10/19/2002

Back home now.

Billboards and fourth of July specials are going to try to tell you that America is an eagle or a flag snapping in the wind. They're lying. There is no more American an image than a seven year old a few feet from his family's SUV on the side of the interstate, pissing into the moonlit desert night.

Missed you.

10/18/2002

The car ride back to the Von Esterburg place is awkward, just awkward as hell. I really should be feeling a sense of triumph right now, I really should. This is good, I’ve done good work, I should be proud, and sort of, sort of I am. But more I’m just hoping we don’t get pulled over on the way back, because I don’t want to explain this to anyone. I don’t like making right turns on the way back to the Von Esterburg place because I have to turn my head back and forth to see if anyone’s coming, and when I do, I have to face the fact that there’s half a kid sitting in the seat next to me.

I try to make conversation. “So…” I say, “What’s your favorite sports team?”

“What sport?” half a kid says.

“Uh…I don’t know…baseball,” when what I really want to say is, Jesus kid what the fuck there’s only half of you ONLY HALF JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. But I don’t.

“The Blue Jays,” the half a kid says with his half a mouth. One eye, one ear, one arm, one leg. ‘Till a couple of days ago he had twice as many of all these things. He seems to be doing okay, though. I’m doing okay, too, if I don’t look directly at him. Julian is his name. Julian Von Esterburg, the half a kid.

I pull up the drive to the Von Esterburg house. House is too weak a word, the place is a glacial fucking estate. Rich kids are weird enough. Now the Von Esterburgs have a rich half a kid. But I am getting paid, paid well, and soon he will be off my hands. I have two hands. He has one. The weird thing is he doesn’t seem to mind.

“The Blue Jays are a really…The Blue Jays are a really good team.” We’re walking up the hill to the house. I am walking. He is hopping on the only leg available. He only has one lung, so this is really taking it out of him, breath-wise. “My favorite player is…Edgar Wesley is my favorite player.”

“He’s a good one, alright.” We are at the front door, thank fucking God. “Catch your breath, there, slugger.”

“It’s hard cause…cause I only have one lung.”

No shit.


“…Now in Quyanji, which is a…if you’re not aware, Quyanji is a small island republic in the South Pacific, the child slave market is, is huge and it’s apparently a lot cheaper to feed and clothe a half-child than it is a whole one.” It’s a stupid explanation for why I’m just bringing back half of their child, but it’s the truth, the Von Esterburgs seem to be taking it okay.

“Well,” says Mrs. Lillian Von Esterburg, “well why can’t the Quyanjuns just cut their own children in half?”

“Quyanjians,” says Mr. Markus Von Esterburg.

“What?”

“The native inhabitants of the island republic of Quyanji are called Quyanjians.”

“Well, why can’t they just cut their own children in half?” she asks me.

“It’s actually not a cutting, uh, they don’t cut them in half, so to speak,” I say. “I believe it has something to do with lasers. That accounts for there being no scarring or blood of any kind.”

“Half-children,” says Mr. Von Esterburg. “Genius.”

“Regardless, why don’t they just laser their own children?”

Good question. American children are better nourished, maybe. Fatter, and thus you get more out of each peace. I don’t know the answer for sure. And looking for the answer isn’t easy. I don’t find out the answer from the pilot on the connecting flight to LA, or the flight from there to Jakarta, or from the three Greek women sunning themselves on the boat to the tip of a peninsula, or the man rowing the little ferry full of leaks all the way to Quyanji. The answer isn’t on the dock, neither is the other half of Julian Von Esterburg.

He’s not among the desperate-looking half children carrying crates off the shitty little boats, staring at me with one pleading eye. I show them a picture. Nothing. I cover half of it with my hand. Still nothing.

Jesus, I think, you’d think you little kidnapped American half kids would look out for each other. You’d think you’d kick right in the nuts any stranger that wanted to strap you down and laser you in half and ship you across the ocean. You’d think I’d learn to stop accepting these assignments.

You’d think a lot of things. But on Quyanji, probably a lot of them are wrong.

Scariest phrase ever, on the highway into Anaheim: Speed Enforced By Aircraft. Anything enforced by aircraft immediately has my attention, and my respect. I'd ease up on the pedal too if I thought I was going to be strafed by Zeroes before I hit the offramp.


