The Ghost of Rawk?

brought to you by Nina Records

In 1995 or so I decided to start up a band, a high school band, the kind of shitty high school band we all have to pass through as a gauntlet to better things, but I loved it so and I love it still. I am embarrassed by the things I did, by the way I sang. The chords I settled on. Amt Winehouse is dead, for all of 24 hours, and she knew so much more than I did. I cannot blame age. I just didn't know.

I was in a band, which we eventually called Suckapunch, and I loved them like brothers. That, like everything, did not last. But I loved them at the time. I still, to be honest, would do anything for them if they asked.

Anyway, Wes Hughes, the lead guitarist for Suckapunch, just had a daughter. My son is almost six months old and Wes has a little girl named Lilly. It is the shit. It follows the two kids fathered by bassist Dominick, who is currently serving in Iraq.

In celebration of Wes's daughter, I pulled out the old Suckapunch CD from 1996 to give a listen. It's rotten, horrible fun. My voice was ruined by Kurt Cobain, but I figured out how to sing like myself ten years later.

And then I got curious. Whatever happened to Rick Sciaraffa, the producer of the album?

Holy shit. Rick is dead. And he has been for four years.

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The Ghost of Rawk?

bells and whistles

For some unimaginable reason, I have a Livejournal and a Facebook and a Twitter and a Tumblr. To say nothing of the ol' MySpaces and Friendster and Photobucket and Youtube and Reverb Nation and God why god why god why.

So many ways to talk to no one.

See, Livejournal is for deeper thoughts, of which I have had none that I care to share lately. Anything somewhat deeper and baby-related goes on the Tumblr baby blog, which I like because it's easier to upload media (like baby pictures) and there's no comments, because if I want opinions on raising my son I will solicit them. Say, on Facebook, where I am learning not to talk about politics. But also I don't want to be tiresome with baby updates, so then to the baby blog. And then the Twitter, which I basically have just to follow a ton of people/businesses I'm interested in and occasionally say something dopey. And post links to my Tumblr.


It all feels very silly, sillier than it certainly ever felt to write everything I was feeling in real time on this blog for the past I-don't-want-to-think-about-how-many years. I guess the point is that I sure do miss having everybody in one room, and I love how the internet has enabled me to see what everybody's up to, because I am everybody's aunt or something.

I am a sad bear, because my paternity leave is over tomorrow and I'm going to miss my son and my wife and my mommy. I will be thinking of them all day. I will print out multiple pictures of my son as soon as I get to work. I hate that this is the start of a long life of me going to work and missing out on everything. Wish I could be a stay-at-home dad. Or, at least, a work but have my son with me dad. Something.

Anyway, as with all other aspects of my life, I have thrown myself in with total abandon and now I'm one of those psychotics that can't bear to be away from their children even for a moment. I knew I would be like this. I feel everything times a billion. I go for it. Sometimes, in going for it, I blow it. That's a part of it, I guess.

So now I'm going back to work and I'm making too big a deal out of it, or am I? I don't even know. Do other dudes who have to go back to work feel like taking to their proverbial livejournal when it's time? Dunno. I don't know shit about other dads. I'll search Eric's LJ later when I can't sleep. Watching with great love and worry over my amazing little dude.

Anyway, I notice that LJ now gives you the option to link entries to your Twitter and Facebook, which I will not do for now because, oh sometimes how I feel like this is all so dumb.
The Ghost of Rawk?

Letters to Gonzo: Warren Zevon, John Belushi and Mary Lou Retton

I woke up and had this weird urge to clean everything I saw. I was excited about it; genuinely excited. I get in these weird moods, Gonzo, and I usually don't deny whatever impulse they force on me. I know that these moments are fleeting, so I write the play or song or whatever because that's where my head is. Or I take care of the theater budget. Or I practice re-mixing things in the home studio. Life is a series of waves to ride.

I walked around and bought cleaning supplies and a bucket and A Big Thing of Goddamned Bleach. They don't make Goddamned Bleach anymore, Gonzo. People know better: they have different things that aren't as harsh. But I was not satisfied with the level of cleanliness after scrubbing the tub with those other, wimpier chemicals, so I woke up and bought the thing of Goddamned Bleach and let it sit in the tub while I boiled the spinach ravioli. Then I put on a CD and made like Cinderella, hands and knees, scrubbing the bathroom tile.

