Sunday, September 30, 2007

You Try to Give Away a Keeper

Random thoughts:

1. I think it is weird that Lisa Loeb actually sings on the New Found Glory cover of Stay. I have always loved that song but for some reason I don't like their version. It just doesn't the same 'majik'- even with Miss Loeb's vocal additions.

For some reason, every time I listen to the original I regress mentally to back when I used to watch Reality Bites and dream of being older and cool like Ethan Hawke. To be in a cool band and have Winona Ryder be in love with me. It became somewhat of an obsession for me. I wanted life to feel like Reality Bites so much. I was in 4th grade. I had just moved to Iowa and still hadn't made any friends in Iowa City (not that I had any in Seattle) and I just wanted to be smarter and more clever than everyone else. Ethan Hawke and Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club were people I aspired to be. Even when I watch Reality Bites to this day I still feel that pang of "I wish my life felt like that- maybe it will... someday, when I'm older" - which, it occurred to me, is truly pathetic since I am now OLDER than any of the characters in the film. That just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

How is that possible?!?!

Ugh. It makes me sad. I'm changing the subject.

(back to the New Found Glory cover album, the Amelie song is a travesty. Ditto 'Don't You Forget About Me'. I don't mind 'The Promise' or 'Iris' though.)

2. If I win this Dashboard Confessional contest I've decided on a few things I will buy. Here they are...

A. A new pair of glasses.
B. One of those speakers that you plug your iPod into.
C. A mini button machine.
D: A nice pair of sunglasses.
E. A real haircut by someone else other than myself making fists of hair and cutting off whatever sticks through my fingers.

This post will serve as an annoying reminder of my counted chickens if I don't win. As will gazing through the scratched lenses of my old glasses.

3. I get paid on the 5th of October. It will be the first substantial pay check since like May, I'm happy to not be so incorrigibly broke this month. Goodbye peanut butter sandwiches and .99 cent bottles of generic grape soda. Eff you. I never loved you. it was all a lie!

The only lame thing is that until then I am totally broke. Like- TOTALLY broke. Like right now I don't have any money for gas and I am on E (for empty). Hopefully I will get through it without eating Nelson (JUST KIDDING! If we were starving, I'd let him eat me.)

4. It's hard to motivate myself to go to the gym lately because part of me has resigned myself to the idea of being alone for the rest of my life. Yes I go for me as much as anyone else but lately I've just felt so alone that it seems like if no one even looks at you longer than 10 seconds, why bother being anything less than a slovenly freak? It takes all the effort I have these days just to comb my hair or brush my teeth. As far as girls go, I've decided that I am way too picky and have such a specific type that I like and those girls just aren't real. They only exist on film or fantasy.

Amelie. Felicity. These women do not actually exist. They are fictitious. And- just in case you thought I'd forgotten, both were created by MEN. So yeah. I guess I'm gay. Deal with it family! I have! I'm just a big ol' gay guy!

5. I want to use the word 'advantageous' more in my speech. It is a silly goal I know, but I like to throw random words into my vocabulary til they are just naturally there. The only problem is that then I use them too much. It becomes a problem. It's like because I made such an effort to include them in my speech, they become the first word in my mental database of words and can feel forced.
"Hey man, you wanna get some thai food and catch a movie? I think it'd be advantageous of us."
"Why what?"
"Why would it be advantageous of us?"
"Uh... because. It would be to our advantage to eat good food and see a movie."
"No it wouldn't. What 'advantage' would we have?"
"We would have the ADVANTAGE over hunger and boredom. Those bastards have been on my ass for the last 25 years and it's time they PAID!"
"Uhh... okay. Whatever man."

Sleep well.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Fathers of Fortunate Sons

(5 things that should come as a surprise to no one.)

1. I saw "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" last night. It blazed my face off. I loved it. Not as much as I loved "Sunshine" but it is at a pretty solid number 2 on my favorite movies of the year.

2. The new Iron & Wine record: "The Shepherd's Dog" is great. I highly recommend it. A great album. Once again, Mr. Beam does not disappoint. There are signs of growth (this is more of a 'band' record) but it never feels unfamiliar.

