Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Does The Wind?

Decommissioning the first pair of shoes I bought with my own money.
Realizing the futility of a damp pillow.
Finding out that Rita Repulsa (Machiko Soga), the first female evil super villain on Power Rangers, died of pancreatic cancer.
Graduating from high school.
Drinking coffee without the intention of looking cool.
Replacing 4 black and 3 glow-in-the-dark bracelets with a kinetic watch.
Scrubbing the sink clean after I shaved.
Driving to Philadelphia.
Waking up in the orthodontist’s chair...with braces.
Pointing out to my mother that Alice Sebold had a better idea of Heaven than the Bible.
Buying my first bottle of beer.
Hearing that my best friend’s mother had a heart attack in the grocery store.
Receiving my first “D” on a critical term paper in A.P. Lang. & Comp.
Kissing the first guy I was ever able to admit I liked.
Buying my own school supplies.
Worrying if I get enough beta-carotene in my diet.
Accepting that I’ll never be taller than 5’6.
Saying to my cousin, “don’t grow old. You’ll wish you hadn’t.”
This video:

while knowing that Tracey Thorn is singing alone because she and her husband—which comprises the entire band of Everything but the Girl—have split up.

Knowing that I can’t change anything on this list.

//end of childhood.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Publication Validation

I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it! I’m about to lose control, and I think you know how I feel about that...

Guess who’s story is forthcoming in The Liner Magazine’s maiden edition?


I know, right?

I could kiss the moon right now. The Liner may not be a big name, but, my first official publication occurring in a magazine’s first official publication is like...ah, screw analyzing it; I’m going to go back to dancing.

That Price Is Right

Joe is tall, good looking, and says whatever the hell he damn well feels like saying (and usually, it’s something inappropriate). He’s my idol. I plan on being just like him when I turn 64.

Well, at least 2 outta 3. That ain’t so bad.

The last time I saw him, he was telling me about when he used to live in Miami, and his neighbor would call him the f-bomb. On a particularly sunny morning in Miami (as if there’s any other kind), his neighbor called out “good morning f*g,” from his stoop, and Joe turned and said, “and a good f*cking morning to you too; keep this sh*t up and I’ll stick my d*ck up your *ss and we can both be f*gs together—you can take me antique shopping, you piece of sh*t.”

What’s not to admire?

Every time I see him, he gives me a great big hug and updates me—complete with pictures—on his two border collies at home. Even though he tends to whisper when he’s telling a good story, you can hear his laugh two rooms over. I was hanging out with him the week after New York passed the gay marriage law.

“You know, it really doesn’t matter whether or not my partner and I can get married,” he told me. “We’ve been together 15 years. Why would we want to get married now? Just to get divorced?” He then told me about how smart his mother was; never divorcing her first husband, so that when he died, she collected all of his pension checks. We both had a laugh at that; milking the system? That’s the American way of living right there. But, I had to double-check. I had to be sure. So I asked him flat out, would he really not get married to the guy he loved?

He said that going this far without government validation didn’t make their relationship any less real. Maybe they’d do it for the benefits, if Florida legalized gay marriage in his lifetime (and, he quietly informed me, he wasn’t holding his breath), but otherwise, he “couldn’t give a flying rat’s *ss.” They still fight like a married couple. They still care about each other like a married couple. What would it matter?

Lee, who’s 62 and divorced with 2 kids, and a grandkid, agreed. Marriage for him was a disaster. Probably because he likes men, he’d be the first to agree, but he tried to make it work with his wife, and it just didn’t. Life’s funny like that, am I right? C’est la vie?

I myself...I’m not in my sixties. I haven’t had a relationship that lasted an entire decade (just think of the time warped photos; I still look back on pictures of my parents when they were dating and ask them if they really went out like that in public. Sometimes my dad says, “we were young and stupid,” and gives me the once over). But, you know, as crazy as it seems, I believe in the sanctity of marriage.

