Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Favorite 10 Posts out of 200
(in chronological order)

The Pumpkin Story -- One of my more notorious stories, perhaps for its disgusting subject matter. I was particularly proud of the fact that I related a tale told to me by someone else, with the intended effect of nausea and fear of fall foods. For other gross-outs, see Bathroom Etiquette 1 and 2 (also told to me by someone else).

Internal Dialogue -- This started out discussing a few of my favorite things: Vegas, the craps table, and rollin’ dem bones. But then the other body parts joined the fray, illustrating an ongoing battle. The first and fastest of some not-so-imaginary conversations (Yankees Playoffs, Fashion Police).

ER -- Weirdos: The staple of any good character study. Makes me almost wanna get injured more often. Other nutjobs or jerks are featured in Shoot! and Pighead & Ratchet.

Ginormous -- My other notorious post. Hey, I have no delusions of grandeur. But it’s all true, baby. Sex is fun & relationships are tricky and they're both fun & tricky to write about. But I also liked how the stories came out with Deirdre and Heath & the Hot Piece.

Snyder -- That damn spider and his brood are still out to get me. At the time, I wished I had a camera to capture what I had seen, but I’m less fond of posts that rely on a cartoon or photo to illustrate the story. It was challenging to describe the spectacle and the fascination and fear invoked by that arachnid-from-Hell. I engaged in other battles against nature in I Gotta Move and Mikey’s Adventure at Sea.

Oedipalookaville -- I got lotsa stories about my dad. This one showed some of our father-son static, which only strengthened my love for the ol’ man. Strange note: the fictional name I chose for my childhood friend was coincidentally the name of some American guy wanted for murder in Denmark. I got some interesting comments and google hits on that post. On a lighter note about Punchin’ Pops, there’s Customs. And despite what I said about posts with cartoons and photos, I liked Dad & Mike Go to the Arctic.

Pop and Pup -- Another Dad story, but also my favorite chapter of March Max Madness or any tales about my golden retriever. I had had a different entry for that day, called "Attention Deficit Dog", but I didn’t like how it came out. I thought of editing the story, but then decided to quickly bang out a new one, which was the best of the series. Other favorites are Oy! Bad Boy! and Stunt-Dog Max. I’ll probably fix ADD and post it and write other shaggy dog stories in the future. How can you go wrong with that lovable doofus?

Storytelling -- There were a lot of mini-anecdotes to it, but they added up to the purpose of relating them in the first place. So I can share 'em with the grandkids of me and the future Mrs. aka Dushku. Like I said, all my stories are true... or will be. Yearbook Photo covered a similar subject -- cartooning, and its purpose in getting revenge on high school wiseasses.

Why I Like -- and Hate -- Guns N’ Roses (Part 2) -- Another story told to me, but I threw myself into the mix, how that Crackerboy Axl Rose got indirectly personal with me... I dealt with my sister in Kaddish, and had a music celebrity sighting in Hammer and... my sister and I had a celebrity sighting in Julie's Grace and... man, even though this is a sneaky way to cheat and list other posts, trying to categorize 'em is a pain... Glad I'm almost done...

Ditzy -- Maybe I included this because it was a humorous miscommunication, maybe because I wrote it right after it happened, or maybe I just like poking fun of my friends. Like in Mike and Mike and the Stairs and Energy. (Chi-nese Food! Chi-nese Food!)

Monday, May 30, 2005

If I counted correctly, this is my 199th post.

Big deal.
Some of you more prolific folks write that much in a week, but still, it made me a bit reflective. I may have talked about blogging in previous posts, in comments or in other conversations, but I never focused entirely on it in a post. So if you’ve heard some of these thoughts before, sue me. Go read the other 198.

My friend Jerry started his blog back in spring ’03. He encouraged me to create one too, but I hesitated because, knowing me, I’d either be half-assed, or get way too obsessed. And I was right on both accounts.

Now I’m addicted, but in the beginning, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I have stacks of handwritten journals I’ve done over the years, and I hate to re-read them: "I’m hungry. A corn beef sandwich sounds good. Or is it ‘corned’ beef? How do you ‘corn’ beef? Actually, that doesn’t sound good. This Papermate is running out of ink. So why am I wasting it talking about my pen? I better quickly finish this sentenc"

I didn’t want to have more inane ramblings, this time on the ‘net. I hoped my entries would be more interesting, like the journals I kept when I was traveling or on a film production. But do I have to be in the midst of an adventure to find good things to write about? No, life’s an adventure; it’s all in the storyteller’s perspective. Some people do daily "diary-blogs", and while they don’t hit it out of the park every time, they usually find hidden gems, the quirky and fascinating observations within the day-to-day routine.

