Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to Free Will

So we're entering the third year of The Gypsy Prophecy.
What, you thought, being a reasonable and rational person, I would have forgotten about that? Nah man, if I think of it enough to write an entry about it, I never forget about it.

I did move, and drastically redecorate. If keeping every single article of clothing I own on the bedroom floor at all times can be considered redecorating, which I think it can.

I did not meet my soulmate - unless Lou from Pittsburgh is my soulmate, and in that case, we probably both want a recount.

I did have a drastic change in my career I guess, as in I had a career and no longer do. It did not bring lots of money, and I think success is a bit further away than one short year, but hey, I'm working on it as fast I can. Turns out I am hardworking, who the fuck knew?

A guy at work and I were discussing consciousness, and he asked me what I thought about Free Will, and it may have been my tiredness, or the pain in my broken toe, or just the general ennui that has settled on me in the past month as the adrenalin from The Move wears off, but I realized I didn't have an opinion about that. So I tried to formulate one, and it made me think about the Gypsy trip.

How much of my journey to the east side Slavic ghetto to have someone tell me what is going to happen in my future was totally predictable based on the sum of my past parts? Lots of fairy tales. A mother who bought the little rolled up horoscopes at the grocery checkout line. An innate sense of where the roughest spots of Cleveland are, from my dad. A desire to belong to somebody, thanks to the inevitable emotional fuckups of third generation immigrants.

I think Free Will is a gift, a spreading growing algae bloom bestowed on us by Culture. If our entire Self is defined by the choices we make, Culture and Education give us exponentially more choices, and more forks in the road to make contrasting decisions with, and therefore more Self. The more we know, the more possibilities we see, the more "Free Will" we have - it becomes a network of tree roots, capillaries, neurons - a cloud of tiny little footpaths leading off from the main roads, until it is indistinguishable from Random. Free Will is a Choose Your Own Adventure book with an infinite number of pages. Though each scenario can be traces back through preceding factors, who the fuck cares anymore, it's practically the same thing as Chaos.

Unfortunately, my liberal white girl upbringing has a lot to do with the entire preceding paragraph, so you would be perfectly justified in writing it all off. Free Will is Retrospective Justification, after all.

When we were primitives, and had to think about survival all the time, we didn't have the luxury of an opinion. It didn't occur to us to have opinions, instead we had only emotions - tired, hungry, scared, happy, horny, sad. But then there were more of us, and the people who wanted power invented blood religion in order to control the numbers. And there got to be even more of us, because civilization gave us food and safety, so we just kept fucking and breeding. Religion discovered that just saying "you're going to hell" wasn't having the same effect, it needed more guilt and personal investment, so it invented Free Will. Opinion. What's more powerful - having a blind follower, or a follower who believes he came to your side by coming to the same conclusions as you? And when he does something because he Wants to instead of Should, he feels terrible about reverting to his base nature? So it went from Blood Religion to Thinking Man's Morality.

And how could Hell even exist without Free Will these days? Oh, you're going to burn this person just because he has something we want, or she made us angry and hurt our feelings? That doesn't really fly with the Thinking Man's Morality. Much better to say "This was her choice, or his choice, we told them what was going to happen and they didn't listen to us, and you did, so you should feel pretty good about yourself."
You need fallibility of man, to justify the infallibility of god.

Free Will is a tool, used by Oppressors and Ideologues, to convince some men they are better than others. Fox News is what comes of Free Will.
But so am I.

However, the philosophy of Evolution and Statistics is also cold and unkind. It's so lacking in magic. Free Will is a tightrope spell. In my little hands at least. I guess for other's it's a giant stone falling from the sky. Statistics are a monotone sleeping chant though. They are warm and secure and lulling.

Can't there be some kind of warmth in between? One where I don't have to be predictable to everyone but myself?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Correct Plan for the End of the World

Just so you know, I am an Expert about the End of the World. Not sure how it happened, but it's an indisputable fact I am absolutely the only person you should listen to about what's going to happen in our dark and not so distant future. It's like a gift, only scarier.

I know, I don't look like Rasputin, do I? I mean, maybe in the right light. It's that steel glint of meanness. It sparkles in the sunlight right before it Burns Your Soul Out.

So let's talk about what happens After the End of the World.

Right. So after the plagues have ripped through our genetic pool, the oceans have covered the Sinful Shores, the tallest monuments in the world have been laid waste by the deadliest weapons, Atlanta has burned and burned and burned until the famous Southern Sun is only a dimly lit circle in the black smoke sky, feral pigs have taken over the Scrublands, gigantic Carp terrorize the inland oceans....what do we do next? The End of the World is such a misnomer. It's really only the end of OUR world. It's the charred beginning of another. A brutal primeval place where life pushes violently to survive and no organic creature will think twice about ripping out your throat and using your abdomen for warmth.

Where is your place in this fricaseed wasteland? Well, not to be rude, but you're probably dead. Did you even have a plan? Or were you one of the suckers praying in the basement of a school somewhere, counting on the National Guard to bail you out when even the top tiers of government were fleeing the hinterland? Whatever. Maybe you had a plan. Maybe you should try to make one now. Don't be a sucker. I guarantee Glenn Beck has one, and we can't let him father the new population.

My plan is to run back to Cleveland, where the world has already ended but we still have this huge reservoir of fresh water and we're so immunized to modern chemicals that our skin secretly glows green when we get angry. True story.

But the End of the World happens over and over again, so the second part of my plan is to hole up in the giant salt mines underneath Lake Erie. People think I used to frequent trashy bars in Western Ohio just for fun, and while it's true I do like fifty cent jello shots, I was also assembling a network of rough riding miners who will be my mercenary pack when shit goes down. They all have secret names, so I can communicate with them through Craigslist. PolishBear is my head strategic chief. He has this amazing idea for accumulating all the abandoned hot dog carts and turning them into hydroponic gardens. Then there is LonelyInLima, who is designing a fabric that will not only suck up excess radiation, but then temper it to provide Vitamin D to the wearer. Also a nice tan.

Think about it. An entire community, safe hundred of feet beneath the water, secreted away from marauders, radiation, and disease. And when the world starts to recover, salt will be an incredibly valuable resource to trade for goods. We'll be totally rich. Our children will be beautiful. When the deadly gases have finally integrated themselves back into the lower atmosphere and ecosystem, we will have a headstart as the beacon of a new civilization.

Don't let those other End of the World plans make a dead zombie sucker out of you. I don't care how deep your mine shaft in Nevada is. It's Nevada. Why would anyone want to start a new city in a desert? With my community, you'll emerge in a verdant Eden of farmland, groundwater reservoirs, and wild dairy cows.

Applications are being accepted now, and can be emailed by request. Please include an essay detailing your religious and political upbringing, a recent physical with bloodwork, and 10,000 in heavy metal for consideration. Cash will not be accepted. I do not discriminate against felons, but only useful felonies will be considered, like murder or grand larceny. Entertainers need not apply, unfortunately we've got our quota of useless attractive people. Michael Raymond-James, don't worry, I saved you a bunk next to mine.


Hey, you can buy my new Little Book of Sexts here now for 6.99.
Or my "good" book, Cleveland is Your Best Friend here. For slightly more, cause there's photos.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Fear is something I think about a lot these days

The morning of the Connecticut shootings, I was at work, and didn't even know it had happened until a co-worker told me about it. To tell the truth, I was more obsessed with another act of violence that had happened the night before - a man had been shot in downtown Wilmington on 2nd St, apparently as a result of a mugging.

