Monday, February 28, 2005

Age of Greed

I don't mind if you want to stuff yourself so full of food that you breathe hard simply by breathing, that no matter how extra large the shirt it doesn't hide your white ass cracker belly that hangs out like a burst bratwurst. Look, there are only a few things that brighten the day, and if food does that for you, by all means, enjoy what you can and stuff your life to the fullest. I myself have a weakness for chili cheese fries.

But you know, when your enjoyment begins to affect others, c'mon. Like if your stomach is so large that it comes dangerously close to touching the office urinals even when you stand a foot back so that your after drops miss the porcelain by a good six inches, and that a normal guy has to spread his legs to avoid the puddle from your shakes when he uses said urinals, that's friggin' ridiculous.

I'm not saying Morally Flexible Partner is guilty of making the office men's room smell like a frat party's john on hazing night. I'm just saying that since he started, we need sawdust in the office men's room.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Sometimes I wonder where this dark streak comes from, that part of me that wants to run into the night and never come back, that part of me that wants to cut the rope and just fall.

I wasn't always like this. As a child, I used to run up strangers and tell them it was my birthday, and get a nickel for my smile. In high school, I was known as Marty Sunshine. Even now, there are people whose first impression of me is "the Nice Guy" instead of "the Psycho."

As much as I look back at my childhood and the mindgames that served as my upbringing, I can't put full blame on my parents. The rational part of me knows that there are many people who were abused much worse than I and are well-adjusted members of society.

So this darkness must come from within me, that it is part of my nature. I take the medication, I take comfort in the presence of my friends, and yet there's that urge. Not for death--the instinct for self-preservation is still strong. I take my blood pressure pills every morning, I eat, I sleep, I look both ways when I cross the street. What I mean is the urge just to let everything go, for entropy.

I have good days, brief moments of clarity when I realize that bad times are only transitory moments in a life that is long and warm. But that pull is always there, that urge. And maybe that's why every small setback snaps me back. I already have the weight of that darkness, that intertia constantly pulling me down.

And I worry that, at some point, the medication won't be enough, that my friends will finally have had it. I have seen that happen to other people, not that those other people don't deserve it--bitter people who drag everyone down with them. So I try to stay afloat, but I get tired.

And I worry that, at some point, I just won't give a shit anymore.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cellar Door

OK, so I understand how people have recurring dreams about being back in school, or being naked in public, or having sex while being naked in school. There are strong emotions associated with each, everday tensions and feelings bubbling up in the subconscious. But what the hell does being an member of a live studio audience for a sitcom mean? Two nights in a row but in very different dreams (one relaxed, one disturbing) but both containing me being a member of a live studio audience for a sitcom--including the boring parts such as waiting for the taping to start. What the hell is bubbling up in my subconscious?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Yeah, I Want To Travel South This Year

So I've had this recurring daydream going through my head in some form or another. One day, after a heavy sigh and hopeless heart, I just pack up with my cat and move out to the desert--someplace like the Salton Sea or Kingman, Arizona. No warning, no sign, just dust floating through time left of my old life.

And I get some trailer out in the middle of the desert with nothing but the sun and cracked ground around me. I spend my years grinding away my days working at a Walmart, drinking cheap beer at night to make me forget. I get old and leathery, my face becomes a cracked walnut in the dry air and heat. If the slow alkaline poisoning from the land doesn't get me, the liver damage will. I wonder how different this is from my life now.

But the problem is I'm such a pop culture junkie that I'd tear my way back down the 5 to get to the nearest Borders or Tower Records after two hours fucking about in the desert. I guess being a dispossessed desert rat isn't my path.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Betty Blue

"I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains."
- Rob Gordon in "High Fidelity" (film version)

So yeah, when I fall, I tend to fall fast and I tend to fall hard. I've been through it enough that I should be able to identify the warning signs and prep myself. You know, like how some epileptics get a funny feeling--a word that's one the tip of the tongue waiting to break free, a lightheaded dizzy giddiness--right before a seizure so they can sit down or get away from sharp objects. I guess I'm a luuuuuuuv epileptic. (And for those of you too literal, or maybe my analogies are too forced, no, I don't have epilepsy though I do tend to fall flat on my face in my love life without any warning.) Except I haven't been smart enough to recognize the funny feeling and sit down.

I've looked at my past entries recently. What have I learned? That except for Her, I can honestly say that what I've felt was just an short-term influx of chemicals--dopamine and oxytocin mostly--making my heart go a flutter and my mind go completely and utterly bugfuck. Seizure baby seizure.

And so now, I'm trying to figure out what I'm feeling and sit down. My friends are saying to let these feelings pass, because if I do follow them, there is no happy ending. Why? This one dropped her career and followed her boyfriend across the ocean six months ago, only to have the relationship break up in November. I only got out of a relationship in December. Two rebounders? That's some bad chowder, Harry.

Before you get the wrong idea, I haven't fallen yet. That's the point, I'm trying not to. Feel free to drop a "Run! Run for the hills!" comment.