And speaking of other bloggers, somewhere around this time last year, I discovered Life at TJ’s Place. We’ve all discussed the history of Kevin and his gentleman’s club ad nauseum, but I’ll simply reiterate how it affected me in two ways: First, his posts gave me a better idea of what to shoot for -- you don’t need lots of bells and whistles on your website, not even titillating tales about strippers, just simple, well-written stories. (Though I do think a cartoon or audioblog or a nice photo can’t hurt once in a while.)
Cal Incline2sml
The second effect of TJ’s Place was meeting lots of other bloggers, and creating this community. Exchanging links and comments, networking and "meeting" so many cool people was inspiring. It encouraged me to try to write often and write well.

But it’s a double-edged sword.

I thought maybe my blog would be a good place to vent. Instead of internalizing angst, going over and over in my head how this chick’s driving me nuts, that guy’s pissing me off, I’m gettin’ oppressed by da man… I could write it all down, right? "I type, I gripe, I hype."

But with an audience, I get self-conscious. The few times I’ve mentioned po’ Mikey an da trubbles he done seen, the responses made me feel weird. I didn’t really want sympathy. Don’t pity this fool. Really, it’s not that bad, folks.

And then I ask myself, well, what is everyone supposed to think when I bitch away? People actually care, and if I don’t want them feeling sorry for me, I shouldn’t complain so much. Blogging is a public forum for private thoughts which yields this dilemma, but maybe it’s for the best. That kinda whiny crap was one of the things I hated reading on my handwritten journals. So if I’m gonna talk about problems, I’ll at least try to make ‘em entertaining.

And that in a way is my goal with my posts. Make each one count. Maybe I can create a collection of personal short stories for future use, to be published or even just as writing samples. In any case, I should aim to be able to go back and re-read them without cringing too much.

Another adverse affect of this medium is the self-reflexive nature of it. The novelists I admire believe that the characters and story should speak for themselves; the author should be practically invisible. But in blogging, when you’re composing creative non-fiction, the author is the main character. There’s also a familiarity between the author and his readers. Which alters the way we write. For example, at times, I like my punny word-play style of narrative. But it feels a bit like a wink at my visitors, saying, "hey, check me out". And that can take the reader out of the story.

Maybe I’m too hard on myself. I probably think about this too much.

Well, just to self-analyze even further, I thought for my 200th post, I'd do a "best of"… listing my favorite posts. It’s a bit of a challenge, like deciding which of your children you like best. Of course, of 200 whippersnappers, there’s a lot of runts and brats I’d rather disown. And I tend to prefer the later posts simply because I found more of a groove in my writing as I went along.

But don't worry, this post won't be on the list... Maybe you think this whole thing seems self-indulgent, but check out the name of the site. It ain't "Make Mine You", pally.

Fine, you want something more interesting? I could mention that I saw Vadergrrrl when she was in LA this weekend. It was nice hanging out, but I mostly just gave her a hard time -- can you believe she hasn't seen the new Star Wars movie? I mean, check out the name of her blog.

Ahh, this post has gone on long enough. Why bother writing any more when I can just dazzle the eye with some purtee pitchas I took of Santa Monica on Memorial Day with my new digicam?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

So remember Heath & the Hot Piece? I mentioned that after that whole fiasco, I hooked up with someone else who became a serious college girlfriend. Chloe was amazing -- beautiful, brilliant, and seemed to be crazy about me. Actually, it wasn’t that amazing -- after all, I was a smooth smoothie.

Early on, when we starting to fall for each other, but hadn’t even admitted it to ourselves, we were sitting at our local jazz bar, drinking, chattin’ and scattin’. Shoo-bee-doo-I was considering studying abroad in London for a semester, but I wasn’t sure. Issues about money, school credits, xenophobia toward those uptight bad-teeth kidney-pie-suckin’ Limeys... Chloe had been to Europe and was encouraging me to travel and see it all (I did wind up going) but, she said, "If you go, I’d really miss you..."