Your mother called it a rampage. I could not be stopped. I scrubbed every inch of the bathroom, even the part between the tub and the wall that we never get to. I scrubbed the walls. I used three different types of cleaners and three different types of sponges and when I was done your mother said it smelled like a pool, it was so clean in here.

I didn't stop there. I cleaned the bedroom, I vacuumed the rug. I removed the windows and cleaned the inside and outside. I dusted. I pulled out the screwdriver and did some minor repairs I'd been putting off. Something went wrong with the cable and phone line and I fixed that too. Something in the air.

Uncle Adam came over. He's not really your Uncle, as in he's not legally related, but he's a good friend, and I call my good friends my brothers and sisters. You have lots of Aunts and Uncles, you'll find, in addition to your actual Aunt and Uncle Aaron and Shawn. Anyway, Uncle Adam came over to watch the Jets game. They were playing in their second consecutive AFC championship, and Adam and I were still reeling with excitement over their stunning defeat of the hated New England Patriots a week earlier. That was a good old time, even if your Uncle Eric made fun of Uncle Sleazy and I for supporting a non-Texas football team.

So Uncle Adam was snowboarding in Vermont and, on his way home, he wanted to see if I was watching the game. I told him to go ahead and come on over, but that we'd have to be mindful of the fact that today was your mom's due date with you, and she was having a rough time of it. But she wasn't dilated, so she just rolled around all day getting grumpy at you for making her suffer longer. Adam liked this idea of coming over better than going to a bar or something to watch the game, and when he came in he joked that we were better off with him there. After all, he could drive us to the hospital when your mom suddenly went into labor and he won the bet!

(Oooh! There was a bet: a huge, national betting pool over the day and time you would arrive and if you were gonna be a boy or a girl. Many people wagered. There were lots of cash and prizes to be won: theater tickets, gift certificates, cash money, DVD's, small electronics. An accordion. We were not fucking around.)

Anyway, the Jets were really sucking rope all through the first half. Goddamned Steelers were doing whatever they wanted, and that monster Rashard Mendenhall just feeding off every tackle, sucking the energy from it and propelling himself another five yards at will. It was like getting tackled was food for the guy. On top of that, our Mexican QB Superhero Mark Sanchez couldn't get a thing going. It was a trainwreck, but Adam and I decided to try to make the beer last until at least halftime, lest we drown our sorrows too early. 24-3 at the half, with the last Steelers TD scored off an embarrassing fumble recovery that had no business occurring. I slapped my thighs the way I do when it's time to do the next thing.

"Well!" I announced this. "Let's get some beer."

Your mom doesn't give a shit about football, can't even pretend, so I found her where she was rolling around in the bedroom. I told her we were going on a beer run and did she want anything from Mobil. She said no, not really, she's fine. I guess. Something was off. Your mother likes to keep it to herself when something is off. She never offers. I had to ask, "What's up?"

"Well," she said half-heartedly. "I think my water just broke."

It was hard to say. It wasn't like the movies, this big whoosh. Just a trickle. We investigated her clothing. She didn't want to be a bother, thought maybe it was a false alarm. "I'm sorry I'm getting in the way of the game."

I said we would go get beer and see how she felt when we got back. Then I took one step, turned back around, and said, "Nah. You put on some real pants and I'll put on some real shoes and let's go have a baby." And I found Adam in the living room in his winter coat and said, "Hey, instead of a beer run can you drive us to the hospital?" And Adam was excited because he'd totally fucking called it.


There was a TV in the waiting room, so Adam and I watched the end of the game with the doctors and nurses. The Jets almost pulled it off, mijo! It was a crazy good comeback, but the Steelers prevailed and they deserved it. It was OK. I like the Steelers. I root for them because my favorite political blogger roots for them. It's dumb.

You know who else rooted for them? The doctor in training who put in your mom's IV. We're pretty sure it was her very first time. It did not go well.

After about an hour they finally came out and told me that you were coming and it was time to go to the delivery room. I hugged Adam goodbye. I texted and called everybody in The Family. I told my boss I was not coming in to work. I took a picture of your mom in a funny hat in her hospital gown and sent that around.

It's now 5:30 in the morning. Your mom is getting some sleep. She's already been in pain, but they gave her some meds to knock her out before her doctor gets here in a half hour. She's doing so good, Gonzo. You're gonna be proud of her. Your mom's a badass.

