Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baseball, Rain & A New House

Three things.

1. I just finished the Ken Burns documentary Baseball and, honestly, I think it may be the best thing I've ever watched. And I say that as someone who has seen 99 of AFI's 100 greatest movies and does not follow baseball. However, from beginning to end, it's perfect. The original nine-part documentary is 18.5 hours long and I just watched the four-hour follow-up, The Tenth Inning. The story of baseball is told as the great American opera, with its heroes and villains, its triumphs and tragedies, its action and adventure. It's beautiful, glorious and unrelentingly interesting. It shows how baseball has endured wars and epidemics. It's the unstoppable history of Americans. I've always loved old baseball movies and haven't followed the sport since the 1990s, but, hot damn, this documentary was spectacular.

2. I went to Big Bear this weekend. On Saturday morning, we drove deep into the woods, parked and made it over boulders and fallen trees. Once we made it to the rock-climbing spot, the sky rumbled and movie set rain came flooding from the sky. The seven of us ducked into a small shelter of rocks. We were going to wait it out, but then we wondered if the roads would flood. So, we ran through the woods shirtless in the pouring rain with thunder rolling and lighting screaming. Finally, we made it to the cars. The lightning cracked louder than I've ever heard it, like it was a monster coming for us. We yelled for each other to get in the car and we sped the hell out of there. It started to hail on our way back down a different road, so we listened to old punk songs. The parking lots and streets were devoured by water, so we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Then I took a nap. Then I drank all night.

A New House
3. I'm moving out this week with Grant, Rich and Jason. It's a huge house with a gardener and a big backyard. It also comes with a basement that seems straight out of the '60s, complete with a legit bar and a pool table. I imagine that we'll end up spending an alarming percentage of our time down there, growing delusional as we pose ourselves as "swingin' cats." Stoked.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rough Water

This heart is a lantern.
This body is an ocean.
This love is a submarine.
This metaphor is terrible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Gave Myself A Haircut

I cut my own hair last night, which I believe is often a sign of mental instability. If it had turned out poorly, I would've blamed curiosity. My grandma would've somehow blamed Obama.

I haven't been to a barber for years. I have my own system now: when I start twirling my long hair like I'm some gum-popping skank trying to sleep with the local high school football team, I take a buzzer to my head in every direction that week.

This week, my hair was just starting to get to twirling length and, instead of risking the affectionate here-and-there family nickname of "Patches," I decided to challenge myself. I was going to do overtime for my job, but I was burned out on work and my wrist hurt. So, amped up on gettin' something done, I asked myself, "Could I cut my hair with scissors and not look like an escaped patient and/or hipster douchebag?"

The answer is apparently, "Hell yes."

Cutting your hair is easy as a guy who ultimately doesn't care about his hair. It's like one playful mess up there. Consider the act to be the safest form of self-mutilation. All I did was run my hands flatly through my hair and cut whatever was above my fingers. And I had a great time. I may never even do the buzzer again. Next time, I'll probably try something wild. Who knows? Andy Warhol had stupid haircuts all the time. Worse case scenario, I'm like Andy Warhol.

Just by saying that, I instantly became my favorite barber.

In fact, nobody whose cut my hair professionally has ever been what I wanted, and I've had all sorts of people. I've had the Rosie Perez lady tell me about her shitty ex-boyfriend, I've had the older Chinese woman ask me questions I didn't understand, I've had the white hot-shit sorority girl tell me about her whole stupid career as a stylist and comment on my apathy. I've even had the guy from Up buzz the side of my head and then ask, "Hey, wait, so what'd you say you wanted? Just a trim?" FUCK YOU, SPENCER TRACY. I WAS IN EIGHTH GRADE AND YOU TOTALLY SCREWED ME.

As a kid, my dad would cut my hair in the kitchen, like we were raised in the goddamn Dust Bowl. I liked it though. It was my first understanding of saving money. Did you know that a standard haircut at Supercuts is, like, thirteen bucks? I did what they did last night on a whim and a beer. Suck it, tentacles of this never-ending awful economy! Also, there's a lot of cool magazines in my bathroom. Do you really need five different magazines in the waiting area with Jennifer Aniston on the cover without owning up to a single issue of National Geographic? Jesus, Supercuts, people who like the rainforest and lion cubs need haircuts too.