I looked at her, so adorable in the candlelight, the music playing a soulful tune. What a great moment. I wanted to make it perfect, reached across the table to take her hand --

Crash! -- knocking over every single glass on the table. The candle fell and got snuffed out. Which meant we couldn’t see where her wine and my scotch spilled into a giant lake of liquor. Chloe had to feel the booze waterfall cascade onto her lap before she knew to leap from her seat. As I scrambled in the dark for some napkins, I marveled at my suave self -- like silk, I tell ya.

I became the urbane of her existence, and the relationship between Chloe and Don Juan de Miguel grew, even though getting some time alone, as I’ve illustrated earlier, is difficult in college.

Case in point: When we had a party in my suite. I really wanted to talk to her, but there were still a few people hanging around, it was getting late, so she decided to go home. I would’ve walked her back, but my suitemates all agreed that we had to stick around to help clean up. As she got down to the street, I had an idea and shouted out the window for her to wait a second.

Unfortunately, at the same time, Heath had sent one of his stoner friends out to score some more weed. Since the hedonist’s room faced the inside of the building, he kept coming over to mine to look out onto the street to see if Cheech was back with the ‘shish.

“Heya Mahhhk, I waitin’ for my dimebag, dude.”

I told the jonesing jackass to just be patient and gimme a moment, and he stepped away.

Then I scribbled a note onto a page and folded it deftly into the perfect paper airplane. Years of elementary school mischief turned me into the Boeing of looseleaf. I tossed it out the window, and watched it waft down to the street. Chloe giggled, waiting for it glide into her hands.

You know how when they show movies or TV shows about New York, they often have steam rising from the grating and manhole covers? That’s real. Even in the coldest winter, it could be a sauna in the subway system. The hot air from underground created this updraft on my street and lifted my 8 X 11" SST out of Chloe’s reach. The plane flew up and over our 10-story building.

“Dude, why’s yer girl looking up? Someone gonna jump?”

Fuckin’ Heath, standing right next to me. Guy was a like a mosquito. You shoo him off and he’s back a second later. I pulled out my swatter -- namely my hand -- and told him to stay away. One way or another he’d get a blunt fattie in his face.

Then I shouted to Chloe to hold on. Now I was on a mission. I rewrote the note, but folded two pieces of paper into the airplane. Same aerodynamics, twice the weight.

That did the trick. It jetted right down into Chloe’s hands. She unfolded the page, read the note and beamed. Then she shouted up, repeating my message to me, adding emphasis to the last word: "I love you."

I didn’t notice Heath slip up to the window next to me. "I love you too, Chloe!"

I slapped him.

Not that hard, but enough to make him stop and stare, holding his face.

“You hit me.”

“I told you I would if you came back.”

“I didn’t think you’d do it.”

“I didn’t think you’d come back,” I said. “Now we’re both surprised, huh?”

He didn’t have anything else to say and sulked off. I heard him whine to his stoner friends. “Mahhk hit me.”

I did actually feel bad; probably shouldn’t have done that. Guy just had problems, man. Later I made peace with him, but at the time I was still frustrated. First the damned druggie kept me from getting laid, and now he ruined a potentially wonderful moment.

I looked down at Chloe, shaking my head, told her I’d call her later.

Yep. What’d I tell you? Velvety smooth, baby.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I don’t mean to paint a bad portrait of my sister. Her excellent qualities are always prevalent, but who wants to hear stories about intelligence, responsible behavior or relentless consideration for others? In my opinion, Julie’s neuroses -- while perhaps not entirely representative -- make for better entertainment.

Like this weekend. She’s going away on a camping trip with her mentoring program. Great. She’ll have a fun time, and I’ll get a respite from some of the regular family agita, right?

No such luck. She calls me Friday night. "Where’s Zuma Beach?" It’s in Malibu, I tell her. Yeah, she knows that. She’s driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, and her directions say that the road she should turn east onto is 10 miles from Zuma Beach.

I was trying to chill out after a long week. Tomorrow I’d enjoy the nice weather, hang with my friends, see the new Star Wars movie. But tonight I’d just relax, catch up on some reading. I had just ordered Chinese food.

So I quickly tell her Zuma Beach is at Kanan Dune Road. Something like that. Did she see Kanan-something Road?


That’s another thing -- her cellphone kept cutting out or dropping calls.

She rings back and I tell her: Kanan-something. Starts with a K. Like in kangaroo.

"K like in what?"

"Krazy! Kooky! Ko-dependent."

No, she just passed Pepperdine University. I tell her she’s got a ways to go.

