Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of the album "Here" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

1st Song - Man on Fire

A slow chant thing that builds to a less chanty, more happy thing with chirpy instruments. I like when they do this kind of song because they make you so aware of how many people are involved in this dumb band. They're really invested in letting you know how much fun they're having, even though packing that many hippies into a studio can't be enjoyable for anyone. It seems sweaty and forced, like they’re afraid of Edward.

A fucking didgeridoo just sounded. Didjgiry Dave and Outback Zeros. I'm in a coffee shop right now and "I'm Every Woman" is playing behind my headphones and it's not a terrible mix. Same sort of loud happiness even though there's at least one lady in either instance being mentally abused by a producer with a messiah complex. That's conjecture on my part, but big Ed seems like he thinks he’s Jesus. The song wraps up with the refrain about following his dirty bare feet and how important it is to dance and play guitars. It's a bad song.

2nd Song - That's What's Up

Twang twang twang! Someone is probably playing a Jug. It might be an Emit Otter cover. Starts low and then comes in louder and it’s a million sounds at once and that lady is clearly screaming. I'm not sure the Edward Sharp lady singer is talented, I think she just might be frightened. Did you know they're not married at all. I think she’s just his prisoner. Uh oh. Clapping break down in the song! Love it is our Honor and love it is our all! You guys don't fool me anymore! Hippie liars. It is an awful song.

3rd song - I Don't Wanna Pray

"I love my god, god made gloves. I love my god, god made tape." I'm not sure which culture they're co-opting, but it's offensive in any direction. It sounds like an old spiritual about god’s textile production facilities. Three guys in the back are making bellowing DO DO DO noises at one point, again, just to let you know they're there, and that it's a gigantic, unwieldy band who will only break even on hotel costs once they are bigger than U2. Lots of talk about how they don't want to pray anymore, and I assume they are either dissatisfied with the gloves, the tape, or have realized that the lead singer is the one true god. Edward's got forty band members, is trying to assimilate more and there's no reason to wear that much white clothing and still be visibly dirty. It is a the worst song.

4th song - Mayla

Starts with low humming and the kind of guitar that would normally accompany a steel drum or a 80s cop drama set in Miami. Lots of people singing about a person named Mayla Longtime Sunshine. The guitar is really distracting. It’s hard to hear the lyrics, which is fine. It's just droning on behind that goddamn guitar. The guitar made my head hurt and the droning sucked my will to live. I feel sad. Like I need protein or some vitamins. Just feel exhausted. It’s an ok song.

5th song - Dear Believer

"Anger anger you're finally my bitch" is a lyric. But that’s more of a lesson for everyone. I think I might have judged too harshly up front. He’s at least trying to make music about positive feelings. The droning from the last song is still kind of in my head but I don’t think the point of the album is to be hypnotized by messages that reinforce how beautiful, forgiving and complete Edward's love is. It is a pretty good song.

6th Song - Child

This is a song about how we are all Edwards children, we are but voices in his head and only shadows in the white light of his gaze. Only one guitar and one drum is playing and someone is singing something over the sound of my childhood playing in the ocean of my bad vibes. It’s washing my feet. Edward is washing my feet. Edward is washing my feet of my bad vibes. It is a beautiful song about love.

7th Song - One Love to Another

How in Edward’s name could I sleep when there’s so much love to do. A good time base line plays in front of His illuminations about how much I am loved and how much I love everyone. It’s a bouncy riff that shows you true meaning. Edward loves you even though your family hates and abandoned you. Join us in the Joy Van. Edward is going to take us home. Home to Edward’s farm away from the government. I can have some food when I get to the farm. I just need to love enough. It is an enlightening song about how hungry I am for His protection.

8th Song - Fiya Wata

Edward I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it. See how I’ve learned. Please let me out of the box. I will better learn to make gloves and tape! Fiya Wata is a perfect song about how thirsty I am because it is so joyfully hot in the box. Only Edward has the key to the box. It is around his holy neck on a hemp necklace the Bassist made for You. Please. Man on Fire is a good song about the time you were right to set the bassist on fire for making something beautiful out of your sight. The bassist learned so we could all learn. I know that now! Please forgive me out of the box! It is the only song!

