Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Questions in a World of Blue

"If I had a nickel for every cigarette your mother smoked, I'd be dead," said Donna Hayward somewhere in a time loop I can't figure out.

David Lynch nailed it. Life, like his visions, is really just a reel of ambiguous images jumbled together in a meaningless sequence. But stuff keeps coming up, and even though you question the director's plan — or even if he has a plan or even if the director exists — these weird recurrences beg you to interpolate a meaning.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Head Over Heels

Wilted plants make me happy.

I leave and the plants go droopy. Sure, they're week-old sproutlings that go droopy if you shoot them a nasty look, but it's oddly comforting to know that something suffers when I leave. I'm needed — by plants, of course, but needed nonetheless.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The Show of Life

A short play by the little-known Billy Shakesbad.
Old Nick: Woe be woman, whose fate it is to serve.

Mephista: May thy tongue shrivel, that it spews such falsehoods.

Old Nick: Ah, but does not a man pull thy strings?

Mephista: We are all but puppets of greater powers.

Old Nick: Puppets? As in the show of life? Truly, birth doth draw wide the curtains. And woman, are thy lines scripted? In that I can be no one but myself, I can say only my lines. So sad, to be so constrained.

Mephista: It is I who feel for thee. Thine own role and fate has ever been written, while mine own changes with each breath. Yea, tho puppet I be, it is hope, faith, and love that pulls my strings.

Old Nick: Woman, mine ears do sting from thy tongue. I shall away in search of easier folly!
I have no idea what made me think of these devilish puppets after all these years. I wonder if I will think of them again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

S, I'm Late

I return from the smoggy snarl of highways called the Greater Los Angeles area, the land where Jake Gittes got his nose slashed and Betty Elms killed her dream. I hate LA. It's a nasty place where bad people come from, I think. Nonetheless, it's also where three things are presently situated:
  • Marisa, who's leaving soon
  • the Los Angeles Times, which is probably staying)
  • possibly, my future.
The Times newsroom is like the Nexus newsroom, if it grew out in every direction so far that I can't see the end of the hallways. I could have gotten lost in cubicles and paper stacks. People work, hunched at cluttered desks — just like the Nexus, only older and less attractive. The constrained glee I like about the Nexus is gone however.

That must be how grown-ups get work done: sans glee.

I would have to mail in an application for a summer internship by January 1. I think I will, even if the hiring editor Marisa introduced me to today is the very definition of a hardass, a guy I couldn't impress with a case of roid rage and a baseball bat. Returning to the LA Times newsroom would mean totally victory and utter defeat of everything I have ever worked for. Moving to LA would be triumph and anti-triumph — yes and no — all and nothing — cucumbers and pomegranates.

I dread ever going back to LA. Ever. There's so much opportunity, true. But I'm picky enough that digging through that dry scab of a city doesn't hold the appeal, especially when life in Saint Foreigner is easy, what with sprouts in the backyard and lightning over the ocean. Still, there's nothing for me here. And I got a little charge — the square root of lightning? — watching Marisa write a news story out of the Amber Alerts I saw on the drive down.

Figgidy figgidy figgidy. Think, man. Think.

Monday, November 10, 2003

For Esme, With Love and Squalor

Somehow, El Colegio Road reminded me that I miss this last summer. I haven't thought about places like London and Paris in weeks, but I realized on the drive home from work that I wished I could go back — right now — and then I could appreciate it all again, even though I wanted to leave so badly those last few days.

Maybe it's Isla Vista that's gotten old and maybe it's a good idea that I'm heading home this weekend, even it's to an empty house (plus a dog). I think I remembered Europe on the streets of I.V. because they're so empty and ugly and leading to nowhere I want to go. The Pasado House is different; it's my sanctuary against all the stuff I don't want to deal with. The Nexus office, too, I guess, even with it's high stone walls and drainy fluorescent lights — a womb if I was a stucco-and-wax robot. Like a movie set, kind of, but far from the train station in Florence, for sure.

No, I'm trapped on the set of some workplace sitcom...

[ a [[brackets]] break ]

[twyla cut ten inches off her hair and i think it looks awful but she donated the hair she cut to wigs for cancer children, so i think it actually looks very pretty on her.]

[bonnie is moving back to colorado, to solve the jon benet murder, i imagine. i feel bad that she's not happy enough to stay, because beyond a talent for words she has a quality about her that other people sorely lack, even if i can't put my finger on it. i guess she's a real person, after all, and i shouldn't keep her around to make me feel better. besides, kidnapping is illegal.]

I thought about Agnes and Kristen and Charlie today, too, and those three haven't been a unit in my mind since before school started. I wonder how they are now, in Paris, Capetown, and Berkeley, respectively. I finally triumphed over the Mystery Mono. I guess November must seem dull, especially in the wake of Halloween. It's been a while since they changed of scenery and I'm getting terribly bored.

Medication or not, I've been acting out lately. It's not like me to destroy a painting. To black it out then drown it in red and then let Nate take an axe to it.

Maybe I'm changing again.


Sunday, November 9, 2003

The End of the Mushroom Kingdom

(A weekend tally) Axe: One; Art: Zero. Realizing that my painting would never resolve itself and would therefore continue to dominate my mind like some evil taskmaster, I threw it into the rain. As the canvas glided over me, it clipped the back of my head. I now have a big lump at the site of impact.

Wait five minutes.

Damned if I didn't think the rain streaks somehow improved the painting. I tried to rescue it. I had actually brought it back inside when I realized my follow and handed the piece to Nate and told him to go to town with the axe.

It was for the better.

End intermission. Resume regular broadcast.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Old Me

Sick. Too sick to write.

The doctor said the steroids might make me confused and irritible, so basically I am an elderly person now.