That’s rich, right? The guy who thinks God may be an overzealous lesbian and who pictures hell as an upper-college level trigonometry class where Satan the professor randomly calls on you to answer the questions, and everyone around you gets the material and had 8 wondrous hours of sleep last night while you’re trying to pass off the fact that you hadn’t even had time to shower that morning as embracing a low-water, pro-environment lifestyle? He believes in marriage? He saw what Britney Spears did. He knows what’s up.

But, when you come down to it, I really do believe in, and support marriage. It’s not this wonderful union where birds chirp in the morning and your spouse gets up at the crack of dawn to make you breakfast while you sleep in (and for those of you who have this, be grateful, you sons-a-bitches). It gets ugly. You’re left alone with them after a long day at work and you just feel tired and want to lash out at someone. And then, they wake up next to you, and in choosing to swat you or the alarm, the alarm tends to win only because it’s making more noise at that particular moment. It’s a scary thing, this thing called marriage. You discuss bowel movements with each other, hopes and dreams and really stupid ideas that you would have otherwise kept to yourself...if you’re not prepared for that (Disney’s not so hot on that sort of preparation these days), then yeah, divorce might be eminent. But at least you tried.

*Consolation prize*

I haven’t really told anyone this. I don’t like to jump into personal politics, because it feels too good when we win a battle and it hurts too much when we come up short (it’ll leave a guy emotionally unstable, I tend to think). But, this shirt?

I’d wear it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Crotch Thought

“His Stories...pierce and leap, are always bitingly funny, and are so, so alive....Klam is telling the truth while almost no one else is.”—Dave Eggars

“A knockout.”—The Oregonian

“Ruthlessly insightful...Klam has a major bead on women.”—Harper’s Bazaar

A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
An Esquire Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Notable Book
A Kansas City Star Book of the Year

All raving reviews (I mean, sure, no one posts their rejections on their jacket covers, but this book has received notable praise). So why am I giving Matthew Klam’s Sam The Cat: And Other Stories a non-awesome review?

It goes like this: there are seven stories in Klam’s collection, six exclusively from the heterosexual male perspective, with the last story being a stab at the omniscient narrator. All of the stories revolve around the protagonist and their girlfriends/fiancees/wives; they’re cheating on them, ignoring them, trying to get them to have an abortion, or so emphatically in love with them they’re bringing fake guns to their girlfriend’s door just to scare them a little after they’ve had a fight. (Men of real caliber, am I right? Who else is really turned on right now?) They feel up other women on the beach. They eat their boss’ hooha on the ground of a construction site. This is the soon-to-be-married crowd. No wonder marriage doesn’t work; half the partnership consists of a straight guy and his penis.

Ok, ok, I guess that isn’t fair. But it does bring me to my biggest concern with Sam The Cat: And Other Stories—several of the men depicted in these stories take absolutely no responsibility for their dicks. It just gets hard on its own accord. It just inserts itself into places without their having any control over it. Oops; broke their marriage vows. Wasn’t their fault—their penis made them do it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Men can get sexually aroused against their will, same as women. But, just because the men in these stories get sexually aroused doesn’t mean they need to act upon those hormones and the blood surging to their crotches. They could go cool off. Frustrating, but a bit more responsible.

The flip side to this is the outdated concern these protagonists experience when their significant others get aroused:

She lay between the rows of corn on the bedspread and let me touch her and wanted more.
‘I like that,’ she said, pulling at me.
It terrified me when she acted like a slut. I said, ‘Let me get unbuckled.’

Because, as we all know, it’s fine when a man wants to screw some girl, but when a woman wants to get screwed? What a slut. And from another story:

At the end they’d done it so hard—Rich fucked Gynnie so hard he forgot he was marrying her.