9th Song - All Wash Out

I am washed out, cleansed and safe from Edward’s storm clouds. Join us. You must. You can play the spoons. The spoons are the only way. There are only 47 more openings in the band, and they all must be filled by the chosen, before Edwards great cleansing so that we might repopulate this earth. He will remove the government’s microchip from your brain before you are lost forever. Play the spoons for us. Edward should be able to have as many wives as he wants. This country is not freedom. Edward is freedom. The Government is evil. You are the spoons. I am the kazoo. Edward’s wives are the horn section and Jerry fixes the weapons. You sleep when we say. You practice those spoons and if you try to run, you get locked in the box. This is the word of Edward.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reading at the Numi Tea House with the folks at Pirate Pig Press. Here's what I read. It went strangely. Readings are weird.


“COINTREAU! That’s it! I bet it’s - hey, do you know what they put in these things. NO! You’re wrong! That’s what I thought but they can’t sell tequila anymore because they gave a glass of whiskey to a child. It was in the newspapers so they had to give everybody coupons and that’s why the food got terrible. But I drank when I was a kid and I’m fine! My mom used to give us little bits of whiskey whenever we wanted and we turned out fine. You know? I did. We all turned out fine. The last I heard, anyway. Nobody’s heard from Stephen in years, and I could sleep with the ringer on, but it’s just so hard to keep in touch! You’d think with these gadgets, it’d be a lot easier for people to get a hold of me. But you know, it’s fine. It’s ok. I don’t mind.”

She is a stranger, seated two tables over from us, and she’s not really talking as much as she’s shouting. She’s got a margarita in a martini glass and she’s nervously spinning it by the stem while she’s shouting. There’s a spot of lipstick smudged where she drinks from the glass but all the salt is gone from the rim. We’re letting her shout at us because we weren’t saying much anyway.

“But anyway, these damn drinks I can’t get --- MARTA -- Uno mas! Anyway, how are you guys, good? No drinks? You couldn't both be driving? Unless you’re on a date ooooooh are you on a date! Aren’t dates just the worst? I’m just too shy and you have to say what your favorite color is and all that sillyness like you’re still a kid but you’re both fifty years old already and he said brown. Brown can’t be your favorite color. Brown? God. You guys didn’t meet online did you? I keep meeting weirdos on there. So many weirdos. He doesn’t look like a weirdo! But, in fairness to the weirdos, a lot of these weirdos are sneaky. That’s a big weirdo part of it. Anyway, just in case, I took safety classes at the Y and you listen to me - you keep your eyes on this weirdo. Run backwards to your car if you have to, and never go on the internet ever again. I don’t think they said that in the classes, but they should have. That’s good advice. I give good advice.”

She refuses to look across her own table at the empty chair across from her, and instead has been rolling her head in a high ark to keep from looking at it, while capturing everything that moves in conversation. We’re allowing it, it’s not a good night. We’re tense. Things have been tense.

“If you want, when you ditch this weirdo, we could double date and then it’d be the two of us girls, but then I guess it’d be two weirdos too, then we’re right back where we started unless you have mace or a taser or something?- . ooh really, you two have been together a while then oh ok – that explains why you seem so agitated.”

When I’m tense tuck my thumbs into my palms and squeeze to try to crack the knuckle and even though it never cracks, I keep squeezing. It’s a bad habit and lately I’ve been doing it so much that my hands ache but I can’t seem to stop doing it. It feels like it hurts because it wont crack, that it’s almost about to give, but wont, so I squeeze harder and nothing happens.