It happened while I was downtown myself at Nutt St. for the open mic, at 11pm which is right in the middle of the Thursday drunken college kid bar crawl, and Downtown was particularly packed that night cause it had been the last day of UNCW finals and the beginning of Christmas break. There were also cops everywhere, on every block. We had speculated earlier it was because of an amber alert, but in general there are a million cops downtown anytime, this city makes its budget off DUIs. So...crowded streets, lots of police presence, and still a murder. Two weeks earlier, there was a home invasion murder a few blocks away from my house. For a place this small, there's a higher than expected proportion of violence.

So while some people at work were in a sad shocked state because of the murder of lots of little children, this girl at work and I were freaking out over the fact that both of us regularly walked around Downtown by ourselves late at night. We've both lived in much larger cities, and just hadn't expected crime to be a problem  here, in this tiny little coastal college town. My roommate and I talked about how neither of us should be walking the fifteen minutes down to Front St. anymore once it's dark, and we had both been guilty of it lately.    Another girl friend and I got drunk together the next night, huddled in her downtown apartment, and commiserated over walking to her car alone, over bus stops late at night, and I thought about how when I had moved down here everyone had warned me about a very violent rape that happened earlier that summer. I had completely blown the story off, assuming it was just a big deal here because Wilmington wasn't a real city. I wondered if my guy friends felt anything like the same Fear that is a constant stress for the girls they know. After all, neither of the murder victims were women. But there's a very real, always present fear of rape and violence that girls grow up with, a sense of danger right around the corner, a twitching of noses and eyelashes as we try to keep a look out.  And we want so badly to be independent and brave, to not look like wusses. But I didn't stop at any of the red lights on my bike ride home last night, and it would be a lie if I pretended that I wasn't feeling scared and vulnerable and soft the whole way home.

I want to say some things about the school shooting, about all school shooting, about shootings in general. I want to say them, because I think my thoughts are just as important and meaningful as yours, even though we disagree.  But I wanted you to understand my own version of the Fear at the moment.

1) I don't think it's wrong that I was more shocked and concerned over a single mugging than a mass murder. I think it's completely normal, I was more emotionally affected by the violent event near me than the one far away. By the same token, I understand why people are more shocked by a school shooting in their own country than the ubiquitous violence perpetuated against children in other countries all the time. They are good points to make, that other schools get shot up all the time, that state sanctioned mass murder happens all the time. They are true too. But...shut up. That's like someone's grandmother dying, and you responding with "well, grandmothers die all the time, some of them a lot more painfully than yours."

2) The other side of this is...I don't have the same reaction of shock to a school shooting, or any mass shooting, because I assume lots of people are being murdered in the world, all the time, always. I'm not saying it isn't terrible or tragic, it is both of those things. But so many things are. Like any sane citizen of the internet, I've learned to regulate my emotional responses to tragedy. This is called Not Letting the Fear Take Over Every Day. Frankly, Connecticut might as well be Pakistan to me. The world is huge, and full of more people than I can rightfully conceive of.  I'm sorry if you think I should be more emotionally connected to all that pain and suffering, but I'm over here trying not to go crazy myself. Some of you can do that by focusing on one particular area of pain and making that your cause, other people fail miserably at focusing and end up depressed and ineffective. I choose to keep my eyes and head open to all of it, and my heart closed. That doesn't make me a bad person. But I gotta be honest - the fact that it was children instead of adults doesn't make it worse for me. I wonder about how you all can make such a big deal about that, like it would be better if it had all been adults murdered? That makes no sense. For a world that operates through systems of oppression and bloodshed, and has since its very inception, everyone is surprisingly sentimental over babies. I wonder why you can't see that it's biologically, instinct controlled? Like, this seems worse to you because of how you're genetically programmed. So much of the story of this Reaction is about evolutionary instinct, and the mutation of same.  At least for those of us not related to any of the victims. 

3) I watched all of you yelling at each other for days.

"Only idiots have guns!"
"Only idiots want to ban guns!"  
" This is because of healthcare!" "
"This is because of gun control!"
"This is because of Pakistan!"
"This is because of god!"
This is because of no god!"
"How dare you tell me how to feel!"
"How dare you not feel this way!"

It is like watching a small child who has been told his friend has died, and he is incapable of dealing with the reality of it, so he screams "it's not fair" over and over. It's not the kid's grasp of metaphysical policy that leads him to scream, it's his inability to articulate The Fear.  Confronted suddenly with a symptom of how the Universe actually works but unable to comprehend the mechanics that led to this moment, he resorts to a childish denial and blame.

Something terrible happened, and you are all scared of it, and you want someone to blame. It is easiest to blame the person who disagrees with you, especially when that person is also scared, and yelling back at you. Everybody is sorta right and everyone is sorta wrong. The ones who want to ban assault rifles are not wrong. The ones who point out it's not the guns fault but the person holding it are not wrong. The ones who point out that maybe the blame should be placed at the feet of our society's highly ineffective healthcare system of diagnosing and treating mental illness are, in my opinion, the most right.

But... regardless of how we feel about policy, couldn't we all just stop for a little bit and appreciate the fact that you are all upset about the same thing, you feel the same disconnect and vulnerability and grief? We're all reacting differently, but the common emotion is there, promise. Everybody just stop yelling, grieve a little, calm down, and then maybe talk policy when you've had some time to process.

4) The Fear. There are six billion of us. We lived packed into houses, cities, tax codes. We are told from the moment of our birth how to behave, how to survive the constant interaction and judgment of society, how to act and look and buy and work and think. We are set up to standards of beauty, of intelligence, of popularity, financial success, religious morality. We are pumped full of sugars, indigestibles, drugs, adrenalin, serotonin, validation and sex and failure, all the brain chemicals that go along with those emotions.  We are put into the system of judgment as soon as we're able to speak, and we stay there our entire development, then move right into another system of grading in the workforce. We are constantly on the lookout for love and affection, because we recognize it as a survival tactic.  We throw ourselves into the communities that will take us because we need the security of numbers. And there are so many numbers. Think of all the stresses you face just every normal day - talking to strangers, getting lost, worrying about how you look, driving and trying to avoid dying, finding food, paying for food, disappointing people, finding affection, feeling stupid, feeling sad, trying to not get raped, trying to not get shot on your way home. There are so many people out there, and most of them are broken and just trying to function - we are the Misfit Toys all of us, and every once in a while someone cannot pretend to not be broken, or they give up, or they can't help it because they are THAT broken, and they do something horrible and evil. It's not something you can pin on one particular cause or consequence - the human brain is a delicate fragile desperate thing.

If you packed ten million rats in a cage, some would become petrified and comatose, others would try to create their own power structures, still others would adjust and just go on doing normal ratty things in a state of denial. But for sure a few would start killing and eating the others.

