Friday, October 30, 2009

No Hard Feelings

I have a scar on my neck the size of a jungle cat's claw. It's just below my right ear, where my ear and jawline meet. It's purple around the edges in the cold, white when it's hot outside. People often stare at it but are afraid to ask me where it came from.

That's where the bullet pierced me, in my neck. It exited out of the back of my head -- the top of my skull, to be precise, left side. I remember very little, but what I do remember I've kept secret for so long. I hide the exit scar with a head of matted brown hair and a fitted Detroit Tigers cap.

I get migraines when it rains; and goddammit, it's gonna rain tomorrow. So I'm gonna tell you about the time I got shot in the head, before, God willing, another migraine cripples me.

I was six years old and had recently relocated with my family to suburban Michigan after an unsuccessful -- so I'm told -- three-month stay at my grandmother's palatial home in Atlanta. There were arguments, and dishes thrown against walls, and all that Faulkner bullshit. And finally we wound up on Grover Street, where, my father assured me, nothing bad ever happened.

And, for a time, nothing did. I grew up, was educated, went through puberty, depression, presidents, wars, Academy Awards, Pontiacs.

All that time, though, a bullet was waiting for me. And it would be a long time before I could reconcile with the shooter, my sixth-grade classmate, Lionel Gertz.

...What a Peculiar Question

Are you bored? If so, then you've come to the right place (and you'll appreciate the title of this post when all is said and done).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Extra! Extra!*

* Courtesy of The Daily Funkmaster

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Psychedelic Sugoi

In other news, the NBA regular season has begun, and the Miami Heat just beat a bunch of D-League scrubs. Also: Dave Eggers's What is the What is possibly the best modern "novel" I've ever read. No hyperbole.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gettin' Forbesed [foʊɹbzd]

We've all been there.

The Revolution

The people shall grow to adore me, oh yes they shall. The Revolution (yes, oh yes, it shall indeed be capitalized when referenced by future generations) is to begin on Facebook, where my legend shall grow to epic proportions, fueled by platitudes, mawkish causes, and legions of adolescent sycophants. Beyond social networking programs, my globulous visage shall dominate media of all manner, namely Teen Beat and Entertainment Weekly, while my words shall spread like a great flood of molasses across the hearts and minds of today's youth (though preferably the youth of tomorrow, as today's youth are getting too old for my discerning taste). Yes, oh yes! It shall be grand, and you shall bear witness to all of it! Muhahahauauauahaha.

Or not.

Slap Fight

K 11:52 PM
You champion expansion?
11:52 PM

Spark 11:52 PM
Expanding, artistically.

K 11:53 PM
You *champion* expansion?

Spark 11:53 PM
It's a verb. Look it up.

K 11:53 PM
I know what it means.

Spark 11:54 PM
It means enthusiastically encourage.

K 11:54 PM
to support, perhaps, or defend

Spark 11:55 PM
Or, to enthusiastically encourage.

K 11:55 PM
I could see defending expansion, but actively supporting? Let's not pat ourselves on the back too hard, son.
11:56 PM

Spark 11:56 PM
I should oppose expansion, then? You make little sense.

K 11:56 PM
I'm making perfect sense.

Spark 11:57 PM
11:58 PM
Doesn't always indicate defense.

K 11:58 PM
11:59 PM
I mean, if you were employing a bit of hyperbole, I'd applaud.
11:59 PM
But you're trying to be all clever about it.

Spark 11:59 PM
Didn't I just define it for you?

K 12:00 AM
And I proposed several other definitions. But sure, works for me.

Spark 12:00 AM
"enthusiastically encourage," remember?
12:00 AM
Kennan, I don't need a Webster's definition to prove me correct, so stop it

K 12:01 AM
That must be it.
12:01 AM
Great taste in music to boot!
12:01 AM
You're the total package!

Spark 12:01 AM
Cheap shot, and you know it.

Julian Casablancas, Phrazes for the Young -- Review

There is nothing subtle or understated about Phrazes for the Young, The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas's debut solo album. Where his band has, for the most part, felt comfortably confined within three-and-a-half-minute punk-pop songs, on Phrazes Casablancas is afforded the opportunity to stretch his retro sensibilities into much longer compositions (the album's shortest track clocks in at just over four minutes, it's longest at just under six), and this proves to be a double-edged sword of welcomed artistic freedom and unsound decision making.