Today's the big day, Gonzo. I am looking out the window at the lit up monument in Fort Green Park. We have a private room, thanks to your dad's old job taking him back and giving him nice insurance again. It's Go Time, little man or lady.

I am watching the monitor and you are giving your mother a mammoth contraction. She cannot feel it. She has her headphones in and she's snoring lightly. A woman in labor is screaming and crying in Spanish in the room next door. I will sleep now, in this pink bracelet my Aunt Moochie gave me before she beat cancer and this t-shirt I bought in New Orleans when we all went down for Uncle Junebug and Uncle Sleazy's birthday. There are so many people who love you so much already, and I can't wait for you to meet every single one of them. See you in the morning, kiddo.

- Dadtastrophe
The Ghost of Rawk?

They will clean our garage with a shovel

after watching almost every episode of Hoarders, I only have two questions:

one, how do the husbands/wives of these people become so toothless and complacent about living in such awful conditions?
and two, how the hell do you become a "certified professional organizer"?? I can only imagine what the finals are like. "which of these things is not like the other?"
-Griffbo the Great, via Facebook the Website

I can't speak to number 2 because, haw haw haw fleerrrrrrp, but I have plenty to advise about point the first.

See, Griffin, I'm going to be one of those dudes someday. I know this already, and I've grown somewhat accepting of it. We as well have watched every episode, but mostly for pointers about how to deal with it when they come for Spring and demand that she split the pile of feathers into "keep" and "throw away." When she begins screaming at all the workers to get out, EVERYBODY GET OUT I NEED A MINUTE, I want to know whether this is one of those where I stand on the periphery, just outside the kitchen, or whether I walk in with the organizer/therapist and attempt to pry the aqua candy dish out of Spring's hands. "If I let go of this, it's like I'm letting go of my mother," she'll say, and our children will roll their eyes and wish they were on Spring Break anywhere else but here.

Or maybe not. Aw hell, who am I kidding, totally yes.

The thing is, Spring just has a lot of stuff. She likes stuff. It's in her blood. You always know when you are in a house decorated by a member of Spring's family because there is an animal skull on the wall beside a shelf full of knicknacks from some other country, next to painted figures, next to a cool-looking old camera that hasn't worked for forty years, next to a tortoise shell, next to ceramic sculptures, and on and on. And, before I go any further, let me make clear that I (for the most part) think this is really awesome. Being in her parents' and sister's houses makes you immediately realize you are in the presence of curious, intelligent people with eclectic tastes and curiousities.

Our house reflects this same taste, but I have made great noises about feeling crowded out of my own home. I don't own much, I don't take up a lot of space. So there is an alternate universe where Spring and I never met and she lives alone, and the apartment looks exactly the same. Maybe the shelves are a little lower because she can't reach that high, but that's it. In our entire living room, my only real presence is in the hundreds of CD's mounted to the wall. Otherwise all of it: the curio cabinet of plastic figurines, the ornate mirrors, the mini chandelier, the skull hanging over the fireplace, the shelf of old medicine bottles, all of it comes from her mind.

When we have this...discussion...Spring is quick to point out that it's not all necessarily hers, that the furniture is mostly "ours", in that we came upon it while we lived together, which is fair enough. But the little things, whatever personality exists in the apartment, is all her. I am crowded to a small corner of the bedroom, on my side of the bed. From the bed to the wall, those five feet are mine all mine.

In fairness, Spring has insisted that I am entitled, encouraged even, to decorate the rest of the house if whatever I bring to the table is tasteful enough. But it never is, and I concede this point. My five feet of the apartment are clearly owned and operated by a big stupid dummy. This is where you want to go to find a stack of guitar magazines, or a framed picture of the San Antonio Spurs, or a bunch of baseball caps crudely hung on nails in the wall. I would become an adult, but I'm too busy sitting in my "office" with a snare drum on my lap, adjusting the microphone stand and knocking over a pile of burned CD's I swore I'd put away months ago.

I mean, my framed copy of the Daily News cover announcing George Harrison's death is really cool, but it's out of place in Spring's tasteful assemblage. I am saving it for the next house, when we have more space, and I'll have my own little office/man-cave/drug den/judo school.

Anyway, this new house is the thing that I fear.

We are cluttered, but I have no illusions about this stopping or slowing down once we have more space. There will just be room for more clutter. A garage. Maybe a back house. All just filled with broken picture frames and banisters from condemned hotels.