3. The new Dashboard Confessional album is pretty good. It totally feels like it should have come out between "The Places You've Come To Fear The Most" and "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar." With his last two records there was a pretty high "skip" quotient (the number of songs I skip vs. the ones I... don't.) but this one is actually much lower. The best songs on the album are (in my opinion): Where There's Gold, Matters of Blood and Connection and the title track The Shade of Poison Trees, which, I'm sure will either be the soundtrack a million high school proms or a million lame teen TV melodramas- but I say that with love because the song is really good.

It's just, y'know... yeah.

4. "Blankets" by Craig Thompson is good even on the 2nd reading- though it felt very strange to read again because when I read it the first time, I was still with Heather and so now when I read it, I had a totally different perspective. Now I read it and it feels even closer to me. Even more intimate. Even more specific. Now I relate to his heart break in a way that I didn't before. When I read it before, I had a more vague memory of what it felt like to watch love die but now it is still so fresh in my mind. Heather and I had read it together and felt its connection to our lives in a mostly sort of 'hindsight' point of view- which, while my reaction to it before was intense, it never felt as intense as it did when I read it this time. It brought back so many memories. Not only of experiences that it reflected in my life but of the person I was when I read it the first time. It made me feel drunk on melancholy and nostalgia in that painful and yet slightly pleasurable way that only great art that you connect with your life can.

That said, the ending still bugs me. Him falling away from his faith feels so rushed. I'm sure in real life it was much more of a journey but it felt like he kinda jumps to the end of that journey in the book. I still pray for him though. I still hope that he comes back to the faith because his work is so inspiring.

I wanna read a new great book. I need something that is new to me that will inspire me for the first time. Life always feels just a little more dramatic, just a little more special when you're sharing it with a great character. The last one I read was The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I need another one of those. A new "Blankets". Maybe it will be Tompson's next book although I doubt it since it has (reportedly) something to do with the middle east. But I am excited to read it. He posted some pages from it and the sight of new artwork by him made me feel warm inside. Like an old friend.

5. It's always a little bittersweet whenever Adrian Tomine releases a trade paperback of his comics. The new one "Shortcomings" was like 8 years in the making. I've already read all of the individual comics (though I'm sure I'll still by the trade- I did with the last one "Summer Blonde"). I wasn't a huge fan of the story and knowing that he's probably going to wait another 2 years before he publishes even another issue of Optic Nerve kinda pisses me off. Bro needs to get on it. If a band even put out stuff as infrequently I'd be annoyed. Especially if it felt as rushed (ironically) as these three issues did. Anyone who knows me or has read any of my blogs in the past knows this rant so I'll spare you all- but I'll say this, if you haven't read the Optic Nerve issues, check out the book but be warned that it is a let down. It is not as good as "Summer Blonde" or "Sleep Walk" and does not bode well if this is what we have to look forward to with Mr. Tomine- another 8 years for what is (in my mind) a disappointing result. Just a fair warning, that's all.

Sleep well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"WORKADAY" - By Joseph M. Petrick

The following is the short story that is to be published soon. (Hooray.)


By Joseph M. Petrick

I think the door is broken. I’m standing behind the register at the Kum and Go Gas Station and I’m counting the number of times the little bell rings as someone enters or exits the store. Normally it’s just the once. A kind of a doorbell type sound. Still the familiar “bing-bong” chime but more electronic, like an impression of a doorbell made by a digital watch. Also you don’t have to press anything to hear it. You just walk in or out. Like I said, usually the bell only rings once but when working an eight hour shift, once is plenty and today every time someone steps through the door it goes
“bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”

“It’s been like this since three.” I say to Patrick, my manager. “Some old guy in a wheelchair was having trouble getting through the door; the bell just kept going off, again and again and ever since it’s been like this. Do you think you could fix it?” I ask.

