9/28/2002

Normal people don't often put themselves in situations where they're marched out like cattle underneath some hot lights and forced to do tricks, better tricks than all these other poor nervous cows. Maybe they'll encounter similar situations in job interviews, being on trial for murder, things like that, but I doubt any of it compares. Actors, we voluntarily put ourselves through this. We hope someone will approve of our cow-tricks, maybe give us the blue ribbon. Maybe our name will appear on a little list next an emboldened character name and we'll get to spend the next couple of months trying to replicate the tricks that got us here in the first place. There are lots of reasons we throw ourselves out there like this, but the most compelling (and true) reason is because we are fucking nuts.

There were auditions this week, for "The Man Who Came To Dinner." Supposed to find out the results today at noon, at the very latest, on a website. They're not up yet, and it's 2:45 PM.

What, me worry?

9/27/2002

Tonight, I studied.

Oh, no shit, Mister Student? Isn't that kind of in the job description?

Yea, lots of things are in lots of people's job descriptions. Meterologists are supposed to predict the weather accurately. Doesn't mean they will. Guys at Wendy's aren't supposed to put their dicks in your burger. Doesn't mean they won't. I'm supposed to study. Doesn't mean I have more than about five times during all of high school. And we're not talking cramming in the five minutes before a test, retaining knowledge just long enough to forget on the way to lunch, do that all the time. I mean actual at-home, committed studying. I actually did tonight, for Honors Chemistry. I also had some homework to do for the class, but I forgot my book at school, which sort of narrowed my options.

I felt like such an honors student, I got some colored file folders, and keeping one eye trained on Ken Burn's "Civil War" PBS (Tonight: Lee surrendered. Who saw that coming) I cut them out and wrote the names, chemical symbols and charges for all these polyatomic ions.

What's a polyatomic ion?

I thought you'd never ask, and that fact comforted me, because the truth is I have no fucking idea. It has something to do with how they share electrons, I think, maybe. The quiz isn't about what a polyatomic ion is, it's about a list of these bastards that she gave us. I paced around downstairs, mumbling these names, charges, symbols, for a couple of hours, learning three at a time. And next week I will have nothing to show for it but a grade in a book. I won't know what a polyatomic ion is and in a year I'll have trouble describing an ion to you at all. Then in five years I won't remember my first name, and in another ten I'll be shitting myself. It may have something to do with this agressively degenerative brain disease, but I'd rather blame it on public education. Yea, that's the ticket.

So I paced. Carbonate...cee-oh-three...negative one...oh, no, sorry, negative two. I actually started apologizing to the flash cards. Something fundamentally wrong with that. I created them, don't they owe me a debt of gratitude? Shouldn't they be apologizing to me for being such inefficient learning tools? But I do that. I apologize when things aren't my fault. Some people say "I love you" too much. I say "I'm sorry" way too often. And when I really am sorry, I have to say it about 80 times for it to have the same effect. No one person can possibly have as much remorse as I seem to. And I don't. I'm not sorry all that often. You hear that, flashcards? I'm not sorry! Carbonate just seems like it should have a negative one charge, and I really don't see how that's my fault.

9/25/2002

It's time to call the Irony Police when the author of "Fight Club," one of the most best books ever inspired largely by someone's shitty job, comes to town and none of your friends can go with you because they're all working at their shitty jobs. But I shouldn't be too judgemental. I would've had to work too, if I hadn't been anticipating last night all summer long and hadn't requested it off a couple weeks in advance.

I could've probably been convinced pushed over old ladies and kicked their dogs into traffic to see Chuck Palahniuk, so taking the night off from Fry's was nothing. Alright, maybe that's hyperbole. But I can kick a dog far.

5:00- I call Changing Hands, the bookstore the reading/signing thing is being held at, because I read something in the paper about there being tickets. The guy says yes, they hand out numbered tickets for seating purposes, and I'd better get down there if I want a good one. 150 is the estimate he gives me for how many people are already there. Damn. I hop in the car and drive in a manner that causes my dinosaur truck to wheeze and exhale like a cartoon mouse when I turn the ignition off, that is to say, over 40 mph.