Then she worries that Pacific Coast Highway is gonna be one of those cliff-side roads. That’s further up in northern California, I tell her. I’ve taken PCH to Santa Barbara and the road is often away from the beach. It’s never on the edge of a cliff, okay?

"What?" The phone drops out again.

So a minute later I repeat everything, and she’s onto her next worry: Well, what about this road she’s supposed to turn onto? Is that gonna be on the edge of a cliff?

No, it goes east! As in, inland. If it went west, it would go off a cliff into the ocean. But it goes east.

"Yeah, into the mountains!" She says, "Is it gonna be scary and steep?"

How should I know? I try to look it up on the internet, but can’t find a topographical chart. She’s nervous about driving in an unfamiliar hilly area in the dark. I bite my tongue from telling her she should’ve checked a map beforehand, or that she should’ve left before sundown. What I did tell her was that my kung pao was getting cold.

She lets me eat in peace… for a few minutes. Then she calls again. I know, I should’ve ignored the calls, but when she’s this neurotic, she’d keep calling, filling up my voicemail with rants. It’s better to address her concerns.

This time, she wants me to stay on the phone with her while she drives on this mountain road.

What the fuck?

That way, I’d know if she drives off a cliff, she says. It’s only three miles.

I sigh, and settle in to keep her company and use up more wireless minutes. She starts to say something... and her phone cuts out.

She doesn’t call back. When I try, there’s no answer.

So… does this mean she’s driven off a cliff? Should I worry? Nah, I’ll just assume there’s no cell reception in the mountains.

Easier said than done. I spend the whole night tossing and turning -- and it’s not just the kung pao keeping me up. Mike likes his chicken spicy and his evenings restful.

So what ensues is a series of messages on her cellphone:

"Julie, call me back as soon as you get this."

"Hey, I haven’t heard from you, and I’m starting to have these horrible visions of your car at the bottom of a hill crumpled into a ball and you inside battered and bruised with the hands-free remote still in your ear…"

"I don’t even know where you’re supposed to be going, who’s supposed to meet you. Who can I call? They probably don’t have reception either… Ahh, the hell with this. You’re all right. Yeah."

"Maybe I should drive up and look for you… but if it’s that dangerous… How long do I have to wait to call out a search party?"

"Damn you, Julie…"

And finally, the next morning:

"Okay, I called the Malibu Sheriff’s Department, the Malibu Police, and the L.A. County Highway Patrol, and no one’s heard of an accident in the area. I’m gonna assume you’re okay."

Saturday I do all the things I was gonna do. Revenge of the Sith is excellent. Makes me almost forget that awful Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. And the Situation with the Sibling.

Julie calls me Sunday, saying that she indeed was fine -- she had said so that night, but didn't know the phone cut her off. She finally got cell reception, got all my messages and apologizes profusely for making me worry. Julie feels terrible. If the tables were turned, she’d be upset, too.

"Yeah, yeah," I say. "I don’t care anymore. I was just gonna sell all your stuff on eBay. Quit my job and party on Zuma Beach all summer."

Friday, May 20, 2005

My cellphone rings. It’s this runner friend of mine. Once, a long time ago, I considered dating her but we didn’t have much in common, she had more baggage than Samsonite and the main thing: wayyy too ditzy and not worth the aggravation… Still, she’s very sweet and I hadn’t spoken to her in a while. But when I answer, there’s no catch-up, she just launches into her usual babbly self:

“Michael, can I tell you… I run or bike or swim every day. I consider myself to be, like, in really good shape… I mean, I’m always, y’know, doing exercise and I mean…”

“Uh huh. I know,” I say.

“But right now every muscle is aching. I’m so sore. I mean, I’m so sore, like, y’know?”

“Oh yeah? What happened, you get lucky last night?”

“Well, yeah,” she says. “The other day, I mean, it was. Right? And yeah, I mean, I guess I feel kinda lucky about it and… So, I mean, yeah. Don’t you? I mean…”

There was more stammering like this. She can go on for a while without saying much. I finally interject. “Do you know who you’re calling here?”


I say yeah, but give her my last name, too.

“Oh. My. God. Ohmigod. I can’t believe I did that. His name is Michael, too. I guess I had him down as Michael and meant to call him, but instead I speed-dialed you. I haven’t had sex in over a year and I finally did, and I guess now you know about it. I make all sorts of mistakes with my cellphone. I blew it last time with this other guy ‘cause I was talking to him and then my mom called in and I accidentally conferenced her in with him, and was talking about the guy to my mom and he heard all about it, and I guess he didn’t like what I said, so, yeah, I blew it that time. And then this time -- the first time I’ve had sex in over a year -- and I tell you all about it. I’m so embarrassed.”

