December 29, 2005


I think I’m going to take a break from this blog for a little while. I’ve said this before so this might mean nothing. Probably a couple of weeks.

Resolutions for 2006:

Try and keep off this computer.

Get healthy.

Good things should come from that.

Here’s something to read in the meantime:

Punk Turns 30

Meet the Family (via Post Atomic)

December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas


Have a nice weekend, everyone.

December 22, 2005


On the lighter side. I made a list. This is what blogs are good for. Or bad for. Top five favorites, subject to change when I remember more. What I grew up on and what I like.

Frank Zappa
David Gilmour
Jimi Hendrix
Jimmy Page
Robert Fripp
(wait, that’s all people who play long guitar solos)

Graham Maby (Joe Jackson’s band)
Rob Wright (No Means No)
Lou Barlow
Mike Watt
Paul McCartney

John Bonham
Bill Stevenson
John Wright (No Means No)
Mitch Mitchell
Ringo Starr

Also people who I watched play in high school: James Fenton of the Treacherous Jaywalkers, Steve Tounsend of Mustard, Joey Waronker of a lot of things. Steven Brent’s my songwriting guru.

I’ve been in a fair number bands in my life: Semi-Gloss, Odes, Deformo, a version of the King of France, Cosmo Air, Walt Mink for one practice session, the Delores Haze (aka Eva Haze), Caustic, JZ Barrell, Montag, S.G.D.--i.e. bands most people probably haven’t heard of. Played in a noise band that never left the practice space. What was the name of that practice space on Avenue A.? Damn, I need to remember things like that. $10 an hour. I spent a lot of hours there.

Also played in a band in Paris called Spill with a Norwegian fashion designer, my roommate the web designer, and a comparative literature student. Sounds ridiculous and we were kind of a mess. We had one show at an underground-sort of dance club. I spent many nights in places filled with terrible music. The French are very bad at rock n roll. I spent many other nights in NYC with the comparative literature student, drunk and girl-crazy. Undersexed, drinking whiskey. Which reminds me, I have been very damn depressed in my life, lonely and self-loathing. I haven’t felt that way in a while, when it was once a way of life. Since I’ve been married, I’ve forgotten what it’s like. Like when S. was pregnant, it was all we could think about. After Olivia was born, the pregnancy could have been a decade before. Memory lane, down.

December 21, 2005

American Pastoral

I just finished a book and needed something new to read. I picked up both Everything is Illuminated and Fortress of Solitude and couldn’t get it very far. I was going to write a post with this sentence: I hate books. I was feeling low. 90% of books are off limits to me. People say that if a book doesn’t grab them in the first 50 pages, they set it down. Me, if the book doesn’t grab me in the first three pages, I give up. If a book takes too long to get the point of where it’s going to take me, I get impatient. Same goes with people really. You want a person to be upfront about who they are, to be honest. Too many books seem to write around their subject, they don’t get to the point. Show don’t tell gone overboard.

Not that the two above books suffer from this entirely, but they didn’t speak to me. Then I picked up American Pastoral by Philip Roth. I started it in the past, liked it, then stopped reading because…I don’t remember why. Likely, I wasn’t ready for it yet. The same might go for the Lethem or Foer down the line. Yesterday, those books felt flashy and overly precocious. Philip Roth gets to the point immediately, even in the first sentence: "The Swede." It’s hyper-intelligent, but that’s because he is, not because he’s trying to be. I’ve found my new book to read.

In other news, the Bush spy probe is driving me fucking nuts. The replacements at Andrew Sullivan are really irritating. In regards to the Bush illegal spying issue, he begins, "While more legally-minded types bicker over the legitimacy of the Bush wiretapping…" The use of the word "bicker" annoys me--as if this issue is nothing more than something for the TV pundits to talk about until the next news day. Pundits are like local newscasters--talking about horrible human events as if they’re discussing puppets. Bush broke the fucking law. The surveillance goes beyond Muslim extremists. And there’s no immediate outrage from Republicans. It doesn’t make sense.

