Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I Buy All My Cars At Police Auctions

James Joyce went from writing fairly straightforward, traditional--in terms of narrative, anyway--stories to weird, experimental prose to inventing his own obscure language. I kind of want my artistic arc to be like that--I want to be less and less accessible until I'm in my own little world that may or may not make any sense. Just kidding, I think.

You know, I don't know whether anything can replace the pure, unadulterated bliss of listening to a kickass song while driving a car. Listening to music in one's room doesn't have the kinetic power that makes for the best aural experiences. (I almost sounded like a music critic there! "Aural" is used by music critics like "lyrically" is used by rappers--it's a handy word to have that doesn't mean much.) But walking around midtown after work today, with the throngs of people, the balmy temperature, and M83 on the trusty old Ipod after a day cooped up in an office--it made the whole scene seem like the last, cathartic shot of the pilot episode of a one-hour dramedy about my life in the big city. And that was nice. Not "driving a car" nice, but nice nonetheless.

From Dar es Salaam, Peter Dinklage, BBC news.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Alex, I've Wanted To Say This For Years--Let's Make It A True Daily Double

This weekend I saw a Basquiat exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, watched "Amelie," (I had never seen it), and some quality episodes of "Arrested Development," saw my friend Carl play with his band at a bar in Manhattan, played trivial pursuit with a few people, got taken out to dinner by my roommate's parents, and went to three bars. That would have qualified as a fuck-all blockbuster of a weekend just two short months ago, when Lexington, Massachusetts was sucking out my soul from the inside. But these days, I'm only satisfied if there's hookers and PCP involved. Everything truly is relative, I guess.

The Basquiat thing was pretty intense. First of all, it was crowded and stuffy--the Brooklyn Museum, like my bedroom, always seems to be overly warm--and I was characteristically sleepy, probably because I had ingested a copious amount of platypus tranqulizer. I've been to a lot of art museums in my day, and since I was a lad, I've never been able to walk around for very long before I take a seat on one of them benches they got there in the middle of the room. There, I contemplate my exhaustion (I think I've had an undiagnosed case of mono persistent since the age of six) and maybe gaze at a painting, trying to gauge whether it's "cool" or not. (That's how I judge art.)

Crowd density, temperature, and sleepiness aside, Basquiat's work is pretty amazing. Art is one of those things--like most things in the world--that is very foreign to me, both in execution and in concept. Execution, as in I can't draw for shit. Concept, as in I'm not sure what any of this MEANS, man. I really dig Basquiat's stuff on a purely visual and reaction-based level, and I think lots of art people say that that's half or more of the battle. I guess I'm just questioning all art right now, not just shit I could never see myself doing. I can safely say that a good song can change my short-term frame of mind, like when I used to psych myself up for those steel cage matches with "Ride the Lightning." But I don't really know what a good novel or a good movie, two art forms I feel pretty close to, do for me other than make me enjoy the time I'm engaged in them more than if I weren't. It seems the vast majority of what I read and watch evaporates into the recesses of my mind pretty quickly, and maybe helps me out at pub quiz (which is almost worth the effort by itself, actually). I know these aren't earth-shattering revelations to anyone--I'm assuming the question about the value of art has been asked since the first caveman took a piss on a rock and called it neo-realist expressionism--but it certainly makes me wonder. Even this movie I saw a few days ago, "Head On,"--did it really change my perspective on anything? It's an incredible movie, and it's stuck with me like few movies have, but I'm not sure why or what effect it's having. These things can teach me facts and historical perspectives for sure, but I'm not sure if I'm convinced about the possibility for real emotional change. Is all this shit just about enjoying craftsmanship and aesthetics? I don't feel like writing much more about this, and I've been quite unclear, I think. If I tried to write an essay on this topic, I'd probably get a B/B plus with comments about an inconsistent/muddled thesis.

Oh, one other thing. Comedy is good because it makes you laugh, and laughter is awesome. So if I make a lot of money off that I'll feel completely pure. Also, if your comedy is unfocused you can just say you're being absurd. This is clearly the medium for me.

Life: what's the deal?

Roger Federer is a tennis poet, and I look forward to watching him destroy all comers this week at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami. I imagine these great tennis points in my head all the time--back and forth rallies that go on forever, with some incredible, impossible winner to close out the point. Federer actualy plays like that, and it's a joy to watch. I wish he said something really anti-Bush at a press conference and became a polarizing figure, and that he had a really biting sense of humor. Tennis needs something like that.

Lastly, Hulkamaniacs, you should check this shit out. is my friend Josh's MySpace profile. He left it in a comment a couple of entries ago, but I'm including it here in case you missed it. Josh just cruised down to Buenos Aires to teach English solely because he heard from some guy at a party that Depeche Mode is really popular in Argentina. He's got a unique perspective on things, though, for real. My name's Paul, and this is between y'all.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Now Look Here, See, You Work For Me Now, Get It?

So much to talk about. So much to talk about! War in Iraq, man. War in Iraq, man. You know why? Because American wanted to blow some shit up. Because AMERICA wanted to blow some shit UP!!!

Whoops, I started writing a Chris Rock routine. Sometimes I do that--just comes naturally.

