get more writing done during my time in Hawaii, but like my friend Matt says: “There’s a reason why the folks from island paradises didn’t take over the world” (do not allow the quotes to fool you, that was a paraphrase…a poor paraphrase). The point being: warm, satisfied, happy people aren’t long on lofty ambition. Those ambitions are best left to cold, white, sexually repressed folks–you know–like they got in Europe. And he is right. It is rare when Matt is wrong about such. I did manage to get some writing done for the natural foods store where I was employed for the bulk of my stay. I was the lead copy writer and editor for the blog that accompanied their website…our website. This was and is no small source of pride for me. I even wrote this post which inspired a woman to tears. She shared this moment with me while I was ringing her up at the counter (I was also a cashier, and a shift manager, as well as a closer. But I’ve already bragged about that position so I won’t bore you) having no idea that I was the post’s author. This was the single greatest highlight of my writing career to date. A close second, my meeting Walt Morey–author of: “Gentle Ben” and “Run Far, Run Fast”–when I was in grade-school. He also authored: “Sandy and the Rockstar”, but at this point I’m showing off–sounding like all of the other needy and desperate Walt Morey groupies or “Morey-Whoreys”: as we are wont to call ourselves. At any rate, it was huge for me.
While on the island, I made a grip of great friends and three of the best friends a boy could want. The final reckoning of a short history of all things me might reveal that I lost more friends than I gained during that period of my life. I face said with no regrets. But, again, the numbers aren’t in.
Jesus and I broke up while I was there. That makes it sound like an event. It was not an event, it was a series of events, spanning somewhere between 5 and 10 years. The chronology is squirrely(It’s a squirrel!). We still love each other. I’m just not apologizing for things about which he’s never considered. Also, I’m not constantly pestering him to put in a good word for me with his old man. My indifference toward god has been a source of consternation more for his (or her, ladies?) followers than for the actual being who seems to be unaware of my disbelief…much like my prior belief. More on this up coming.
Tangential Aside Alert: I think, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that “facial scrub” model is the toughest modeling gig out there. Have you ever noticed that these heroic women are rubbing what amounts to sand all over their faces whilst smiling ear to ear? Practically beaming, really. I use an apricot scrub to promote the radiant glow of my pallid, Irish, pock-marked crater-face. When I use this scrub, I imagine myself looking like Gilbert Gottfried. Like Gilbert Gottfried receiving a prostate exam. From a gigantopithecus. Like a gigantopithecus somehow mustered his (or her, ladies?) way through med school and somehow through an horrific karmic tale of woe became the family practitioner in charge of Gilbert Gottfried’s prostate exam. And the ape has an OCD habit of needing to use two fingers. No one knows why this is, but most suspect it’s on account of Aladdin. This is how I imagine my face looks while using an abrasive facial scrub. So, yeah, those ladies are pretty much heroes…suck it, fireladies (or men, fellas?).
I’m not sure what is to become of this blog. I may be over it, and you might be too. I’m not sure. I’m still writing the short-story from which I shared the first two chapters on this very page. But I will not be posting the ensuing chapters here. I plan on finishing it and handing copies out to some folks (who may be tortured–your play, Obama.) for their frank and intelligent consideration. It just seems like a more productive plan.
So here we are. If you are disappointed in my lack of prolifery (not to be confused with pro-lifery…I’m not anti-life either–don’t get the wrong idea–I love life, mostly. rather this is a modification of the term: “prolific” with which the human language mill has yet to ketchup), I am truly sorry. I did not see this coming either. But we are moving forward. The muse, she mumbles and–when I am not being a lazy pile of waded shit-stained toilet paper–I listen, usually. But hey, you know what they say, progress and some other stuff…


On the Art of Survival: One Incompetent’s Opinion

and then they were gone...