“You guys mind if I scooch closer? Oh no don’t worry about it, it’s no bother for me, I don’t bite. So how long have you guys been together, a while? Is it serious? Are you going to get married? Everyone I know ran off and got married when they were young and now everyone is divorced or gay or in prison, but as a rule, miserable, everyone is miserable, regardless. I never got married and I turned out just fine. Look at how much fun we’re having.”

It’s getting more difficult to ignore my hands, I couldn’t pull open my front door the other day. It’s a big, heavy, wooden, door with an off-center knob and pulling it open brought tears to my eyes. I should go to the doctor but I can’t, not yet. He’d only tell me that I’m dying. It’ll work itself out in time. I can’t tell her about this, about my hands, but something will crack. Even if it’s my own thumbs, even if I break my own thumbs.

“So this margarita, I think, has five ingredients in it, I think. I’ve asked everyone in here for months but nobody will talk to me. I’ve come up with three, but I can’t even think of a fourth thing to say. I keep wanting to say carbon because everything has carbon in it, but it’s not like you put a pinch of carbon into cupcakes. I mean I suppose you could, right! San Francisco!”

Tuck your thumb in your palm like a little kid makes a fist, before someone explained that you’d break your thumbs if you punched someone like that. Ignore them. There is something wrong there, deep in your bones, and you can squeeze it to death if you keep quiet and keep squeezing, keep everything below the table and keep squeezing. Don’t cry. If you can’t ignore the lump in your throat, push against it with your red hands until you black out. When you wake up, roll your head in a high ark so you don’t see your life walk out the door, so you can stay here, trapped in this horrible place alone.

“After this, you guys should come hang out at my place. I just got a new cat. I found her outside and we instantly had a very deep spiritual connection. I think that can happen. I think it’s possible something like that could happen. She seems to think so too. Her name is Susan. She’s very important to me. You guys should meet her, but either way we really should spend more time together. I left my wallet in my other pants, but I’ll get my things so we can go.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I started this blog in 2005 when I decided to start writing fiction because I started to hate writing nonfiction, because all the nonfiction was about myself, and I started to feel uncomfortable about that. I didn't tell anyone about this blog because I'm embarrassed and ashamed of most of it. I think at the high point, maybe ten people knew that it was here. Then eventually I locked it, and there were only 3 or 4 people that had access. It was during a personal information panic. I started getting very concerned about how much of my life was out there on the internet and in other people's heads and out of my control. I've spent a lot of my life being very concerned about who knows what information about me at any given time, and it's kind of kept me from being a better person and a good writer.

I've been reading things I've written out loud in front of strangers lately. It's because friends of mine are nice to me, and think that what I've written is worth sharing, and worth being nervous about and worth standing behind and, most flattering of all, worth doing it with them - being a part of readings they've put together, audio tours they've assembled, magazines they've published, with other honest to goodness talented people. It's nice, and they've all been very helpful, and I haven't yet thanked them properly for it, and most of those people don't know that this blog is here. And they never needed to, and they don't ever have to look at it, never have to read a word, but I shouldn't be so interested in hiding things from people who have genuinely helped me become a better person and a good writer. So I'm not going to do that anymore.

A related story:

Two friends of mine got engaged recently, and instead of having an engagement party, they had an Engagement Weekend at The Highland Games. The Highland Games is a Scottish festival put together by The Caledonian Club of San Francisco. It's the Scottish Olympics, but more just a general celebration of Scottish heritage. Bagpipes, men in kilts and people throwing heavy things as far as they can, and scotch, delicious scotch. Most of the people there are in some sort of traditional Scottish garb: kilts, furs, needlessly gigantic boots, and none of it is suited to California weather, but they're sweating it out because they're proud of their heritage or just think it's neat or fun or who cares why. It's traditional Scot clothing, I guess, but most of it, I figure, is too ornate to have been worn daily, it all seemed more ceremonial and - to my dickish outsider's perspective - kind of silly.