Let me give you a brief rundown of the headline news of my life in a segment I like to call "Short Takes with Neil Cavuto." First off, the gas cooking still isn't functional in my apartment. It's been almost two months, and I'm down to 72 pounds soaking wet. After the first three days of starvation, the sharp stomach pains subside dramatically. Weirdly, they come back around the eighteenth day, then go away the twenty-second, then come back with a vengeance when the nimbus moon sets at a 32 degree angle with Polaris. Go figure. Anyway, we got a 40 percent rent reduction the first month, and we're about to send a letter demanding a whole month rent-free (there are a multitude of other, smaller problems, though the apartment does look very nice and people really enjoy it, including me, most of the time, except that these little things can drive me crazy, like the fact that my room smells like weed frequently--has something to do with the heating, I've determined). Sometimes I have violent fantasies where I storm into the real estate office that acts as our landlord and I beat this motherfucker that works there, fellow by the name of Nick Conway, to a bloody pulp. Since everyone else seems to know about this blog, maybe you're reading this, Nick Conway. Well, you're a motherfucker and I want to beat the shit out of you. It's worth knowing.

Let's see... what else... pizza pie is very hot right now... ah yes, so I was filling in for someone at Writers House this week, meaning that I was acting as an agent's assistant. I was in this agent's office when she said, apropos of nothing or very little, something like "By the way, I enjoyed your blog." Needless to say, I was stunned. I confess to having accessed Axel Foley's Corner on some computers in the building, but not hers. I told one intern that I had a blog, but didn't give her the address. Did I just leave this site up on a computer? I've done a lot dumber shit than that in my life, so maybe. Is there a mole in Writers House trying to ruin me? Probably. Am I writing the way Robert Evans talks? You bet your ass I am. Either way, this means I can't talk shit about people from work or their clients. All the details of those crazy, quaalude-fueled nights at Studio 54 with Stephen Hawking, Ken Follett, Nora Roberts, Neil Gaiman, and Michael Lewis will have to wait until that Vanity Fair article I've been writing for the past seven years finally comes out.

With work and a lot of my personal life off limits--this blog would be a hell of a lot different if I actually wrote honestly about my interpersonal relationships the way some people seem to--there's only one topic in my life that's still kosher and that I enjoy talking about. FANTASY BASEBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This next segment goes out to Alex Sherman, who fervently requested it. Alex, I just want you to know that all of us here in the booth--and all of America--appreciate what you're doing for our country over there in Iraq. We're glad we can bring you this slice of home every once in a while.

This is the ninth year that a core group of Lexingtonians have been in the same fantasy baseball league. Since college, the league has morphed into a mixture of us and "them"--them being our college friends who try in vain to understand the unspeakable bond that was formed in 1997 with one man's dream for a cheaper, more durable plastic fantasy baseball league. That man was Dan Chamberlain, and though he has since gone to that great fantasy baseball game in the sky where Ricky Henderson's always got a lead off first even though he's also not dead, the league has lived on and thrived. I'm very proud that we have such a devoted base, and that we've been able to keep it together for so long. Fantasy baseball is truly one of the most enjoyable things in my life, and, I suspect ,in the lives of many of the league's members. Wow, this must be boring to read.

Last Friday, Josh Glickman flew in from Chicago and Keith Wilson drove up from the DC area, where he DOESN'T work for the National Security Agency. This year's league includes a pick of GW, Harvard, Michigan, Brown, Swarthmore, and Alex's roommate kids. On Saturday, everyone and their laptop came over for about five grueling hours of draft pick after draft pick. Now, I enjoy situations where everyone's sitting around, not moving. A captive audience, like in a car. That's where the Ben Hart school of comedy thrives. Here's how it works: say a phrase or person's name early on in the proceedings, then keep repeating it over and over until it becomes funny or until someone punches you in the balls. Rinse and repeat. On Saturday, this phrase for me was "Ben Broussard," Cleveland Indians first baseman/DH extraordinaire (I'm not sure what he plays, frankly). Every few turns, I would comment that Ben Broussard was still available, and gradually at least one person, Josh Jackson, began to find the Ben Broussard joke humorous. I think another couple of people also thought it was pretty funny. I personally thought it was dynamite material. When I actually picked Broussard to the disbelief of the masses, the joke came full circle. You gotta do this shit at these kind of occasions or you just have a bunch of people sitting around jerking off to Barry Bonds' on-base percentage.

Anyway, this year I instituted some new rules for the draft. I didn't allow water or bathroom breaks, and I made people come prepared with their own theme song. Mine was "The Boys Are Back In Town," because I fucking hate that song and I wanted to make myself angry so I would crush my opponents. When everyone else chose Elliott Smith songs, I knew the day was mine. And sure enough, I had a good draft. Sorry, Alex, I didn't really write about the draft, just my stupid joking and some other bullshit. I just couldn't bring myself to get any more descriptive. Next year I'll do a Bill Simmons-like running diary.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Remember The '80's?

