Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Los Engaños pt. 1

Finally! I finished writing and proofing my story around 4:45 a.m. I had a lot more to write than I thought I did. The story ended up being 16 pages and change, which was over the limit for the assignment, so instead of double spacing I used 1.5 spacing. I don't think my teacher will mind though, she probably wouldn't have minded if I went over anyway. If you don't know, I based my story on the song "Extravaganza" by Jamie Foxx. (Loosely based, as you read, you'll notice the main character is nothing like Jamie Foxx.) I highly recommend listening to it first if you haven't already heard it. It won't give away anything important, and it will give you an idea of where I'm coming from. Please comment, telling me what you like and don't like about the story, I'd appreciate it. So without further ado, here is my story.

Los Engaños

The move was easier than I had anticipated. I don’t know whether it was the air of excitement or the sunny California skies or the vibrant hue of the grass, but I didn’tmuch care. My boss had called me into his office about a month prior, asking me if I wouldn’t mind being the Senior Art Director of a new firm they were starting up in Los Engaños. Of course, I didn’t mind at all. As my boss could attest, I was shocked when he offered me the position. Normally you have to wait another ten years or so before you can even think about becoming a director, but I was told my ambition “was unchartable” and my acumen “unmatched.” My boss liked superlatives.

I resented having lived in Seattle all my life and was relieved to finally be getting out. It is a depressing city, suffocating under a blanket of clouds and phony conversations from people who enjoy pretending it isn’t as bleak as it seems. The departure would have been sooner, but Stanford rejected me and I was forced to attend UW with everyone I couldn’t wait to escape from. Forced to live at home for a few more years, strictly a monetary decision I hadn’t agreed to. I was an answering machine more than a son. My mother would speak into me and my father would play the messages only when supper was nowhere to be found. As I had done in high school, I found solace from the outside world in my textbooks, abandoning them only when I felt that if I didn’t go out with my classmates I’d lose their friendship. I moved out after graduation and with no one to relay my parents’ messages, their marriage collapsed faster than I thought it would. At first I felt like it was my fault, maybe I hadn’t realized what an important role I played in their relationship. But I didn’t blame myself for long, not after talking to each of them separately after the divorce. They were trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage, and I had freed them. On the rare occasion that we do speak, it’s clear that both are better off.

I didn’t sleep the first 24 hours I was in Los Engaños, afraid I’d lose the feeling of rebirth. I was up at 8 a.m. whistling as I arranged what furniture I could handle in the living room. I couldn’t remember the last time I whistled. I had originally wanted to put the couch on the east side of the living room, opposite the TV, but I wouldn’t have been able to look outside, so I moved it to the north wall, but then I couldn’t even see the screen. Next, I moved the couch to the south wall and put the TV facing it, but the glare was distracting so that wasn’t going to work. After that, I tried to put the couch on the west side, which would’ve worked nicely, but the sunshine coming in from the screen door was far too bright. I could have pushed the couch all the way to the corner, but then I wouldn’t have any room for my floor lamp. I finally decided to push the couch back to the north wall, only this time I moved my TV set to the south wall, even though that meant having to move my bookshelf to the east side. With the bookshelf in its final place, I started unpacking my nonfiction first when I suddenly felt tired. I figured it was time for a break anyway, so I closed the curtains and fell asleep on the couch.

That evening, around 6 o’clock I think, I was alphabetizing my books when I heard the chime of the doorbell.

“Hey neighbor! The name’s Marcus,” the man said. “I just came over to see if you needed any help.”

“Uh, sure. Come on in. I’m Brian Hayden.”

Although he was a step down, Marcus was just as tall as me, probably even taller, and his hand absorbed mine as we greeted each other. I expected his shoulders to get stuck in the door as he entered, but he came in smoothly. I couldn’t help being nervous at first, not because he was black, I’d known plenty of black people in Seattle, but because his build reminded me of so many jocks I had been victim to in the past.

“This is a nice setup you got here,” he said stepping into my living room.

“Thanks. It’s nothing really, took me about 5 minutes,” I said.

I showed him the rest of the house and together we organized my office and bedroom furniture, all the while talking about our jobs, family, and hobbies.

Marcus was a self-described nerd, something I laughed aloud at even though I hadn’t meant to. He played sports in high school, but never developed a passion for competition. He preferred to write poetry and play the piano, something he taught himself to do. Marcus had a very mature face despite being only 22, not much younger than me. Even though he had just graduated college with a degree in Criminal Justice, Marcus kept his job as Floor Manager at a local Banks Department Store because he loved the job.

Marcus was impressed when I told him why I had moved to Los Engaños and insisted I would love it.

“The weather is amazing out here,” he said. “It hasn’t rained a single day I haven’t wanted it to.”

I started to laugh because I assumed it was a joke, but his expression was so earnest. It wasn’t a joke, he really believed it. Not knowing what to do next, I changed the subject.

The first six months in my new city passed by more quickly than I remember. I did so much work so fast that it all seemed like one big project. As soon as one account was done, I was working on the other, sometimes overlapping two. The Fostam account sticks out only because of Julie. For her, I worked as if she was in the room personally. I was more comfortable this way. When she wasn’t really there, I would tell her witty stories, all while subtly making my move. I would run my hand through my wavy black hair and stroke what stubble I had on my chin. I would tell her how when I first met her I bruised my jaw because it hit the floor so hard and how her long blond hair reminded me of a waterfall, cascading down the nape of her neck. We wouldn’t talk about work, but about how our lives had been meaningless without one another. And then we’d look into each other’s brown eyes and we would kiss, deeply and passionately. However, when she was there I jittered so much it looked as though I was having an epileptic fit. I dropped our coffees so many times the janitor used to follow me around. I smiled at her like I would smile for a school picture and she would just smile right back; she didn’t cringe, not even one time. She was so sweet and kind and beautiful, but I know she understood how much of a loser I was. How could she not? Every day I worked with her I woke up telling myself, “This is the day.” I don’t even really know what that meant, something like I wasn’t going to act like Gilligan today, I guess. That day never came. When my company had finished with her account we said our goodbyes and in an effort to avoid self-reflection I started to work even harder. I sat in front of my computer so long I began growing moss. The only nights I left the confines of my office were when Marcus would come over and drag me to dinner, which he literally did one night.

I’m not sure why Marcus liked me so much. I never had a friend who wondered so often what I was doing or if I wanted to catch a flick. He either really liked me or felt pity for me. Every one else found it curious, too. Sometimes as we waited for a table, people stared, wondering what this Adonis and his accountant were doing out at dinner. On more than one occasion he was asked for his autograph by middle-aged women anxious to get a signature of a real-life basketball player for their husband. He’d oblige the overly excited ones and make them promise to watch his next game. I tried to keep a straight face. I asked him once why he smiled and chatted with them instead of getting upset at the blatant stereotype. He told me they didn’t mean any harm, they just didn’t know any better. Plus, he found it hilarious to introduce me as his lawyer.