On The Strokes last effort, 2006's terrific First Impressions of Earth, the boys managed to silence those critics who, disappointed with the band's sophomore album, Room on Fire, labeled them one-trick post-punk p(h)onies, while at the same time frustrating a slew of other critics who wanted, simply, The Strokes, and not some group taking their influences outside of CBGB to include U2 and *gasp* Barry Manilow.

And here's where it gets paradoxically frustrating on my part; because however much I champion expansion*, if I listen to a Julian Casablancas album I want to hear some semblance of what made me like The Strokes to begin with. I don't want a vanity project; I want an album that can stand alongside the best of The Strokes' catalog. And, for the most part, Phrazes for the Young does just that. Album opener "Out of the Blue" starts things off perfectly with a paean to living life as a self-perceived asshole and caring very little about it. Strokes purists might bemoan the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach that producer Jason Lader takes, but it's effectively noisy while at the same time managing to remain enticingly melodic. Casablancas has a great voice, and it's a shame that it's taken so long for its range to be tested.

Track No. 2, "Left & Right in the Dark," further expands the limits of Casablanca's skill as a songwriter and vocalist. Synth guitars propel an upbeat song that is picturesque in its ostensible portrait of a morning drive after a long night of carousing, Casablancas switching between mumbled reverie and shouts of "Wake up, wake up!" This leads into the album's first single, "11th Dimension," a The Cars-inspired masterpiece that at first sounds sycophantic to an era until, after multiple listens, its underlying beauty is finally reached. "When cities come together to hate each other in the name of sport," Casablancas mumble-croons, and I realize what a shame it is that Outkast's "Hey Ya" spoiled it for the rest of the big fish playing in minimalist synthpop's small pond.

It is here we reach momentum-shifter "4 Chords of the Apocalypse," a church hymn by way of epileptic neo-funk, a schizophrenic oddity appreciated best, I imagine, while drunk and not capable of knowing any better, which I can only hazard to guess is what occurred during its recording process. "Ludlow St.," which follows, is only marginally better in it's execution, but both are testaments to the big-eyes-small-stomach phenomena prevalent whenever an artist's ego gets too big for the skull it encompasses**. What begins as a "Brian Eno second half of Low" curio quickly becomes a country and Western pastiche about gentrification and alcoholism churned through a meat grinder. And not in a good way.

Praise Odin, however, because thankfully the album arights itself before all is sunk. "River of Breaklights" is a revelation in its pace and its surprising homage to Radiohead, while penultimate track "Glass" is likely the closest thing to a mature rock ballad we'll hear from a New York-raised socialites' son. Someone's been listening to Graceland, and not in the bad, Vampire Weekend way.

Album closer "Tourist" sums things up best, though, in its two-faced approach. Casablancas wants to have his cake and eat it too; and it works here fantastically. What starts as a smarmy guitar lesson in attitude soon shapeshifts into truth: Casablancas wants to be edgy, but he can't hide the innocent smile lying underneath his feigned angst, and it's not long before harmony overtakes the procession. Tickle him when he's frowning and he'll elicit an immediate smile, I'll bet.

Only eight songs long, Phrazes for the Young attempts to compact too much into too little space, but "Tourist" sticks the landing. Minus "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" and "Ludlow St.," this is a phenomenal EP.

3.5/5 *_*

* outside of professional sports and border disputes

** been there (am there?)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Only the Spider

At twelve past midnight, Donald 'Don' Atkins pushes his way through the north entrance into the parking lot, which is, as he'd expect, devoid of any activity. An array of dormant vehicles (including his very own 2003 PT Cruiser, still in mint condition), two strategically placed lamps, and a shiny, new A1 dumpster reside. Brought in just last week, the hollow brick of steel is a sight for sore eyes; the previous dumpster leaked profusely and was a known haven for the local rat population. The rats themselves hadn't particularly bothered Don, but as a matter of principle, it was unacceptable. As a stable tenant of Twin Pines Apartments, he and his neighbors (the majority of them, at least) are entitled to sanitary conditions and the management, despite their inherent reluctance, eventually agreed. There are recycling bins on the other side of the building, and Don believes in recycling, so to speak, but there are some mitigating factors at hand.

The recycling bins require individuals to separate materials (glass, plastic, aluminum, etc.) and deposit them into the appropriate slot. Fair enough, Don supposes, but he has too much pride, or perhaps shame, to broadcast his alcoholism to the world so brazenly. What would people think, to see a retired gentleman dumping empty bottles of Jim Beam into the glass repository?