There's lots to do at the Highland Games, so much, that I almost don't make it to the Birds of Prey demonstration. I don't know if Birds of Prey are Scottish in nature, or how Scotland and Birds of Prey are connected. It seems arbitrary, and I'm sure I had some clever thing to say to my fiancee about how it didn't make sense, even though I don't yet know enough about about birds to make a judgment. I like birds and I've recently been trying to learn more about them. My fiancee, who is perceptive and thoughtful, noticed that I would often talk about the birds around the lake near our house, or would stop on a walk to look at a bird circling overhead, or just generally have more interest in birds than the average person might, so she got me a pair of binoculars for my birthday. She gave them to me while we were out on a walk with two friends of ours. One of the friends is a birder, has binoculars and a pocket sized book of birds. I didn't understand the gift at first, but I put the binoculars around my neck anyway, and the moment I did my heart rate jumped because I felt silly. I felt ridiculous even though my friend, who is a birder, who is wearing binoculars, is an interesting person, is only two feet away from me participating in something I think is interesting, but somehow her participation in it was not silly, and my participation was. It's hard to really figure out what the logic of that moment is because there isn't any. It's just my being self conscious. I relaxed eventually, but maybe not until after we left, and not until I had enough time to think about the binoculars, and genuinely how perfect a gift they are, and how ironic and unfortunate to have a pair of binoculars send me into a panic where I couldn't see myself clearly and how strange I was being.

I don't have any traditional Scottish clothing, so I was wearing an old NaNoWriMo t-shirt. NaNoWriMo is also full of people who unabashedly enjoy a thing that they care about. I don't wear the shirt because I care about NaNoWriMo, though I do, it's just that the shirt fits well and I think I look good in it. But, maybe it looks the same as other shirts, and maybe, somewhere in the back of my head I'm aware that it has a little shield on the front of it with "Author" written underneath, and maybe I want strangers to ask me about it so I can pointedly not tell them about it, so I don't have to be responsible for my interests or my life, or my presence in physical space, but then again, maybe it just makes my shoulders look nice.

A man holding a hawk at the Birds of Prey exhibit asks me about the shirt, points at the 'Author' and asks "Are you a writer?" And I stumble over my words, the way I always do when someone asks me that and "Kinda, I guess, I mean that's the long-term goal, anyway. I want to do that, but you know it's not really what I actually DO, I work in an office, it's just something you know - " and a man with a hawk cuts me off and says "No, no. Are you a writer?" in a pointed, 'cut the bullshit' fashion. Amanda is next to me and smiling, because she hates the way I answer that question, and loves the guy for pressing. I finally say that I am, and he's satisfied. I wrap up the conversation quickly, so I can storm off and be upset that I wore a shirt with the word 'author' on it at a festival with 5000 men happily wearing dresses.

This is longer and a little far away from what I wanted to write here, but here it is anyway. If you take nothing away from this, always remember: When a person holding a dangerous animal asks you a question, just say yes to whatever they ask you. Also, The Highland Games were a very good time, once I stopped being a prick. I almost always forget to pack my binoculars, but I take more care to notice the birds and to learn about them later.

Anyway - there's a bunch of writing in here, it's updated irregularly, but this is where it's been hiding.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wedding Packages

You deserve a wedding as Priceless as the word Priceless is misleading, which is why Loveco has created a several tiered love management system for the perfect wedding on any budget - from appropriate to offensive. Please take a moment to review carefully, as prices have dramatically increased:

The Rich and Royal Wedding

You and your Prince are picked up from the cosmetic surgery of your choosing and whisked away by Horse Drawn Horse Drawn Carriage. Your police escort will guide you down a major thoroughfare laid over with red carpet and its sidewalks filled with a lavender scented adoring public. Offer them a tuppence or pull over and have your driver spray them with a firehose. It’s your day!

Upon arriving at St. Loveco Church, each of your friends will be Super Baptized in a tasteful ceremony presided over by your recently canonized mother or a Bishop of your choosing. Enjoy a traditional church wedding before being smothered in craven images at your reception in The Raised Titanic’s Ballroom! Comfortably seat 1000 guests and dance the night away with wealthy ghosts!

