Archive for the ‘confession’ Category

Daily Batman: The worst of my faults … a profound duplicity of me

September 30, 2011


Photograph by Sylvain Norget.

The worst of my faults was a certain impatient gaiety of disposition, such as has made the happiness of many, but such as I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public. Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me.

(Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 1886. p. 81.)

Batter uuup!: Joan Jett redux

July 22, 2011

Guess what I’m doing today? Going to see Joan mother-effing Jett, that’s what! For free.

Will we play baseball? A girl can dream.

My daughter wants nothing in the world but Joan Jett’s autograph on her Blackearts album liner. Kidlet conceals tiny black hearts in all her drawings to demonstrate her adoration: she’s a superfan. She goes way beyond knowing the words to “I Love Rock and Roll” or humming “Cherry Bomb.” She can discourse freely on which versions of particular singles she prefers.

She watches youtube footage of old Joan Jett concerts. We walk through Guitar Center so she can show me which guitars she is going to use when she forms her all-kid Joan Jett/Garbage/Runaways/No Doubt/Hole cover band, which she has named the Bad Apples*. She sings “Bad Reputation” in the bathtub.

She’s seven.

I’m hoping Joan is charmed by a child’s request and we get a chance to get that autograph, but hopefully just being in her vicinity will satisfy my little rock star’s heart. And thrill me, too.

This is what Joan Jett wore to her performance in 2008 at Artscape in Baltimore. If this is what she wears today, you guys can draw straws or arm wrestle to sort out who takes over the blog and raises my kid, because I will leave you all behind without a second glance.

*Once when the Go-Gos’ “Head Over Heels” was on the radio, kidlet seemed interested, so I said, “Would the Bad Apples cover this?” She looked at me like I was Grimace from Ronald Macdonaldland and said slowly, “It’s a rock band.”

Heinlein Month: How to tell

July 21, 2011


A woman who shaves or otherwise depilates her pubic curls has a profound interest in recreational sex.

(Robert A. Heinlein. To Sail Beyond the Sunset, 1987.)

I think grooming is a good idea; I think all the way hardwood floors, which I have sported in the past and found distractingly tough to keep, um, waxed, is inferior in appearance and sensation to a nice throw rug or more. I feel like fully bare is fun now and again but as a regular thing it appears uncomfortably pre-sexual. 1-2-3 DEBATE.

Talk nerdy to me — Heinlein Month: This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race

July 20, 2011


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This is the great day. This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race, up to this time. That is — today is New Year’s Day of the Year One. If we don’t change the calendar, historians will do so. The human race — this is our change, our puberty rite, bar mitzvah, confirmation, from the change of our infancy into adulthood for the human race.


And we’re going to go on out, not only to the Moon, to the stars; we’re going to spread. I don’t know that the United States is going to do it; I hope so. I have — I’m an American myself; I want it to be done by us. But in any case, the human race is going to do it, it’s utterly inevitable: we’re going to spread through the entire universe.

(Robert Heinlein. Interview with Walter Cronkite. CBS News. July 20, 1969.)



Is it gauche to use a Clarke cover in a Heinlein entry?

Happy forty-second birthday to the Apollo 11 mission (Hey, 42!). Which was apparently for nothing since we’re not going to colonize it even at all. Not under the aegis of organized government-funded scientific think-tanks, at any rate, which it seems are going the way of the Betamax and Karen Carpenter*. Privatizing space travel/exploration is about as dicey an idea as any I’ve heard in this life. There will be a Wal-Mart on the moon before a fucking hospital. Depend on it.

(I’m just bitter because I have always wanted to live on the moon. Sorry. This is not a joke: my ultimate fantasy would be to make love on the back lawn of my terra-formed moon house — by EARTHLIGHT. Picture it, you look up and the planes of your lover’s face are illuminated by light from Earth. HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE? Crazy amazing. Crazy. Plus outside sex.)





*Oh, my god, why would you even make that joke? Because I am a terrible person.

Daily Batman: Ceci n’est pas …

July 19, 2011


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Another for my “treachery of images” running gag. Is it weird that I have created personal memes for myself on my own blog? It’s like an inside joke with … me, which is pretty sad. Isn’t it? But then, isn’t all blogging just baying at an uncaring moon?

No, I just asked my imaginary friend and he said I’m good. Phew. We’re going to go watch Adventure Time now — I better hurry or he’ll take the good spot on the couch. Catch you on the flip, jive turkeys.

Heinlein Month — Do not let the past be a straitjacket

July 16, 2011


Whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket.

(Robert A. Heinlein. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, 1966.)


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Hey. The pre-scheduled entries caught up with real time, and then I was too lazy and depressed to write more. But I’m fixing that now. Even got a Girl of Summer in the pipeline, because, hey, man, life goes on, and my dead friend liked boobies. (Hath not a short joyful EMT eyes?) So. The rest is personal. Dip out whenever you’re done.