This all works for me because I've never done anything especially edgy with my hair. I've just had different lengths. Once, I had a mohawk. Another time, I did spray-on dye for Halloween. Other than that, it's been natural brown and styles that have ranged from "spiked punk" to "Russian assassin." So, for me, cutting your hair is easy. If it goes terrible, all you have to do is wear nice clothes for a while and nobody will even notice your botched lobotomy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Lovers In A Field

His fingers sailed across the great plains of her back with the breathy wind of her body's hum carrying his touch from the arch of her neck to the curves of her thighs. The girl's tongue creaked and the boy's eyes swayed. The flowers around them sighed and he whistled a sailor tune. She grinned a masterpiece. The sky was blue, the world was warm and he felt the great shakes within him. The boy trembled with wonder.

"What if this is all there is to it?"

She rolled her brown curls down her head and kissed his bare arms.

"Then I say we did alright," she cooed.

"What a pageant it is to be in love," he quietly told his beloved girl in the field.

"Hail, hail," she mumbled, already drifting off to sleep again, "one float after another."

"The best parade in town," he remarked, as the long, slow pull of the world turned around them, softly pushing them towards sunset.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Grandfather's History

My grandfather took our family out for dinner Tuesday, and, as we sat in the restaurant, for whatever reason, history aggressively caught my attention. Maybe it was because I had just finished Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated that day or because I've been watching Ken Burns: Baseball and just made it to the 1900s, but I stared at my grandfather as he told a story about his last trip to Vegas and all I could think was, "How the hell are you not bored right now?"

I thought about his personal history and how it intertwined with everyone's history. As he made a life in the foreground, what was blasting behind him in the background? He was born in the spring of 1928, so let's just consider a few things...

His first crush came during the Great Depression, his teenage rebellion came during World War II, he became an adult and served in Korea, bought a house when America built the suburbs, raised kids in the wild times of the '60s, watched his oldest son get married during the disco era, grew old in the most obnoxious decade ever and feared the technology breakdown of the next century as someone who had seen most of the 20th Century.

I mean, it was some muggy-weather summer evening in 2011 and we were in some tacky lounge eating steak (well, I had a potato) with cheap mirrors and some leftover "happy birthday" sign on the wall. This place was beneath him! Shit, the man was alive when the stock market crashed! He was born before Hemingway said a farewell to arms! He saw the first mushroom cloud and voted for Truman! He already knew how the world worked when Kennedy was shot!

When I was 13, the biggest deal was Clinton getting head in the oval office by a frumpy intern. When he was 13, fucking...Hitler was in power and trying to take over the whole goddamn world!

And I wondered if my grandkids would stare at me one day. I wondered if, as I'm trying to explain to them something as remodeling a swimming pool, they'll stare at me and wonder how I'm not bored. They'll write some dumb shit online (or whatever they have then) about how I got my driver's license around the September 11th Attacks or how I was taking a nap in a park when I heard Michael Jackson died. They'll freak out about me seeing Avatar twice in theaters, 2D with my brother and 3D with a pretty girl. They'll want to hear about my entire elementary school listening to the OJ Simpson verdict on boomboxes during lunch time. They'll talk about how I was barely getting into music when Tupac, Biggie and Kurt Cobain died. They'll have me explain to them time and time again how I did any homework before the internet, how I remember my family's first computer and how I couldn't think of a single thing to do the first time I signed online.

They'll want to know about my history, and they'll stare at me like I've gone through hell, and all I'll want is for them to pass me the goddamn salt and pepper.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dear Anonymous Girl

Dear Anonymous Person,

I got your anonymous comment on one of my poems (from a bedroom window, the sea) and it's baffled the hell out of me since. It reads:

You hurt me. And I can't yet forgive you for that. Get out of my head.

Look here, anonymous person, this isn't the forum for whatever the hell you want to talk about (as I assume it's not about something fun, like high-fives, video games or candy). Also, I can't think of any dudes I know that would write a quick bite that. If a guy did that, it would be, "You were a dick to me. Fuck you forever." Also, they'd still include their name, I bet. So, naturally, I assume you are of the female variety, and a passive-aggressive member of your gender at that.