That's what they'll find, Griffin. They'll crack open the garage and find thousands of decanters, of every imaginable color, some of them filled with skeletons from the rats that crawled in and died. Feral cats scattering. Cobwebs.


"Hang on. At least my hoarding isn't smelly."
"Not yet. That lady there probably said the same thing when she was 30 and started collecting soda bottles or whatever. Then it gets away from you."
"I'm not gonna be one of those where they walk in and say they're 'overwhelmed by the smell'. I can barely handle it when the litter box is dirty."
"You'll get used to it."
"Your cat shit on the floor again."


The answer to your question, Griffin, is that we get worn down and just give up after a while. I am a young man, full of piss and whiskey. I can still put my foot down. Spring will pick up any old goddamned thing off the street and carry it home, even if it's a dead bird, but when I'm with her I police it. She likes to tell the story of the time she found a whole box of ceramic piggy banks, and I sat on the stoop in front of this person's house and refused to move until she had gone through the box and picked out a few that she absolutely couldn't live without. I thought I was gonna cry.

She kept the matching black and white dogs, the twin mermaid set and all of the ones that are Jesus.

Sometimes I flip out, like when I can't find my snow boots under the mountains of salvaged canvases, doorknobs and doll parts. I stomp around and make a fuss about how I CAN'T FIND A GODDAMNED THING IN THIS FUCKING HOUSE, and then Spring gets that look on her face and she cleans up a little and we find my boots and I drink a juicebox of beer and everything is fine.

But this will fade, Griffin. I will not be so willing and able to fight or to lash out. I will diminish under the sheer volume of things, once we've outgrown her even bothering with the perfunctory "Can I keep this?" She plans on owning a pickup truck, Griffin. Right now it's just about weird umbrellas and ceramics. Soon it will be furniture. Interesting machinery that does nothing but looks cool. I'm in for it, man.

So I look at those dudes, those old sad-eyed dudes, and I relate. I get it. I see that they probably tried, at one point, in their vigorous youth. But the goalposts get moved, compromises melt and topple, and next thing you know the dining room table is inaccessible because of all the snowglobes.

None of them are young, Griffin.

The only way out is death or divorce. And, even in divorce, those same dudes come back and are standing out there by the garage with their kids. Arms folded politely behind their backs. This is a family thing, and the new wife is just going to have to sit in the car until we figure this out.

It may not come to this for us. Possibly Spring will control her hoarding and just be like the rest of her family: charmingly cluttered but nobody having to call the police. Maybe I will have my little room, with the computer and music equipment, writing plays and making music surrounded by tastefully framed concert posters and pictures of Vince Young. It will just be good fun, and Gonzo will come home and help mom put together the next weird sculpture for the front porch from the things they find on the side of the road.

All I know is that last night on Hoarders they showed a lady that spent years shitting in bags and throwing it in the garage, because they got their water turned off and she didn't feel like dealing with it. A whole room filled with nothing but dried human shit. And I was not joking when I turned to Spring and half-yelled YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT. And she said, "Come on, have you ever shit in a bag? It could feel great." And she laughed that way that she laughs when I make that face where I don't know if she's kidding or not and I'm worried about the future, because sometimes I just cannot take a terrifying joke.
The Ghost of Rawk?

Letters to Gonzo: The Fourth Loko

(The internet is forever, until we're eaten by New Dinosaurs, so I will be recording my thoughts on impending fatherhood for my son/daughter to discover someday with their Google brain chip implanted by the One World Government. It will save little Gonzo hundreds of Ameros in therapy, I hope, by giving a clearer idea of the foolish "man" who decided he/she had to exist. And, y'know, I'm bored at work.)

(Oh, Gonzo! We don't know if you're a boy or a girl yet. We decided we don't want to know. So we just call you Gonzo, in tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.)

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The Ghost of Rawk?

Poop DeVille

I am back in the corporate world, away from the comforts of my adorable little theatre, away from the comforts of my t-shirt and jeans rock explosion and my enormous bear and putting on the stupidest song I can think of and turning it all the way up because, fuck, who cares? Goodbye boodgye my shirt is tucked in and my beard is trimmed. Tra la la tra la lee I sit in an empty cubicle with no phone and a tiny loaner laptop and no office supplies because life is meaningless tra la lee kaloo kalay.