5:30- I arrive at Changing Hands, and realize coming across the parking lot that I forgot my camera. Fuck fuck fuck. Words will have to suffice this time. Inside, there are about ten-fifteen extreme people. I am not dark enough for this crowd. I find the last few copies of Lullaby and buy one, the indy-bookstore lady talks me into joining their Changing Hands savings club/baby-killing cabal, I don't know the details, I wasn't listening. All I know is I have a card that if I get stamped enough times I get ten percent off something. Baby-killing accessories, I guess. They'd cost less at a chain store, but oh well... I also get my line-card-ticket thing, number 103. 150? Learn to count, bookstore guy.

5:45- Spot Johnathan, a kid from we hung out with all through Journalism camp two summers ago. We catch up on old times. He still lives in the buttfuck of Scottsdale and drives a shitty van and wishes he could come to our school if he hadn't, you know, graduated. There were a bunch of people wearing the "Lullaby" street-team stickers on their shirts, and a couple of guys in Chuck Palahniuk: A Writer's Cult t-shirts. Johnathan and I talk until a skinny blonde woman in black with big Bono sunglasses starts protesting loudly about how they insisted on searching her bag. She doesn't talk like a skinny blonde woman. She talks like a guy. If you've ever seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch, you'll know what I'm talking about. Like that. She asks us what our favorite Palahniuk quote is. We both plead ignorance. She's never read Survivor, but won't shut up about how Invisible Monsters is his best, most underrated book. (Invisible Monsters involves a great deal of indiscriminate gender-switching. This woman's starting to make a lot more sense.) She rants in her mannish tone about "social engineering," "guerilla marketing," "culture jamming," stuff about The Matrix, I don't know, we stop listening. We mosey away, frightened. I mouth the word MAN. Not that there's anything wrong with that, necessarily, if estrogen's what you fancy, fine. Nobody wants to hear your crackpot theories, though, I promise. Or take your postcards that you designed to commemorate 9/11. Or hear your stories about being abused by flight attendants. We would've done the frightened mosey had this been a guy, too. Just annoying. But I'm getting off topic.

6:00- Bookstore-Employee-With-A-Microphone starts herding us in to a cramped cluster of chairs between the sci-fi and travel sections, ten at a time. The idea is, you tape your card to a seat and then drift around for another hour, buy a book, whatever, and that's the plan. Until I see that Chuck's already up front, signing books. I do the obligatory double take. Yup, that's the guy. Arms like treetrunks and smiley as hell, black shirt, camo pants. Sort of unassuming. I vaulted over chairs, or the fat-kid vault, anyway, which is really more of a drunken stumble, to get in line.

6:30- I'm at the front of the line, after listening to the transsexual on my left (it was confirmed, in no uncertain terms, that she used to be a man, she used to look like Bob Dylan, her mother broke her tailbone giving birth to her brother and her family hid the fact that he was retarded, oh, and I quote: "Did you ever think that maybe 9/11 was just the Matrix breaking down?" Gee, I don't know, did you ever think that maybe it was just a MOVIE?) the entire time. I am at the front. I can think of absolutely nothing interesting to say, so I shake his hand and say that I'm a writer and he's been nothing but inspiration, and he thanks me, and signs the title page. I sit back down and read away until the Q&A starts.

7:00- The Bookstore-Employee-With-A-Mic breaks everyone in line's heart when she makes them sit back down so the reading will start. After shuffling the seating a little, and an indroductory speaker, Chuck gets on the mic and asks if it's okay if he just skips the reading and goes straight to the Q&A. No one objects. His voice reminds me of a cross between my friend Ben (not the Ben that always leaves comments, but super-friendly gay ASU comedy god Ben) and Henry Rollins. Strange. Not what I expected, or what anyone expects from the stereotype of a writer. He's boisterous and funny, I want to say like a stand-up comedian but he seems more like a guy at a party who's just really good at telling stories.

Right away he notices that there's a woman up front signing for the benefit of a deaf woman in the audience. "I love having a signer!" he says. "Especially when I get to the dirty parts." He then makes her sign "mastrubation." "I'll have to take your word for it," he says. Later he'd make her sign something about the clitoris growing into a penis after hormone therapy. I knew he was my favorite author. I didn't know he'd be my hero, too.

His method, he says, of getting people to tell him stuff is offering them drugs, he then relates a story of offering a British airport employee a Vicodin (which he'd been prescribed, I think, for an injury), then the guy sitting next to him on the plane a Vicodin and three Ambien, which the fellow proceeded to take all at once, and started ordering scotches. He then had to stay awake the whole 9 1/2 hour flight just to make sure he didn't die.

