Self Conscious, the J Eric Miller blog

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Looking for Good. You Can Dance if You Want To. Love/Want/Need. Virtual Sex and Violence and Weight Lifting. Scare Me.

--I haven’t been handsome the last few days. I try to blame my haircut, but I know it is something deeper.

When I prepare to leave the house, I try to make myself believe I think I’m handsome, because I know if I act that way, I’ll look that way.

--Several of my students are shooting a film and I go to the rehearsal for awhile then head downtown to meet KH. One of the more interesting things about her is that she has professionally danced the tango in Argentina.

You’ve got to admire that.

--It’s more Halloween than it was last night and the bars are full of people that use the holiday as an excuse to try come across as sexy. Girls with eyebrows too dark for the wigs and skirts to short for my libido; boys who dress in costumes that accentuate their physiques and so have to spend the night sucking in and trying to shuffle the bit of gut fat upward and suggest pectoral heft.

KH tries to get me to dance but I won’t do it. She holds my hands and dances anyway. She’s quite good at it and as she starts to whip her hair around I wonder how it is that people keep themselves from just fucking all the time.

--The nice thing about KH is that she recently told me that perhaps I am one of those men whose destiny is to simply move from lover to lover. Like a character in a Blake Edwards film.

I don’t think this is true of me.

I can romanticize myself like that, but it is to the other vision that I am truly married. The one in which I am a full on partner with some woman, where we are nearly perfectly bound. Not as simple as the love of songs and movies, but something strong and transcendent just the same.

So KH throws on a Juan where I know in fact there should be a Quixote, but what I appreciate about her confusion is that it really suggests she doesn’t mean to try to possess me. That she like me beyond the idea of making me hers.

In short, that she really is interested in being my friend. Even when she’s making her body move like that.

--Mostly, the girls I’ve know say “love” but mean “want” or “need”. When they realize that I am not going to bend all the way in that direction they can become quite hateful.

It almost always surprises me. I’ve said it before: I’m naïve for a cynic.

--It’s a long drive from the center of the city home. On the freeway I see that a cop is behind me. I don’t know how well I’d breathalize. I want to do something to convince him I’m fine, so though I don’t need to, I make a proper lane change complete with turn signal to demonstrate that I am a law abiding citizen.

--C, the girl I know who is going into the internet sex trade, gives me the link to her friends S&M site. There’s a section that suggests those who live too far away to visit her but want to make “tributes” anyway can do so. This is followed by a list of appropriate tributes, including an entire month of rent and links to wish lists at various internet vendors.

--Writing of the virtual world and problems with it: Vice City, San Andreas.

Oh no.

They’ve got me lifting weights and taking meals. I mean, really, this much virtual reality is too much. When it gets to the point where my character has got to get out of the car and urinate, I’m done.

---How frightening it is to realize that there are losses we can experience that no act of art or prayer can reconcile. The way you finally learn that the body can take damage that will never heal. That you will limp the rest of your life. That that scar is going to be on you when you die.

And you realize that not only will it be like that for the body, but for the mind. You will never be whole again. You will never be clean again.

Not through any act of therapy. Not through any act of confession.

Friday, October 29, 2004

My Eyes are Going to Bleed (Insomnia at the Dixie Tavern)

--Insomnia is a cliché.

I didn’t sleep last night so this night I should sleep, and early, but I can’t and so finally I rise up and put on jeans and t-shirt and a jacket and go zombie like to the Dixie Tavern where half the people are in costumes and there hangs on the men’s room door a paper skeleton.

It is easy to get drunk this tired.

The swinger couple is there.

J is there, an older man who introduces me to women and buys drinks for everybody. He hates me really, but we act like best friends.

I got to the bar and order two shots of vodka. This is our custom. We drink them and he is indebted to me. I never accept the beers and shots he passes around.

He introduces me to every pretty girl, and he knows them all. He’d slit my throat if he could have one but since he can’t he’ll keep me close and that keeps some of the girls nearby too.

M shows up. We dated for one night about five months ago. I still have the socks of hers that I wore home. I never got in touch after that. To be fair, her ex boyfriend called about six times that night and she lied to him each time and I begin to feel he wasn’t really an ex.

Anyway, I’ve seen her a few times since then. She’s angry at me. She gets prettier and thinner every time I see her. Tonight she is with two lovely girls. They’re in fatigue skirts and fatigue hats and fishnet stockings. She throws her foot out and swings her thigh all over and I think: she’s the sexiest girl in here.


And her friends. Together they make this trio of sexiness that could destroy a male dominated world.

They tell me they are GI Hoes. We drink together.

They dance together. The ghouls and the ghosts salivate.

Only the skull remains on the bathroom door. The skeleton itself has been ripped away. When I go inside I see that somebody has dropped it inside the stall and only its hand and forearm come out.

This haunts me.

Jimmy has a woman sitting beside him. She’s got a Russian face and heavy breasts and good thighs. She smiles at me. I see everything she wants me to see in the half second she keeps her eyes on mine.

M comes off the dance floor. She offers me a cheers. We touch drinks. She’s still mad but not so much. I try to explain. I was lost at that point, still nursing a broken heart. And anyway, the boy kept calling. I didn’t know what to make of it all.

I tell her, You never called me, either.

Even though I know she did

She says, I don’t call boys.

I say, It was confusing, and I’m sorry.

I’ll give you my number again, she says. She is solemn about it, as if this is a sacred chance I aught not fuck up but she imagines I will.

I take it and put it on the bar.

Jimmy gets up to piss above the skeleton.

I sit in his chair. The woman asks me how old I am. I tell her to guess and she underguesses. Then I underguess her age. She was flattering me and I was flattering her but I am sincerely surprised at how old she really is.

Her eyes are light brown.

She puts her hand on my thigh. I wonder if it feels like me, if she can feel my workouts, or anything particular about me at all, or if it is just jean and heft beneath it.

I think, If I were to do that to a woman, just drop my hand down that high up on her thigh, I’d be in trouble.

Then I think, No, she’d want that.

Indeed, she would.

She says, What happened to your twenty year old?

I point. M is dancing. God she is sexy but now that she’s given me her number and I know she is available again, she is less so. In fact, I can see that she is drunk and her moves are not really that graceful.

Even though they are the same moves. Even though when she was unavailable she was the most graceful woman I could imagine.

She’s drunk, I say to the woman. I have no idea about her grace. I’ve never even seen her stand. But I’ve calculated her already. I’ve measured her stomach, I’ve noted her collarbones, I’ve taken into account her calves. She’s in good shape.

The woman nods.

I prefer experience, she says.

Yes. I adore Jimmy, I say.

He’s a good man. I always have a drink with him.

Jimmy comes back.

I’m tried.

I’m tired of this all and I was tired of it before I got here but I don’t want to go home but there is nothing else I want and the skeleton head grins on the door to the bathroom and we call that a skull.

I think, One day everything will be different. I think of the skeleton in my own body, that collection of bones beneath the muscles that our mine. No woman, not through touch or smell or anything else, would be able to tell that skeleton of me from that of another.

I shake hands. I fold the napkin with the number in my pocket. The woman with Jimmy looks at me quizzically. We’ve done the whole dance, smoothly and with ease. It’s just a matter of the undressing now.

But I go out the door.

I get in my truck.

The moon makes me sad because it is so beautiful, but then I realize it is just a Shell sign rising up in the fog.