California Adventure is like Disneyland's pothead cousin, it doesn't do quite as much but it's a damn sight mellower. The walkways are wider, the lines are shorter, the crowds are less intimidating. Maybe it was just today, but it seemed about as chill as a Disney theme park can be. Oh, and there's a hell of a rollercoaster, something Disney's always lacked. We were able to do it six times without breaking a sweat. It needs more rides, though. And there was a distinct lack of animatronics. You expect a certain amount of cheesy mechanical presidents and rabbits wandering around, but no such luck. They're all over in Disneyland.

I detect a strong elephant theme here. I have photographed at least six different incidences of elephants used in decoration in the two parks. If they were on digital instead of actual film, I'd show them all to you as proof. I think this may be the staging point for the pachyderm revolution. They're accruing capital using Disney as a front. Not that they actually need the money, they're just trying to prove they can beat us at our own game of Godless Capitalism. Then they will rise up one day and stomp our sorry bipedal asses. Mark my words.

Big hockey playin' dude in line in front of us today, describing the Spider-Man attraction at Universal Studios: It's all, uh, theatrical, eh? A legitimate Eh?. I loved it. He said "aboot" later, but I can't remember in what context. It's just nice to have your stereotypes legitimized once in a while.


I'd tell you of the monumental amount of stuff I have to do by Monday, but you don't care, and you can't be blamed for not caring. Besides, I think I can swing it. That's what I do. I swing.

10/17/2002

Fuck shit poo. I’m the program editor for Theatre Co. and looks like I fucked up royal for only the millionth time. How you can be so generously incompetent and get re-elected to your job every year for three years is a sad reflection of democracy. I don’t think I’m what the Greeks had in mind.

Procrasitination will be the death of me. Literally. I swear some day I’m going to put off getting a life-threatening brain tumor removed and it’s going to grow too large and push the eyeballs right out of my stupid forgetful skull.

I’m just lucky I’m gorgeous and charming. Otherwise life would use my ass for a hat.


This is not quite the mood you're supposed to be in after a day at the Happiest Place on Earth. But I also lost one of our tickets today, getting a bunch of Fastpasses for Space Mountain. It was fixed easily enough with a visit to Guest Services, but Jesus P. Christ, how many times a day can you forgive yourself for being a dumbshit?

Maybe the Catholic Church has it right. Maybe to learn from these mistakes Six Hail Mary's, eight Our Father's. I still remember those. I ran through them in my head the other night, just to see if they were even there. Haven't been to Mass in three years, but I can still say a eight-second mental Hail Mary that'll knock you flat in your pew. blessedarethouamongstwomenandblessedisthyfruitofthywombjesus... Never underestimate the memorization capacity of a little Catholic boy who just wants to go to fucking sleep without being damned to hell.


If Satan designed an Internet portal for blind apes recovering from blunt force head trauma then beat it with the Dumb Stick 'till it was even stupider than originally conceived, it would be AOL. All you people who deal with this on a regular basis, you are either idiots or saints. This site looks like shit on it, as does everything else, to varying degrees. You can't open extra IE windows, if you get kicked off that's the end of everything, yes, everything you were doing, and these are only the flaws I've encountered just trying to post and check my e-mail. You hear that, AOL? I loathe you. Now please don't kick me off. Please. Please. I worked real hard on this paragraph. Have mercy.


The highlight of my day was making funny faces at a Asian three-year old girl giggling in her mom's arms in the line for Splash Mountain. It seems that her English only extended to "Hi Five!," but that was about all we needed.

You know what I said the other day about how no matter who you are, you're always the most attractive person at the fair? Yea, same with Disneyland, except this is like the international version of that. It's a veritable UN of ugly.

House of Blues: Shitty service, good food, feels strangely sinister. I don't think it was just the eighteen TVs in the little dining area bombarding us with nothing but commercials, or the authentic folk art, which was actually pretty cool. Conclusion: When I found a subculture born of poverty and oppression that redirects a nation's musical destiny, I certainly hope someone makes a theme restaraunt out of it, 'cause otherwise, what's the point?

I can't wait for punk theme restaraunts. Some poor teenage waitress in 2025 looking at her company handbook, specifiying the absolute minimum facial safety-pin requirement. Clashbrowns. Flan-archy in the UK. I've got a million of 'em. Can't wait.