and then they were gone…

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” –Aristotle

Anybody seen these shows on T.V. that highlight end-times preppers?  I could never be a prepper, I don’t have the attention span survival requires.  I learned this sad fact while playing Call of Duty 8: Revenge of the Whistleblowers.  It’s a game where-in your character sits in a basement hacking NSA Agents’ twitter accounts pretending to be them and apologizing to their wives for made-up affairs…I know; it’s convoluted.  Anyhow I was sitting there playing about half-way through mission 3: “The Regression of the Phoenix” when I became very bored.  I wasn’t in to it.  It was too much.  And that’s me sitting in my comfortable living room, on a couch, beer within arm’s reach, a toilet just a pause click away, heat, electricity, every creature comfort imaginable.  I was out.  That’s when I thought to myself: “I’m just not cut out for this sort of thing”.  I was born to live in civilized environs.

Who are these people that fetishize the breakdown of society?  What do they have against a heated Japanese toilet with sphincty-rinse?  Who are these people that jump to the idea of revolution at the mere utterance, a muttered utterance, a mutterance (that’s mine), of gun control.  When was the last time you used a gun for something important?  Because I use ice-cold beer and hot and cold running water every fucking day.  Think about what you are sacrificing.

So impatient am I with the concept of survival that I warn anyone who gets into a car with me, before we set out on the journey, that if there is even the slightest car accident and one of them dies, or is knocked unconscious, that I would begin eating them within 15 minutes–tops.  I’ve seen survival stories where people wait days before eating the dead among them.  What is the point?  You’re merely delaying the inevitable.  If we are in trouble and we’re unsure when rescue will arrive I know that I’ll be eating well…and I don’t mean your thigh or ass…I’m going sweet-breads.  For me it’s all about the heart and liver…maybe some brains.  15 minutes that’s my threshold…I don’t care if I hear sirens in the distance…they might not be coming for us…they might not even be real, for all I know they’re a product of my brand-new-concussion-reality that I just received as a gift from the dashboard.

I have a friend who is into this survivalist thing…I mean deep.  He has all of his stuff ready to rock…he has, what they call, a “bug-out” bag; which is a backpack loaded with the essential supplies needed to get to somewhere safe and plot your plan to free the lemmings from the surly shackles of tyranny.  I don’t know all of his plans…preppers are cagy.  But I was with him one time while he was making this bracelet…it was super-cool looking…it was made with braided cord like: three and half million feet of it.  He was braiding it by hand and I asked him about it and he told me it was a survival bracelet which is basically a really convenient way to carry a shit-ton of cord on your person.  It was clear from that encounter that I wasn’t built for survival…on a mental level.  He was sitting there making a bracelet for a pretend day that might never come, and he looked so happy.  He looked like a grandmother knitting a new hat for her granddaughter.  I mean, I think the inner-dialogue was different.  Where the grandmother might be thinking of cold days made cozy with the tender love of grandma’s hands, my buddy was probably thinking about choking out some zombified despot who had the misfortune of stumbling upon his forest-compound, and now my buddy thinks the zombie-wanderer is after his powdered eggs.

And that’s the rub isn’t it?  All these people who are preparing for the end of it look upon people, who haven’t gone to the same lengths of preparation as they have, with disdain.  They think things like: if you aren’t prepping, you’re already dead.  They justify abhorrent behavior, like killing people who have found their hide-out.  So if shit really does hit the fan even at a fraction of the velocity survivalists expect, the earth will be left to re-population by hyper-vigilant, hyper-paranoid assholes whose view of humanity is just a tad bit more hippy than Stalin’s.  I mean if you really want to see if survivalists could rebuild society, you need only put Alex Jones and Ann Coulter in charge of a compound with a population of about fifty like-minded people and see how that works out…I think that’s a very apt simulation…I’d love to see that…there is a reality program that I would feel comfortable calling: “Preppers”.  Just a cross-section of humanity calling each other sheeple and screaming at each other to “wake up” and “face reality”…I figure: “do the math” would be an oft used assholism in that show (this is a pitch by the by, I’m talking to you: Jeffrey Bewkes, and Leslie Moonves.  This is a CW vehicle, to be sure).

