Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fighting Off The Crazies

Admittedly, I’m going through an utterly terrifying time in my life. I can’t really get into the details here, but let’s just say that the last 365 days of my life have resembled a steadily growing avalanche of shit.

Every once in awhile, I utterly freak out. I tense up. I said weird things. I drink too much. My face breaks out. I completely and utterly panic. The last two days have been an example of this. I’m an utter mess. I should be undergoing surgery to replace my liver in preparation for this weekend. Instead, I’m locking my jaw and darting my eyes around the room in a paranoid fashion.

Truthfully, when I’m not going crazy I’m a really nice guy. Which isn’t to say that I’m a jerk when the crazies strike. No, I just act weird and paranoid. I freak out. There really should be advance warning for anyone getting to know me. “Every few weeks, Michael will flip out and not handle something well. Bring vodka.

So, currently, I’m trying to fight off the crazies and relax. I’ve done all that I can this week. Tomorrow, my bff comes to town and we are going to celebrate the fuck out of my birthday. I can go back to worrying Monday.

That’s all there is to it. I love you guys. Be safe. Be you. Have a fabulous weekend. Maybe I’ll see a few of you at the bar? Even if we've never met... you're invited... and loved.

Love & rockets, honeys…

30, Pt. 5

(2008, 2008, 2008, 2008, 2009)

30, Pt. 4

(2004, 2004, 2005, 2006 with Sebastian, 2007 with Kevin Dallman)

30, Pt. 3

(1996 with Stephanie, 1996, 1997 with Chris, 1999, 2000)

30, Pt. 2

(1993, 1994, 1995 with Derek, 1995, 1996 with an old teacher whose name I can't remember)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photographic Evidence For The Existence Of Lord Bob

I heard a commotion coming from the living room a few minutes ago. I could hear a great deal of meowing, but it wasn't the typical "Simon and Niro having a spat over who ate the last string cheese" meowing, so I grabbed my camera and snuck in to investigate. And there he was, Lord Bob in all his splendor.

30, Pt. 1

(1979 with family, 1980, 1980, 1981, 1989)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eating Martha Stewart?!?

At first I thought, I'm eating Martha Stewart for dinner?!? I was horrified thusly:

And then I realized, I wasn't eating Martha Stewart:

All is right with the world, I suppose. Although it would probably help if I brushed my hair before taking photos.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Require Cake

My upcoming birthday has me thinking a lot about cake. Well, I think about cake on a daily basis anyway, but at least this is the time of the year when I’m allowed to think about cake without too many awkward glances from the peanut gallery.

My favorite basic cake is a yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting. Milk chocolate is a fine replacement, but I prefer the dark stuff. I used to go to this soul food restaurant on Union Ave. in Bakersfield called Phine’s just for their homemade yellow cake. Of course, the catfish there wasn’t exactly a deterrent.

A good cake is something to be celebrated. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many good cakes lying around (I‘m pretty sure I already ate all of the good cakes that just happened to be lying around). I’m certain that the existence of boxed cake mixes is the direct result of this.

A box of cake and a tub of frosting costs a mere $4.00-$5.00 when put together with the necessary eggs and oil. This is very, very cheap. And yet oh, so satisfying. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Michael, wouldn’t you prefer an actual homemade cake to those cheap store-bought ones?” Well, of course. I’d love a proper homemade cake. The problem is, most people don’t know how to make one.

I remember one of my birthdays from when I was in high school. My mother purchased a yellow cake with chocolate frosting from Smith’s, a rather popular local bakery. Smith’s Bakery is famous in these parts for their cookies and pastries. They do a mean champagne cake, as well. What they don’t do so well, apparently, is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

The cake was terrible. Everyone thought so. It was swiftly replaced with a boxed cake from the cupboard. We were ashamed, but we were much happier with the cheapo cake. So, to those in the world who can actually bake a decent cake from scratch, I salute you. And I beg you, please save me a slice!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Fear

This is our "Music From A Bachelors Den"
The sound of loneliness turned up to ten
A horror soundtrack from a stagnant water-bed
And it sounds just like this

The weekend comes and goes, with little to mark its passing. It rained. And then it didn’t. Images flicker on television, unseen. The phone is tucked away in my pocket, unused. I go outside. I go inside. Nothing changes.

