new writing in long forma proper archive for this site

dear brainfixer,
sorry to hear about your cat dying, and i'm especially sorry that i accused your cat of already being dead last time i saw it. she was old and noble, if perhaps a little ratty in her final days.

i have had strange sleepless fits of dreaming, all about death and guilt and not the usual symbols of immasculation that usually occupy my subconscious. and then, today, i found out someone who was once pretty close to me has also died. her and your cat. all this death, is it just a coincidence? just in case, keep your distance.
- I FELL APART ON 31 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
my optometrist, who once called Little Nicky a silver screen masterpiece, has lately had to resort to near-desperate measures in order to procure companions for movie outings. he even developed a money-back guarantee plan which he occasionally offers to close friends. it works like this: you agree to attend a movie you would otherwise avoid like herpes (e.g. Freddy Got Fingered, Joe Dirt or, in my case, a late-night double feature of both aforementioned films) and pay your admission. then, on the ride home or at a bar afterwards you negotiate the terms of your money-back guarantee. you determine, with as much fairness as possible, the actual worth of the movies against the price of admission and then request the difference. for example, when i attended the Freddy/Dirt double feature i paid 18 dollars admission and received 14 in return. (my standards are terribly low, which is good news for my optometrist. and i actually allotted all four dollars to Freddy Got Fingered simply because i was so astounded it was greenlighted, produced, marketed, test-screened, and released. a coup on every front.)

last night, however, i had to raise the stakes. in order to swallow the enormous lump of pride required to see Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, i had to change the payment plan - an unprecedented move. not wanting to get caught up in emotional factors like sympathy (such as feeling selfish for requesting all your money back) or other financial grifts (having the price of admission reimbursed in trade - lager, barbecued pork, etc.), i came up with a new pricing structure: "PAY AS YOU LEAVE."

(the idea came from one of my favorite Our Gang shorts in which spanky cajoled local kids to attend their production of Romeo and Juliet by suggesting they pay admission at the end of show, and only if they felt it was worth the ticket price. )

after enduring this left-over from the mid-80s starring, written by and produced by the same man responsible for creating thought crimes like Ace Ventura II, The Nutty Professor II, and Patch Adams, i think my optometrist rightfully expected nothing back except perhaps a throat punch. but at the end of the night, when he dropped me off, i decided to leave him five dollars. he seemed pretty shocked and wondered out loud, "why???" i shrugged and responded, "i laughed," and then exited the vehicle. i'm still not sure if paying 5 dollars for laughing at this film was his reward or my punishment.
- I FELL APART ON 29 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
my optometrist, who once called Little Nicky a silver screen masterpiece, has lately had to resort to near-desperate measures in order to procure companions for movie outings. he even developed a money-back guarantee plan which he occasionally offers to close friends. it works like this: you agree to attend a movie you would otherwise avoid like herpes (e.g. Freddy Got Fingered, Joe Dirt or, in my case, a late-night double feature of both aforementioned films) and pay your admission. then, on the ride home or at a bar afterwards you negotiate the terms of your money-back guarantee. you determine, with as much fairness as possible, the actual worth of the movies against the price of admission and then request the difference. for example, when i attended the Freddy/Dirt double feature i paid 18 dollars admission and received 14 in return. (my standards are terribly low, which is good news for my optometrist. and i actually allotted all four dollars to Freddy Got Fingered simply because i was so astounded it was greenlighted, produced, marketed, test-screened, and released. a coup on every front.)

last night, however, i had to raise the stakes. in order to swallow the enormous lump of pride required to see Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, i had to change the payment plan - an unprecedented move. not wanting to get caught up in emotional factors like sympathy (such as feeling selfish for requesting all your money back) or other financial grifts (having the price of admission reimbursed in trade - lager, barbecued pork, etc.), i came up with a new pricing structure: "PAY AS YOU LEAVE."