What's he doing? I never knew he was a drunk. I'd expect that from the guys down the hall, but not Don Atkins. It must be tough to play golf that drunk, Mr. A! Mind the children when Don Atkins drives in and out of the parking lot, Mary.

That's what they'd say, and they'd probably be right, which is what frightens him. Don Atkins doesn't recycle glass bottles, he discards them late at night. Not so late as to disturb his decent neighbors, and not so late as to encounter the lesser ones. Just late enough, and that's all it takes. He's not so ignorant as to merely dump an otherwise empty sack of bottles into the dumpster; that would make too much noise, and some enterprising sleuth could easily uncover the forbidden refuse if suspicion warranted any such amateurish investigation. Instead, Don stuffs the bottles in with his regular trash, the odds and ends (such as food waste) which sufficiently pad the glass so that cracking, shattering, or anything of the sort would be an unlikely occurrence.

Sometimes, when he's feeling especially cranky, sixty-four-year-old Don Atkins is reluctant to recycle whatsoever. He's retired, widowed, and having trouble with his eyeglasses since that silly doctor changed the prescription, and by God, if the world doesn't owe him anything, he shouldn't give a damn about the Earth. Today hasn't been one of those days (most aren't); he's been eating and sleeping rather well lately, thus Don's cheerfulness successfully tempers both his apathy and the guilt often brought about by dispensing with the bottles in such a disreputable manner. He's had a bit of the Beam, too, which never hurts.

Sleep comes in the form of prolonged naps, three of as many hours apiece being common; lapses in consciousness broken apart by food, Beam, and Nick at Nite. He rarely has visitors (his wife, Anita, rest her soul, bore no children, and his brother lives down in Tulsa), so there's nothing to disturb his routine. He may be ashamed of his drinking habit, but not his life. Slowing down isn't too bad, nor is spending time any way he sees fit.

The newly-arrived dumpster is a vibrant shade of blue; at night, illumination provided for safety purposes makes the color all the more intense as it contrasts with the concrete below and the night sky above. It's a top-loading model, with two sizable, hinged flaps made from heavy-duty rubber that segregate garbage from the outside world, and it can hold its fair share of trash. The flaps themselves produce little, if any, noise when lifted. This is a superior piece of equipment in every regard, one that lends a helping hand during late-night excursions.

Don Atkins wonders if he'll be able to schedule a round of golf for Saturday. He'll phone Charlie Hughes and Mike Sebetka sometime tomorrow about a friendly match. The weather lady on Channel 2 said it would be sunny for the next three days, and due to that, the temperature would hit sixty-two degrees approaching the weekend. There's no better way for a man to spend a Saturday, and no better reason to refrain from hitting the bottle too hard on a Friday night.

He lifts the right flap slowly with his left hand, taking great care to grip the handle firmly, for although the flap generates the faintest noise while in motion, to release it prematurely would result in one of two possible outcomes: the first being its release prior to the point of no return, in which case the lid would slam shut, the second being its release after passing the point of no return, in which case the lid would collapse backward, slamming into the dumpster's metallic backside. Either option would be unacceptable at this late hour, so Don needs to pay attention. In this predicament, a bit of the Beam never helps, but he's fairly alert and he's been doing this sort of thing for years.

Both he and the lid obstruct the bulk of light shining down upon the dumpster's inner sanctum, but from what Don can see, the crate is just over half full, which isn't surprising (tomorrow is garbage day, after all). Most of the trash looks similar to his own; large, black Hefty bags fattened by a veritable smorgasbord of unwanted objects, piled upon one another without a moment's hesitation on anyone's part, excepting Don Atkins. This isn't "Take the garbage out after dinner, honey" it's "Don't let people know you're a drunk," and his sack contains, amongst a myriad of things, five drained bottles from this past week alone, but he's not a binge drinker by any means. Slow and steady wins the race, or so it's been said, and that's Don's approach to consumption. Thus far, it hasn't killed him.

The bag itself isn't remarkably heavy, nor does it require the use of two hands, so he continues to hold the lid open as he carefully lifts the sack up over the metallic rim and down into the dumpster. He doesn't toss the bag, let alone drop it; it's a covert operation, stealth being the key factor. Though partially obscured, the light seeping through causes the sable plastic to shine with a life of sorts, or, barring that, to act as a blitzkrieg of flickering light that flows incessantly both within and across the ebony sea of garbage sacks. It's almost hypnotic, the way in which light dances when twisted by shadows and the illusion of movement, and he, leaning inward, marvels at how something so simple can be so captivating. Perhaps he's had a tad much to drink, but Don Atkins likes what he sees.