“Jo Champa, Hotel Chealsea.” Helmut Newton, 1988.

Yesterday were the services. Sweet fucking Christ. I have been to some rough funerals in my life. I really have. But I’ve never been through any shit like that. That was some fucking shit. My lord. And now the most recent two entries in my journal have giant cusses right at their start, when I’ve been trying really valiantly this year to cut back (first for my daughter, as an example, and also because vulgarity is so often a refuge of a weak writer attempting cheap authenticity).


Photographed by Dara Scully.

Big Ben and I agreed to attend together. He got to my place an hour earlier than planned and announced he’d left his wallet in Fresno — a town I notoriously hate, like it’s a joke among my friends how much I make fun of it. I had an idea we’d end up making the longish drive to get it back later in the day, but I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure what the was going to hold: what if I wanted to go back to a reception and stay for a long while? What if friends had an impropmtu wake? We didn’t know what to expect. We slid down to C-town and got to the church about twenty minutes before Mass was scheduled to start, thinking that was prudently early enough.


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Besides being friends with one another in our own right, B-dubs and I moved in a lot of similar circles. It’s not a big area when you get right down to it. Even if you only joined The Party in the last 15 to 20 years, you’ve pretty much met everyone your age by now, at least with whom you’d have a dime in common, in one way or another. There wasn’t time enough or, in some cases, inclination (willingness to engage in a lot of catch-up and mutual depression) to say words to everyone I knew, even just as we walked through the parking lot and up to the church. In the very, very long line to sign the guestbook before entering, there was this crowd of EMTs and firefighters in front of us in uniform, and I started tearing up. I’m not an overemotional person, and it caught me off guard.


Art by TheSweetMachine on the tumblr.

It was a harbinger of things to come. A bossy aunt came out not long after and told the crowd that we’d all better grab a seat inside and sign the book later, because it was getting very full in there, and we entered the church. I’d never been to St. Jude’s. It’s not by any means the smallest church in which I’ve ever heard Mass, but it wasn’t large. But it was not at all equipped, I’m proud to say, to handle the number of people at my friend’s funeral. It was literally SRO. People could’ve probably crowded the pews a little more, but a lot of the EMTs had to stay in the back near the doors because they were still on call.


“Losing My Religion” by Mrs. Colbert on the da.

Right away, on entering the church, I was up against old, old friends, serving as B-dubs’ pallbearers. So we started crying. I think, in the back of your mind, or perhaps only in mine and some of my friends’, maybe more macabre than others? or just realistic?, there is the knowledge that you will pass from this earth and enter in to whatever, if anything — I believe and hope a very real something — comes next. Sometimes you discuss it loosely with friends, like your burial/cremation wishes, songs you want involved in your memorial, etc. But you don’t take it terribly seriously. To see our old friends standing at the back of the church with white gloves and red carnation boutonnières, guiding the elderly and close relatives to seats was a profound jolt, following on the heels of the uniformed contingent reminding me of what a life of service my friend left … I basically cried for the next hour. Standing for the casket’s entry made me cry. My strong, broad-shouldered, stalwart old male friends crying as they walked that casket toward the altar made me cry. The readings made me cry. The priest’s homily made me cry. The only thing that didn’t leave me shredded was the Eucharistic prayer, maybe because I’ve had it memorized since time out of mind and it gave me time to catch my breath.


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But then my friends gave their eulogies and it was all over. It was pointed out what a remarkably, not just bullshitting like people do at funerals, but a remarkably live wire and loving spirit he was, how he literally lit up rooms and took care to take care of everyone he met. It grew as a theme that B-dubs lived his whole life, essentially, to protect and make at ease everyone else, and that we could only honor him by trying to keep taking care of each other. That’s how it ended. Everyone in the church was just in pieces. So we exited on that, this horribly emotional note. Like I said, I have been to some rough funerals, but I’ve never heard free, open weeping from so many people at a service. It was some shit, honestly, I’m not describing it well enough. God. Harrowing. Big Ben agreed it was the worst thing he’d been to so far, too. I think the priest put it best when, during his homily, after speaking about Brandon’s faith and dedication to serving others, he simply spread his hands and said, “He was too young.”


Photographed by Logan White.

After stunned chat outside the church, we caravanned to the cemetery for the graveside service. The priest said the very familiar words about dust to dust, and the valley of darkness, etc, that have always held a ritualistic comfort to me. One by one, the pallbearers came forward and placed their gloves and their boutonnières on the casket. But then — then — B-dubs’ cousin began to speak. I have very few friends, and dear they are, as specifically faithful as I am, and I am 1000000% okay with that. I’d say a majority of my friends do not believe in any god nor afterlife, and I’m truly all right with that. If they got questions about how I roll, I answer them, but I really don’t try to suggest religion to them unless I am asked. It’s been the source of debates between me and many of the people who were in attendance at these services, the idea of the co-existence of intellect and faith (hey, college).


via my pandaeraser.