And I get home.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Internet Sex Shows. A Virgin Ballerina vs Destiny. To Jump in the River and Drown. I Don’t Use the F Word (say Kiss). Blogger Melissa. Hope for You.

--C tells me she is going to do internet sex shows.
I’m not sure what that means, which isn’t to say that I have looked at internet porn.
I don’t know specifically what she has planned. Neither does she.
But she wants to comb through the darker recesses of my mind for ideas.
And that’s all right with me.
I have a few.

Are you good at using cameras, she wants to know.

--Not so long ago, an ex girlfriend with a new boyfriend in another state asked me to help her take some racy photos to send him.

I must just look like a good camera man.

Every beauty needs an eye.

--Does a certain build of body, a certain structure of bone predestine one?
C might be like that. Too swollen of breast and lip, too flat of belly, too long of leg.
She looks like a girl that should be doing internet sex shows.

But then again, so does A., and she is a virgin ballerina.

--There’s that character in Sometimes a Great Notion who recognizes his father’s physical beauty afforded him what became a void of choices and so rather than follow his father’s path, the son slides a razor up and down his face as if that destiny can be avoided.

--Melissa is hot.
She’s knows that.
But she’s also very clever.

She writes about getting turned on by a cat. Beat that.

She writes that kissing is about intimacy. Of course, in the referenced post, I meant it on the figurative side too. I meant to imply more than kissing.

Coyness is one of those things I detest in other people but accept in myself. Like road rage.

In any case, in saying overkissed, I meant to imply over-everything.

But really, it’s all intimacy. I know Melissa would tell me that.

Incidentally, do you like the way she pouts her lip in the profile photo?

Good ouch. Talk about a mouth with a destiny. And look at the photos where she is showing her…tattoo.

Back to the point: I find it hard to have any kind of relationship with a woman that doesn’t have intimate over(or at least under)tones.

What do I do to avoid them?
I get very quiet.
I get very still.

I am not trying to avoid her, whoever she is.
I am trying to avoid me with her.

Sometimes I succeed.

--Maybe you’re sitting across from this woman. Her eyes are blue in a way in which it is hard to believe. She’s telling you about the problems she has with her husband. You want to know if she is wearing contact lenses. Her waist is narrow. Her arms are thin.

You find it hard to believe that anybody has ever touched her.

You find it hard to believe that her husband takes her for granted. You find it impossible to believe that you ever would.

You find it hard to believe that she has nipples, that she has a vagina, that she’s even ever been kissed.

There’s no way to imagine her naked.

Her husband, he’s seen her like that, but he forgot that it’s a magic knowledge.

You tell yourself, If she were my girl, I’d never forget.
You tell yourself, If I could only see her naked, just one time, I’d know everything I need to know, not just about it, or her, but the world, and myself in it.

If you’re like me, anyway. If you’re like me, you tell yourself these things even though you know better.

--And if you’re like me, you have your strategies for change, and you have your glacial movement toward it.

If you’re like me, there is hope for you yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Kiss Me. Time Tripping. No Big Turn On. Two Liars.

--There are times when I feel overly kissed. The beginning of last summer was one of them. And it was true that through the spring I’d been involved in a lot of kissing. But that feeling of fullness comes to me at odds times, when I haven’t been kissing all that often.

Or odder yet, sometimes I feel the need for more kissing even though I am kissing a lot.

It’s the same with food. Sometimes, no matter how much I eat, I feel hungry. And other times, no matter how little I’ve had, I feel full.

It all goes to suggest I really know very little about hunger.

--Maybe I am starting or am even well into a mid-life crisis. There are little signs. Though I don’t think of my old man death, I think of being an old man. Of aging. Of being old.

Driving on a stretch of road between here and the grocery, a place that winds through forest, I get the sensation I got when I first begin to drive down windy roads, or any roads at all, that strange thing overcomes us when we are kids and the headlights slice through the dark and we feel there is nothing that can stop us.

It is as if I’m emotionally time tripping, some Billy Pilgrim who can’t make the journey backward full on, but feels as if he has.

And when I recognize that, that these feelings are not the feelings of a man my age, but of a kid, cleaner and with half his innocence in tact, I get a strong sense of longing.

I guess we can call that crisis.

--I never try to pick up girls at the gym. I’d never even speak to one if she didn’t speak to me. But I notice them, from beneath the bill of my cap or out of the corner of my eye. I don’t leer. I hope I don’t, anyway.

In any case, there was a woman today, half heartedly doing those thigh exercises where your legs are very far apart and then you squeeze them together and then let them be pushed apart again, the kind of machine you never say a man using. She wasn’t so much squeezing and unsqueezing as just letting her legs fling up and then slamming them closed.

She looked bored. Her body was thin but flaccid, with no real tone.

You could see the little tendon high up on her inner thing. It made me think of chicken, something I haven’t had to eat in 12 or so years, the way sometimes you bite a piece a tendon snaps.

Needless to say, it was no big turn on.

--In Britain, Bush was voted top screen villain for his role in Fahrenheit.

--After first saying that she had no respect for lip synching performers, and then blaming her band for what was apparently a lip synching performance of her own on SNL, Ashlee Simpson finally admits that that is precisely what she was doing.

Ever calculating toward possible endorsements, she said that she had to lip synch her performance because of acid reflux syndrome.

As if she didn’t seem a big enough moron on her reality tv show.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Are My Lessons Done?

What is it to teach?
To teach is to flirt.
Most everything is about seduction.

Monday, October 25, 2004

This is Not a Love Song. Love My Way. Godfather. Polar Bears Love Seals.

--Mary Kay Latourneau was on Larry King Live. She’s the school teacher who had a baby by one of her 13 year old students; went to jail; had part of her sentence suspended, got out and slept with him again, creating another baby; and then had to serve the rest of her sentence.

That begin eight years ago. Now the student is grown, Mary Kay is out of jail, and they are planning on getting married.

And I don’t believe in love stories, but isn’t that one?

Whatever is between them has kept itself alive for eight years.
He didn’t outgrow it.
She didn’t give in to the system that tried all that time to teach her what she had was sickness, that would have given her her freedom if she would have given off even the illusion of having reached that conclusion.

On Larry King, she was certainly articulate and seems balanced—not the crazy woman we all at first thought she was.

Does it happen every now and then that two people meet and that kind of love you read about happens?

--The last time I fell in love it was for no good reason I could see.

There was nothing particular about her that would draw me into those depths, nothing, at least, on which I can put my finger. She was pretty enough, but physically she was less my type than many others. There was an openness to her heart, but there was also a visible dishonesty to counteract that.

So what made me love?
I still don’t know.

--And how will it happen to me again?
Through accident?
The persistence of some woman?
Some true and instant love, the kind I’ve heard in songs and witnessed in movies will descend on me?
Through my weakness?
Through my choice?

--In Manitoba, Canada, residences are being advised not to dress as seals for Halloween, because it is the migration season of the polar bear, and seals are their favorite dish.

I don’t know if the inherent insult to intelligence in that warning falls more on the heads of the people or the bears.

--I watched the Godfather saga for the first time in years.

More than anything, it stands as representation of Coppalo’s vision of a man’s inner world, or at least the fantastical one, where the laws of the jungle have been refined but still apply, and where a man can justify doing whatever he feels he must to keep control, because the battle always rages, and the women never understand.

--A recently divorced friend tells me she worries about her son and what he might have inherited from his father. “I have to remind myself sometimes that I am in him too,” she said of her son.

And I think: It’s the opposite with me. When I worry about a darkness lurking in my son, I remind myself that his mother is in him too.