But it brings up an important point, and that important point is about the guy who I just heard talking on his cell phone while he was taking a dump.

See, for all I know, everybody at the children's theatre was on the phone while they were taking a dump all the time. Like, the instant the belt came unbuckled they were just networking and planning and gossiping and grunt splash OK, I'll talk to you later, bro. But if that was going down I was unaware. Now there is a shared washroom, so I'm standing there taking a leak and I hear a disembodied voice announcing, casual as anything, "Oh, totally. Well, we'll just meet you guys there and play it by ear, brah." And so on.

Dude Who Talks To His Friends While He Shits, I have many questions for you.

Actually, DWTTHFWHS, I before I get to you I have to make as clear as I can to everybody I know or will ever know or may stand near or buy something from: NEVER TALK TO ME WHILE YOU ARE TAKING A DUMP. ESPECIALLY if the dump is a secret. I guess it's better if you go ahead and tell me what's what, but I'll probably just hang up on you and scream and scream. I want to pretend you are somewhere nice, a captain of industry. Perhaps you feet perched on your desk. Maybe window shopping on Madison Avenue on a quiet Sunday. Please do not make me think that you are wonderful and then the director does a split screen and you're sitting there with your pants around your ankles and you are played by Luke Wilson.

Anyhoo, DWTTHFWHS, I want to know everything about you. Naturally, I had to try to figure out everything I could from your shoes and your pants, but they told me nothing. I suppose I could have waited outside of the bathroom and followed you to wherever it is you're going; ths incredible special place, these plans you had to discuss right this very GRUNT SPLASH. In my heart I hope it's a magical netherworld, but I know it's just some shitty fake Irish bar with one Scottish bartender and close enough, eh?

I want to know what your parents think, or if they're even human. Perhaps you were raised by barnyard animals. Perhaps some sort of hybrid. I have to confess, DWTTHFWHS, I was lost in thought debating whether, if your parents are animal hybrids, they wore pants on all fours or stood upright with no pants. Or, I guess, other possible combinations, other evolutionary steps. That moment when your father, the Man-goat, first stood on two legs and everyone was so happy except for you and you were all 'Aw, Dad, I can see your nards!'

DWTTHFWHS, you are like George Washington crossing the Delaware and then he's like "Pull over, I gotta squirt."

Look, I don't mean to be all judgy, DWTTHFWHS. I get it, I've been there. I've been "Riding the Cyclone" and then my phone goes off and it's my wife and I'm like, "Would she want me to take this?" And then I remember that my wife reads books and speaks with words, and I decide to wait a few minutes to call her back because WHY WHY WHY WHY.

Texting on the can, sure. Whatever.

I guess, DWTTHFWHS, maybe I missed out on something in the high school/college experience. Maybe it's my fault, not yours. I just was never that casual with anybody. I never played sports beyond a certain age or served in the military or any of those other things where the movies tell me you crap with no stalls and shower together or whatever. Which is not to say that I haven't showered with other dudes, but there were usually a bunch more girls in the shower too. Like at Spring's birthday party that one year we covered a room at the Chelsea Hotel with glitter.

(Open aside to my child: Your parents are hedonistic freaks, Gonzo. It's pretty hilarious.)

Oh man, so much glitter and drugs.

Hang on a second, DWTTHFWHS, I've got to soak on this memory for a second. Gonzo, I don't mind telling you that your mom looked totally delicious that night. I know I know, so gross! So embarrassing. Get used to it.

Crap. What was I saying to -- oh right! What the hell is wrong with you talking to your friends on the toilet??

I make this solemn oath to you, one and all: Yes, I may be an idiot, and a drunk, and I may have a life history of bad behavior and breaking things I shouldn't and philandering and bad influencing and general low-level mayhem, and I may have done you wrong in a million different ways, but God as my witness I will never talk on the phone with you while I am taking a dump. I will throw a beer bottle through your window, but if you confront me about it while I'm on the can I will politely call out, "Just a minute!"

Do you know, DWTTHFWHS, the level of self-control it took to keep from yelling "HE'S TALKING TO YOU WHILE HE TAKES A SHIT" over and over again so your friends could hear? It was unbearable.