“Nah, it’s cool. I’m happy for you. And the other Michael.” I meant it. Shit, she’s got a nice body from all her exercise, but… My poor namesake’s gotta put up with that craziness…

“So. Uh. What’s happening with you?” She says, “Uh… have you had sex in the last year?”

I chuckled. “Yeah, not too long ago. But the soreness has worn off by now.”

“Oh. Okay. Good. So, uh, hey, you wanna run that 10K next weekend?”

“Maybe. I’m at work now, so lemme call you later about it.”

“Okay. Oh god, I’m so embarrassed.”

“Really, it’s understandable.” I tell her, “Michael’s a very common name. But to avoid this in the future, maybe you should put each person into your cellphone with a unique label.”

“Oh, yeah. That’s a good idea. Okay, I’ll talk to you later…”

I hang up and look at my cellphone. It says I had been on for 4 minutes and 32 seconds with “Ditzy McBabble”.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Good news: I’m trying to get back into working for television.

Bad news: My resume is heavy on corporate stuff.

Good news: I wrote a bio to go with the resume. It explains more about me, what I’ve done, how I’m always writing, being creative, even while working corporate crap. The bio builds me up, but with the right dose of self-deprecating humor. All in one page.

Bad news: Some places don’t give a shit.

Good news: The ones that do, loved it. It’s gotten me a couple of meetings.

Bad news: They’re just meetings, to get to know me, not so much interviews.

Good news: Still, the people I’ve met seem anxious to bring me in and work with me.

Bad news: One of those jobs is in Silver Lake. That’s gonna be a bitch of a drive.

Good news: The other’s in Santa Monica. Hell, I could bike to work.

Bad news: It’s still just a lot of talk.

Good news: But I have friends at the Santa Monica job. They put in a good word for me.

Bad news: Or did they?

Good news: Yeah, they probably did. Just in case, I’ll bribe ‘em some more.

Bad news: But I’m not gonna have enough money if I get this job. It pays less, it’s project-to-project, hence no real security, and I don’t think it has any benefits.

Good news: What, am I gonna be a corporate stooge forever? Just for some stability? And “benefits”? Like my health insurance? The bills from a routine check-up have gone to collection. My PPO covers me like a thong. And the doctor wanted me to come in for a follow-up this summer. Yeah, I can afford $700+ just to be told I’m healthy, but maybe don’t drink so much espresso. Blue Cross can kiss my caffeinated ass.

Bad news: Wasn’t that bad news up above?

Good news: It doesn’t matter. Who can keep this shit straight when writing on company time?

Bad news: That might get me fired.

Good news: Fine. I should be working in television anyway.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Did you ever have one of those dreams...?

It starts off innocently enough, where you see a couple of cuties... dressed in medical scrubs.

Then you realize -- you’re in an operating room, and you’re the patient. There are doctors all around and even a police officer there.

From your point of view, it’s kinda eerie. Hey -- are those instruments sterilized?

Wait a minute -- that’s your blood. That’s your arm...

Why are you awake for this? You need anesthesia! You can feel everything they’re doing!

Hold on... That’s your buddy Bags as the cop, testing out a camera.

They’re just shooting the hospital scene from that short film.

It’s not real...

Or is it...?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

We were alone, finally. Naked, rolling around in my dorm room... Jill’s sexy short blonde hair all tousled, her angelic face flush and those thighs -- those luscious legs that first got my attention back during freshman orientation -- were spread, inviting…

I wish I could remember that moment even better, but the blood was rushing away from my brain, fast. Before I completely lost my mind, I took a moment to fish out a condom…

"No, wait," she said. I stopped and looked at her. She sat up and kissed me, said it was too soon. "Let’s have something to look forward to."

On one hand, I understood. We’d only been dating a week or two. We had jumped into bed pretty quickly.

But that was only because it was our first opportunity for complete privacy. My roommate would be gone all day -- a fact I casually-but-clearly mentioned, especially because her roommate was always around. And up ‘til then, my physical contact with Jill was always public displays of affection around campus. She was a California girl, which seemed exotic to a New Yorker like me, and as I showed her the local sights, we copped a feel whenever we could. Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? Our hands up each other’s shirts when no one was looking…

Who knew when we’d get another chance to be alone? Timing is everything…

Jill wasn’t ready though, and I wasn’t going to pressure her. She left to go do that thing people do in college… uh, I think it was called "attend classes" or maybe -- what’s the word? -- "study"? Yeah, I really oughta try that…

But I couldn’t concentrate. I hadn’t expected to end up pounding the books.