I observe the huddling masses. Shopping carts roll, their handles gripped with tight, white knuckles. Free samples are tossed about. Sausage, ham, something fishesque, sausage, salami, meatballs, sausage. Eyes grow hungry, hands claim unwilling prizes. My stomach turns.

No one remarks. No one interrupts with sage advice. No one notices that I spent much of my time staring at the clock, counting out the minutes until the weekend coughs and sputters in its dying moments. They don’t realize that it’s not much different than what I do weekdays.

The faces are tired, and angry. Very angry. I’m amused, naturally. I mean, I’m miserable, too, but at least I’m not miserable because the Eagles lost that one game or I’m not getting what I want for dinner. A salad instead of a pizza? For shame. I come by my misery quite honestly. I earned it.

I earned it in the trenches of life experience. I earned it by properly hating myself for who I am and who I’m not. I earned it by my inability to connect. I earned it with my lies. I’m not happy being miserable, but at least I find it mildly comforting. I’m used to it. These people will never be used to it.

I go outside. I go inside. Nothing changes. I’m apparently causing someone other than myself (for once) to act out in a passive-aggressive manner. I get it. I really do. But I just don’t care anymore. I isolate myself to make the feedback feel more pure. But it doesn’t work. It never works.

Friday, January 23, 2009


It’s days like this that I wonder why I bother defending my hometown. Frankly, Bakersfield doesn’t deserve it. It’s a squalid shithole full of angry, racist, homophobic, redneck assholes who love Jesus and beating up people who are different than them.

And tomorrow I’ll be fine. I just don’t stay angry very long. I’ll go back to appreciating our astonishing variety of dive bars and Mexican restaurants. I’ll go back to reminding people that we do have an art scene, and local music, and theatres.

I’ll avoid turning on the local news. I’ll use the iPod instead of the radio. I’ll push the newspaper under an end table, forgotten. In other words, I’ll close my eyes and choose to believe what will make me less frustrated.

That living here is not so bad.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar, Oscar

The nominees for the 81st annual Academy Awards were unveiled this morning and I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon with everyone else and give my thoughts on whom I’d like to see win a big golden guy…

Only, I can’t really. I don’t live in Los Angeles. I don’t live in New York, or Chicago, or any of the other major markets that get these films when their limited engagements roll out. I honestly haven’t seen many of the nominated films yet.

I live in one of those many, many cities in America that have to wait until the nominations come out before their local theaters even consider putting movies like Milk or Doubt on their screens.

In a lot of ways, I get it. For instance, I am a huge Danny Boyle fan. Was I “in the know” about Slumdog Millionaire six months ago? Of course! It’s on my “must see” list because Boyle rarely disappoints me. But a film about a boy from a Mumbai slum selling more than a handful of tickets in any small town without the spotlight of the Oscars? Unlikely.

And this is why the Oscars are, I begrudgingly admit, a good thing. Now a good segment of moviegoers will, at least, have a chance to see movies like The Wrestler and Revolutionary Road. They might not have had that chance otherwise.

So, by February 22nd, I may have an opinion on some of the films nominated. Maybe it’ll take a little bit longer, in some cases. But at least I’ll get the chance to see them. And if it weren’t for the Academy Awards, I might not have had that chance to begin with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Deep In The Closet, I Found Some Masks

It’s just me and my computer. Candles are lit. Belle And Sebastian are playing on the stereo. I’m thinking of how things used to be versus how they are now. One solitary year can play tricks on your mind. One year can feel like it breezed by. But times are tough. The past year didn’t breeze by. Too much has happened. Too much has changed…

I spent a good deal of this year not knowing who I was. I guess I still don’t. But I realized a few things. First off, I’m certainly not the person I was 10-15 years ago. I’m astonished at how some people cling to that version of me, for better or for worse. Some still love the little Michael who said “meow” a lot, carried around stuffed animals, and used a lot of exclamation points.