Anyway, I'm sure your friends don't care, and I know you don't, and we have to share this world and that's just how it goes. You will do your thing and I will do mine. Maybe my thing disgusts you, which is entirely plausible. But really, my thing is more irritating than anything else. Your thing is gross, DWTTHFWHS. A pox on your soul. May your beer be flat and your cheese fries congealed. Ooooh, cheese fries.
The Ghost of Rawk?

See, the caffeine mixes with the alcohol and then you start to say things to no one

It is now 3:19 in the AM, but it's really 4:19 in the AM but some corrupt politician led us astray. Truman? Roosevelt? Let's just go ahead and blame it on Obama, since it's in vogue to blame him for things other presidents did.

In vogue? En vogue? I refuse to Google.

I have consumed a 4 Loko and things are looking grim. OK, not a 4 Loko. I have consumed a Joooooce. But that's all they had the other day. Still, I am high on caffeine and also caramel booze and I have something to say because otherwise I am pointless.

I am watching Elizabathtown for the first time, and I don't hate it.

Here's the deal, and this has bothered me forever. This movie is infamous in blog-land because of the really tired bullshit trope peddled by the otherwise estimable Nathan Rabin: the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl".

It set certain corners of the internet on fire when it was coined two years ago, and it pops up here and there, and it's always bugged me. See, the thing is, Rabin defines it like so:
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is an all-or-nothing-proposition. Audiences either want to marry her instantly (despite The Manic Pixie Dream Girl being, you know, a fictional character) or they want to commit grievous bodily harm against them and their immediate family. As for me, well, let's just say I'm not going to propose to Dunst's psychotically chipper waitress in the sky any time soon.

This is what really bugs me: the idea that people like this don't exist just because Nathan Rabin hasn't bothered to meet them or doesn't care to know them. I HAVE MET THEM, NATHAN RABIN. I have befriended them, I have dated them, I have had sex with them, I even married one (though, maybe, I would call her a "Brutal Pixie Dream Girl on Fire.") Sometimes I feel like pretty much all the women I know would be classified as a MPDG if depicted in a movie.

Also, really, there's the terminology. Rabin's description (and the approving blogosphere head pat) is so vicious and pejorative. I wouldn't call these women, these friends of mine, "Manic Pixies." I would call these remarkable women something more along the lines of "Awesome Spontaneous Smart Chicks Who Don't Take Their Cues From Men."

Which, I guess, is the weird thing to me. It's odd to see Kate Winslet in "Eternal Sunshine..." so reviled when, by my estimation, she was an honest portrayal of a woman in her 20's who didn't quite know what she wanted, flitted in and out of a relationship, and ultimately took care of herself. The fact that she wasn't as fully-fleshed out as Jim Carrey's character didn't matter to me because IT'S NOT THE FUCKING POINT. Actually, EXACTLY the fucking point is that Jim Carrey (and the audience by extension) doesn't know exactly what this woman wants because they don't actually know each other that well. You know, JUST LIKE EVERY DAY OF REAL LIFE. It's like complaining that we don't get all the facts upfront in a murder mystery: THE POINT OF THE DRAMA IS IN THE NOT KNOWING.

I enjoy that. I don't need to see flashbacks to Kate Winslet's childhood or a monologue about how she was raised by a single mother in a steel town to give a shit about her or assume this or that about her character. We don't actually know that much about a lot of the people we interact with on a day-to-day basis, so leaving things up to the audience to assume, with hints at this or that, actually (in my mind) adds to a feeling of verisimilitude. But then, I'm not a whiny blogger who's never written a script. And I don't really care about the whole "cipher" argument. Different movies have different points of view and tell different people's stories. You can't tell everybody's story in every movie, because holy shit did you see Crash it was awful.

Also, there is some criticism that the MPDG is unrealistic because she may not totally buy into her own bullshit. But, seriously -- who ever buys into their own bullshit? If anything, that's what I love when I see these characters: the idea that they're phony and that we never know for sure if they even buy into their own idyllic thing that they're pushing or if they're covering for something. I've loved writing these characters, over and over again, that are all artifice and eventually have that broken. I think it's the truest story in the world. We're all afraid of being found out.

The larger point being that I'm sitting here watching Elizabethtown and Kirsten Dunst's character reminds me of so many of my friends it's not even funny. So I don't get it. Maybe I'm so misogynistic I can't even see that I'm making all my friendships reductive, but I doubt that. I think, again, that I don't see this as a bad character. I love impulsive, independently-minded people who could give a shit. Who gives a fuck that Nathan Rabin never ran out onto a frozen pond at midnight with somebody he loved? (Or, to borrow from my own life, skinny-dipped in a lake in Maine in the dead of winter?)