I always wanted to ask him about Julie, or what I should have said to her. I felt guilty sometimes not confiding in him, when we’d talk about women he’d tell me of his sexual exploits along with the women who truly changed him and the women who scared the hell out of him, but all I had was lies. I knew everything about him, but he knew so little about me. By the time Julie came into my life, I thought that if I asked him what I should do he would see how big of I liar I was and get angry with me. The truth was I had never been involved with a woman. Not romantically, not sexually, not emotionally, not any –ally. I was always afraid to take that risk. I thought that if I wished hard enough, whatever girl I had feelings for would make the first move. I admired Marcus’s ability to speak directly and openly to every single person he met and aspired to be like him, but I had no idea where to begin and even if I did, deep down I knew that I could never make that personality transition.

I started to hang out with Marcus less and less. It’s not that I grew a distaste for him, in fact it was the opposite. I didn’t want to be around Marcus because I began to dislike myself. I used work as an excuse and since Marcus didn’t know anything about the industry it was relatively easy to make my life sound busy. When I didn’t have work to do, I’d turn off on the lights in my house to give Marcus the impression that I wasn’t home. I became socially invisible. I would run into people at work, people who had offices on my floor, and they always gasped in astonishment. “Brian?! Have you been sick? Where’ve you been?” One day my own secretary hadn’t even known I showed up for work. As depressing as that was, I fully deserved it. I had wanted to make myself that way; I just didn’t realize how good I’d be at it.

One Thursday night, around 10 or so, my lights out trick didn’t work and as I walked to answer the door I wondered how angry Marcus would be.

“Brian?” Marcus said. He seemed confused. “Oh man! It is you! I didn’t even think you still lived here, man.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said as I smiled and nodded my head. “What’s up?”

“Look Brian, for the life of me I can’t remember the last time we hung out. So this is what we’re going to do. Me and you are gonna go into town and hit up a club or two. I know it’s not your thing, but I don’t care. We’re doing this, so get dressed.”

I could tell he meant every word, that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer, but I tried to worm out of it just the same.

“I’d love to Marcus, but I got a few things I need to catch up on. I have positioning statements and concept proposals I have to get done by tomorrow,” I said. I was sure that’d work.

“Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, Brian. You don’t have anything to get done by tomorrow.”

He was right. Not only was he right, I realized that I didn’t even know what day it was. I didn’t know what yesterday was. I don’t think I knew what month it was. As I struggled with that in my mind, my subconscious spoke for me.

“Oh, yeah. Well then, let’s go.” Wait, did I really just say that? Clubs weren’t my thing. Dancing wasn’t my thing. I leapt back on the offensive.

“But you know, I really should get this done before the weekend. Then maybe we can do something, dinner or whatever. My treat.”

“I’m not falling for that again,” Marcus said. “I’ll be honest, Brian. I’m not close with a lot of people and I’ve missed hanging out with my best friend. I know we’re different people, but I get you. And you get me. I’m begging you, Brian. Please, let’s go out.”

I was staring directly into his eyes the entire time and if I didn’t catch myself when I did, I would have started crying. Marcus never pitied me, not for a second. He was genuinely my best friend and I was his. I never had a best friend before. What should I do now? I know, I’ll apologize!

“Look Marcus,” I said. I was speaking softly and doing my best to sound wholehearted, but it was tough as I was screaming with joy on the inside. “Work has been kicking my ass lately and I know we haven’t seen much of each other and I’ve missed you too, so I’d love to go out with you tonight.”

I showered and dressed as fast as I could, putting on the attire the saleswoman had told me “looked really good” when I bought it. As we drove through the streets, I couldn’t remember the last time I was in the city this late. It was so dark. I didn’t remember it being that dark. The strangers looked ominous in the dim, reflected orange glow from the street lights as I watched them through the beads of rain on the window. Beads of rain? I thought. I turned to Marcus with the intention of asking him if this was his doing, but he was attempting to find the right wiper setting while trying to stay focused on the road. I just smiled and turned back to the window. We stopped at a red light and I noticed two hookers standing against the wall of a building. While I tried to eye them anonymously, Marcus said something.

“Brian! We’re here,” he said.

“Here where?”

“That’s the place,” he said pointing out my window to the two hookers.

“It’s a brothel?!” I asked with such volume that I was sure the hookers across the street had heard me even through the shut car door and rain.

Marcus exploded into laughter upon hearing my question. When he stopped laughing nearly five minutes later, he explained to me the girls weren’t whores, but in fact just regular women and their attire is what women generally wore to dance clubs. He capped off his lecture by saying “You need to get out more.” My face turned red, but Marcus didn’t notice as he had begun laughing once again. I had a feeling this was going to be a long night. As we walked toward the entrance, Marcus gave me a preview of what I could expect inside.

“We won’t be able to hear our phones, so when we get separated, and I do mean when, just enjoy yourself. If it starts getting late and we still haven’t met up, we’ll look for each other by the bar, that can be our rendezvous point.”

It sounded simple enough; all but the “enjoy yourself” part. I don’t enjoy myself, I thought that’s why I came out with you. I imagined saying to him.

Marcus continued, “Tonight we’re celebrating life and we’re celebrating friendship, Brian. So loosen up, talk to some women, have some drinks, and let the fun find you.”

Little did he know that fun could amass the largest search party on Earth and not come close to discovering my hiding spot.

The grizzly bear-esque man holding the clipboard shook hands with Marcus and opened the door for us. I took one step inside and instantaneously covered my ears and ducked my head as I tried to avoid the noise. The thunderous vibrations of the music rattled my knees and knocked me off balance. Marcus turned and moved his mouth, he was definitely trying to say something to me, but I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what words he had just spoken. He took a hard left, disappearing into a crowd of flailing arms and hair and I froze in panic. I started to sweat as I spun in circles trying to figure out what I should do next. Past the rows of people, at the center of the club, I noticed a magnificent, blue-lit bar with stools all around and I decided to head that way. I shuffled through the mob and sat down, turning back to look at the horde of dancers I somehow had just made my way through. An orgy is the only way to describe what I saw. Women wearing dresses the size of napkins gyrated on men whose facial expressions were contorted into lustful scowls while their mouths were agape, begetting drool.

“What’ll you have?”

The shout of the degenerate behind the bar frightened me and instead of answering him I could only gawk. I would have counted all of his piercings, but I wasn’t sure I’d finish before sunup. He had blue hair and wore only tattoos on his upper body. Thank God he had pants on.

He repeated, “What’ll you have?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve never been here before.” I was practically screaming, but I could barely hear myself.

A mischievous smile came across his face and he turned his back to me. I looked behind the bar, wondering if they had wine as it was the only alcohol I’ve ever consumed, but I didn’t see any and I didn’t want to risk sounding foolish by asking.

“Here you go, buddy. This one’s on the house,” he said.

I thanked him and stared at the colorful concoction; it certainly looked delicious. I sipped it slowly and began to smack my lips. It was great. I quickly slurped up the rest.