He gives a tiara to everyone who asks a question, which they're then required to wear the rest of the night, so now there's a room full of skinny bookish types and big bald guys in Tool shirts, all wearing tiaras. The Matrix guerilla-marketing woman won't stop finishing Chuck's sentences for him, just shouting shit out, so he has to stop every five seconds and ask her to repeat herself, because he's too nice to tell her to be quiet. In the middle of someone else's question, she pipes up, and he says, in the friendliest tone possible, "Wait your turn!" He tells the story that started his interest in fights, which in turn spawned Fight Club, in which he chased a fellow employee around the Freightliner factory where he worked after receiving a big faceful of black, sooty grease from the guy, knowing all the while he'd be fired and not really caring. He kicked the guy's ass, and from then on, just couldn't get rid of him. This idea of post-fight bonding fed into the the themes that would later become Fight Club.

A girl asks in a matter-of-fact tone, "What's your opinion on the political climate in the country today?"

"What's that?" Chuck says, "Did you say 'What's Brad Pitt really like?'" But he answers frankly enough, saying that he doesn't really mind, he thinks things have to get really bad before something new and better can be created. But he seems to sort of shy away from people's various political interpretations of his books (like one guy, who was just in a class where Fight Club was used as an example of the real-world applications of Militant Eco-Feminism.) Writing is just his greatest form of therapy, he says, "If I could get paid to mastrubate, I wouldn't have to write." I write that one down. I'm fairly certain it's my new motto.

He's already got two books in the can: One, a sort of twisted travelogue of Portland, and the other one he didn't go into, both of which are coming out next year. The Survivor movie is stalled thanks to 9/11, but he thinks it'll eventually see the light of day. Invisible Monsters pre-production is going forward, he thinks Parker Posey should play the lead role.

He dispenses some writerly advice, too, which I appreciated: Short stories are good, he says, because you get your idea right there on the page. No bullshit. If you plan on saving your great ideas because you'll never have another one, you never will.

8:30- It's all over way too quickly, but having already gotten my book signed, I see no reason to stick around. I drive in a dangerous manner again on the way home. It feels good to meet one of your idols, and realize he's just a guy. The world seems that much more conquerable, like all it takes is trying, and being ridiculously nice to everyone. Seems to be Chuck's method, anyway. I've never seen anyone quite so kind to his fans. He seemed to genuinely get a kick out of the whole evening, which is encouraging, because generally you think of writers as insular cranks.

On the title page (as you can see above), he wrote "D.C.- Break Some Bones!" and yea, maybe it's a platitude he writes on the title page of everyone's books, but when it comes from one of your all-time favorite authors, you pay attention. You feel like typing harder and cutting out the bullshit. You feel like breaking bones.

Thanks, Chuck.


If you like Palahniuk, you need to bookmark A Writer's Cult. Great fuckin' website by some seriously dedicated people: a lot of info, purdy pitchers, and occasional news from the man himself.
Comments are down. Try to cope.

Updated: Comments are back! It simply doesn't get any better than this, Bob.

9/24/2002

What I'm naming my firstborn child this week: Fist Of Legend

I need to start a sidebar list of all my firstborn-child names. It's going to be hard to have this many firstborns. I'm going to need a lot of mothers.

Volunteers?
Chuck Palahniuk is God. He's also a really friendly, congenial guy, and a hilarious verbal storyteller.

I'm too tired to tell the whole story tonight and do it up proper, I have to go read the new book. But when I do actually retell it, you can look forward to anecdotes about overbearing transexuals who like to interrupt famous authors while they're speaking to give us their theories on 9/11 and it's relation to "The Matrix." So stay tuned.

Current Favorite Song: "Tiny Sparks," Brendan Benson

Go download it. Catchy fuckin' song.

Try to understand
That an oyster can only make a pearl
From a grain of sand
But what, I don't know, makes a girl
Not one week after I joked that Chelsea was heading up the Fuck The Stupid Animals initiative at school, I start seeing flyers around campus for the "Animal Rights Activists" club.

uuhgghghghhhhhhhhhh...

I need to start printing up "Animals Are Tasty" stickers. No doubt about it.