But his hand, the one lowering the garbage bag, collides with something, something solid, thin, and hooked. It feels like plastic against his exposed wrist, though not in the way a Hefty bag feels like plastic, and the object has lodged itself against the bone at the base of his palm. This annoyance snaps Don out of his daze, and he gives a quick tug to wrench his hand free, yet something's wrong. He pulled pretty hard, but if anything, the situation has worsened; now there's something firmly encircling his wrist. Don is perturbed by this sudden turn of events. "What the devil?" he mumbles, leaning inward a bit more to gain additional leverage for a second pull. Further inside, he still can't see what's restraining him, as everything beyond his forearm is draped in blackened polyethylene. Frustrated, Don Atkins releases the rubber flap in a huff to better manage the perplexing calamity. The lid slaps against his shoulder blades, and he's cut off from virtually all light, save a few pale shards slicing through the pervasive darkness to provide him with scant visibility.

Amidst the numerous trash bags, there's something which isn't entirely black. Dark, but not black, and it takes a second for Don to realign his mind. Fuzzy. Not black. Eyes. Black. Four. Six. Eight. Black. Eyes. Not bla-

Instinctively, Don recoils upward, but the distance between the two is narrowing, and he flails his free arm madly, desperately swatting at that which creeps toward him. Unmanly whimpers of revulsion and despair fall free from his lips, filling the dumpster with a reverberating anguish that saps the very strength from his frail body. An appendage of some kind bursts forth and into Don's mouth; for a moment he tastes imitation cheese on his tongue, and it's salty, but it also tastes like blood. He's biting down now, yet his teeth have weakened with age, and the object is stringy. His jaw feels like it's going to collapse from the exterior as well; that which crawls within also lies beyond, applying the utmost force. Don's lower front teeth buckle beneath the extreme pressure, shredding the remainder of his fractured gingiva as cheese-flavored blood fills the emergent crevices.

The hysteria recedes, supplanted by unbearable pain, yet the tears which flood Don's eyes fail to enshroud it whatsoever. It is pulling him into the dumpster. There's a sudden, deafening pop as his jaw snaps, followed by flowing, cathartic warmth. He wants another drink, and to peck Anita on the nose just the way she always liked it. Light keeps shifting its gaze, though, and his glasses have fallen off, so Don can't see all that well. No Anita. No soothing light. No golf. Only the spider.

Paranormal Activity -- Spoiler-Free Review

Only one thing gives me the heebie jeebies: hornets. The other week, I was in I love Cookie, buying Cheetos and deodorant, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a hornet as fat as my thumb. When I hurriedly approached the counter to pay, I saw three more of its brethren hovering near the store's ceiling, where, in the corner above the register, was a hole the size of a fist, ostensibly leading to their nest. And I was frozen; because, for me, the fear of possibly getting stung by a hornet is not one borne of pain (I've had more syringes in my arms than a heroin junkie) but of death. I am allergic to hornets (and wasps, and manual labor), you see, so any time I'm confronted by that fell species, the hair on my arms stands erect and a chill runs down my back.

This was the exact sensation I felt while watching Paranormal Activity. Rarely have I been so creeped out by a film. (Unless we're counting Ernest Goes to Camp.)

By now you're probably aware of Paramount's new-millennial Blair Witch Project. Paranormal Activity took the weekend box office and has a buzz* surrounding it that is unmatched by any horror film in recent memory**. And, in this case, there is truth in numbers. Paranormal Activity is a film that will give you chills.

But only under certain conditions.

Let me explain. Paranormal Activity will not be effectively creepy when watched in a) a movie theater, b) a house full of people, or c) on an airplane. No, Paranormal Activity is only scary, I will surmise, when watched alone, in the dark, and with ear buds.

Obviously, since the film was released widely just this past weekend, I had to cut a few corners*** to view it in such a manner; but trust me, it's worth it. When you get to be as old as I am (83), the scares are few and far between. I'm more freaked out nowadays by my heart occasionally skipping beats and the threat of people ringing my doorbell (census takers, Jehovah's Witnesses, Land Shark). And that's why Paranormal Activity is so refreshing, like a cool can of


Nestea after a hard day of thinking. Paranormal Activity, bless it, scared my balls off, even if it did crib too much from another well-known horror movie during its dénouement****.