--How slowly we change, and how little good we worry it will do when we believe it is as much in the blood as in the modeling.

Baby monkeys will reach over a snake to get something they want. They don’t know better.

However, if they see even a video tape of a grown monkey acting frightened of and avoiding the snake, then so too do the baby monkeys. They will no longer reach over a snake to get what they want.

Interestingly, if they see a video tape of a grown monkey acting afraid of and avoiding something that is harmless, like a bunch of flowers, the baby monkeys do NOT mimic what they have seen. They do not avoid the flowers.

What it suggests is that knowledge of the danger of the snake is in the monkey already, but that if the monkey doesn’t see that knowledge modeled, it doesn’t surface.

--I tell myself: Some day I will be worthy of everything for which I’ve been falsely admired Some day some one will find gems in the ashes of the respect others have left behind.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Steve Havey's Big Time. Football. Good Women. Bad Boys. The Odor of My Grave. Dog the Bounty Hunter

Few people make good show hosts. They get desperate to prove that the show is more about them than whatever it is the show is about.

Steve Harvey is an asshole. I guess he’s just trying hard to justify his existence on the screen and suggest that it wouldn’t be an interesting show without him.

Well, it wouldn’t. But then again, watching a fat man stuff himself through a hula-hoop isn’t that interesting to begin with.

And without a doubt, the show would be a lot less annoying if Harvey would just shut up.

--All those Michael Vick commercials are cool.

Too bad he can’t play that way.

And the Raiders are dead.

--I’ve know a few very good people very well. JH. JT. AJ. MK. LK. RE. JA. FB. CM. LB. Sometimes, I’d even include RS.

These are all the names of girls.

That’s no coincidence. How well can one man know another, except for through what he knows of himself?

And most of that is bad.

--It reminds me of a time I accidentally cut myself deeply in Beirut.

Two friends took me for stitches. We had wrapped the wound in washrags and AJ drove.

There is a funny story in the stitching, how the doctors didn’t think I understood Arabic well enough to gather they were fighting over the quality of the sewing and the means by which it should be done.

Then there was the student who worked at the hospital and was told to give a tetinus shot in the ass.

She was pretty.
I don’t like shots.

So I was nervous and making small talk.

“What will you do after?” I asked her. I meant after she finished her studies. I was on the table with my pants pulled down and she was hovering over my ass with a needle. I was just trying to delay the stab.

At that moment, one of my friends, a lovely girl, FB, came into the doorway to see how things were going. It was bad enough for her to see me bare and vulnerable like that, but what made it worse was that she was there just in time to witness the nurse mistakenly think I was asking her out.

FB turned away blushing and the nurse babbled some response about her plans for the night and the needle descended.

--In any case, the owner of the car, the other girl, AJ, one of the few living saints I know, fed—and still feeds—stray cats. We’d drive around campus and even around the city with bags of food.

Her car begin to stink. I didn’t have the heart to tell her, but I imagined a cat or kitten had crawled into the engine or some other place and died.

We sought for the source of the smell, but it was nowhere to be found.
It got worse and worse over the course of a week.

And then finally, AJ peeled up the floor mat. Beneath it one of the washrags had somehow gotten stuck and flattened. It was covered in my blood and from that blood grew a strange mold and that mold and that rotting blood were the source of the odor.

And I thought: this is what I will smell like before they bury me.

--What do I want from a girl?

No easy answer.

The last girl that really got under my skin did so because she liked to watch me play football. That’s now how she enamored me to her exactly. It was just an example of the appreciation of my physicality that I liked in her.

I need that.

And I need that she should be unabashed and relentless and full of light.

I need much more than I deserve.

Thank God or genetics that I have the nature of a thief.

--How good is Dog the Bounty Hunter with a parallelism?

“Two days ago we were weeks behind (our bounty). Yesterday we were days behind. Now we’re just hours behind. And a little while from now, we’ll be inches behind.”

The son, though, Leland, he seems like a good kid.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Another Night at the Dixie Tavern. Meridian. Progress. Indians and Braves. The Girl that Didn’t Shoot Me.

--There’s the couple that swings.
He’s well rounded, kind faced, probably 42 or so.
She’s younger, with clear skin and a passé hairstyle that overly frames her face.
But she wears the right kind of bra.
And her waist is narrow.
And her ass is on the upper side of ok.
And last night she had her panties—pink—pulled up onto her back.
It was all sort of appealing.

They’ve been working on the pretty Irish girl, M.

Her lips are always so red. She kisses me on the mouth as greeting. I like it when girls do that.

“They’re going to try to fuck you,” I tell her.
“Maybe they already have.”

Fucked her, or tried to, I wonder.

--When did it happen that the lower back become a zone of desire?

I am finding myself checking out the smalls of backs the way I used to check out collar bones or asses.

--Later: there’s the woman who rented me my apartment a few months ago.

I liked her height. I liked her bone structure.
I like them again.

Against the better advice of her friends, she sits with me at the bar and we drink vodka.

She tastes like mint.
She will always taste this way, I tell myself.
You will always feel this way about the way she tastes, I think.

These are fleeting thoughts.
These are fleeting tastes.
I’m not as easy in the long run as I seem.

--On another blog written by a young woman in Colorado there is a candid discussion about sex and motivations people have for engaging in it. The young woman describes having sex with her boyfriend out of a desire to feel close sometimes, rather than out of primitive urge. She writes that sometimes she doesn’t really want to fuck, though the implication is not that she feels forced but rather that she isn’t doing it out of a burning want.

She is 16.
Her boyfriend is 19.
Or these are the virtual truths, but I have no reason to doubt them.

In the comments section, somebody wrote that she shouldn’t be having sex with a nineteen year old.

Her blog is sharp as hell, well written, the product of somebody who clearly has a fine mind. She feels wise enough, healthy enough, balanced enough.

And I’m not sure that the fact that she sleeps with a guy three years older than she is can act as proof that there is something wrong with her or will be. Or him, for that matter.

It is a false construct to say that on the day before a certain birthday a person is not ready for sex and on the day of that birthday, he or she is not.

Maybe there should be a license, something that suggests the holder is mature enough and healthy enough to have sex.

Because in truth, I have known plenty of twenty year old girls, and at least one 38 old woman, with whom it should be illegal to have sex.

--John Kerry and his big goose killing gun.
He looks ready to lead us into the future.
That’s an image I associate with progress.

--My son wants to be an “Indian” for Halloween. I know this not a pc thing. And yet, I think, if he said he wanted to be a “Brave”, would that be better. Sort of the difference between saying you want to be a Viking for Halloween instead of saying you want to be a Norwegian? Braves and Vikings. They’re artifacts of our more primitive ages.

Like Kerry with his goose killing shotgun.

--Incidentally, I’ve nothing really against guns.
I owned one.
The last serious girl pointed it at me once. She was jealous, in a rage. It was unwarranted, but then again, with the level of possesivness we shared, any jealousy was warranted.

I found it sort of sexy. And kind of charming. Naturally I didn’t much want to be shot.
But it was invigorating. Not the danger, but the fact that I’d affected her in some way deep enough for her to go over an edge, to risk ending my life and ruining hers.

I remember thinking: If that goes off, she’s going to get in a lot of trouble.

I’d rather be with a woman who heats up like that rather than going cool.

