Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If I Wrote Old Movies: Volume II

"If I Wrote Old Movies: Volume II"
by Jake Kilroy

"Why, I'd lose my mind if I couldn't have you."

"Oh, Joe, I love it when you talk like that."

"Ah, shucks, Harriet. I'd sure do a lot for you."

"Is that right?"

"Well, sure! Sure, that's right! It's as true as a whistle, ain't it? Why, Harriet, if it were up to me, we'd be together forever."

"So why can't we?"

"Ah, come on, Harriet, you know we can't. You're married! I'm married! It just wouldn't do, you know? Especially not in a town like this. Why, we'd be run outta town! You know that."

"But what if we could, Joe? What if we could? Oh, wouldn't that be wonderful?"

"Oh, that would be just swell, Harriet. But, like I said before, we can't! You know we can't. Why should we get our hopes up? We'll always be married to other people."

"Ah, heck, I wish we weren't. Say...now there's an idea!"

"What is it, Harriet?"

"Joe, I've just had the most spectacular idea! We can be together and our spouses won't speak a word!"

"No fooling?"

"No fooling!"

"Well, how are we going to do that?"

"I kill your wife and you kill my husband!"

"Harriet...no! Oh, no! Now, I may not be the best husband around, but I'm no murderer! And you're not either!"

"The hell I'm not, Joe! I've got something inside of me just dying to get out. And I want it to be for you. I want it all to be for you!"

"Say, what is this? You tryin' to make a fool outta me?"

"Not at all, Joe! No, I'm going to make you something alright, but it ain't a fool. I'm going to make you the happiest man in the world, and I'll do whatever it takes."

"Harriet, you're talking like a crazy person!"

"Maybe I am crazy, but it's love I'm crazy with."

"No, Harriet! Come on, you're starting to scare me."

"I'm going to undress now, Joe...and by the time my last piece of clothing hits the floor, you better be on my side. I don't want you on the other side, you understand? I don't want you on anybody's side but mine."

"Oh, Harriet, you know I can't..."

"This is your last chance, Joe. I either kill your wife or I kill you. But I'm not going to be some married man's parlor trick anymore!"

"Please, Harriet..."

"Joe, you're about to make the best or worst decision of your life."

"No, no, no!"

"I only got one thing left on me, Joe. You better make up your mind quick."

But there were only tears left in Joe's head.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jake Kilroy's 2010 Review Of His Year In Reading

2010 was my return to crazed, frenzied reading, where I took in as many stories as often as I could. Over the course of the past year, I also got really addicted to talking about books. I was originally going to compile a list of what I thought were 2010's best books, but I realized how rare it is that I read books the year they come out.

So, after being asked for book recommendations a few times in the last month (and always, always wanting some recommendations from anybody in return), I made a list of books I read (or listened to) this past year (or or up until Christmas Day anyway) that I thought were totally awesome. I also included blurbs about what they are and why they were pretty rad. It's a pretty lengthy deal happening below, I know, but, like I said, 2010 was also the year that I got addicted to discussing books too.

1. "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand
I finally got around to reading it and, even with the hype, it's one of the best books I've ever read. Even if you disagree with the Objectivism philosophy (and I'm kinda halfsies on it), it's still flawlessly written. The sentence and story structure are cold and perfect, matching the personalities and conversations of the dynamic architects and journalists. It's an epic by the most impossible means, as it relies on people being people to bring about a stunning piece of bold literature. It never loses steam.

2. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury
It's a Halloween story for sure, but it's more about adolescence than anything else. A sinister evil comes to a small town and two boys and a father have to come to terms with age in a spooky reality. The prose is so fun and unsettling and funny, giving way to some serious nostalgia. It reads like the first ghost story you remember retelling.

3. "The Given Day" by Dennis Lehane
A radical piece of historical fiction, the book tells the stories of an Irish family and a black family at the end of World War I. Actual historical events, such as the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Boston Police Strike of 1919 and a score of other important moments make their way into the threads of the story, told in the cracks of city life. It has about as much history as it does fiction, even with actual people in history playing pivotal and conversational roles. Everyone keeps talking about crime, unions, baseball and the changing modern world. It's incredible.

4. "Gun, With Occasional Music" by Jonathan Lethem
It has all of the classic narrative language of a Chandler or Hammett mystery, but all of the modern sci-fi chaos of a Philip K. Dick novella. The book has noir down so perfectly in so many instances, it comes off as a really good parody or tribute. It has the ever-classic stereotypes, but it's the sci-fi weirdness that stands out, like babyheads (evolved babies with drinking problems) and evolved talking animals (including a wise-ass kangaroo goon). It's just really fun, with a good balance of noir and sci-fi, while also balancing silly and serious.

5. "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" by Douglas Adams
Adams is just as absurd, if not absurder, as I expected. And it's way fun. But it's also wildly British. You can spot the silly narrative trends that Adams pioneered for later authors. It documents the end of the world, the outrageous insanity of the universe beyond and it introduces the reader to the tempo and chaos of the series. It's so weird and cool.

6. "Villa Incognito" by Tom Robbins

Even his lesser novels are still better than just about everything else, though I hold Robbins to higher standards. This book isn't as easy-flowing or as perfectly worded as his earlier novels, but it's still just as weird, just as philosophical and just as humorous. It takes mysticism in Southeastern Asia and combines it with Vietnam soldiers going M.I.A. It evaluates the big picture drug trade, the American military in foreign lands and...well, romantic bestiality. It's not the best introduction to Robbins, but it's a lot of awesome craziness if you're already down with his work.

7. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Foer Safron
This book was so unrelentingly heartbreaking, it kind of made the emotion seem cheap. And I think the author was doing that on purpose, so...there's some give and take with it. However, it was spectacularly well-written, combining hope with misery in a nine-year-old narrator. The novel follows a young boy's New York City adventure after he finds a key that belonged to his deceased father. The father died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and that day becomes the main theme of the book, as a kid just tries to figure out life. It's overwhelming.

8. "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman
Consider the possibility that underneath London is a place called London Below, where magic is real and dangerous. Places in London Above are similar but different in London Below. Knightsbridge in London Above is "Night's Bridge" in London Below (where the darkness takes a person from your party as its toll). It's sinister urban fantasy and nobody does it better than Gaiman. And he proves it with his two eternal and amoral murderous assassins Mr. Croop and Mr. Vandemar, who are two of the most engaging characters of violence I've ever encountered in fiction.

9. "The Hot Kid" by Elmore Leonard
It's one of Leonard's longest novels and it's a few-year saga of bank robbers and marshals in the Midwest around the time that Dillinger was charming the nation. There are a few real-life characters in the distance of the narrative, so it's partially historical fiction. But it's mostly just an easy-going read about one young, calm marshal and one loud, obnoxious bank robber. It's engaging with a lot of slow parts. But it also gives you a vibe for the 1920s and the romance of crime back then.

10. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway
Set during the Spanish Civil War, American Robert Jordan finds himself with guerrilla rebels hiding out in a mountain cave, waiting to blow up an nearby bridge. It has all of the things I love about Hemingway, but it also has all the things he does that I don't care for. It's not the best introduction to his work, but, if you're already a fan, I figure it's a must. The book has several pretty intriguing musings on suicide and politics, including one long story within the book about killing fascists that blew my mind.

1. "Born Standing Up" by Steve Martin
I think I've just gotten to a point in my life where I understand that I'll read, watch or listen to anything Martin does. He writes in such a conversational way, you feel like he's just recapping something casual to you. This particular book documents his childhood to the moment he quit stand-up comedy. He shows how an interest in magic, music and a goofy sense of humor lead to him becoming a stand-up superstar. It's hard to believe he's a celebrity because he writes like someone you end up talking to at a party. It's so, so good.

2. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris
I was years late on this book. I always loved Amy Sedaris and people would tell me to read her brother. I didn't know what that meant. Then this book took non-fiction and turned it into an array of short stories. I'm one of the skeptics that wonders how much is actually true, but it's so wacky, so heartbreaking, so funny and so intriguing the way it makes normal people in their day-to-day lives seem more interesting than everything else.

3. "On Writing" by Stephen King
The first half details King's writing career, from neighborhood kid newspaper printer to bestseller. You see the influence that his family life and childhood had on his writing decisions. He explains why he wrote, how he evolved and what he thought of the whole experience. It's excellent. The second half becomes his own version of a writing class, where he explains what works and what doesn't and how to keep a legitimate writing schedule. Some is common sense, some is good refresher and some is a number of really killer new things to know.

4. "My Custom Van" by Michael Ian Black

If you love Black's aggressive form of deadpan that you've seen in interviews, blogs or on Twitter, you'll dig it. The first few essays had me laughing out loud, but once I understood the formula, the jokes had less of an impact. However, it continued to be really funny. The essays' content is all over the place, ranging from letters to a whorish squirrel to hating David Sedaris because everyone likes him.

5. "Manhood for Amateurs" by Michael Chabon
I'm realizing now how little I read non-fiction, because I didn't think this book was incredible. I thought it was good, but he uses so many unnecessarily big words and overly academic interpretations of really minor things. However, I will say that it did make me laugh out loud sometimes and it did address a lot of interesting moments in a man's life. As a collection of essays musing on masculinity, it's well-organized and Chabon definitely knows how to write and even deliver a solid unexpected punchline here and there.

Graphic Novels
1. "Batman: Year One" by Frank Miller
It's the start of Batman years after Batman was created. Batman, who is naturally awesome, is restarted here and it contains so much in such a short story that it kind of wins for impressiveness. It made me rethink characters I've long known, understood and enjoyed. It was real and intense while also embracing the pulp comic vibe in a really subtle way. It's a really solid work.

2. "Preacher" by Garth Ennis
Jesse Custer may be the manliest of men in anything I've ever read, but he's not aggressively manly. He's just kind of like "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." And, in this nine-volume series, Custer has to track down God so he can kick the shit out of him. Seriously. Powered by something horrific living inside of him, southern boy Custer has to take down God with the help of his gun-toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and his new Irish vampire shitbag best friend Cassidy. It's bad-ass, and, at times, campy and/or pretty unsettling. In promises violent adventure and it sticks to its word.