(the idea came from one of my favorite Our Gang shorts in which spanky cajoled local kids to attend their production of Romeo and Juliet by suggesting they pay admission at the end of show, and only if they felt it was worth the ticket price. )

after enduring this left-over from the mid-80s starring, written by and produced by the same man responsible for creating thought crimes like Ace Ventura II, The Nutty Professor II, and Patch Adams, i think my optometrist rightfully expected nothing back except perhaps a throat punch. but at the end of the night, when he dropped me off, i decided to leave him five dollars. he seemed pretty shocked and wondered out loud, "why???" i shrugged and responded, "i laughed," and then exited the vehicle. i'm still not sure if paying 5 dollars for laughing at this film was his reward or my punishment.
- I FELL APART ON 29 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
had a wonderful time in philadelphia last night. the reading was, it seemed, a lovely success. i do wish i'd brought my glasses so i could have seen the audience wincing or squirming or drinking faster when i was at the mic. i also wish i'd brought my tape recorder - a constant problem for me. tape recorders have the same role in my life as coupons: they both seem like a really great idea until it comes time to have sex and i realize i've forgotten them.

my hosts were kind and, better still, i got to hear an excellent piece of fiction by the other reader featured that night. you never know what you're going to get and it's such a relief to get something that good. thanks to everyone for laughing and double-thanks for not leaving the room when i returned to the mic at the end of the evening, announced how completely (and truthfully) drunk i was, and proceeded to read another piece. that is such a deadly combination of events, as we all know.
- I FELL APART ON 28 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
everyone always wants to say this but now i can say it will complete confidence: art is dead. my evidence? the wim delvoye installation at the new museum of contemporary art. while i have a sideways admiration for the concept - removing the digestion and waste excretion process from the human body and re-creating it, step by step, through machinery - the results are still the same: shit. (and in this case, the shit-making process is not limited to a small, manageable human container; it requires an entire room filled with shiny equipment.

purely by coincidence, hut and i arrived at the prime time to see this exhibit. the machine takes a shit once daily, at 2:30, and we'd purchased our museum admission at 2:15. by 2:20 a small crowd of art-lovers and scatologists had amassed at the last station of delvoye's gigantic shit-making mechanism and by 2:23 the machine proved itself very human-like: it extruded its first pile of smelly dung an unpredictable seven minutes early.

I am pretty sure the irony of paying museum admission and hanging out for ten full minutes, waiting for a machine to move its bowels, didn't escape anyone gathered around to witness it. However, I still couldn't help wanting to scream at the top of my lungs, "is this what our freedom bought us?" I resisted, though, because I was too transfixed by the artificial poop.
- I FELL APART ON 27 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
the new Cornelius album, Point, was released this week. and just in time, my review of it is available in this week's New Times Los Angeles.
- I FELL APART ON 25 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
today i oversaw my first-ever casting call, for voice-over talent. there were a few people in casting call i recognized, from friendships or from my seat in the audience at comedy clubs. it was a strange experience and, because of my inexperience, i remained silent for most of the proceedings. to detract attention from my silence i wore thick-framed glasses to indicate to the performers that i am a writer and therefore have no opinion.

however, when i did manage to open my mouth with encouragement or direction (they were reading a script i wrote, after all), i learned a few important lessons about decorum during casting sessions. for instance:

  • never tell the actor "read through it the first time using your own instincts and then i'll tell you how terrible it was."
  • if you want to eat an entire box of cracker jacks and then shout out "who wants a temporary tattoo??" you should make sure to wait until the actor has finished her read-through.
  • even if you weren't pleased with a particular talent, reserve your opinion until she has left the room. this includes resisting the temptation to yell, "what smells like shit in here?" immediately following her read-through. (extra note: after yelling "what smells like shit in here?" it's even more damaging to hold up a copy of the talent's head shot and point to it. she gets the point.)
  • when the talent asks exactly what you're looking for in a performance, do not slowly remove your glasses, place them on the desk, reach for a cup of hot coffee, and slowly pour it over your genitals while never breaking your gaze with the talent. less experienced actors will simply not get it.
  • "less fucked" is not adequate direction
  • nor is "more canadian"

i hope we've all learned something.
- I FELL APART ON 23 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i just ate some raw broccoli rabe by mistake and the experience inspired me to investigate the origins of this vegetable hybrid. in my research i came across a book titled The Proud Mushroom: Vegetarian Origin Tales of the Iroquois Indians. here is an excerpt:

The twin brothers of broccoli, Rabe and Floret, are urinating in the Great Garden of Waloo, the Farm Spirit governing all things which grow and please our tongues. Waloo chances upon them, consumed by a great wrath.

WALOO:
"What is this? Who dares desecrate the Great Garden of Waloo??"

FLORET:
"Dude, lighten up. What we are doing is most natural so why don't you go police someone else, you fascist."

RABE:
"Easy, brother. Don't make him mad. That's Waloo. He watches over this sacred place."

WALOO:
"That is right! I am WALOO!!! And now you must be punished for your crime!"