“This is amazing,” I said, getting the man’s attention. “What is it?”

“You just had an Orgasm, my friend. Want another one?” he asked. He was smiling from ear to ear.

I was much too uncomfortable to come up with anything clever to say back him, so I only replied with a yes, praying that he was still talking about beverages.

He made me pay for the second one, but I didn’t mind one bit. I turned around to see if I could spot Marcus anywhere as I consumed my second Orgasm. I remember he had on a dark blue shirt, which would probably make spotting him quite difficult. After a few minutes I gave up hope and turned back to the bar only to notice a woman staring at me from a few seats down. I glanced the other way, assuming she was looking at someone else, but I turned back moments later only to find her eyes directed squarely at mine. She stood up and strutted her way over.

“Is anyone sitting here?” she asked. Her scent tingled my nose. It was sweeter than any candle my mother had ever lit.

“No. Go ahead,” I said.

To this day I’ll never understand how those words escaped my mouth. I think it was more of a reflex than anything. I know my brain didn’t put those words together because my brain had stopped functioning upon the very sight of her walking over.

I could tell she was a little thin by looking at her arms and the definition of her collarbone, but underneath a suggestive violet dress, her curves told a different story. Her dark hair settled on the perfect caramel skin of her shoulders and her eyes were green and hypnotizing. She had the legs of a woman I’d expect to see on a runway, but instead she was using them to come toward me.

Los Engaños pt. 2

“You here by yourself?” she asked.

I said nothing. I didn’t know how to jumpstart my brain. Luckily, some drunk slammed into me as he fell over trying to place a drink order.

“I’m sorry, what did you ask?” I said. “I can’t remember.”

“Are you here alone?” she asked again.

“No, I came with my friend Marcus. He’s around here somewhere.” I moved a finger in a circle above my head and spilled my drink as I put my elbow back on the bar. I was Gilligan again.

“Well, I guess we’re going to have to order a few more drinks then,” she said. Or at least that’s what I think she said. It’s what I heard, alright, but I was shocked that she hadn’t gotten up and ran away after witnessing what a klutz I was.

She ordered 3 rounds of something called Sex on the beach, which we drank very quickly. I had trouble swallowing the third one, and as soon as I got it down, I knew I better look for Marcus. This night was going to end badly. Without saying a word, I got up to hunt for my friend when my knees buckled and I fell back into the stool.

“Where are you going?” she asked coyly. “Do you want to dance?”

I didn’t respond. I was too busy trying to make her face stop spinning. I had never been this drunk before and it worried me not to have complete control over my mind and body. Nevertheless, she grabbed my hand and pulled me to the dance floor. I felt dizzier with each step I took and if I wasn’t throwing my head around looking from Marcus, my attempts at dancing may have appeared less feeble. She grabbed my shirt and pulled me up against her body, for a moment I was sober as ecstasy pumped through my veins, clearing out the alcohol.

“Do you want to get out of here and go to a hotel or something?” she asked, biting her lip.

Even I knew what this meant. Of course, the obvious answer for any man in this situation is “Yes!” followed by a quieter, “Dear God, thank you,” but I couldn’t help be apprehensive. I guess it’s just my nature.

“But I don’t know anything about you,” I said. My words were anything but coherent. “I don’t even know your name or where you’re from.”

“My name’s Eve. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee.”

“Hi, Eve. My name is Brian Hay—”

She put her finger against my lips. “We don’t need last names,” she said. “I’m going to tell my friend I’m leaving. Meet me back at the bar in a few minutes.”

The bar! I remembered. That’s probably where Marcus is! Sure enough, Marcus was sitting at the end of the bar talking to the man who gave me an Orgasm.

“Marcus!” I said. “I’m going home with Eve tonight so you can go ahead and stay here or leave if you want. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” I was pretty sure I had just yelled as loud as I could into his ear, but Marcus was a good sport about it.

“Eve? Are you sure she’s not just a figment of your drunken imagination?” he said smiling.

“Yeah man, I’m meeting her here soon, so don’t wait up, okay?” Marcus laughed at the sight of me intoxicated, thrashing about like a catfish in a wheelbarrow.

“Brian, wait. Take this for protection,” he said as he slid something into my pocket.

“Uh, okay. Bye Marcus!”

I stumbled over to the other side of the bar and Eve was already waiting for me.

“One more drink before we go?” she asked. I figured it couldn’t make things worse so I took it. I put my arm around her and we headed for the exit. It was the last thing I remember.

I awoke the next morning looking at a ceiling fan and since I didn’t own a ceiling fan, I freaked out a little bit. I had forgotten where I was. Eve was lying next to me asleep and as I lifted the bed sheets to get up I realized I was nude. I threw the covers back on top of me, I was embarrassed for some reason. I checked to make sure she was still sleeping; she was. I sat up on the edge of the bed and looked around. Shoes and clothes were strewn about the room. My pants were draped over the TV screen and her dress hung on the lampshade. Was I really capable of this kind of passion? I shut my eyes and tried as hard as I could to remember last night, but I couldn’t. I was furious at myself. I would’ve screamed, but I didn’t want to wake up Eve. Oh my gosh, Eve! What was I going to do? Do I stay or leave? Did she give me her phone number? Did I do something I don’t remember that would make her never want to see me again? I was completely out of my element in this situation, which is probably why I left. It knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I was better at running away from problems than confronting them. I couldn’t believe I now thought of Eve as a problem. Last night she had been an angel, and today she’s a burden.

I reached for the phone, dialed the operator, and called a cab.

“Where are you at?” the man asked on the other line.

I looked around. I had no idea where I was. I opened the first drawer underneath the phone and pulled out a notepad. “I’m at the Embassy,” I said. “The name’s Brian.” Eve was still asleep.

As I began to look for my clothes I suddenly felt like I’d been punched in the head. I moaned out loud. “So this is what a hangover feels like,” I said softly.

I put my clothes on, all except my socks which for some reason were lying in the sink saturated with water, and I took one last look at Eve asleep on the bed before I left. I wondered if I’d ever see her again and once more I wondered what had happened between us last night. I made my way outside and stood in the sunshine until my taxi arrived.

I went to Marcus’s house before I entered mine to tell him about last night, but he wasn’t home. The wet grass felt good in between my toes as I walked across our lawns. I unlocked my door and went right for the medicine cabinet, then to take a hot shower. No sooner had I gotten dressed when I heard pounding at my door. Marcus is back! With a smile plastered on my face I giddily ran to the door and opened it.

“Brian Hayden,” the mad said. “You’re under arrest.

I didn’t speak my next words until I found myself in an interrogation room; I had blacked out again.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Why don’t you tell me,” the man said. “Care to tell me what you did last night?”

“Last night? I went out last night. To a club. With my friend.” I said.

“Oh, of course! The girl we found lying in your hotel room was just a friend. It all makes sense now!” he said.