3. "Y: The Last Man" by Brian K. Vaughn
All the men and male animals of the world die off in a single second, except for one twentysomething slacker and his male monkey. Society collapses once half the world is dead, but it is then rebuilt by women, all while pop culture enthusiast Yorrick Brown tries to find his girlfriend while maybe helping save the human race in this ten-volume series. He, along with a few female protectors, must figure out why everything happened and what can be done for the future. It's funny, endearing and apocalyptic. It's also really addicting.

4. "From Hell" by Alan Moore
It's easily the most impressive use of the graphic novel medium I've ever encountered. Drawn in black pen sketches, it becomes a dense work of historical fiction conspiracy theory as it details who Jack The Ripper was and why he committed the murders. It's not a thriller, but, instead, it's a legitimate account of a pretty serious what-if scenario.

5. "The Losers" by Andy Diggle
This two-volume series makes no apology for being straight-up action. From start to finish, it's anarchy and chaos. If you're looking for something in-depth, this isn't it. But, if you're looking something totally fun and wild, it's this, for sure. It's a lot of shooting guns and a shit-ton of fast-paced conversations about American politics. There's a plot, yes, and even some twists, but it's mostly just radical action and high-stakes international espionage and cover-ups.

Friday, December 17, 2010

R. Kelly > Driver's License

I went to a happy hour in honor of a departing co-worker, but I arrived early, so it was just a single co-worker and me holding down the fort/table.

The waitress came over and asked us what we wanted to drink. My co-worker respectfully and articulately said, "I'll have a hefeweizen," while I very awkwardly asked, "Hey, you guys have, like, a super killer dank tasty porter, yeah?"

"Yes, we have a porter," she replied, either completely understanding my space talk or ignoring it entirely.

"Sweet. I'll have that,"I informed her.

"Ok," she said, writing it down and turning away from us, only to catch herself and come back. "Oh, and can I see your IDs?"

My co-worker handed her his license (he clearly had his shit together). Our waitress looked it over, handed it back to him and then turned to me.

"I don't actually have my ID..." I said slowly, squinting, turning my mumbling sentence into a battered question of sorts.

"You don't have an ID?"

"Well, I did, at some point, but I kind of lost it," I said. "Actually, I ironically lost it drinking."

She bit her lip and made sounds, thinking it over.

"I work with him and I can totally vouch for his age. He's well over 21," my co-worker told her.

"Yeah, I'm actually gonna be 26 next year," I said.

"What year were you born?" she asked quickly. It was testing and proving time!


"What year did you graduate?"


She nodded, still thinking it over. I waited.

Finally, I thought of the bonus answer.

"They played R. Kelly's 'Ignition (Remix)' at my prom," I said proudly.

"Alright," she said with a smile, turning to go get our beers. "Good enough."

And that's what got me my beer, mentioning R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)!" I swear, that song will somehow help me out periodically throughout the years until the day I die. In fact, holy shit, somebody make sure that jam is played at my goddamn funeral. I want to be buried amid hot sex and slow grinding.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"occasional music"

"occasional music"
written on a messy stomach by jake kilroy.

hum-drum in the low rungs of the world,
you salvage fast food,
letting the farmers watch,
tearing up at the window,
while we burn the crops,
cackling deliriously and naked,
dancing in merry circles
around the flames.
reading on breaks at the end of the world,
hiding your face
and using your wit,
just so you can pray to the patron saint
of boredom and apathy,
though he never shows
and asks you were you've been.
get sex, have fun,
he says,
and then leaves you with the tab;
drink his wine, call it blood
and never find home,
as you nomad it truly,
sleeping in nice beds
of people you just met
and have seduced;
live long, never die
and bring the apocalypse.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Older-Younger Brother

On Tuesday evening, I came home to put up Christmas lights with my younger brother (three years younger). Every year, we do it and it very quickly turns into anarchy. I just imagine a car driving by peaceful house after peaceful house and then, as they pass our house, they just hear swear words, dick jokes, blasphemous yelling and maniacal laughter (imagine Rosencrantz & Guildenstern meets Dumb & Dumber).

But, instead, I came home to my brother printing out some documents in nice clothes with his hair combed.

"Where the hell are you going...?" I asked slowly, suspicious and keeping a stifled laughter to myself.

"To a Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar. I just found out about it. Me and Jay are going. You wanna go?"

I was rather bewildered.

"So no Christmas lights...?" I asked.

"Oh yeah, sorry, man. I can't do Christmas lights tonight. We'll do it this weekend though," he said, bustling around the dining room. "Are you sure you don't wanna go? They're handing out a free small piece of silver."

"No, I'm good..." I said, still somewhat baffled by the scene. "I think I'm just gonna eat a sandwich and watch Die Hard 2."

"Suit yourself," he said. "You're missing out on your financial education!" he added with a laugh and then left.

Later, as I sat in my room, eating my awesome sandwich and watching John McClane try his absolute best to save the airport, I had to wonder what the hell had happened. My brother went to a finance seminar and I watched an action movie. This seems strange, I told myself, he's three years younger than me.

Then, last night, I came home and my brother and I got into a two-hour debate regarding American economics and personal finance. This then evolved into a jog with our dog while discussing financial plans, the proposed value or flaw of investments, the failure of standardized education and The Fountainhead (which turned into the reoccurring argument of Howard Roark vs. Peter Keating in society). We also talked about starting a new secret society like the Free Masons, though it wasn't as funny as it sounds. It was actual schematics and plausibility.

Once we got home, we both said, "Good talk," high-fived, and then I had another daunting moment of confusion. But I was too tired from the run and I just thought, fuck it, my brother is now my stepdad, time to get over it; and then I took a shower.

Monday, December 6, 2010

"cigarettes for breakfast"

"cigarettes for breakfast"
truly by jake kilroy.

cigarettes for breakfast,
gin and tonics for lunch,
i haven't had a good meal today,
but i've got one hell of a hunch.

slumped over myself heavy,
in the backyard of a friend's,
reciting replacements lyrics,
and hoping the rain ends.

wearing yesterdays clothes,
rethinking evenings before,
losing my battles easily,
with sights on winning the war.

now come together for a night
so we can make a toast,
at least to hear that we're here,
always with dear ones close.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Godspeed, Samantha Who!

Last night, Rex, Grant and I got all messed up and watched Grey's Anatomy, just like the old days. We had watched the first three seasons at The Madison, yelling at the television screen and sharing sharp opinions of the harpy doctors. However, back then, we watched the first episode of the fourth season and kind of lost our group interest when Izzie had to revive a deer for Jacob from Lost. But, after a few-year break, we decided to give it another shot. And I'm glad we did, though something else caught our attention pretty intensely.

Rex went out for a smoke break and Grant put the disc in. We sat there waiting through the previews and one of them was a long sensational commercial for Samantha Who. Grant and I were talking nonsense before but were then silent through the entire Samantha Who preview. We didn't say anything for the two or three minutes the thing was going.

When it finally ended, I said, "Holy shit, are we way too messed up right now or did that look like the best show ever?"

"Yeah, dude, I was thinking the same exact thing," Grant said excitedly. "We should watch that instead."

"Oh man, that'd be awesome," I said, dazed with the awesomeness of Samantha Who.

Rex came back into the room.

"Hey Rex," Grant said, "have you ever seen Samantha Who?"

"No," Rex said, amused. "Why?"

"Dude, we need to watch that," I told him. "Like, as soon as possible."

"Ok," he said with a laugh.

"She just wants to find out who she is, Rex," Grant said.

"Oh my god, I hope she does," I added.

"I bet she does, dude," Grant reassured.

"But what if she doesn't?"

Grant thought this over carefully.

"We need to watch that shit," he said finally.

But we didn't. We watched Grey's Anatomy instead, like we planned. And the first episode, where that dumb bitch Izzie revived the deer, made me realized how poorly written the show is. It's like a parody of itself. It's like a soap opera you see in a comedy movie. But, as I sobered up, either the writing got better or you need a clear mind for the show, because that shit got real awesome real quick. It was almost comforting to be that overwhelmed again. But it'll never (ever) compare to the quality Grant and I assigned to Samantha Who. Nothing will. Seriously, for one moment, Samantha Who seemed like it was better than everything else I had ever seen before, as if it were what a person needed to see to find out who they actually were. For just that fleeting instant of an evening, I thought Samantha Who was the best goddamn fucking thing ever and would have gone to war for it. But then I sobered up and went to battle with a sandwich. Guess who won? Me. And I won it for Samantha Who, wherever she may be, whoever she may think she is. Oh man, poor Samantha Who. She just wants to know who she is, goddamnit!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Story of Loss & Judgment

"You think this can break us?" she cried. "What are you so afraid of? Nothing can break us. We're stronger with this loss. It'll heal after the cuts have dried. Why are you so scared of us not having everything? We have each other! What more do you want? All that we want and need can be found here, between us, within us. Our freedom, our dreams, our hopes and even our worst fears. But not this. This is not our worst fear. We are more than this, Bryan. Can't you see? We're so far removed from this, beyond trees and waterfalls and probably even clouds and I know we can make it. You and I, if we work as a beautiful, amazing team, can-"

"Nancy," Bryan interrupted, speaking slowly, thinking over every word, "I don't know what that was, but it didn't answer my question. I'll ask it again and a yes or no answer would be preferable here. Have you seen my Fozzie Bear shirt or not?"

"Yes! Yes! I confess! I threw it away!" Nancy yelled like a lunatic. "I thought it was fucking stupid!"

"You're fucking stupid!" Bryan shrieked, his eyes gone a most unpatriotic red. "And now I'm gonna get all drunk and shit and then beat you into forgiveness!"

And so he did. Oh man, did he beat her. Why? Because Bryan was a man of his word and Nancy was being a total bitch.