That just leaves me wondering: what’s the point?  You work your ass off to survive really horrible shit so that you can be stuck with a bunch of emotionally broken people for less than a generation before society implodes again…and the concentration of crazy is just going to become thicker and thicker…and the gestation period of chaos shorter and shorter.  I’ve seen the exponential rise of crazy on reality television…we all have.  I remember watching the first Real World on MTV and thinking how crazy it was to film the human equivalent of putting two small crabs into a Dixie-cup.  Fast-forward like ten, or so, years and you have Jersey-Shore which is nothing more than an exponential power-up of crazy version of the Real World…an explosion of lunacy that even the most jaded and cynical television exec would have to admit: “I did not see that coming”.

And that is us.

Just a bunch of human crabs stuck in this Dixie-cup fighting over beans and rice, becoming less and less human until our devolution becomes so complete that all that remains is a single-celled organism that splits and kills the other…just a lightning flash of life and death undetectable to the naked eye over and over into perpetuity.  What is the fucking point?

I’m a bit of a prepper myself.  I have my bug-out plan.  Currently, I’m testing various syrups to see which flavor is most compatible with the barrel of a pistol.  Because, even though I know I’ll only have the gun in my mouth for the blink-of-an-eye period one needs to squeeze the trigger to its perch, I do not like the taste of metal.  Plus: I have a strong gag reflex.  It is my strongest characteristic.  Like I said, I’m just not cut out for that sort of thing…

I’m too soft…

The Loudest Quiet Week Ever: Hyperbole is Overrated

Getting in to Halloween Mode

Getting in to Halloween Mode

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” –Albert Einstein 

I know, you’re disappointed…I get it.  I’ve been lazy.  I’ve been distracted.  I haven’t felt like staring down the barrel of a loaded blinking cursor.  Call me a coward…but do it under your breath, when I’m not looking.  I’m a sensitive coward.

The house almost sold, but there arose a hang-up when it was discovered that the buyers wanted our house airlifted from the property and a new one put in its place.  Or maybe they were hoping for some sort of time-machine clause–upon closing–where-in they would be transported back to when the house was new.  It’s hard to say.  We are taking a little break from the real-estate game.

I didn’t spend any time on my Tumblr either.  I had a couple of ideas.  I was working through how to implement the sets, but I never got to a place where I liked what was happening.  It’s hard to build dentist chairs for “Littlest Pet Shop” figures (for some of you that was a spoiler).  So I didn’t shoot it.

I’ve been working a lot (sort of) on an important post.  It hasn’t been an easy one.  Whereas, generally, I can write one of my posts (roughly 1000 words) in 3hours (give or take; plus some light editing), this one has less than 500 words and has taken me a few months.  It feigns weakness and, when I move in to attack, it knocks me around.  This usually results in my staring out of the window for hours.  I’m hoping to finish it for my 100 post.  But, in all reality, that is some trite bullshit.  It’ll be done when it wants to be…I’ve very little say in this one.

It would be easy for me to say that these are dark times.  There are many reasons why it feels that way.  Not just for me personally, but everybody is starting to get froggy…jumping at the first sign of unrest.  They say that Homeland Security is vamping up for an impending escalation in civil turbulence.  I suppose this would make me more nervous if Homeland Security had any evidence for their own competence.  But they, like “No Child Left Behind” and many more Bush-era programs, are…clownish.  And, like all clowns, they lack self-awareness.  Hey clowns: people are not cheered up by leering joy-feigning adult humans in white-face.  Exceptions to that are made for the sake of irony, but for the most part…it’s a pass.  Dark times?  Maybe.  But they could be darker.  When one needs candles one does not use the last moments of the candle currently in use to complain about its dimness.  One looks for another candle.  Chances are, they’re in the last place you used them, next to your rig…this analogy has lost its effectiveness and is taking on a darkness all its own…let’s move on.