Well, I did have the room to myself. The rocket in my pocket needed to burn off some fuel. Might as well make it a solo flight… But I’d had barely gotten into orbit when I heard a knock on the door.

My roommate was gone, but my suitemates were still around. I wasn’t worried about anyone bursting in -- the door was locked -- but I heard in a deep Southern accent:

"Heya Mahhk…"

Heath. Rich prep school kid from ‘tlanna, Jawja. Pissing away Daddy’s money, his G.P.A. and brain cells from doing so much drugs. Like Eddie Murphy’s girl, Hedonistic Heath wanted to party all the time, party all the time, party all the ti-ime…

I will say this for him, though. He wasn’t exclusive in any way. Heath encouraged everyone to party with him. Whether they wanted to or not.

He’d slam against my door at four in the morning. And when I answered, groggy and snarling -- what the fuck?! -- Heath would stand there with a goofy grin on his face. "Oh, I’m so glad yer awake! I took some shrooms, so I was shrooming, and then I took some X, so I was exxing, and then I had some Jägermeister, so now I’m just Jä-- uh, Yay-- uh…"

I just stared at him. "Fucked up?"

"Yeah." And then he’d collapse on the floor, passed out.

That afternoon he’d been smoking pot, and now he and his chronic crew had the munchies. He shouted through the locked door. I wasn’t about to get up and answer this time. I was kinda busy.

"Heya Mahhk, we’re goin’ down to Koronet Pizza. Wanna go?"

"No thanks."

"You sure? You don’t want a slice?"


"No, you’re not sure? Or no, you don’t want a slice?"

"Go away!"

That seemed to do the trick. I eased back into the business at hand. It was kinda like that scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Phoebe Cates gets out of the pool, dripping wet, and says "You know how cute I always thought you were…" except this time it was Jill in the red bikini, and as she takes off her top, exposing those perky nipples, she opens her mouth and says,

"Heya Mahhk, you comin’ or what?"

"No! Dammit, Heath! I’m… trying to study. Would you fuck off already?!"

"Oh. Well, uh, you want me to bring you back a slice?"

I was about to reprimand him some more… but I had worked up an appetite and Koronet sounded pretty good. They made these giant slices, with the spices baked right into the thin crust… "Yeah, okay," I said.

It got rid of him and allowed me to do my thang. Just as I was slipping into a nice post-coital coma, the phone rang. Fuckin’ Heath couldn’t even make it one block down the street without bugging me about that damn pizza?

I grabbed the phone. "Pepperoni!"

"What?" It was Jill.

"Sorry. Thought it was someone else."

"Oh…" She sounded sad.

"What’s wrong?"

"I dunno… I just… I dunno, I think maybe I’m homesick."

Now, I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy. I believe I could probably grasp any intellectual pursuit if I really tried. I just don’t usually try. Which is why I never did well in organic chemistry, couldn’t solve Rubik’s Cube, and this blog’s template is so ugly -- one of these days I will read up on HTML… But I have tried to figure out women, and concluded that quantum physics is easier to comprehend. I guess men and women will always have trouble understanding the opposite sex, but I can’t help but feel particularly short-bussed on the subject. However, this was a rare moment of clarity for me.

I knew Jill wasn’t homesick. I had asked her once if being 3000 miles from her family was difficult, and she had shrugged; it wasn’t even an issue. Now she was using that concept as an excuse. Jill had been feeling just as sexually frustrated as me and needed a reason to call and finish what we had started.

As if to confirm my suspicions, she said, "I don’t feel like being alone right now. Can I come over?"

Of course I said sure. Gotta strike while the iron’s hot. Timing is everything.

But I was a bit concerned. The recent eruption of Mike St. Helens was pretty draining. Nah, no problem. It would just mean a little extra concentration. And with an audience, there was no way my volcano would be dormant.

So, soon, as my pals the Beastie Boys would say: I got lucky, I brought home the kitten / Before I got busy, I slipped on the mitten… I forget the next verse -- again, the blood rushing away from my brain -- but I know it wasn’t what I heard at that moment:

"Heya Mahhk!" Hedonistic Heath was back. "I got a big slice of Koronet for ya."