I guess what I'm saying is all of humanity is crazy, and the more beings we try to squeeze into this tired dated cultural trope, the harder it gets on everyone, and also the higher the proportion of actually broken people we're going to produce. I guess I just expect that this sort of stuff will keep happening more and more frequently. I guess now I'm a nihilist? We can try banning assault rifles, that would be a pretty good step in general I think. Less weapons is always a good thing, at least until the next revolution. Also a rehauling of how we diagnose, treat, and pay for the support of those with mental illness (you know, everyone), from the lightest seasonal depression to the most violent schizophrenia, that would probably be good for all of us. Since we all live so close together. Is it any wonder that the city dwellers are more in support of social welfare programs than the ones living by themselves in the country? Hey Country Boys, if you don't support family planning policies, how much longer do you think you're gonna be able to live in low population areas? Guess what, it's a lot harder to ignore the ills of society when they are 500 feet away from your door instead of 5 miles, or 50. 

In the end, I don't think we're gonna learn any lessons from murder, we'll just use it as another badge to justify The Fear. We've had centuries to learn, and it's never worked. It's never not the end of the world, or even the end of Society. The Fear is always out there, it's been out there since the days of Demons and Sea Monsters. The more people we have, the more receptors for The Fear we have, it's just going to keep getting stronger, more frequent, crazier. So the insight I'm choosing to take away from this latest violent episode is that I need to get faster on my bike, and I need to get some pepper spray.

Monday, December 10, 2012


It was 75 degrees the other day. I realized it was December and I was still just wearing a hoodie only occasionally, and I thought Jesus I Live in the South. Are the Northern climes just full of people exactly like me except they grew up in the South, do we all move places for contrast? I watched Flashdance for the first time, which takes place in Pittsburgh, and all I could think about was how cold the rain looked, and how gray everything was. I guess part of me believed all parts of the world were more similar than different. Wrong. Plants are different everywhere, and so the air smells different, and the colors are different and the water is a stranger.

The other day a co-worker asked me if I believed in astrology, and I launched into a long explanation of how I didn't really believe in it all, but I did love all the story and detail and potential conflict of it. The trivia. Liked it all so much, like played along with it all the time and asked people what their signs were and laughingly "interpreted" their personalities, that I wondered if in fact this was the same as believing in it? I think pretty much it is. We all believe Monopoly's real, don't pretend.    

 I told her the story of Huntington, WV, that I talked about in the last post. Huntington is maybe where I left my heart, that weekend when it wasn't wanted anymore, and I came back to Cleveland without it. Then, heartless, I was able to leave, and even though I'm building a new heart now, all the native sons and daughters of Huntington can sense that my old life got discarded there. That's the sort of narrative I'm talking about, the thing that happens that tricks me into feeling that there's connection and meaning, even though really there isn't one, but I've trained my brain by repetition, by TV and books and religion and being social, to always look for the overarching structure. So it's natural that it looks for it in the rest of my life too, and it's a constant struggle to keep yourself sober and remember it's not a destiny or a fate or a secret. The Narrative is both a Faith and a drug.

This older customer and I had an interaction a few weeks ago where I was wearing a gold glittery sweater and she told me she had this other gold sweater she never wore anymore and would I like it? So I said sure, and then yesterday she came in and said "Oh I have it in the car for you!" She brought it in a white paper bag after we checked her out. There was a rush going on, so she dropped it behind my register, and said "here you go sweetie" and totally touched my cheek with her hand, which was simultaneously unsettling and sweet as all get out. There was this overwhelming sense of age versus youth in that physical gesture. 

This place is messing with my sense of age. Nobody thinks I'm as old as I am, which is complimentary and nice, but also puzzling, because I don't look young, and it makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable. But this woman must have thought I was so young, to touch my cheek like that, and maybe she thought of me like a daughter or a granddaughter. One of the other girls at work, we figured out I was born in the exact year and month as her older sister. She didn't believe me. I'm starting to think it's just because I didn't grow up at the beach and my skin doesn't have any obvious sun damage, 'cept for the freckles everywhere. I wish everyone would go around with their ages pinned to their shirts, so I could begin to learn some proper context for all this. 

Things are so much older now than I think they are, and so much younger. In fact, it's just sorta becoming, do I like this thing (person, place, activity) or do I not like this, and the more I like it, the closer to my own age I think it is. Like, The Bravery is exactly 33 years old, and so is Watership Down, and so is that super cute ECU student who was hitting on me. He wasn't under 24 at all. No way. 

I've been missing The Ex a lot recently. I think it's because I wrote the book, and I had to spend so much time sitting around thinking about my years with him and everything we did, but you know, only the good things. Now the book's done, but my brain is still all like Him Him Him. Ooops. Also I've reached that point in a Move to a New City where the excitement plateaus and regular living begins again, which is hard. That's when you miss your old life the most, just far enough away from it to see only the niceties. I texted The Prince yesterday, at the edge of a long wet rope, about to write a letter and fucking mail it to The Ex, desperate for contact or news of him. The Prince talked me down in twenty minutes. That doesn't mean anything to you maybe, but I think of all the times I've gone back to The Ex, or he comes back to me, and being able to talk me out of it is not something anyone, my family or friends, has been able to do before. He's pretty perceptive, The Prince, he's sharp. It's like talking to myself, only the non-desperate, non-lonely, more pragmatic version of myself, which is to say the version of myself that's giving advice to someone else. 

And then I think to myself "Man, the Universe has provided for me at every turn of this, but mostly by giving me him just when I needed him and didn't know it" and then I get really fucking mad at myself for giving in to that easy thought, that somehow there's a Narrative, when I know perfectly well there isn't yet till I fucking put it there, Geez. 

Anyway, this is how people get religion, by life being hard and lonely sometimes, and being so relieved when someone loves them. 

This wasn't very funny, but I guess you could go read my Ways to Pretend You're from Cleveland if that's what you came here for. You can read guys insulting me for no reason, cause Good Men Project is great at collecting meaningless insults. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Here is Super Gentle

me:  I am going to listen to this Mariah Carey song like at least 150 times in the next week I bet
 scott:  why?
that's bad
 me:  shut up this song is amazing
it's the best christmas carol ever
 scott:  oh the christmas one?
 me:  "the christmas one"? OF COURSE THE CHRISTMAS ONE 
 scott:  i hate christmas songs
 me:  No, I mean Butterfly

I have been stuck for something to write about it. I've had schoolwork, and work work, and then the book the book the book. Every time I think about sitting down to try, I'm just tired. Tired and bored with it, the internet, the computer. 

I'm listening to Mariah Carey sing her grand Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Gloria medley. It's played straight church. I love it. Those used to be two of my favorite songs to sing when I was in church choir. The holidays were so great, all lots of colors and swathes and candles, and then dressing up and singing in front of people. I remember one particular midnight mass at St. Boniface, where the church was darkened and everyone had those little white candles with the paper holders on them. It was just after everyone had lit each others candle. I don't remember what we were singing, and now I sorta wonder if it was one of the more morbid Easter masses, but regardless I remember being extremely happy right then. My mother used to tell me that I should pin my bangs up, that my face looked better that way, bangs up, hair down. Man, glasses ruined my face. I used to wear the worst glasses, and they were terrible on me. But I mean, I was a kid. You can't give kids contacts. That's just asking to put their eye out. Anyway, in this memory, I definitely have my bangs pinned back.

When I listen to the more religious songs, like Hark, or anything in Latin, I like to picture the singer gazing upward adoringly at the church ceiling, where a giant nitrous breathing ice encased ancient demon tentacled monster is hanging suspended in space time, his one huge sparkling eye crusty with age and malice, his squid-like beak mouthing along to the words. 

I do this a lot to Come Oh Come Emmanuel too. 