--The really viscious things she did to me she did from a place of absolute cold.
--I'd have rather been shot. Twice, even. It was only a .22.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Candy II. Revenge. Stranger Song. God Bless Christina Ricci. The Mayor of Simpleton. Golding Knows. Links.

--After class there is a bag of candy at my office door. It is not just candy, but Laffy Taffy. And not just Laffy Taffy, but banana flavored.

My favorite.

There are the kinds of people that learn those things about you. And they want to make you smile.

I am teaching myself not to be afraid of gifts. I’m teaching myself not to always assume that a gift is a bill in advance. I am teaching myself not to say “no thanks”, but simply “thanks”.


--I remember a girl, MJ, who kept a bowl of Jelly Bellies in her basement apartment. It was a small bowl. That made them seem more precious. She burned candles in that apartment and it was always warm. This was at the beginning of winter and I spent nights with her.

When I first started I was really first starting to understand what boy and girl together meant. I don’t mean the idea of fucking, but the idea of crawling together into the cave and lighting the fire and shoring up against the world.

There Leonard Cohen’s “The Stranger Song”
“…And then leaning on your window sill he'll say one day you caused his will to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter And then taking from his wallet an old schedule of trains, he'll say I told you when I came I was a stranger…”

Of course, the point to the song is captured not in those lines but in those that follow.

“…You tell him to come in sit down but something makes you turn around The door is open you can't close your shelter You try the handle of the road It opens do not be afraid It's you my love, you who are the stranger It's you my love, you who are the stranger.”

--My experience with women has been that they always give up one step too early. They turn at that last possible moment.

During that final fit of bucking.

In that darkness before dawn.

When I am near ready for surrender.

--And should I hold it against them?
I do.
I plot my revenge.
My revenge will be to live sweet, to hold one like them in the way they wanted finally to be held, to demonstrate some reward for perseverance, to suggest that I am capable of the acts of the man they once thought I was.

--Watch Last Tango in Paris.
See how we stumble around on the balcony.

--Watched Sleepy Hollow. I’ve not admired Burton as much as other people seem to, a director more concerned with set than character, with Elfman than performer. And this film has been especially annoying to me as it is a complete corruption of the original tale and the cartoon, both of which have held places of fondness in my heart this time of year.

But I’ve accidentally seen Sleepy Hollow three or four times now, so that it has taken on some kind of momentum and now seems to carry nostalgic value for me.

I watch it this time of year.

Depp proves himself adept at playing a different kind of dandy than that one he played in Pirates (reportedly he based his Icahbod on Withnail from Withnail and I—and excellent film).
I don’t know if either performance really requires one to actact, or if it just that Depp masters a series of mannerisms, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And Christina Ricci is miscast. In fact, she has almost always been miscast. Which it to say that after Wednesday Adams, people wanted, for some reason, to do something with her, but nobody but Vincent Gallo ever did.

Perhaps they tried to make her a star because she is that she is that odd combination of the grotesque and the angelic.

I never know how I feel about her, but invariably if I’m watching her on screen I get the urge to see her naked.

Too bad she didn’t make it into Brown Bunny.

--Mayor Menino of Boston responded to the death of a 21 year old student of journalism at Emerson University—she was hit in the eye with a device meant to explode and spread pepper spray—by declaring that liquor may be banned during and after the World Series games. “Since people won’t accept responsibility, I, as mayor, will take it into my own hands.”

There is a certain sort of self-congratulatory smugness to that statement that makes you want to—I don’t know—slap Menino or something.

But I suppose that would be illegal.

Anyway, good luck controlling chaos, Menino.

I’m sure that now you’ve taken it into your own hands, as mayor, the people of Boston can rest assured. It’s a shame you didn’t do take responsibility before somebody died.

--What is it that makes fans riot? That makes celebration ugly?

How does it happen that the people—most of them sane and happy—are one side and the police on the other?

-- William Goldman, Lord of the Flies. “The tears begin to flow and sobs shook him…great shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body…Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”

--this looks like an interesting short film:

--interesting blogs: (Val Ransopher’s blog)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sick Narcissist. George Castanza’s Problem. False Asses. Heredity. More on Loss. Russian Brides.

--Sick, I look good.

Fever gives the eyes more color, more clearness, the appearance of focus and lucidity. The face itself becomes shaper, the burn showing through.

I had to feel good looking and waste it, but who wants to be around people when sick? I envision myself as far away as possible. In a tent above timberline of some snow-covered Alaskan mountain, sleeping my fever sleep, dreaming my fever dreams.

Waking every now and then to look in the mirror.

--The ideas that come fully to me when I’m ill are likewise good, or, at least, likewise seem good to my sick mind.

--It occurs to me, for example, that no woman wants a man that she has not broken herself.

--I look at cleavage. I do not look at it because it turns me on. I look at it because I can not help but looking. She doesn’t have to match my taste. It doesn’t have to be cleavage on a woman I consider attractive. She can be very old or very out of shape and have cleavage and I’ll still look and try not to.

I don’t want a woman with cleavage to think I am a looking at her for any sexual reason. What would that reason be? To memorize that particular arrangement of cleavage so as to fantasize about it in private later?

I don’t want cleavage bearing women to believe I am checking them out.
I don’t want to be branded a fiend or a letch.
Nor do I want to appear to be a man who bows down before breasts pushed close together, or any of the things that still tend to bring modern men low.
Sampson always puts his head in Delilah’s lap.
The sailor always false from grace with the sea.

But that is not what cleavage does to me.

It’s just an oddity.
It’s a birthmark.
An strangely shaped organ.
An eyelash on the cheek.

Simply, it calls attention to itself, the way a button or a pin or the words on a t-shirt call for attention. It says, Hey now, I’m a bit different—I’m a line where often you don’t see one—would you look at me please?

If you wear cleavage, you should be aware of this. You should put it on like any other accessory. As something meant to be noticed.

And do not mistake our falling eyes as symbols for the power of your beauty.

Still, I try not to look. I go to absurd lengths. Not even granting myself a peek at the face. Focusing my eyes away from the owner and her cleavage so that they water and cross themselves trying to break my command.

--An interesting side note.

Some evolutionary scientists theorize that human males are stunned by cleavage because it replicates an ass.

In the way long ago, according to the theory, males needed a visual clue that would immediately kick their sex drives into high gear, and, presumably, kick a lot of blood into their primitive penises.

The best time for these males to turn on in this way when the female of the species was in a position accommodating to coital entry.

For example, she might be kneeling by a stream and drinking.

Ass, the lizard mind in the primitive male says.
It’s time, the lizard mind says.
Get erect and go forward.

A very distinct image.

So that a man in the bar might think he’s just looking at some girl’s cleavage but what his lizard mind is really is really seeing is a primitive girl bending over a stream.

--A clear lightbulb, standing on end, can look very much like a false ass, too. I wonder if this fetish market has been explored.

--A lizard mind is the most primitive part of the brain. Fight or flight is in there. And, I presume, fuck is too.

--The lesson my father accidentally taught me that has been most damning:
Trust is everything.
Show great affection and loyalty to those you trust.
Consider those you don’t as enemies.
A person proves him or herself trustable only by thinking as I think.
Or learning to think as I think.
Or just taking my word for it.

--How automated things have gotten. At the airport the woman tells me I want to go to the automatic check-in as opposed to the counter. I tell her I do not want to go.

The fast food restaurant at the end of the security check in is likewise automated. They have these machines and people standing in front of them with their credit cards out, the way it works now at the grocery store.

