08 November 2011

bored to death

The following people were in ONE episode of Bored to Death:

Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, John Hodgman, Ted Danson, Mary Steenbergen, Jason Schwartzman, Oliver Platt, Zach Galifianakis, and mother effing Olympia Dukakis.

Plus, those last two are lovers on the show.

This is the nexus of all that is good in the universe.

07 November 2011

errands for girls with rhythm

It used to be that one had many places to go. There was the bank, the grocery, perhaps the butcher, the dry cleaner, the library, the post office.

There was a very large and rather official-looking Bank of America near where I grew up. I would tag along with my mom when she went there dutifully every week to conduct business. It seemed so glamorous at the time. We were at The Bank. I was to Behave. My mom would be dressed for running her errands, and she would look great. Sort of like this:

These things don't seem to exist anymore. People wear flip-flops to the ATM and their children run around screaming. Nothing is glamorous, and nobody dresses for anything.

Maybe that is why I'm often so over-dressed for things. I miss the days when people tried. I miss sitting in my room at age eight, making pretend to-do lists and pretending to get ready to go out into the world as my best self. Kids don't do that anymore. What does a kid have to fantasize about today? Playing Angry Birds, probably.

01 August 2011

Amazing article in the New Yorker with a detailed description of the killing of bin Laden.

The raiding team then presented the President with an American flag that had been on board the rescue Chinook. Measuring three feet by five, the flag had been stretched, ironed, and framed. The SEALs and the pilots had signed it on the back; an inscription on the front read, “From the Joint Task Force Operation Neptune’s Spear, 01 May 2011: ‘For God and country. Geronimo.’ ” Obama promised to put the gift “somewhere private and meaningful to me.” Before the President returned to Washington, he posed for photographs with each team member and spoke with many of them, but he left one thing unsaid. He never asked who fired the kill shot, and the SEALs never volunteered to tell him.

26 July 2011


In the early aughts, I had a feeling that I was unhappy. My life was somehow not fulfilling. Parts of me felt as though they were missing the the vigor of youth, even though I was still young. Unsatisfied, that is what I decided I was. This became a strong part of my inner narrative, and shadowed my view of everything.

Around 2006, things took a very bad turn, and so began a five-year journey of unemployment, underemployment, near-homelessness, debt, unprecedented depression, the loss of both of my cats, a complete break from the love of my life, drugs, bad living situations, extreme familial difficulties, watching my father die very slowly, and finally, a suicide attempt.

I look back now at 2000 to 2005 with some incredulity. What was it exactly about my life that was so horrible? I had a beautiful if imperfect home, a good job and still had some zest for life. My "dissatisfaction" lead me to create art projects. I fell in love twice. The heartbreak from those experiences, while obviously difficult, made me feel alive and caused me to learn a great deal about myself. I went on trips, I felt the sun, I listened to music as though it were my life's blood, I connected with people, I was generally a good friend. I tried to live a better life.

After the torrents of the last five years, things have calmed down now. But, like getting off a roller coaster, I still feel a bit sick. I still deal with depression and financial issues, a total lack of a love life, and an inability to see how anyone could ever love me. I feel numb usually. Because nothing seems worth it. I don't seek beautiful experiences and I don't create them. I am a writer who doesn't write. The last five years have spit me out, and here I am. Existing.

This is a whole lot more sad than feeling "dissatisfied." I wish I could tell my past self that there is nothing wrong with yearning for something more.

01 December 2009


I've lately been helping a colleague to develop a marketing kit for a very odd campaign. Basically, a particular city government is forcing our organization to make upgrades to some facilities. Much money needs to be raised in order to do this, and it's not a very sexy thing to try and sell to donors. But without these improvements, this particular facility will not be able to provide essential services for upwards of 3,000 people each month.

Last month, a family with a Hummer came to this facility looking for assistance. The father had lost his job, and they were stuck with this huge, gas-guzzling car because they were upside down on it. This is such an insane time. And I am tasked with soliciting donations from many people who were once able to help, but now are the ones needing assistance.

So in this weird climate, the most difficult part of creating this marketing campaign has been finding a name for it. What do you call an initiative like this, describing accurately what it is, and still keeping it fresh and succinct? Depending on the name, it could be seen as a fancy remodeling project or as a vital component to keeping a much-needed community program alive.

That's the basis of marketing. I spend so much of my time thinking about how things are presented. So much, in fact, that when I am presented with a problem, I think of it in terms of marketing. How can a thing be more streamlined, more nuanced, more interesting and perceived as more valuable?

All this probably means that I need to stop working so much, drink a beer and do a handstand. OK, not in that order.

24 November 2009

given a light

I am fascinated by the evolution of the religious mind.

I plan to read Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. It appears to be an incredibly well-sourced and thorough analysis of the ancient origins of Christianity. It's essentially the study of the basis of much religion -- the ancient Egyptian sun god, Horus. The ocumentary Zeitgeist also gets into this, and while it's a bit superficial and non-sourced, I think it's a good introduction to some of these concepts.

I find this subject so intriguing, I think, because it gives me a tangible place to put the feelings I have had my whole life: that the universe is bigger and more mysterious than humanity has quite been able to grasp. And that Christianity is a red herring.

I would give just about anything for members of my family to understand this. But they are shackled by their faith. They cannot lend any credence to anything doesn't exalt Christ as the Holy Being. They are so fully engaged in the mythology of their time that they are unable to see very similar mythologies propagated by their (ancient) ancestors.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I envy them. They have something to hold on to. 

It's hard to over-estimate the importance of the Bible. I do understand that as a historical and allegorical document it is extremely valuable. But my instinct is always to look at the big picture -- to pull the lens, as it were, as far back as the instrument of my mind can expand. I wish to look at patterns.

But in the end, we are just little, fallible, dopey humans. The Bible is so rich, so full of this incredible mythology, full of fantastical events that took place just long enough ago that they can seem ancient and larger than our current lives. Given this richness, any pastor or priest at any church the world over can derive multiple sermons each week from this one source. And the sermons will be beautiful. A person can bring their family, or just themselves, to a Christian church or Jewish Temple and feel that they've been given a light. Shown a way.

Disregarding politics for a moment -- this is the positive side of what keeps religion going. And if the earth lasts long enough, I suppose there will be another messiah with another mythology built around it. Naturally, we have teachers in the present day to help us understand these things. But somehow, I feel I've come to a much deeper understanding of all this for the first time in my life. And it feels so very good. Because it helps me shed my familial guilt. Guilt for not being a believer. Because I see what I believe to be the truth. I have always known instinctively that God lives in each of us. And that no religious dogma can be anything but a loose guideline. And I know that that in and of itself is faith. And it is mine. It doesn't belong to a doctrine. None of the beautiful things in life really do.

crash encore

Recently saw these San Diego dudes. This video is sort eh, but they sounded GREAT live. Nice guys too. Enjoying their EP.