"Okay, thanks. I’ll get it later."

"Well, if I leave it in the kitchen someone else will eat it. Tell ya what: I’ll put the plate down here by your door, okay?"

"Fine!" I was shouting over my shoulder, thinking how I was gonna kill this cock-blocking motherfucker and -- And, dammit, the blood was rushing back to my brain. I was getting loose in the latex, if you know what I mean…

I turned back to Jill, who had never looked so sexy. My Phoebe Cates fantasy didn’t even do this moment justice. I was ready to go again and -- can you guess what happened?

"Heya Mahhk, don’t forget ya got a nice hot piece out here!"

I got one in here, too, ya dumb fuck. I was about to spell it all out to him, but at this point, it felt like the guy was right there in the room with us. I just wasn’t in the mood anymore. I apologized to Jill, and told her, well, I guess we still have something to look forward to…

Only that moment never came. Things just kinda fizzled out between us. Maybe because of that incident. But that was probably a sign that wasn’t meant to be. Our relationship had been mostly physical; if it was stronger than that, we would’ve gotten past this.

And like I said, timing is everything. If I had still been dating Jill, I wouldn’t have met another woman who became my girlfriend for a couple of years, and at the time, the love of my life. Our relationship wasn’t purely physical, though that aspect of it was great, too, even when Heath interrupted us ‘cause he was on a bad acid trip or left his roachclip in my room or some shit…

Oh, and speaking of that hedonistic hophead, he was right: That slice of Koronet pizza was delicious.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Little things that make me happy:

● I finally figured out how to get Outlook to stop alerting me every time I receive a new work e-mail. Little dialogue windows used to fade into the middle of my screen… and linger forever… and would show up at least 10 times an hour. That’s a shitload of interruptions. Now the messages pile up in my mailbox all day without me realizing, but there’s some adage about ignorance and bliss… I don’t know how it goes… which is fine by me.

● Summertime produce. I make a mixture of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and bananas, and I get high on all that fructose and vitamins -- A, B-complex, C… Just no fruits that start with P, thanks.

● On a whim, I bought this almond oatmeal soap at Trader Joe’s and now I’m hooked. It ain’t cheap, but it exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves me smellin’ clean, keen and like pralines. Go on with your Metrosexual taunts. The ladies love an almondy fresh man.

● My cousin was in town last weekend. I like that kid. He grew up in Queens, and whenever I hear him tawk, it reminds me of the time he hung out with my dad in Vegas for a visit. I was sure the two of ‘em wouldn’t get along -- the Curmudgeonly Codger and the Playstation Punk -- but when I asked my cousin what he thought of the old man, he said, “Oh my gawd. Uhncle Hahhvee… is awesome. He is so fuhhckin’ funny. He comes outta the bathroom, after seein’ hisself in the mirrah, and goes, ‘Ya know what? I’m a good lookin’ guy.’ Says to your mom, ‘Hey, Ruth! Lemme tell ya something: I am just one handsome man.’ Heh-heh. Whatta pissa.”

● The Yankees won three in a row. As of right now, it looks like it's gonna be four. Hey, in a season like this, I’ll take what I can get.

● Here’s something that irks me: People who feel they have to do schtick all the time, always performing. Like, you can’t ever just have a brief conversation, solidifying plans, without them doing some kinda accent or purposely mispronouncing words for effect. “Ah, faith n’ begora, top o’ the mornin’ to ya, Mikey-boy…” (you’re not Irish; it’s not St. Patty’s Day, so just lose the leprechaun lingo.) “Sho, whassh on the shhhedule?” (Sean Connery impression? He’s not Irish either; he’s Scottish. Or, are you supposed to be drunk now? What’s with the shhh sshoundshh?) “Veddy goot. I vill see you ven you I see you.” (Yeah, yeah, Colonel Klink. Kishen mein tucchus.)

What was that last entry doing on this list? Well, gripin’ about little things makes me happy sometimes, too.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Name That Fluid. Bodily? No, you should just quit
Thinking so naughtily: blood, jism or spit...
You expected that, probably. C'mon, gotta admit.
But I meant my old car -- shoddily made piece o' shit.

Wobbly, it drove. Lemon made in the U.S.
With parts from Yemen -- they'd likely confess:
They wanted to demonstrate against our excess
And make us drive Gremlin crates. But I digress.