I’m no luddite, but I hate this vision of big business trying to save money. It’s not even the humans who will lose their jobs I worry about. They’re lousy jobs anyway. It’s that I feel I need special service. I need to be waited on. And a machine can’t do that. It wants me to meet it halfway. To do half the work.

I don’t even like to push the proper buttons on the telephone when I call customer service. I just press randomly until somebody finally comes on.

--There were soldiers in the airport, perhaps fifteen of them, lead by a woman in a red and white. She was waving pom-poms and enticing the crowds to cheer the soldiers, who obviously have just returned from Iraq.

I grew up idolizing green on green fatigues. My son will grow up with the images of sand on sand.

I walked amongst the soldiers and found myself trying to smell the desert from which I imagine they’ve emerged.

I thought of my own time in the Middle East and the bad luck I brought back with me.
Or maybe it wasn’t bad luck. Maybe that was when I just started making bad decisions.
Or maybe it is that that is when I started recognizing my decisions as bad.

--I love my memories but I recognize that legitimate memories are always based on loss.

--Loss makes the world grow smaller.

There are place I don’t want to go. Streets I don’t want to cross; grocery store aisles I don’t want to wander. I x out sections on maps.

These are places haunted by people I will never be again.
And they have that awful and sweet smell of a candy I will never eat again.

--My advice:
Don’t go into the world. Don’t see new things.
Don’t meet new people.
Don’t put yourself in any situation in which your heart might become divided.
For a divided heart will always miss one thing when it is in the comfort of another. A divided heart will never rest. It will seek to bring all the divisions together, all the lovers and all the cherished places and all that mess of impossibility smashed into it so that it can hold them all and not have to rely on memory.

And not have to try to forget.

--I hate dropping my son off. But it calms me too, to see him with his mother, whom he misses, to know that he is happy to go back to a place he calls home.

I don’t need him to miss me. It breaks me heart that he does.

--Josh goes to Uzbekistan. I meant to tell him, one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met was from Uzbekistan.

Like a child who has once seen a bear cross the road at a particular place and always imagines he will see it there again, I imagine that all women in Uzbekistan are so perfectly beautiful.

Josh will disabuse me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Things I Learned Not Sleeping

--Alfonso Dawson makes his children sell gravesites.

God’s truth. I stumbled across a commercial in which three children stood smiling in front of a mortuary.

The littlest one, a girl, maybe four, said, We’ll match any casket price.

I wanted to think I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit. I wasn’t.

--Saturday Night Live hasn’t dealt in that kind of irony for a decade.

--Brian Griese, as skilled as he is, is not a winner. I knew that before, but I thought something had changed.

--I’m a sexist. A film started. I didn’t recognize it. There was Shelly Long. Fair enough. Then I saw the writing credit. Susan somebody. I changed the channel.

As for Ms Coppalo: KH convinced me to watch the Virgin Suicides again and I found something of value in it. Whatever art she is creating, I swear it is by accident. She’s nearly naked, but she knows if she remains still enough, we’ll credit her with new clothes. She knows that sometimes silence is mistaken for depth and that to be muted is often to be considered wise. Really, she’s a minimalist. There’s nothing easier than that.

In any case, I'm glad she was cast in the Godfather Three – she really brought something to the film.

--Thank God for Kathryn Bigelow.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Fingered. The Ugliest Man in the World. Classics my Ass. Paradise Lost.

--Thanks to Bill O’Reilly for reminding me that it’s ok to point fingers but only if you do so at yourself first and from time to time thereafter. If you read the transcript of allegations and think he said even a fraction of what he is accused of saying, you realize that he probably doing all kinds of other things with said finger and said self.

--Mike Shanahan owns Al Davis.

--American Movie Classics lineup last night: True Lies. The Real McCoy. A Jackie Chan movie.
That was the American Movie Classics lineup last night.

--Bad things I’m teaching my son:
To go through Harry’s Farmer’s Market eating free samples so by the time we reach the salad bar we hardly have to buy anything for lunch.
To say “damn it” and throw the PS2 controller on the floor.
That it’s fun to buy stuff.
That we own the road.
To stay up late.

--Good things I’m teaching my son:
To eat at Harry’s Farmer Market.
To appreciate poetry.
To take bugs out of the house instead of squashing them.

--I look at him sleeping, and I know all children look like angels, and I can’t imagine I’ve ever been that beautiful in my life.

--It all makes you wonder about the false metaphor of the garden, the idea of a place that represents a different kind of order on this earth, and you realize, any Eden was only illusion. The innocent are in reality blind, and bless them.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Happy Couples. Happy Ex's. At the Bar. Pornographers Dream. Happy Trails.

--A woman and a man, at dusk, with their dog on the sidewalk, laughing, playing. And I think: that’s what I want.

And I think: I’ve already had that.

But those women are gone and the dogs are dead.

--Men always worry, when they have a thing, even a good thing, that if they settle into it completely, all potential dies. They worry in their devotion about what they might miss. This is what caused the Donners and the Reeds to leave good lives Illinois for some imagined and ill defined better thing in California.

--Exercise: say the names of the women you lost.
Or that you gave away.
Or that lost you.
Or that gave you away.
Or however you want to put it.

--The most recent was a liar and a thief, but she was just the right height, and she’d lost her daddy young. In any case, what she was, I helped to make her.

And I have this picture, and in it, we look sort of beautiful together.

And there is the good ex. What is more haunting than that?

And Laurie King, where have you gone? The last time I could find you, you said you’d gotten old and fat and sad.

I don’t believe that, but I believe I want a woman most of her beauty left.

--At the bar, after the happy couple and the happy dog, I bump against somebody that it is perhaps better I try to avoid.

She’s feels pure, and if I’ve learned anything it is that you don’t become pure yourself by partaking of those that are. You can bring her down but she will never lift you up. And we both know this and have known it for months, and so put in the way of our coupling barricades of people or circumstance.

And yet it happens sometimes on a night like this, when the wind is blowing and it really autumn, that we find ourselves bodily intertwined.

Just slightly.

For there are lines I won’t cross with her. It would seem to mean too much but our systems of values are too different to justify any vision of a future beyond the physical one. I’d want to take her to places she’d find obscene. She’d want to cure me of something she must think of as dark.

And yet we stumble into the parking lot and into my car.

I tell myself, Leave your keys in your pocket. No matter what, you do not bring her home.

Hard promise to keep.

As we kiss, I think to myself: She is an archetypal woman, the kind that men want, and I like to be with women that men want. She’s got this perfect ethnic ass, long legs of muscle. There is the flat of her belly, the tautness of the small of her back; the cliché of a perfect chest, and the hard edged collarbones.

She is a pornographers dream. And I am a dreamer.

She is smart and young and full of light. You like those things, I tell myself.

I think to myself, In the end a woman addicts you with her sex. It is the way she feels against you first and foremost. That is what you long for. That is what calls you back. That is what you can’t pull away from. It is three nights in the same bed and the way your skin sort of melds with hers so that to tear away is to open a wound and leave some small part of yourself on her.

It’s tempting to walk down the path. She is absolutely self assured, and that alone is enough of an excuse for me to ignore some responsibility that takes into account anything that goes beyond the moment. But at heart I know that the confidence is a type of innocence. In any case, it’s not just her I’m trying to keep safe. It is just as much a matter of me trying to save myself from the thing in her that will some day react against the bad in me.

I'm going to blog all this, I tell her.
Self exploration, I say. If you read it, you'll understand it.

Now I'm blogging and I wonder if it can make her understand.