Did you feel sorry for Nancy in the end? Oh, because she got the shit kicked out of her (Bryan nearly put her in the hospital, by the way)? Well, you should reevaluate your sympathies, because Nancy was a Nazi war criminal. Feel good about yourself now? You probably shouldn't. The lesson here is that you should stop making assumptions about people before you have the facts. Is Brian a shitty guy for beating up a war criminal after she threw his shirt away carelessly? No, of course not. You're being all crazy right now. So, next time, before you get all winded with your pride, stop and think before making your insane assumptions about people without knowing everything first. Knowledge is power, people.

This is Jake Kilroy, changing the world, one blog post at a time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fictional Character I Wish Were Real #1: Molly

Name: Molly
From: Idle Hands
Portrayed By: Jessica Alba
When: 1999

When I was 14, the world showed me Jessica Alba. And, I have to tell you, like many boys my age, I nearly had a heart attack of boners.

No, it's true!

Seriously though, Idle Hands came out when I was eighth grade and had only recently come to terms with puberty. So, for the world to say, "Hey man, you're becoming an adult, try to be cool about it," and then show me Jessica Alba in Idle Hands, well, it seemed like a super dick move. It was like introducing a kid to candy by handing him a cough drop and then, an hour later, saying, "Oh, by the way, these are Sour Patch Kids."

You can't do that to a kid in corduroy! He's got enough troubles!

On a related note, I only wore corduroy then and, trust me, I had enough troubles.

So, at 14, when sex dreams had the same quality as nightmares, I saw Jessica Alba who had just turned 18. And, oh my goddamn hell, did Hollywood exploit that kitten.

The character of Molly was designed to make every teenage boy's brain explode. All she did was hang out in her pajamas or underwear and say cute or sexy things. But she wasn't a skank (for the most part), so it just seemed like she just wanted that chump idiot Anton Tobias. She was pursuing him. Even Jessica Rabbit and Roger Rabbit made more sense to me.

She dressed as a sexy angel that Halloween and she even lost half of her clothes that fateful night. And you felt bad for her. All you could do was feel sorry that she wasn't safe at home in her bedroom. But, oh man, all you wanted to do was be in that bedroom with her...until you realized you'd probably screw it up. Shit, what would you do as a teenage boy if you actually had the chance to be with Molly? Well, you'd probably cry because you knew deep down inside that you'd be letting her down, no matter how hard you tried. Goddamn, even in my mid-twenties, I would still be intimidated if I had the chance with that gnarly sex kitten.

I mean, seriously, even now, she's the hottest fictional character I can think of. And, yes, I agree that it's weird that the character is now seven years younger than me, but...whatever. Come to think of it, it's probably fair to assume that Molly has had lasting psychological effects on me. I've considered this recently. I think, what if Molly were real? And all I can come up with is that it's good she's not. Why? Because she could probably lead an entire army of men to murder entire countries if she promised them her nipples. Shit, if she were a Russian spy that promised full nudity, I'd get a job with the Pentagon, go through all that training and career-building, just to have the chance to sell her American missile secrets years later.

Damn, you know what? If you put me in a room full of nuns and Molly said I'd have to stab just one of the nuns to touch her legs, I would stab every nun in there, just to improve my chances. I would sell friends up the river and then burn the river (it'd be a river of oil!) if it meant I could maybe, just maybe, hang out in her bedroom and lay my hand on her butt.

Oh, what's that, Molly? Kidnap children? They're yours! Who did you want dead? Don't even worry about it! I nuked half the planet!

Seriously though, did you see her in her underwear in that movie? If I had been there, I would've killed everyone within a 50-yard radius because there might've been a slight chance they saw what I saw and I'd rather to be the only person alive who did.

For Molly, I would eat meat, do heavy drugs and even listen to The Eagles. Fuck, man, I would sky-dive if that was my only way to reach her. And it's not like some ultra-heroic love thing. I definitely don't love Molly. We totally wouldn't work out long-term. I already know this. Maybe we could casually date?


Maybe friends with benefits would be ideal here.

But I just remember seeing that movie in high school and thinking, "Oh my god...I would actually kill for a person." I was terrified of myself for a long time, but then I came to terms with the fact that no playful sex kitten like Molly would truly exist. And, thus, the world remained safe. Her and I probably have nothing in common, except that we both know that she is extremely, extremely hot.

Again, it wouldn't be a relationship. It would just be like...the Olympics of stalkerdom.

I'd be like her zombie.

Would I enjoy throwing all those puppies into a spinning boat motor, if she asked? No, of course not! I'm not a monster, people. But would I do that for her? Yes, absolutely. Because I would want to see her in her underwear afterward. If she was going to be naked, I'd probably rent a cement truck and fill it with all those puppies, just to get the job done quicker as they slide into a gruesome death. "Oh no, now I have to shower to get off all the blood," I'd say casually, all dazed and thinking of Molly. Well, then why don't I just wash all this puppy blood off in the shower that I take it with Molly? Bam. Guilt gone! Puppies? What puppies? All I saw when the blades were churning was Molly and she was probably saying something totally scandalous to me.

Oh man, and then when she dressed as an angel in that movie? Ugh. I would've at least tortured a senior citizen. When her clothes get ripped off and she's in her underwear? I'd probably push people I know off of a cruise ship. As they're drowning, I'd yell, "Sorry, but enjoy the afterlife! I'm gonna experience Heaven on Earth." And, again, if she were promising sweet, sweet booty, I'm almost certain I couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't fly a Greenpeace plane right into an elementary school of orphans.

I know, I know! I know how it sounds. It sounds stupid and terrible. But, seriously, have you seen Molly? In fact, that would be my defense. "Excuse me, your honor, but have you seen them titties? No? Well, then I present them as Exhibit Cs!" Haha! And then the jury would laugh and I'd walk free. But what would I do then? Well, I'd grab a box of ice cream and lingerie and then head to Molly's house to do whatever she wanted me to. Massage, or maybe murder, it wouldn't matter, because I'd do it. And I'd do it with a senseless grin. Sorry. Whatever.

Fuck you, everybody else!

"if only america"

"if only america"
done out of character, in body, by jake kilroy.

if the freedom fighters ever get wind of this tornado,
they'll spin like the thieves on the dance floor.
and sometimes that's all they are anyway.

but you and me have got real freedom,
like a parade of elephants that came for the nuts
and stayed for the protest.

and we haven't yet overstayed our welcome.

i don't need anarchy explained to me
by punks that came to be
homeless so they could see
America, as something

i don't need the system to work for us,
or any greyhound bus
dragging its rubber puss
around the great lust
of American transit.

i don't need corporations,
i don't need soup kitchens.
because that's everybody.
and we don't need anybody.

our common man is too common
and the rarities are too rare.
but we're not leaving our countrymen behind,
the ones that beat their hearts colorless.
they fought in the great war of living and dying.
and they ain't doing so well.
so wave your white flags of sly grins
and buy them each a drink,
so they can burn their wallets
and never worry again.

we'll be laughing drunk when the enemy really comes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"i still..."

"i still..."
written in bed by jake kilroy.

i want you to know that i still get drunk
and look at pictures of you.
i want you to know that i still cook
and make meals for two.

and i want you to know that i still hate
poems that have to rhyme.

i still smoke in my underwear
and stare at the moon
just to narrate what happens in my backyard.

i still play with my fake gun
until my dog doesn't move
and i shoot the nearest piece of glass in the room.

i still rearrange my bookshelves
when i don't go out at night
but stay home to promise myself a living.

i still hold onto the clothes
that i haven't worn in years
because i don't want to ever be underdressed.

i still keep my stereo unplugged
because the lights are too bright
and i can't fall asleep to music without dreaming.

i still write love letters to women
that i'm not in love with
and wait for them to write me the same pretty words.

i still watch black and white movies
to remember the past fondly
and consider the present and plot against the future.

i still have candles in my room
just in case i lose my nerves
and decide to burn the house down with everything in it.

and i still write nonsense poems
that are just as off-key
as memories, rituals, ideas and shrugs, lovingly held.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bring On The Traffic: Volume Two

To bring in more traffic to my blog (and to rise to challenge Non's mouthy mouthin' off), I've decided to revive my weak attempts at combining every popular thing on the internet. This one is television-themed:

Katy Perry (of "California Gurls" and hot body fame) and I watched the first episode of The Walking Dead, which is on the same channel as Mad Men, and we're also going to catch the series premiere of Conan. We're both very excited for television this year, so we're going to try out the 101 Ways To Please Your Man suggestions in Cosmo to make us feel good like free drugs. Also, I heard that Keith Olbermann's political donations and pictures of Kat Dennings's boobs are floating around the interwebs! Katy will love that as much as Kanye West's new leaked album!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some Stories of My Grandfather

My dad and I visited my grandfather last night to see how he was doing in the wake of living since my grandmother passed away. And he was feeling just as I expected: everything. The man was enduring every feeling he had in him. He laughed when he talked about old gambling stories and he got silent as he spoke about realizing he bought just one sweet potato instead of two at the grocery store for the first time in over 50 years.

The three of us talked about a lot of things and my grandfather invited me to do something for the first time in nearly a decade (in fact, he invited me to San Diego and come play cards at his house). The evening was heart-warming and heart-wrenching, and even my dad didn't know what to say on the way home. In the car, with eyes glazed over, focused on the road, my father said his brain was broken. Even after so many years gone, it's weird, almost overwhelming, to enter a place that you associate with a person who isn't there anymore. But we did have a nice time.

Some things my grandpa told me that I thought were interesting...

- All the twentysomething bachelors of my very-extended family used to come over to my grandparents' house to play cards on the weekend. This included my grandparents' sons, nephews, great-nephews, et cetera. My grandparents couldn't ever figure out why they weren't taking out girls but were instead just getting drunk and gambling at their house.