Who was it I was talking to the other day who had never heard of Classical Gas? I was trying to explain that I thought Classical Gas was the guitar recital equivalent of Fur Elise for the piano, or the Tarantella. And I was telling you about how I had such a crush on the boy in my grade who did play this at his recital, which was also where I was playing Fur Elise, or maybe I was just thinking that and never said it out loud to you. Which should probably explain the whole thing, huh? Anyway, here, you should listen to this. 

The other thing I've been thinking about is that Green Mamba at the Serpentarium, and that feeling I had watching it watch me. Yesterday I was talking with a poet I knew a long time ago, like Livejournal days, and he brought up that he was mildly obsessed with that feeling to, how did Andrew put it? I don't know, he may have been quoting someone, but it was something like "its us looking at nature, and nature looking back." Which to me is a primordial flight or kill feeling, mostly flight. My civilized interpretation of Kill is "well I'm not going to kill it myself, but I wouldn't mind if something else killed it." I think our chat helped me finish a short story, but it also got me listening to The Gerbils a lot again, so it's a toss up. What if The Gerbils has done a Christmas Album? omg

Work is good. It's been a long time since I've worked retail. I had forgotten. I got sick like immediately, and then was like "oh yeah, public money, public school, public bus". Really what's gotten into me is the virus of Man. I am a chicken in a cage, all packed in. My body is a nesting ground for every personal failure in a 5 mile radius of me.

But I like the job itself a lot. I like people in general. I have some really nice smart friends here, I feel like the proportion of decent interesting people is higher than normal here, at least Downtown. The other night I was sitting in my friend's (super beautiful high ceiling third floor of a goddamn southern mansion) apartment, and we were eating pizza from the tequila bar, and talking about books and PTSD and the self awareness paradigm shift, and so... this town has done pretty well at people so far.

Except when it comes to dating. This is weird, but almost every person I've gone on a date with has been from Huntington, WV. And they all went to Marshall. Also one of my very favorite girls in town, this girl Melissa, who was my first school friend and then helped me get a job, she's a happy piece of luck but also? From Huntington, WV. So if I was writing this as a chapter of an autobiography, I would write about the weekend last October when Sean and I went to Huntington for the first time to see Elvis Costello for his birthday, and some drunk guy tried to pick me up so Sean let him try because he wanted to hit on some twitterati girl at the bar, and how that was Total Fucking Foreshadowing. Only at that time, I had not even conceived of moving to Wilmington, I hadn't even applied to UNCW yet. So hello Weirdest Year Ever, What's up? An idea I had at roughly this same time last year has led to me being here now in a totally different city, job, school, and social group. Fucked Up. So much has happened this year. This New Years is gonna be weird. Anti-climatic almost.

The other thing I like a lot these days are  People Reading My Book. First of all, because I can't believe I got that Tumblr name, that it wasn't taken already. I mean, that's going to be useful forever. Second, it is possibly the cutest thing that's ever happened to me. Selling a book on the internet is a weird experience and one that leads to a lot of moments of gratefulness. Maybe that's the other reason for all the Christmas music.

I really don't know what I'm going to do for New Years this time around, it's weird and vague. I want something really neat to happen, but I suspect I've used up my quota for a while, and now it's just time to work a lot.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Things I Am Thankful For

I am thankful I am not Sarah Connor.

I am also thankful I am not Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Cinderella, Cosette, Esmeralda, or any Edith Wharton woman.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful that I am still young enough, even Paul Rudd can't interest me in a movie about being forty.

I am thankful for Radiohead and Christmas commercials featuring dogs with bows on.

I am thankful for feeling like I'm twenty three at thirty three. I am thankful I live someplace where that's possible. Yay for populations living longer. Maybe.

I am thankful I'm able to appreciate the process of my sister turning into my brother.

I am thankful for my brother's infinite capacity for love.

I am thankful for my parents, who remind me to appreciate the perspective of being really close with remarkable people, so close that sometimes you forget to look at it that way.

For: russian scifi movies, being able to access russian scifi movies, for having friends that introduce me to russian scifi movies, for the people who translate russian scifi movies, and the ones who put them on art theaters' schedules. Oh and dogs in russian scifi movies.

For it barely being cold enough to wear a sweatshirt all the time here.

For the opportunity to get really mad at guys calling me Honey. For guys calling me honey.

For OK Cupid, which in the future may be regarded as the most influential website on my body of work.

For gchat. Which, for all the awkwardness of google+, still remains the intimate version of Twitter.

For the miracle of that sentence even existing. On it's own, that may be the weirdest duo of sentences ever written.

For whoever and everyone that was responsible for raising me with a basically very healthy body image and self esteem. I'm sorry it took me so long to appreciate and use it properly. I'm thankful for whoever it was specifically that gave me the confidence to be like "fuck the rule of threes, I will make this work with five if it kills me."

I am thankful for nice people. Thank you, nice people.

I am thankful for living in an age of tea sieves shaped like robots, and spotify, and self publishing, even though I realize how very 90s that sounds, especially when you combine it with Radiohead from earlier. Whatever, I give in, I'll try to appreciate it better the second time around. I guess. I'm not getting into Bjork again. (you guys know we're totally getting into Bjork again, right?)


Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Ever Go Into the Basement

I finally found a place I want to work, more than any other place in this entire town.
The Serpentarium.
This place is AMAZING.
First, you walk in, and there’s this giant wall display about chemtrails and the government conspiracy to spray us with DEATH GUNK. Like, right in the lobby, with three large parrots. It's all chemtrails and Magellons, and pictures of weird sores people have gotten from secret chemicals in the air, or fibers under their skin. Death Gunk.
That’s the scientific term for it.

 Then you go through the dark low doorway into the snake and reptile galleries, and every exhibit has, you know, a little plaque next to it describing what kind of snake it is. Only the descriptions are really just stories about how many people and dogs that snake has killed, and next to the name there is a rating system of how poisonous each snake is, represented by SKULLS. So like, the black mamba is a 5 skull snake, the eyelash viper is 2 and a half.

At one point, this beautiful woman with an Eastern European accent emerged out of some back room, with a bowl full of bloody chicken parts, opened one of the cages, and took out this monitor lizard. She then proceeded to feed the lizard chicken pieces with a set of tongs, just sitting out in the hallway there, on this dirty carpet with tape and obviously tons of salmonella on it. Meanwhile, in the cage across from her, these other two giant monitor lizards can smell the blood and they’re going nuts scratching at the windows and wall to get out and get some.

The creepiest thing was how each snake was actively interested in you, like, it wanted to kill the fuck out of you. The green mamba was my favorite. It’s this beautiful delicate gorgeous thing, and every time I came near, it would stick it’s head directly in front of me and just stare me down, like sort of hovering in mid air, looking at me. After about ten minutes of this, I could see this light bulb flip on behind it’s evil reptile eyes, and the damn thing started coiling it’self up towards the ceiling, like, it knew there was some gap up there it could find, to get out and murder me.

I had this deep visceral reaction that every creature in there was my mortal enemy. I mean, they were beautiful and interesting, but also, nope, monsters. Murderous bloodthirsty barely sentient dinosaurs. Genetically, I am predisposed against things that don't give birth the same way as me. That's not really true...but it sorta is.