“Dunno. I’ll call a guy and have him check it out on Monday.” He says, with as much authority as he can muster on the subject of mechanical know-how. As though offhandedly referring to some nameless man will assuage my annoyance. A small part of me considers inquiring further as to just who this “guy” would be and whether he went to some kind of university to acquire his vast knowledge of electronic doorbell repair or if it was just a course he took at The Learning Annex. But then, that would require voluntarily communicating with Patrick, which is something I’ve learned to avoid as much as possible, due mostly to my lack of interest in either NASCAR or chewing tobacco products, for which Patrick seems to have an uncanny ability to segue any conversation into if given even a few brief sentences with which to navigate.

I’ve been here eight months now. The same eight months since I dropped out of school. At the time it felt like a good idea, smart even. Get a job and make money. Money for an eventual apartment, eventual car payments, eventual cable TV with eventual dirty channels. Start to live my life, whatever that means. Be like... a citizen with a job, not just a kid with a diploma, all wide-eyed and full of optimism. Because we can’t ALL be doctors, we can’t ALL be lawyers and firemen, we were taught to dream of noble goals. What they didn’t tell us was that not everyone gets their wish. Some may just drop out and get a shitty job at a gas station.

When you work at a gas station people tend to lose any qualities of individuality from one another. They simply join their rank in a kind of short lineup of regulars. Frat boys begging to be sold beer past 2 AM after all the bars have closed. There could be fifty of them one night or there could be one. It wouldn’t matter. They might all sport a variety of different colognes but the fact that they all stink of wearing too much of it binds them together. Broke college kids who spent all their allowance on weed and then pay for three and a half dollars of gas in pennies inevitably sort their change out on the counter, carefully picking out the stems that linger in their pockets and rejoicing at the discovery of a silver coin will become faceless in a surprisingly short amount of time. While these people may think they live their own, separate, interesting, maybe even important lives, to me they’re just another in a long line of poor imitations of themselves. Like a Halloween party where everyone accidentally wore the same masks, their vague semblance of identity will never supersede the overall stereotype that is their lives.
That’s what’s great about this job, because you do the judging. You ring up their Mountain Dew and their Marlboro Reds and say “have a nice day” and all from the safety of your little box behind the register, away from the quiet, needling possibility that you too could fit into one of these groups.

It’s almost seven. Right about now is when the used car guys get off work. In the morning they buy coffee and Maxim and Visine, recounting their stories of the previous night’s x-rated mischief. At noon they buy Red Bull and microwave burritos and bullshit with the bicycle cops. Soon they’ll be here for scratch-off tickets, taking their sweet time to delicately decide which particular cards they will waste their money on today and act as though there is a science to their idiocy. As though luck and mathematics had worked out some kind of harmonic deal just for them.

“Gimmie uh... hmm... uh... gimmie... two ‘Gobs and Gobs’ and a ‘Pot O’ Gold’ and three ‘Money Trees.’” If there is a certain indignity to leaving a convenience store, with the knowledge that you’ve blown fifty dollars on a scratch-off game called ‘Biggie Bucks,’ then these guys are impervious to it. As well as, to the irony of blowing half a paycheck on a game called ‘Easy Money’ and walking away with only a ten-dollar winner.

These guys make it a point to know your name and they love to use it. “JIMMY-JIMMY-JIMMY!” they yell excitedly upon entrance. “Whacha got for me today? A winner? I want me a winner, Jimmy!” And you can’t help but feel sorry for them, because truly, this is their only form of intimacy. Because their view of romance includes little nuggets of advice like the fact that some strippers, if you give them even just a LITTLE bit of coke, will totally do anything for you. Anything.

Worst of all though, is the fact that while you’re paid to be here all day long, they come in of their own free will. They choose to know our duty schedule and memorize the price of a refill for a 64-ounce ‘cup’ of coffee. So you humor them and laugh at their stupid jokes about blondes and Polish people and Michael Jackson. You smile when they enter and wave goodbye when they leave but secretly you worry that a pathetic existence is some how contagious.

“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.” A homeless man enters with a bag of dirty cans he’s pulled from every gutter and dumpster in town. He smiles a toothless yellow grin and for a moment I wonder if he’s secretly a genius. Dressed in rags, he would spout poetic ramblings and recite Nietzsche or Tolstoy and wax intellectually about the materialistic nature of our society and other profundities concerning our addiction to “stuff.” Maybe he’d look at me and immediately notice that I was special. That I was somehow above this place and these people. We’d become friends, our relationship growing to that of a mentor and his pupil and culminating with a dramatic heart attack, leaving him dying in my arms and reminding me breathlessly that through it all, life moves far too fast and should be cherished- to never forget to live every moment like it’s my last.