I think back on all the places I've been, all the kites I've flown, all the rides I've hitched and all the spontaneous explosions of fun and trouble I've had in public (or semi-public) over the years. I think back on being grumpy but then being saved by Spring and I rolling around in three feet of snow and then hailing a cab. If it was in a movie, Amanda Marcotte would get grumpy about it. But it happened, woman.

Sorry, Nathan Rabin. This is not just in our imaginations. Just, some of us live these lives and some of us watch them. And I have a million regrets, but none of them are for being too boring or for not doing something. And if your bullshit meter is tripped by Kirsten Dunst then, really, I just feel sad for you for not meeting more interesting people and doing more interesting things. Now get out there and make out in a cab, because life is fucking short.
The Ghost of Rawk?

spilling my guts to hair slung in your face

Sick and slow and booze is only a small part of it. There is actual sick mixed in here, and just plain exhaustion, and the way it just drains and drains you when things don't feel quite right. Things don't feel quite right.

I won't bore you with the details. Commercial real estate and that sort of thing is at the center, but also so much worry in other places. Always with the worry, this guy.

But who wants to hear about worry? This is the internet! There are all kinds of things to not worry about! Like...uh...hang on.

Stupid cat.

Do you know what I caught my stupid cat doing the other day? My fat little kitty? I made porkchops the other day, and I caught her licking the skillet. NOT THE PORKCHOP ITSELF, which was sitting right next to the skillet. No no, that's too fancy for my little Princess. "I'll just be licking the fat off the skillet, thank you."

And the worst is just the look on her little cat face. And I know that you shouldn't anthropomorphize your pets, because then you're really asking for it, but I'm dead certain my cat is capable of feeling shame. "I can't help it. It's who I am. I hate myself." (lick lick lick)

See, wasn't that nice? A story about a cat. Now all of my problems OH NO THE PHONE IS RINGING SHOOT IT SHOOT IT SHOOOOOOT ITTTTTTT.


I will be working at Pfizer again, it seems. They offered me a job and I accepted and they want to test my pee for drugas and I don't eat any drugas so I should be fine. Don't know when I start, a few weeks, but they're offering me more money than I used to make. So that's nice. Also, my baby won't starve in a snow drift. That is nice as well.

Still, I'm sad about not being at the theater all day anymore. I've loved it here, even when (like right now) I hate it here because the difficulty of this job is crushing my bones. But, still, art! Wahoo! When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to do for a living and I told them I wanted to run my own company in my own space and do my own shows that I write and direct. And I'm doing it, in New York City. It's an incredible feeling, even if it's short-lived. And I still get to do it, but only kinda, since I'm doing it for free in my spare time. Still.

As I write this the director for the daytime cast of my show is giving notes. They are trying to figure out the best way to perform a show that I've written. We take for granted what a truly remarkable thing that is. I sat in a room and wrote this thing with my brainz, and then I gave it to other people, and they're going to learn all of the words and say them in front of a paying audience. It's kind of a miracle that this sort of thing happens all the time. I think it's cooler than Fonzie.


But like I said, no starving baby in a snow drift! And I miss my baby, even though my baby is not fully cooked yet. I like sitting on the couch with my hand on Spring's belly, even when there is no kicking. I like seeking little Gonzo's energy somewhere in there. And I miss the warm little smile on Spring's face, the little sparkle in her eyes when I'm doing that. The two of them are in Alabama, and they're coming home soon, and it will be Very Good.


My head is achey and jeez don't get me started on my heart, and I keep smoothing this stupid beard which I've grown to like and not just because you like it, but you liking it really is a pretty significant factor. Maybe I'll shave it, maybe I won't. I don't want to make this a symbol, I don't want to make this a thing. What was I saying before? "This is not a thing. This is an anti-thing." I've spent a lifetime engaging significance, finding it under every stone, collecting, holding close, replaying moments and gasps for air again and again in my head. I will be on Hoarders years from now.


That look in your eye when the spark gets lit.