You know, I know its sad that all these creatures are locked up in these tiny places, and I really do feel sorry for them. But I get it. I mean, how else am I going to be able to look at them so closely? If there were aliens that came down and kidnapped me, and put me in a cage, I would totally understand if they just stood there staring at me like some marvelous beautiful creature.
Cause I’m vain as fuck.
And I bet snakes are vain as fuck too.

The only snake I didn’t get to see was the King Cobra,  he was hidden away.. The King Cobra is the only snake in the whole place that was so bad ass he was like, fuck this shit, I’m out, I’m just staying under this rock. The King Cobra doesn’t whore his shit out like those flashy pythons and dumb ass iguanas.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cleveland is Your Best Friend: 67 Things I Miss About Home

Holy Shit, I published this book! And now I really really really need you to buy it. Because you love me. And because you kept telling me I should write a book, so I did it, and now if you don't buy it, I will never write another one again. Which isn't true, I'm already working on the next one. It will have less pictures. Pictures are expensive. This is a pretty book. The next one will be ugly. Anyway, if you're not going to buy it, could you at least post this all over your FB and Twitter, and send it to all your friends? That would be awesome. Here is a trailer I made. Apparently, that's a thing we do now, make book trailers.

 Cleveland is Your Best Friend: Available for Purchase Here.


Now today is Black Sabbath appreciation day. I didn't make it that way, it just happened. So go listen to War Pigs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Swing State Syndrome and Why This Writer Guy can Piss Off

For those of you just catching up, I recently moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Wilmington, North Carolina to go back to school for creative writing. This has, therefore, been an extremely painful yet cynically entertaining  election cycle for me. One swing state to another, not much changes. I registered to vote here in NC as soon as the campus drives started, and since then I've been bombarded with fliers, phone calls, Hulu ads. I've had an Obama volunteer knocking on my door looking for me every day for the past two weeks. I live in a predominantly black neighborhood, so the Romney volunteers have been noticeably absent.

The only people who cared more about early voting than Ohio were North Carolinians. I'm one of those perverts who enjoys going to the community center on Election Day and making a whole ritual of it, and it got to the point where I was lying to the volunteers and telling them I had already voted, just so they would stop trying to give me directions to the library.

This morning I was laying in bed, contemplating my very non-political thoughts, and as I hopped on Twitter to post my deep musings about the correlation between my vibrator and my teddy bear, I saw THIS ESSAY linked to by my friend Angie. I have a lot to say about this, so you'd better go read it first, even though I absolutely hate to give this guy the page views.

First of all, fuck you. Just had to get that out there.
Alright. Let's try this again.

First of all, Ohio didn't choose to be the lynch pin of the electoral process. It's not like years ago, we somehow bid on it, somehow lobbied to be the place where every four years campaign strategists cum on our faces with 300 political ads a day and tie up our cellphones with blocked numbers just because one time we decided to sign that Move On petition. Oh yes, Ohio has email, can you believe it? No wait, actually some parts of Ohio DON'T have DSL, because not a single one of these candidates blowing their coffer loads here comes back in between elections to help us out with real issues - like accessibility of internet services, alternative energy sources, or a governor that's trying to frack us all into a giant hell pit. We are not rubes, we are very well aware of the disparity and the abuse we suffer at the hands of these invaders. There are not a bunch of Ohioans walking around going "Oh man, I'm so special and important, I'm the future of America." No, instead we're sitting in our finished basements, being pissed off that we can't watch our Black Key's youtube video without first having to sit through our 17th Romney ad of the hour.

Second, let's address this idea you posit that all human beings of vitality and vision leave Ohio as soon as they are able to crawl. It's painfully obvious that you consider yourself one of these visionaries. Let me assure you, your style is mediocre David Foster Wallace rip off at best, so tone it down a bit Chump. I mean, I sympathize, because I am obviously one of these glowing talents as well, and yes, I too ran far away from Ohio. To an even smaller town, in the Bible Belt, where grown men regularly call me honey and the job market is so slow I've been considering selling "used" underwear on Craiglist just to make rent. Look, I grew up in Revitalized Cleveland, so I'm well aware of the concept of "Ohio good", and I am not a fan of the legions of cheerleaders whose sole mission in life seems to be to convince me that Ohio is the very best place to live in the entire world because we have a restaurant with weird grilled cheese sandwiches.

But, and I'm going to go ahead and siphon off some of your ego here, I'm a good writer. The reason I am a good writer is not because I somehow had the far reaching vision to escape Ohio, but because I stayed there. I lived there for my entire formative twenties. That means I had to find jobs in Ohio, entertainment in Ohio, love in Ohio, and confidence in Ohio. In order to accomplish any of that, I was required to learn perspective.  You dismissively call Ohio "our republic in a can", and that's right. A lot of rednecks, some lone outposts of urban minorities, a thin icing of college educated professionals. That's absolutely correct, that's our country. Growing up in that microcosm, I am now able to live wherever I want in the country, even this weird little coastal town full of Republicans, and get along with people. I can even genuinely like them. I am capable of having an opinion about people with opposing viewpoints that doesn't involve degrading or vilifying  them. Those famous writers you cite, Anderson and Thurber and Crane, you know what they had that you don't have? They LIKED people. They were INTERESTED in people. They didn't just immediately dismiss anyone who didn't go to Princeton as intellectually inferior to them, or maybe if they did, they understood that intellect isn't necessarily the mark of a good man.

I was going to write a snarky little paragraph here about how you must have come from some beige little suburb town, and how the deeper subject of your essay is obviously your own unresolved bitterness towards your hometown. But then I tried googling your biography, and there wasn't much to find, except maybe you converted to Mormonism as a teenager once? Here's what being an Ohioan has done for me - I read that and immediately felt this pang of sympathy for your childhood. In my head those sugars converted to "oh, he probably just doesn't know any better" and now I've completely lost steam to make fun of you because I just feel bad that you think of your country as someplace to escape from, instead of the unending weird and interesting place it actually is. I mean, if you've made a career out of non-fiction writing, you must know this too, at least intellectually if not viscerally.

Here's what you did in this essay. You saw a week of the country crowing about the Impressive Mediocrity of Ohio, the Breadbasket of the Boring Modern Man, and you somehow felt compelled to scream against it. Nevermind that it only happens once every four years, and it isn't fooling anyone. You said to yourself "Stupid Ohio thinks it's so fucking special, it's time I remind the rest of this high school who the real cool kids are" and then you tried to pants us. So good for you, you reminded your peers that Ohio is fat and unemployed and stupid, that's awesome. We totally deserved that right? Cause god forbid, anyone pay attention to an entire section of the country that needs jobs and education and love. That isn't what politics is about at all, right? No, politics is about proving you're smarter than everyone else. Way to be a visionary there. And I hope, when Ohio goes blue tomorrow, you have a follow up essay prepared about how that doesn't really matter, because being a normal mediocre person still sucks. That will for sure help the effort to convince the "rednecks" here that they should vote with compassion towards their fellow man.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why We're All Actually Pretty Scared of Zombies

You are either one of two things: a vampire person or a zombie person.

If you are a vampire person, please get up from your computer right now, feed your three cats, go outside and get in your car, drive to the nearest bridge, and throw yourself off it.

Vampires have only ever stood for shame and sin associated with sex and sluttiness. Vampires are the AIDS of the monster world.

Also they're not real. If all you ever drank was blood, you would get scurvy and your body would die off from malnutrition, not live forever.