RABE:
"Oh I knew it. Why did i listen to you? You are such a jerk. We will be most fucked now."

FLORET:
"Shh. Don't worry. I know how to handle these spirits. (to Waloo) Oh most benevelonet Waloo, we are totally sorry. But please consider this. There was only one crime, so should there not be only one punishment?"

WALOO:
"Hmmm...yes. Waloo is firm but fair. Therefore only one of you will be punished but the punishment will be severe. While one brother may enjoy a long life of excellent taste, pleasing all tongues, and will grow a reputation as a most noble vegetable, a savoir even to those who detest all other vegetables, the other shall wither. He shall grow into a cruel shape and curse every mouth he enters, filling it with the foul taste of urine. That is Waloo's judgement! So which of you shall it be?"

RABE:
"I could never decide that. I would not betray my brother."

FLORET:
"Um, punish Rabe."

WALOO:
"So it shall be!!!"

RABE:
(to Floret) "You are such a dick."

THE END
- I FELL APART ON 22 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
do you like the written word but wish you didn't have to bother with all that messy, sweaty reading? well, i'm listening.

if you live in the philadelphia area (or nowhere near it but are crazy enough to travel there) you can see, hear, and feel me delivering written words to you directly and vocally, and to hell with reading.

the spoken word evening is part of an Open Letters series (this is the third in the bunch, i've been told) and i'll be one of two featured writers. (the other is a fancy-pants british poet named matthew hart and i'm sure he'll be fancing up the place just enough for me to wreck it thoughtfully) here are the event details:

date: January 27th
time: 8pm
location: Fergie's Pub

the event has been well-attended in the past and previous readings have featured paul tough (from npr) and neal pollack, so i'm in dangerously good company. come, drink, and etc.
- I FELL APART ON 20 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i was reading someone's web site earlier today because i really like to keep up with the "cyber" community. that's just my style. anyway, this individual had a feedback area where the readers of his/her site were invited to comment on the many witticisms and personal observations posted each and every day. i think this is a nice feature - sort of avoids the weirdness associated with a single person (such as myself) screaming into space, possibly without audience. (sounds even more like me now) to me, an observation or an opinion needs the extra ballast of outside perspective.

most of the comments amounted to things like "YOU GO, GIRL!" and "THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING BUT I'M GLAD YOU SAID IT FIRST SO I COULD SPEND MORE TIME PLAYING THIS TEXT-BASED, ROLE-PLAYING PC QIDDITCH GAME. AND I CONCUR WITH THE PREVIOUS POST: GO, GIRL. GO, INDEED!" they weren't constructive, with the occasional exception, but they weren't harmful.

then one young miscreant came in and spoiled all the fun. he offered a contrary opinion. it was met with much grumbling, more than i thought necessary. it was as if placing this negative post on the message board was like having the wait staff at TGI Friday's sing "happy birthday" to you, followed by one of them standing up on your table and taking a shit on your jalapeno poppers. but the negative opinion and the backlash about it made me think, "hey, this is what the world is really like. this is what people mean when they talk about the online community mirroring the actual, eye-to-eye community. oh-ho! what a marvelous thing, this world wide internet."

i was rejoicing like that until i saw something posted by the author of the site, and of the original comment that produced so much hoopla inthe first place. the author admonished the negative-poster, advised him to go away, explaining that this was not a place for people like him. then the author directed the poster to a disturbingly long site policy which explicitly states that player haters should simply not spend any time on this site and, as an alternative, perhaps go take their hateful selves to a more appropriate forum, like disney's blast. wow.

reading that, and the other users' rallying behind it, i became despondent and needed a drink. it seemed so totally contrary to this notion of community. the very idea - setting up a feedback area that only invites positive feedback - is a little crazy, is it not? i'll use the birthday party analogy again because i just finished reading Richard Scarry's Big Book of Birthday Party Analogies and it's fresh in my head. creating a climate that only encourages the kind of talkback that reinforces your own opinion and makes you feel exactly as you'd like to feel at all times is not unlike sending out birthday party invitations with explicit instructions for each guest detailing what each person is required to buy you for your birthday.

to me, the most interesting aspect of life is not knowing what you're getting, and your reaction to that. what kind of place would this be without the extremists and wackos? your ability to deal with detractors is far more admirable than your ability to handle a bunch of yes-men. and if you're really troubled by a possible inability to exert complete control over your community, why pretend to create one? if i only wanted to hear positive things about me - and, probably more to the point, if i only wanted others to read positive things about me in a public forum - i wouldn't even offer a public feedback mechanism. oh wait. i don't offer a public feedback mechanism. now you know everything.