And some still think I was genuinely evil in those days. Using a necktie as a noose wasn’t evil. It was just weird. I didn’t love Satan. I didn’t care about Satan. Or God, for that matter. I wasn’t a slut. I wasn’t a jerk. I wasn’t a category, unless you count “kid.“ I was just me, for better or for worse. But I’m not that person anymore. Layne Cheney died. Nathan Adler died. Only Love & Rockets lived on.

Some still love the older Michael who swallowed his pride and did his best to take care of everyone he loved. The Artful Lodger would do anything for the people he loved, even to his own detriment. Even if they didn’t want it or appreciate it. He never learned lessons. He just took a lot into himself and held on for dear life. And he lied to everyone to make it work.

And some still think I was genuinely evil in those days. Yes, I blocked some people out of my life for what I thought was the greater good. I didn’t know that the greater good doesn’t exist. I forgot about the shades of grey. I forgot to appreciate the little things in life. The Artful Lodger died. Only the memories remain.

So now I’m stuck with The Loss Adjuster.

I don’t know who he is. I’m told he’s actually a halfway decent guy. But he’s a guy who has trouble accepting that not everything is his fault all the time. He’s a little funny, from what I hear. He doesn’t meow much. He doesn’t carry around stuffed animals. He’s learned to not trust everyone. He doesn’t like exclamation points so much any more.

The one constant with all of these characters is their ability to feel too much. They love too hard; they agonize over every lost love, over every love that never was. Passion is a common thread, but not everyone appreciates that.

But The Loss Adjuster is beginning to learn that maybe that’s okay.

(The above photo of Nathan Adler was taken in 1998.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

He Is Boy

I might be terrified of my son’s pediatrician.

Let me back up a moment. My son has had Kaiser Permanente the last few years, after I found his previous insurance company to be somewhat lacking. Lacking as in, “We don’t cover emergency room visits. At all. We just never told you that. Bye!”

So, I switched over to a different evil corporation and haven’t really had many problems since. He’s gone for shots, check-ups, and a few other assorted maladies. His pediatrician is a rather stern Russian woman of indeterminate age. I’d venture that she’s anywhere between the ages of 35 and 60. I might mean that as a compliment.

The thing is, she is the living embodiment of the stereotype of a stern Russian woman. I’m pretty sure she wants to hit me. And then when she’s done with me, she’s going to sell my son off to a labor camp somewhere east of Siberia.

A few weeks ago, my son had an accident with a stove while staying with his mother. When we took him to the stern Russian woman, her response to the burn was succinct:

“He will have scar, but is okay. He is boy.”

My son is only three, so he obvious has issues with anyone checking out the burn in any way. When she went to look at the burn, he started crying. Her response was succinct, and comical:

“Hey. Boy. Don’t cry. Do you like the Bat Man?” (Emphasize the pause between “Bat” and “Man” and you’ll hear the comedy.)

Of course, he likes the “Bat Man” and accepted the Batman sticker she offered with a few sniffles.

I’m sure this woman loves children, or a the very least likes them a little bit. I mean, otherwise she wouldn’t have gone into pediatric medicine, right? Nonetheless, she scares me a little.

As for my son, he’s no more or less scared of her than he is of anyone else touching the burn on his arm. And, regardless, he’ll be fine. He is boy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Six Random Things About Me

Kim over at tagged me with a meme today. Shortly thereafter, she was assassinated by a roving death squad. The roving death squad was not under my employ. At least, you can’t prove a thing.

