11/02/2002

I'm considering not watching the dog until I get the rough draft of my play done.

Watching the dog is a euphimism for you-can-probably-guess-what. Taming the savage. Assassinating the Czar. Teaching the cat to sing.

And they say unreleased sexual energy gets focused through creative outlets. I have plenty of both, and a deadline coming up in a few weeks.

You, gentle reader, should encourage me. This doubtlessly means more blog posts, which you might like, assuming you're not just here for the atmosphere. If you're really lucky you'll get epic lyric poems about break-dancing robots and thirty-page treastises on Keynesian economics. I didn't promise I'd properly channel my newfound creative energies.

here goes.

I have known this kid for eight years.

11/01/2002

Friday night at the fights.

In the right corner, wearing the black gloves purchased a half-hour ago at Walmart and a Flogging Molly t-shirt, is one hundred and seventeen pounds of residual jealous-guy fury.

And in the left, appearing in his first fight since...ever, wearing the red gloves also purchased at Walmart wearing a thrift-store shirt reading "West Newton," at an estimated 160 pounds although Halloween tends to fuck with the statistics, is a man wishing he lifted more weights and hadn't made peace with his enemies, a man who is believed to have had one muscle but traded it for candy.

Touch gloves and come out swinging.

There are a few rules I live by, and tonight we're scratching in another one at the bottom of the plaque: "Never fight the angry skinny guy." Now I have what looks like some kind of fucked-up beauty mark above my left eye. And, oh, they have the term "punch-drunk" for a reason. Giggle giggle giggle.

I'm thinking, The guy my ex-girlfriend's dating now is a gracious, talented gent who's helping me with my play and giving me admissions advice and being an all-around stand-up guy. I have no great frustration anymore, no pet hatred, and I've never cultivated a deep well of despair. The more I live life the kinder it seems to be to me. The only reason I had to throw a punch is never having thrown a punch.

And I'd never taken one, either. I wasn't just seeing stars, I was seeing galaxies in their entirety, the inhabitants of every planet smiling at me and saying, "Hurts, don't it?" I couldn't remember what time I have to work tomorrow, or exactly what day it was. I had a fifteen-minute deja-vu. So I spit out my ninety-seven cent mouth piece and hung back while Trevor got the crap beat out of him. Then I took on the only friend of ours I had any chance against, who I have a foot of height and fifty pounds on. If he was my height, he would've taken me to school and rung the bell twice for good measure. But he isn't. And he didn't. Makes me wish I'd kept that one muscle, though.

Then I fought Matt again. Like I said, they have the term "punch-drunk" for a reason. Tee-hee.
I got sodium carbonate all over my hand in third hour chemistry and turned into a ghost. They really oughta warn you about these things, 'cause now I'm all pale and transparent and I don't walk so much as I drift listlessly. Saw Abe Lincoln floating around.

"Hey, Abe," I said.

"Hello," he said.

"Did you get sodium carbonate on your hand?" I asked.

"Nope," Abe said. "I got shot in the head by a failed actor/Confederate sympathizer while I was watching a play."

"Heavy," I said.

"Indeed."

Then I wondered what he was doing in Arizona, considering he was shot in DC and is buried in Illinois.

"Weather's nice," he said. And this time of year, he ain't lying.

"Abe," I asked, "do you think there's a word cooler than tertiary?"

"If there is," Abe said, "I can't think of it. I wanted to fit it into the Gettysburg address somewhere, but I thought everything else might pale in comparison to it."

"Kate suggested 'ubiquitous,'" I said.

"Ubiquitous...good, but not great," said Abe. "Wait, I've got one!"

"Hmm?"

"Liberty."

"Aww, Abe, you old softie. Well, I gotta get to class," I said, and he understood. Abe knows the value of a quality education, even in death. He scrawled his homework in coal on the back of a shovel, fer chrissake. And here I am, a century or two later, updating my blog all day. How things have changed. Although the log cabins we were born in are eerily similar.

I got Chelsea with my sweater again on the way to this class. It helps being invisible. BAM.