tell me how awesome i am, won't you? (right now i'm making a sweet pouty face and i just made a stinky in my diaper. what's not to love?)
- I FELL APART ON 18 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i know it's a little late for "best-of" lists from 2001 but something i overheard this morning reminded me of last year. so here:

THE TWO SCARIEST WORDS OF 2001:

  • anthrax
  • re-org

- I FELL APART ON 16 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i was never much for instruction manuals. i always preferred to learn things the old-fashioned way, from a hooker. that has all changed recently. in the same day i purchased four separate "how-to" books: how to master photoshop 6; how to use a canon rebel 2000 slr camera; how to make effective zombie juice using household items; and how to survive a zombie mutiny.

the canon rebel book has been especially useful. prior to this past holiday season of gift-givery the only cameras i owned were a fussy all-manual pentax k1000, an enviable velveeta cheese brand 110 camera (no flash - just a glorified pinhole camera), and an adorable, if useless, izone. i'd often thought of wearing them all stuffed in the various pockets of a professional photographer's vest, which would make me look super-crazy. then i realized i could just get one of those slick photographer t-shirts that make it look like you're wearing a photo vest and camera. (a lesser known cousin to the tuxedo t-shirt) anyway, getting the new camera was a big deal and even though it is a standard 35mm camera and not a digital box (because i am very punk rock) there is a ton to get used to. hence, the manual.

the manual has proven helpful in a number of ways. it has helped me understand the uses of the camera's many different "scene" modes and all the variables that can be mastered within each one. it has also helped me learn to laugh again. but one area that has been really discouraging is the manual's color photo section. the book relegates several pages to high-color images meant to illustrate the marvelous efffects that can be achieved through each different scene setting on the camera. unfortunately, this is a typical example provided by the book. what happened here? this book just came out within the last two years, i believe. so what gives with this photograph? did zalman king snap some candids at his last birthday party? i swear i ordered a canon rebel 2000, and not a canon rebel 1984.

(has anyone else noticed that i'm riffing like david spade right now? who loves this? just for the record, i think ally mcbeal needs an ally mcmeal. am i right?)
- I FELL APART ON 16 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i had actually written a really long dissertation on the trend set by The Sixth Sense in which grizzled old formerly handsome leading men gone terribly wrong are ressurected professionally by supernatural thrillers with chilling tag lines. ("i see dead people", "i'll never tell", etc.) then i decided to scrap the whole thing because all i really wanted to say was this:

"WHAT'S IN MY HAND?"

"HHHHHHHHHHHHHA...chapstick."

what happened here?
- I FELL APART ON 15 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
when i was younger and my brow smoother, i found this great little book in a thrift mall in seattle. it was a slim, hard-bound volume with an embossed cover bearing the image of a boy in profile and the words "I DARE YOU!" the book was written in 1941 by William H. Danforth, the founder of Ralston Purina Co., and contained self-help lessons for pesonal success. the lessons were based on things like posture, listening skills, and a proper cereal-based diet (of course - it seems it was written at a time in american history when all the best personal health and psychological advice was being dispensed by leaders of the cereal and grain industries.).

as a 25 year-old at the height of my ironic awareness, i fell in love with the book for all the wrong reasons. it was beautiful and mysterious, like some kind of collection of masonic scriptures, and filled with arcane knowledge that begged to be intoned with exaggerated sarcasm to an audience of goateed, chai-drinking friends. "oh, gosh. i wonder why he wants me to eat a bowl of rice chex every morning. i really can't imagine." i left that book in the thrift store that day, for reasons unknown to me at the time, but it soon came back to me in the form of a gift from the very person who witnessed my initial overjoyed discovery. (it still remains one of my favorite gifts of all time, for its high points in the categories of thoughtfulness, nostalgia, and circumstance.)

i always assumed I Dare You!, with its weird design and insistent exclamation points throughout, was the work of an outmoded crackpot, detailing a corporate value system that held no significance today. the original cove design was actually featured, as i later discovered, in a photograph from another book i own - david byrne's Strange Rituals. that kind of context just confirmed to me its status as a cultural relic.