But zombies are real. Because all you need for zombies are lots of bodies and a virus, and those two things already exist. It's only a matter of time before something like human rabies or human mad cow appears. I mean, I'm not entirely convinced we're not already eating things containing people. I don't *really* think so, but *if* that story broke, I wouldn't be, like, *shocked*. And geez, we can't even CURE viruses yet, so we're just like helpless against that. It's a magical, inevitable combination, and those of us not too busy jacking off to True Blood trailers have already figured that out.

Let's look at the conditions needed to be present for a zombie apocalypse:
1) overcrowding - done
2) high transient population that can spread quickly without notice- homeless, mentally ill, etc - done
3) low access to immediate healthcare and therefore early warnings or at least early tracking - done
4) low international regulation on genetic alteration of foods and medicines - done
5) corporations with the ability to keep the regulations that way through buy-offs and elections - done

AND THEN my friend Louis made THIS point: it's even more likely that the government will at some point just use the Zombie Infection as an excuse to cull thousands of people to decrease the economic pressure of overpopulation. Like, we know you crazies won't approve any sane population control measures, so we'll just fake outbreaks on TV, and then kill lots of people and claim they were zombies.

So that could totally happen.

The point is, zombies are the sane monster, if sanity means seeing the perversion of reality around you and understanding that we are completely and totally fucked, and just hoping it doesn't get too bad in your own lifetime so you can keep enjoying cable and iced mochas until someone shoots you in the head with a rifle and you're off screen.  We're not scared of the ocean, or volcanoes, or ghosts. Aliens maybe a little, but aliens aren't really monsters, they're a different kind of inevitability. We're not scared of sex, or at least we shouldn't be, unless we're deliberately keeping our understanding of science in the dark ages because someone promises us acceptance if we do, *ahem*. But zombies make sense to be afraid of. They represent what's really left in the unknown - the future of ourselves as a species.

Zombies as an idea were created by cultures that had been invaded and enslaved - South Africa, Haiti. Places where society had been replaced with Society - the corporate empire - the railroad, the coffee plantation, the tobacco farms, the mines. The very basis of the fear is that you can somehow be made not in control of yourself. It used to be through death and sorcery, now we've adapted it to the much more modern idea of disease and law. Look! These people can do this thing to you and you will be out of your mind! You will do anything they tell you! You will buy that detergent and attack and kill your loved ones! Not even death will be able to save you! The brainwashing will follow you beyond death! Heaven is a Starbucks serving brains, where you don't have to even make the decision of what you want, it's just all brains.

I mean, it's not a coincidence that the soul-less victims of Society are hungering for the mental capacities of the uninfected. Romero did that on purpose. That man was a genius. Why did none of us ever start a weird Scientology-like religion off of him? Dibs.

So we joke, a lot, about being prepared for the zombie apocalypse. But we're not really joking. When I say I'm hightailing it back to the Great Lakes and holing up in a salt mine, because a) fresh water b)food preservation and trade-friendly natural mineral, and c) easily defensible one point of entry....I am not joking. I'm sorta joking. But I'm not joking. This is what we're doing, you're either with me or against me, and that's why so many people have their Survive the Zombie Apocalypse plans posted on their OK Cupid profiles. Do I think it's likely that having a mate who knows how to hunt and owns several firearms is going to really be integral to my survival? I mean, probably not? But...I mean, that sort of thing is always useful right? I'm just being prepared.

We're joking, but really what we're doing is mentally preparing ourselves. That's what a population does when they realize they are trapped, cornered, and there's no way out except chewing our way out of the shackles and getting to the nearest cave with a weapon. One that doesn't require ammunition because that shit will run out eventually. (Arrows are good.) We are bristling our hackles, and laughing it nervously off.

So...you know...pretty TENSE time to have an election huh? When we're all just starting to go fucking insane with the realization we are no longer in control of our lives? That should put us just a little bit back on the track to unity as a nation, united in our fear, only seriously? Fuck unity as a nation, that's how the fucking zombie apocalypse happens. Also wars. Where people develop biochemical agents? Right?

Anyway, Happy Halloween, and you should still vote for Obama cause I want school loans and birth control.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Whales of Cleveland

In the beginning there were no whales in Cleveland. Lake Erie was too young; it had only recently been cut from the bowels of the continent. There were large shadowy things to be sure, giant fish with gaping jaws and rows of impossible teeth. You can see them now, in museums, encased in dried mud, or you can see them in the depths of today’s lake, down in the bottoms, sucking on the souls of sailors. But there were no whales then, in those troubling times. Nothing resembling a whale. No snub noses and wide wise eyes.

The whales were created by a magician. He wasn’t a real magician, not naturally. He was a man who had once decided to master only this one spell, the creation of life from a special mixture of ground up sand and glass and plants. All around the world he went, conjuring whales in places where whales shouldn’t be. Sometimes the whales were lucky, and their canvasses were at least close to warm waters, in places where sun could get to them, and they could imagine one day of being real whales, for the magician hadn’t really mastered warm and wet life yet – only imitation.  He was missing a dimension. Poor two-dimensional whales, swimming forever in the graceful arc.  The ones in warm places, places of natural habitat where one could expect to see their species, watched the waters so close and so far away, and from the waters they heard the gasps and laugh of real whales. They could hear the bedtime stories the mothers told their calves, to stay away from the coast, or they too might end up trapped on warehouse walls.

One day this magician, this man, who maybe didn’t know what he did or maybe cared more only that people appreciated the small skills he had, his fake art – this man came to Cleveland. As pointed out above, there were no whales in Cleveland, only small fish and larger fish that ate them. But this magician had run out of invitations from cities to show off, so he made up some rigmarole and flashed some shiny things at a few CEOs and councilman. Thus, the Whales were born.  

After it was done, the magician disappeared, never to be seen again.
The Whales were left on the side of an ugly concrete and tin building. Next to a busy and loud highway. Next to a freezing-even-in-July lake. In the summer they burned and the mosquitoes bit at them. In the fall, the wind bit harder. In the winter, their flippers ached with ice and snow. In the spring, cold gray rains melted the ice and left them raw and exposed.

This was their life for years. The car smog built up on them like varnish.

For 10 years, 50 years, 100 years, the citizens of the city gawked and the seagulls laughed.

But one day, oh one special wonderful day, the city fell silent. The cars went away. The weeds took over the highway, and the wind and rain, suddenly deciding to be helpful, whipped especially hard at the building on the lake. The water ate away the breaker rocks, threw them to side, and then gnawed at the piers. 
Oh one day, that building fell with a resounding crash into the still very young lake. And the whales were born again, released into the cold clear waters. Whales are used to cold waters. They bred well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Geographically In Love

I stand by two assertions - first that the geographical happiness of a person is pre-determined by the landscape in which they grew up, and second that people are mostly attracted to and will end up with other people who share similar facial symmetry with them. 

Before we go any further though, I just want to make sure you noticed the delicate little museum fence around the above tree, which is North Carolina's oldest live oak, 467 years old, which is old enough to remember the dawn of forestry on the continent, and to somehow have survived and grown up despite being in close proximity to a busy little port town. So we honor it, because we do that sort of thing, we honor the survivors of our own massacres. The stuffed dodo bird. The herd of Yellowstone buffalo. Old trees. 