- My grandfather's brother Tom was maybe the most sensational gambler in a family of cardsharks and hustlers. One time, when he was in the high-high-rollers club, Tom was playing in a secret room at the top of a hotel with my grandpa just hanging out behind him and watching. At some point, Tom turned to my grandpa and said, "Jimmy, if I win, you can take the winnings to the poor people of Mexico." Tom won and handed my grandfather the single chip that came with the winning hand and said, "Do good with it." My grandfather cashed it in and was handed $1,000. That week, my grandfather bought $1,000 worth of beans and rice and went to Mexico.

- When World War II was sneaking up on the United States, my grandfather's P.E. classes at school turned into rope-climbing exercises, just to have the boys ready. But the boys weren't reluctant even a little bit. It turns out that they would go to each other's houses after school and jump off of the garage to self-train themselves to be paratroopers or bailing navy officers. They wanted to do it so they'd never panic, as they heard about the navy officers who jumped off sinking air craft carriers and had their helmets break their necks when they hit the water. Them boys wanted to be ready.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"rock 'n roll patriot"

"rock 'n roll patriot"
done differently by jake kilroy.

oh, so your jukebox wires are lighting up the walls,
calling fire in a crowded room
and crowding the death toll gloom.

what'd you want from rock 'n roll anyway?
guitars as dull as butter knives
or too sharp to handle?

one breath and music was fucked.

get the machines.
grease 'em up.
let 'em loose.
and then wait to be a critic,
sharpening the pen,
slumped in the back,
stabbed in the front.

you see,
there's a wicked world out there,
filled with demons and one-liners.
so let's stay rotten, just to blend in.
keep just one long drive home from the gun,
edging near a freedom we can't spell.
burning alive at the stake,
laughing up blues songs
and coughing up blood.

this isn't the riot you thought.
no goddamn way.
this is a poet urinating on the tombstone of e.e. cummings.
this is the last speech of someone with nothing to say.

quiet now, in the dark glow of a hallowed-out tomb.
call it a bedroom.
call it a sanctuary.
call it the last stop before sleep.

slumber ain't rest.
and dreams are not sleep.

i hear the tossing and turning
wind-up heartache of a man in the other room.
someone flooded him with liquor.
and the levies broke.
and his city drowned.
and he made it far enough
to think he had gone somewhere.

he whistles softly in his cheap bed,
the crackle of his fingertips not snapping,
his grin as rough and sacred as a diamond,
to the wrong people
and always the wrong people.
after midnight, it's all one long slide,
cutting through the bones of the world.

land loudly and keep quiet.
pray wrong and worship heavy.
let's pay the devil blood money
to hear him sing a dying man's song.
i bet his voice sounds like a grave
or the lone clap in a jail cell.
but leave god out of it all this night,
'cause god's probably never broken
a single finger on an old guitar.

The Truth Of An Irish Wake

Following Friday night's vigil and Saturday morning's funeral and burial, my family ended up at my grandparents' house for the reception to celebrate my grandmother's life. It was our first time there as a family since the winter of 2003. We didn't know what to expect and what came at us swung so furiously and joyously that it felt like a heat wave in an East Coast Christmas.

But, I have to say, they ain't kidding about Irish wakes.

They really are one of the most fun things you can attend. As I recall, there was a liquor store run for more whiskey shortly after lunchtime. We screamed Irish ballads as two relatives played guitar, we yelled dirty jokes and we laughed and cried through the many stories we told about my grandmother. In fact, we didn't even have a eulogy at the church, because my grandfather wanted to hear from everyone who wanted to speak after several drinks.

So, instead of staying just the hour we thought we would, my family ended up there for seven hours and, my goodness, I got obliterated with laughter. And whiskey. And Guinness. By the end, I'm sure my hugs made it obvious that I was having a good time...as well that I was wildly drunk. But, it could have been the big goodbye until my grandfather passes, or maybe it was this moment of freedom from anger and sadness, and we all laughed until we realize the tears were real and we were glad to see them.

There's something to be said about the Irish, and it's that even death can be the life of the party.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Passing Of My Irish-Scottish Grandmother And A Partial Retelling Of The Kilroy Family Misery And The Miracle That Never Came

My grandfather left a voicemail on my cell phone today. This is a big deal because it's the first time my grandfather's called me since I was in high school. But my grandmother passed away on Monday, so there's reason to talk.

The story goes back to when my dad's side of the family fell apart. I was 18 when the tides of fury split the iceberg and my family (along with one other family) floated away on our lone ice block. Harsh words were exchanged through a vibrant collection of mediums and the great divide not only grew, but it finally plateaued years later to where everyone just accepted things as they were, whether it made them feel sad, angry or nothing. We didn't acknowledge the other side of the family and they didn't acknowledge us. In a two year slide, I went from seeing my Irish grandparents weekly to not seeing them at all. It was tragic and miserable and terrible and crazy and stupid, as all family falling outs are, but, as one of my dad's racer friends used to say: it's just one of them deals.

The saddest part of this is that I pass my Irish grandparents' street every time I go to my mouthy Italian grandmother's house. I see their house every time I get on the freeway to drive East, West or North. I drove by their house on my way to and from college. However, it was never a "fuck them" passing. It was more of a "Why would I stop there?" It's like driving by a childhood friend's more than a decade later. You just don't think to stop. The time of casual drop-ins has long been forgotten.

But, up until I was 18, I really did see my grandparents an absurd amount and they were perfect in every available detail. They taught me most card games I know as well as the importance of charity. My grandpa made the best chocolate pudding I've ever had and he always made it when we'd stay up late or couldn't sleep. He really wouldn't make it unless it was dark out. My grandma inspired my habit of saving important newspaper headlines. She pulled out a bag one night of all the newspapers she had saved, from Kennedy's assassination to the moon landing, as I recall. They were flawless grandparents. I loved them uncontrollably then and, even in the years of distance, I thought of them often and missed how things were.

Anyway, this morning, my grandfather called me to ask if I’d read scripture at my grandmother’s funeral this Saturday. He asked my brother first, as my brother randomly stopped by their house and tried to fix things in the family a little better last year. But my brother explained his refusal to us as something along the lines of “I don’t want to read words that I don’t understand for a religion I don’t believe in to people who don't care if I'm there or not.”

And it was hard to consider otherwise.

So, when my grandfather called, asking me if I wanted to do it, I thought of what my brother said. I talked to my dad about it, who, only up until two months ago, swore he wasn't even going to either of his parents' funerals.

As we both stood solemnly in the kitchen, my dad asked me softly, “Would you be comfortable being a pallbearer?”

“I can carry a casket, but I can’t speak," I told him.

And my father nodded, exhausted and beaten, the wear of the misery years weighing on him. He grieved the loss of his parents years ago, so it wasn't sadness exactly. It was just the great weight that comes with family and death.

When I got the news of my grandmother's passing on Monday night, I got drunk on gin and green tea and wondered what had become of the years. I wondered of the epic falling out my Irish Catholic family endured when I had just legally become a man. It was as if it was a natural transition, like now that I was an adult, I wasn't allowed to keep my imaginary friends, who just happened to be my entire dad's side of the family (save for one family and a second cousin once removed). And it was a lot of people. There are so many people on that side of the family that they have their own annual golf tournament in Las Vegas every year. Seriously, the parties I attended at my Irish grandparents' house as a kid rivaled the best parties I went to in high school. No joke.

So, when I was just about to graduate high school, my father and his many brothers began planning my grandparents' 50th Anniversary. My grandparents said, "We have nothing to celebrate as parents," because there was a gigantic distance between the brothers and their sister. In fact, I didn't see my aunt and her family from kindergarten until junior high when an uncle died. But, anyway, skeletons left the closets, demons flew out of people and family ghosts came around for a spin. The whole thing spiraled out of control and snowballed from there and, soon, I was down an entire family tree. It used to be this magnificently lush family tree with my mom's side big but my dad's side massive. But then the heavy side burned with the weight of the world and we were left with half a tree.

And, as it was happening then, I let myself be miserable about it instead of stepping in. It wasn't my place, I thought. I remember, when I was 17, I found myself sick to my stomach with worry in bed on a school night. I prayed to God and asked Him to keep my family together. It was an empty prayer, as God knows I only pray when I’m at the end of my rope. The only time I’ve prayed since then was when my grandfather (mom's father) was dying from everything except for AIDS, it seemed like. And, that time, I told myself I was praying to an empty room. So, I haven’t prayed since. The most God gets out of me these days is when something horrendously ironic happens and I look at the sky and scoff, like, "Well played, God." But that’s the most God gets out of me: an acknowledgment of irony.

See, that's the thing. My dad’s side of the family fell apart just as I was becoming a man. And I waited for it to pass and I held my faith in adults, the gatekeepers of all there was. The historians, as all adults are, relied on the past and present for nothing and were given nothing for the future. I said goodbye to people that I had seen weekly, monthly at most.

When I got home from work today, I felt like I opened the front door slower than usual and was greeted quieter than usual by my parents, who were watching an old movie with the fire going.

Later, tonight after I had made myself a meal of comfort food, I called my grandpa to let him know that I couldn't speak at Grandma's funeral. He said he understood and he spoke in a way that broke my heart. It wasn't the voice of the crisp, fun-loving man I parted ways with at 18. It was the sound of a ruined man. I asked how he was doing and he told me about who was coming into town for the funeral. I asked him how he was doing again and he talked about the funeral arrangements. And then I asked him how he was doing a third time and he talked about my grandma. He talked about how he already noticed little things he would miss like asking her to carrying things for him in her purse.

As he spoke, I drank the bottle of Irish whiskey that I keep in my night table, so I could keep my mouth from blurting out, "I'm so sorry for how everything turned out." It's all I wanted to say, though it wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't take back the words said and the actions done. I just wanted him to know that I missed swimming at his house during the summer and having root beer floats with every meal and playing cards in the dining room and, most of all, spending Christmas Eve in their living room with white lights and a kind of serenity that was so fucking pure I couldn't describe it as anything else.