Well, listen, lady, I've been hurting girls for as long as I've understood them as people, creatures, things and dreams I've wanted, so you're going to have to be more specific. Sure, it's more emotional hurt now, since we're very much adults at this point. But, when I was younger, it was physical hurt. I mean, I threw dirt clods and rocks at my first crush in third grade and she probably still wasn't entirely sure who I was.

"Why is that tall kid throwing stuff at me? Also, why is his shirt tucked in? Why does he wear such abnormally long socks?" I can only assume she wondered.

I swear, all that shit made sense to me in third grade, everything from the rocks to the socks.

However, I didn't hurt my second crush. But all of that bottled up insanity had to go somewhere, right? Right! So, instead, I just stared at her like some young serial killer (with a better fashion sense gained in the two-year gap) and just made fun of other girls in our class. So I suppose I hurt her by hurting her friends. I guess it wasn't physical. Also, I don't know if I really hurt her friends. I think it made me more popular with her friends actually. Fifth grade was pretty weird, now that I think about it.

In junior high, I threw paper airplanes at the girl I liked while also relentlessly making fun of her, so it was physical and emotional, I imagine. Well, guess what, everyone? That was middle school. Everything sucked and everyone hurt. My proudest moment then was when I flipped out and poured a full can of soda on some bully, and even that was closer to instant death than actual momentary hurt.

In high school, I just sort of collapsed as a person when I saw my teenage crush. I just spat out insane gibberish about the romantic poets and plays I wanted to see. I lied about musicians I enjoyed and what I wanted out of life. Under the pressure of not being who I thought I should be, I disappeared from her phone bill, but reappeared over and over in her diary, probably in furious cursive. I hurt her. But, hey, we were teenagers. Everything hurt and we sort of loved the agony. Every teenager is a masochist and a sadist. That's no excuse, but at least she had just cause for leaving an anonymous comment on a blog...if they even existed ten years ago.

My early college years was just one long wake of the wrecking ball. People got hurt, but everything was happening too fast too notice. Sorry. If you're from that era, I'm going to need your name, number and wherever the hell we met just to have a starting point of clearing this shit up.

And, if you're from my adventures in adulthood and you want to tell me what this is all about, contact me like a normal person. We're engaging mature people with livelihoods and well-developed communication skills. If I hurt you, then you obviously have an e-mail address or phone number of mine. I've learned a thing or two in the last handful of years. If we didn't talk things out, then there was a miscommunication. Maybe you weren't listening to me. I've been very clear as of the last two years, but I'm willing to admit that I didn't understand you or maybe misheard you. Also, let's not rule out the possibility that you were spouting off some nutty bullshit (though I am, of course, biased in the matter). I love trying to figure out the dynamics of relationships now. It's like a game. Shit, it's like Operation and I'm trying not to touch the sides while I remove your broken heart.

So, hey, anonymous girl, hit me up like how we were whenever the heck whatever the hell happened and we'll figure things out. I assume. I still have no idea who you are, what I did or why you're still so mad about it. Furthermore, you're just feeding my ego by telling me I'm still in your head. That's like...the worst combination of three sentences. All you did was build me up from terrible to great.

1) You hurt me - I feel guilt, as I don't want to hurt anyone.
2) And I can't yet forgive you for that - I feel indifference, since it sounds like you'll just let me know when you come around.
3) Get out of my head - I feel pride, for being thought about so often by someone who doesn't want to like me. Maybe sort of like a Sam and Diane thing, eh...?*

So, thank you, uncommunicative girl that I may or may not recall, your comment has left me aglow. I wish you the best of luck in your wild endeavors and look forward to one day discovering what exactly you're talking about or referring to. I'm a huge fan of mysteries.

This is all, of course, if I do actually know you. If that comment was left by just some random nobody, as a joke or whatever, well...ok, that's pretty goddamn funny. I'm probably going to start doing that on other people's blogs. Thanks for the idea.


*If you haven't done so already, check out Cheers on Netflix's Instant Stream. It has all 11 seasons and it's seriously the best show.