Back to assertions. You guys have already heard me talk about how everything is predatory in the South, and kinda gay, and pretty. I'd like to add delicate to that list of adjectives, no not delicate - detailed. Everything is very detailed. The conversation is very full of purpose and subtlety, the colors and lines of plants are full of niches and contrasts, the light makes everything stand out. The trees and flowers are like lace here. Sometimes yarn, but mostly silk. 

I wonder sometimes how I even stood it, living in Phoenix and being away from every color and landscape that makes me happy. When you grow up near water, you just have to be near water. When you grow up in hills, you feel unsafe on flat land. Mountainous altitudes make you panicky and stressed, quicker and tighter. Lowlands make you slow and blissful, a little less observant. 

I was worried, when I felt this last phase of the homesickness come on, that I would really revolt against how small this town is. But when I felt the trappings of downtown getting closer and closer, I went out to this park, and everything was amazing again. No matter what else is wrong about this place for me - the smallness, the same buildings and roads over and over, I know I got the landscape right. I got the school right too, but even that is secondary to being able to get out on sunny days and feel at home. Lots of water. Lots of blue and green. Remembering that I live on top of a river valley hill now, that leads out to the ocean past marshes and sounds. It makes missing Erie and the Cuyahoga better. River Valley Girl. 

So when I think about who I would like to fall in love with next, here is a mostly complete list of things I am looking for: 

1) is a Sea person. I can't just say Lake Person, because those of you who have never been near a Great Lake don't understand that it's basically a fresh water ocean all broken up into pieces, one for each state. An ocean person is probably okay too. Large Body of Water Person. It's not that I don't love Hill People or Mountain People or Desert People (okay, I may not love desert people), but you're going to want to die in a place similar to the place you grew up, and I'm not spending my golden years suffering in the hills instead of on the beach. 

2) Really good eyebrows. 

3) One of the best compliments I've gotten recently was when Jim told me I had a way of squinting my eyes that was endearing. I think Tyra would call this "smizing". I want a guy who smizes. Blue Eyes Smizing in the Rain. Also, they should get that reference.

4)  Wants to recite poetry because he loves poetry. I will also accept random quotes from fiction. The Prince calling me at 2am to recite Whitman has spoiled me.
Someday someone will quote Roald Dahl to me at a bar and I will be lost forever.

5) Wants to go see stuff he hasn't seen before. Just because he hasn't seen it. Because think of all these things in the world you haven't seen, and how little time you have to see them all, and think of all the things that you see every day, all the time, over and over, that maybe aren't even that pretty or impressive, and then think of how seeing these trees in person was nothing at all like you looking at these pictures nothing even slightly the same, and explain to me how it is in every town I go to, people would rather sit at a bar drinking with me than go out to a park in the middle of the day and see these trees.

6) Thinks those turtles sunning themselves on that log is the sweetest thing ever, but also immediately makes him think about dinosaurs. 

7) Thinks about dinosaurs a lot, and the evolution of mammals, and the way we're all connected in a prehistoric landslide of time, we're just being pushed along in the mudslide of rocks and skeletons into the vast unknown blackness of the future, and it's huge and incomprehensible how long and short and quick and vicious and loving and all consuming the universe is. 

2,3, and 7 might be the most important ones. I mean, 7 basically leads to 5 and 6 anyway. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Gay Magic of the South

My gaydar is broken in this town. I can't stop assuming that every non-redneck gentleman over 50 I meet is gay. I don't know what it is...maybe just the drawl, and the habit they have of making compassionate eye contact and calling me honey. The constant familiar touches on the shoulder, or little "just between us" quips. I totally thought my professor was gay the first day, but then he talked a lot about his wife. And that's usually the very quick give away, because everyone down here is married, every one, every single person. So it's not like I labor long under these wrong impressions. But they do keep happening.

Carey said it was because the whole South was just very queer, and I agree.

Last night I was telling someone about my plans, like why I had applied to Southern schools, and why I wanted to move here. My thesis basically. It's been a minute since I thought about that, because I got all sorts of wrapped up in the actual move and the process of stabilizing in a place - roommates, transportation, job searching, friend making, learning directions. But I very much originally wanted to move South because I felt these similarities between my book learned ideas of Southern Gothic and my childhood experience of the Rustbelt, and I thought I could get a better perspective about the defining characteristics of my culture if I contrasted it with something older and more established. The myth of the South. The Bible Belt. The Cotton Belt. The Tobacco Field. The Retirement Condo. The home of two faced compliments, and disarming people with niceties. I did not miss the fact that I'm very good at those two things already, so I thought I would be able to fit in.

So I had these thoughts and thoughts about my broken gaydar, which I mean, wasn't perfect to begin with but was pretty good. I have a pretty good sense of sexuality between people, I'm femme as fuck sometimes, you don't pull that off without  being able to smell chemistry. But that was up North. Down here, I'm floundering like a bird through a field of cell phone towers. I don't know which way is up. I think the ocean being to the East instead of above me to the North has actually messed up my magnetism. And that's really the root of why the South feels so queer, because you have to realign your social senses, and really learn to look at who people are and take stock of them. People aren't immediately who you suspect them to be. The religion thing, that's sneaky sneaky. They are subtle about that shit. The politics thing is a bit more obvious. They all make eye contact with you, a lot, even when you first meet. I had one guy asked if I had some sort of phobia about making direct eye contact, because my eyes dart around like crazy when I talk. The things that will shock people are...I can't even define it yet, but they are off. I'll say something completely innocuous to me, given our prior conversational topics, and without warning everyone will act like I'm crazy, even though the last guy just made baby killing jokes and we were fine with it.

I also think, and this is maybe just me and my friends, but I think that Southern Gentility is very similar to the gay and queer homes I frequented in Ohio. Like, the aesthetic, the feel of the rooms. The calm sort of acceptance of a new situation, the friendliness. Everyone being generally sensible, and then busting out that one weird part of crazy ever so often, like a light dusting of personality. Things are clean and pretty, even when they are drunk and debauched. Everyone judging you.

Even the actual colors seem familiar in that way to me - all the greens and whites and sunlight yellows.
It could also be that maybe I just knew a lot of gay guys up north who were from more southern climes.
Whatever the reason, I do like it. It's strange to be immersed in, but it's not bad. I think being able to notice how the greens are more yellow here was a good call.

I was talking with a guy here about this, and he got defensive about the concept I was describing, so I tried to explain that when I referred to the South being gay, it wasn't in a pejorative. It was actually a compliment. He seemed skeptical, but he got it. There's that too. I end up having to explain myself a lot, and it's not because people are dumb, it's because I'm just incapable of fully articulating and owning these thoughts yet, there's so many new ones, I'm chattering like a squirrel half the time about how just Weird this all is.

We were walking back from breakfast, and passed a building across the road that was an industrial looking painted brick courtyard, with girders and skylights, filled with trees and a pond and benches. It turned out to be a wedding venue. These guys were there unloading stuff for a daughter's wedding there tomorrow, and of course someone in my group knew someone in their group, cause that's how this place works. It was a really beautiful spot, and maybe I just really needed to be somewhere like that for a moment, a little urban cave. I'm feeling a lack of buildings in my life, skyscrapers and carnegie libraries and what not. When I walked in there, I had a little moment when my breath caught and I thought "I want to get married here", which is such a fucked up and foreign idea, that my brain was just scattered. This is what I'm talking about, these glimpses of yourself in which you are not at all the person you thought you were, like you're looking at a reflection of yourself, or seeing yourself in a photo for the first time in a while. Unfamiliar. Not bad though. Maybe bad sometimes.