It’s a mystery--why bother with illegal wiretaps when congress would have likely given them the wiretaps legally. Intelligence gathering was actually fine pre 9-11, it’s just that the intelligence was ignored. And wire-tapping wasn’t the problem. It’s another mystery why the NY Times covered up this story before the election. Why the hell would the Times not want John Kerry to get elected?

This whole thing is making me feel down about the great stupidity of the American people. There should be immediate outrage about this, but there won’t be. It seems Bush can do anything he wants and it’s forgotten until the next round of Sunday news shows. Even breaking the law. The "Impeachment" word is finally being mentioned now. If the pundits start talking about impeachment being necessary and inevitable, there will be a change in public opinion--which is not exactly to the public’s credit, but it’s something. Not like that’s going to happen. The Democrats don’t have enough votes--even against something criminal. It’s a new cold war where Republicans or Democrats can never admit fault or defeat, and that’s dangerous. Hell of a fucking first year for the fucking President.

December 20, 2005

A Year's Subscription

I don’t know what to do with myself. I could work on fiction but my head’s not clear and it would probably exhaust me. I’ve run out of movies to watch. Yesterday I watched "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." I’m not being cynical--there’s nothing I wanted more yesterday than to vegetate and watch a movie, but it was nearly unintelligible. I couldn’t follow it. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book. Someone please explain to me why a series of books about child wizards is OK fare for adults. I’m sure they’re thoughtful and entertaining but: they’re children’s books.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies. It’s Academy DVD time. Here are some one word reviews.

In Her Shoes: Bad
Elizabethtown: Bad
Narnia: Violent
Shopgirl: Dull
Squid and the Whale: Bleak
Broken Flowers: Detached
Hustle and Flow: Ruled
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Enjoyable
Match Point: Pretentious
Good Night, and Good Luck: School

Man, I’ve seen a lot of movies lately. These are just the ones I can remember. That’s what happens when they’re all free. I’d be better off if I never sat through "In Her Shoes." "Narnia" started off as a good kids' movie, but then it becomes really violent when it gets to the war. The main character in "Elizabethtown" is called a "failure and a fiasco" because he designs a poorly-selling shoe after being given too much creative freedom. It’s almost like Cameron Crowe made a bad movie on purpose to mimic his character. I actually liked Jim Jarmusch’s "Broken Flowers" all right. Bill Murray has played the detached rich guy one too many times: Rushmore, Royal Tennenbaums, Lost in Translation. I’m sure this has been mentioned in many reviews. Woody Allen always writes about fantastically sophisticated people--but it’s always balanced out by his neurotic schlubiness. In "Match Point," everyone is just too beautiful, young, sophisticated, and rich to be true. More thoughtful than his last several movies though.

I think I’ve reached my opinion threshold for 2005.

December 19, 2005


I’m sick. I think I might have bronchitis. "It’s so poor and Jewish." Lenny Bruce

When I breath in there’s a "curly" sound. I’ve had bronchitis once before. When I was a kid, my family took a trip to Hawaii. I was sick inside with bronchitis the entire time. I lost a lot of weight. My dad said that I looked like I came from Auschwitz. Nice.

December 16, 2005

Blog Review

Thanks to the Weblog Review for the nice review.

December 15, 2005


Job interview today. The guy who interviewed me knows about this blog so maybe I shouldn’t write about my proclivity for working naked, but this blog’s all about being honest. The interview went well so I can write such a thing. I’ve been half-employed for too long. I’ll be writing e-mail copy for an internet marketing company. This is very good news if it goes down.

