Monday, April 29, 2002

Fuck Yin and Yang Redux

The condo sale is a go. I locked in a loft in Westwood. The move is set for May 15th. Yay, right? So I'm happy that I'm finally getting outta' the pop stand known as Silicon Valley, but of course, I can't have a full day of being yippee skippee.

I'm returning from the local Taco Bell in front of the K-Mart. This crappy ass boxey mid '80s American car is in front of me. Suddenly, it stops and goes into reverse, crashing into my car despite me honking my horn three times to try to get the driver to look in the fucking rear view mirror. Wouldn't you know it, the driver 1) has no insurance; 2) has no title papers or registration for his car; 3) had no driver's license; 4) has no residency papers and 5) he isn't a citizen. He and his other illegal buddy kept asking me how much it would take to repair and keep quiet, but of course they didn't have any money. He also said if I reported it, the police would take the car away. I told him, "That's not my fucking problem. You're the one who backed up into me without looking." At least I got the license number of the car and the dude's name. Unfortunately, I didn't have a cell phone, so when I had to go to the K-Mart pay phone to call my insurance company, the fuckers buggered off.

Luckily, I'm covered for uninsured motorists. Hopefully, the insurance company is able to trace the car, then trace the driver and get his ass deported.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Unfinished Sympathy

“It’s full of creative types who don’t have day jobs sitting at the cafĂ©. You’d probably like it.” Random hot brunette answering my question about the Hollywood Hills.

I had my cinematic L.A. experience this afternoon. I spent most of the day traveling from a nice apartment in a crap neighborhood (fourth floor 2 bedroom/2bath, $1250 per month in Palms, but view of the roofs of shabby two-story apartments and an auto shop), to a crap apartment in a nice neighborhood (1 bedroom/1 bath, $1250 per month smack dab in a residential zone of Beverly Hills -- this is where I met Random Hot Brunette, she was waiting to see the unit as well -- but the floor plan of a eighty-year-old dorm with less charm). The last unit I viewed was up in the Hollywood Hills. Christ, it was as if Norman Rockwell got hooked on Prozac, told New England to shove it, and relocated to where it was perpetually sunny and temperate. There were actual houses with lawns and trees giving shade in the neighborhood, and nary a burglar bar on the window in sight. The unit was located in a big ass complex, and it was a ground unit to boot, but it was the best I’d seen that day. Luckily, a tenant in an upper unit gave her notice today.

Anyway, enough with the prologue and on to the artsy fartsy cinematic L.A. experience. I decided to forgo the huge bass ackward West to East to South then Back to West 101 South, 110 South, 10 West route most people take to go from Hollywood to West L.A., and decide to travel the streets. So I drove south on Minton. I had the latest Craig Armstrong CD playing (cue strings, piano, Middle Eastern influences, choral music). Just seven or eight blocks south was Little Armenia, and suddenly the burglar bars were back. Gang tags appeared with more frequency. Crossing Wilshire, I realized I was in Koreatown – hey look, gang tags in Korean! Two blocks further, I was back driving through Hispanic slums. I took a right onto Pico. I could see the Century City skyline over the horizon, and half abandoned store fronts with Spanish signs all along the street. I didn’t see a Starbucks for over twenty blocks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Always Take The Weather With You

I don’t think Neil Finn had this in mind when he wrote the song. For the past week and a half, I’ve been fighting a tag team of malaise and existential panic (OK, fine, more so than usual). The legal market is horrendous and my resume is getting negged left and right, plus my writing seems to have stalled. Oh yeah, then there’s that whole Mama Stark telling me what a fuck up I am. Recipe for a depression goulash, garnish liberally with self-pity, right?

So I drove down to Lalaland today to begin looking for a new crib. When I got off the 405 onto Wilshire, the sun was out, I had the windows down and the sunroof on da’ pimp daddy mobile open with The Hives “Hate To Say That I Told You So” blasting. I was feeling rather Reservoir Dog, and I had a smirk on my face.

As soon as I got to where I was crashing, the L.A. June gloom (well, ‘cept it’s only April) started to creep in. Now, there’s a sooty gray layer blanketing the sky and I can only used forced imagery. Inertia creeps (she comes . . . actually, in my case, she doesn’t return your e-mails . . . heh heh).

Monday, April 22, 2002

Be Thankful For What You've Got

I had a bit of an insomnia-driven freak out session last night, probably induced by too much beer. I realized that in less than five days, it'll be a year since I decided to "take some time off from the law" to write a novel. I began wondering where all the time went. An irrational part of me began whispering that I've done nothing for the last year, it was completely wasted, and that I'll never get a job again since taking a year off in this market makes you a pariah. The rational part made a valiant effort to remind me that I did write a novel (so no, the year wasn't completely wasted), and that this freak-out session is probably driven by insomnia and too much beer.