We push it but, not much, staying parked, limited by steering wheel and potential audience. I think of how daring she is, her eyes closed, her face illuminated by the street lamp. I’d never let somebody study me in the way she lets me study her.

She is unashamed.
It’s not that I need a woman who is ashamed.
It’s that I need a woman who will be unashamed no matter what.

--And driving home alone,
as I should, feeling slightly guilty, I decide also to celebrate a small victory over the monster in me. Fuck you, he growls. Feed me you bastard, he says.

And it’s late. And there are no couples on the sidewalk. Their dogs sleep beside their beds. And the men dream restless dreams and the women think in their sleep of loss.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Death of George Lucas. Michael Moore and Donald Sutherland Naked. Friends of Christopher Reeve. CB is Right.

--George Lucas must have realized he is going to die. He seems to be trying to force into existence some ultra-defining piece d’art, so that his Star Wars “masterpiece” will stretch across generations.

This desperation behooves neither him nor his work. His most recent mandate, that we watch and appreciate the films not in the order in which they were shot (which also happens to be an order that corresponds with their worth), but rather in terms of the chronological narrative they tell, is, of course, an absurdity.

As if one should start with Jar Jar and end with R2D2. Oh, wait, Jar Jar has now made it into the first episodes as well.

I’m certain that if anybody makes it back from the dead, it won’t be Houdini, but Lucas, embracing an even newer technology one hundred years from now to degrade his once-upon-an-opus just a bit more.

--On a related note, what do you think of parents who take their children in for plastic surgery?

--Supersize Me. Another graduate from the look-at-me-mom school of documentary film making, this is a Jackass styled piece of performance “art” that hits its high point when our hero cries dramatically into the phone because it seems his McDonald’s diet might kill him. Or at least elevate some negative elements in his blood count.

Don’t get me wrong. McDonald’s is nearly pure evil, and that clown clutches one bloody cleaver, but Spurlock needs better inspirations than Michael Moore and Steve O.

--Incidentally, as much as Michael Moore may be right in a broad sense, his documentaries are so full of misused information that I know composition teachers that show them to classes to demonstrate a variety of fallacies and manipulations.

And those teachers are liberals. Remember, all teachers are.
Even ones like me, who want to see Michael Moore fall on his supersized ass.

Moore doesn’t think he’s a celebrity, but he’s as in love with his self-congratulating brain as Paris Hilton is with her pouty lips.

I can wait to see his sex tapes.

--Writing of people you don’t want to see naked, today, I showed my students ­Don’t Look Now. I don’t know what they find more frightening. Donald Southerland’s curvy spine and oddly shaped ass hopping up and down against Julie Christie, or the dwarf in the red rain coat. Roeg has, though, crafted an excellent experiment: one in which he hypothesizes that the audience is as blind as the protagonist.

--Scientists at the University of Illinoios in Champagne-Urbana have determined that mice who have exercised before getting the flu have a better chance of surviving it. Thank God and tax payers dollars that these people are looking out for us. I never would have guessed that being in good overall shape better prepares a mouse—and maybe even me—for an attack of sickness. 59% of the exercising mice survived the flu to which they were exposed, and only 29% of those that did not exercise survived.

I feel a bit sorry for the 41% and 71% percent of the respective mice groups that succumbed to the flue, but their sacrifice was a worthy one and most certainly I’ll sleep better this night.

I just hope that Spurlock finds it in his mindset to force feed a bunch of mice McDonald’s for the next month and completely validate his experiment.

--Do we grow our inner-strengths the way we grow muscle tissue? Through small and controlled tearing and nutrition?

I don’t know if I can describe this last year of tearing as small, and it sure as hell wasn’t controlled, and I don’t know what I’d call nutrition.

But I’m feeling stronger again.

It’s good to bask in the illusion of strength.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Aquafresh. Idiot Artists. Vagina Monsters. Single Mothers. More Football.

--I thought there was going to be a final and essential debate tonight, but all the stations are telecasting “the best of” snippets from the first two.

--Excited about this new Aquafresh Extreme Clean in the silver tube with the space age top?

I was.

It looks like the future.

The moment I saw it in the grocery market I believed I was looking at progress. I said to myself, “If ever a toothpaste was going to change your life, this is that toothpaste.”

I bought into it the way I’m tempted to buy into the things that Kerry has to say about the miracles he’ll accomplish if elected President.

I’ve brushed four or five times now, waiting for that ill-defined magic. As of yet, when I’m done, my mouth feels as it usually does after I brush.

I sure am naïve for a cynic.

--Thanks to Maria Alquilar for reminding us that idiots sell “art” (and what does that say about the people that buy it?). She was paid forty thousand dollars for a ceramic mural to be displayed outside Livermore, California’s new library. On it, she’d painted 175 names of influential historical artists. Ms Alquilar misspelled 11 of their names, including: Einstein, Shakespeare, Vincent Van Gogh, and Michelangelo. At least she had an articulate response to those who criticized her for this mistake and for charging the library council to fly her back and fix the misspellings. Said artist Alquilar: “The people that are into humanities and are into Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words.” Hopefully, they won’t be looking at the sculpture either. Thanks to Michael Bellesiles for putting me in touch with this story.

--The earliest myths of which we’re aware are full of vagina monsters and castration nightmares. Have men always been afraid of women? Or is that men are afraid of the way they find themselves debilitated in the face of their own lusts.

--Do single mothers really have hard time finding interested men? I find them sexy as hell. Maybe that means somewhere in my subconscious I believe that a single mother feels less attractive to the average male and so some little fiend in me recognizes that vulnerability the way a lion recognize lameness in a gazelle and singles it out. Or maybe there is no little fiend and I’m just subconsciously trying to replace my ex wife and complete a family with an instant sibling for my son.

I don’t suppose many of us really want to know the motivations behind our various hungers.

--Gator’s Zook aught to be concerned not with his own image in the sports and academic world, but with the idea that his football players are getting their asses beat by frat boys. Brett Farve is washed up. And for a non-seq, Don Knotts is a comic genius. Back to football, Rick Camat, apparently a Seahawks fan, and winner of an eleventh part of 87 million dollar lottery, was shot to death by police outside a sports bar in Seattle.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Polo. Superman. Snake Food. Sick Celebrities. Pigs and Flowers.

--A man rides his horse into a game of polo. In the heat of the battle, he is knocked to the ground, and he is injured. The horse, fortunately, is not. The man becomes obsessed with healing. He is a rich man, as we know from the fact that he owns a horse. It should be mentioned, that in all likelihood he treated the horse fairly well. One would not assume he has the horse shot or otherwise punished, although that is a possiblity.

In any case, the rich and now injured man begins paying people to inflict on rats and mice and monkey injuries similar to the one that he has received during that game of polo. He hopes that if these injuries are studied and played with enough, somebody, someday, will find the way to make him well again.

Incidentally, isn’t it a fine thing to be human and have all these choices? The horse, for example, didn’t choose to play polo, but was chosen as a polo stead. Naturally that rats and mice and monkey did not choose to play polo and fall or be knocked from a horse; nor did they choose to partake of the mans desire to have himself healed. They received their injuries by blows of hammer and cuts of scalpel.

The man was not only rich, but he was quite well known. Using his name and his finances, he begin eloquently demanding that other people donate money for projects in which rats and mice and monkey would have injuries inflicted on them and then have those injuries studied, so that someday, the rich and well known man can be un-injured again.