The Rules

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Oh, my. Six random things about yours truly…

1. I’ve only lived in one state, California, and only visited one other, Nevada. In addition, I’ve never been out of the country.

2. I attended the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

3. I find basketball to be the single most boring sporting event known to man. And this is coming from someone who’s been forced to sit through NASCAR races.

4. Two years ago I was t-boned by a drunk driver who was running a red light in southwest Bakersfield. My car got smashed, but I was magically unhurt. No injuries whatsoever, aside from some stiffness and bruising. I spent over a week feeling completely numb to everything, like I was living on borrowed time or something.

5. I used to be a stage actor in high school and college. I haven’t acted in or directed anything since I graduated from college.

6. My favorite comic book character is Green Lantern; specifically, the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern.

The following six people have my full permission to employ the same roving death squad used to assassinate Kim (Though not hired by me, I swear!) to take me out, too:

Bon Don

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mah Barfday

My 30th birthday is coming up faster than my liver is scarring and I, for one, am less than enthusiastic about either circumstance. Regardless, I am under legal obligation to celebrate. And by legal obligation, I mean that I have a few friends who would beat me thusly if I didn’t celebrate.

Unfortunately, February 1st falls on Super Bowl Sunday ™, which means that throwing a shindig on my actual birthday is a terrible idea. So, we’re going to celebrate the night before. If you have even the slightest desire to come celebrate the big “three-oh” with me, we’ll be celebrating at:

The VIP Lounge.
5460 California Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93309.
Saturday, January 31st.
From 9:00pm until they roll me into the gutter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lord Bob

The Feral Cat Wars have continued in my neighborhood, in spite of the cold weather and presence of numerous other interesting things to wrestle/chew/squeeze the life out of. Whenever I leave my house these days, I’m pretty much guaranteed to return to the sight of a large ginger tomcat lounging on the rug at my front door.

He is the new Lord of Tyner Ranch (Ha!), I figure. I call him Lord Bob. He has defeated the smaller black and grey stripey tomcat. He has forced both of my cats to sleep in bed with me at night. The little kittens at the end of the street stay scarce.

And the best part? The chihuahua that’s been the bane of my existence the last ten months has turned tail and stayed in his own yard for once. As I’ve mentioned about 800 times in this blog, I’m not much of a dog person. I’ve known plenty of dogs in my life that were enjoyable companions. My dear Muttley, for instance. And some dogs are just plain hilarious. Case in point, Daisy J Dog maintains a delightful Twitter.

However, I do find most dogs to be irritating, needy, and vacuous. And my dislike is doubled when it comes to little ratdogs who think they’re big and scary. It’s like having Ryan Seacrest scream in your ear whilst peeing on your shoes. It’s like, “Really?” Prior to the Feral Cat Wars, I couldn’t leave my house without this damned chihuahua bounding the 50 yards it took to get to me, just to bark incessantly over the audacity I had in walking to my own car.

And it isn’t just me. My neighbor Roy is so infuriated that he throws rocks at the dog. The guy across the street sprays it with a water hose. The dog just never got the hint. The dog is angry. The dog is tiny. The dog is stupid.

Then the Feral Cat Wars began. Since Lord Bob moved into the neighborhood, the chihuahua has stayed in his own yard mostly. The angry ratdog was properly subdued by the new neighborhood tomcat.

Lord Bob solved a minor irritation in my life. For that, I am thankful. He can sleep on the rug at my front door. He can beat up as many of the other neighborhood cats as he wants, mine excluded. I owe him a debt of gratitude. He’s a good kitty.

(Above Photo: Simon is already planning new ways of travelling through your monitor to steal your hooman soul!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


In spite of the unwavering support of Discotrash (BTW, read her blog! Is very good!) and some rather lovely feedback from you folks, my joking attempt at internet dating has garnered no interest. I've checked out several of the sites recommended, but none have really piqued my interest. Not to mention that it doesn't appear that many of the people in my hometown are on the more "alt" sites.