I'm feeling much better in the light of day, especially now that I realize everyone I know who is still in the law absolutely hates it. I had lunch on Friday with a buddy of mine who works at my former Big Law, and he said morale was really low. Another buddy of mine just got screwed over at the first Big Law I worked at - the firm basically negged his bump in income. And yet another friend at the first Big Law - who is supposed to only be working part time but is putting in the same crap hours as everyone else - said she was thinking about me (no, not in any physical sense- more in the "He managed to escape sense") because she really hates the law. Hmmmmm, should I really be sad that none of the headhunter leads have worked out? Or as a paralegal at my former Big Law put it, "Hey, it's like the abattoir telling you that there's no more room for you."

Sunday, April 21, 2002

"I need, therefore I imagine." Carlos Fuentes

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Paradise (Wherever You Are)

The vivid dreams are back. Last night, I dreamt I was relaxing at a bar on an island beach. There was a large bay that opened to the ocean on the east. The bar was located at the secluded southern tip of the island. I had a view of white high rises north across the bay that were dwarfed by jagged mountains. I left the bar and started walking south over white sand, and saw a lone three-story apartment complex at the edge of the beach. Except for the bar, there were no other buildings within several miles. I began wondering aloud what it would be like to live in a building so far away from anything and so close to the sea. L.A. Chick was by my side, smiling at me. "Sorry," I said, "I've suddenly become interested in location." Content, we walked arms around each other's waist to the complex.

Three nights ago, I dreamt I was travelling through a forest near the ocean. It was black with night, and I could see a full moon reflected in an ink ocean. I was trying to find my way home after the bars had closed. I walked through several parking lots trying to find my car. Then I saw a lighthouse. I remembered that I used to live and work in a lighthouse. I became happy with the memories of working in the lower floor of the lighthouse, surrounded by desks and warm lamps.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Fuck Yin and Yang

So Stark, the narrator of my favorite novel Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith, hates good things happening to him. He has this theory that everyone has a certain amount of luck alotted to them, and somehow, he got shortchanged. This means that anything good that happens to him is just a foreshadowing of ten times more crap just over the horizon to balance things out. (Yeah, that's where the "Stark" in M. Stark comes from. The M. is for Marty, an unofficial Jewish name given to me by "Zoe" since back then, I was too neurotic to be a yellow bruthah goy but just neurotic enough to be a Jew - and before you start calling Zoe an anti-semite, well, some of her closest friends were Jewish, like, her parents.) And usually, Stark is dead on.

OK, so what's the big woop? Open house for my condo unit was today, so to piddle the time away, I travelled around various record stores. I managed to find the latest Craig Armstrong CD three days before it was supposed to be officially released, and it's incredible. I hung out at Hakone Gardens and chilled with the koi. But the coolest thing was finding a promotional Region 1 copy of Massive Attack DVD that was sent to a record store at the Stanford Shopping Center by mistake (the DVD had been only officially released in Region 2 - Europe - and there's no plans to release it in the U.S.). I haven't been that happy since meeting L.A. Chick.

Then I got home. I have a Bang and Olufson answering machine with caller ID capibility, so despite the fact that one of the messages was a loud ass disconnect tone, I knew my mom had called me. And to preempt your "Aw, your mom is just worried about you," I was subjected to the following points for the next 90 minutes when I made the mistake of calling back good ol mom:
1. She's the only one who cares enough to give me a reality check, and reality is this:
2. It's tough to succeed as a writer, and I've already been at if for a year, so I need to snap out of it and stop dreaming;
3. No woman is going to want to date me because being a writer means being unemployed;
4. Being a writer also means I won't have any friends because writing is a solitary career;
5. I don't know how much worry I'm putting her through because I don't have a steady income;
6. My dad, my sister and my friends either don't give a shit or are too stupid to tell me this (I'm not exaggerating);
7. She doesn't see why I'm taking the tough road where I'll most likely fail when I could just get a job and a steady income;
8. She's not being negative, despite what my dad and my sis say, she's being realistic;
9. In the year I took off, I could have made $163,000;
10. If I took more years off, other people will have made more money whereas I'll probably make nothing if I keep writing;
11.A repeat of point #2 in that I am dreaming if I think I can actually succeed as a writer (but she hopes that I do succeed);
12.She'll only stop worrying if I find a job and a wife, and so what if I hate my job, so does everyone else, it's just reality;
13.She expects me to support her when she retires; and the kicker,
13.I shouldn't get angry / frustrated when she tells me this, and it's my life so I shouldn't worry about her.