One of the most numbing jobs I’ve had in my life was grading 4th grade standardized tests. It sounds like it could have been interesting but I really don’t like jobs where you get exactly an hour for lunch, if that, and two ten minute breaks, and you’re not allowed to move in between. We had to ask to go to the bathroom. It took them two hours to explain to us what should have taken five minutes. Adults shouldn’t be treated this way. At 10:00, for the first break, everyone would be watching the seconds and then run for the door. You can see people from these types of jobs sometimes, huddled together smoking with a look in their eyes like they’ve been staring at a clock for six hours. I’ve had more than one job like this, as have most people. Phone polling was another--but that was better, even when people hung up on you. This job was like taking a standardized test for eight hours, every day.

I’ve never appreciated music, listening or playing, so much as the drive to and from that job. Sometimes, during the breaks I’d go sit in the car and listen to music--I was listening to Husker Du’s "New Day Rising" and Lou Barlow’s "Winning Losers" a lot. The job was just so deadening, it made music sound so alive. I wish I could respond to music that way all the time, but feeling dead I can live without. This job prospect seems laid back. He said he was glad that I’m a writer, that my head’s somewhere else as well. Basically telling me that I don’t have to devote my whole soul to the job. So long as I get the work done, he says, he’s fine with it, which is refreshing. I want to possibly work in an office again, after being isolated at home alone. I can actually write for a living.

After that I got a job working as an editor at a trade magazine for industrial construction workers. I don’t really want to revisit that time. Let’s just say that for a few months in Wilmington, NC, I worked for Satan. A cocaine-addicted redneck who beat his wife, worked alongside his wife, and had prostitutes go into his office for hours at a time. They’d come out sniffing and rubbing their noses. His wife had this terrible scar running from her mouth to her ear, no doubt from when he hit her. They got in trouble for leaving their kids in the car in a hot parking lot, more than once. He had so destroyed his nasal passages from cocaine that he’d make this demonic snorting noise throughout the day. That’s when you knew he was back in the office--when he was gone, it was calm. When you heard the snorting noise, it was like kids thinking, oh no, dad’s drunk again. People called him "The Monster." Jesus, it was bad.

Olivia was just born during this time. There weren’t a lot of jobs to be had in Wilmington, for anyone, which is why we moved back to L.A.--also to be close to the grandparents. It worked out pretty well up front, we both got jobs almost immediately. The last few months have been harder.

I need to get a steady job--for them, and for myself of course. With the "Golden Calf" movie being developed, various things getting published, and a new job, 06 is going to start off all right.

December 14, 2005


This is good: GoodSearch.


This is a recent picture, taken at LACMA. I'm a lucky dog.


December 13, 2005

Book Tour

We recently developed a bunch of disposable cameras we had laying around. Some of them were ten years old and half-exposed. Turns out the expiration date on a disposable camera actually means something because a lot of the pictures came out muddy or with a ghost-like red ring around the picture.

I couldn’t find the picture I took on September 11. I went onto the fire escape after the first plane hit and took a picture with a disposable camera. I felt guilty about it--people are dying in there--and came back inside. The picture didn’t come out, which may be for the best.

What did come out was the one and only picture I have from the book tour for Oscar Caliber Gun. I toured with John Hall, of King Missile: "Jesus Was Way Cool" and "Detachable Penis" fame. Also toured with a poet named Matt Kohn. I recently found his blogspot blog, which I’m assuming is him, unless there’s another documentary filmmaker living in Brooklyn named Matt Kohn. We toured the east coast, south, and midwest in a small red car.

book tour

That’s it, that’s all the photographic evidence I have. Glad to have at least that. It was a very fun tour--reading at coffee houses, colleges, some rock clubs which didn’t work so well because people were never quiet. John Hall was always a huge hit. It was harder to read from a novel. Personally, I always zone out at readings of fiction. I forget to listen, and then when I try to join back in, I’ve lost the thread. Instead, I asked people to call out page numbers and read a random page. People seemed to like this. Usually, people would call out "69." That wasn’t the sex scene. I read the live porn scene at a party--page 67--and people were quiet for it.