This cousin began by saying that Brandon’s completion of the sacraments of the Catholic faith did not qualify him for salvation, but rather his loving relationship with God did. I was fine with that. Then, he moved forward in praise of a relationship with God and Jesus, with a format very familiar to me, that of his personal testimony about his journey to salvation. Okay. Cool. I’ve heard that lots of times and, though I sort of cringed at first, thinking, “Normally I’d be more receptive, but, come on: is this the right place — like, what has this to do with today?” I was still tentatively on board, willing to see where it lead. I’m sorry and angry still to say that it lead only to more of the same. He spoke for some easily fifteen minutes, asking everyone to read the Word (okay) and pray about it (okay), but also to repeat a personal prayer he wrote, out loud along with him. Afterward, he had us close our eyes and then said, “Raise your hand if you really repeated the prayer.”


Photograph by William Gedney, via the collection at Duke’s online library.

The uncomfortable, growing dissatisfaction I had pretty much burgeoned to full-blown dislike at that moment. At one point he threw down the Bible, but I’m not sure he noticed. He’d complained in his opening statements about not having a podium, so I’m sure that played a role, and I guess the important thing to him was what he was saying, not the source of the quotes he was citing in his very targeted proselytizing once he’d finished with them. I just know I wasn’t the only one to inadvertently have a sharp intake of breath on that one. But there was a general all-over shifting of feet and nervous sighs throughout, to be honest. This was not an issue of religious tolerance: it was an issue of inappropriateness.


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Like, dude, we are graveside. It is not an appropriate setting for a) your story; b) talking about Jesus actually very well, but relating it back to yourself again and again rather than to your cousin; and c) evangelizing to these bereaved friends of your cousin, when with a prayer for discernment it might be easily seen that now is hella not the time. Not to mention, just personally, I felt that if his argument that justification for salvation was by faith alone and not works nor acts, then why did we need to repeat his prayer and raise our hand, or not, over the issue of repeating his prayer, like guilty five-year-olds who were being asked who ate the green crayon? It all sat very, very poorly with me.


Photographed by Giasco Bertoli.

I’m Catholic, dudes. Do you just kind of always expect me to unload at some point about how you all should be, too? And how properly to do so? Because I was offended as all-git-out and I couldn’t believe how blasé some of my most atheist friends were about what to me was this needless and selfish diversion, as if they’d anticipated uncomfortable evangelistic pressure from the beginning. When Big Ben asked me in the car whether I was up to going to the family’s smaller reception after the other gauntlet points of brutal funeral and heart wrenching graveside service we’d passed, I said, “I don’t want to go anywhere that douche is going to be.” He replied immediately, “That was pretty bad. But everyone grieves differently. Would Brandon have been okay with it, since it was his cousin? Probably. He’d want his cousin to have that time.”

I wiped away my tears, started the car, and said emphatically, “Fuck that guy. If that’s how he grieves, he sucks.” We did not go to the reception.

A little under three hours later, we were in Fresno, retrieving Ben’s wallet. That joke which I am famous for is, “No one should go to Fresno. Not on purpose.” But it’s really a diverse town, like any. Anyway, after we got the wallet from his friend, the friend asked for a cigarette because his girlfriend had asked him to quit smoking and he knew we’d have one. As we stood outside, at our friend’s insistence safely behind his apartment building in case his girlfriend came home unexpectedly — yes, we ribbed him without mercy both for his dishonesty and for his paranoia — Ben described the scene at the graveside with the cousin. The friend, who’d said plainly that he did not believe in an afterlife but felt that funerals were important for the living, which I liked, asked questions about the mourners’ reaction to the cousin’s unnecessarily aggressive come-to-Jesus sidebar. I’d stayed silent about that part of the services, still steaming. Ben jerked his thumb at me and said, “She was pissed.”


“Don’t see the sorrow,” photographed by meninalua on the da.

The friend clucked his tongue but then said, “Maybe that’s how he needed to grieve.”

What the what, man? Am I the only one whose sense of outrage is not overshadowed by sorrow? Or am I the only one who is blindly seeking refuge in outrage instead of sorrow? Maybe? And not to mention, I found comfort in aspects of the funeral that were Catholic and so culturally and familially familiar to me, but what of my friends raised outside that tradition? Did not my “stand up, sit down, kneel, repeat after me, say this when I say that” comforts probably confound and alienate those friends who were not accustomed to it? What right have I got to judge which are off-putting and which welcoming religious behaviors? I was sooo mad. You should have seen me. Wet hen-style. Fairly? Not, most likely. Oh, angry, mixed-up me.