All told, today was alright. Hit all the highlights. The Mountains Space, Splash, and Big Thunder. Indiana Jones. Star Tours. The Haunted Mansion, all done up with Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. The Jungle Cruise. And Pirates, of course. Tommorow we'll see if California Adventure lives up to its name.

Life is way too good for me to keep screwing up all the time. I really ought to knock it off.
Thanks to the wonder of broadband cable modems, I’ve come to think of the Internet as a utility, like running water and electricity. This whole laptop thing has reminded me of what it is for most of the rest of the world: a rare and precious fucking resource, accompanied by busy signals and modem screeches, subject to the whims of a dial tone. I’m writing this at 10 o’clock on Wednesday, but you won’t read it until tomorrow at the earliest, because AOL kicked me off and I don’t want to wake the rest of the room with the godless banshee noise logging back on would mean.

I realized halfway to the California border that no, we weren’t going to Sky Harbor to catch a plane to Pittsburgh. I gotta give the old man and his ball and chain credit, they spin a mean web of lies. Matthew decided he had to pee when we were passing through San Bernadino. Then he decided he really had to pee in the heart of South Central. He was born four years after the LA riots, had no idea. When you’re seven, the world is just filled with places to pee, each no more likely to result in a carjacking than the next. We stopped at a Home Depot after he turned down an empty cup from Carl’s Jr.

The kids didn’t catch on to where we were headed until we hit Disneyland Boulevard. Maybe because LA looks about as likely to contain a Magic Kingdom as an oyster looks to contain a pearl. (Ouch, that was unnecessarily vicious. I’m sure LA is great, I’ve never had a chance to explore it. There’s nothing wrong with oysters, they taste good. Pearls are expensive, but they just sort of sit there.) As we got out of the car and they dashed for the hotel entrance, the California flag snapping in the wind above ‘em, I almost wished my digital wasn’t at home in about eight pieces. Almost.

We took a bus daytrip to Disneyland the summer after my Freshman year, and there was girl trouble and I spent the whole day sleepy-eyed and depressed, and thinking I was just the best, I wrote this in my Open Diary:

When you're a little kid, Disneyland is a paradise, it's the most beautiful place in the world. You never want to leave, you think of how glorious life would be to work there. When you start to grow up, you start to see how dingy and corporate and evil it is. Chuck described it in his diary as, when you're little, you don't see how things work, it just seems like magic. But when you're older, you see all the strings, the levers, the trapdoors. I don't read that at all. When I was a little kid, I knew the pirates were fake, that the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion weren't really out to get me, that it was all smoke and mirrors. But that didn't keep me from loving every minute, because the entire place seemed devoted to fun, to pleasure. Now that I'm older, I see it as devoted to squeezing every penny out of everyone that passes through its gates. And it depressed the hell out of me. Sort of an innocence-lost deal, I can never go back to seeing it the way I did. Sad.


Ah, for the days when “corporate” was automatically a synonym for “evil.” What a dumbass. Calling bullshit on Disneyland is like debunking a kid’s birthday-party magic show. Yea, it’s a shakedown. Yea, it exploits your childhood dreams of hope for tomorrow whatever, and if you really feel like stretching, you could probably use it as a metaphor for innocence lost to capitalistic greed. We get it. Its goal is profit, just like every endeavor that’s ever wanted to call itself successful. But you can earn the almighty dollars in plenty of worse ways than putting smiles on kid’s faces. The world needs a wonderland, even if the lines are long and the food is overpriced and Jasmine’s puffing a Camel in the alley behind where the Peoplemover used to be. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that any place that has Pirates of the Caribbean in it can be as evil and soulless as it wants to be. For the record, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century, right behind “Purple Haze” and birth control pills.

No one says “Yo Ho Ho” anymore. We really oughta change that.

10/16/2002

Pittsburgh was a lie. A dirty parental trick. There's no Disneyland Hotel in Pittsburgh.

No more blogging, that was a lie too. Father dearest brought his laptop.

Updates from the Magic Kingdom will be constant through Saturday.

Going to go get something to drink, but remember. A dream is a wish your heart makes. Whatever that means.
I know I've mentioned it before, but the Babe Ruth of bloggers linked me. I have a temporary spot in the top left hand corner, and I'm almost shitting myself with joy.