I tend to get itchy when I spend a week away from tossing words together to make myself feel important.  But I also feel good to be free from some of my more narcissistic pursuits.  I’m hoping to be back on track in the coming week…we’ll see–things are a little quiet around here and it is starting to make me deaf…

And You Thought Jeff Bezos Was Crazy

"No, of course you didn't think that."

“No, of course you didn’t think that.”

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” —Henry David Thoreau

One thing that I hate, I’ve been noticing lately, is streaming videos where the supporting site puts a countdown to the next video.  It doesn’t give you a choice…it’s like: “You have 15 seconds to choose to not watch this video or I’m going A Clockwork Orange on your passive ass, your pass-assive.”  And, also there is some spinning animation trying to hypnotize you via your periphery. 

It doesn’t even have to be something unpleasant…it might be a video that sounds like an enjoyable watch to me.  It doesn’t matter; I turn into an idiot, frantically trying to click out of the screen despite the fact that all of my fingers have turned into thumbs and both of my thumbs into Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots that inevitably turns into a drunken brawl across the width of my desk…all the while the evolved parts of my brain are processing a million and a half “Red wire/Green wire” hero ideations and my simian parts scream: “No I’m not going to watch Travis Pastrana do the mega-ramp on a fuckin’ big-wheel!” 

A more civilized scene would be achieved by putting one of the monkeys from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the driver’s seat of KITT from television’s Knight Rider…just a regular monkey sitting in the driver’s seat of a Black 1982 talking Trans-Am…I look like: if you gave a computer mouse to the last resident of Jamestown as he was eating the best-man from his wedding…a person so close to him he was saved for the final meal…that’s what I look like while trying to click out of the window…

Then when I finally successfully stop the video countdown, and I’ve calmed myself, and the restraints are removed; I’m like: “Oh look, Travis Pastrana does the mega-ramp on a big wheel…that looks good *sha-clicky*.” 

Excuses of a Dirt Bag Baller


trite bullshit

“Excuses are like Mustangs and Assholes everybody has one and they’re mostly red and stinky” –Patso

I’m taking a break with my family this week…so instead of doing nothing, I’m going to do a little less than nothing.  I know it’s a douche move but you are reading a blog…lower your expectations.  Next week I’m going to discuss the relative merits, and whatever the opposite of merits are, concerning this sign.  The challenge will be to see if I can get both feet in my mouth (I only accomplished one foot when last I commented) and any other appendage that might coincide with small feet, of which I posses both.  It may not be for everyone so fair warning and all that rot…

Breaking Hard is Up to Do 2: Break Harder

on the bright side, I have new shoes for travel

on the bright side, I have new shoes for travel

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”–Will Rogers

I’m starting to lose myself in this transition…I don’t think this move is going to kill me, but I doubt it’s making me stronger…don’t worry, Mr. Nietzsche, everybody says stupid stuff to make themselves feel better in times of despair; your optimism is a comfort to us all.  Though the house is on the market and people are showing interest, there is still much to be done.  I spend my days thinking about small things around the house that might not be putting the house’s best foot forward.  Then I clean and or fix those things.  I need to be thorough…I don’t want to let my family down on account of my laziness.  All these projects are slowly making my hands and back strong, and my mind weak.  Merle Travis, and later, Tennessee Ernie Ford were very clear about their views on manual labor.  I’m starting to think they were right.  We all owe our souls to the company store in one way or another.

Small projects, like the ones I have left to accomplish, are kryptonite to obsessives.  Yesterday I worked until around 10 in the evening detailing a stove that will probably be exchanged for a nicer unit within the year.  The little dishes underneath the burners (it’s an electric burner style stove) were caked with shit, remnants of nearly a decade of life.  I had to scrape them with a razor blade to get them clean.  Why?  I really couldn’t tell you.  The job was frustrating, the results: disappointing.  But that’s the nut of the problem with obsessive people, isn’t it?  My wife thought my neurotic fixation on this project was both funny and maddening.  When the job isn’t going smoothly everyone in the house pays a price.  When I am frustrated I should just walk away rather than cuss and scream the thing into submission.  She knows this and it’s painful for her to watch me make an ass of myself in front of God and man.  I know she’s right.