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But what I really want to say is good on those friends who gently chastised or tried to guide me back to zen-ness, for being yards more tolerant than I the alleged Christian witness of the bunch was evincing with my bitterness: they displayed a genuinely universal forgiveness for which I think many who recognize the love that bonds all things in this world without necessarily having an origin story for that love are seldom credited. I, on the other hand, wanted literally to point-blank fire a nail gun in to the eyeballs of my dead friend’s cousin’s head. Which is not at all loving. I know.

Now I’ve talked a great deal about one aspect of the day which was really not as big as I’ve made it out to be in this entry, and it’s not some hint of how repressed or larger it looms in my psyche than I knew by my writing it. It’s just that in a day so filled with grief, it was the thing I could describe with a more familiar emotion — outrage. The grief I will take a long time to get to know. The events of the day made me cry right away, as they happened, a big enough pain that I didn’t have time to push it down, it spilled over with me fully aware that I was unhappy. Most feelings don’t get that far in my cognitive process. So I know it’s going to be a journey to get cool with this dreadful shit.

Daily Batman: Batman begins

July 11, 2011

This advertisement for Detective Comics No. 27, the debut of Batman, was featured in Action Comics No. 12 in 1939. The character grew so popular that one year later he got his own title.


Batman begins. April 1939. Action comics.

Girls like a boy in a cape.

I just find it interesting that Action sold DC ad space. I mean, I guess, thinking about it, like, why not? They probably weren’t worried about competition, and comics likely still felt like a who-knows-where-this-is-going gambit. Action ruled the roost with Superman, basically starting it all. Originally just to move toy catalogs, novelty companies would include little gimicky “Adventures Of ___” strips to entice boys to pick up the next catalog and beg their Depression era single mothers to buy them all the lovely needful things inside.


Aw. Boys’ own title. Advertisement for Batman No. 1. April 25, 1940. DC.

For an actual factual account of all this, try something like The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture. But my heart belongs to the historically accurate (mainly) work of fiction, Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Oh, and Steranko’s History of Comics (foreword by Fellini). I’ll try to schedule something for later today to prove how rad Steranko is. Let them blow ya mind.

Heinlein Month: Healthy exercise

July 11, 2011


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Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.

(Robert A. Heinlein)

When I first found this quote, I thought, “Where did that come from?” I couldn’t place it and still can’t: I cannot find a source for this quote. Being as we sci-fi geeks keep pretty meticulous track of our heroes’ writing, the lack of traces to published work makes me suspect this pearl of wisdom is ascribed to Heinlein inaccurately.

But the quote itself is accurate. Yes? To my dismay, I’ve found it to be very true.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Danger, Danger — High Voltage

July 10, 2011

Fire at the disco. Fire at the Taco Bell.

I took this last month in San Francisco while in a vintage arcade machine museum. The door was shut, but I tried it anyway. The chain and the people around me prohibited further exploration. I have a problem with doing this. Like, a lot. Ask people who’ve traveled with me. I just really, really enjoy going where I’m not “supposed” to go. “Authorized personnel only,” “Employees Only,” “Keep Out,” “Do Not Enter,” “Door to Remain Closed” — that kind of phraseology chafes me: it does not sit well. When I see signs like that, I sort of get overtaken by impulse. Fuck you; is it not an area that can be walked in, and have I not got feet? Don’t ever say never to me.

Doubtless I will one day accidentally witness a heist in a warehouse after which physically comedic hijinks and fruit-stand-overturning mob evasion will lead to my false accusation by the police, and, in the process of clearing my name and regaining the stolen goods from the warehouse, a straitlaced cop who has a not-too-sad but semi-serious Secret from his past which keeps him from cutting loose will recognize me for the plucky diamond in the rough that I am, and, once I am proven innocent and the people of the village are Safe, we will totally see that our wacky personality differences mesh so crazily that they just might work, and we’ll fall in love and bang, and take the suitcase full of just a little bit of the warehouse goods to Monaco, where we will feast on cheese plates. Doubtless.

This is all true. Very plausible. Likely, even.

I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet, to tell you the truth.

A Personal Digression: For some moments in life there are no words, but I’m going to write some anyway

July 9, 2011


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He kept at true good humour’s mark
The social flow of pleasure’s tide:
He never made a brow look dark,
Nor caused a tear, but when he died.

(Thomas Love Peacock.)

I don’t talk much about myself. I do and I don’t. I don’t go in to practical, actual facts, or any great specificity beyond memories distant enough not to hurt when shared. That is the opposite of what this thought experiment was supposed to be. When I thanked everyone for joining me in the last two years, it forced me to confront the fact that I purposely stopped explicitly talking about or analyzing myself at some point along the way, when the original intent of this journal was as an unflinching self-audit. I’m going to try to sort of get back to that from time to time, as well as I can stomach it. But this is not going to become some bullshit vanity plate — I’d hate that. I’m sorry, but you’re never going to know real names of my friends and family, nor see pictures of me slutting it up on here or even obligatory self-held head and shoulder shots with oh-so-quirky expressions. I know I’m kind of hokey with a sweet rack and that my name starts with E. You just have to take my word on it.