The problem is, though, it feels like being in the middle of a dress rehearsal to look out and find that the audience is coming in. I figured I'd kick around in obscurity for a little while longer, see if I could find my voice and maybe shake the monkey of mediocrity off my back. No such luck. The audience is grabbing programs and the ushers are showing them to their seats, the mundane monkey's hot breath is irritating my neck, and shit, are these lights hot.

And to make matters worse, at this, the moment of my greatest blog triumph to date, I'm going out of town.

I'd love to let these little fingers pound away and broadcast my A-game to people all across this great land of ours who stumble in here all thanks to Tony's generous linkage, but these little fingers are grabbing a suitcase and going with my family thousands of miles away to visit my grandparents in Pittsburgh. We're getting the carpets cleaned while we're gone, the downstairs furniture is stacked in on the tile, the downstairs computer is disassembled and filed away. And while it's only four days, that's a long time to go without posting. Especially when new people are wandering in to take a look around.

I'm going to try my damndest to post while I'm out there, see if I can get free AOL hours on my dad's laptop or something, walk to a library, who knows. Because I want to be here.

But if I can't be, and you've just moseyed in here from the busblog to find Ham Fisted Theatrics oddly empty, I say this: Stick around. There are a few things in the fridge. I'll be back from Steeltown before you know it, and then we'll turn the lights down low and I'll write your pants off, and maybe, just maybe, buy you breakfast in the morning.

Waffles? You like waffles?

Kool Keith is the shit

OOOoooooooo Chelsea's in loooooove

10/15/2002

My mouse feels greasy for some reason, my dad is cooking fried chicken in the kitchen. Grease has decided it's going to make a cameo appearance in my life tonight, in its many forms, maybe because I'm not going to the fair this year.

If you would've told me three years ago that I wasn't going to the fair, I would've said, Great, what else is new. Because let's face it, fairs are, for all their sweaty charm, kinda gross. (The same has been said for me.) But I went two years ago with my then-girlfriend, and if I'm not mistaken, that's where we decided, officially, that's what we would be. Then we went last year, as part of a balls-out anniversary extravaganza. I never won her a giant stuffed animal at a ring-toss game. I think that maybe why I'm not going again this year.

I don't live a life filled to the brim with tradition, so doing something two years in a row was a pretty big deal. And it was there I developed a hypothesis: I don't know who you are, and I don't care, you may have three eyes, a quadruple chin and an overbite to the next county, but you're always the most attractive person at the fair.

Plus, they have funnel cake. If all of Satan's minions and God's angels got together to design the perfect food, it would be funnel cake. So wrong, yet so right.


Logik is playing tonight, but I'm not going. Sniff.
They say God has a plan for all of us.

I'm not so sure about that. I think they may have gotten the name wrong. God, I don't know. But sure as shit Lothario Japan has a plan for all of us.

One week after he bought the orphanage and every last orphan in it, he's already grooming prospects. I see him down in the basement one afternoon, training this little Puerto Rican kid in throwing knives.

"Knives," he explains, "are the only truly silent projectile weapon."

"What about arrows?" the kid asks. Sharp kid. I would've asked the same thing, if either of them knew I was there, standing in the doorway.

"Not arrows. Knives." He chucks one and it plants itself dead center on a picture of the Pope, who's on the front page of the newspaper, which is push-pinned into drywall across the room. I don't think Lothario Japan has anything against the Pope. He may, in fact, be Catholic. I've never asked.

After a few more, the kid's starting to get it. At first he hits the masthead, then the little box with the current temperature, the "ears," as they're called, then the headline reading "Mayor promises corruption crackdown." I know what all these things are called, the things the kid's dissecting with whizzing knives, I was a journalism major. Before too long he's planting them in the Pope's miter. I know what that's called, too, I minored in Comparative Hat Studies. What can I say, it was a weird school.

I go back upstairs, so do Lothario and the kid, before too long. "Not bad, Ernesto, not bad at all," says Lothario Japan. Ernesto's holding the shredded newspaper like a trophy buck, but he drops it as soon as one of the orphans comes in and yells something about a really big bug out back. They both dash out the kitchen door. "That kid's really going to be something," says Lothario Japan.