After seeing a pretty incredible movie--"Head On"--it's highly recommended by Axel Foley and the entire Beverly Hills police force, and I should really be writing the whole post about it--a man randomly rushed up to my friend Leslie in the manner of a friend joking around, pretending to be some lunatic--except this guy was a lunatic. He sort of grabbed her by the shoulders and I sprang into panicky action mode, whereby I actived my primal human reflex of "shit's going down." My reaction was to take a step forward and say "Hey" meekly. The guy didn't end up doing anything, which is good for him, because I was about to say "Hey" again. No, seriously, I would have at least said "Hey, stop!"

I talked to Neil Gaiman on the phone today. He's a very popular science fiction/comics writer... that's what some nerd told me as I was beating him up, anyway (note: joke stolen from Todd Goldstein). I had something written here about Mr. Gaiman that was mildly amusing, but I just found out that the agent I'm working for right now is hip to this blog (hi, Merrilee!), possibly because the link was lying around on someone's computer. So, just to be safe, I have stricken it from the record.No more humorously intended implications about Gaiman.

I need a drink.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hi, We're Megalopolis, This Is Off Our First Record...

Megalopolis. That's my new idea for a band name. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but neither does "The Rolling Stones." Ok, so that one does. Bad example. Megalopolis, though--I dig it. I like the word, I like the concept--it's always brought to mind some towering, dystopian collection of urbanity--and I've lived in or near three of the four main Megalopolis cities. It's a natural fit! I don't know if "urbanity" is a word--probably not. If it isn't a word you get a free certificate to punch me in the armpit eight times.

This paragraph was about work but I edited it out after "people at work find out about blog" gate '05.

Here's a typical blog entry that you might find on blogger, written by a sixteen year old Malaysian girl or something: "Today I pass geography test. Very diffifcult. Then I go to Church and worship Jesus and my family was there. I so excited for summer!!!" I can't bring myself to make the requisite spelling mistakes. The point is that most of the blogs I read are either really shitty or in another language (which is just as bad--I don't know why you'd want to write in some dying language that's NOT English), but today I read the blog of a 25-year-old Wiccan, and one of her blog entries detailed the five best sexual encounters of her life--and her current boyfriend only made the list once, I think. That was pretty entertaining.

Today I was riding the subway and a guy got up, dropped his pants, and took a giant shit in the middle of the subway car. Just kidding, that didn't happen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Huckabees And The Women Who Heart Them

You know what's a fucking great song and a solid video? (I've noticed I start a lot of inquiries this way--"you know who's a good singer?" "You know what's a good Indian restaurant?" I wonder if I would find this annoying if someone else did it). "It Was a Good Day," by Ice Cube. I've been a big fan since the song came out in nineteen diggity three or so, but I was watching a countdown of the best West Coast rap videos on our newly installed digital cable (this is also the first post on my own internet--after Apartment 513's charity all these weeks, we decided to be assholes and password-protect it so someone doesn't hack into the mainframe--sorry for the parentheses) and was reminded of the quality of the video. It's a very simple concept that most of us can relate to, even if few of us (and by "us" I mean the ten crackers that read this thing--I hope if I ever get famous I don't always comment on the fact that nobody watches/reads/listens to whatever I'm famous for the way Conan O'Brien does--it's one of his most annoying habits) live in the hood. Ice Cube wakes up and everything, for one day in his life of difficulty, seems to go right. The video is very simple, not flashy, basically just interspersing Cube's awesome day with him standing still and rapping in some sunglasses. I simply don't think you can deny that. As the people commenting on whatever MTV or VH1 this was on commented, the video just tells the story of the song. And it does so in a way D.W. Griffith would admire. But seriously, I've loved that song for years because it sets a mood so well, like so many of those West Coast songs do. I think summertime, I think relaxation, and I think about trying to appreciate the things that go right in life. "It's ironic--you know I had the booze she had the chronic, the Lakers beat the Supersonics" has to be up there with my favorite lines in rap history, despite the misuse of "irony" (I emailed Ice Cube about that, and he has since written a lengthy apology that appears on the liner notes of the album and his website). I really like the way the sporting event, while not at all the most important thing on Cube's mind, nonetheless makes the day just that bit sweeter. I can relate to that. And of course I can relate to not having to use my AK.

And that's how babies are made.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Day In The Life Of Bobcat Goldthwait

Ok, time to cut the crap. My stolen internet's been fine most of the time since my last post. The reason I haven't updated lately is that there was a significant break in the case I'm working on (need I remind you, my name is Axel Foley--refer to the first post of the blog). I've been working with these two joker detectives from the Hollywood police force, Detective William "Billy" Randolph and his partner, Detective Sargeant John Taggart. At first they didn't want my help, since I tend to get them in trouble and, after all, I'm not even supposed to be working on this case (they got an angry call from my boss back in Detroit). Now, though, we're pretty chummy, and I think they're on board with my plan to expose this asshole Brit Victor Maitland for the crook he is.

Things have settled down a bit now, so I should be able to update with more regularity--I'm hoping every two to three days. Every day would be nice, but I'm not a fucking miracle worker, ok? I'm just a humble black detective from Detroit, Michigan, and I want to nail the guy who killed my goddamn friend.

I don't have too much else to say right now. I'm sick of cold weather and I have no desire to use hallucinogens.