So, what now? Maybe I should look at one of the sillier sites, like OkCupid... Or maybe I should just give up for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Last Night, He Said

It can be difficult to eschew cliché when writing about a night like last night. A night alone is, in itself, a cliché. But that is where I was. I dropped off my son with his mother and had a decision to make. Home or bar? Either choice would have resulted in being alone. I just knew.

I stop first to pick up some smokes and then hit the bar. It's slow, even for a Tuesday night. Maybe a dozen people in total. I wave at a few regulars and order from the bartender. She forgets who I am all the time. She always does when I’m out of context. I'm not wearing my green jacket; the one with all the patches. Siouxsie And The Banshees. Blur. The Dresden Dolls. All gone, replaced by a plain black hoodie. I'm blending into the bar.

I sit there, staring into my drink, occasionally taking a sip. A loud noise to my left catches my attention. “It’s my birthday! Don’t you know? It’s my fucking birthday!” The man looks early-30’s, and is dressed like a smooth R&B singer. In all likelihood, he's a used car salesman or a banker. He chats up the bartender, an older woman with no time for his shenanigans. He’s looking for a free drink. It’s his birthday. He gets one.

I start texting. I lose track of the room. My drink is refilled. I’m looking for someone. Anyone. “I shouldn’t be alone tonight,” I thought. Some people are busy. Some just don’t respond. I just assume everyone’s watching American Idol. They pity me. I pity them. My drink is refilled.

The night becomes a blur of colors and shapes. I’m longing for the infinite. My mind wanders to dreams half-remembered. “Leave your towns. Leave your lives. I’m waiting.” I’m positive that I’m going crazy. Generally, I’m a mellow drunk. Tonight, I’m low. I’m feeding myself expectations. I’m looking for what isn’t there. I’m looking for you. I’m staring down at an empty glass. My drink is refilled.

I got home, but don’t remember how. I check out my phone this morning. I was texting the whole night. A lost evening. I open the fridge and grab the orange juice. I pull the vodka out of the freezer. My drink is refilled.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Excerpt 8

January 12, 2009

It wasn’t even three years ago that I went to that concert with you. I wonder why it feels like five? Or ten? Is it the natural passage of time? Is it that it just feels longer than it‘s really been? Is it the sheer amount that’s happened to both of us since then? Or is just that there‘s some unnatural gulf between us that causes the memories to be hazy?

September 6, 2008

I’ve gotten back into contact with a girl I have an extremely bizarre relationship with. We have the “magnets repelling” relationship. There’s something there because the magnets seem to want to work. But I have no idea what that something is. The relationship is uncomfortable and I don’t know if she likes me or hates me. But it is something. Or maybe it’s just me. We went to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert several years ago and it was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. But I want more. Does that make any sense? I’m the Monitor and she’s the Anti-Monitor. That sort of thing. I have no idea if we’re friends, enemies, or something else.

January 12, 2009

It wasn’t several years ago. It wasn’t even three.

February 26, 2006

Is it weird that I’m going to a concert without my wife? I mean, she hates Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so I wouldn’t be able to go unless I found someone to go with. There’s no way she’d let me go alone. Is it weird that I’m going with a girl? Is it weird that it’s a co-worker and the sister of a friend? Is it weird?

March 5, 2006

It’s Oscar night, so of course I’m in West Hollywood. Where else would I be? There’s nowhere to park and everyone looks like someone I know. We get drinks at the bar and watch The Gris Gris. She seems tense. Is this her first concert? I think it might be her first concert. The entire evening, she’s stiff as a board. And completely different from everyone in the room. I don’t mean anything by that. It’s not a negative thing. She just has a different aura. I can read it from here. She could destroy everyone in this room. She’s a predatory animal. I might be next. Or I might be as consequential as the tree standing next to her.