The man belches and adjusts his “Beaver University” baseball cap and I decide that perhaps I need to watch fewer Hallmark Original Movies.

I count out his cans, each rattling with damp cigarette butts like the marbles in so many spray paint canisters and ring up four dollars. He brings over two 40 ounce bottles of ‘Miller High Life’ and I do my best not to find the situation more than a little humorous. Why the cheapest beer is called ‘High Life’ I will never fully understand. ‘Colt 45’ makes sense. The ‘Silver Bullet’ would also be an appropriate moniker for a tool used most commonly to dull the pain of one’s miserable life. But, isn’t ‘High Life’ a smack in the face to anyone destitute enough to purchase it? Before I can make up my mind it’s, “bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong” and my penniless mentor is gone.

There are worse jobs to have in the world. There must be. Any job where you are forced to wear a stupid hat or chirp mindless slogans when you sell a McWhatever would qualify. Such phrases might include “Have a burger-licious day!” and “thanks again and remember that here at the Taco Hut, it’s always a fiesta!”
Other jobs on the list are as follows: tele-marketer, complaint supervisor for a computer company and ‘the guy who cleans up isle five’. These are jobs where the best day one can hope for is only slightly less shitty than the worst. “I was only called an asshole twelve times today!” or, “At least this time it was only pee.” might be a jubilant huzzah for some, but for me, only further proof that even the promise of a steady pay check can have its limits.

If I had stayed in school I would have graduated today. This is the sort of thinking that gets you into trouble when you have a job at a gas station. Looking back day-to-day, recounting the mistakes you’ve made, it’s enough to make you wonder why they don’t take your belt and shoelaces away when they hire you.

“Is this really my life?” In the quiet moments between the self-righteous judgments of our patrons, I’ve found that question staring me in the face more often than I had expected when I dropped off the application. People compromise, that’s what they do. Some guys work their whole lives as mailmen and insurance salesman and janitors. Did they dream of it in their youth? Of course not. But somewhere along the line their dream of being an astronaut or a professional wrestler went south and this is their second place. A consolation in the form of a weekly pay stub and all the alcohol it takes to make them forget the hours that it represents.

Yet, there are happy people. Who am I to say that just because a guy is a janitor he’s miserable? What gives me the right to say that’s not exactly where he wants to be? Maybe he has a wife and kids that he loves and that he enjoys bringing a paycheck home to. Maybe he has a hobby, something that he enjoys doing. Or maybe he still dreams of something better, something he’s been saving for all his life. He could be the first man to invent an affordable jet pack or a cleaner burning fuel. Something that could really help the world, improve it even. Who says that a man’s life, his worth, his entire being is dictated by his job?

I have this argument with myself every so often. Sometimes, the idealist wins and I decide that this is only temporary. It is a transition between the past and the future that I’m bound to be meant for; the prologue to the biography of my life and to all the adventures and wisdom that is contained within its pages. Other times, these far more frequent, the cynic in me wins and I resign myself to a destiny where all the numbers end in nine and every magazine has 108 more ways to arouse your partner.

The bell rings its familiar harassment and I find myself greeted by familiar faces and a dress code suitable for photos with Grandma.

“Hey Jim.” Says Will, an old friend of a friend with a smile so sickeningly sweet you expect it to come with a badge that reads: WELCOME TO WALMART.

“Hi.” I say and toss a smile to his girlfriend whose name I never bothered learning but with friends referred to as: ‘Toothy’.

“You working tonight?” he asks. “I’m sorry, that was dumb, obviously you’re working.”

“Yup.” I say. “Did you just get back from graduation?”

“Yeah. My mom had a dinner thing we went to after. Now we’re just... hanging out.” He says. “You got any plans once you get off?”

“Umm, not really, no.”