How the fuck is any of this constructive? I have enough self-esteem issues to deal with, and she pours this all on me. Yeah, so you can see why I have a lot of issues.

Friday, April 12, 2002

How can something so Swedish be so cool? Check out "Hate To Say I Told You So." Great song as well as a great title for a chapter in the as yet untitled Third Novel by yours truly.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

No Silverfish . . .

Casa de Stark is 842 square feet, yet it took over 4 hours for professional cleaners to make the place look spic and span. Am I that much of a slob? OK, don't answer that.

Anyway, here's the big irony of the day. Now that Casa de Stark is at its most women-friendly in my three year residency, I'm hoping to blow this pop stand within the next month.

Everybody's Happy As The Dead Come Home . . .

Once in a while, I have frustrating moebius-loop train of thoughts rather than a restful night of dreams where I'm smooching old unrequited loves. I'm awake enough that I'm aware of the green LED light of my bedstand clock (Sharper Image CD / Radio Alarm - very chic), but I'm too tired to get my ass out of bed and warm myself up some milk or continue drinking until I'm passed out. I'm conscious enough to try to make rational sense of the thoughts racing through my head, but dozy enough that those thoughts make absolutely no sense at all.

So, while I was trying to let my eyelids just close, I felt a huge malaise. An image of a downtrodden young woman passed through my head. She was looking down, avoiding eye contact. And the reason why she was looking depressed was because suddenly, it was possible to revive the dead. I could feel a shiv going through my kidney, and feeling oddly sad that it didn't matter. The next day, nanotech could bring me back to life and I'd be back doing the same thing over and over again. In fact, I don't even have to die. With nanotech and quantum processing, you can actually make a person with the same exact memories and experiences. One's soul was no longer unique. And for the next two hours, I was extrapolating the ethical and technological issues that arose.

Sheesh, imagine if I had actually taken any psychotropic drugs.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Sleeping In Flame

For the past few nights, I've been having vivid dreams. There was the going back to school dream I mentioned in my last entry. Last night, I had another doozy of a dream. My reaction when I awoke was "whoa, I think I have a loose filling now."

A little under eight years ago, I had just graduated from college and was working in New Jersey for the summer before I headed out to law school. During my free time, I ended up hanging out with my sister and her pals who had just graduated from high school. (My folks moved to Jersey while I was in college, so I didn't know anyone in the area 'cept the fam.) One of my sister's friends, we'll call her Zoe, and I seemed to get along really well. We'd often end up finishing each others sentences to the point of annoying everyone else. When my sister was on the phone with Zoe, Zoe and I would say the same thing at the same time unbeknowst to each other. Well, at least unbeknowst until my sister said, "My God, you guys just said the same thing at the same time." At least one of my sister's friends said Zoe seemed fond of me, and made a "What are you guys, married?" crack. In terms of what she looked like, well, Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" kept popping insanely in my head everytime I saw her.

Yeah, OK, so I fell a little in love with Zoe. Unfortunately, Zoe looked at me like the older brother she never had, so nothing ever happened. For the next several years, I kept looking for a little bit of Zoe in every woman I was interested in - brunette, artistic bent, petite. Not the wisest strategy in finding a relationship there, whoo boy, let me tell you. Eventually I fell for someone else, and I actually saw Zoe again at my sister's wedding a year ago without feeling giddy or depressed. Despite me pining away after Zoe for years like some Bronte novel protagonist, I never dreamt about her. Until (bum bum baaah!) last night.

So in the dream, it was pitch black outside - a starless night. A friend's party was wrapping up and I had a long drive home. Zoe was in my car looking at me with want in her eyes. This surprised me because I knew how she felt, so I gave her many excuses to come to her senses. "We have a long drive home, so we should get going now," I said. She still gave me that look, and started to lean toward me. I started the car but made a U-Turn because it was now too late to drive home. I caught of glimpse of my friend walking inside his home. Then his porch light went off. "I guess we can't stay here since I don't have a key," I said. "Oh, so what are you going to do about it?" Zoe asked, leaning closer to me and, suddenly, she kissed me hard. I gave in. We kissed some more, and before we could reenact the fogged up car scene in Titanic, I woke up.

Yeah, I know, I really need to find a girlfriend. But telling me that is like finding some guy, sunburnt, dehydrated, skin all crusty and pink, in the desert and saying, "Hey buddy, you need to get yourself something to drink."

Monday, April 08, 2002

which children's storybook character are you?

this quiz was made by colleen

Oh great. I guess I should stay away from snakes.