January 12, 2009

Maybe you were a strange choice. I mean, we didn’t talk all that much. And I never could figure out where we stood with each other. But I wanted to take you to the Troubadour. I wanted to get you out of your comfort zone and see what you were like. It probably made no sense to you. But you were intrigued, nonetheless. I can never explain with words what existed between us. In fact, I’m making it sound more grandiose than it really was. There are no words.

March 5, 2006

I think she hates me. Every conversation starts and stops in an awkward way. It’s psychological. It’s philosophical. It’s mind-blowing, in all actuality. What have I been missing?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Internet Dating

Dating is hard, and the idea of finding someone over the internet terrifies me somewhat. Maybe I just have this warped view of two creeps who spend 20 hours of their day playing World Of Warcraft hooking up as defining “internet dating.” Or maybe I’m on the right track.

And the idea of setting up an account on one of the myriad dating website freaks me out even more, especially since I’m a guy. I know a lot of good, classy ladies who’ve set up profiles on dating websites on a lark. I’ve never known a good, classy dude who’s done the same. I’m not ready to be thrust in the same boat as the 55-year-old douche preying on kids or the awkward nerd who cleans soiled mattresses for a living.

So, what’s a boy to do? Well, I did post the above Tweet this morning as a joke. But it got me thinking. What would my profile on one of those dating websites look like? Knowing me, I’d probably be brutally honest. I'd probably also chase off any potential suitors.

In any case, my profile would probably read something like this:

Name: Michael

Requirements: “Super” compatibility with me on is a must. Saying you don’t like David Bowie gets you automatically disqualified. Liking Coldplay also gets you automatically disqualified. Must be tolerant of my hockey addiction and utter fascination with my beloved Los Angeles Kings, as well as the fact that I’m a St. Louis Rams fan. I, in turn, will tolerate whatever hockey or football teams you like. Unless you like the Anaheim Ducks. I just can’t handle that shit. Also, you must pass a pre-relationship screening process performed by my closest friends. Trust me, I’ve learned at least THAT much over the years. Applicants should be forewarned that I am currently unemployed and up to my gills in debt. So, I’m pretty much like everyone else.

Likes: Girls who are independent and have purple hair. Enjoyment of the arts and Caribbean food are definitely plusses. Alcohol. My cats.

Dislikes: Selfish, inconsiderate people. People who hide my phone and smokes. Your dogs.

Will train.

So, yeah, that should get a few dozen hits, right? No? Yeah, I figured.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Growing Up

It sucks that you’re going to grow up.

I‘m not being selfish here. I‘m really not. It has nothing to do with me. I’m not collecting your booties and scrapbooking and feeling nostalgia for a time I’ll never have back. You’re going to grow up. I’ve accepted that. I’ve accepted that you’re gonna love me for the next eight to ten years, and you’re gonna hate me for about eight to ten years after that.

I’ve realized and accepted this. It’s reality. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with what awaits you when you do grow up.

Let’s face facts. Life doesn’t get any better. In fact, it just gets steadily worse until there is no life left at all. It starts with learning to crawl. And it seems like the most difficult thing in the universe to learn. But when you’re older, you’ll kill to have such single-minded goals.

And I’m so sorry that you have to go through that.

You had an accident yesterday while I wasn’t around. You got hurt when I wasn’t even in the same city as you. It’s not the first injury. It’s not the first trauma of your young life. It certainly won’t be the last. But every one is important. Every single injury is one more shred of innocence taken away.

And my job is to help you. To make things seem a little easier than they really are. Even when I’m struggling to keep my head above the water.

I really wish you didn’t have to grow up.

Danger. High Voltage.

I have no idea why I bother keeping quiet about MONICA ROSE MARTINEZ around these parts these days. Maybe I just don't like talking about her. Maybe I don't want to sound whinny. Maybe I just want her to go away. But it's hard to make her go away.

So, what happened? Let me put it as simply as possible.

I was in SLO this week. Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I get a voicemail from MONICA ROSE MARTINEZ telling me that there was an accident and Sebastian is hurt. I freak out and call her.