Condemned state? Yes. Yup. Busted-up grill,
Which fell off abruptly whether moving or still.
Parked, I put a cup underneath; it would fill
With something. Ew, yuck! What was that swill?

Uphill it went quick -- oh, I mean the sewage.
The car? Gears would stick every span or a cubit.
The engine was sick. Liquid went right thru it.
Which kind? Well, there, Slick. Let's play Name That Fluid.

Blue, it trickled down; that's for the wipers.
Oil: Puddle of brown. Damn car needed diapers.
Tranny leaked red around. And green is a type of
Vulcan blood. Or I found the coolant went hyper.

Like it wound up with the Clap, the car would just drip.
So I always went strapped with plenty to sip.
Just as you take a map on any long trip,
I kept fluids on tap. I was Pep Boys-equipped.

But crap! Zipping north to the town of Burbank,
Pouring southward the quarts and pints from my tank,
Didn't matter the source, who knows what it drank.
The engine was hoarse; the dashboard -- it stank.

'Course, thank God I didn't die, when black smoke did sink
Inside and I creeped by a rich SUV dink.
"Dude, your car's on fire," said the schmuck with a wink.
I coughed, glared, perspired, and growled, "Yeah, ya think?!"

Buy a drink I'd do later, once off the turnpike.
Coolant for the radiator, a cool Scotch for Mike.
Or is oil the traitor which has taken a hike?
If he saw it, Ralph Nader would surely yell, "Yikes!"

Cascadin' like Fifty Cent's CD sales are doin',
The liquid's color meant I should easily clue in
What fluid would prevent the next blazing ruin.
Wait -- it's magenta. Shit. That's a new one.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Toon time. As usual, it's full of inside family jokes, such as:

We joked that on a much-needed vacation, my mom spent more time sleeping than enjoying the sights. She might've seen Nina Foch, a star of "An American in Paris", and an acting teacher I had in film school.

My mom was very supportive of my film career, helping out as exec. producer (and playing a small role) in an indie I made. Maybe it's 'cause we both love movies, from The Thief of Baghdad to Christopher Walken flicks like The Dead Zone, Search and Destroy (in which Walken does an obligatory dance number, singing "Shoeshine Boy") and True Romance.

That movie had a line about certain fruits and vegetables, which segues into a reference to an old family schtick about my grandmother and my Uncle Barry who went from hating to liking the taste of eggplant. My mother, on the other hand, never got over her disgust of seafood. She won't come within a mile of anything that even might've been within a mile of a fish.

Mom had three other all-purpose excuses to get out of doing things: She has an achey back, her eyes are bad, and she doesn't have a cuisinart. So no schlepping, no night-driving, and don't you dare try to compare her to Martha friggin' Stewart.

I wanted to display this after I did a series of posts on my cartoon influences, because you can see an homage to Rube Goldberg, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, MAD Magazine and Sergio Aragonés' Groo the Wanderer. The premise of this strip was basically taken from a Sunday comic of Bloom County, too.

But with this Hallmark holiday approaching, I couldn't put it off any longer. Happy Mother's Day.

(click on the images to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

You're not the boss of me, now... You're not the boss of me, now...

Well, okay, for the moment, you can be. I was trying to decide what to post next... and I'm spending more time deciding than just writing. So, I'll leave it up to you.

Here's a list of 20 tales. I don't usually title my posts, 'cause coming up with something clever and poignant takes longer than actually writing 'em. So many names aren't an accurate description, and in some cases, I purposefully did that to avoid being obvious as to what the subject is (I've told friends about topics I plan to write some day soon). I never know how these stories will end up, in terms of length or quality, but I'll give it my best shot. Trashman did something like this, and it turned out great. But I don't have any good anecdotes about pimping...

Lemme know which title you'd like to see next. Whichever sounds the most intiguing to you, tell me in the comments. After a day or two, we'll see which is the most popular choice. If the real world doesn't intrude, I'll accept your assignment for the weekend.

But it doesn't really matter. I'll probably cover all of these, eventually... Or maybe I'll never get to 'em. Life is unfair....

No Man is a (British) Isle
Bubba Mae Entangled
Slow Moe
Attention Deficit Dog
Radar Remembrance
Audio on Audio
Name that Fluid
Laugh or Shut Up
Heath & the Hot Piece
Soccer Mike
Love: Plane and Simple
Pretty and Pretty Scary
Live and Sublet Die
The Few, the Proud, the Agents
Backseat Jiver
Make Love Not Warthogs
Gurney Journey

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