I had stopped by his house on the way home from work yesterday and shook uncontrollably when I knocked on the door. I wanted to see how he was doing and tell him that I was here for anything he needed. But I was still afraid of what I would say if an uncle said a fucking word about me or my family not being around these last few years. Nobody was home, so I wrote a note and left it in the mailbox. And I repeated the closing line of the letter on the phone: "Please let me know if you need anything, and I mean that indefinitely."

My grandfather spoke every word with regret in his voice and our conversation floated into a tender goodbye. He made a point of saying, as quiet and apologetic as it was, "Maybe we'll see each other more after all this." He paused and added, "I'd really like that," as if he was talking to himself and counting the ways he wished he had changed things on his fingers.

But there's no way I could speak at Saint Norbert's, the church where I learned to like and dislike religion (for myself). I attended Bible camp one summer and the church carnival every October. And, also, sitting in a Catholic church when you're nine is fucking terrifying. They had the entire tale of the crucifixion in stained glass. Do you know what that's like to see when you're barely old enough to understand that trees are responsible for air? I'm not even sure I understood long division and I had to figure out why all these people nailed this guy to wood after all he did was tell everyone to "just be cool?" It was a lot to handle, I tell you.

I saw the good and bad of God in my grandfather. When I told him that I decided to be a vegetarian at the age of 10, he yelled at me a wrathful lecture about going against the will of God. But, also around that time, he had taken me with his church community service group Corizon to distribute food, clothing, tools and toys to the poorest of poor in Mexico. At that age, it's more of an adventure and it doesn't make you sick to your stomach yet (because what the fuck do you know about the poverty line?). In fact, I thought it was cool that their houses were made of stray wood and tarps because it made them all seem like forts. I came home thinking my family was wealthy, yes, but also really, really boring. But, throughout my childhood, my grandfather organized events to feed the poor and put in his time helping the locals, all in the name of the church.

Over the years, I saw my grandparents only a handful of times. The last time I visited them was May 2004 when my grandfather had a heart attack. And, again, they lived between me and the nearest Del Taco. I didn't see my grandparents again until my grandma was in the hospital this August, and that whole weekend of visiting is another story in itself. It was the mighty return of the black sheep flock who one uncle once deemed "a family of traitors" and said we'd probably turn our backs on each other one day. We don't show up to something, somebody's pissed we're not there. We show up to something, somebody's pissed we're there. Shit, I don't even know if we'll sit with the family at the funeral this Saturday

But, anyway, over the years, one by one, my siblings and I acknowledged that we had let our hearts drift and we were fine with it. When my second cousin once removed, the very legendary Tom Mace (who is now 46, but honestly hasn't aged since he was 30), came into town this past January, I told him that I thought of my grandparents as high school friends I had lost touch with. It was regretful, sure, but there were no hard feelings as well as no interest in picking up the phone and calling.

Tom said, "Yeah, but they'd sure like to see you."

"Then why don't they call?" my brother asked.

"Yeah," my sister added.

"You know why," Tom said.

And we did. It was because of the Irish's infamous ability to ignore everything and stone-cold silence it or let you know to your face that you were a fucking let-down. If there's anything to be said about Irish Catholic families, it's that they don't fuck around and they refused be two-faced. There's no gossip in Irish Catholic families. If they don't like you, they don't need a segue to tell you that. It'll be blunt and shitty, but it'll be the gravedigger truth. Everything they say behind your back is something they told you to your face first, maybe even several times. They're just repeating it for the masses. And that's the funny thing about the Irish. If they want to talk about how great someone is or how terrible someone is, they'll talk ears off. But, if they're asked to sit down and talk things out in a reasonable and thoughtful manner, they'll say bury it or leave it for dead.

But it was also because of my grandparents' faith. It was. Instead of calling us and trying to fix the family, they waited for "the miracle." When my brother stopped by their house to try and bridge the rift, my grandma said it was a "miracle" instead of saying "my grandson took it upon himself to try and make things better." They waited for their miracle and thanked God instead of my brother. It wasn't a big mystery to me why things hadn't improved. I certainly didn't make any contact in the last five years. The last thing I said to either of my grandparents was in an e-mail where the entire last sentence was just the singular word "Fuck."

Now, I am certainly not making the case that religion is bad. It's not. Religion is religion and it's up to people to take what they want or need from it. Some of the best things that have happened in this country have been because of religion and some of the worst things have been too. It's a full spectrum. And, in this case, my grandparents depended on it like a drug. My grandfather had to ask his priest if it was ok to attend his own son's wedding if it wasn't in a Catholic church. My grandfather also lost his goddamn mind (as he sometimes had a temper and ready mouth) when he found out that my siblings and I attended an Episcopalian church with our other grandparents whenever we spent the weekend there (just as we attended Catholic mass when we spent the weekend at his house). In the screaming match that followed, my grandfather told my dad that he wasn't Irish, which, I have to tell you, in this family...that's a fucking burn right there.

Actually, you know that scene in The Sandlot, when Ham has that shit-talking session with one of the uniform boys and he says, "You play ball like a girl?" The other kids react like it's the worst thing they've ever heard, but, since you're not part of this insanely kick-ass neighborhood baseball league, you think it's pretty silly. It's like that. Saying somebody ain't Irish in that family is the end-all. My dad asked his father not to attend our school plays for a while.

And that was my first understanding of family trouble on my dad's side. But, back then, I just let it pass because I knew it would work out. A decade later, when something new and awful came around, it didn't work out, I guess.

Tonight, years after everything went to shit, I thought about it all not working out and went to an old haunt, the Chapman parking garage, and smoked a cigarette, listening to jazz on the radio and looking out over the flat city with the gaping distance between the stars and the lights. As Peggy Lee lulled up some swanky songs about drinking, I thought about how I used to come to the parking garage when I was 20, when my Irish family was officially absent from my life and everything seemed black and white. I remember smoking cigarettes and drinking from a flask at the top level of the parking garage wanting to be overwhelmed by the world. This was rather difficult since you're so sure of everything at that age. When I was 20, I wanted the complexities to destroy me and everything to seem beautifully and impossibly open, but, again, that's pretty hard when a bike ride is all you need to be happy. You want to be confused, conflicted, mesmerized and wholly stunned by the enormity of the world, because you don't want the world to seem so easy and stupid.

After that, I drove around aimlessly before coming home and reading a chapter or two of The Fountainhead while taking a bubble bath (I can't remember the last time I took a bubble bath, by the way). Then I retired to my bedroom to write fiction but all that came out was this, a half-thoughtful observance of an Irish Catholic family that crumbled into oblivion for reasons that will never be understood or revisited enough to explain them.

And this ain't no Irish blessing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Gin And Green Tea"

"Gin And Green Tea"
written in the morning after an evening by jake kilroy.

My grandmother died tonight;
so pour me a gin and green tea-
"To the health of the gods,"
because they've got a fiery fight
comin' at them in the fullest of speed.

My grandmother died tonight;
so I want a gin and green tea-
"She was a root beer float,"
with classic eyes of black and white,
seeing the world as a cinema screen.

My grandmother died tonight;
so I'll have a gin and green tea-
"Twas the misery of years,"
bring the churning mouths of spite,
though we buried the hatchets like seeds.

My grandmother died tonight;
so let me have my gin and green tea-
"I've always missed her laugh,"
though only now and here is it right,
for the long day of longer dreams.

My grandmother died tonight;
so give me my gin and green tea-
"For the Irish and the Scottish,"
we'll laugh and drink all night,
and only talk of our wants and needs.

My grandmother died tonight;
so I'll down this gin and green tea-
"Everything came to age her,"
so now savor the funeral light,
a glow that keeps lovely and clean.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Joshua Tree: A Sentence

I just spent a night under the stars and a day under the desert sun out in Joshua Tree and I'm filled with laughter, fruit snacks, cigarette smoke, boxed wine and delirious hope.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Darling, I Built You A Retreat From The World"

"Darling, I Built You A Retreat From The World"
written in general, hardly specific, and oddballish by jake kilroy.

I built you a home, so that you could retreat from the world, and I did it all with you and without your help.

The picket fence came from the slats of wood that made up your neighborhood treehouse where the boys plotted and the girls giggled. I paid a boy to dress in overalls and a straw hat to paint it white, because I know The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the first book you read that you considered an adult novel.

The porch was lifted from a sprawling mansion house in the South, so you could finally be Scarlett O'Hara and I could be Clark Gable (because Gable wouldn't give in or give up like Rhett Butler did).

The lantern's from the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It's where a boy first snuck a kiss on you and you were embarrassed. You slapped him and told the other middle school girls that he tasted like cinnamon, popcorn and barf. I one-upped him and can't return to Disneyland any time soon because of it, so let's stay in and watch television.

I took the vines off of your east coast university, where you learned that sex was just as free as your friends said and just as institutionalized as your parents hinted. The vines now crawl up the walls, just as you made the boys do when you discovered the mechanics of playing coy.

The windows are from an old Victorian house that you stopped a boyfriend from throwing stones at, just like in It's A Wonderful Life, a movie that you watch every Christmas by yourself, smiling with a mug of hot chocolate and cookies your mom always sends.

I transplanted the grass from the park where you played hide-and-seek as a child. But I couldn't uproot the trees, so I dug up the baseball field instead. I know you hate baseball and I laughed the whole time.

The paintings are from the beach galleries that I took you to one autumn evening, thinking I could impress you, only to realize you know more about art than I've ever lied about.

All the furniture comes from the garage sales I paraded through several Saturdays, listening to music mixes you made for me so I could work my day job happily.

All the flowers are from the garden and yard of that mean girl from your grade school that grew up to be some lawyer bitch. Even a dream house such as yours needs the reward of gloating and anger-induced laughter, almost something of a sensual, primal joy that stems from fury, just as sex that comes from the distraction of sadness or vengeance has more value to it than sex that arises out of boredom.

The pond in the back holds water from the lake where your family summer home sat. I put it in mason jars and drove the long haul home, listening to the clinking and clanking of glass against glass, realizing how fragile things could always be.