I pick up the newspaper. The Pope, for the size of his picture, just gets a caption and a jumpline. The top story is the one about the mayor, him promising to come down hard on the city's "pimps, pushers, purveyors of pornography" with "renewed vigor." Of course, with the rips from the knives it looks like "renexed vigot," but those aren't really words. For such an important story, it has a really weak lead. I'm a journalism major, I know these things. Something about the Mayor reading to underprivileged children at the big public library downtown in three weeks.

I don't know if you know anything about libraries, but I spent a lot of time in them as a kid. And the one thing they emphasize is above all else, snooty witchy librarians tapping on signs, is quiet. Every kid knows that. All the kids at the Mayor's underpriveleged reading day sure did. So when a little Puerto Rican boy in the back row stood up and, from a distance of thirty or so feet, stuck a knife right between the Mayor's eyes just as he was turning the page, it's not like he was breaking the rules. The rules about being quiet, anyway. It was so quiet that before anyone figured out where it came from, he was able to slip out the big revolving doors and book the fifteen blocks back to the orphanage and squeeze through a hole in the fence.

His eyes light up when he sees something in you, like the arc of that kid's throw. That's why I don't waste time worrying about God's plan for us. I know Lothario Japan has one that's much more interesting.


Previous adventures of Lothario Japan: Fat Chick Heart Attack

10/14/2002

Ever wish you had a bunch of children, grown, some of them, that you could summon from all around the world, and they'd gather around your hardwood oak table, and stare into their wide worried eyes and say, "Kids, I'm dying"

But you don't have kids? And you're not dying?

Yea, me too.

Tucson put me in a Holden Caulfield-y mood. My camera was broken and I slept all night on cold linoleum in the retarded cousin of my hometown, so I was a little bitch all this morning. I'm usually such a gentle pleasent flower of humanity, too. Just driving around on our way to lunch, then on our way home, everything put me in a shitty mood. When I get like that most times I'm able to laugh it off, but everywhere I looked Tucson just got more and more depressing. It wasn't 'till riding in the bed of Chuck's truck on the way to a softball game that didn't happen that I felt better, really. Maybe I just need a nap, because when I said earlier "slept on cold linoleum" what I really meant was "tried in vain to sleep on cold linoleum but really didn't succeed for much longer than fifteen minutes at a stretch."

I can't stand myself when I'm in a bad mood and I have no reason to be. I ain't starving. My truck has four tires. There's some of that Enteman's Rasberry Twist cake in the kitchen. The best blogger ever linked me today. I am incredibly lucky. But they take away your card in the Needlessly Moody Teen Club if you don't throw yourself down a pit of despair at least once a week. And I need that card. It gets me discounts on Smiths records and eyeliner.

Gratuitous Photo Caption: A security guard feeding squirrels outside the UN. That was probably the most productive thing that got done there that day.
Yea, so, to elaborate, the camera is dead as dead. About a month ago the little wheel that lets you switch modes broke off, along with the shutter button. But if I was crafty, I could still stick it on and hold it there, and still take pictures. Last night I tried putting the wheel on and twisting to get it to turn on, and it wasn't happening, so I twisted harder. Bad idea. I think I broke a spring or something, anyways, doesn't look good. I had a hundred or so dollars socked away to buy a guitar but now it looks like it'll be going into the Buy My Family A New Camera fund.

I uploaded a bunch of New York pictures from this summer, so I can probably run off those for a little while. New Beef King. Classic.

Tucson is cold and smells funny, and they just got indoor plumbing last week, so they're still getting used to it. Brian's apartment is nice enough, though.

Back in Phoenix this afternoon, where I'll try to explain to Pops about the camera. Maybe he'll realize we can get a better one if I'm not the one that buys it. Pray.
All up in Brian's apt. in scenic Tucson Arizona.

The camera is broken for good this time. Sniff.

10/13/2002

The funny thing about the German Google is that it gives you the option to search "Das Web," which sounds like the regular Web's cold steely authoratarian cousin. The other funny thing about the German version of Google is that, according to Sitemeter, somebody used it to search for the terms "drunk girl fisted," by which they found this site. Klaus, you sick fuck.

In better search-related news, if you search for "ham fisted theatrics" I'm the number one result. If you search for "midget horse rape" I'm only fifth.

Although, by writing that, I'll probably improve my standing.

Das Web is strange, to be sure.