“What? Found? What are you talking about?” I asked. “Her name is Eve. I met her last night at the club.”

“Well, what happened after the club?” he asked. He sounded like he already knew the answer.

“I don’t remember,” I said. “I was pretty drunk last night and the last thing I remember is leaving the club.”

“You must have drunk up the whole bar, kid, cause where I come from it’s pretty hard to forget murdering someone.”

“Murdered?!” I yelled. I became lightheaded at the sound of the word and I felt like throwing up. “I didn’t murder anyone! She told me to meet her by the bar, she wanted to go to a hotel, she was asleep when I left! I didn’t do anything! You have to believe me!”

He chuckled. “It’s hard to believe you when the maid walked in and found her dead this morning in a hotel room checked out with your credit cards. Not to mention I got paramedics telling me she’s been poisoned and has been dead since last night. You gonna argue with paramedics, son?”

Last night? The words repeated themselves in my head. I started to cry. “Look officer, I’ve told you everything I know. I talked to Marcus and then she and I left together. That’s all I remember!”

“Who’s Marcus?” he asked.

I lifted my head up, somewhat relieved. Of course! Marcus! I had told him about Eve. He could tell them how drunk I was and how I’m not the kind of person who could kill somebody. “He’s my friend I went to the club with. He’s my best friend. He’ll tell you I couldn’t possibly have done this. He knows me too well.”

The cop thought about it. “Alright then, let’s talk to Marcus.” He turned to the viewing window and gestured for a telephone. Another officer swiftly brought one in, plugged it into the jack, and set the phone on the table.

“I need a phonebook,” I said. “I think he’s at work right now.”

The man gestured to the window again and the same officer as before entered with a phone book.

“Go ahead,” the cop said. “Call your friend.”

He pressed a button, switching the call to speakerphone, and the ringing echoed in the silence of the room.

“Hello. Welcome to Banks Department Store. How can I help you?” the woman said.

“Is Marcus Terrell working today?” I asked. There was a pause.

“I’m sorry, who did you ask for again?”

“Marcus Terrell,” I repeated. “I think he’s working today.”

“Hold please,” she said. I looked up at the cop who was already looking down at me with a look of disappointment in his eye. If only these cops knew me, knew how timid a person I am.

The woman came back on the phone. “I’m sorry,” she said. “But there’s no one named Marcus Terrell that works here. Perhaps you have the wrong number. Goodbye.” And she hung up. I stared blankly at the phone, not knowing what to make of what had just transpired.

Had he quit and not told me? It didn’t make sense. I starting to dial his cell phone number and the cop just shook his head. It was ringing. Ringing. Then three beeps.

“I’m sorry, the number you have dialed does not exist. Please hang up and try again.”

The officer helped me up and led me to a holding cell. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t feel anything. The number you have dialed does not exist? There’s no one named Marcus Terrell that works here? He wasn’t real? I didn’t have a best friend?

When the police searched my house, they found an empty vile of arsenic in the right pocket of the pants I had worn to the club that night. Traces of the same toxin were found in Eve’s system. I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in California State Prison where I sat alone for 3 years until one day I received a letter.

Dear Brian,

I cannot apologize enough for what I have done to you, but it was necessary for what I had to do for me. The girl you met that night’s name wasn’t Eve and she wasn’t from Tennessee. She was one of the girl’s I had told you about, one of my exes. You see, I have done some things in my past that I’m not proud of, and she threatened to bring some of these things to the light of day if she could not be reunited with me. I agreed on the condition that she gave you a night of passion that I know you’ve never had, nor would you ever forget. But I didn’t want to be with her, Brian. So when you two fell asleep, I snuck in and killed her with the poison I planted in your pocket. You didn’t know my real name or where I worked, in fact, you didn’t know a lot about me, but I considered us best friends just the same. I know you can never forgive me. I’m sorry.

The letter wasn’t signed and there wasn’t a returning address. I haven’t told anyone about the letter that I now keep under my pillow and I don’t plan to. Perhaps I could use it to exonerate myself, but then there’d be a bunch of cops going after my best friend Marcus. He didn’t deserve that. Not after all he’d given me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscars 2007

I did it last year, why not recap this year as well?

I only predicted 3 of the 5 major categories correctly, but I don't really care because Scorsese finally won for Best Director, something which immediately prompted one of the most appropriate standing ovations ever. Raging Bull and Goodfellas can finally rest in peace. The Departed also won Best Picture honors, but some guy who wasn't Marty Scorsese accepted the award, so I didn't pay much attention. The other category I missed was for Best Supporting Actor, which went to Alan Arkin for his magnificent portrayal of Grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine. I knew they wouldn't give it to Eddie Murphy and it serves him right for making such trash. Norbit?! Scott Tobias (not the Tobias) from the Onion AV Club had this to say about Norbit when it was released...

"It probably isn't possible for a single movie to reverse all social progress made since the civil-rights era, but Norbit, the latest broadside from Eddie Murphy, does its best to turn back the clock."

As much as I don't enjoy Ellen DeGeneres, I thought she did a great job. I actually laughed at her jokes, something I can't ever remember doing. My favorite part was when the snakes attacked her. If you didn't see it, it wasn't really snakes, but the arms of a dancing group known as the Dance Troupe Pilobolus. They also did body interpretations of the films nominated for Best Picture. It was one of the most absurd, yet strangely cool, things I've seen on television.

In a twist, Jerry Seinfeld made an appearance and did a little routine that was very funny. Al Gore finally proved that he isn't a robot. And Will Ferrell made Marky Mark feel good about himself by calling him a badass.

It wasn't all great, however. I didn't see one nomination for Snakes on a Plane, something I still can't fathom, and Pan's Labyrinth didn't win for Best Foreign Film, which instead went to some Nazi propaganda film. It ran late, as usual, and I didn't get started on my short story until very late, but I am going to finish it tonight and it will be posted tomorrow or the day after. Be forewarned, it's very long.

(If you want to know what a douchebag said about the Oscars you can read this.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The next century mark begins...

Post 101!! Whooooooooo!!

Dang, it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I am halfway into my first short story with two days left to complete it so I should finish up right on time. It's pretty much all I've been doing this weekend. If you are curious as to what it is about, I advise you to listen to the song "Extravaganza" by Jamie Foxx. I used this song as a basic premise and then added a lot on top of it. I won't be writing any of it tomorrow night, however, because I will be watching the 79th Annual Academy Awards and I wanted to take this time to make my picks for the big 5. I only got one wrong last year, let's see if I can top that.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jennifer Hudson
She's the odds on favorite and since Cate Blanchett spells her name with that insufferable 'C' instead of a 'K', I don't smell an upset here. The Academy respects common sense as well as acting talent. I'd love for Olive (Abigail Breslin) from Little Miss Sunshine to get it, but that isn't going to happen.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Wahlberg
This is a risky pick. I don't believe Scorsese will win Best Director for The Departed - Unfortunately, he'll lose out to Eastwood again who did Letters from Iwo Jima - but this movie has to win for something. Eddie Murphy is the favorite, but I think the Academy will punish Eddie for making Norbit and he will be snubbed. Plus, Marky Mark has those good vibrations.