Look at what love hath wrought, with Loveco!

The Maid’s Quarters

Measure expectations in a moderately lavish hall in the Shadow of Loveco Mansion. For a more modest fee, The Maid’s Quarters is probably enough to demonstrate your scrappy, work-a-day commitment to your partner and your genuine, understandable, concern for your future. No ice sculpture? Probably no problem! After all, your kind of money can’t buy you love.

The Maid’s Quarters seats 150 onlookers and finger-crossers. Earn the wary respect of several as you drive yourself in our nearly polished town car, and receive an ‘atta-girl’ shoulder punch from your best friend’s sister. Once the lights are dimmed in your mother’s fainting chamber, it’s time to nervously teeter down the aisle! Brace yourself, it’s time to say “I guess!”

Use your life savings as you always intended and buy everyone you know a pretty good dinner, with Loveco!

The Rustic Retreat

Get married outdoors like your boorish ancestry under the cold, bleak winter sky. Track leaves through the parking lot of love and follow the onscreen instructions to get VirtuaMarried by a VHS copy of “Hulk Hogan’s Wedding Slam 1985.”

Pass a bottle of hooch around the Loveco tether ball court and enjoy a brief hello with your relatives from the other side of a rusty fence. Unfortunately, at these prices, Loveco can only enough Sterno Wine for five guests. A small, intimate affair, perfect for selfish, godless brides with little to share. Learn how to can vegetables and briefly consider calling your mother ‘Ma’, but realize she probably cannot hear you in her condition.

Cry knee deep in mud over the sound of a rusty fence clinking in the wind, with Loveco!

The End

Enjoy the acoustics of a sealed Loveco shipping container and try to not nod off among the debris of your own handmade Apocalypse. Dedicate the proceedings to your recently deceased mother, who left this world ashamed of your frugal nature. Sit on a dirty floor and gnaw on a half-thawed bag of tater tots while you promise your eternal whatever to the man nearest thee before being dragged by the hair to your immediate divorce.

Look what you’ve done. Look what you’ve done. Look what you’ve done and beg for the cheap convenience of death and maybe you’ll be reincarnated as someone who truly values love over money, by spending all your money to prove the amount your love, with Loveco!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I work in an office. It’s miserable, always. Every single moment of it is miserable. Today, when I left the office, just as the door was shutting be hind me I let out a gutteral sort of exhale, a big ugly sound, kind of half angry and half relieved. Then I said “Jesus Christ”, too loudly into an empty hallway, I really hit the JEE and drug it out for a step or two.

At the end of last year there was a pretty heavy series of layoffs. I didn’t get laid off, and I’m ashamed at how much I wanted to get laid of, how much I want to get laid off, because I know I won’t look for other work. I know I wont. I don’t want to work. I want to sit home and write and get checks from the government. I am not a part of the solution to our economic woes. I’m heavily invested in sunny days. The layoffs took about half the office. We’d just moved into a smaller office a few months earlier, I moved with the company and it makes me nauseous to think about that, and it was still too big for us and it was getting bigger every day. They recently rearranged the furniture to make the office look more crowded and useful, giant patches of space every so often with useless little conversation circles and coffee tables in the middle.The top brass was coming in from Chicago and they could have parked their cars in the office and still had plenty of room for figuring out who to lay off next.

In late October another round hit, and a guy got laid off and it hit him pretty hard. He went around the office shaking everyone’s hand and making small chitchat with people before he left. I’d never talked to him before because I don’t talk to anyone there. I like to sit in my corner and do my little insignificant tasks and watch baseball when I’m supposed to be doing other things. I love baseball like someone who hates to talk to other people would. Raul. I think his name was Raul.

Raul came by my desk and had red eyes but was fighting them off, he had his shoulders back and was grinning like none of this made any difference, and he’s right, it doesn’t. But he was working on convincing himself of that, and I was certain of it and I wanted him to go away so I could get back to the baseball game.