“Well hey, we’re going to a party over at Weaver’s place, you should come!”
I think this over for a moment, which is all it takes for me to decide that “Mitch Weaver’s celebratory beer bust” is perhaps the very last place that I would like to be tonight. I can’t be sure of this however, because there are so many horrible places that I’ve never been: a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp for example. Still, for all I can imagine, it’s hard not to assume that I would still rather hear the shrill command of “Didi Mow!” than “CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!”

“Yeah, maybe.” I say.

“Cool man. I’ll see you there.”

Then before I know it, “Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.” and both Walmart and Toothy are gone.

I never should have dropped out. Seeing their faces, their bright, hopeful faces and it’s clear to me now. I wonder if there’s still time to get my shit together. Maybe get my G.E.D. Maybe figure out something that I actually like doing and would enjoy devoting myself to.

But then... no. One could devote an entire lifetime to something only to watch it fail and I just don’t know if I could handle that kind of rejection- be it destiny, fate or otherwise.

In the end, maybe it’s better to just move with life like an unmanned boat in the ocean. Why fight the current? Why not just allow it to take you through the seasons, enjoying the simple pleasures as they drift past: music, movies, good friends, girlfriends.

I should be a Buddhist. I bet I’d be a good one. I could be like ‘Super Buddhist’ and when I arrive at the temple, the wise, old, leader of the Monks would look at me and just know that I would barely even need any training because I already knew so much instinctively. Even the karate skills would probably just come naturally. Then maybe I’d just wander the earth, sleeping under bridges, solving the occasional crime and seducing women with my wise, yet simple credos about beauty and truth.

When I’d leave them, they’d beg me not to go, sobbing:

“But Master! I’ve so much left to learn!” But I’d just turn to them dramatically and say something like:

“The only lessons that remain- are the ones you must teach yourself.” Then a gust of wind and I’d blow away like dust.
Yeah, I’d like that. But there really aren’t any Buddhist monasteries around Iowa City.
At least, none that I know of.

I wonder who I could have been if I hadn’t been born as me. Who’s eyes would I have been looking through, seeing through. Maybe if I’d just made different choices.

I once saw a movie in which Bill Murray had to repeat the same day, over and over again. At first he didn’t understand what was going on but gradually he began to accept the reality of his situation and enjoy the meaninglessness of it. He took chances and risks without a second thought because he knew that he wouldn’t face any consequences and cultivated a number of different personalities because regardless of whether he was a wonderful, giving, gentle man or a greedy, mean spirited jerk- each day he would wake up to Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe,” knowing that none of it mattered. In many ways I related to his struggle because for me, as the days go on, they begin to look so similar to the each other that it’s getting harder and harder to tell them apart. Am I stuck in a similar conundrum? Is my life becoming some kind of sick, skipping record?

I think this and I begin to wonder how much cash might sit in the register at this exact moment. I imagine myself, taking the money, leaving the store and just running away. Who would I be then? Whose eyes would I see through then? Would I wake up tomorrow morning to the tune of “I Got You Babe” or would something... change?

I can almost feel the money in my hands. The sweaty, wrinkled dollars, gripped tightly in my fist, their starchy texture wilting within my clenched fingers. I can almost see their faces, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and under the drawer, Benjamin Franklin, all smiling and cheering me on in charming British accents.

“This is the right thing to do!” says George Washington “And I cannot tell a lie!”

Then, out of nowhere it hits me. Some how, without really even knowing how I got here, I stand in front of the open register. I hold a small wad of bills. Suddenly my breath is short. I’m sweating. I feel every single nerve in my body, standing on end. My eyelids, heavy, like the giant curtains of a Broadway show, begging to sweep closed to uproarious applause. My heart feels like it’s beating at a million miles an hour and yet everything feels like it’s moving in slow motion. I curl my toes into fists within my shoes and I let the curtains fall. I see the words: RUN. LEAVE. GET OUT. ESCAPE. I see them in the darkness and I hear my mind agree.

I take in a breath. I wait.

And then... and then... and then ....