December 9, 2005



This is cool. I was getting fed up with my original book cover designer so I emailed another and asked if she’d be able to do a better version of the same idea. She sent this back. She’s expensive so I don’t know if she’ll design the cover, but I like having this.



The prettiest girl from my high school class is dating Jack Black and is pregnant. Here they are at the "King Kong" premier. This is strange. Happy for her though. I've been friends with her to some degree. Better friends with her sisters. Their father is Charlie Haden, bass player for Ornette Coleman. For a time, Charlie Haden was the jazz teacher at my high school, before a horrible saxophonist with frizzy red hair took over, just as I was old enough to join the band. I lost out in jazz band to be the "A" drummer to Jake Busey, Gary Busey’s son, who’s now also in movies.

Jack Black went to my high school. He was a couple of years ahead of me. When I was 15 I played drums at a party in a band with Jack Black singing. We played covers of "Iron Man," "Crazy Train" and others. He was really flamboyant and talented and an exhibitionist back then. I’ve wondered if there’s any video of that party that could make it into a "True Hollywood Story."

This is why I write about Hollywood.

Stanley Kubrick


Finished this last night. I haven’t seen "Eyes Wide Shut" since it came out and I’ve never read Raphael. Raphael paints himself as the most successful and sophisticated man on planet Earth, but who knows, he might be. It kind of reads like a blog--look at me, look at me!--but what’s more interesting than a blog about making a movie with Stanley Kubrick? It’s not every day that I finish a book in five minutes, so I wanted to write something about it.

There are a lot of criticisms on Amazon about Raphael’s self-absorption, and they’re right. It reminds me of a book I read by Elvis Costello’s bass player, Bruce Thomas--I can’t remember the name of the book. He’s an incredibly pompous ass. Throughout the book, he refers to Elvis Costello as "The Singer" as if Bruce Thomas is the focal point of the band, and he’s not just an Attraction. Frederic Raphael writes with a similar condescension. Kubrick is painted as fairly hapless, visionless, and directionless. It might be true to some degree. His major movies have been based on novels: Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Barry Lyndon, Lolita, Full Metal Jacket. Maybe he didn’t have what it took to make an epic movie out of a shorter piece. Weirdly, it sometimes feels like the Metallica documentary, "Some Kind of Monster"--collaborators trying to make something on the fly, when it really needs to flow naturally, out of inspiration.

There’s name-dropping throughout of both people and his own knowledge. Raphael writes things like "Stanley was Eurystheus to my Herakles…" I will freely admit I have no idea what the hell he’s referring to. He also writes, "Working for all those months with Stanley was like being in solitary confinement without the comfort of being alone" which is a good sentence no matter who he’s writing about. Perhaps he really is hanging out with John Schlesinger and "Marty" Scorsese. Perhaps it’s impossible to display your knowledge about certain things without seeming pretentious. Like, for instance, listing the number of Coltrane albums I own and listen to (last post). Maybe Raphael really does know and love all his Greek references. It gets harder to draw the line between pretension and information when you’re talking about high-brow stuff. Last night, as I finished this book, I was listening to Prokofiev’s piano concertos played by Martha Argerich. Seems pretentious to mention that, but it’s true and I enjoyed it. Raphael, though, goes overboard.

I recommend this to anyone who’s ever written a screenplay or thought about it to get a glimpse into what it might have been like to collaborate with Stanley Kubrick. For that alone, the book is worth it.

Tomorrow I’m meeting with someone who wants to direct OCG/The Golden Calf. See where that goes.

December 8, 2005


Just finished a first revision on the novella "On Parole" and it was really damn bad. I mentioned that I haven’t read it in five or more years, and there was sentence after sentence that made me cringe. At one time, I thought it might have been the best, most honest thing I’d ever written. A friend of mine called parts of it embarrassing, but I thought he was just being a hard-ass cause he liked to do that and our friendship was falling apart during that time. But he was right. I think I can turn it into something because the basic structure is there and I like the story but it was pretty humbling. Maybe it’s better to wait five years between the time you write something and think about publishing it.