According to this world view, you can’t fuck your wife really hard because you’re marrying her. Marriage is supposed to kill the sex life, and after the “I do”s you’re only supposed to make sweet, missionary style love to each other once every two weeks (optimally, on or after pay day). This is perhaps a truer reason for failed marriages; people who are sexually voracious don’t just lose their sexual drive once they enter a social-economical agreement. The woman who liked to be spanked will still want a good spanking after she’s married, just as the guy who liked to be tied up won’t drop his ropes in the trash once he’s found the one he wants to be with for the rest of his life. The people who believe that their sexual enjoyment has to stop once their enter marriage vows wonder why their relationship isn’t fulfilling them the way it did before. To stop doing the sexual activities that a couple performs before marriage would be to seriously maim the sex life thereafter, and considerably lead to a less fulfilling marriage. To promise wild and zany shower sex with the lover before the chapel would be to imply wild and zany shower sex after, simply because it’s something that they both enjoy. And if one of the pair doesn’t enjoy it, then they had better speak up, or expect soap in unwelcomed places until someone dies or files divorce papers.

And then gets themselves a divorce ring! I sort of want to get married and divorced, just so I could wear a one of these.

...*sigh* Jewelry. But yes. Where were we?

Sam The Cat: And Other Stories adheres to a certain group of men of which I wouldn’t be interested in obtaining entry to. Their ideals about women appear old-fashioned and tired (“major bead on women,” Harper’s Bazaar? Really? Did you not read the collection?).

Unless you’re the kind of guy who thinks about his dick and where he could stick it every six seconds, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book. Not so awesome.

And by the way, it took me forever to grasp the placement of the title on cover. I didn’t realize it was at that location, in that shape, for a reason. Here’s me, reading this book all over town, with people giving me off-colored sideways glances in Starbucks and Pei Wei...kind of embarrassing, really.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Google, Baby

Google is my lover.

I can turn off my phone and walk away. If I lived in a city that was more pedestrian friendly, I would walk (or bike) instead of jumping in my tired and sagging car. I could even give up creamed goods. (Hypothetically, this is hypothetically; you touch my ice cream, you may die. You’re a guest in my house until you near my freezer. If I catch you with my Haagen-Dazs, you better run.) But, at this point, I can’t imagine my life without Google.

I mean, every time I jump on the internet, I end up on google’s homepage. Not only do I use gmail and blogger (which is owned by...Google), but I swear by google maps, use google images, and find that any time I’m fairly curious about a subject (yesterday, I googled bilberries, roiling, and the lyrics to Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” after someone asked me about the hot librarian picture I downloaded—from google—and plastered onto a binder. I explained that “she has style, she has grace,” and then I realized that I was quoting from a song I couldn’t remember the complete lyrics to) I jump on google, which links me to Wikipedia, dictionaries, and the World Healthiest Foods website. Google is my lifeline. If Google left me, I would pitch my own personal hissy fit.

::My friend Paul is a lawyer who works for Google. He undoubtedly is brimming from ear to ear in smugness because I’m writing about his favorite employer. Hush it, Paul. Shh.::

Google not only is my source for all things random, but sometimes it presents random information to me without my even trying. It reminds me of birthdays of astronomers, of foreign independence days, of national holidays, all within its title. My absolute favorite was it’s animation in celebration of Martha Graham, the famous dancer.

(In case you weren’t on Google that day.)

This (and Grey’s Anatomy) is the sort of thing that totally impresses me and makes me feel all tingly in my mushy places. How beautiful; I felt like, just by hanging out on Google, I got to be reminded of an important artist in our American culture. Today, for the Fourth of July, Google posted this image:

Adorable, right? From Hawaii to New York, with the West, Midwest, and the South involved as well. Artistically and politically correct, one might say, for a day celebrating our birth as a nation. And so, on top of saying, “Happy Independence Day,” I want to draw attention to, and thank, Google for making me smile day after day. With just a simple sketch, Google makes me feels better, even though as search engine extraordinaire Google really doesn’t have to do anything extra to draw me to its homepage. It’s like the boyfriend who brings flowers “just cause.”

I think I’m in love.