I have way too much unfettered computer access during the day. WAY too much, even for a ghost.

Library, library, library. Chillin' in the library second-hour style.

Internet access went down temporarily and sent the librarians into a tailspin, which was fun to see. Just a second ago one of them rushed out of the computer labs and said triumphantly, "The Internet is back up!" like the structural integrity of the entire web depends on one Arizona high-school library. The librarians are tired of the Dewey Decimal system being the only thing they have domain over. They want to own this whole damn thing.

The movie last night was eight kinds of good. It did excellently what The X-Files used to do in its prime: take some ordinary every-day object and make it terrifying.

The only thing I'd take issue with is something I find wrong with plenty of movies nowadays: People just look too good, dress too well, their lives are too stylish. Not everyone's mom is a MILF, we don't all have flat-screen TV and a 'cedes. And that makes it hard to relate to these imaginary people with gilded film existences. I had the same problem with "One Hour Photo," which I adored otherwise. I wish they'd cast girls who look like girls and guys who look like guys, 'cause I find it hard to empathize with the flawless and well-to-do.

But, of course, I'm nitpicky. It was one of the better horror movies I've ever seen in theatres, and I despertately want to see the Japanese version. If the studio really knew what time it was, they'd release it a couple of months down the road. But only I know what time it is...if only they'd ask me...(sigh)

My throat is crackly and my nose is full of unmentionables, so it's kind of hard to breathe, ya understand. But I'm managing. Best to get this cold-sore-throat-whatever out of the way before show time, which is, by my count, in...a week and six days from now.

Sweet Jesus McGee, that's not much time at all.

Chelsea W's looking at pictures of shellfish for some Biology thing on the computer next to me. I am considering throwing my sweater at her. I don't know why. Here goes.

"Thanks DC. I'll cherish it forever."

You're welcome, Chels.

10/31/2002

The Ring is tight as hell. Go see it.

Jam Master Jay died. Gunned down in the studio, making a record. Highly fucked up. The article says something about the place he died being the place he felt most comfortable, at the mixing boards, making music. And I was thinking about it. I'm a writer. Do I really want to go out at the keyboard, here at 12:30 at night in my gym shorts? No. If I got to pick, I'd die on stage. Better lighting, for one thing.

What about you? When it's your time, where would you want to be? This requires a little participation on your part. Shout Out accordingly.


My little brothers made me a candy bowl while I was at the movie. Of course, it's just the leftovers trick-or-treaters didn't get their grubby mits on, but it's the principle that Matthew and JP didn't divide it up amongst themselves like I probably would have done. Maybe it's just to pre-empt me from stealing theirs. Quite likely. But it's still a nice thought. On the side there's a half sheet of paper on which is written, in little kid handwriting: "DC's Candy Bowl: if you are not DC, don't touch." Truer words were never written in crayon, or otherwise.
"By the way," I say, "my name's Brad." Throwing it out casually with none of the force I used to just tell that great story about my uncle and the cat, and not nearly as much interest as I'm showing in, say, your eyes. And yet it's the thing I want you to remember most.

I want my name to drop like ten tons into your psyche and stay there. I want it to grow vines, I want your thoughts to swing from the R and leap screaming from the D. I don't want you to just remember it, because then it will be no better and no worse than a million of those little tidbits we remember just because, like the price of a sandwich at the restaurant downstairs or your bank account numbers. I want it to be the thing all those tidbits get filtered through and tossed aside as summarily unimportant compared to the glorious syllable. I want you to think of all the words that are so lucky to rhyme with it. I want it to be the caption in the bottom left corner of all your memories. You shouldn't see a sight or smell a smell without thinking of it, fondly, or aching with jealousy, whatever the case may be. You should shout it mid-coitus, and also in crowded elevators and the backs of cabs. Each and every time, anyone around should nod approvingly.

When you can't remember the name of your country or the name of your god, you will remember my name. And you will call it out even if no one's around to hear.

10/30/2002

Just about everyone of our Ahwatukee stories feature either Wendy's or Fourbanger, making tonight the perfect evening.