Watch it now, before the backlash.

3.5/4 *_*

* Bad word choice. I'm breaking out in hives right now.

** Save for The Blair Witch Project, I suppose. That film, though, is scary like Craig Mack is handsome, and I will only accept that their similarities are shared by recording devices and the supernatural. Also: houses are scarier than forests. I live in a house every day; I sleep in a forest once or twice each year when I drink too much cologne.

*** Legally questionable activity!

**** Piranha

Six Shots till Summation Part VIII: Chocolate Chip Charlie Takes Manhattan

The Stuff (1985)


Apparently, Arsenio Hall was writer-director Larry Cohen's first choice to play the role of 'Chocolate Chip' Charlie W. Hobbs, but the powers that be wanted someone recognizable, so SNL alum Garrett Morris was selected for the job.

Also, Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey makes a cameo as a Stuff buyer.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


It is 2006, November. I'm in our apartment's bathroom, washing my hands, when my cell phone rings. I quickly dry my hands and retrieve the phone from my pocket.

"Are you home?" my wife asks, clearly agitated.

"Y-yeah," I stammer, realizing instantly why she's calling. There can be only one reason why she's so upset.

"Wait there!" she shouts before hanging up.

I am undecided which action to take, to leave home immediately or to stay and state my case. My wife is not a rational woman, not a person known for thoughtfully weighing matters before making conclusions. I know this, but still I stay. To leave would be an admission of guilt.

She is home within a minute, and the look of rage in her eyes terrifies me. I stand at the entryway shaking. I know that this is the end, and I am doomed. Thank God my daughter is at a neighbor's.

"Who is Jiwon?" she screams, thrusting a record of my cell phone text messages so close to my face that I can't see anything but blurred ink.

"A friend of mine," I say plainly, but my look of guilt cannot be more clear, I know.

"A friend?" she screams. "A man or a woman?"

There is no escape. I know my wife is aware that, in this case, the sexually ambiguous given name of Jiwon is a woman's, that she has in fact called this Jiwon to confirm her suspicion, but illogically, stupidly, I tell her she's wrong, that Jiwon is a man. And that's when she wails and rakes my face with both of her hands.

There is an explanation, of course, but now is not the time to backtrack. And my wife is not someone easily appeased with the excuse I have to give, anyway. It is true: for three weeks I have been exchanging text messages with a woman named Jiwon, a woman who, under different circumstances, I would consider falling in love with.

Tufts of hair are pulled from my scalp, and I am in another state of reality. I am hovering above this abject domestic scene, wide eyed and incredulous, watching curiously. But in a flash I'm back, and Jesus does that fucking hurt! For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so says the man, but right now all I can do is stand like an idiot scarecrow as I'm assaulted; and this, oddly, feels like the right thing to do. If I am to fight back, it will be at a later date, I tell myself.

I am concerned, however, about a tutoring lesson I've scheduled and which begins in fifteen minutes. If I leave now, I just might make it on time, and this seems like the perfect excuse to vacate myself from such an ugly tableau of a marriage on the brink of ruin. So, while my wife screams and pulls at my shirt collar, without a word I slap her arm away and push past the open door and downstairs into the cold autumn night.

I am two blocks away before I discover that blood is streaming from my cheeks. Clearly, I am in no shape to tutor anyone. Not looking like this. As I stop, contemplating turning back, I also notice that I am standing in socked feet. I want nothing more than to go someplace other than back home, but where? I have no one to go to, nowhere else to return to but our apartment, where I am sure I might not live long should I do so.

Regardless, I am drawn back.

And as I approach I hear a clamor of destruction. My stomach sinks further than it ever has, because I know, without a doubt, that my wife is wreaking havoc upon my DVD collection. Do I deserve such punishment? No. A million times, no. I have upwards of three hundred DVDs, each of them cherished, and right now they are being hurled about our apartment by a hurricane of a woman.

I reenter to find discs scattered everywhere, the cases that once held them shattered all over, in every room. This is how a man is broken, I think. I don't have much, but that collection was something I was proud of, something I loved as much as a person can love inanimate objects, and now it's furnishing our apartment's floor as a testament to material revenge. This has happened to me before, by my brother Julian when I was younger, dumber. When I was thirteen he ripped my paperback copy of The Stand in half after a petty argument, and after my first year abroad he sold off the most valuable of my comic books for beer money.