The thing about people who are obsessive or compulsive…or both is that there is no right answer once our minds have locked on to something.  I’m one of the lucky ones as I don’t lock onto much.  But when it happens, the cycle is nearly impossible to break.  When I’m fixed on a thought or project it is natural for the people around me to see that as being unhealthy and the loving thing for those folks to do is to tell me to stop…to walk away and come back to it.  The problem is walking away makes me feel just as bad as pushing through.  It’s not as though I’m thinking: “This sucks and I need a rest, but if I push through the reward will be great.”  My inner dialogue is more like: “This job sucks, rest sucks, nothing is working fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck!”  That’s the rub, I can’t rest while a project is unfinished.  I just think about finishing it the whole time.  When my hands stop hurting, I go right back to it.  My hands generally stop hurting long before my brain is emotionally ready to reengage the challenge. 

Before the stove project I got locked into pressure-washing all of the concrete and the cedar fence around my house.  It took me the better part of 40hrs to get it all done.  40 miserably cold and wet hours holding on to a wand that was hell-bent on causing permanent nerve damage in my hands and wrists.  Three days after the project feeling returned to the tips of 9 of my fingers.  One of them, the one I smashed between to ductile-iron pipes when I was a kid, has yet to relay sensation to my brain.  During the entire project my wife was encouraging me to take a rest.  She was probably right; the project would’ve gotten done just as surely with breaks in between as it did with none.  In retrospect I can see the value in what she said…I can see the truth.  Right and wrong and truth and lies are all so damned esoteric in the throes of a good obsession.  It becomes the comedy of reasoning with an ant.  Everything becomes impenetrable save the task at hand.   

Cry much, diaper-baby?  It’s not all bad news…actually none of it is bad news per-se.  It just is what it is, and I’ve found that it rarely is what it isn’t…so there’s that.  The house is looking better and better, and I’m confident it’ll will be someone’s dream-house realized in short order.  On an unrelated topic, if you know anyone looking for a nice house in the west Bremerton area here is one.

 I learned how to blog from watching television’s Doogie Howser, M.D. when I was a kid.  Most of us did.  Doogie always ended the show by journaling on his computer…he would type out a paragraph and then stare of into the distance while the sickly green cursor would blink at us stupidly and impatiently waiting, like a reasonless ant, for its next group of letters to drag–from God knows where–onto the screen.  Doogie would come up with one beautifully succinct sentence to conclude his thoughts…it was always so perfect.  I’ve found that those lines are more abundant on television…

An Excuse or Something Close

Getting the house prepared to sell...

Getting the house prepared to sell…

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”–LouisPasteur

  Nothing major this week…the house is on the market and now things are probably going to start moving quickly.  If chance favors the prepared mind then I’ll have to trust in something more than chance to get through the coming months…My mind has its own type of preparedness that is not favored by chance…I’m okay with that.

  Whirlwind weeks are the vig on loans made for free-time not earned…these last couple of weeks have been and will be whirl-windy.  I suspect it’ll be this way for another four or so…

  Sorry for the short post…busy, busy.  I’m sure to be back on track in no time…

Consider the Birds of the Air…

Trees?  Who needs trees?

Trees? Who needs trees?

“Consider the daffodil.  And while you’re doing that, I’ll be over here, looking through your stuff.” –Jack Handy

I live in a city, name of: Bremerton.  It’s more like a large town and it is about an hour’s ferry ride out of Seattle, Washington.  It is only a city in the most technical way.  It’s built in a grid pattern and we have a police department, and a fire department.  It is called the Bremerton Fire Department.  Its initials are BFD which are painted on the back of the fire engines.  I guess no one is in charge of checking these things, but it doesn’t inspire confidence.  Anyhow, in spite of its smallness, my town has the tendency to be very busy.  I live on one of the busier streets.  My street is so active that if I wake up in the night and it is quiet outside…no car noise…I can guess confidently about the time of morning it is…dead quiet means 2a/m to 4a/m.  I woke up the other morning it was dark and quiet, clearly later than 2 a/m.  Then I noticed a single bird chirping, so daylight was coming sooner rather than later.  I guessed it for about 4a/m.  The thought occurred to me that what I was hearing was the early bird…you know the one about which your boss or dad always told you. 