I don’t think I’m going to try and get it published at all and instead make an e-book out of it. That way I can hunt down e-book directories which is something I like to do because, you know, I’m an internet addict.

Listening to this for the fourth time in a row:


At one point I was a complete Coltrane fanatic. My favorites being this one, Jazz, Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Live at Birdland, with Duke Ellington, Crescent, Transition, Soultrane. I put them on when I want to resurrect myself. Not surprisingly, there’s a Church of John Coltrane. Traneing In sounds like fall.

RIP John Lennon.


I was eight-years-old when it happened. My brother, a Beatles fanatic--which I wasn’t yet--woke me up to tell me about it. One thing I can claim is staying inside in kindergarten listening to "Let it Be" while the other kids splashed in a kiddie pool outside. But that might have been a dream.

I’m finishing a book that I’ll probably write about tomorrow.

December 7, 2005

A Parent

I haven’t written very much about being a father. Last year sometime I put up a picture of O. so people could see what she looked liked. I took it down a week later because it creeped me out to have a picture of her online. The Internet’s not an entirely safe place. I’m a protective father, but I don’t think overprotective. Sometimes it amazes both of us that we’ve managed to raise a child for almost three and a half years.

A few weeks ago we were about to lose our minds. She had become impossibly demanding. "Can I have some juice, daddy," she would say. I’d get her the juice, she’d finish it, then, "Can I have some cereal, can I watch a movie, can I go to the playground?" Nothing was ever enough. I think she just liked the experience of us getting her things. It cut core to our feelings of guilt as parents--that we’re never doing enough. For a time, when she got really tired, she would start throwing tantrums and calling us stupid--a word she learned because she heard us say "Stop it," and it got transformed.

So we were getting really burnt out and were about to have a nervous breakdown. A few days later, she woke up with a better grasp of language and she calmed down a lot: she couldn’t express herself clearly and it was making her frustrated. She’s gone through many of these major leaps.

Last night we went to the L.A. Festival of Lights at Griffith Park. You drive along display after display of Christmas lights. Kind of weird and cool--very strange Christmas music was being piped in. She loved it:



Afterwards we went to my brother’s house and she played like crazy with her cousin. That night, she came into our bed at 5 am because she had wet the bed. She’s potty trained but we’ve been trying to get her off of wearing diapers (pull-ups) at night. She may have to go back for a little while longer. Anyway, I wanted to get some of this stuff down because I don’t write very much about being a Dad--even though it’s most of my life. Perhaps because it is most of my life, I use this blog to exercise and explore other parts of me. She’s perfect, we are lucky.

My wife also has a blog. You get a prize if you know what it is. I’ve never linked to it because my family reads this blog and she wouldn’t be able to be as honest if she knew they were reading. She’s an ex-stripper writing about her life. I’m really proud and impressed with what she’s done. It's been very successful and a great experience for her. Email me if you want to know what it is.

December 5, 2005


Last week I was listed in the L.A. Times as a notable L.A. blog, which is really fucking cool.

Just did a link trade with Get Published or Die Tryin. It’s sort of a spin-off of Reader of Depressing Books, but Noah Cicero is a writer in his own right. One of the best blogs I’ve seen in a while.

December 1, 2005


Finished this, sort of. The indie rock opera is inspired partially by the stuff I was reading that led to the last post about UFOs and the apocalypse and other strangeness. It also gives me the opportunity to throw in songs that I’ve written over the years and have so far been homeless and can now be forced into a narrative.

Let me know if you think it’s overblown, especially the middle "bridge" part. And the first part becomes a wall of unintelligible sound, but it’s kind of supposed to. Sometimes less is more. Call this a rough draft. Here, I did this:



Someone has put two and two together about me and Shirley Shave. I have no idea what's being written there. I’m surprised this hasn’t happened more often. But then most people coming here from God’s Wife are probably looking for porn.

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