This is irreparable.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Say Yes, Rachel.

Six Shots till Summation Part VII: The New Goo

The Blob (1988)


Screenwriter Frank Darabont, who co-wrote The Blob, has also done work on the film adaptations of Stephen King's The Mist, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption. Given that he's a big fan of King's prose, it should come as no surprise that in The Blob, Kevin Dillon plays a character with the surname of Flagg.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Coyotes Shall Have Their Day*

* Except for Wile. E.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Six Shots till Summation Part VI: Atkins Lives!

Night of the Creeps (1986)


Fred Dekker also directed The Monster Squad. As a (younger) kid, an enormous Monster Squad poster partially obscured one of my bedroom walls, which was beneficial for a variety of reasons, the least of which not being the fact that my bedroom walls had been painted orange just after my birth. Yeah, you heard me; orange like a motherfuckin' carrot. So, anyway, about Night of the Creeps...


Green: You can't do this to me! I'm Green!

Blue: Nice try, but no.

Green: I'm the color of grass, of watermelons...

Blue: Think again, asshole.

Green: Of stoplights and...

Blue: Get used to it, bitch.

Green: When did I lose my identity?

Blue: You didn't lose it; I overtook it. You snooze you lose, boyo, and now blue is the new green, sad to say.

Green: This is all just a bad dream.

Blue: Keep imagining that, Fancypants.

Green: Get you, just wait. Ten years, fifteen, or when the sun dies and the human species is eons extinct, I will have my revenge, my moment.

Blue: Make sure it's televised!

Green: Suck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Futility and Fermentation

Comments. When it comes to PK, some folks leave them, most folks don't, and to an extent, I can empathize with readers' reticence because, in all honesty, most posts are made regardless of readers' accolades, disapproval, or dismay. We still love you (and all that), but more often than not, what is there to say about a PK post? Either you like it, or loathe it. A few may even elicit a faint laugh or two, and that's good enough for me (not for Sparkles, perhaps, but we'll get to that later.)

Now when I said that people often neglect to comment, I should have clarified (though clarity is scarcely my forte, but alas, alas), which is to say people make comments to me but elect not to post them. Some of these people have no interest in blogging and, by extension, have nothing to push. Some commentary is provided in person (much to my chagrin, as conversation is just masturbation with extra mess) while other readers choose to email / instant message me with remarks and/or questions, since that is something, presumably, much more personal in nature. In the end, I suppose it would be a titanic platitude to propose that all these individuals have their own, super-special reasons to refrain. So be it.

But now I'm going to highlight and discuss a few of these previously unseen comments, just because.

You proofread AND offer tech support. That's cool. Can you cook, too?

Well, I can't proofread worth shit (which is something else I'll get back to later), my tech support is spotty at best, and my cooking skills are limited to boiling the elderly in large kettles. Seriously, though, I can cook up a mean tuna sandwich.

What's your problem?

Be more specific, please.

Are there going to be any more podcasts?

Tough call. We received a fair number of downloads during production, but scheduling said podcasts is a total mess. Also, there's a limit to just how many dorky topics nerds can discuss.

The podcasts are kinda boring.

Yeah. That's another reason for our laziness, but let's keep it a secret.

I always fancied myself a sadist. I am proud of the icy, vindictive, malicious, murderous psychopath you created in my likeness. Keep it up.

Hmm. Now I'm the one withholding comments.

Why are you asking me to read this post before you post it?

Because I thought you were an expert proofreader, and I was fairly intoxicated to boot.

Is that a picture of me you just posted?

Was there any point to that post?

I get this question frequently, but I'll target this post specifically, because it's both the most recent occurrence of such a comment, and an excuse to elaborate upon my shitty proofreading ability.

First, the point or lack thereof. I suppose it had some purpose, but its explicit objective is lost to me, which is a common theme for virtually all posts I make (including this one). If you're set on something concrete, I'll say this: dialogue is tough for me. In fact, I'd even go so far as to state that it troubles me. Therefore, I make it a point to write dialogue, if only as an exercise. (And to be a total bitch, do feel free to show me up whenever you like.)

I'd also argue that it's a fair, unadulterated representation of the manner in which Sparkles and I converse. Swear to god, we sound like that when we talk amongst ourselves,* which happens often. I'd also note that we're frequently in situations eerily similar to those presented in the aforementioned post.