Best Actress in a Lead Role: Helen Mirren
This one isn't even close. If she doesn't win, you'll hear hissing and angry shouts from the crowd and all hell will break loose. Don't worry about the Queen though, Sergeant Frank Drebin has been assigned to shield her from any possible chaos and, most importantly, to protect her from Reggie Jackson. (Please tell me somebody got that.)

Best Actor in a Lead Role: Forest Whitaker
It's about time Forest wins an Oscar! He's one of my favorite actors and was completely shut out from even a nomination for his work in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. That is easily one of the best 2 or 3 movies I have ever seen in my life. I haven't seen The Last King of Scotland yet, but I've read that he worked his ass off for this film and that his performance is breathtaking. If he doesn't win, I'll be almost as upset as I was when the Bears lost the Superbowl.

Best Picture: Umm...Letters from Iwo Jima?
Best Picture is a crapshoot this year. I've heard that the Best Picture winner is often times the Best Director winner, but 1) I don't know if I buy that, and 2) it didn't happen last year. I really liked Little Miss Sunshine, but I don't expect it to win. I can see The Departed winning, but I'll be pissed if Scorsese wins this and doesn't win for Best Director. What I want is for the Academy to cop out and give Scorsese the Directing Oscar he deserves for both Raging Bull and Goodfellas, and if this happens Eastwood will certainly win Best Picture. But really, who knows?

I really hope Ellen isn't awful like she usually is.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

100th Post!!!!

Whoooooooooooooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

We did it, folks!!! And we did it together!!!

There are so many people I want to thank.

First of all, I want to thank my readers. I know there aren't too many of you left, but thanks for hanging in there. I want to thank all the fools out there I have made fun of for acting in such ridiculous manners. All your nonsense really gives little ol' me something to write about. I want to thank IU, because if I went to a school that really and truly cared about education I might have more homework and I wouldn't be able to write as much. I want to thank my computer for being so reliable. Oh man, I'm so excited! Sorry if I forgot anyone, but I have to move on, I'm getting played off! I love you all!

Now, I wish to reminisce.

Since I am a fan of words, curse words in particular, let's take a look back at the "swear stats." Now, when you see the curse word, know that it includes the word itself and any of its many variations. (For instance, the word "motherfucker" would count as the word "fuck" and so forth.)

Fuck - 43 times
Shit - 19 times
Ass - 16 times
Asshole - 11 times (Yes, the word asshole is its own category.)
Bitch - 5 times
Bastard - 2 times

A few clarifications, I did not count the words "damn" or "hell" or "pissed off." Also, the word "bitch" was never used to demean women, except for when OJ used it. (See Johnnie Cochran is rolling in his grave in the month of November 2006.) Overall, I'm surprised I didn't swear more often, yet I'm happy that "fuck" tops the list because it really is my favorite curse word. It's just so versatile.

Now let's take a gander at my friends who have been mentioned.

Andrew - 7 times
Dane - 6 times
Kelly - 2 times
Kyle - 2 times
Poke - 2 times
Zach - 2 times
Jamie - 1 time
Monica - 1 time
Jon - 1 time
Matt T. - 1 time
Robert - 1 time
Jeremy - 1 time
Ryan - 1 time

Andrew has appeared the most times because he is a fellow blogger. Kyle used to be, but not anymore. He's far too busy with Anne now. Oh, and the time I mentioned Rachel Hoffman doesn't count. I was obviously intoxicated. If I missed anyone I am truly sorry, feel free to yell at me and I'll fix it. I'm quite tired at the moment so it's entirely possible.

Now we'll move to countries I've made fun of.

Germany - 7 times
Norway - 5 times
Canada - 4 times
Austria - 2 times
Russia - 2 times
Israel - 1 time

The only countries I made fun of outside the context of the Olympics were Canada and Israel. (See Blasphemous! in the month of April 2006.)

Let's see... Besides myself, what/who else have I made fun of on more than one occasion?

George W. Bush - 7 times
Bode Miller - 6 times
Homosexuality - 6 times
"Carlos Mencia" - 5 times
Hippies - 3 times
Apolo Anton Ohno - 3 times
New (Unfunny) Family Guy - 2 times

I have to say that I'm surprised "hobos" aren't on the list. I know I've made fun of them before. But they have been going through some rough times lately so I'll let it slide. I made fun of soccer once, but I also praised it once, therefore they cancel each other out. I'm glad to see "hippies" on the list, too. I feel bad that homosexuality is so high being that I don't have any problem with it. I think every time I've made fun of it though it has been quite over-the-top and satirical. (See The man I hate most in music in the month of February 2006 or Cancel the trip to Maybury Hill in the month of October 2006.)

Just a few other tidbits...

Dislikes III (May 2006) and The New Collegehumor.com (November 2006) are tied for the most comments, both at 11. The funniest thing on this entire blog may just be the comments on the latter story.

In a shocker, I have only had 3 allusions to Seinfeld, one of which was an entire post that I think was some of my best work. (See What's the deal with... in the month of February 2006.)

I helped promote Snakes on a Plane and I helped get Mike Davis fired.

There were no posts in July of 2006. I was either working or sleeping during this time period.

Why I can't write for Parade Magazine (August 2006) and Torii Hunter (October 2006) are two of my favorite posts.

October 2006 is probably my favorite month from top to bottom. It also had the most posts of any month except February 2006.


All in all, I'm glad I started doing this and I'll try to keep things interesting. I'll also try to post during the summer, but don't count on it. I am very critical of my own work, but I do have some favorite quotes that I'll leave you with. Thanks for reading!! Let's go for 100 more!!

"Rufus Wainwright is melodically anal raping the sanctity of music."

"Canada knows as much about science as they do about warm, sandy beaches or finishing college or attractive women or black people."

"FUCK YOU NEIL ARMSTRONG! YOU HAVEN'T ANYTHING TO BE PROUD OF! NOT LIKE CANDACE PARKER WHO DUNKED TWICE IN A SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME!"

"I got news for you Powerade...you're no Gatorade. How many flavors do you have, Powerade?! Like 4? Gatorade could sell 4 different flavors of urine and make more money than you."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

W203 Seventh Assignment

The time is currently 10:50 and I am trying to write my seventh and final paper for W203 before I start writing my 2 big stories. The problem is that this is the worst assignment ever. Read this prompt...

Write a story or beginning of a story in 500-1500 words. Look in a newspaper or magazine for a few items that wallop your fancy. Choose one with an absurd story or an arresting subject. These need not be long exposes or essays: just a few paragraphs will suffice. Next, choose one of your finds to develop into a fiction, with one important change. Transfer your father or mother into that item’s protagonist. Also, if possible, change the location to that parent’s home. So if the newspaper piece where about teens in Madagascar spray painting their names on wild animals, you will write a story about your adult mother tagging her initials on squirrels in her backyard. At first, stick to the news item and be true to your parents, physically and emotionally, the way they are now. If your first attempt doesn’t pan out, try another item or another parent.