CHUCK PALAHNIUK is coming to my little corner of the world tonight, Changing Hands bookstore, to be exact. For the uninformed, he's the author of "Fight Club," "Survivor," and numerous other ridiculously good books. I couldn't be any more excited if I...well, actually, I could. If I could find someone to go with. Trevor's working on "making America obese more effeciently" as he puts it. Damn. But apparently Palahniuk's readings/Q&A's are amazing, and it's a chance to buy his new book and get it signed by the master hisself. Yeee-haw.

Well, it's fourth hour, playwrighting time. Keep on keepin' on. I'll try to do the same.
Just to prove it ain't all politics and Tet offensives:

The freshmen at our school this year have to read a book about a blind guy who climbed Mt. Everest in order to get all inspired and things. But in truth, aren't we all, in some way, blind men climbing the tallest mountain in the world?

The answer is yes, yes we are. It is the mountain called "life," and we are all "blinded" by indifference, ignorance, or in some cases, actual blindness. We must scale the mountain, hooking the rope of truth to the petons of courage, valor, and good work ethic, and use all sorts of other life-related mountain climbing equipment, the instructions for which are written entirely in Braille. Then, when we reach the summit, we don't know for sure we're there at all. We must rely on our sighted friends to tell us. Maybe we're just at second base-camp, and the other guys are tired of telling us if we're about to walk into a ravine or not, and they figure, we'll tell the blind guy we're at the top. But we must trust our friends. But if we find out that they were lying (through smell or something), we will have to push them down the mountian, yelling "Justice is blind and so am I!" and listen as they plummet with our heightened auditory sense to the satisfying snap of their lying, traitorous bones.

We will have gained knowledge on our metaphorical journey. Some will channel this new found wisdom and experience into an inspirational book, much like the actual blind guy. For others, the trials and tribulations will manifest themselves in a drinking problem and random peals of bitter swearing. But however we chose to use it, we will all been changed by our arduous trek up the cold tall mountain.

So I'm not too impressed when some real blind guy climbs some real big mountain. Because after all, aren't we all blind men climbing the tallest mountain in the world?

The mountain called life?

9/23/2002

I haven't really yet talked politics on the blog, and I think that's both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because I don't get pulled down in the muck and there's plenty of room for pictures of my friend's band and things, curse because I have a lot of thoughts that've been percolating and now they're about to pour out in one huge rant, directed mostly at Cate. Cate's a nice gal who resides in New Zealand, met her through Open Diary. We had some fun IM talks, which is weird because usually I can't stand "Internet pals." But it soon became clear that her views on just about everything were the intellectual antithesis of everything I hold near and dear, IE, free markets, US foreign policy, man's basic need to work, you know, little trifles like that. We agreed that sex is fun, though. And as long as we still concur on that same basic tenet, I think we'll remain friends. But she has been leaving some awfully critical notes in Ben's blog, notes that can only be responded to with a grand American tradition known as the Verbal Beatdown Interspersed With Random Fits Of Swearing.

Here goes.

On 9/18, she said (in response to this post:)

I frequently say that Bush is an idiot. But my expression isn't smugness but terror that he's going to keep on killing thousands of people, and total incomprehension at how his approval rating can be above the 5% we expect the fascists to occupy. The only explanation I can think of is the newsmedia is presenting lies to the people, and the people are believing them. And that's really, really sad. Or alternatively, I suppose, the people only give a shit when fellow-americans get killed, and not when members of other ethnic groups do. But that's even more terrifying than Bush.


When I responded with some rather smug invective (calling her politically illiterate, basically), she commented:

dc does try to talk politics with me sometimes, but he's just a kid, and has never really met with any hardship or discrimination in his life, or really any views other than those of the mainstream media, which is why he can't really understand any critique of these views yet.


So we were both guilty of the same crime. We both called the other one an idiot. But she assumes that my idiocy is a result of indoctrination by American media, which she assumes is this big conformity machine, as it's stylish to assume. If we stick with our popular picture of the US as George Orwell's 1984, then it only makes sense that the American media's job would be to turn the populace into a bunch of unquestioning proles, thanks to constant propaganda about how this Five-Year Plan is even better than the last. But that's not what we've got here in America. In fact, the presiding view from those who express their opinions through major news outlets seem to resemble Cate's quite a bit. "Bush is a reckless cowboy!" "This is all about oil, isn't it?" "Let's think about what causes people to fly planes into buildings!" "Why do they hate us?" "Perhaps if we don't want thousands of our citizens to be slaughtered, we should think twice before we grind up little third world babies for our fast-food hamburgers, as we're so fond of doing!" Depending on your interpretation, the media is either fair and balanced, or slanted towards the liberal side of things. But I culdn't see a whole lot people who actually live their lives surrounded by American media saying that it pours every citizen full of feel-good pro-Bush sludge.