Second, the proofreading. Normally, I attempt to proofread, but to be candid, the ending of the post mentioned above was handled a tad sloppily. I've since removed a shred of ambiguity, but not the kind you'd been looking for. Long story short, I suck balls at proofreading.

[I guess my suggestion would be, Don't look for something that's not there?]

Have you and Sparkles dated?

No. Again, no. Sure, the first time we met, he proved unsettling with his suggestively kinky demeanor, but we've moved ahead with our lives. He's also very happily married.

Write what you know.

If that's the case, I can only shudder to think just what, if anything, we know.**

Do you really care about the comments?

Really? Feedback amuses me, sure, insomuch that it's something for us to discuss, as opposed to that ever-so-prevalent silence. If you feel more comfortable talking about posts in private, don't feel any pressure to change things up. Sparkles loves getting comments; he's a bit vainglorious that way, but that's just the way he's made, ladies and gentlemen!

In other words, don't leave comments for me. Do it for him. Make him feel even more special than he already is!

* If such dialogue makes your brain fart, well, thank that same god you don't hang out with us regularly.

** Suppositories?


What's with the picture at the top of this post?

That's just me after a night of heavy drinking.


Don't you have any friends?

Do the undead count as friends? If so, then yes.

Solbi Made My Sh*t List

(Skip ahead to 0:31)

I don't care if what she said has some truth to it, no one talks to my 동갑 that way.

Let the haters hate, NL. Psychedelic Kimchi will always have your back.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arctic Sneeze

Damn. That's a nice typewriter.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Talking Trash

It's nine thirty-six on a chilly September evening. Were you to look at the scene from a distance, you'd see Mr. Z's Sandwich Emporium with its bountiful fluorescent lighting to keep the darkness at bay or, perhaps, to contain it. You'd note three people within its red-brick walls, and three beyond. Inside, a haggard quadragenarian wraps and removes perishables from the line as a portly teenaged girl diligently counts money beside the cash register, while a second, nondescript girl mops the floor at a furious pace. Outside, you'd see a rugged, run-of-the-mill picnic table, and at one end of that table sits a strikingly underweight man thoroughly enjoying his food. Another, equally-conspicuous man leans against the brick exterior, next to the door, absolutely destroying a gargantuan sandwich. The third, a woman, sits atop the opposite end of the picnic table; hunched over, one leg dangling, the other arched, she smokes her sixth cigarette of the evening. There's nothing profound about the situation, but that's what you'd see.

"Nice sandwiches," Chad adamantly declares. He's just swallowed the last bit of his Chipotle Chicken Club. Todd hands him a bag of Funyuns for dessert, which is precisely what Chad's been craving for the past four seconds.

"Told you." Megan has yet to begin her meal, but food can wait, smoking can't. She's correct about the quality of Mr. Z's menu, perchance, though the woman has a way of describing food that's extremely underwhelming. A tender, meat-falls-from-the-bone rack of hickory-smoked baby back ribs brushed with spicy garlic barbecue sauce served with baked beans and cornbread muffins is labeled good shit, yet so is a corn dog nuked in a microwave subsequently lathered with honey mustard. Similarly, stale pretzels, applesauce, and warm Coke alike suck balls. Crass, perhaps, but refinement is a disastrously overrated quality when Mountain Dew and cigarettes comprise one's daily breakfast.

Todd's uses his Funyuns to give his sandwich the proper crunch factor by aligning four unblemished rings atop the jalapeno peppers with exemplary precision. He loathes real onions immensely, but Funyuns exonerate the vegetable of any culinary crime, however egregious, and validate their very existence.

"And?" Chad inquires just before pouring the bag of salty treats into his gaping mouth. To this, Megan exhales a noxious cloud of dilapidated death.

"And I said you'd like it, and you do. And?"

"And you say a lot of stupid things," Chad says, face sullen. Todd licks some wayward mustard from his lips as he listens intently, hoping that the situation will escalate shortly.

"You're still mad about the Elephant Man reference, huh. Don't hold back the tears, my friend."

"No. Falcor the Fuck Dragon was too much."

"Seriously?" Smoke crawls out from her nostrils and begins its futile ascent toward the heavens. "That's the one that's bothering you? Sure, I figured you'd be all mopey about something, but that? C'mon... Besides, you started it. Asking about how I looked during high school and all."

"One small thing," Chad counters succinctly.

"Your tirade did carry on, and on, and on," Todd adds just before ingesting the remnants of his sub.