In our class we are currently reading stories about bizarre topics or subjects that the authors have made seem commonplace, something apparently called "magical reality." Firstly, I don't see how this is any way qualifies as magical reality. Second, I cannot fathom the idea that someone would possibly consider "your adult mother tagging her initials on squirrels in her backyard" as being an interesting story that could be believable.

I will not be posting this story unless I get done with it and think, "Yeah, this is really a coherent story." But I'm putting my money on me thinking, "I fucking hate this shit." (Mainly because I've said this several times already.)

Only 1 post away from the big celebration! Whee!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Murder by Death

Wow, the posts just keep coming. If I'm going to fast for you, let me know.

I wasn't quite sure how to post the pictures of the MBD show, so I created an album using my account at webshots.com, which you can view here.

The comments pretty much explain the pics, but I wanted to add a few things here.

1) The first two opening bands weren't bad, but the third (and unexpected) opening band was completely out of place. It was some hippie jam band who played trance music for what seemed like hours. I was so bored. What pissed me off the most about them was one of their guitar players was a whiny little brat who kept changing how his guitar sounded instead of just playing it.

2) In some of the pictures of Sarah there is an eerie owl-girl in the background. Try not to pay attention to her.

3) I love Sarah. And not in a creepy way.

Black History Month

My 100th post is quickly approaching, but so is the deadline for my first short story in W203. Due to its length, I will most likely have to break up the story into 2 or 3 sections, which worries me because I do not want one of those posts to be my 100th. I wish to celebrate my 100th post properly. Therefore, I will have to reach the milestone before I put up my story.

With that being said, I have decided to post my feelings on Black History Month. I was going back and forth on this because my beliefs on the issue aren't popular with a lot of people, regardless of race. (Not that a lot of people will read this anyway.) All I ask is that you read everything before you pass judgment. I will try to explain my point of view the best I can.

Although I knew Black History Month started out as "Negro History Week," I didn't know until I researched it, that this week in February was chosen because it contained both the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this week was expanded into the month-long celebration we know today as Black History Month. It was a move designed to do many things, the most important probably being to recognize forgotten black history makers and to help educate children on the importance of diversity.

Unfortunately, that is not what Black History Month is today. It is not a celebration; it is a marketing ploy and a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Every year I see a myriad of companies promoting Black History Month in their advertising, usually ending with the tagline, “Help us celebrate all year long.” The McDonald’s commercial from a few years back comes to mind. It was a simple commercial promoting diversity and it ended with the same request. “Help us celebrate black history all year long.” Care to guess when that commercial stopped airing? You got it, March 1st.

McDonald’s doesn’t give a damn about black history. All they want is for you to see that advertisement and think to yourself, “Gee, what a nice company. McDonald’s is a caring corporation.” If McDonald’s really cared, they would air the commercial in April, May, and June, right? Well, it’s not that simple.

If McDonald’s ran that advertisement in April, May, and June, this is what people would say. “It’s not even Black History Month. What is this commercial doing on television?” And believe it or not, people would write McDonald’s telling them that it’s not February and they screwed up by running this ad in a month that isn’t designated for black history. So what you see instead, are companies trying to exploit Black History Month for sales and/or a better image by running a bunch of diversity messages down your throat. Remember that nice Coca Cola commercial that ran during the Superbowl? Count how many times you see it after the next 8 days.

In the hall of a dining court I frequent, a bulletin board says, “A Day Without Black Inventors…” It goes on to list several inventions you already know by now were created by black individuals because that’s all you ever heard growing up. Every February I learned about the same three people; Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and Harriet Tubman. And that only lasted about 2 weeks total. It seemed as though once you got past the basic history of those three, you had done your duty as a teacher. Then I got to middle school and they added to those three a list of black inventors and their corresponding inventions.

At the high school level, and surely at the college level, I have seen more of an effort to educate, but it’s the same basic idea. It’s not that Parks, Dr. King, and Tubman aren't worthy to be exalted; I just don’t see much of an effort by any educative body to truly explore diversity and the historical impact made by black Americans. I’m not saying that we should teach the history of Huey Newton to children, because certainly no first-grader on the planet could comprehend the social impact or the importance of the Panthers or the Black Power Movement. All I’m saying is that more needs to be done.

To relegate black history to February goes against everything Black History Month is supposed to stand for. Garrett Morgan developed the gas mask and the traffic signal because he knew they were necessary devices. Revolutionaries like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael, among numerous others, stood on principles and changed things for the better. This is why they should be celebrated, not because they’re black.

Black history is American history and should be treated as such. It should be included in textbooks alongside European history, Asian American history, and every other people’s history. While I fear that centuries of European ethnocentrism will not allow this to happen any time soon, (for reasons too multiple and complex to be listed) I hope that the second month of each year can simply be known as February and not as the only month it is acceptable to discuss the immeasurable impact of a countless number of black Americans.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Oh boy!

Wanna know something neat about February? It was this month last year that I started my blog! Yay! Happy birthday, akenny47.blogspot.com!! (Note: akenny47.blogspot.com's actual birthday is Feb. 12, 2006, but he had been misbehaving so I delayed throwing him a birthday party until now.)

We've made it so far and yet there is such a bright future ahead of us. I have no idea what's in store for us and I couldn't be more excited!

Will we have someone else threaten to sue us?!
Will there be posts during the summer?!
Will any post be of any relevance to anyone?!

Wow, I'm on pins and needles.

Here are just some of the things to look forward to...

1) My 100th Post. (This is 96 I think.)

2) Both of my 10-12 page fiction stories for W203.

3) My 21st birthday post. (Hopefully it won't be as depressing as the 20th.)

4) Coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

5) Potential collaboration with Thoughts of a Swan? (I actually don't know if this one is even possible.)

6) More neato videos.

7) Pictures of the Murder by Death show.

8) Zombie puppy updates and/or warnings.

9) Other stuff.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

W203 Sixth Assignment

This week the prompt was entitled, "Speaking and Moving." Here it is...

Write a scene in which two characters are involved in doing something – stage business – such as repairing something, painting a room, doing the dishes, giving someone a hair cut. The scene should be primarily dialogue mixed with some description of the action the two are engaged in. The dialogue should have some tension, perhaps one character is trying to get something from the other or has a secret that they want to confess but can’t find the right way to do it. Explore how various activities and settings can change what happens in a scene. For example, what happens when characters are planning their honeymoon while they are painting an apartment or while one of them is cutting the other’s hair? Concentrate on interweaving dialogue with body language.

While tempting, I picked something a little more daring than haircuts. Here is my story.