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I bring up all this by way of explaining that I’m going to talk about myself for a sec, here. If you are not down, I am totally okay with that: skip down the page to the fun stuff. I’m not in the least bothered. This I’m writing for me, because I’m supposed to be doing that and not shying away again and again. No excuses.

So, some shit has gone down for me emotionally in the last few days. I keep the entries of the journal queued up a bit ahead of real time, most of the time, when I’m not being a lazy wretch, so this has happened in the interim of the regularly scheduled posts’ appearances. But the Liberated Negative Space below, in the previous entry, really jolted me, and galvanized me to discuss something immediate that’s been affecting my life: namely, the death of an old friend, with whom I used to be very close in school. I was told about it yesterday, around the early evening.

On the way to my eight-and-some-odd hours examination today, I took the road he was driving when the wreck which killed him happened. I purposely looked straight ahead and listened to my music, focused on the road: I didn’t want to look at the sides of the highway in case I saw pieces of his Mustang. I thought very clearly, I come this way far too often to let this have power over me. I could never drive if I thought of it every time I pass past these spots. This is the strategy I always employ with things that make me feel Ways: I staunchly use deliberately dodgy methods to keep from letting any inanimate thing like a song or stretch of highway get power over my feelings, because I’m not supposed to have those, right?

But on the way back home, maybe due to the security blanket of the divider in the center so that I could not see the other-bound direction of the road anymore, or perhaps due to the unwanted stress of the exam being off my shoulders, I thought that my earlier deliberate ignorance was actually cowardice, and, if there were ever a time for me to step out of my expressionless shellac vis-a-vis facing down hard feelings, this was the time. This is no thing to put off wading through, I told myself. This is different and deserves better treatment than what you usually give emotions.

Here is what happened: I have a friend named B, B-Dub he liked to jokingly be styled, a good friend of about twelve years, who died in a horrific car accident in the early hours of Friday morning. He was driving his 1998 Mustang along a nearby highway, when, while attempting to pass a slow semi-truck, he lost control of his car and hit the center divider of the road. Not wearing a seatbelt, he was thrown from his car and then run over by a tractor-trailer, after which he died almost instantly.

I know, right? Who the fuck does that actually happen to? It is gruesome as hell. That is action movie shit right there: that is not something that happens to someone who’s squeezed your hand during a pretend seance, or nursed your spins before taking you home. Just unbelievable, unimaginable even. The idea that my friend is dead is hard enough to wrap my mind around, let alone his last seconds of life.


Hang loose? Is that still a Thing?

I don’t really care to go in to safety and hazards in the details of the accident, etc, just now. Those are obvious, I think we can all agree. What I want to say is that, of all my old friends, and I am blessed to have more than I ever dreamt in my lonely childhood I would — which makes them all the more special to me — B was one who was a true comedian, a really blithe spirit. In late adolescence, it seems like some people are very, very funny and still have that dark or serious side off of which you feed while you pick things apart and explore your latent sarcasm and rage. Not B.


Heading out to a call for emergency.

B was all right with listening to you complain, but he was much more evolved than to do so himself, due to his, I came to realize as we grew close, well-chosen and informed, mature good nature. There was no naivete to it, and he never played the fool. He was just a joyful man, a sprite or leprechaun who burst with comic energy and always lifted your spirits. He genuinely loved to make others happy. That he would die in such a way has seemed particularly cruel to me. But why, I ask myself. It’s not a death that “fits” anyone. Doesn’t everyone remark on how vivacious and free-spirited the deceased was in their elegaic, closing remarks? Does any death suit anyone?


B-Dub is on the far right.

No. Christ, of course not. But we don’t get to live forever, at least not that I can tell as yet. People keep saying things to me like, “It just reminds you to live in the present, express your love to those who matter, live life to the fullest, because you never know,” etc., but it’s not very comforting. I guess what they really want to say is, “People die” (which I have already painfully learned) and “– your friend did. You can’t change it” (another thing I know) “So find a way to get okay with it.”


Why not get amped over snack treats?

And I’m going to try. I’m going to listen to my heart instead of suppressing it. I’m going to acknowledge what I’m feeling. What I’m feeling is exactly what everyone tells me, which I want to reject: ie, that my friend is dead, and that there is nothing that I change about it. And as I said, I’m trying to get okay with it.

And I have started by saying I’m pretty fucking well upset about it.


For some moments in life, there are no words.

(Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Mel Stuart, 1971.)

That is all.

Teevee Time: The Brady Bunch, “Choices.”

July 8, 2011

It’s Friday. Do what feels right.


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More than anything else, I adore her stupefied look of delight from beneath the towel. Florence Henderson is my little candy-coated filthy miracle. Get it, girl!