I took the door from the bedroom of my first apartment when I realized what kind of woman I wanted, and it was someone like you. Finally, through years of floozies and more than a decade of the wrong woman, I wanted you. And I traded the current owners of the apartment for a nicer door, as, sometimes, memories, hopes and promises to yourself are worth too much for accountants to figure.

For everything else, I hired somebody else, professionals actually, because you know better than anyone I can hardly do anything alone and I rarely finish what I start. But I also made lemonade to make up for that, and it sits with melting ice cubes, waiting for you to come home.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Sinus Infection Of Boner City (And Other Exciting Titles)

"The Sinus Infection Of Boner City (And Other Exciting Titles)"
based on a conversation with Non Talbot Wels, by Jake Kilroy.

John stepped into the apartment, out of the cold, away from the chill of the world. He removed layers of clothes like they were a colorful costume. The apartment was warm and he saw the bruised sky disappearing into moonless darkness from the window. He was home, and it felt good after a long day at the warehouse. He went to make some oatmeal for dinner when he noticed his roommate sitting like a statue, eyes drawn in a blank stare, at the dining room table as if he was too mesmerized to move.

"Mike," John began slowly, "you've moved from the table at some point, yeah?"

"No," Mike said with all the words sounding the same ringless bell. "No, I haven't."

"You're joking, right?" John said, approaching the table like it was booby trapped. "I worked a full shift and you've just sat here, doing nothing. You're even staring as blankly as you were when I left this morning."

"Yes," Mike replied. "This much I know is true."

"Well, what the hell, Mike?"

"I'm writing a masterpiece, John."

"About what?"

"That's the thing about masterpieces...you don't know they're masterpieces until they're masterpieces."

"Jesus Christ, guy, do you even bother to listen to yourself sometimes?"

"Always, John. I am always fascinated with what I am saying. That's why I must write my masterpiece."

"What's it about?"

"What isn't it about, you know?"

John took the notebook that sat in front of his friend and read the words at the top of the page.

"The Sinus Infection Of Boner City," John read aloud, before flipping through the hundred blank pages that followed.

"It's a 'tragicomedy,' like Shakespeare meets Ted Danson," Mike said with the forlorn dig of a gravedigger's shovel.

"Mike, I love you, man, but," John said, as the honest shakes of the truth rose in his voice, "this is one of the dumbest goddamn things I've ever read and it's only six words."

"Oh, I'm sorry I'm not Mark Twain, John," Mike bitterly remarked, snapping out of his trance. "It's just a working title."

"Yeah, I know. And it's stupid."

"Oh, whatever. You don't know. You don't know shit about shit. They said the same thing about Faulkner!"

"They did?"


"Mike, have you ever even read Faulker?"

"No," Mike answered calmly. "Rumor has it that he was pretty stupid."

"Ah," John said, nodding his head in condescending agreement. "Ok, well, God help me, I'm too curious. I think you're an idiot and a lazy one at that, but I have to know," John said, dropping the notebook on the table. "What's the plot of this insane piece of crap you're going to write?"

"I don't know," Mike said. "I only have the title."

"You only have the title."

"I only have the title."

"And this is the best one you've got?"

"Well, I have two more, but, again, they're just working titles."

"Oh, Jesus, what are they?"

"The Ku Klux Klan vs. The Half-Dead Math Professor."

"Wow. Spectacular. And the other one?"

"The Steamboat Rapist Strikes Again."

"The Steamboat Rapist Strikes Again."

"The Steamboat Rapist Strikes Again," Mike repeated, nodding absently.

"Christ Almighty, dude, so what's the deal there? Does he or she rape steamboats? Do they live on a steamboat or something? Or do they just like to travel by steamboat?"

"Nope," Mike said, as a childishly sinister grin snuck onto his face. "The rapist is a steamboat. It's a twist! But you don't find that out until the end."

John sighed intensely, bringing out all the wind of his lungs.

"I'm inventing a new subgenre called steamboatpunk," Mike said.

"So it's like steampunk with boats," John added.

"No! Why does everyone think that?" Mike said, making the first rise in his monotone ramble of a voice. "It's a horror sort of thriller genre with eclectic non-people murders. Think about it, anything can be a murderer! This particular subgenre just happens to stick to boats."

John made a violent groan.

"You're an awful fucking writer, Mike," John said, as he headed into his bedroom.

Mike continued to sit at the dinner table with an empty notebook and a pen in front of him instead of a plate and fork, as his eyes rolled into a nothing glance, unfocused in every worldly aspect, and he was soon left confused in the very terrible waking laughable disaster that were his his thoughts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Beginning to My Young Adult Novel

The beginning to my young adult novel,
The Space-Crime Continuum!

"Hand me a beer, will ya?" Shackles said, making grabby motions with his right large, green hand while holding onto the yoke of his spacecraft with the other.

"I don't know, Shack. You're already flying like we lost both engines. I don't think you need anymore booze in your bug eyes," Spiffer said, though he opened up the cooler and pulled a cold beer for himself.

"Come on," Shackles said, his long tongue sliding out of his mouth as he made an exaggerated groan. "You never got all spaced up and given it all ya got in hyperspeed?"

"You never let me fly this thing!"

"Well, that's because you're a drunk!" Shackles bellowed and roared with laughter. He yelled again, "If we don't get out of this space race with these ming-mong cops, then my name ain't Shackles The Stupendous!"

"Nobody calls you that," Spiffer said, clawing open his beer for a tasty first sip.

This was true. Nobody did call him Shackles The Stupendous but himself. In fact, there was a laundry list of nicknames for him, but none of them were that. Most people knew him as Shackles, as most would love to see him tethered and muzzled, but his full name was Graham A.A. Shackleford. He was the captain, owner and minor repairman of the Watership Down, a mesmerizing piece of space junk that was once a respected military spaceship. He was also a frog. And he dressed like the 1930s had never improved upon biplanes.

His co-pilot was Moses Pierre-Auguste Marionette, but he was called "Spiffer" because everyone was surprised how well he dressed when out of his overalls. They were also surprised that he could tolerate his frog pilot. He was the major repairman and bookkeeper of the Watership Down and was significantly more charming than his wild, drunkard of a boss. He was also a badger.

And the space police were in hot pursuit of both of these two yokels for stolen goods.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Cowboy Writer Manifesto

Sunday night, I returned home from three days in Big Sur, feeling strange.

I drove up there Thursday in a 1983 VW Westfalia van with five friends and a dog. We arrived to a campsite edging up to midnight with friends already there. Over the next day or two, friends poured in. Saturday night, we had about 30 of us goofing off.

After spending the summer in an office building, I went to the annual surfer gathering to relax and, sometimes on the beach and sometimes in the campsite, I had nothing on the brain. There was no frequency but laughter. I was at total ease. Days felt like memories and nights felt like dreams. It was unreal, everything from Frisbee William Tell to listening to an acoustic guitar as I fell asleep on a board bag staring up at the stars through the bony limbs of trees.

But between the many cigarettes, beers and sips of whiskey, I also felt a gathering storm inside me. I observed the interactions of the people around me, as I always make a point of doing, and did some serious thinking without really making the effort. I couldn't quite point out what it was, but there were a few moments of something resembling pensive worry mixed in with the instances of invincibility. I enjoyed the hell out of the weekend, but was ready to leave when we were supposed to on Sunday morning.

And then came the feeling I couldn't shake again on the way back to Southern California, heavier and stronger. As we swerved along the beautiful California coast, I grew anxious to get home, though I had nothing I desperately missed there. Family, friends, women and work would all be there, but there was nothing time-sensitive, but I still felt like I had a schedule to keep. The last hours of the drive pulled on me. My head was sleep-deprived and my stomach and lungs were full of vices. I had a hard time being quiet until we edged towards Los Angeles. Then I felt the weight of anxiousness. By then, I was fidgety and annoyed that I wasn't yet home to deal with this nonsense bullshit. I didn't even quite know what it was, but I felt that I could sort it out once I was in my bedroom with the many tools and prizes of this radical adventure that I might as well just call existence.

Finally, I arrived home, dumped my stuff in a pile by the door and sat down at the dining room table. Within minutes, my sister and mother were telling me what was on the television. I realized how little I cared and so, without words, I stood up and left for the the bathroom where I shaved off my facial hair before buzzing my head (on its longest setting, as change isn't always big).

I took a long shower and thought about things, realizing that I needed a new course of action. I returned to my bedroom, telling my family that I was going to bed. Instead, I sat down and wrote something called The Cowboy Writer Manifesto. It's ten rules that I printed out and stuffed in my wallet. It's a mix between promises to myself I plan to keep and a new code of living to go by. It's like new year's resolutions for machines, as that's how I've felt since returning home. It's like The Cowboy Spirit meets Ayn Rand's objectivism (or how it's been explained to me, as I am still only 50 fucking pages into The Fountainhead). I just know that I used to cultivate who I was as a teenager (as teenagers do when they aren't lying about everything and getting awkward/sexy). I've long believed that a person can be the person they should be, but it requires time, energy and effort. Everything of social interaction to creativity can be worked upon like existential maintenance. If you don't focus on yourself some nights, you're just a lonely train sounding in the night with nobody on board. Especially in the transition into adulthood, this is the year I figure I'm supposed to really get it all down to the bare wires and string them up like Christmas lights.

So, once I had my manifesto, I changed my sheets and cleaned up my room in silence before sitting down and writing fiction until I was falling asleep at my laptop. This was a good start (no joke).

As I have gone through a chaotic variety of elaborate plans, stages, alter-egos and even a fake death hoax, I have already admitted to myself that this could all very well be nothing but a passing phase. However, this seems stronger than other promises I've made on whims. This doesn't feel forced. it doesn't feel like I'm making an attempt at building anything. It just feels like I'm doing it whether I like it or not. Maybe this is the quarter-life crisis everyone's been foretelling like psychics. Maybe this is the very exciting beginning to a thrilling nervous breakdown. Maybe I just felt like crap from putting so much alcohol and smoke into my body that I'm now mistaking a good cleanse for productivity and an exhilarating life change.