It had only been a short while since they started working together, but anyone with eyes would’ve sworn they were brothers. They were known to pretend as such, hassling new stewards and stewardesses in the airport bars before flights. Brown, immaculately coiffed hair sat atop both their heads, each with a set of brown eyes so pure you’d get lost for days if you weren’t careful about how you looked at them. Perfectly horizontal wing pins pierced the lapels of their lintless suits that seemed custom fitted for each man’s physique.

Every day Ryan would be waiting on Kyle as he strolled in for flight check with another excuse. It had become a routine.

“What’ll it be this time?” Ryan asked.

“Be happy I’m even dressed today,” Kyle said. “My friend Amy had a birthday party last night and I woke up hour ago with my hand in Pen’s fishbowl.”

“Ouch. You’re in for a long day, my friend. We got a layover in Phoenix before we even take off for L.A.

“Let’s just get this over with.”

Ryan had always known, the part he couldn’t figure out was why Kyle never confided in him. The way he carried his bag; the way he sauntered up the on-ramp; the way his hand caressed his hip as they greeted passengers. It’s not that Ryan had a problem with it. The problem, as he saw it, was that his best friend didn’t care enough to tell him something so personal. That was going to change today.

The morning hours passed in a hurry and before Ryan was even completely sure this was the right thing to do, there they were, imprisoned between the flight panel and first class. Ryan didn’t remember takeoff or making the pre-flight announcements, all he could think about was how to not sound like a fool when he broached the subject.

“So that guy in the brown blazer was pretty handsome, wouldn’t you say?” Ryan asked.

He immediately bit his lip and turned away.

“Excuse me?” Kyle replied.

“I’m just saying. I thought he was pretty handsome.”

“Well, don’t be shy. Tell him how you feel.”

Ryan wiped his hands on his knees and re-gripped the yoke.

“Look, I know, okay? And I don’t care.”

“Know what?”

“I know that thing you haven’t told me about yet.”

Kyle scrunched his face and mouthed the words to himself. He looked like a first grader trying to calculate a logarithm.

“How many did you have before we took off?” Kyle asked.

“You can stop being coy,” Ryan said. “I know what’s going on.”

“Please enlighten me, Ryan, because I have no idea what’s going on.”

“You’re gay. You’re gay and I don’t care, I just wish you would have told me.”

What?!

Kyle threw his hands in the hair, for an instant neglecting the yoke and the plane dipped quickly yet violently. When he regained control he continued his protest.

“How could you think I’m gay?!”

“You don’t have to be ashamed. It’s not a big deal.”

“It’s a big deal to me because I’m not gay!”

“Just stop, alright? I’m around you a lot, I’ve seen your mannerisms, I know and I don’t have a problem with it.”

“My mannerisms?! What’s gay about my mannerisms?!”

“You know...The way you carry your bag. The way you walk. I just picked up on it. All I want to know is why you felt the need to hide it from me.”

Kyle’s head darted back and forth as if searching for an answer.

“First off, I’m not hiding anything from you because I’m not gay. I repeat - I am not gay. Second, my bag is heavy and it’s got that funny strap on it, I don’t know how else to hold it. And what exactly about my walk is effeminate?!”

“Are you screwing with me or are you really not gay?”

“I’m not gay, Ryan! Geez! I can’t believe my best friend thinks I’m gay!”

Ryan scratched his head and breathed out loud through his nose.

“Well, I don’t know what to say. I guess I’m sorry.”

“You guess?! You guess you’re sorry?!”

“Hey look, it was an honest mistake. I mean even if you were gay it wouldn’t be the end of the world.”

Kyle scoffed at the suggestion and shook his head.

“Hell, it may as well be. Lord knows there’s no place in Heaven for a faggot.”

Ryan opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out; his mouth was just as shocked as his ears. The plane landed in Phoenix, refueled, reloaded, and took off for Los Angeles, while the beeping and buzzing of the instruments and the voice of ground control was the only thing to break the silence.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Return of the Zombie Puppies

I don't want to alarm anyone, but Shaina and I have been talking recently and we think that the zombie puppies may be putting their evil plan of attack into action. (See email below)

Not knowing where else to turn, I once again asked Congressman Souder for help. I know he wasn't exactly there for me last time, but if he, as a Republican, wishes to keep his seat in the House of Representatives, he must start reaching out to his constituents. As you read the email, I think you'll see that I am being very reasonable and level-headed about the War on Zombie Puppies.

"Dear Congressman Souder,

As you may remember, last April I warned you about the threat of zombie puppies. Their
cuteness is equaled only by their thirst for blood and, as you can imagine, if this
problem is left unattended, we're all doomed. While clearly the invasion has not yet
begun, my good friend Shaina and I believe that the attack is imminent. In fact, Shaina
believes that the evil zombie puppies may have already infiltrated the borders of
Indiana. I believe her. You see, the terrible weather currently pounding the state serves
as a distraction for us humans and when the snow melts... You got it. Zombie puppies.
It's so clever and yet so simple.

Please, I implore you to urge the president not to send more troops to Iraq, but instead
to keep them at home. We'll certainly need them. I hope this message reaches you before
it's too late. Godspeed, Sir.

Sincerely,
Alex Kenny"

Much to my amazement, I have not yet received a response. Why aren't these government types working 24/7? Do they not realize that terror sleeps for no one?

Just in case you forgot what to look out for, I have reinserted Shaina's rendering of the zombie puppies followed by mine.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What I'm Watching Now

I decided that since I know how to embed videos now I may as well turn it into a regular feature so you know what I'm watching. Cause it's sure not porn! Haha...ha...

(Awkward silence)

Anyway, hopefully you haven't seen these before and hopefully you find them neat.

Clip 1!
This skit pretty much sets itself up.


Clip 2!
This is one of the better impressions I've ever heard and it's certainly the best Denzel impression. Enjoy. (Thanks Dane!)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

W203 Fifth Assignment

Here is this week's writing prompt...

Write a scene, involving only one character, who is uncomfortable in his or her surroundings: socially inept, frightened, revolted, homesick. Using active verbs in your description of the setting, build forceful conflict between the person and the place. Use concrete details: what objects are in the place, what “setting pieces,” what are the smells, what do things feel like to touch, what are the sounds?

The phrase "uncomfortable in his or her surroundings" made me think of my friend Zach for some reason. I don't really know why, but he's the first thing that came to my mind. I told this to my good buddy Dane (also a friend of Zach) and he suggested I write about Zach in his own home, which, if you have ever been there, would most certainly make you uncomfortable. This is what I came up with.

After a long week of tests and presentations, Zach was ready to enjoy the weekend. Knowing his father was on a romantic getaway with the woman Zach affectionately referred to as “Brace Face,” he called his friend Andrew to see if he would come over, but there was no response. Zach groaned aloud as he pulled into his driveway, but he wasn’t about to let anything ruin this much needed break from school. He entered the house and tossed his backpack to the side, determined not to look at it until Monday morning. As he stood in the foyer he could feel the stress start to melt away and he contemplated what he should do first. Amid the silence of the house, it was easy to hear his stomach growl and Zach knew instantly how he would start his weekend.