He’s a really nice guy. Even when I just passed him in the hallway or over at the coffee machine, he was just one of those people you could tell was a nice guy. He radiated it. He really liked his job and he liked that you knew that he liked his job. It’s not a suit and tie office, but he always wore a suit and tie. Almost every day.

Today he was wearing a bee costume. It was the day before Halloween or close enough to wear a bee costume, so he wore a bee costume. And he talked to me for the first time and he talked about keeping your chin up and how it was time to move on to the next place anyway, and his eyes were red from crying just a short while before, and he walked into and out of my bosses office wearing a bee costume. He sat down in a chair wearing a bee costume, and was relieved of duty in a bee costume. He wore a suit and tie every day and they decided to fire him on the day he wore the bee costume. I imagine he got into his car and drove home in the bee costume, told his wife he lost his job in the bee costume, sat his kids down and told them they couldn’t go to summer camp in a bee costume.maybe went to the bar in the bee costume and kicked a few back in the bee costume. He woke up two days later in a ditch in a bee costume. Hungover and red eyed bee costume bee costume busy busy little bee costume.

I feel like I’m obligated to write a book about office life because I see things like this but why on earth would anyone want to do that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Corner Store

The interior is bright for the cameras, I imagine. A basic corner store, beer in the back, liquor and cigarettes in front, chips and candy between. I have a nodding relationship with the guy who runs the place, he knows me like he knows half the neighborhood, as people that come in and buy things late at night, or when they are positively out of a household item and need it right away. They sell single rolls of toilet paper, small bottles of soap and Ramen Noodles. It’s for desperation, mostly. The whole store is an economy of desperation. I need this right now right now right now. Because I forgot to buy it earlier or because I am chemically bound to it, but either way, right now, right now. Thank you for being open until two am, because I needed condoms and cigarettes and porn magazines in case I don’t need the condoms right now right now.

The guy who runs that place is there all day long almost every day, he is haggard and droopy eyed but smiling and seemingly happier than I am . He smokes a lot. Maybe because he’s addicted to smoking, but it seems like it’s an excuse to stand outside for a bit and get away from the fluorescent lighting. Maybe it’s just to stand in front of his store. I don’t know either way. He’s just the scraggly hair guy at the corner store. I’m probably just the bald guy that comes in from time to time. Bald. Beard. Basic recognition of someone who you’ve seen enough times to nod toward or pretend to not acknowledge depending on the kind of person you are. I’m the latter. He’s forced into saying hello either way, he runs a store, it’s better to be friendly.

It’s better for me to not become friendly with this person. I’d rather not have a conversation with him, ask him why he listens to NPR. Does he like NPR or is it because we’re in the Bay Area? A subliminal sales pitch. I never listen to it, personally. I don’t like all the bad news. It gets depressing. Doesn’t he think it’s depressing? All that bad news all the time. Something’s always exploding. Something is almost always falling apart or in flames and wouldn’t you rather listen to the cool jazz or something? Doesn’t he have enough to worry about, places like this get robbed all the time. People get shot in places like this. Never mind what’s happening in Yemen or wherever the fuck.

All of this would be interesting, but it would make my buying condoms from him uncomfortable. Or feel like he was disappointed in me when I buy beer just before he closes for the night. If he was able to keep track of it all, he’d know more about me than I am comfortable with. But he probably isn’t. He’s probably just a guy who runs a store and is aware that I come in about once a week or so. I am just one of many youngish men in this neighborhood sporting bad beards and pretending they are more young than ish.

He is frequently on the phone, talking over the NPR. The last time I was there, he was considerably more haggard, the NPR was at a whisper, he was still behind the counter working, grabbing packs of cigarettes for strangers or exchanging an airplane bottle of booze for a mess of coins on his counter, counting and losing his place in both the conversation and the counting.