It turns out that she left him alone in the kitchen with a pot of boiling water.

Let me repeat that so it'll sink in:

She left him alone in the kitchen with a pot of boiling water.

Sebastian has a medium-sized burn on his right bicep that's pretty awful-looking. According to MONICA ROSE MARTINEZ, the pharmacist said that it was a 1st degree burn and recommended some remedies, but said it shouldn't need hospitalization unless it gets infected.

She tells me this right before I drive back to Bakersfield to check on him. I got to her house this morning. The burn is really horrible-looking. I can only imagine the pain Sebastian is in right now. Oh, and something else happens. MONICA ROSE MARTINEZ asks me to take her to the bus station. WHAT? She's going to San Diego to fuck her boyfriend.

Let me get this clear? She BURNS her son and turns around less than 24 hours later and wants to leave town?!? WHAT THE FUCK?

Aaaaaand this is why I have lost faith in humanity.

Right now, I'm worried about it getting infected. But he really doesn't want his bandages changed right now, so it sucks. I got to be the bad Dad and take the emotional hit by changing them a few hours ago. He spent an hour not wanting to be anywhere near me afterward, before passing out. He's woken up crying a few times since, but has stayed down.

I have the kid through Tuesday, at least. Hopefully, I'll be able to treat the wound effectively and get him on the right track before MONICA ROSE MARTINEZ demands him back (Once she's had her fill in San Diego, I mean). I don't have a lot of experience with these things. I'm just upset right now.

I wish the state of California didn't automatically view me as a total bastard for having a penis.

I wish the economy weren't so awful that I could get a job with good pay and take care of Sebastian myself and really push that awful woman out of our lives.

I wish I could just figure this out.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pictures Of Moi

I took the above picture about an hour ago and it got me thinking about a conversation I had a week or so ago.

Dining companion: “Why do you take so many photos of yourself?” (Translation: “Are you an egotistical fucktard?”)

Me: “Well, there are two reasons. First, I hate lying about how I look. I want my pictures to be as current as possible, for better or for worse. And second, there’s a good four to five year span of my 20’s where there are hardly any pictures of me, and that’s weird.” (Translation: “Yes.”)

Dining companion: “And it’ll be nice for your son to have photos of you from when you were young.” (Translation: “You are so much older than me, old man.”)

Me: “Yeah, that too.” (Translation: “That sounded a lot better than what I said.”)

But it’s probably more subconscious than that. The fact of the matter is that I’m not the same person I was a year ago. That person is absolutely, positively dead. I barely remember who that person was. And I’m certainly not who I was six months ago. It helps to keep some sort of photographic record. To remember who I was back then. Who I am right now.

Whoever that is.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Like A Mental Patient

At first, I was a bit surprised by the clothes I was pulling out of the giant crates in my closet. But then I remembered, when I moved last April, I’d put every crate I knew contained clothing in the back on my new closet, figuring I’d take a gander some day. Well, this was the day and I was stunned at some of the stuff I’d kept.

I found the suit I got married in, all those years ago. I found my old black trench coat and immediately wished it ever got cold enough in Bakersfield to wear it. I found a black and red hockey jersey with the Ministry logo on it. I found a Green Lantern hoodie (pictured above) that I immediately took out and put on a hanger to be worn sooner than later.

And I found an artifact from all the way back in the 8th grade. It’s an old white trench coat, missing the lining. It looks like something a crazy person would wear. Or maybe a dentist. I wore that thing constantly for five years before retiring it. I thought it was cool to look like a mental patient back in those days. I had no idea that I’d kept the thing.

I pulled the trench coat out of the crate and put it on. It was a bit musty from having been stored all these years, but it still fit. I found the largest mirror in the house and admired my reflection. I looked positively certifiable. “No one would possibly approach me if I ever wore this in public again,” I thought.