Whatever it is, I noticed a change on Monday. I tried to live according to The Cowboy Writer Manifesto. Instead of hitting the snooze button almost a dozen times, I got up immediately and was fully dressed before I was sure of what day it was.

After work, I kept it going.

1. I wrote fiction. I'm done with this whole bullshit of not writing every day. Enough of this fucking around shit. Right? Well, actually, I take that back. I'm going to find other ways to fuck around. Maybe they'll involve balloons. Maybe confetti. I don't know. I haven't really thought it through yet. Also, I read rejection letters from three respected publications and saved them like the rest. It feels good to send stuff out again and I continue to enjoy the shit out of rejection letters.

2. I bought new clothes. And I bought them because I thought I should have them. It had nothing to do with an specific event or a gift card. Also, I'm pretty sure the two female employees at Macy's could tell that I hadn't shopped in a long time. As I just made it before they closed, they watched me like an harmless animal who just wandered around smelling stuff. I felt like they were asking each other (in Spanish), "Should we get it out or will it find its way out eventually?" Well, guess what, bitches? I did. And I did it with two new shirts.

3. I went for a run with my dog. I collapsed in the backyard, shirtless and sticky. I sat in the surfboard chair and sounded like somebody had stabbed me in the chest, wheezing like I was trying to give famous last words. Once I stood up and made it back into the warm house, I felt like the Human Torch if he ever got all sweaty from the flames.

4. I cleaned my room. As I was nearing the end, the lights went out. My entire house went black. I checked the fuse box, but nothing I did work. So I went into the streets and watched the whole world be dark. The block's fuse had done something screwy. I stood there on my front lawn and noticed that the only light in my neighborhood was from the stars and moon above. Then I took one last sprawling look at the houses around and all the lights came on at once. It was magical realism cinema. Maybe that's what those plastic townsfolk feel like when someone finally turns on the train set.

5. I went to bed at a reasonable hour. I fell asleep with all the windows open and the ceiling fan churning, and I woke up refreshed this morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My New Desk & Its Seattle Calendar

I got a new desk today.

Well, not like "hey, I went to Ikea and bought a sick, awesome desk that holds things and stuff," but more of a "hey, I moved to a different desk at work."

And, for whatever reason, it struck me funny and made me think about things. It made me think of my last job (and only other real job) at Entrepreneur Magazine when things were very, very different and so was I.

The window at my new desk reminds me of how I use to keep a running tally of planes and helicopters I saw from my giant window cubicle at Entrepreneur. My desk looked like Mardi Gras back then. It was practically a colorful fort. I had everything from papers for my fake sexual harassment lawsuit to games, threats and wanted posters. I even printed out a picture of a co-worker's head and turned it into a piggy bank. It looked like one of those desks they show employees at gaming companies or animation studios having in documentaries or magazines.

But, today, I packed up my desk and realized that the only personal item I had was a small Seattle calendar. And, this morning, I sat down at my new desk and pinned up my dinky calendar that means too much to me to actually mark up and stared at it until I spaced out, looking out the window at a sky that looked like the world's ceiling. Then, I thought of what it was like when I was laid off in March of last year and how it took me two or three boxes just to carry my personal items to the parking lot. I remember my girlfriend, who helped carry my stuff, asking me if all of it was "really necessary" and I didn't know how to answer her.

Months later, when summer of last year rolled around, I disappeared into the tame wilderness and wild commerce of Seattle with my buddy Chris (who was also an unemployed writer then). By the time autumn came, I had moved back to Southern California and was still jobless. But I was a remarkably different person. Last summer changed me in a bunch of crazy ways and it's hard to argue that it wasn't for the better across the board. I do think of myself as less exciting now though.

Just before I left Seattle, Chris and I finally went to the Space Needle and I bought the dinky Seattle calendar. Chris asked where I was going to put it up a calendar so small and I told him that I would probably hang it up in my cubicle at whatever job I ended up getting and sighing out loud every time I looked at it. We laughed a small laugh there in the gift shop, but it's pretty stunning how accurate that sentence has become.

My very bare desk today is a sharp contrast to the messy chaos of my previous job's desk, the desk at my first "big boy job" at Entrepreneur Magazine. Back then, I was generally unprofessional, but they still had me write this oddball business blog for whatever crazy reason. And it all made me very happy. I realized it spoiled me, that job. I was relentlessly content then, but I was too obnoxious and inexperienced to appreciate it.

The entire thing now seems like a dream that I have a hard time remembering in full. I never dreaded a day of work or even minded it. I probably would've worked there for free. It was like a playground inside of a classroom. There were pranks, debates, projects, adventures and a laundry list of distasteful inside jokes and day-long e-mail threads that became bigger than they really were. Days were everything from sitting in an office arguing The Clash's London Calling song by song to making a face puppets so we could do impressions of each other. We ate lunch together, went to happy hours after work and then parties on the weekend. It was such goddamn delirious nonsense. I mean, we worked and put out a magazine, sure, but...I don't know, it was like working on yearbook or the newspaper in high school.

And now I wonder, as I move to my sixth desk at my current job, if it would be possible now. Not even considering the others, I mean that I wonder if I would be the same. I wonder if I would tolerate such insanity in my job performance. I wonder if I would share as much personal information as I did then. I wonder if I would be as much of a force to be reckoned with instead of...whatever I am now.

Let's say I came into that editorial assistant/blogger job next month (as a calm and collected 25-year-old) instead of June 2007, back when I was loud and vulgar 22-year-old with little regard for professionalism and career talk. Let's say I took that magazine job as whoever I am this year instead of the young guy who wore ripped jeans to work and drove a messy Delta 88 Oldsmobile that looked like it housed a homeless person inside. Let's say I was hired now as a reasonable man instead of the hungover fully-bearded boy who ate Del Taco and microwaveable pizzas and never exercised. Could it really all be the same if I wasn't the smug and mouthy asshole who had an entire drawer full of candy bars?

Really, I consider myself now and notice how I think of a career and compare it to when I didn't consider showering or brushing my teeth a priorities and lived in a house that my friends and I were destroying with our bare hands. Christ Almighty, The Madison is another story (or book) altogether.

I wanted to fight yuppiedom in such a manic fury that I somewhat devolved in a mutant-like hurry. I liked the idea of getting paid salary while looking like I didn't care. I wanted people to look at me and think, "That guy doesn't care about or value anything." For whatever insanity that floated through my brain as truth, I thought that it was charming to be totally careless and I saw it as my lone wolf way of fighting maturity. I didn't want to be a 9-to-5 adult yet and I fought it with every ounce of craziness I had in me. It was like a movie where I was being dragged into a chamber kicking and screaming, so I then started shouting wild promises that didn't make sense and I couldn't keep anyway.

And, altogether, it was pretty goddamn stupid.

So, instead of wishing I could go back to all that, I admit that it wouldn't be the same. And I say that now considering where everyone is these days, from San Francisco to New York City, from grad school to real high-end career paths. And I'm happy at the job I have now as a copywriter with a sparse work area.

I look back fondly on my time of what seemed perfect and realize that it wouldn't be the same if it came about now. Even if everyone else was still as awesome as they were then, I just don't see me playing the same character I did then. I liked what I contributed then (I like to think of it as "furious immaturity with moments of charming sincerity and absolute clarity"), but I wouldn't like it now. I don't have the energy in me to be that reckless and I don't have the ego to be that offensive. I care what the higher-ups think of me and I've lost any sight of fighting any "good fight." I want to work and I want to show up for work ready to work. I try my best to understand what is expected of me at work and anticipate what is coming at me.

The strange thing is that I never saw this coming. I always hoped I would evolve into an adult, but I just didn't see it happening without a lobotomy. I just never saw myself being quiet or keeping to myself in any form. Old Jake has shown some light over the months, in very fleeting or mildly off-putting moments, but I still don't have the drive to really decorate my cubicle or say much in meetings. I don't try to organize anything social and I'm fine with everything just...going.

But, here and there, I look at my dinky Seattle calendar to think of last summer (easily the best summer since I was 15, when nobody had to be anywhere) and think of the transformation from Old Jake to New Jake and I sigh a little bit.

Today, I thought of my job at Entrepreneur and missed what I had, but I appreciated it for the epic party it was and what insight it provided me with. But then I quietly went back to work.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Matchmaker: An Accidental Vaudeville Act

When it comes to women with several of my high school friends, I often find myself in a conversation that resembles an old vaudeville act. They want to play the matchmaker/middle man and it's a mixture of mischief and good intentions (as if they're doing an "I gotcha, bro" boon...a "broon," if you will). It's partially to help out a friend, partially to get credit for the relationship/booty and partially to be responsible for something that could go so goddamn spectacularly crazy terrible.

It's very much like a sincere hug between two male friends that ends in a ball-tap for immature hilarity. And it's also like putting a penny on a train track, something so innocent and meaningless that could have magnificently awful results.

My high school friends believe that people ask without asking and that they're reading between the lines of male friendship and communication. I only put in good words if I'm asked enough times, as I don't like getting involved in anyone's affairs. My high school friends feel differently. And I've had the conversation enough time to sense the coming dread of insanity.

It goes something like (but obviously not exactly like) this:

FRIEND: "So you're interested in her?"

JAKE: "Interested in who?"

F: "You know who."

J: "I do?"

F: "Don't worry. I'll put in a good word for you."

J: "Goddamnit, no. Not this again. No. No good words."

F: "What do you mean? You're not into her?"

J: "I don't think so."

F: "Really?"

J: "Dude, I don't know."

F: "I totally thought you were."

J: "Why?"

F: "I don't know. It just seemed like you were."

J: "When was this? Was I drunk? Did it seem like I wanted to date or hook up?"

F: "I don't know."

J: "Then what the hell are you going off of?"

F: "I don't know, but I'll just tell her you're kind of interested."

J: "No. Don't tell anybody I'm interested in them. Even if I were, everything gets all complicated and chaotic when somebody else gets involved."