“The body is at the morgue, yes. Yes, the morgue.” Suddenly, we’re even. I know more about him than I should, now. I know that someone is dead. I know that he’s in charge of knowing where that dead person is. I find myself briefly wondering if he killed someone. But he said morgue, so it’s probably all above board and I’m a racist. I shoo that away, and try to mask my thinking that he might have killed someone as ‘I hope others don’t think that he killed someone’ and I comfortably pat down my NPR ideals to make sure the brown man hasn’t stolen them from me.

Whoever he’s talking to might also be counting change, there’s a lot of clarifications to be made, he keeps repeating himself. Maybe the cellphone connection is being difficult.

I am buying one of those logs in a bag for my fireplace. They recently switched from Duraflame, to a “Green” log. Something made out of wax paper barrels or something. I didn’t read the bag before I lit it on fire. I don’t think they sell a lot of those logs, it’s more of a display. Just in case you get a fireplace. Just in case you suddenly have reason for ornamental flame. We have a stack of them. It’s a bright yellow tower of flammable, log shaped, chemicals, we should probably get the green alternative. The logs are near the too-loud NPR radio.

“I don’t know. Friday I think. Friday, yes. The autopsy.” I am next in line and the person behind me is impatient and not happy about the wait. The guy who runs the place is distracted and sad but working hard and steady and the other day I took a day off work because I just didn’t feel like going in. I didn’t feel like going to work because I don’t enjoy my job and I’m standing, watching a real person count hobo pennies while he talks about a dead person he knew, cellphone pinched between his shoulder and his ear, having to say each painful thing repeatedly. He’s having a terrible conversation four times at once, it’s “Yes, Friday. I will know more then. They -- yes. They are having the autopsy. So they can - yes, so they know what happened. That -- right. That is what we hope as well.” And I have to work double-time to pretend that I’m not listening, then more to pretend that it’s probably not what I think it is, he’s got an accent and I’m probably mishearing morgue for something else.

I was just sad I guess, feeling a little down and it was a sunny day and it didn’t seem like a good idea to go to work because if I didn’t go to work, I could really get my head straight or get some things done, or just sit in almost one single position for an entire day and pretend that my life was difficult, like I wasn’t the kind of person who bought ornamental fireplace logs.

The log is $4.87. He turns away for a moment to try to get off the phone. He’s been trying to get off the phone this whole time. It’s got the frustrated feel of someone who is done with the conversation. Every sentence starts with Yes. “Yes, that is correct. Friday.” The person on the other end needs a lot of confirmation of things that have already been clarified and confirmed at least once, since I’ve been standing there and he was on the phone when I walked in.

“I will not have this phone on Friday. I will call you on Friday. I will call you when I know. No, I will not have this phone.” He looks at me, plaintively, sad and apologetic, he is sorry about the phone, he’s really sorry this happened, that I’m so long separated from my ornamental fire. That I’ve been here long enough that I’ve almost heard the news cycle through a second time. I give him my best, sad, “Please take all the time you need, face.” It’s me, after all. I’m in here all the time. Remember last week when I bought MaxiPads? What a goon, I am. Whipped. You could have made the whipped noise and it would have been funny. “It is my daughters phone. I will -- yes, my daughter. Yes.” And I had my change and I left. And it’s dusk, and it’s beautiful and I wonder if the log really is much greener, and if it’ll give off as much heat as the chemically ones did because that was a nice benefit of the chemicals, they gave off a surprising amount of heat. I bet his daughter is fine. That’s probably another person. Someone that he can comfortably work during the death of. Maybe an aunt. A distant relative, someone just outside the periphery of ‘too sad to work’.

When I get home I decide to not tell my girlfriend about the incident because I don’t want it to upset her. She’s been stressed out lately and besides, they changed the logs. They’re made of old industrial wax cylinders. I don’t know what wax cylinders are. There’s almost no way of knowing and I think it said on the bag that it’s better, but I lit it on fire before I finished becoming skeptical that there wasn’t any difference at all.

Friday, April 01, 2011


I've once again been published in the world famous HOBART.

I'm excited and proud.