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Diary of an Ass Monkey
09 April 2011 @ 12:53 am
Saw John Carpenter's new film The Ward today at the film festival. It's about teenage girls trying to escape from a mental institution. The best thing I can say about it is that it made me nostalgic for how well written Sucker Punch was. There was literally nothing clever or scary about this thoroughly unambitious horror film. Even the cast, Jared Harris from Mad Men and a bevy of young actresses from minor roles in various CW/WB shows,seemed bored. Carpenter is supposed to receive an award later at the festival... via Skype! I'm tempted to show up for the Q&A so that I can say, "Mr. Carpenter, speaking of phoning things in, I saw your new movie..."

Diary of an Ass Monkey
18 October 2010 @ 09:43 am
As you've likely noticed, I've allowed this blog to slip into sleep mode. All is well with me. I just found it to be competing for the same mental energy that I was needing for my novel writing. I may well pick it up again some time in the near future, but for right now it's going to have to hibernate.

In an odd and unrelated bit of synchronicity, exacademic who has hosted my images all these years has decided to shut down his website, so all the old pictures have now vanished from the site. Thank you for being my silent partner throughout all this, E. I've really appreciated it.

And thanks to everyone who has read and commented over the years. You've been a great audience.
Listening to: The New Pornographers - "My Rights Versus Yours"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
23 August 2010 @ 09:38 am
I've been ignoring this poor blog lately, so here's an update on what I've been up to.

Saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World two weekends in a row. Love that movie. Our friend Patsy from Michigan (formerly known as our friend Patsy from Malaysia) came and stayed with us for a while. I made fig ice cream with freshly harvested figs from our tree last week. It's intensely figgy! Saw Dean Wareham play a whole night of Galaxie 500 songs, which was absolutely amazing.

The writing has been going excellently. I think I've averaged 10-15 hours per week this month, which is freaking huge for me. I'm way past the halfway point on the first draft and finally cruising along at a respectable speed. Writing at home is still hard for me, so I've been taking my little netbook over to a bar called Lucky 13 and working there. The good music, surrounding conversations, and ballgame on the tv provide a nearly ideal level of distraction for me. The only potential downside is my waistline, but I've been upping my salad intake and sticking to light beers, so it should work all right.

Listening to: The Blow - "True Affection"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
05 August 2010 @ 09:23 am
With K's niece and my brother both home from the hospital and recovering nicely this weekend, I was really feeling like we'd dodged our share of potential tragedies for the year. But then Monday night there was a message on our answering machine. Our friend Dave, known in various corners of the internet as zeeke, had been found dead in his apartment near Salt Lake City. He was only 37.

We had met as residents of an international web forum full of blasphemous, dirty-minded, sarcastic jokesters that oddly evolved into a very real family that's still going strong even though the website that brought us together is long gone. It was hard to break the news to them, but hearing their memories and testimonials about him has really helped me with Dave's passing.

K. and I met up in person with Dave and his wife for the first time in Las Vegas some time back in 2003 and the four of us got along like gangbusters. After that we never went more than a year or two without seeing each other, usually in May. In 2004, he and his wife came out to stay with us and we took them to New York City. In Spring of 2007, K. and I went out and spent some time in Utah with them. They took us to Moab and showed us a great time, even as their marriage was sadly falling apart. And in Spring of 2009, he came out to stay with us and we tried to convince him to move out here permanently, a step he seemed always just on the verge of making.

Dave was as passionate about fishing, hiking, kayaking, sports, dogs, and beer as any man I've ever met, but what he really loved was people. He was passionate about his love for his family and friends. K. says pointed out that when Dave was talking to you, he was always fully present, fully engaged, fully experiencing that moment of his life, and it's true. It's easy for me to think of him as happy go-lucky just because he was so lovable and fun, but that's just a sketch, a cartoon of who he was. He'd had plenty disappointments and worries; he just always made the effort to be positive. He was one of the sweetest, funniest, greatest guys I've ever known.

I'll think of Dave whenever I drink a Yuengling lager, Philly's local beer, which Dave loved with crazy zeal whenever he was visiting. I even have a Yuengling hat that I was saving to give him the next time I saw him.

Dave and I generated inside jokes at a ludicrous rate when were together, silly stupid phrases that—for a time at least—will make me a little sad when they pop back into my head, but remembering Dave will never make me feel bad.

I've been weighing whether or not to go Utah this weekend for the memorial services and the scattering of his ashes over his favorite lake. I'd really like to be there, but the trip would end up costing about a thousand dollars and I'm not really certain what the benefit would be. I think Dave would have rather I spend that money enjoying the company of the living. I can mourn him almost as well from here, drinking to his memory with friends nearby and sharing testimonials of him on the internet with our mutual friends around the world.

If I'm feeling the need for a touch of ritual to mark his passing this weekend, I think I'll do it with a few bottles of Yuengling, just as I would if he were here with me.

I love you, brother.

Listening to: Portastatic - "Noisy Night"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
30 July 2010 @ 10:07 am
Another night's sleep disturbed by dreams about my brother (who should be getting out of ICU today). And as I'm waking up from each of them, my chest is tight and my heart feels as heavy as a bowling ball. Because, of course, while the dreams may seem to be about him, they're mostly thinly-veiled admissions and admonitions of my own mortality.

In the most transparent example, I had one last night where he confessed on his hospital bed that what bothered him most about being so close to death was that he might not get to finish this art project he had in mind. He said he wanted to photograph nudes in a bowling alley wearing gold lamé wings. This is especially funny given that my brother has never expressed a single artistic desire in his life. I assured him I'd do whatever I could to help make that happen.