Heinlein Month: Nobody lives without love

July 8, 2011


Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965).

But, damnation, no matter how many times you get your fingers burned, you have to trust people. Otherwise you are just a hermit in a cave, sleeping with one eye open.

(Robert A. Heinlein, The Door Into Summer. New York: Doubleday, 1957.)

Of course the idea of ending up a hermit in a cave, even sleeping with one eye open, has its attractions: namely, 100% control over your life and emotions, and the certainty that others cannot hurt you. But as Heinlein points out, that’s no way to live. Love hurts. Does loneliness hurt more? It’s a conundrum. I honestly don’t know. I guess I’ll keep you posted.

Movie Millisecond: You can’t live alone

July 7, 2011


Masculin Féminin (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966).

You really can’t live alone.

Thanks for two million unique hits on this journal in its almost two years of operation. Come for the porn, stay for the shenanigans! Comment any ol’ time. You do not know how much I enjoy it.

As this is not a for-profit blog, every person who visits really does matter to me. It began as a way to force myself to write, and to subject myself to the excruciating experience I’d spent my life trying to shun, sharing myself with other people. When I shied away, I thought that I’d change focus and the journal evolved in to a sort of annotated public scrapbook, a way to share the things that matter to me with other people.


Source help wanted.

But you know, I’ve been thinking about it, and it’s really the same thing. Maybe I don’t have the courage to always talk about myself, and I instead sublimate that desire to share, that impulse to connect, into a post about a former Playmate or a digression on the mythic overtones of a poem by E.E. Cummings. But I am still sharing myself, still saying, “This is me, and this is what I am about. I’m telling you something personal.” Because the things that matter to us almost entirely comprise who we are. When you visit, and link, and comment, it ratifies my sense that I’m not alone in this universe.

If you want to introduce yourself, ask questions, or share ideas, do it, and thank you again. Here’s to two million more of us agreeing that some of the detritus we encounter in this thing called life can be pretty all right — even meaningful.

I truly appreciate the company.

Daily Batman: Alpha, Beta

July 7, 2011

Not everyone is hardwired to jostle for the alpha position. Por ejemplo, check out the little Robin in the mix above. Kid’s got bottom written all over him. I’m beta and we can smell our own. No shame in a name, li’l dude.

Take-two Tuesday — The Way They Were: Egon and Wally

July 5, 2011

This entry was originally posted March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am.

Yesterday I was reminded that I had a bunch of these “Way They Were” entries planned and had only followed through on one (Jayne and Mickey). That’s cowardly. I’m going to try to motor through more in the coming months.


“Sitzende Frau mit hochgezogenem Knie”/”Seated woman with bent knee”, 1917.

Although artist Egon Schiele had been separated from Valerie “Wally” Neuzil and married to Edith Harms for two years by the date of this painting, most everyone agrees this is from an earlier study of Wally. It looks too much like her not to be, and he uses the colors that are associated with the Wally work. It’s my favorite work by him. It was on the cover of the Schiele book that my husband, who is a painter, had at our house in Portland, and was the entire reason I found myself opening and reading the book one day. I was interested in Schiele’s work, which is provocative and weird and has many shockingly modern features, all things I like, but, because his life was tragically cut short by disease, his career arc is brief. Coming away from the slim book about his life and art, I felt that his work was dominated by the chief feature of his life, which is to say in a nutshell his time with the real love of his life, which he royally fucked up, and it was the story of that, of Egon’s eventually jacked-beyond-repair relationship with Wally Neuzil that really sucked me in.


“Das Modell Wally Neuzil”/”The model Wally Neuzil.” 1912.

Artist Egon Schiele and his model, Valerie “Wally” Neuzil, were together from 1911 to 1915. He met her in Vienna when she was seventeen and he was twenty-one. Supposedly they were introduced by Gustav Klimt. Supposedly she had been Klimt’s mistress before she got together with Schiele. These things are all conjecture because everyone involved is dead, and they happened before the Great War, which so influenced the German-speaking art world in the years just following it that anything which contributed to or influenced an artist’s work before the War kind of fell by the wayside until later generations resumed their scholarship of turn of the century artists. That’s fair. Such radical changes happened during and after the War that I imagine it seemed crazy, outdated, and irrelevant to really consider too deeply the little emotional outbursts and criminal trials that came before the dramatic political events of the 1910’s and 20’s that literally reshaped the landscape.


“Rothaarige hockende Frau mit grünen Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Crouching figure with green stockings” (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

Egon and Wally left Vienna because they considered it too oppressive. They sought an inspirational, romantic, and bucolic lifestyle of freedom in the countryside, moving to Krumia — which also had the more practical benefit of much cheaper rent than Vienna — where, though Schiele’s mother was born there, they were summarily run out of town not too long after for being a little too inspirational, romantic, and bucolic: they’d been using the town’s teenagers as “models”. There’s a Schiele museum there now, so I guess that, like cream cheese, their hearts eventually softened to a spreadable cracker topping. That analogy got out of control in a hurry. It’s almost time for me to grab lunch, sorry.