F: "Come on, you two would look good together. And then we can double date! Just let me tell her that you at least mentioned her."

J: "No. Don't mention me mentioning anyone to anybody."

F: "I'm gonna do it anyway."

J: "Why? Why would you do that?"

F: "Trust me. You'll thank me later."

J: "No. I won't thank you later. I'm telling you right now. Don't do it."

F: "I'm still going to."

J: "Are you serious?"

F: "Well, then do something about it, you pussy!"

J: "Dude, you're making my mind explode right now. How are you not getting any of this?"

F: "Ok, now I'm going to tell her that just the mention of her makes your mind explode."

J: "I really don't understand what you're not getting here."

F: "I'm just going to tell her that you noticed her and then you can do whatever from there."

J: "Goddamnit, I said no. Seriously, I'm thinking about slashing your tries."

F: "I'm still going to do tell her."

J: "This is unreal. No, don't do it."

F: "Too late. It's out of my hands."

J: "How the hell is it our of your hands?"

F: "It just is. Sorry. But, look at it this way, now you've got something going."

J: "I don't want something going."

F: "Really? I thought you did. She's cute, man. You sure you don't want to see if something happens?"

J: "Well...probably not...I think."

F: "See, there you go! You're already changing your mind!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Cowboy Spirit (Part I)

Part One: How The Cowboy Spirit Came To Be
Part Two: What The Cowboy Spirit Means

Grant met me for lunch on Thursday and so began a weekend of outrageous fun and collective transformation.

There was a lot of good conversation during the meal and, at some point, we started musing on how, these days, we overthink conversations, regret evenings of drinking and have a general anxiety about the present and future, all of which we never used to have. But then it took a turn to how we used to be so goddamn restless and senseless when it came to women and how everything seemed so cause-and-effect now instead of just being causes without regard for effects.

"We used to do whatever we wanted and never worry about the outcome. There were always consequences, but neither of us ever gave a shit, right?" I said paraphrasedly. "I mean, we used to be careless, we used to be stupid, we used to be..."

"Cowboys," Grant said calmly. "We used to be cowboys."

And then there came the dawning realization that all we wanted to be was cowboys again. The problem wasn't that we were adults now. The problem was that we weren't cowboys anymore. It didn't have to do with age. It had to do with giving in. All of it had to do with something that was established over the weekend as "The Cowboy Spirit."

Now, it just so happened that the coming weekend included Rex's birthday and the Orange International Street Fair, which is one grand party for the city. And thus started the quest to be young and wild as we reclaimed "The Cowboy Spirit" as individuals and as a band of polite, well-mannered, law-abiding outlaws.

Thursday night, we went drinking in the Circle for Rex's birthday. I came home drunk around 2-something and stayed up eating a sandwich until 4 a.m. I got to work at 7 a.m. on Friday. The Cowboy Spirit kept me sharp for most of the day, but I lapsed into being a mumbling idiot towards the end. After filming a video project for work (which I made me feel 16 again, as video projects are simply the best), I could barely stay awake, but I reminded myself of the Cowboy Spirit promise.

So I went to a house party for Rex's birthday Friday evening. And I got quite messed up there, where I had our friend Nikki try her first bit of whiskey and I reminisced about the days of The Madison with Jay for nearly an hour). Dave drove me home laughing and blurry sometime around 3 and I again stayed up until 4 eating a sandwich.

Saturday, Rex and Grant dropped by in the evening as I was writing in my room with all three windows open for the lovely summer breeze. We went to buy slurpees so we could drink them while smoking cigarettes in my backyard. The plan was to head to a party later, but once we got the slurpees, we decided on a parking lot whim to just drive down to Grant's place in San Juan Capistrano to provide some company to Chase (who is currently laid up because of foot surgery after a super terrible injury while surfing in Mexico). The four of us got drunk and played video games. Grant went to bed while Chase, Rex and I slept in the guest bedroom giggling together on two floor mattresses.

"I hope we never get too old for this," Chase said.

"What?" Rex asked. "Sleepovers?"

"I don't know," Chase replied. "I guess just...any of this really."

It wasn't the last thing said, but it was the last thing I thought of before falling asleep.

We woke up Sunday morning and Grant drove Rex and I back to Orange around noon. I showered and Dennis picked me up to go to Street Fair around 1 p.m. We met up with a bunch of my high school friends that I sadly only see in terms of months (David, Lawrence, Louis, Duran, etc). All day, I ran into people I wanted to see and caught up with local friends over beer and international food and flare. The Street Fair closed at 10 p.m., so we went to a friend of a friend's house. When that died down, we went to Louis's girlfriend's apartment and hung out with her girlfriends.

At some point, one of the girls asked, "Why haven't we met you before?"

And I realized I didn't have any good reason why I wasn't more proactive with keeping in touch with my high school friends. Finally, Dennis took us home around 3 and I stayed up until 4 a.m. once again eating a sandwich. I was intoxicated from my arrival to Street Fair until I fell asleep watching Dances With Wolves.

Monday, with the day off, I sent out a short story to ten magazines and played basketball to get all the booze out of me.

Now, before this weekend, I couldn't tell you when the last time it was that I got all screwy two nights in a row. Also, it's hard to guess when the last time was that I didn't choose at least one night of the weekend to give into reclusedom. But, I have to tell you, this last weekend was one of the most goddamn fun weekends I can ever remember living through. Somehow, weekends like this, with its constant motion and agenda of going from fun thing to fun thing, came about way more often when we were all 19 and 20 and stupid as hell. We didn't have the appreciation then, because that's all there was. There was nothing to compare it to. None of us desk jobs and none of us had a serious bone in our putty bodies. I mean, how do you know how awesome butterflies are if you've live your entire life in a meadow? You tell me that, America.

Shit, I mean, everything came together so perfectly and I saw people I don't see often enough and met people I'm stoked on. And I know I laughed until my stomach hurt. I also ate a lot of really killer sandwiches.

Seriously though, I felt like there was a glow to the weekend, as if I was jumping from picture to picture in a photo album. Sometimes, you live through a night you already feel will churn you up inside, as if looking back on your childhood or your most reverent teenage moments. You try so hard to find the Fountain of Youth, but you never let yourself believe it doesn't take a journey to far-off lands. Nobody wants to believe they've been so close to the source the entire time because it's so goddamn fucking embarrassing.

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Going The Distance Sucks

One night recently, I was trying to get my record player to work. Just in case everything went haywire, I wanted to use a record that wasn't of great value to me. Dragging my fingers along the many vinyl albums I inherited from my parents when they tossed their busted record player, I found my mom's Captain & Tennille album (which doesn't even make sense in her collection).

So I tried my best, hooking up the record player to my stereo and nothing played out of the speakers. But, instead, I heard the faint whispers of love and promises somewhere in my room. It was the insect chirp of a confident, if altogether delusional, woman reassuring her man. I laid on the floor and heard the faint sounds of "Love Will Keep Us Together" coming from the spinning record. Now, it should be noted that I hate that fucking song. And this was the first time I gave it my full attention without laughing and it was barely audible and I was laying on in an awkward position on the hardwood floor so I would crack the mixtape cases I had decorated as confused but eager teenager.

It made me think of all the previews I've been seeing for that new movie Going The Distance, which you probably already know is about a long-distance relationship.

And I'll tell you this: if that movie is honest, it's not gonna be funny.

That movie is gonna be two fucking hours of arguing. Trust me. I was in a long-distance relationship for almost a year. That movie is gonna be the guy thinking they talk on the phone often enough and the girl thinking it's not enough. Then they're gonna fight about it repeatedly because neither are willing to compromise how much fun they're having without the other person. She's gonna get mad and he's gonna get even and everything's gonna blow up all stupidly for stupid reasons over something stupid. The guy is gonna start drinking whiskey and eating microwave burritos as he's falling asleep in bed and then he's gonna have Pepto Bismol and some Tic-Tacs for breakfast. Instead of showering in the morning, he's just gonna make sure he's wearing a belt. If he can make it through the day without wanting to throw up or fall asleep in the bathroom, that's a win. If she doesn't get fed up with everything where she is, she wins for the day. Weeks will pass and she'll wonder what's happened to him as she's adventuring. She can't call, but she wants to know why he hasn't called. He'll think that's dumb. He'll tell her that. She'll spend part of her trip drunk at a bar complaining about the guy and then dancing until she's carried home. Without her, he's gonna start considering bike rides to weekend parties as formidable exercise and consider the act of drinking coffee is the most mature thing he could do instead of improving his long-distance trouble. She's gonna write diary entries complaining about the long-distance relationship and what it would take to fix it, but she's not going to tell the guy, who, in the meantime, hasn't seen the floor of his bedroom in some time. Meanwhile, she's going to bitch to her girl friends and flirt with other dudes all while the guy thinks everything is going fine, though if he were to organize his life enough to think things through, he'd realize how empty his own pats on the back are. Then, towards the end of the long-distance stint, silence works as a way of talking and the guy tries to get his life together by using less swear words instead of talking about his feelings more. Finally, she'll return home and everything will be perfect.

Is that really a movie you wanna see? Fucking...no. No way, right? My suggestion is to watch the first 15 minutes of the movie where they bone-down all crazy and laugh a lot (maybe somebody makes a European sex joke, I don't know), leave for a while to be entertained elsewhere (at the snack bar, the arcade or even another movie) and then comeback to see how it turns out, mostly out of idle curiosity. Go home and seriously evaluate the plausibility of that movie as you're doing something super awesome, like eating fruit snacks, and think about how lucky you are for not being in a long-distance relationship. Then call me and let me know if the funniest part of that movie is when they try to have phone sex and it goes all hilariously wrong.

Author's Note: I don't think this turned out as funny as it was in my head, but I was laughing as I was writing it. I look back on my long-distance relationship fondly and it made for some epic, beautiful, outrageously unreal stories. I certainly don't regret it, but a movie about long-distance relationship is like making a film about a couple in the middle of a divorce trying to stay together at the last second.