"Don't think about all those things you feel,
Just be glad to be here . . ."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pull Me Out Of The Aircrash

Back when I had the malignant hypertension, I couldn't unwind. I'd lay in bed, trying to sleep, but my mind and my heart were pulling a techno beat. I was so tense that I'd wake up with pulled calves and sucking my breath in pain. I chalked all this up to work stress instead of blood pressure so high that the emergency room put me on drip within five minutes, just seconds before a gunshot victim.

Well, two weeks into work, and that inability to unwind is creeping back. The blood pressure isn't back up to 250/180, but it is higher than it's supposed to be.

Tuesday is the attorney lunch day at GatewayGig. We sit around eating a catered lunch and discuss what we're working on--a way for the firm to figure out who's busy and who's not. It's kinda weird being a contract attorney and attending those meetings, because technically I'm a temp. I'm not supposed to be busy as hell on a regular basis given that I'm being paid on an hourly basis. Yet I feel somewhat guilty when it's my turn to give an update on my work and it's on one or two projects, while everyone else spends five to ten minutes going over what they're doing.

Anyway, so there I was today, eating a chicken that was way too salty, and half-paying attention to what the other attorneys were saying. Then the dread hit me bigtime. Listening to words like "demurrer" and "discovery" and "summary judgment," I was bored. Then I realized that I couldn't imagine hearing these words 520, 1040 more times while eating salty chicken in a white sterile room overlooking suburbs. This was just another version of pulling out staples for eight hours a day (a summer job I had in high school)--rote repetitive mind-numbing tasks with no meaning with no end in sight. I began craving shots of Jack Daniels. I still crave shots of JD.

It doesn't matter that I happened to be dead right on a point of law and the partner who slammed my analysis at lunch was dead wrong. It doesn't matter that Morally Flexible Parther who blew off one of my tactical suggestions in the morning came around to my thinking in the afternoon. I just don't take pleasure in being right anymore.

And now I'm home, still keyed up, still hypertense.

"Pull Me Out Of The Aircrash
Pull me Out Of The Lake"
-"Lucky" by Radiohead

Monday, February 14, 2005

Old Moon Fades Into The New

So I'll save the hopelessness for another day. Instead, even though I hate this holiday, I give you the lyrics that best sum up that feeling we're supposed to be celebrating today.

When I'm weak, I draw strength from you
And when you're lost, I know how to change your mood
And when I'm down, you breathe life over me
Even though we're miles apart, we are each other's destiny.
-"Destiny" by Zero 7

Love love is a verb
Love is a doing word
-"Teardrop" by Massive Attack

You don’t have a clue,
What it is like
To be next to you.

I’m here to tell you,
That it is good,
That it is true.

Birds singing a song,
Old pain is peeling,
This is that fresh
That fresh feeling.
Words can’t be that strong,
My heart is real,
This is that fresh,
That fresh feeling.
-"Fresh Feeling" by The Eels

Oh you've got green eyes
Oh you've got blue eyes
Oh you've got grey eyes
No I've never seen anyone quite like you before
No I've never met anyone quite like you before
-"Temptation" by New Order

"I am waiting for the stars to change"
-"Cherry" by Curve

Monday, February 07, 2005


File this in "It's A Small World After All," and "What Have I Done To Deserve This." Back at SmallLawGig, we took over a case from a lawyer who also (1) happened to be a percipient witness in the case, (2) and had what I'd call some moral flexibility. I wish I could get more specific, but I'd probably be breaking some ethical codes.

GatewayGig just got a new partner. Guess who it happens to be. And guess who happens to be working for him on a project. Why can't I have the good time of drama with Swedish twin sisters and a jet set lifestyle instead of second hand Grisham-esque crap?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Future Proof

Even with all the medication, my blood pressure is starting to rise again. I've been having a constant low grade headache, like a dull hum.

When work was slow, there was a part of me that thought maybe having something to do would at least slow the creeping, onsetting malaise that I've been feeling. But now I have several matters at work, enough to keep me busy for at least a month, and all that has done is made the week go by faster. I come home and all I have to look forward to is a couple of hours of television and sleep.

My dreams have been more violent, more vivid, and more passionate. I've been dreaming of trains and gunfights, wide rivers and large cities. It seems I can feel the highs that I once had only in dreams.

The end of January seemed to bring promise. The beginning of this month has only brought inertia.

There was a part of me that looked for signs and meaning in everything that I saw -- the elevator that appeared before you pushed the button, or the favorite song heard on the alarm radio. Now, I all I see is signal to noise.

What I miss is awe, or at least the ability to be awed.

"Happiness is a dark thing to pursue . . . and the pursuit itself is a dark thing as well." Steve Erickson, Arc d'X

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


So I have a quick project that should pay for, I dunno, one one-hundreth of my hospital bill but that will go to swag and alcohol instead. And theoretically, I should be happy about making money. Yay money! But I'll tell ya, after a couple of days of legal work, my mind has an icky taste. It's like the mental version of biting into bad chicken salad with the creamy texture of the mayonnaise just highlighting the sickly taste of spoilation and undercooked meat. My blood pressure was up when I got home, which explains the headache and slight nausea (well, work might explain part of the pressure, but Duke's loss to Wake Forest and dealing with a flakey chick didn't help either--damnit I promised myself I wasn't going to deal with Asian women anymore.)

At least Wonderfalls is out on DVD.