So I'm not a brainless zombie, or a pampered American kid completely ignorant of political reality. I don't know what Cate's talking about, but I have on more than one occasion descended the seven flights of golden stairs and gone out in the streets surrounding my gilded tower of capitalistic greed. I know what hardship is, I know what discrimination is, and yet I've seen nothing that says the solution to those problems doesn't lie in increased freedom, of markets and of minds. I don't think the solution comes from invasive nanny-states that steal half your paycheck so they can give it to someone they deem to be more deserving based solely on their supposed "need."

But I'm traipsing gleefully away from the topic at hand, now that I've established that if you want to have a differing rebellious viewpoint in America, mine (big government and wasteful social programs are bad, military intervention is sometimes neccesary) is probably the one to have. What I really came to talk about was the fact that Cate basically implied Americans are callous to the damage that our interventions overseas may do, with respect to civilian casualties. She claimed that we just don't care, we get a big kick out of strafing brown people as they scamper desperately across the dunes of whatever buttfuck desert republic we're ransacking for its oil this week. Ben then responded (there's a lot more, and it's good, this is just an exceprt of a longer post):

if you live in a delightful little country we call Iraq, women and children are deliberately placed around strategic targets. Then the American military have to ask itself the unenviable question, "What's better?" Spare the lives of innocents, or finish destroying the regime that has such a deep disregard human life?"


And then he answered that question, much as we're actually about to, with boats and planes and big ol' guns: It's better to depose violently a regime which threatens the safety and freedom of the entire world, even if in doing so, we accidentally kill some people that had nothing to do with the enemy we're fighting. Cate didn't like that answer. She said:

Fucking hell. That's the most terrifying thing I ever read. I'm close to speechless. You tell me foreigners' lives don't matter and that the USA makes the right choice by killing innocent people, and then you ask me how monstrous I think Americans are? I think the worst of them are precisely as monstrous as this blog entry. And that scares the shit out of me.


Let me say this, and get it out of the way, because it may be the main difference between my opinion and Cate's: Intent matters. A missile hitting a building and killing a terrorist leader plotting the deaths of thousands which also kills the civilians the leader had surrounded himself with as human shields is a lot different that a missile hitting a building full of innocents we felt like killin' just 'cause. Intent matters. It's the same reason if you shoot a guy with the intent to murder him you might go a way for the rest of your life, but if you hit him in your car accidentally, you may get, at most a couple of years in the pen, if his family's feeling vindictive. I don't know anyone who'd argue that intentional murder is equivalent with manslaughter caused by negligence or inevitable human error. Then again, I don't know anyone who'd argue that it's not okay to put a few hundred lives at risk to save a few million.

Of course, then the inevitable argument is, So you're saying American lives are worth more than Afghan or Iraqi lives? No, I'm not. We're not smacking these guys around just because they present a threat to us. They present a threat to the world at large, and that includes the people they rule. Reid Stott said it better than I ever could in his statement on Afghan civilian casualties, which used to grace the front page of my FOD:

Whatever the number killed accidentally by the US, each death is a tragedy. That cannot be denied. But it also can't be denied that the Taliban went on a four year killing spree, with estimates of up to 500,000 killed during that time. Even if we were to accept only one fifth of that number as "legitimate," that would mean the Taliban deliberately killed more civilians each and every month than it is estimated the US killed by accident in the entire war.

And that monthly Taliban-generated death toll stopped cold, last November. Eight months where there was no four figure death toll. But you don't hear about those numbers. There will never be a story about the 12,000 Afghans (my guesstimate, 8 months x 1500 per month) still alive today that would be dead at the hands of the Taliban, if not for US military action.


Will the ratio be much the same with Saddam? Well, he's known to be responsible for the slaughter of between 70,000 and 150,000 Kurds back in 1989, plus the numerous political dissidents silenced with bullets to make sure his brutal rule goes forward unopposed, plus the millions starving because they're governed by a...what's the word...oh, right, insane fucking dictator. So, you tell me if it's worth the risk of Iraqi casualties.