He is looked at as something of a hero. He is called courageous. Incidentally, most polo players are.

Within a year after the man received his injury while playing polo, the number of rats and mice and monkeys that are injured by hammers and scalpels quadruples. It is hard to make significance of numbers that in the high millions. Going from one broken and dead to ten is shocking; going from twenty million to eighty is not.

In any case, if there is a heaven, and if it lets in the little animals, its gates are flooded with the souls of broken backed mice, rats, and monkeys.

The man’s injuries are not healed.

Eventually, he dies too. And another soul goes sucking up into the sky.

--It is easy to mourn the death of Superman. It is hard to mourn the death of Christopher Reeve.

--Speaking of rats, an ex-student (JM) who meant to feed a baby rat to his snake, faced the ultimate dilemma. How can you take care of both the snake and its meal at the same time? I suggested he cut off a finger and feed it to the snake. He thought I was kidding. I was.

A toe is a much easier thing to live without.

Interestingly absurd scenario: a man who wants to feed the snake flesh but doesn’t want to sacrifice any living thing to it. He begins to grow himself by eating large quantities of grains and tofu. Soon, he is dripping in extra flesh. He is his own little farmer working the body of his own little farm of fat.

Once a week or so, he performs the little operation of removing a strip. Perhaps the snake needs some thrill of hunt, and so the man must tie a piece of string through a hole he pokes in the hunk of flesh and then drag it around the cage in front of the snake.

--Strangers things have happened. There was that man in Germany who put an ad on the net stating he wanted to kill and eat somebody. Mad world indeed.

--Madder yet, there was the man who answered the ad. And who allowed himself to be killed and eaten.

--Celebrities who have sicknesses they did not inflict on themselves and who support humane research that does not involve animals: Richard Pryor; Michael J Fox; Montel Williams; Berke Breathead.

--JM, incidentally, did not feed that particular rat to his snake. Nor, as far as I can tell by looking at him, has he cut off anything.

The rat, a female, he’s named Herbert, and he is raising her. I know for a fact that she’ll be a good friend. Her hair has just come in and her eyes have just opened and you should see her drink with her little fingers holding the end of the eye dropper.

--In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Marquez writes about the Vicario brothers, pig butchers who name their pigs, but only after flowers, for if they give them human names, it becomes impossible to slide the knife.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

OBSERVERED FROM THE BAR (mis-used ghetto booty; don’t eat in public; Irish women; attention whores;baseball caps). THE RIDE HOME.

--Girls now use the term “ghetto booty” not to call attention to a well shaped bulge of an ass but to excuse and even suggest virtue to any misshapen mass of flesh there.
--There is, as they say, no aphrodisiac like flattery.
--There is nothing that turns me off like watching a girl eat a barbecue chicken wing.
--Irish women like M can have absurdly pretty eyes and absurdly pale skin.
--Attention whores are unbearable.
--Boys in baseball caps are often interested in proving themselves tough. The lower the bills, the more they have to prove.
--I’m still a dumb ass male.

--Sometimes, driving, like tonight, I am aware of all the damage done me. By the lips of women and the fists of men, in play and in battle and in love.

I realize that it in the end, it is not what you inflict on others that counts, but the blows you take, even in the battles you win.

And I feel it all, literally, in my body. A kind of weariness, a soreness, and worse: dead spots. I realize I am more ash than bone, more dust than flesh, more bruise than muscle.

I am 33.

And it all serves to remind me of the value of the Charles Bukowski lines: "There are no beuatiful women/there are no strong men"

Saturday, October 09, 2004


--Something, or I should say, someone tells me I aught to be careful of what I write. Your students, someone tells me, may read it. You are, someone reminds me, untenured.


Ask Michael Bellesiles (Arming America) about the vulnerability of the academic to the vocally offended.

--I remember my discomfort when students begin to find some of my edgier stories on the net last year. Of course, they had to start with “Broken Harder”, the 22nd most vicious thing I’ve written. I’ve gotten over that discomfort. Now I want them to buy the book (Animal Rights and Pornography); I just hope they don’t read it.

--In any case, I DISCLIAM this blog. It is the work of a creative writer.

No, better yet, I am not the writer of this blog. I am not the writer of these words.

In fact, I am not anything as it relates to any of this at all—not even a fallible author, not even a persona, not even an alter ego.

The voice that tells the stories is not my voice. It is a purely imagined voice chronicling the purely imagined life of a purely imagined being in a purely imagined world.

I am not even the person that did all that imagining.

So release J Eric Miller from the responsibility of these thoughts. They do not belong to him and nor does he endorse them or, for that matter, anything at all but benevolence. And Bill Maher, should he ever run for office. Any just about any corporation that would care to sponsor this blog.

--Still, I shall take someone’s advice and write with caution, even fear.

Though I will, for example, reference my own lust from time to time, I will NOT reference lust as it relates to any student, past or present or potential. In fact, I have no such lust.

If I can live beyond the hunger of wanting to devour the charred corpses of pigs and cows who were tortured through life and then tortured to death, if I can live beyond the thirst of wanting to gulp down the eggs laid by chickens that never knew what it was like to turn around or to lift a foot or stand up straight and who would, if they were exposed to the sun for even a moment, drop dead in shock against its light and warmth, then certainly I can deny that ancient biological urge to notice and react to pretty skin.

--In honesty, there was once a temptation for me to feel a sort of distant sense of longing toward a student, but that was years ago, during my first teaching semester, and anyway, it wasn’t particular to her. It wasn’t tthat she was a tennis player and it wasn’t that she was smart.

It was that she wore a candy necklace. In fact, if anything, all I really longed for was those hardened sugar rings.

In Scared Straight one of the prisoners tells one of the teenage boys he means to scare straight something that is meant to imply how prison life has shaped his sexuality. “I’d jump right over a girl to get to you,” the prisoner tells the delinquency-leaning boy.

So it is with me and candy.

--To analyze the second Bush/Kerry debate would be like analyzing Jewel “poetry”. There’s really nothing to say. Still, for a good play by play, Thanks to PH.

--In the gym: a toothbrush, purple, lies on the floor next to the shoulder shrug machine. I suppose the quality of the gym will be suggested by whether or not it is still there the next time I am. I puzzle over it. Who would leave it here or lose it here and how and why? What do the other people think when they see it?

This is a documentary I’d watch. Where is Robert Stack when we need him?

--I found a dime while working out. I always find change in the gym. It falls out of the pockets of the other exercisers. I don’t want it to fall out of my pocket, so when I find change, I stick it in my shoe. This is uncomfortable.

I put all my change in a big cup that my son is going to use pay for college—or buy some PS2 games—and as I work out and the dime burns against my foot, I think of how I will add it to his pile of money. I am a good American and I mean to turn him into a good consumer.

The dime calls attention to itself the entire rest of my workout. If I had a little blister that felt just like the dime and a genie, or a god, or some other magic being, appeared before me at the gym and said: hey, I know that is distracting and bothersome, so, for a dollar, I’ll make that go away, I’d answer “yes.”

But for the dime in my shoe I say no.

--Dressed to Kill = a reminder of how horrifying an aged ass, transsexuals, and anonymous and unprotected sex can be.

Really, Brian DePalma—fetishist supreme—offers up a revision of his Oedipal fantasy to displace by murder his mother, the inappropriate object of the desire he had as a teenage science nerd , and replace her with an equally wanton but not by blood related woman that would want to fuck him.