I exhale. I shake off the haze and I open my eyes. I wait for my heart to slow to an unmedicated pace. I quietly put the money back. It fits snugly into the drawer, like making a tiny bed with many blankets. I close the drawer and listen for the satisfying echo of its lock. I run my fingers through my hair and I put my hands on the counter. I look at them, study them. They are mine. My hands. They belong to me. This is my life. My life. This.
I blink once. Then again.

“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”

“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”

I look up. A child, probably no older than six is opening the door and marveling at the resulting sound. He closes it... and then opens it again.

“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”

He smiles, enchanted.

“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”
“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”
“Bing-bong bing-bong bing-bong.”

Even if it kills me...

Wow. I feel like I just threw up. Emotionally that is.

I need to be in another frame of mind.

I relate to this a little too much I think.

Andy gave me some left over meat-loaf last night. I ate it today for lunch. He told me that at 4 AM last night he got food poisoning. He warned me that it may have been the meat-loaf. No signs of sickness yet.


sleep well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Were Loving Like a Landslide.

Top 5 Things Going On In My Life:

1. While I was in Iowa I was asked to submit a short piece of fiction to a book to be published by the local newspaper The Press Citizen. I did and apparently it got in. Word is that the person who read the submissions called it "seamless" which I hope is a good thing. I kinda worry that they meant it this way:

"Hey, did you read that Petrick kid's story?"
"Yeah. Horrible. It was the narrative equivalent to having a bag pulled over my head!"
"I agree. A cloth bag. One where at first it is just KINDA hard to breath but eventually you can't breath at all. Do you know why?"
"Yes. Because the cloth bag is SEAMLESS."
"Exactly. SEAMLESS. That is the word that I would use to describe both the story and the figurative 'bag over the head' that it represents to me. SEAMLESS."

I feel like this scenario is the most probable one and thus, it is the one I choose to believe.

However, even if that IS what they meant, the story got in. Which is nice.

I had a dream that Dave Eggers chose it to be included in the "Best American Non-Required Reading 2008" annual book that he edits. My dream went so far as to include me reading the story for the audio publication of the anthology. It was pretty great.

I'm kinda worried that it will wind up just being some poorly put together photocopied pieces with a cheap Kinkos spiral binding. Dave Eggers wouldn't be impressed by that. Dave Eggers expects only the best.

2. So I'm going to do something I vowed to never do again. I'm entering a music video contest. Dashboard Confessional is having a contest sponsored by MySpace (not a good sign) asking fans of the band to direct a music video for their next single. The winning video gets some money, some backstage passes and I guess some DC merch. Most importantly though, they win the opportunity to have the video be the OFFICIAL video for the band and play on MTV (presumably during the 14 collective minutes that MTV is not playing The Hills or reruns of the VMAs). After the frustrating results of the Yellowcard contest that Andrew and I entered a few years back as well as the innumerable screenwriting contest that I've partaken in, I told myself that contests based on the quality of an artistic venture is silly. Especially since so much of it is based on opinion. That said, mine is always the best. Just kidding. Well- sorta. So why do I always lose? Your guess is as good as mine. It would be one thing to lose to something that was of at least nominal quality- but they always suck. Seriously. This trend has followed me for years and been highlighted by such adventures as: the very first Project Greenlight, the Sundance Film Festival for the past 3 years, the School of Visual Arts sponsored "Dusty" awards, the Zoetrope screenwriting contest for the past three years and, recently, the Landlocked and Annapolis Film Festivals (respectively).

My reasons for partaking in this contest are unknown, even to me. Perhaps I just wanted something to do. A project to work on that would be both easy and fun. I think the fact that I still remember the days of being Chris Carrabba's number one fan also played a big part of my participation. The many days and nights of treating his lovelorn lyrics like a warm security blanket right out of the dryer still linger in my memory and though, over the years, my fandom as well as the intimacy of the music itself has waned, how could I resist?

So I shot a video last Saturday with Ruby and Keir. It turned out much better than I had even hoped. I feel like we might actually have a chance. That said, this could be just another in a seemingly endless series of disappointments and I am doing my very best to be prepared for it. My very, very best. For those who may not know me, I tend to not only over imagine something, but to take it to a level of exaggeration that leaves the world of Planet Earth's reality pretty far behind. We're talkin' Star Wars land here, okay? A galaxy far, far away.