6:30- Wendy's, for hot, fresh, and fast food that makes Trevor strangely uncomfortable

7:30- The doors at Nita's Hideaway swing wide for the Fourbanger/Logik Halloween Eve show, also featuring Taryn's brother's band

I am needing this little island of rock in the turbulent sea of college shit and schoolwork and plays that my life has become. Am I complaining? I hope not, with the possible exception of that schoolwork, it's all things that I'm either enjoying immensely (theatre) or things that will hopefully reap me future intense enjoyment (college applications). My pa wrote awfully nice things about me in my counselor recommendation packet, sniff.

I'm applying to ASU, USC, and NYU. The NYU one is Early Decision, meaning that in December if they decide they want me, I must go. Which, while frightening, I think is a good thing. No copping out or second thoughts once that app hits the mailbox. If I get a "yes" I'm headed for Manhattan next September no matter how many doubts I have. This is good. 'Cause I very well could be persuaded by homesickness or cash money to stay here for another four years, which, while it might be fun and definitely easy, wouldn't be an adventure. And for the life of me I can't ever remember having an real adventure.

Well, there was that one with the alligator and Vladmir Putin. But that's a story for another day, when I have props for illustration.

10/29/2002

No Rules Bulletin, Week of Oct. 29th

Yes, we realize having a weekly bulletin goes against everything we believe, or, you know, think, I guess, about living life with No Rules, which is why next week there may be two bulletins, or none at all, but there will be one but it'll be a day late and delivered in a crumpled-up ball on fire by a homeless guy who'll pee on your shoe then run giggling into the night. But anyway, here goes.

- Many of you No Rulers out there have asked me what you should do about Halloween. Good question. The holiday that was founded in the spirit of Anarchy and Fucking Authority, with rebellious little shits dressed as goblins ringing The Man's doorbell and demanding candy or they would fuck his ass up Extreme Goblin style, has been corrupted by profit and Corporate America. Little kids running around dressed up like Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, shit like that.

We posited the question to The Center For Nonconformist Research Or Whatever, perhaps the only laboratory in North America dedicated to "extreme science." It took them a week to respond, because they were too busy getting stoned and playing pinball. Which is cool. When they did return our call, their answer was this:

"The activity most likely to blow the minds of squares and total lame-o's alike is as follows: Dress up as an average looking mother and father, and walk around door to door with a bucket of candy. When the occupants of each house open the door, comment on the cuteness of their costume and place some candy in their hands. Wish them a happy Halloween and leave. This will no doubt shatter their insulated conformist little minds, having expected that they would be the ones giving out the candy and talking about little kid's costumes. It will be like a parallel universe, only more awesome.

If you are too poor to buy candy, also consider kicking their shins and running away. This seems to have a similar effect."

Thanks, Center For Nonconformist Research.

- Also coming up are the so-called "mid-term elections" of our so-called "democracy." No doubt the same pasty white faceless bureaucrats will return to Washington, stopping on their way only to fuck impoverished housewives and mockingly eat large sums of cash in front of their children. What can we do to screw with the system on so-called Election Day? Some tips:

- Find the nearest polling place and drive by it at slow speeds shouting "Anarchy!" out the window. Then turn around and do it all over again. Many of these places are in school zones, so be careful about making U-turns. You could totally get pulled over.

-In precincts where paper ballots are used, go in as soon as the polls open, get in your booth and eat the entire ballot. If your insides are feeling particularly extreme that day, you will have processed it before the polls close. Go back and lay a big balloty shit right on the registration table and say "THERE'S MY VOTE!" Only do this if you are sure the shit you are taking contains the ballot. Remember, you are making a POLITICAL STATEMENT, not just taking a gratuitous public shit.

-Vote for Nader. He's not on the ballot 'cause he's a presidential candidate, not a senatorial one? Who the fuck cares? That guy is awesome! He'd disband the military on his first day in office and throw a totally huge kegger on the Mall and his State Of The Union Address would be fifty uninterrupted minutes of TIT, just as a big fuck-you to the Establishment and also possibly Corporate America.