I started thinking about this industrious bird out there all by himself eating all those worms.  Then I thought: What a stupid little bird, if only he kept his mouth shut he could eat all the worms that he wanted.  He could just feed on worms while all of the other birds slept lazily.  Why was he drawing so much attention to himself?  I imagined what would happen to a bird who ate worms silently and greedily.  His slight body slowly turning into Jabba the Hut with wings…or if not Jabba per-se, another member of the Hut crime-family.  I can’t imagine their body types are too dissimilar.  I guess this type of bird behavior would lead to another platitude.  “The mid-morning raccoon gets the fat bird.”

The adage: “The early bird gets the worm.” is one that was born of a need to motivate workers whose productivity didn’t satisfy their superiors.  Or, if it wasn’t born of that need, it quickly was disfigured into such.  It carries with it the weight of competition.  It’s peer-pressure…a begging of the question: “What have you done for me lately?”.  The only thing about which a boss truly cares.  Leastwise the good prolific bosses whose bosses inquiries are also thinly veiled.  What indeed.  “Consider the birds of the air”, he said to his boss on his last day of work…

The song-bird in my yard had no fear of competition.  It was not worrying about what other birds might come and discover the fruits of his diligence.  Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of competition in the animal kingdom.  I’m sure that this bird knew, on some level, that more birds equal less worms per bird.  What struck me that morning was his lack of worry.  He was just eating and singing.  He was not committed to either to the point where he could be robbed of the joy he found in both.

I really have no envy of birds, they posses very few attributes that I would find useful.  It was surprising to me that flight, the characteristic I’ve envied most about birds as long as I can remember, became the second most attractive aspect of the bird.  At least it was in the moment I shared with that bird in my yard.  The connection that we shared that morning was so intimate that I nearly shed a tear when I shot it.  It was too early and I needed sleep…sleep deprivation really tends to cut into my productivity…at least that’s what my boss says his boss says…

My Voice: Two Point Oh…

Brewing beer=good timesBrewing contention=bad times

Brewing beer=good times
Brewing contention=bad times

I know what you’re thinking…it’s a figure of speech…an arrogant one; let me start again.  I was thinking: man it’s been awhile since I’ve written on my blog.  I think it’s been about three years.  I guess I could go back and look so I could be more precise about the length of time since last I wrote, but that sounds boring.  Let’s just agree it’s been longer than a month.  I tried to think back and do the math on the exact time, but in the midst of all that the numbers turned into red and blue monkeys and used the symbols of operations as weapons to beat one another, when last I checked the red monkeys were winning.  I couldn’t watch for long; I struggle with monkey on monkey violence, regardless their color.

I had an idea to write about Sandy Hook a few weeks back, I resisted that urge and I’m glad that I did.  It seems to be a topic mainly commented on by the mentally unstable who would use a tragedy to showcase their delusion.  I’m happy to be left out of the fray.  Call it a stroke of luck.  Instead I thought I’d share my reasons (Read: Excuses) for not writing for some undeterminable length of time.