In my mind, it not only WINS the contest but Chris calls me personally to tell me that he wept. WEPT! While watching my video. It was everything he had ever wanted a music video to be but never knew it could. He then asks, nay, BEGS me to go on tour with him, shooting a documentary of the tour and showing footage behind him as he plays. On tour we become like brothers. We share deep personal wounds from the past and lament the woes of the world's artistic expectations. We get matching tats and give each other cute little nicknames like Crabs (him) and Tricky (me). Routinely, while playing a show, he'll get so overcome with joy at the bonding we've been experiencing that he'll invite me on stage, hand me his guitar and ask me to play with him- which culminates in him inviting me to join the band. I politely decline because, frankly since winning the contest, I just don't have the time because the offers have been flooding in. CHRIS I'M SORRY! I WOULD LOVE TO BUT I JUST CAN'T! I NEED TO FOCUS ON ME FOR A WHILE! WHY CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?!

I realize that this will never happen but still. It could. Right?

3. Here is a list of what I have been listening to:

I: Stars - In Our Bedroom After The War
II: Motion City Soundtrack – Even if it kills me.
III: Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8
IV: Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd.
V: Jeremy Fisher – Goodbye Blue Monday
VI: Kanye West – Graduation
VII: Rogue Wave - Asleep At Heaven's Gate
VIII: Small Sins – Mood Swings/Self Titled

I'd write more but I'm not sure if the proper Roman numeral is IX or not- so, let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Okay just ONE more! I can't seem to get away from Phoenix's "It's Never Been Like That". What a great record.

4. I'm tired all the time. I have sudden, inexplicable surges of feeling like I am going to suddenly burst into tears at any second. I jump at the slightest human contact. Am I dying on the inside? Is this what that feels like?

5. Today I was so desperate to seem even just a little intimidating to some 13-year-old Mexican class room troublemakers that I told them that in a fight I once bit a guy's ear off.

I don't think they bought it.

Sleep Well.


oh don’t tell me ’bout your lies. oh don’t tell me ’bout your secrets.

i woke up this morning with one of the worst cases of the blues that i've ever had in a long time. this was due mostly to a pair of horrific dreams that i had, right in a row.

the first one was scary, not in that it was particularly gory or suspensful, just in that it felt so real. even though, i know that everyone has had them before, myself included, but it never ceases to be totally offputting when an alternate reality feels so... non-alternate.

anyway, in it i was back in New York and I was still with Heather- except that she had slept with someone and gotten pregnant- and some how, without my knowledge, given birth to said child. i remember feeling such a profound feeling of sorrow and betrayal. at one point she let me hold the baby and i remember being so angry at how beautiful it was. holding it in my arms and seeing this miracle of life sleeping soundly and feeling like it was supposed to be MY miracle of life. i gave back the baby, sobbed for a while and then, overcome with a rage that i've never actually felt in my non-dream lifetime, i began to destroy everything i could get my hands on. turning over tables, punching holes in walls, cutting up my knuckles real good on various glass fixtures.

like i've said, i've never actually experienced this kind of anger in my real life but it felt so real, so genuine, so visceral that when i woke up, it actually took me a minute to realize where i was- that it had all been a dream- there was no baby, i'm not in new york- heather is far far away in florida enjoying her life and excited about what it has in store (i'm sure).

still, it deeply upset me.

nevermind that the actual practicality of it all is pretty impossible. where was i during the 9 months of her being pregnant? where was i when she gave birth? how did all that slip past me? in the reality of the dream it didn't really even matter who the other guy was, it was more the principal of it i suppose that got me so mad.

anyway, after that i went back to sleep and had a dream about being tortured by some crazy old man who kept giving me pills that paralyzed me, tied me to a bed and kept telling me about how he was preparing to "operate" on me and showing me all kinds of scary tools he planned to implement in my torture. eventually i broke free and tried to hit him with a bench but was too weak to lift it. he started to laugh at me. then i woke up.

weird. i wonder what these dreams would say about me and my psychological neurosis? probably something about being gay i'm sure.