Megan flicks the remainder of her cigarette onto the cracked pavement just beneath her dangling foot. "Yeah, yeah. Just take half my sandwich and we'll call it even, alright?" Chad folds his arms, mulls things over, and then greedily accepts the peace offering because that's what he'd been angling for all along.

"Well played, sir, " Todd commends his best pal, while Megan tears the bag of Cheetos open, still neglecting the second half of her sandwich. Crunching away, she sluggishly drops off the picnic table and begins pacing both aimlessly and erratically, utterly preoccupied with the cheesy snacks. The taped-up fingers of her right hand become a mishmash homage to the coming holiday as splotches of powdery orange pepper shiny strands of ebony. Chad, meanwhile, is busy making a mess of himself. Chunks of tuna lubricated by a deluge of vinegar effortlessly pass through the oven-roated hindquarters of a once-delectable submarine sandwich onto a pair of dilapidated Converse All-Stars. His face, for all its irreparable flaws, now sports a quaint goatee made up of cheese, tuna, oregano, chips, and other unidentifiable bits of food, with a smattering of mayonnaise acting as the glue.

"I know where dear Choad stands, and I know where I stand," Megan purrs, "but what about you, Toddy Bear?"

"'Tis a first-rate delicatessen," he responds, "but that's irrelevant, if one considers its inevitable demise. Shall I declare the Velociraptor a first-rate hunter, or the Dodo a first-rate bird?"

"Do you like the sandwiches? Yes, or no?" Her voice lowers this time; focused, playfully demanding yet above all, coy. Throughout the past three months, Todd has learned quite a bit regarding one Megan Erickson, most of which has been extrapolated from her selected behaviors. For all that could be said about her resilience, she is, first and foremost, serpentine by design, reptilian by inclination. She'll twist, slither, and glide through the grass, darting to and fro, but her seemingly nonsensical motions are deceptive, and though he may not grasp the precise goal of this slippery snake, Todd knows that the grass itself is merely for show, to both assuage and reaffirm the rodents' fear of impending doom. Todd understands this, but the question of which rodent awaits digestion perplexes him, a situation compounded by the woman's elusive demeanor. Much like before, in the store, the answer itself is of no importance, or is it? Then again, had the girl's answer, however ingratiating, been of any consequence? Too much grass.

Todd rolls his eyes. "Yes. The sandwich was exquisite, as I'm sure my compatriot would agree."

"Then we're all in agreement!" she cheers, dropping the bag of Cheetos to slap her palms together with a pride the likes of which is rarely seen outside of high school gymnasiums.

"Of what?" Todd quips impatiently.

"That Mr. Z's Sandwich Emporium should stay in business, of course."

Chad wipes his chin (relatively speaking) and takes a gulp from his cup, all in the name of contemplation. He had expected something more, though the woman's answer is placating him nicely, as is the terrific food. Doing nothing is about as easy as it gets, and he likes that.

Todd's less than satisfied with Megan's decree. He's been hauling her junk within his denim backpack for the last three hours, and for what purpose? To consume honey ham on white? "What about this?" he spits out as he unstraps the pack and tosses it upon the table in frustration.

Megan stops pacing. "Oh, that." Again, she examines her fingers. Those on the right hand have been caked with orangish residue. "I'm a righty, you know," she states just before wiping said hand on Todd's oily hair.

"Cut it out, bitch."

"But it's such an improvement for the both of us! Well, then again, maybe not, but good enough," she concedes upon viewing the lackluster results. She unzips the backpack and gently caresses the shadowy object contained within its folds. Its hairy near the top; rather coarse, not too lengthy, and a bit prickly. Further down, the hair gives way to a rubbery substance of some kind, at times rough, yet at others quite smooth, with various ridges and indentations to accentuate its uniqueness. Further still, the gristly matter grows tougher, with points that jut out profusely, yet intentionally. It feels like a revolution, don't you know?

"This doesn't belong here," she informs her friends, her voice a pensive moan between estranged lovers caught up in a foolish relapse.

Todd shakes his head. "You put it there," he laments.

"I did, but it doesn't belong here," she repeats, and it makes perfect sense. The three of them finish their drinks and trash the remainder of their feast except for the latter half of Megan's tuna melt, which is stashed within Todd's backpack. From inside the store, the trio of employees eyes them warily, and it's evident that one group must depart before the other is willing to do the same.

At ten sixteen, the lights are out and everyone's gone, with three employees resting safely at home.