but i was mistaken. I Dare You! is actually still being published today, albeit with a much less interesting cover design. (the updated cover art is deceiving. it makes it look like one of those futuristic, alien-race self-help books that have been left to us by the pyramid-builders.) even stranger to me is the fact that many well-informed people genuinely subscribe to the ideas within I Dare You!, citing its philosophy alongside Ayn Rand and Ralph Waldo Emerson. danforth's words have even inspired a leadership conference and student scholarship foundation.

all of this has made think about how interesting it is that one person's source of winking ridicule can be another person's prescription for self-improvement. it makes me wonder why simplicity never really worked for me. perhaps it's because i was always too busy insulting other people's beliefs. you would be surprised how much time that consumes. (he says as he lovingly strokes his collection of biblical action figures.)
- I FELL APART ON 15 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
there was an interesting article in The New Yorker a couple weeks ago about the film A Beautiful Mind. (have you ever noticed that any anecdote about a new yorker story begins with, "there was in an interesting article in the new yorker..."?) the story touched on the movie's cleaned-up-for-ron-howard-hollywood infidelities with the actual, true-life story of dr. john nash and sort of blamed the movie's shortcomings on these infidelities. according to sylvia nasar's biography (upon which the film was loosely based), nash was a slightly more complicated figure than the film would have us believe. in fact, he was once arrested for "indecent exposure" after soliciting sex from another man in a public restroom. (does not compute. repeat. does not compute. i thought he loved his sexy, math-smart wife, jennifer connelly.)

i read a very authentic-sounding and very conspiratorial defense for the film's absence of reality, in regards to nash's sexual identity problems. the company line seems to be that there was a concern about people in "middle america" (those poor people get blamed for everything that is dumbed down in america, incidentally) associating nash's bisexuality with his mental disorders. nice. but wouldn't it have been interesting to pitch the movie according to the actual events in this character's life? (and i think it might go a little something like this...)

brilliant and unconventional mathematician does ground-breaking work on game theory while still a graduate student at princeton university. math genius later takes on a series of male lovers and mistresses, impregnating one out of wedlock, and eventually loses his mind to schizophrenia, causing him to act reckless, paranoid and creepy, and totally disabling him from completing any more useful work for the rest of his life. after haunting princeton library for a while looking very much like a homeless person or forgotten man, and scaring students and faculty alike, he finally shares a nobel prize in economics in 1994, 45 years after his initial work was completed. ta-da.

somehow i don't think it would have impressed studio executives the way pitches for Hearts of Atlantis did. in a way i understand ron howard's strategically bland decision, but in a way i also love really crazy people acting crazy all the time.

p.s. in what i will now call 2001's worst film trend (since vanilla sky set a precedent), the movie had another stinking Return of the Jedi ending, complete with ethereal figures giving the protagonist the thumbs-up before the curtain falls. somebody please call the ghostbusters. and while you're on the phone, please call the booty doctor cause someone just shot me in the booty.
- I FELL APART ON 14 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
the taste of good n plenty candies reminds me of the facts: i love candy and i love my mother but my mother does not love candy. in fact, the only candy i've ever seen my mom really enjoy is black licorice. some people regard black licorice as the anti-sweet, since there is nothing especially fun about black candy with a flavor you should be able to squeeze from tree bark.

there is a reason my mother chose black licorice above all others was simple: it helped her move her bowels. my mother was fairly vocal about this; not aggressive but plainly, certainly vocal. she kept a large bag of black licorice Switzers (i could be mistaken about this name, but they were the poor man's Twizzler ) in the food pantry, from which she would occasionally sneak a long whip - as the situation required, i suppose. my brother, sister and i would fight over nearly every morsel of sugared or pop-fried treats hidden all over the house, preferring to make ourselves sick on Little Debbie Star Crunch Cosmic Snacks or Dipsy Doodles rather than deal with the disappointment of discovering someone else had finished them off first. however, no matter how cutthroat our behavior, no one gave a small rat's ass about my mom's poop-inducing black licorice Switzers. she could have as many as she wanted and derive from them whatever specific and unspeakable pleasure she chose.

so, here i am, in the middle of the day, eating candy and thinking about my mom moving her bowels. i am not sure i'm making as much progress in these sessions as i'd hoped. let's make this a point of discussion for our next session; this time i promise i'll complete my homework and leave all shakras open.
- I FELL APART ON 11 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
attention everyone who insists on calling Vanilla Sky a "total mind-fuck": you need to get laid more often. i found it to be a really interesting idea - the self-delusional son of privilege for once learning the grim importance of the consequences of our actions - resolved with embarrassing simplicity.