Be warned, Authority: we will continue these acts of electoral defiance until snowboarders occupy at least five of however many seats there are on the Supreme Court, because as everyone knows they are the most rule-less people on the planet. They couldn't even hear cases because they're listening to rap-rock on their headphones and nine times out of ten their unanimous ruling would be PIZZA.

Well, that's all for this week's No Rules Bulletin. Look forward to next week's. Or don't. Or just punch a guy. Whatever.

10/28/2002

So I'm walking to school at 10:30 on a Monday night, because the alternative was having my dad drop me off tomorrow morning at six.

"You forgot your car at school?" says Lori, "I'm gonna have to remember that one."

I left my backpack in Jack's trunk and figured I could get someone to drop me off at school after we were done at my house. I probably could've, too, if I would have remembered to ask.

But at ten I think, hey, I need a backpack. I go out front and there's a big empty space in the driveway where the truck oughta be. The alternative is waking up early.

So I'm walking a mile or so in the brisk evening when I could and should be doing a million other things, things you can do in a warm well-lit room just as easy, and I have earned every step. This is Idiot Tax.

I put one foot in front of the other knowing that this is less than peanuts, that if paid full price every time I fucked up my hide would be tan and my knuckles blistered and every nun in the county would have carpal tunnel from swinging the yardstick so often and with such force, but at least I'd learn something.

The lights in the school parking lot are all on, despite the fact that no one needs their illumination at this hour. Well, one person does. And to him they say, Your truck is right here...DUMBASS.

Thanks, lights.

See you in a couple of hours! Of course, we'll be asleep. But your day will be just beginning!

I'm as excited about that prospect as you are, school parking-lot lights.

The night was too nice and the sky too pretty, it was hardly a punishment. And I can shut off that nagging voice, I can forgive myself almost faster than I can do wrong. It's a reflex at this point.

I'm convinced that there's a parallel mariachi universe that vibrates at a different frequency than our own, because occasionally as I'm pulling out of the driveway, NPR will suddenly become espanol, and switch back before I can get a trace. Other stations too. I am equally convinced that my life is the highest-rated sitcom ever in the parallel mariachi universe, although they have to dub the swearing into Spanish, because hilarious imbecility and ineptitude are pretty much the universal languages.

Which is why, when I leave two tons of steel with wheels in a parking lot a mile away and forget about it, they even laugh on Mars. And I can't blame them; they'll tune in next week, because without fail I'll do it again.


Katie Hall permalinked me, sweet girl. I've never met a Katie I didn't like.
Ty launches Acoustic Edge.

10/27/2002

Ever have a topic in your head all set to go then you cue up the music you intend to write to and suddenly you forget what you're going to say? That just happened to me.

The song is "The Whole Thing" by The Bouncing Souls. Say what you will about its potential benefits for mankind, I'm glad no one's ever invented a teleportation machine, because at least half of rock n' roll's great songs are about someone's baby being "so far away."

We hit a solo, so now I can remember what it was I was going to say. Oh, right. My blog's two month anniversary came and went without me even noticing. Dates have merely symbolic signifigance, and males, as a rule, are not big on symbols. Except the French. They love that shit. Just look at their film-making, and the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. All about symbology. If you can name one thing that the French have done that has had some positive impact upon the physical realm, well, shit, I'd love to hear about it.

Besides French Onion soup, which we all know was invented by William Tecumseh Sherman in 1884 and stolen by spies.

We all know that, right?

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh right. Blog anniversary, which it informs me was the twenty-fourth. I came home late after carousing with the boys, I didn't get it a card or anything. They have them, too. They say things like, "You have been my online journaling site for at least two months now, and it sure has been great." There's kitties or puppies on the front, and for an extra buck you can get a puppy and kitty fighting over a very tiny gorilla puppet.

But I didn't get the blog any of those. And it may never let me forget it.