And what about the Iraqis? How do they feel about the facist Americans intruding in their day-to-day affairs with big scary bombs, daring to put their poor lives at risk?

How 'bout you ask 'em?Link found via Instapundit


Bearing in mind the risk to Shoresh if the US attacked, I asked who was in favor of a US-led offensive and who was against. Not a single man was against. It was certainly not a scientific poll but still, judging from many other talks I had with Kurds, I suspect that even if it had been, the result would not have been much different. These men, however, were not part of any armed force. . . .

According to Dilshad, over in Mosul "things in the market are very slow, because people are afraid of American attacks." What frightens people most, Kurds and Arabs alike, is the prospect of civilian casualties. Still, according to Haider, "people want America to attack because they are hungry and suffering a lot from Saddam."
Link found via Instapundit

These are Iraqi Kurds, the people who have suffered the most at the hands of the man we're now wringing our hands about attacking. They know what the fuck is up. When the people you're putting at risk,and it's a small risk, factoring in the accuracy of our weaponry with the inevitable sloppiness of war, when the people you're risking with your offensive say "Go ahead! We don't care! It's worth the risk if we can feed our kids again and stop living in fear of being gassed as we sleep, like half our relatives were!", I'd say that pretty much obliterates any objections we can have on this end. But what do I know.




To sum up: Cate, correct me if I'm wrong (please), but what you seem to be saying is that the use of force is almost never justifiable, it must meet a set of nearly impossible standards and kill only the responsible parties, one accidental casualty is enough to put a halt to the whole thing. And you think my viewpoint is one afforded by a life of luxury and privlege? I'd like to see you tell Winston Churchill and FDR, and all the other brave men who put the brakes on Hitler, that it's wrong to fight fire with fire even if you risk getting burned. I'd like to see you tell the Iraqi Kurds we can't help them because we don't want to look like unilateralist cowboys.

But of course, I've been indoctrinated by jingoist American patriotism and its attendant media machine, and what can I ever really know about the state of things. I'm too busy fueling up my planet-choking SUV with the blood of orphans to pay any attention to what's really going on.

I'd like you to respond to this, Cate, but I'm sure I don't have to ask. I know it was strongly worded, but when you call my people cold-blooded killers, the words can't be anything but strong. We can't be anything but strong, or we're all royally fucked.
Chillin' in the computer lab in 2nd-hour economics. I should be working on my investment project (we get 6.3 million theoretical dollars, and we have to invest it, theoretically), and I should also be studying for chemistry next hour.

All the pictures I posted last night look really dark on this cheap school monitor. How can we expect children to learn if they can't even make out the pictures on their blogs? Riddle me that!

Watched the first couple hours of Ken Burns' "Civil War" on PBS last night. It never, ever gets old. Especially famed historian Shelby Foote, and the celebrities doing the voices of various Civil War luminaries. Everyone is dead. Seriously, everyone. Ernie? Dead. Ol' Dan? Dead. Eli? Though he wasn't dead. Later, he died. -Elijah Hunt Rhodes.

I like the Civil War, not so much because it was horrifically brutal or millions of people died, but I like what it says about America. Don't fuck with us, partner. We kicked our own ass, we can certainly kick yours.

9/22/2002

Wiseacre played the Lounge last night. That sounds a lot cooler than it is, because Wiseacre is just four of my friends and the Lounge is this building adjacent to a church. But there was free food, the wateriest lemonade in the history of the world, and more rock per square inch, as promised.

It's next to a church, but not actually a church. The church is God's temple. The Lounge is where He comes to chill, play ping-pong, you know, whatever. It gets tiring to be the all-powerful benevolent arbiter of all existence. Sometimes you just wanna have some pizza and play foosball. And sometimes, you just wanna rock.

While the house Christian band was playing, I went back home to get my camera that I'd forgotten. The needle was edging dangerously close to "E" (as it always is at the end of a good week) but I got to my house and back just in time for The Eating Contest.

When you're forbidden by Biblical doctrine from most of the pleasures of the flesh and all the really good abusable substances, you gotta get your extreme in somewhere. At the lounge, they get it by shoving food in their faces in as few bites as possible, in a little ritual called "Eat That Food." And did they ever.



There were four Chelseas there, it was a four-Chelsea night. The one above is Chelsea C., best friend of this Chelsea, and she's really quite pretty, when she's not successfully eating a chicken sandwich from McDonald's in only two bites. Of course, no one's very pretty eating that much food in that many bites.