Back Where We Started

I had the archtypal back to school dream last night. The dream began with me back in Ellicott City, Maryland waiting for the school bus to pick me up. I was in a neighborhood of new townhouses (even though in real life, I had lived in a suburban community full of two story colonials). The sky was very grey, like a town in a Morrissey song. I had been out of school for a long time for reasons I didn't know nor care about. I wasn't excited about going back to school, nor was I depressed. Going back to school was one of those things that just were - like oranges being, well, orange.

So the bus arrived, full of kids I didn't know, and winded through narrow streets full of townhouses. When I arrived at school, the sky looked like it was about to unleash sheets of snow. I got my books out of my locker and went to class. Then suddenly, I began wondering if I was in the right class. I realized that I was supposed to be in biology instead. Then I realized I had a bio test coming up. I didn't panic because I thought, "Hey, big deal, I'll just put in some extra studying time. I've survived law school exams, this should be nothing."

But then I realized I had missed a lot of classes. In fact, I was missing the bio class right now, and I was sitting in the wrong class. As soon as that class ended, I couldn't remember which class I was supposed to be in. Actually, I couldn't remember my class schedule at all. And I knew I missed a lot of classes. I was thinking I could just get my schedule from the school office, and that they'd understand since I'd been out of school for a long time. Then I woke up.

Needless to say, I didn't wake up feeling refreshed and well rested.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Take the What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be? Quiz

"The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. That's a fact. Everything else is just theory." Sepp Herberger

After The Game Is Before The Game

I've taken the plunge - I'm putting the Casa de Stark up for sale. It should be on the market within the next week and a half or so, and I should get enough to last me a year and a half in Lalaland. So what I need to figure out is whether I keep trying get back into the whole six-figure income for sixteen-hour-day one-weekend-day off per month for four more years until they tell me that I'm not going to make partner track, or use the next year and a half to continue writing and find a job that doesn't make me feel like I've been kicked in the stomach when I go home at night.

If I decide to leave the law now, there's no turning back - no one is going to hire a guy who's been out of practice for two years. OK, now that I have that pro forma worrying out of the way, I think the answer is clear. Heh heh, my muse is back.

Dream Cast for an English Language Version of Run Lola Run

Lola - Claire Danes
Manni - Ewan McGregor
Lola's Father - Jeremy Irons
Jutta Hansen (lover of Lola's father) - Marg Helgenberger
Ronnie - Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.
Herr Meier - Colin Mochrie
The Bum - Tracy Morgan
Security Guard - Bernie Mack
Frau Jager (woman in bank hall) - Wendy Malick
Cashier Kruse - Jack Black
Annoying Bike Dude - Jason Lee
Doris (bitchy cradle woman) - Ellen Burstyn

Friday, April 05, 2002

Fate Up Against Your Will

Top 5 Films About Fate According to Marty Stark
5. L.A. Story
4. Run Lola Run
3. Red
2. Donnie Darko
and . . .
1. The Princess and The Warrior

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

The Princess and The Warrior. Wow. Fucking wow. Incredible cinematography. Subtle acting. Fits 100% with my views on fate. Coincidence only brings people together in a geographical sense - it's up to you to do the rest. So good. Can only write in sentence fragments. Wow.

Nicht ist egal

My muse is back.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

White Noise

I found out this morning that I got dinged from BLFTSRU. What the hell is up with that? So all the signs and improbable events surrounding the interview, I guess the message is that there is no message. Wow, very nihilistic. Screw that. I need to focus now on getting some steady cash and put Jungian theories on the back burner. Then I can start putting together the pieces for my own happy story.

Monday, April 01, 2002

No New Tale To Tell

I still haven't heard back from BLFTSRU down in L.A, and I'm trying to reassure myself that there are reasons other than me getting dinged for this whole incommunicado thing. For one, the recruiting coordinator just got back from a week and a half vacation where the houses are on stilts over the South Pacific - dealing with jet lag, 10 days of piled up work and the fact that she's back in a windowless office - well, under those circumstances my first priority wouldn't be sending out an acceptance letter (see, I'm making an effort at being optimistic) to some schmoe up in the Peninsula. Having suffered from jet lag after travelling over sixteen time zones, I know that if you go straight back to work the next day, you'll wake up around four in the afternoon with your face stuck to the keyboard and the computer making rather unpleasant "eeh-eeh-eeh" bleatings. And as for the lawyers of BLFTSRU, hey, I used to be one of them, and recruiting also tends to fall on the bottom of the list when you're working twelve-hour days.

So, I'm just trying to chill for now - me worrying won't suddenly compel BLFTSRU to get back to me with an acceptance any sooner. But I am getting a wee bit frustrated at this whole life as a waiting room schtick. Kinda feel like Renton in Trainspotting in that scene where he's at the pub, slowly drinking while everyone around him moves at fast forward.