No one gets betrothed anymore in this wayward nation of sinners. You wonder why our kids are shooting their schools and our schools are full of kids shooting other kids and drugs and our kids listen to rap music then shoot guys. People blame violent video games and guns and Marilyn Manson, and surely all of those tight-ass-parental cliches share the blame for the epidemic of flagrant kidshootery, but tell me you wouldn't go around capping people if you had no idea which one of them was going to be your future spouse.

I came out of the womb with absolutely no idea who my wife was going to be, and my parents had no idea either. If you should see a haunted, vacant look in my eyes to this day, that's probably why. Anyone could just up and marry me any ol' day of the week. Slip a ring on my finger while I'm bent over the drinking fountain, have one of those ninja Priests they have now lower himself down from the acoustical tile on his crucifix grappling hook and say the vows real quick, and there you go, I'm married against my will when all I wanted to do was get a drink before third hour. It's enough to make a guy nuts, having to look over his shoulder all the time to make sure a ringbearer or a flower girl aren't hiding behind a trashcan, waiting to strike.

But if my parents had made an binding verbal agreement with another couple of a similar caste while I was still in the womb that I was to be wed to one of their daughters when we both reach the appropriate age, that would be one less thing on my to-do list. All this energy I have to put into looking for a woman with child-bearing hips and the proper characteristics to bear me strong, ruddy-cheeked sons, this is all energy I could be putting into more important things, like what I will do with my father's shoeshine factory after he succumbs to typhoid fever, and how I will crush the peasants under my gilded boothill without getting the bootheel too dirty with peasant-muck. But NO. Somewhere along the line we decided that freewill was more important than promising unborn children to each other in holy matrimony and shaping their destinies before they take their first breath. And when we made that decision, we transformed our kid's lives into one blue-ribbon livestock competition at the fair, with potential wives in the place of cattle and pigs, although the hay and the dirty pens are much the same.

What the fuck, ladies and gentlemen. I am perpetually surrounded by possible lifemates, a wife could be creeping around any corner. It's no wonder I can't concentrate on my studies. Why I don't just drive off a bridge and poison the fish in the river below with the motor-oil from my flaming suicide-mobile is beyond me sometimes. And worse, it's all your fault, corrupt liberalized society of sin.
Five teen boys in a minivan barreling down I-10, 12:30 on a Saturday night. Two are piss drunk, one of them has long since graduated and moved away but comes back to plays gigs with his band, the van is his. The other inebriated guy is wearing an orange and blue sweater, and when he's in this state, he reverts back to the football player he was freshman year, or he screams. Right now, he's screaming to The Starting Line playing on the van's stereo. He turns to the guy on his right. "I could be Finch. I could do scream-o." The fellow on his right agrees, but quietly, because he isn't three sheets to the wind like his counterparts. Maybe one and a half-sheets swaying in a mild breeze, at best.

The guy on the left of the screaming drunkard turns to the guy on the right, the quiet one. "You better put this in your...your blog." Lefty isn't falling-down stupid either. And of course, the quiet one is already formulating an opening in his head, because his life is just source material, and if you can't find source material in the quintessential braindead teenage evening, you probably can't find it anywhere at all.

The van is piloted by a very sober, very tense Catholic boy, pale hands death-gripping the wheel.

Later, they'll inflict themselves on two pretty girls, make them stand out in the cold and humor the lushes and make small talk. The sober ones will feel bad. The less sober ones will keep talking.

And even later, the quiet one will drive a mile or so back to his home, squinting, the trace amounts of drink in his blood not affecting him so much as the fogged-up windshield from the winter that has dropped all at once into his humble town in the course of one rain-soaked Saturday.

And even later, he'll feel obligated to pour it all out before he goes to sleep, despite the seeming inconsequentiality of what just happened, because part of living your life to write about it is eventually, actually writing about it, sometimes sooner rather than later.

Some people live looking for excuses to drink. He lives looking for excuses to write. And when he can't find them, he'll make them. Make them out of a cold drive home after a party.

And later, he'll find a good place for the final period, hit "publish," and go off to bed, wondering if he crystallizes his memory by writing it down, or ruins fresh moments before he even gets a chance to remember.