if my mind was getting fucked during Vanilla Sky, it was the most telegraphed fucking of all time. the movie treats its audience thusly: "hey, i'm fucking you right now. check me out. see this? this is going to be important later on in the fucking. did you miss it? well here it is again, for a longer amount of time. you are totally getting fucked, dude. uh oh. here comes a move i like to call 'the carolina sneak'. how's that grab you? here. this is a diagram of how i just performed that move. is this a great fucking or what? oh. you want me to stop? you say you 'get it'? ha ha. ok. let me just climb off your brain and play a cool sigur ros song and then i'll be out of your hair, ok? sorry. seriously, sorry. oh hey - did you notice that part when i was - oh? you did? um, ok. i'll get the lights."

(p.s. this is a special shout-out to anyone who has seen the film already - wasn't there something remarkably familiar about the final scene of the film? add some world music and a roomful of drunk, dancing ewoks and it would feel exactly like the conclusion to Return of the Jedi.)
- I FELL APART ON 10 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
sweet lord, the web is making me laugh again. of course it's mostly because of previously existing, non-web personalities and content but still! it's nice to find ripples of fun in a medium where windows xp parodies and imac parodies and segway human transporter parodies are considered as good as it gets. i don't know, though: the things that make me laugh are not necessarily going to be the things that make a slightly overweight, mountain dew addicted SQL programmer fall out of his chair laughing. (ironically, one of the things that makes me laugh hardest is seeing a slightly overweight SQL programmer fall out of his chair.)

first, i just discovered that bob odenkirk and david cross (the team that created the last truly great sketch comedy show, mr. show) have launched their official site to promote their comedy together and separately, and their staunch, orthodox religious beliefs. the site seems very new (some links don't work) but has a lot of information on their stand-up, their upcoming movie Run Ronnie, Run, and a good measure of funny bullshit, including david's "what a woman wants", as written by ronnie dobbs and doug benson's review of the snowboarding film, Out Cold.

another site i've been enjoying recently is awesome factory, the official online presence of aaron bergeron's comic book (or is it graphic novel, aaron?), "you've got a crush on aaron bergeron." aaron is a comedy writer and an earnest, funny non-jew, and the comics range from sweet to ironic to silly to really badly drawn.

one might argue it's not much, but it's enough to keep me off the pills.
- I FELL APART ON 10 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
one nice thing about having a macintosh - besides all the tail - is that i've never had any complications installing new hardware. ever. my new scanner (curse you, old scanner, for your useless parallel port connection) took approximately three minutes to set up, install software, and scan an image. (thank you, ben, for that original photograph. do you even remember?)

p.s. this entire entry was a tutorial in stock web enthusiast habits. within a single, short paragraph i have A) espoused a love of my operating system, B) mentioned really specific technologies that seven people care about, C) and name-dropped another web personality. awesome. did i mention how much i loved The Royal Tenenbaums? you should definitely see it!
- I FELL APART ON 9 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
Greg the Bunny is one of those great bits of public access cable programming to which i arrived too late to be a hardcore fan. in fact, i didn't really even check it out when it moved to the Independent Film Channel. lack of good public access and ifc is the programming curse of brooklyn's inferior cable system. (i would not be lying if i said my only regret about never living in manhattan proper is missing out on its public access programming.)

greg the bunny has everything i like in entertainment: puppets who drink. the format is similar to the prematurely aborted sifl and olly show and tv funhouse, or peter jackson's slightly more toxic meet the feebles. (a film with so many memorable scenes of puppets behaving badly it's hard to choose a favorite. well, not that hard.) it's puppets swearing, joking, struggling against each other's personalities, and talking in crazy voices. the principal characters are greg, a hyperactive and sort of demanding tv show host, and his beleaguered sidekick, warren. warren is excellent - a tiny ape puppet with a football helmet and the demeanor of james lipton in a downward emotional spiral. there are many other excellent supporting characters, including the great, foul-mouthed count blah.

the greg the bunny fan site has a lot of information, including a wealth of other videos from his ifc days. better still, it's been picked up by Fox Television as a mid-season replacement in february, and has added human actors to its cast, including funnyman eugene levy and funnyjew sarah silverman. it is sure to create a nerdy buzz or, at the very least, a low nerdy hum.