Except Jack.


Two fistfuls of fries took this Catholic schoolboy for a ride, and he lost. Even God was getting impatient at this point.



Come on, boys, God said, Less talk, more rock.




And rock they did. For twenty or so minutes, in which they exhausted a good portion of their original material. Then there was a break. During the break:

Church-appropriate jokes were made. Food was eaten (mostly by me, hey, it was free). Games were played. Moves were made. (Pictured at left.)

Then we all went back for another drink at the vast well of rock that is Wiseacre. Featured in the second set were "Brady's Fake Depression Song," "Lemmings" by Blink 182, and "Oklahoma!". Yes, that Oklahoma. The one where the wind goes sweeping down the plain, and the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and all that. Rogers and Hammerstein weren't rolling in their graves so much as they were dancing in them.

Not many bands can rock dead theatrical icons. But then again, not many bands are Wiseacre.





All kidding aside, they sounded the best they ever have, which I think was partially the acoustics of the room. Usually, when I hear them, it's when they're practicing in Jack's bedroom. And a lot of things are good in Jack's bedroom (the L-O-V-E comes to mind) but the acoustic, eh, not so good. What makes it a great rehearsal space, though, is the rack of old bowling and basketball trophies that will get rocked by the bass and fall off onto the heads of various band members. The Lounge doesn't have that, but it does sound better, and with the exception of their instrumental swing song, the instrumentation was right on.

They're recording a demo in October, and all of us here at Ham Fisted Theatrics wish them the best of luck.




Before we knew it the show was over, and after another disgusting round of Eat That Food (featuring a church kid who ate a double quarter pounder, a Big Mac, an entire bar of Hershey's chocolate and a can of Coke, all while making Wookie noises.) we were all being kicked out of The Lounge. And then it ended as stories must when we've got nothing to do the rest of the night:



We went to Sonic.
Imagestation is down tonight, which is a pity because I realized that three days of photographic binging weren't going to be enough to fuel the blog for weeks, so I took the broken-down ol' girl out for a night of photography. But no, Imagestation is down, so I can't put anything I got online. Instead, we have a picture of an elephant, because let's face it, elephants are tight. They are by far the coolest thing in the natural world. Name one thing better than an elephant that occurs in nature. Okay, now name one thing whose ass an elephant could kick all over the place if it really wanted to. Nothing. Even Sherman tanks, which are not actually naturally occuring, but still, the point remains. We only exist because elephants have decided to let us live. If they ever organize, we're fucked.

Let this be a warning, Imagestation. You may offer unlimited picture hosting and think that gives you the right to go offline whenever you damn well please, but the only reason you're even allowed to do any of that is because an elephant hasn't decided to put a tusk through your servers and chase you, screaming and peeing, from the building. It could, though. It could.

I was actually productive today, for me. I worked for four hours then went to the bank to actually open a savings account. I figure a savings account is probably a better place to keep my assets than, oh, say, an old Spam can, which is where I've been socking away dough for the past year or two. The problem about the Spam can is it's really easy to reach in and take money out again. Which is why there's no money in it.

But you can't open a savings account unless you're eighteen. So says the teller at the little bank inside Fry's. I wanted to say, Man, if only my elephant were here, lady, I could get all the accounts I want, but I don't have an elephant. I need the account to save up and purchase one, or build a robotic one or something. But even then who knows if he'll want to help me boss around the employees at the little bank branch inside of a supermarket. There are no peanuts inside, that I say. He's going to be royally pissed when I tell him that.

Then I got a haircut, in a style that's been christened "The Admiral." Short as short as short, I won't have to get it cut for another two-three months, which means I'll postpone it to four at the very least. Function before form, always. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon filling out college applications. It's weird, I guess the one antidote for being worried about not doing things you need to do is actually doing those things. But I'll tell myself otherwise all the time, because I am the laziest man I know.

Then more things happened, but I'd rather show and tell, but thanks to the inherent unreliability of free Internet pichosting, all I can show you are kickass motherfuckin' elephants.


"Your continued existence is based solely on the fact that my friends and I are a little tired from a wild night of elephant-partying and can't quite muster the will to trudge over there and stomp you into jelly. Not a very comforting thought, is it? Now get me some peanuts, pathetic human excrement."


You tell 'em, elephant.