I remembered how off-putting the trench coat was back in school. I often felt like I was some sort of gatekeeper back in those days. Like if you had the audacity to approach me while I wore a coat that made me look crazy and actually say something, you must have been worth my attention. Obviously, that wasn’t the smartest way to pick my friends, but it was how I operated.

Frowning, I placed the white trench coat back in its crate. “Not now. Not yet.” The crate went back into the closet, in the back corner. It’ll be another year or so before I look at it again. Maybe then the time will be right.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Excerpt 7


Your Ghastly Valentine, R

P.S. My killer is Loretta and she lives across the street.

Of course, I told M about the letter and she immediately wanted to see him. Me, not so much. But for her sake, I went along and painted by the numbers. This was my former best friend we were talking about, so I felt some sort of weird obligation to see him. We met for drinks and chatted. R was very apologetic. I did my best to seem magnanimous. He left for New York and periodically kept in touch with M. Eventually, that led to him calling me every week or so.

Admittedly, the anger slowly ebbed and I was fine with him being in my life again, especially at a distance. Soon, M and I were married and living with Remington and Steven. R would come to visit every now and again. Shortly after Remington and Steven moved out, R came to visit and brought one of his New York roommates with him. They were staying for a few weeks this time, so we made plans to drive down to San Diego together to see Remington and Steven.

This roommate, who shall remain nameless, was a nightmare of selfishness. She actually made M look like Mother Teresa. As much as she drove everyone crazy, R seemed just fine with her, even kowtowing to her every whim. We all thought this was strange, but we figured New York had just changed R a bit.

The vacation was over, and R was returning to New York with his roommate. A few hours after he’d left, M received a phone call. He was not okay with her and he wasn’t returning to New York. He was finished with being R in a sea of R’s. He asked if he could crash with us. M said yes without consulting me.

So, he crashed with us. Eventually, he just moved in for good. Things were never quite right in our house. He was rarely there. And when he was, you could tell he didn’t want to be there. He was uncomfortable with a lot of things, I think. He didn’t want to be around Sebastian, and he seemed put off by M’s neediness. And as for me, well, I just got the impression he didn’t really like me anymore. Like he was still holding something against me. It was that way for a couple of years, until this February. I had just lost my job and R decided that he was moving out.

It was a perfect opportunity, you see. There wasn’t much I could do. He was gone within a week, although it took another month for him to move half his stuff out. The other half was left for me to remove when M left me two months later and he decided he didn’t care about his stuff anymore.

The night M left, I called him. He spent the entire 15 minute conversation trying to get me to call someone else. He didn’t want to talk to me. Not only did he leave when I needed his help, he wasn’t there when things got even worse. Best friends don’t do that to each other.

Later, an accident involving a mutual acquaintance brought us together on the phone. I was in the desert at the time, devastated by what I’d learned. He was, too. He promised that we’d get together soon and reconnect. This was months ago.

That’s where we are right now. I’m still in his “top friends” on MySpace for some mysterious reason. I’ve been seriously considering dropping him and never answering his calls or messages again. You know, in two years when he decides he’s been an asshole?

So, I don’t think so much that it’s me mentally dropping R from my list of friends. It seems to me like he dropped out himself a long time ago.

2008: A Year In Review

January: I lose my job. Nations fall.

February: I start a music blog.

March: I delete said music blog.


May: I move into Tyner Ranch (Ha!), the ranch that isn't a ranch that happens to be surrounded by ranches.

June: I get insulted by a checkout girl at VONS for my questionable choice in non-alcoholic beverage.

July: My best friend turns 29 and I almost die of alcohol poisoning in the process.

August: I get taken behind a smörgåsbord and hit over the head with a brick for daring to smoke in Solvang.

September: My son turns three. I single-handedly replace "in bed" with "fucker" in fortune cookie etiquette.

October: I reveal a deep, dark secret.

November: I become famous in Pakistan.

December: I go to a friend's company Christmas party, which catches the attention of the newspaper I used to write for.