I didn't think I coul take a picture of my own eye. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 08, 2004

Bellies. A Romanian chicken, dog, and penis. Politics. Smoke Alarm. Scare Tactics. Football. Movies. Etc.

--Have little pot bellies on women come into fashion? At my gym a gang of cheerleaders works out, and over half of them sport tiny round puffs. The everlowness of their gym shorts and the everhighness of their sports shirts suggest that they are proud of these protrusions. I assume they are too young and of the wrong mindset to have seen Pulp Fiction, but one certainly longs to hear them quote Fabienne.

--I like to run. Usually, I run along the road over to the University, twice around the center green, and then back, the last of it up a hill to Greenhouse Apts. I give a kick for the hill. If I’ve run properly, there’s no real kick in me so that it has to be created right then and there. Some trick I play on myself to pretend I can and I play it so well that I run up the hill at a faster clip than I’d been running all along. It hurts the lungs and the throat and when I fall through the door and lay beneath the ceiling fan I see faded out colored spots, the kind of which I used to imagine where angels coming in and out of my head when I was a child.

The fan spins. The body aches.

All of this so that I can clarify the lines on my body. Thinking: you do this for some woman.

I lie there watching those spots that are not angels, wondering, vaguely, if whoever she is, she is doing it for me.

Knowing too, as the spots bleed into each other and then elongate themselves and split again, that it is not the outside that needs perfecting. Not if it’s love I seek.

Telling myself: well, it’s not love.
Telling myself: yes it is, in the end it is.
Telling myself: you need to learn more about giving and receiving love.

Thinking: it’s therapy you need, not exercise.

--Congratulations to Romanian Constantin Mocanu who gives us a little glimpse into instant karma. Angry at a noisy chicken, he raced with a knife into his yard in the middle of the night, snatched up the chicken…and accidentally cut of his penis, which his dog then ate.

Think he’s seen Caligula?

He told reporters he mistook his penis for the chicken head and neck.

I asked my friend, AL, who first told me about the story, whether she thought the man must have had a large or a small penis to make such a mistake. She declared her ignorance on such matters.

After a pause, she added, “It was a Romanian chicken. I don’t know if that makes any difference.”

--Insomnia. I have had it on and off since I was a child, as young as five. I remember lying in my bed at night and wishing for a button that I could push and instantly fall asleep. Now there is a kind of button like that. It’s a little blue pill and not instant but fairly effective just the same.

After three, maybe four nearly sleepless nights I took two of these pills last week. This was about two in the morning. It kicked in by three. Goodbye Jack Tripper and Sam Malone and all my late night friends.

Then: BEEP.

It is five. I am sitting up. I think I heard something, but what? Then: BEEP. I get up, stumble into the hallway. There is a smoke detector on the ceiling. I pull it down. Open its battery hatch. Take out the battery. Drop the battery on the floor. Click the smoke detector back into place on the ceiling.

Just as I reach the bed: BEEP.

I go back out, thinking that for reasons of safety the alarm must store juice inside and could keep going for some long time. I am nauseous with fatigue. I take it down again. I see two wires kind of sticking out. I get a screwdriver and I put it in a loop in those wires and then I twist until they snap. I leave it all on the floor. Get back in bed.

Mother f’er. I get up. I tear the back off the smoke detector. There’s a little mother board in there, one of those light brown things run through with gray and bubbling over with little electrodes or whatever they are. I see something that looks like a speaker amongst these guts. A BEEP echoes through the hallway. Using the screwdriver, I tear the speaker out. Then I set it down.

Go back to bed, practically praying that the pills will kick back in and I’ll sleep. BEEP.

I get up. I dress. I take the speaker and go to my truck and throw it inside. I lock the door. I come back in. I undress. BEEP.

I stumble into the hall. I look at the guts of the things. I pry them out, cutting my hand. Then I put the shell back together again and I re-hang it. Empty. The guts sit on the floor. BEEP. I push them into the kitchen with my foot. Then I pick up the screwdriver and begin to stab at them. I stab the motherboard into several pieces. I mark up the linoleum I am stabbing so viciously. It all feels good.

I go back to bed. I lay down. BEEP. I run out. I break the pieces into smaller pieces. I tear off every little gray and green knob I can. I scatter them apart from each other as if I’m killing a vampire that might put itself back together again if I’m not smart. I cut and recut my hand.

Scattered on the floor are little pieces of electronics and smeared on the floor is blood; it looks like the scene of the final post-apocalyptic battle between the humans and the robots: a tie.


I look up. On the wall, right below the now empty smoke detector, is a carbon monoxide detector. I open the hatch. I take out a battery. Silence. I go back to bed. I am happy to feel sleep come down on my swiftly. I think, before it takes me completely under, that it is odd that my carbon monoxide detector was going off. I wonder as I fade how deep this sleep will be.

In the morning, I wake.

--If my students are right, I am be a liberal. They think all their professors are liberals.

It is clear that Kerry beat Bush and less clear but pretty certain that Edwards beat Cheney. Bush/Cheney keep hitting the same drum concerning inconsistency in their opponents and the idea that Kerry will leave the country open to all kinds of mayhem. Supersize our fear. It was a one prong straightforward march attack while they felt to be hit from every side. Confused generals blustering toward the front of the line.

And yet Edwards appeared too slick, overly prepared, a product of finishing schools and public speaking workshops, a well trained man.

I know who I’d vote for, but only because I’ve got vote for somebody.

--Reminds me that I recently watched The Contender, a political fairy tale that calls itself a political thriller. It’s one of those pandering pieces I’ve grown to hate.

--Speaking of pandering, I am amused by the lyrics of popular songs on the radio that reference political documentaries and bumpersticker politics. It’s good I suppose that mainstream music is developing some kind of critical consciousness about American culture, or rather that it is recapturing that consciousness that died out before disco was born. Still, twenty year olds yelping about our “culture of fear” without any real understanding of it feel just a little more legitimate than Von Trier’s anti-American films—ones that he proudly proclaims he has made without ever having visited America—developed on the basis of rumor and stereotype without a single legitimate critique of a country sorely in need of criticism.

--But yes, Bjork, a good vegan woman, can really act.

--After watching the much in some circles hyped King of the Ants it occurs to me that the only reason this film has been made and has been watched by anybody is because it’s creator had the perverse imagination almost thirty years ago to create a scene in a film in which a mad scientist detaches his own head mutilated and bleeding head and then holds it in his hands while it performs cunnilingus on a strapped down torture victim, leaving bits of viscera where it licks her thighs.

He’ll never match that again. And people will keep giving him money to see if he can.

--What’s that Paul Simon song?

--I wonder if it is coincidence, or if Varsity Blues with its opening soft southwestern voiceover about America and Texas is purposefully referencing Blood Simple’s opening. In any case, this movie has some better football scenes than it’s given credit for and it reminds you that James Vanderbeek—what happened to him?—has got some genuine screen charm. It’s flawed but does have something to say.

--Autumn. Football. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Dead leaves. Dry branches. Football. The Best of Times. The Longest Yard. Any Given Sunday. And so on. Not the Vonnegut cares about football. Not that he doesn’t.

--Funniest show on tv, ever: Scare Tactics on the Sci-Fi channel; it is pure, mean as hell reality tv.

--What’s wrong with running backs? I respected Williams when he left the NFL. But now? And I remember riding on a plane with Portis after the Broncos were beaten badly out of the playoffs by the Colts last year. He was smiling and having a good time with his mini-posse. I know there is something wrong with a player when he takes his team losses better than I do.