“Wally in roter Blouse mit erhobenen Knien”/”Wally in red blouse with raised knees.” 1913.

Essentially fleeing the angry mob in Krumia, Egon and Wally moved again, this time north to Nuelengbach, where it was apparently same shit, different day, as they were not there even six months and Schiele was arrested for seducing a minor. Once in custody, they dropped that charge (apparently the young lady changed her tune when the absinthe wore off?) and an abduction charge the parents had insisted be levied originally, and instead tried and found him guilty of displaying inappropriate art in a place where minors could see it. He was released from prison after serving twenty-four days in April 1912 — are you getting the idea of what an awesome prince he was? such the lucky girl, that Wally — and they moved back to the Vienna area.


“Auf einem blauen Polster Liegende mit goldblondem Haar (Wally Neuzil)”/”Reclining female figure with gold blonde hair on a blue pillow (Wally Neuzil).” 1913.

Settled with Wally in Heitzing, a Viennese suburb, Schiele wrote to a friend in early 1915 that he was going to marry one of the Harms sisters, two locksmith’s daughters named Edith and Adele who lived across the street from his studio, for money. I guess running around for three years painting erotic pictures and pissing people off while sleeping with teenagers and doing jail time had not turned out to be the lucrative life of luxury he’d anticipated; the cash flow was getting low, and, despite that he considered Wally his partner and soulmate, marrying for money was Schiele’s timeless solution to their financial woes. He followed through on this, marrying the older of the daughters, Edith, on June 17, 1915, exactly 91 years before my own wedding day.


“Frau in Unterwäsche und Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Woman in underwear and stockings (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

A few days after his wedding, Schiele was called to the war, but managed to always serve in Austria, so he was able to continue with his art and stay close to his ties in Vienna. Wally had broken up with him when he told her he was getting married. Schiele wrote to friends expressing shock and grief: he’d actually expected her to understand and stay with him. He wrote a letter to Wally asking her to meet him at a billiards parlor that he liked to go to. There he gave her another letter, proposing that every year they go on an extended holiday, without his wife. She did not write back or respond positively to this. Instead, she left him and never saw him again.


“Frau mit schwarzen Strümpfen – Valerie Neuzil”/”Woman with black stockings – Valerie Neuzel.” 1913.

I was furious when I read this. I still remember sitting in my little house in Portland and my jaw dropping, and my blood boiling, all this anger and resentment simmering in me, directed at people I never met who’d been dead nearly a century, but I couldn’t help it. I hate him for marrying someone else, I hate him and I hate the story of how they were because it reveals that through all that time they spent together, Schiele must have considered Wally lower than him, and though she stood by him , asshole though he could be, he thought her to be the unimportant one, expendable and suppressable, and he literally threw her away like garbage even though she was the best thing that had happened to him; his drawings of her are the best things he did. But that is how some stories are, and I deserve to feel angry because I need to accept that, I have to work through my sadness about the fact that nothing and no one has ever been perfect not even for a day or an hour or a moment, every joyful thing is secretly riddled through with the knowledge that this is so good now because there will be pain later and every lucky penny has a tail side of the coin, and if I have to search my soul and see if there is any gold in the dross of this love story that I in my infantile understanding of human nature found so devastating than I guess I must say that I do love that Schiele really loved Wally in an incredibly broken way, and had that time with her in which there must surely have been good moments.


Photograph of Wally and Egon from the Schiele Museum online.

Schiele died only three years after his breakup with Wally, on Halloween 1918, in an influenza epidemic which had several days earlier killed Edith and their unborn child. He passed away completely unaware that Wally Neuzil had herself succumbed to death from disease around Christmas of the previous year. She’d become a nurse for the Red Cross and, stationed at Split in Dalmatia, she caught scarlet fever from one of her patients and died in the same hospital at which she’d been working for over a year.

edit 7/6/11. Question for discussion: on a large enough timeline, aren’t we and all our petty passions and tragedies truly sound and fury, don’t we signify nothing after all? I want to think not — likely only because of vanity and childish fear of my own meaninglessness — but it seems so true.

Daily Batman: Talk nerdy to me, Darth Vader edition

July 5, 2011


via.

“I am your father.”

“My parents are deaaaaaad!”

Origin of the “My parents are deeaaaaaaad!” joke.

Referenced previously on this journal here, here, here, and here.

Did You Know? Darth Vader, the only man I’ve ever loved, was rated by the A.F.I. as the #3 Greatest Villain of All Time. That is very significant to me because of the high regard in which I hold the A.F.I.’s vital, meticulously reasoned “top” lists. I give them nearly the weight of the breathtakingly judicious Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.