I wanted to write about whether or not racist Halloween costumes are racist, but I think I've already showed my hand on that one. So, whatever. I will clean the theater, because we're hosting a Halloween party tonight for local businesses, and I will provide the costumes from our costume storage. If anyone shows up in a sombrero I will kick them in the knee, ra ra ree, because it is my house and my rules and if your only idea for Halloween is "I'm gonna dress up like a Chinese" you need to think harder about everything ever always.
The Ghost of Rawk?

All writers are always on drugs all the time anyway

Of all the ways I've found to poison my body, I think "accidentally spraying myself in the face with freon" has proven to be the most effective. Like, a thousand times more effective than E, which is basically worthless.

I was defrosting our freezer, because our fridge was starting to act up and wasn't cooling like it's supposed to. I had just made the half-hour ride from work in about thirteen minutes or so, because I was FEELING IT, man. I was rolling. Don't know what. Just in a good mood and the weather was agreeing with me and I was just gunning it all the way home, bounding up the stairs, and announced cheerfully that it was time to defrost the freezer and - ba-daaaaa. One wrong move with the chisel, which I didn't know was the wrong move until I pulled the shelf of ice off the top of the freezer and PFFFFFFFFFFT right in my gorgeous face.

I, of course, didn't get out of the way of the spray cloud because I don't have a lick of sense. And I stayed there with the door open, continuing to defrost the freezer, because whatever licks of sense I might have had left had been killed by freon.

Now I'm basically higher than I've ever ever been, or, y'know, since I was fifteen.

So I broke our fridge and now we have to get another one tomorrow. And we have basically no money, and a baby on the way, and I ain't got no job and, well, if you know me you know that I basically want to kill myself and am convinced that I am responsible for all death and all pain the world over. I burst that freon, realized the milk was going to go bad, and thought, "Great. I just killed my baby." It's the way my brain works and I don't know why.

Spring assured me that "accidents happen" and she wasn't mad, but I sulked all night because I'm the stupidest person who ever lived and I don't deserve love.

Anyway, then Spring bought me dinner and I felt way better! Fried park chop sandwich! And then Sleazy called. And I didn't realize I was still on freon until we were talking. And this is what I want to tell you.


I don't know how we got here, BTW.


It's a game show, one of those game shows on NBC that they host in that weird Roman Death Trap stage, the 360 degree thing with the audience shrouded in darkness. It's called "Why Does My Face Smell Like Blood?" It's hosted by creepy shaven-headed Joey Lawrence.

They bring somebody up to the raised circle at the bottom of the pit ("Next up is a systems analyst from Denver, Colorado! Everybody help me bring David up to the stage!"). A PA splashes him in the face with a bucket. Then, creepy shaven-headed Joey Lawrence crouches like Johnny Bench, thoughtfully chapels his fingers against his chin and, "Let's put 45 seconds on the clock! David...for $10,000 dollars...why does your face smell like blood?"

"Uh...a dog exploded?"

"Wrong answer."

"Hm...(smelling the air)...rendering plant?"

"Way off. 25 seconds!"

"I cut my finger!"

"David, do you want to call a friend?"

"Uh...there was a...somebody broke their..."


"I'm sorry, David. The answer we were looking for was 'bus accident'. Bus accident."


Sleazy: "'Now let's bring up our next contestant. She's a school teacher--'"
Chris: And she's just crying. Like, softly whispering "Why does my face smell like blood?"
Sleazy: And that's how we play "Why Does My Face Smell Like Blood?"

(Riotous laughter)

Chris: I'm telling you, I am so high on freon right now.


Our meats and milk and such are in a cooler Kate was nice enough to lend us after a chance encounter on the street. She asked me what freon smelled like and I gave her my hands.

"Oh! Freon smells horrible! Are you have super powers or something now?"
"Yes. I'm going to kill Batman."


I will wake up early and I will call the used fridge place when they open. I will probably ride my bike there to pick one out, and give them my address and tell them my pregnant wife will let them in. And then I will go to a job interview and hopefully I will get this one, and then I might be able to sleep at night without worry worry worry worry. I hope. Otherwise, I'm just going to developed a really nasty freon habit to deal with everything, living in a huge mansion I bought with the proceeds from my Freon Trilogy of novels, a pile of used frigerators in the backyard, where my public can't see. An intervention, with everyone in my living room telling me I need to stop fridging off, because it already cost me my marriage and my kids. So much denial, such a fight, and then I reluctantly get in the white van and head to the airport, slumped over. Resigned.