I started to brew beer at a real working brewery with my friend Andy.  I had no idea how much fun I would have with that.  But it came at a price, my hours for writing were in direct conflict with the schedule of a brewer…this conflict showcased my inability to change my habits.  The solution was simple enough: write at a different time.  Trust me, I find no flaw in your logic, and really when you get right down to it, it’s probably the thing I like least about you: your flawless logic.  Anyway, that got more confrontational than necessary and I feel partially responsible; I’m sorry.  Let’s move on.  Andy and I brewed about 100 batches of beer (I’m almost positive that’s an exaggeration)  and like I said it was a lot of fun.  But there was more than just beer brewing in the brew-house, trouble was also at a rolling boil. (I know.)  My friends Andy and Jessica were only part owners of the brewery in which I worked.  Their working relationship with their partners had soured over the preceding year and, before long, talks of a buy-out were bandied back and forth between lawyers.  Eventually, my friends were bought out and I was dismissed along with them. It was a regime change and there was no room for an assistant brewer connected with the old-school.  I wouldn’t have wanted to work there anyhow, but really that sounds petty at this point.  I’m sure you’ll forgive me that indulgence.  About the same timeish I started another artistic endeavor, that of the podcaster.

Podcasting is nothing if not a stronghold of terminally self-involved despots with insatiable appetites for the siren-sound of their own voice.  So naturally, it was a perfect fit for me.  I’ve been in love with radio since before I can remember (completely impossible to prove, I know) and podcasting is the democratization of radio, and the audible evidence of democracy’s Achilles heel.  The great thing about podcasting is you get to sit down, either by yourself or with some friends, (I chose the friends route) and say whatever is on your mind.  The horrible thing about podcasting is that you sit down and say whatever’s on your mind.  This becomes a problem if you’ve nothing compelling to say.  It became clear to me I had little to say.  I wanted to make a show that was poignant, honest, and not afraid to go for the obvious dick joke here and there.  By not afraid I mean to say: not encumbered by one’s opinion of my intellect or ethos because I find dick jokes funny.  The show I made was definitely not afraid of dick jokes…but it lacked the other components, and that became glaringly obvious to me.  What wasn’t so obvious was the reason why, but I felt it prudent to forgo the recording of my thoughts in that format until such a time came that I could make the show that is in my mind.  That time is nowhere in sight but I will come back to podcasting one day.  It was just too much fun to stay away forever.  For those of you who heard that podcast, I apologize, it wasn’t the show I’d imagined it to be.  But my imagination, like me, is a shitty communicator.  There is a chance that that fact alone should disqualify me from the pursuit of podcasting all together.  I try not to think about that too much.

So here we are.  Those were the reasons I stopped writing.  There is the small detail about why the gap between those things ending and my picking up writing again was so wide.  Most of that can be explained by laziness.  The rest is a bit tricky.  Those of you who know me know that my brain is sometimes, some might say oft-times, controlled by an icy-veined cynic.  This cynic is a personality I’ve spent a large portion of my life trying to ignore, but alas, some of his thoughts escape my mouth and for every ten of those there are untold thousands that run around on a loop in the warm gray cul-de-sac that is my brain.  This means that whenever inspiration strikes, the process of getting said inspiration in writing is held up in committee as my cynic debates my mind about the validity of said inspiration.  On top of that I gave my cynic two fantastic failures (Brewing and Podcasting) with which to filibuster brain on the topic of inspiration.  So that took a couple of weeks to push through.  Last year I published around fifty-thousand words on this blog all in the interest of discovering my voice.  My voice is still an allusive thing after which I diligently chase, and having no evidence that I’m any closer to its discovery and having taken a break from its pursuit, I find myself every bit as afraid to stare at a blank screen as I was when I wrote my first post.  So it’s 2013 and I’m taking another shot at it…maybe it’ll be aptly described as futile as Dr. Thompson’s search for the American Dream.  I am left with the conviction that, unlike the American Dream and Bigfoot, my voice exists.  Also, I think Bigfoot exists.  I know that was confusing to you, but it was much more so to Bigfoot.