Where is my mind.

In case your sarcasm early-warning systems are offline for routine maintenance today, I’m being a brat because I think #3 is weaksauce. When was the last time you saw a little kid dressing up as Hannibal Lecter for Halloween? Or Norman Bates? When was the last time everyone, everywhere, age 4 to 70, understood exactly who you meant when you made a breathing sound into your hands for Hannibal and Norman the way they do for Vader? Never is the answer. Never.

All my love to the #1 and #2 villains, but … I just don’t know. Maybe I should do a villain series … something like “Baby, You’re No Good” — oh, this idea has legs. Catch you on the flip, I got thoughts to jot!

Advice: Eff the ineffable and See you on the flip!

July 4, 2011

Still phoning it in. This post is originally from last year, but I took out the stuff about the Wonder Woman project (later aborted because when it comes to her I’ve got the attention span of a baby gnat). This year I’m needing to let go of my anxiety about a job with an amazing non-profit for which I interviewed last Friday and I Really, Really, Really want. So the advice still stands!


via.

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

(Douglas Adams.)

Let go and get in that “jump!” frame of mind. Eff the ineffable, indeed, and don’t let all the shit that doesn’t matter get in the way of the shit that does.

Happy Fourth of July — ‘scuse me while I slap on my Wonder Woman wunderoos and conquer the world! Scheduling a Daily Batman, maybe a Girl of Summer and then I will catch you on the flip.

Fight Club Friday: Where there’s smoke …

July 1, 2011


Art by de-lune on the d.a.

“Recycling and speed limits are bullshit,” Tyler said. “They’re like someone who quits smoking on his deathbed.”

(Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club. Chapter 16.)

Quitting smoking is going crazy well. I feel really good about it.


“In the Flesh” by JKB Fletcher, 2010.

I have gone back to plucking individual hairs from my body and stripping them down with my fingernails to curl them up like little tiny frayed wrapping ribbons, but since it’s not in a frenzy or anything I’m pretty sure it would take, like, forever for that to realistically impact my appearance, so I’m not too worried.

Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

Daily Batman: Talk nerdy to me, “Grok this” edition

July 1, 2011


Photograph by mandysparky on the d.a.

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

(Robert A. Heinlein.)

Grok it, dudes.

A whopping happy FIFTIETH FUCKING BIRTHDAY to Stranger In A Strange Land. Can’t believe Valentine Michael Smith has been rolling through the cultural landscape for half a century. R.I.P. to wonderful Robert Heinlein, who died on a May 8th, by the by, in case you’re keeping track of my apocalyptic ramblings.

You are only an egg. Now get out there and make some water brothers in Heinlein’s memory.


This is what the cover of my copy looks like.

You know what? This was going to be Bradbury Month but let’s bump that to September: that’s nice synchronicity anyway because that’s my birthday month and he’s my fave-ohs. July is now officially Robert Heinlein Month! Balloons and confetti just fell on us all!

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: PSA, No one wants to fuck you

July 1, 2011

PSA: No one wants to fuck you. Sorry it had to come to graffiti on plywood but you just weren’t getting the message.


via. It looks as though someone tried to cross it out to make it read, “EVERYONE” but the original artist returned to merely underscore “no” in reply.

Why This Is Relevant: a daring and austere one-act ripped from the headlines.

Scene: Gas station.

Dramatis personae: Good ol’ E., pluckily on line to pick up smokes for panda on another Manic Monday; dark hair, blue dress with white polka dots, determined expression — let’s have a quick trip.
Man in inside-out shirt, black-on-black Pittsburgh Pirates hat, leaning heavily on walker with a basket attached: the basket is filled with an 18-pack of beer stood tall, buffeted by two 40 oz. bottles of beer. The man is visibly swaying from drinking already. He has meth face and flicky eyes. The overall effect is not pitiable but emphatically creepy.
Cashier, not important but an ugly person should play her because she is absolutely not good at keeping her customers from getting in to weird situations.

MAN: I like your dress.
E: Thank you.
MAN: It looks good on you.
E: Thanks.
MAN: I like … how it looks.
E: …
MAN: I’ve got a cab. I’m not driving.
E: Cool — you a big Pirates fan?
MAN: What?
E: Your hat.
MAN: I have this hat.
E: Right.
MAN: For the Pirates?
E: Yeah, the Phillies are doing so well this year, it must kind of be tough for Pirates fans to take. Rivalries and all, right?
MAN: I think … I like … the A’s.
E: Okay.
MAN: You’re pretty. You’re the prettiest girl I’ve seen … (long pause) today.
E: Well — thanks.
MAN: Can I call you?
E: I need to think about that.
CASHIER: I can help who’s next.
MAN: You want to go in front of me?
E: VERY MUCH.

Scene.

To quote Liz Lemon, “Another successful interaction with a male!”