i'm playing catch up now as i wait to be trampled under foot by all those crazies tearing their south park boxers off and replacing them with greg the bunny boxers in mid-stride.
- I FELL APART ON 9 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
did you know many of new york city's subways have specially designed linoleum floor surfaces? at first they appear to be just a harmlessly drab, institutional asthetic but their earthy, flecked pattern was actually highly calculated to visually absorb day-to-day stains from millions of strange people and their garbage, dirt, and vomit? the camouflage works a little too well, methinks. i suppose, for my own safety, i will have to find a new location for picnic lunches. but something tells me the men's room floor at port authority won't be the same.
- I FELL APART ON 8 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
as proof of the endless malleability of online publishing, i have already edited and re-published Obsessive for 2002. if i do that seven more times today that counts as a hobby, doesn't it?
- I FELL APART ON 7 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
owing to a long dammed stream of consciousness, i have placed something in "new words" entitled Obsessive for 2002. additionally, i've noticed a gremlin has sneaked into my html template for the section of this site devoted to longer pieces of writing. not sure what's happening there. if you notice something crappy, aside from the actual content, please feel free to holler at me in the strictest hip-hop sense of the word.
- I FELL APART ON 7 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
after watching Jeepers Creepers i think i can confidently say that this movie is easily the third best teen horror film directed by a previously convicted child molestor.

victor silva's most memorable film was the intentional gay classic, Powder, about a very pale, hairless boy and his fedora. the boy, nicknamed "powder" because of his addiction to pancake makeup, is highly evolved and has the ability to wield supernatural powers whenever his shirt is removed. the movie actually has a lot of adolescent male shirtlessness, actually - far more than some of disney's other films such as Little Giants and and The Boy Who Knew to Keep His Shirt On, Even in the Face of Mortal Danger.

jeepers creepers, aside from its name, is sort of enjoyable (to a point) but is made so ever more enjoyable when viewed on dvd format with the director's audio commentary layered over the action. holy shit is mr. silva crazy. in possibly the most egregious case of over-valuing a commercial product since don sothman predicted his marginally famous "popcorn fork" would soon become "THE FOURTH UTENSIL" silva refers to his film as "a human tragedy", "a story of becoming" and "more precious than a ten year-old boy's lonely tears." he is just unrelenting. listening to his slow, disturbed drawl it's easy to imagine him at home, clutching a plush jeepers creepers toy to his bare chest, as he gives his director's commentary. when, during a scene in which mr. jeepers creepers was chewing on the tongue of a recently decapitated skull, victor silva referred to his film as a "tone poem" i had to turn the tv off and call it a night. it had just officially gotten as good as it gets.
- I FELL APART ON 6 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
the first dream i could remember since the new year began: my eye is the camera, staring down at me at a slight angle 2000 feet from the earth's surface. i (the me on the ground) am standing outside, in front of a house. the house, modest and plain, is located in between the legs of an enormous ladder. the ladder must stretch hundreds of feet in the air, its long shadow dragging along the ground and catching me in it so i am merely a silhouetted figure. there is a "FOR SALE" sign planted on the front lawn of this house and, in my dream, all i say is "i'll take it."

what do you think it means?
- I FELL APART ON 6 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
Q: where are people with liberal guilt hanging out these days?

A: afghan restaurants.
- I FELL APART ON 4 JANUARY, 2002

dear brainfixer,
i am looking forward to a more balanced and inspiring, less humiliating new year. that may all change tonight, though.

if you are one of the three american households that currently has the Oxygen network avaialable on your basic (or digital) cable system, you'll be able to see a brief, embarrassing glimpse of me this evening. yes, it's Men We Love week at Oxygen, and i will be part of their "real men we love" special, airing at 7:30 and 10:30 pm est. (also at those times on the west coast but, inexplicably, airing one hour earlier in central time.) with television this important, or a schedule of original programming this flimsy, the show is guaranteed to be repeated soon in case you miss it. in fact, this soon: sunday, january 6th, at 7pm.

and if you can't catch it on saturday or, like me, you're not even sure if you have this cable network, i have a pretty good idea of what you'll be missing. depending on which clip oxygen chose to air you'll either be watching me: a) trying to teach a female friend the cantonese i've learned from Iron Monkey or b) demonstrating "the zombie" - a dance craze invented by my heavily unemployed friend devin circa 1991. as you can see, it's clearly a win-win situation.
- I FELL APART ON 3 JANUARY, 2002

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2001 todd levin
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