So I guess I understand that part of traveling now. The ability to not only contrast your culture, but contrast yourself.

I said I was going to make myself a t-shirt that read The Gay Magic of the South, and I've been trying to think of a picture to put on it that will make it instantly clear I mean this as a positive wonderful Looking Glass adventurous sort of thing. Right now a photo of Tennessee Williams is winning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 2nd Presidential Debate Liveblog

I can't find the twitter genius who posted this first, so all apologies

9pm Hey Y'all! See, I'm trying to be more Southern. Who's ready for this incredibly stupid style of debate, where the candidates answer inane obvious already pre-selected questions from idiots who are still undecided?

Seriously though, who the fuck doesn't know by now who they are voting for? At this point, I have more respect for Republicans than I do undecided voters.

Town Halls should really only be used for executions

Candy Crowley is a stripper witch name. I should hire her to do a spell for me. I actually think all the witches in the country should get together and do one big spell to fix the election. I wonder if that's a thing that happens? Witches secretly being hired by superstitious politicians?
Oh man, Infrastructure is like the sexiest issue ever. (yes I just completely skipped over the education pell grants thing. That poor kid you all are making fun of, good for him. He got to ask a debate question on national television, what the fuck did you all do last night?)
How is any one skeptical of alternate energy sources still? It really blows my mind. I guess they didn't grow up with Captain Planet. I mean, do people think that wind or sun is like somehow weaker? Like, it's pussy energy, like tofu and henna?
This Energy Debate is making me super angry and I want to cry. I hate all humanity. Captain Planet, he's my hero, gonna bring pollution down to....
I am getting upset at how long this fact checking site from Washington Post is taking to load, because I feel like if we all look up whether Mitt is lying all at the same time, then he might explode.
9:25pm I swear to god, I bet every one of these moderators goes home and beats their dog. I don't even blame them. I can't listen to this vague tax bullshit anymore.
OH THANKS No tax on the savings I don't have? From my imaginary investments and mutual funds. That's helpful.
Here is the difference between the candidates - Obama references people who aren't in the middle class like they actually exist. Don't be silly Barack. Didn't you hear? We all make around 200,000 and therefore it's important our mutual funds aren't taxed.
Dear Republicans: How can you be so focused on getting everyone a job, and yet still refuse to believe population control is something we're going to have to adopt at some point? I mean, even if you're not down with killing all the old people, can you at least relax a little on birth control?
Whoa, Mittens is watching Obama talking, and literally clenching his microphone so hard I can see the blood dripping from his hand.
Props to Obama for working in the word "sketchy". 5 bucks if he can use "crafty", 20 bucks if he says "she's crafty and she's just my..."
This is the best question so far, about getting women equal pay in the workplace. Also YES Lilly Ledbetter! YES. I wonder if that little girl in Omaha ever dressed up as her? I bet that would be a depressing as fuck costume.
"Thank you, yes, yes, as governor of my state, I learned that I should hire women even though they didn't apply to be part of my cabinet, because otherwise feminist groups yell at you."
Whoa wait, did Mitt just imply that a labor shortage is needed to get employers to hire more women? Cause, I mean, yeah, that's probably true.
9:44pm Guys, Obama just won the debate. (This is when he delivered that speech about his daughters, and hit his stride, and I was totally right.)
This woman sure is an undecided voter, look at how she paired that jacket and that scarf.
I'm sorry Lady, you didn't deserve that. That was a good questions.
How Mitt Romney is different than George W Bush 
1) will start war with China 
2) will fund terrorists in Latin America to make sure no one fucks with McDonalds (benefit - lots more 80s style action hero movies) 
3) Wants stuff
I hope that this coming Cold War with China, which instead of a space race will be a "control your populace and stock markets" race, means there will be lots more Chinese spy novels by Grisham like self published authors.
See, all Romney's got is this personal story crap. I mean, are people so incapable of seeing that they are at the bottom of a a complicated chain of actions and consequences? Is this why people still eat McDonalds? I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Romney reminds me of the skeezy New Zealand guy who took over the last company I worked at, and then just kept making videos from his living room in a polo shirt.
Okay, I know how to solve all this unemployment crap. Let's kill 23 Million people. Not just the unemployed though. We'll do a lottery. We can use the polio vaccine records.
10:00pm Good, an immigration question. Romney thinks we should give green cards to the smart people that we want, and breed mutant three headed dogs with poison herpes tongues to guard the giant wall of broken glass and nails to keep all those stupid poor people who don't have degrees out of our damn country, also he wishes you would remember to hand wash his shirts, Lorraine.
Hahaha, both Obama and Romney wanted this woman's name to be Lorena so badly, they said it out loud, just to sound more spanishy.
Man, Arizona is the new Alaska, which was the new Florida. Also I wish Obama had just used the word racism there. RACISM. ARIZONA IS RACIST.
Is it weird that I'm getting more and more worried that Mittens is going to pull a giant red button out of his suit pocket and start laughing maniacally? (I just realized that as a country we've been calling this middle aged power hungry asshole a cat's name for the last year, and yet we're still surprised when he looks like he's going to crack any day now.)
I wish I had paid more attention to the Yellow Journalism section of my community college history course, cause then I would have something witty to compare this Libya bullshit too.
I think every American president should have to start with an apology tour of the world. Every term.
Dear Hillary Clinton: I will totally vote for you in 4 years, I promise. Because you are my generation's Margaret Thatcher. Which isn't exactly a compliment maybe, but means I trust you to bite people during a fight.
10:15pm Man, Mittens just got schooled by the fucking journalist moderator. Stripper Witch, I love you.
She is wearing a glitter suit. And asking about AK 47 legislation. I bet she makes amazing cupcakes.
This town hall format would be amazing if they did it through random video booths through out the country. Especially because of the riots.
Mittens just linked druglords and assault rifles to not having 2 parent homes and not having charter schools. Without answering the question. Just to throw it out there that bastards shouldn't be able to get jobs or hunting licenses.
Here's a novel concept: we just give the presidency to whoever can stay exactly within their time limit at the last debate.
Wait, is Germany stealing our jobs now too? Oh fuck. Let's just give up now. I mean, I would go work in Germany in a second.
10:30pm Pioneers of Outsourcing often died from Infected Taxholes once they hit the Oregon River.
Romney is so anti-China, I'm starting to think he's the Manchurian Candidate. It would explain...so much.
It just occurred to me that Obama's plan to bring in manufacturing is what Pittsburgh's revitalization strategy was, and you know, that totally worked.
I am not a child of any god, just to be clear. Though I really like Mormon clothing lines. But I'm actually Heart from Captain Planet.
I feel like multiple times in these debates, Romney has specifically said his policies would leave everyone secure EXCEPT ME. Cause I'm under 45, and not middle class, and I don't want to have babies, and I don't buy gas.
10:40pm Alright, anyone who tells you Obama lost that debate is a moron and you should let the air out of their tires and not make out with them.
The best part of this election cycle has been learning how many of my friends hate David Brooks because they are Canadian racists.
It would be most awesome if we could withhold all fact checking until after the debates, and everyone voted, and then whoever vote for the guy who lied the most times, those are the people who have to pay taxes and the rest of us get our school loans forgiven.