Jesse Stumped: Why I Wouldn’t Make a Good T.V. Exec

It’s Always Sunny Here

“Found her right there. Against the float.” –Jesse Stone

There is a fresh Jesse Stone T.V. movie set to air tonight May 20, 2012.  This series baffles me and has since the release of Stone Cold in 2005.  The movies are small-screen adaptations of a novel-series whose chief character is a down-on-his-luck detective who tries out for a chief of police gig in what seems to be a sleepy town, and gets it…mainly because the President of the town council thinks that Stone is a drunken maladroit who will be easy to control.  They both find that they’re first impressions were misinformed and wacky hijinks ensue.  The idea of this character living in the world of pulpy commercial fiction seems completely normal to me, but why on earth, given the massive amounts of media to be consumed on any given night—including Sunday, would anyone waste anymore time rewarding the “efforts” of a franchise that seems to be resolved to the idea of “phoning it in”?

Tom Selleck plays the lead role in this series, and the lead problem in my ability to buy into this tired formula.  Tom Selleck stopped being a viable option for playing a quick-as-a-whip detective somewhere in the late eighties (80s) when Magnum P.I. wrapped.  Since that time, he has been trying his hand unsuccessfully at a myriad of roles.  Of those roles, his stand-outs were: playing a creepy ophthalmologist on television’s Friends, and the Police Commissioner of the NYPD on T.V.’s Blue Bloods.  These are two roles in which Selleck seems believable…at least to me.  This is not to say that Tom Selleck is a poor actor.  While he is not very rangy, his role in the Quigley series and others of the same stripe are sufferable.  The problem with this series is Selleck is not as young as his character Stone and as such, really cannot pass his interpretation of this character off in a way that seems compelling…not even for a thirty (30) second T.V. spot.  There is actually a scene that makes it in to the commercial in which a shooter fires a rifle at Stone and he “dives” out of the way, however, based upon the lack-luster performance of said dive the viewer is left wondering: “Did he dive out of the way, or did the rifleman find his mark?”  If this was a teaser then the makers of the series have assumed the audience even more stupid than one could safely assume based upon the evidence the viewers have so far provided, which is substantial.  This was no teaser; this was an intentional “stunt” gone horribly wrong.  It was a small slice of evidence that, even though Selleck has yet to grow weary of the pay-checks the Stone series provides, he too is sick of the franchise…or he’s just horribly old and arthritic…or both.

Selleck is not the only one guilty of losing the thrill of the Stone franchise.  The writers of the series…read: the folks who are adapting the novels to made-for-T.V. movies, named this installment Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt, what is happening with that sub-title?  Hey guys, was Jesse Stone: Meh not available?  It’s a title that’d be more comfortable as a parody version of the movie than an actual episode.  It’s not like the writers have an incredibly tough job.  It is clear, to even the casual observer, that the bar for this franchise is set remarkably low, and I’m not saying that this show writes itself…I’m saying that it was already written by the late Robert Parker, an American crime writer, who—like most American crime writers—has received far too many accolades for his own brand of commercial fiction, but like singer Tom Gabel says, “Constant entertainment for our restless minds, constant stimulation for epic appetites”, eventually the quality of entertainment, and the intensity of stimulation wanes without our having noticed.  Or maybe we have noticed, but nobody cares.  Feed me; feed me, the remaining relevant sentiment of the American viewing public.

The people in charge of this franchise need to make a tough decision here.  Maybe it’s time to end this series, let Tom Selleck go back to Blue Blood, and let him ride that snake all the way to Valhalla, or wherever short-shorts wearing mustachioed warriors spend eternity…Selleck does strike me as being a bit too “metro” to spend the after-life among Nordic heroes.  If ending the series seems a bit Draconian, then a re-boot might be in order.  Cast It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney as Jesse Stone and give Selleck ironic cameos throughout the run.  McElhenney has already proven to have the moves necessary to pull off this action role.  Add to that the fact that this would be a dream role for his character, Mac, on Sunny and you have—what they call in the biz—a win, win.  The bonus being that Rob McElhenney has the comedy chops to breathe new life into this role.  The folks who bring us the Jesse Stone series are essentially writing a comedy whether they’re aware of it or not.  We could all laugh a bit more comfortably if they’d just have the decency to embrace that fact.