He meandered down the hall, avoiding the shoes and piles of clothes, and made his way across the kitchen’s unmopped, food-stained tiles. If he didn’t know his house as well as he did, Zach would’ve sworn someone had ransacked the place. The clutter of empty potato chip bags and fruit snacks boxes on the countertop had amassed to twice its normal size and the dishes were stacked so high they resembled the Tower of Pisa. Zach wanted to clean up, but that would require physical exertion and this weekend was all about relaxation. He pushed enough trash aside to get to the novelty cookie jar and saw a family of roaches scatter off the opposite end of the counter. Zach had never heard himself shriek so obnoxiously. He knew he was alone, but was still embarrassed by his reaction. “Settle down!” Zach yelled out. “It’s leisure time!”

“Da-da-da-da-don’t be such a pig!” Porky exclaimed as Zach lifted off the swine’s head. “Empty,” Zach said with disappointment. He turned around, his heart still racing from the insect incident, and reached up for a glass. He grabbed a hold of the first one he felt and was immediately disgusted. The moss-coated glass flew from his hand and shattered on the floor, the fungi still gripping each piece of glass. Zach gagged as he repeatedly wiped his hand on his jeans, trying to rid himself of the sickening feel. He toed the smaller pieces under the overhang of the cabinets and scooped the larger pieces into his hands. He felt like throwing up again.

He dumped the shards into the rust covered sink next to the spoons so sharp with crusted food they could be used as knives. “So gross,” he said to no one in particular as he turned on the faucet. After a short pause, yellowish water sprayed in every direction as if exploding from a cannon and Zach slipped on a candy bar wrapper trying to avoid it. His face hit hard on the linoleum and his glasses slid under the refrigerator. He awoke a very short time later not realizing why he was on the floor. As he assessed the situation, his memory came back. Disheartened at the way his weekend had begun, Zach simply sat up, disoriented and frustrated, and felt his bruised chin, wondering how much more it’d hurt if he didn’t have a beard. He was unsure how he’d retrieve his glasses as he could barely make out which object was the fridge. He settled on the blurry white thing, but became incredibly nervous as he crawled over to it. What would happen when he stuck his arm under there? Would another insect scurry out? Would he cut himself on glass? What lie beneath this food-storing monster?

Zach took a second to focus and then slowly marched his fingers across the dust. The first thing he hit was his glasses and he yelped like an excited puppy as he pulled them out. Zach cleaned the glasses with his shirt and felt a sense of relief as he put them on. But the relief turned to grief the second he opened the refrigerator door. The odor of rancid cottage cheese and malodorous Mahi mahi swept into Zach’s nostrils causing him to vomit on his Nikes and he slammed the door closed as quickly as he could. He wiped the remaining puke from his mouth and wished as hard as he could that when he opened the freezer, all he would see was a delicious Jack’s frozen pizza. Unfortunately there was nothing but frost and a cold breeze that slapped him across the face. Zach closed the freezer door and laid his black, spidery head of hair against it. He heard his stomach again, only this time it wasn’t so much of a growl as it was a cry for help. He settled for a sleeve of Saltines that lay atop the refrigerator and sulked over to the couch. As he bit into the stale, dry cracker he noticed the calendar on the wall. Today was Thursday.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm technologically retarded

Isn't it sad that I just realized how to embed videos? So here's some more...

My video project for J210. (Thanks Bobby and Anna!)


Lance Bennett's "Get in the Game" video from last year. I can be seen at 2:30 through 2:28 in the background wearing a hat and holding my coat.


Don't you just love the internet?

Hate-filled candy bars



I would just like to know how this Snickers ad "condones violence against gay Americans."

The prejudice argument is somewhat of a stretch, but I can understand it. But condoning violence? It seems like GLAAD would have more important things to focus on than watching Superbowl ads and crying over nonexistent discrimination. I don't know, they just act so queer sometimes...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

W203 Fourth Assignment

Let me first say how happy I am that IU beat Wisconsin. That was possibly the greatest sports night of my life. I've experienced an atmosphere like that very few times and it never gets old.

Okay, on to the assignment. This week I was supposed to write a short-short, which in literary terms is basically just a very short story and is generally written in some obscure fashion. Unfortunately, last night I was suffering from the worst case of writer's block I've ever had. I couldn't find inspiration in anything. Among many other things, I considered writing about these...
  • I looked at my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jacket and thought, "What if I write about how if not exposed to the liquid mutagen and not taught martial arts they'd just be regular adolescent turtles."
  • Although I mention it in my story, I actually considered writing an entire story using puns. The story centered around a horse who only asked questions and a bear who only responded in puns. I was going to call it, "The Worst Thing I've Ever Written in my Life."
  • I almost wrote a story entitled "Bad Decision" where a snowman went to the beach. However, instead of him melting, a crab would have pinched his carrot nose as he lie tanning. This was stupid, illogical, and difficult to set up. I only decided against it only b/c of the difficulty in crafting the story. I don't care about stupidity or logicality.
  • I actually wrote part of a story that centered around 2 unicorns aboard Noah's Ark. At first you just think they are two people on a cruise, but when the other passengers kill them, Noah makes it clear that no one is to talk about the unicorns' death. I found it hard to establish the relationship of the unicorns and eventually decided against this too.
By now it's at least 5:30 in the morning and I would have been pissed off if I weren't so damn tired. I eventually threw together this piece of garbage and got to bed at a time I will not disclose. During class, my peer reviewers told me they both really liked it; I politely disagreed with them. Try your best not to hate it.


As your eyelids grow heavy and your fingers go numb you pray to God that it’ll be over soon. You’ve ran the gauntlet of human emotions, but you’ve settled on frustration. Anger was fun. Not as fun as indifference though. You blacked out after hopelessness set in and woke up only to find everything hilarious. Help is nowhere to be found and you finally understand that you’re all alone. You’ve sought your past for inspiration and it mocked you. You’ve done it so many times before and yet you can’t figure out why in the hell it’s so difficult now. Everything you do and everything you touch feels foreign. If not for its permanence, death would be a fine way out. You wonder where your creativity went and if you’re still as smart as you used to be. You realize you’re not when you’ve lost all your motor skills and the ability to read. Sadness rears its ugly head when you remember that there is a tomorrow and it’s not going to be nice to you. Tears follow. You grow weary but get knocked back into consciousness when your head hits hickory. You’ve shot down every idea. Nothing you’ve done is good enough. You’re a failure. The clock laughs at you and the emptiness taunts you, but you can’t fight back. All you can hope for is that you are still coherent enough to piece together real words. You actually considered writing a story using only puns. What an awful person you are. Now you’re literally talking to yourself. Stop it. You think you’ve just documented your writer’s block when in reality you have no idea if any of what you’ve written makes a lick of sense. You started out wanting to write something insightful and poignant, but you know you haven’t. You remain hollow even after you’ve somehow managed to fill the page.