Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Usually I can't turn it on. I crumble. In a more typical scenario, I would have lost the second set 6-2 and then hobbled my way to a 6-0 loss in the third. Maybe this explains why I'm a Met fan. It's easy for me to identify with them... I hate competition because for me competition means losing. I was seeing a gal a few years ago, for instance. I liked her a lot, but she sealed the outcome of our time together when she told me it was between me and some other guy she was seeing at the same time, at which point I withdrew from her because I knew she'd choose him over me. And then there was another woman during a recent visit back east, someone I'd had a huge crush on and lusted after for years, until finally we found ourselfves together at the same party. Before I knew what was what, we were talking to each other, touching, flirting. Everything I would want to have happen in this situation was happening. It was like watching a movie of what I would want my life to be like if only I were more like the guy I want to be. I walked her home. She invited me upstairs. Clothes went flying all over the place. It was all just a little too good for me. I had some kind of twisted need to turn this ideal turn of events into a negative. Just as I was about to finally get what I wanted, I couldn't get to it. My body wouldn't cooperate. Nada. And what's a guy supposed to do when this happens? How do you explain the wet noodle when you've got a beautiful naked woman in the room with you? Do you make excuses? Do you just carry on as if it's no big deal? Can you make a plea for understanding and hope she'll still be able to see the good side of you in spite of how fucked in the head you are? Oral sex has always been my trump card - my, um, ace in the hole (?) -but it has surprised me to find that some women are actually self-conscious about having men do this to them, so it's not a cure all. Sometimes it's simply not what they want.
I digress. I've been thinking about the way I lose when I win and I win when I lose, but no matter which one it is I basically lose, if that makes sense. It's been on my mind ever since I wrote my last post where I talked about my book for the first time in a long while. I should pause here for a moment and say that I feel weird about calling this thing, whatever it is, 'my book', 'my novel', 'my manuscript', as this gives it a kind of heft that it doesn't really have in my mind. I feel equally embarrassed when a friend of mine introduces me to others as 'a writer.' I'm not a writer. A writer is someone who makes a living with his writing. Norman Mailer was a writer. Jonathan Franzen is a writer. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a writer. I am a guy who likes to write, and I would prefer to be introduced this way... I haven't really worked on "the book" in two years. I quit on it just as I was peaking creatively. I had been writing feverishly for a few years and really started to hit my stride. I was lucky enough to gain acceptance to an artist's colony in Virginia, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. It's expected of you when you go to these colonies that you'll do a reading of your work. I found this prospect very intimidating. There are some heavy hitters at VCCA, and the thought of sharing my work with them was not one I relished in the slightest. But I couldn't refuse, so I chose my best chapter and read it to a group of about 25 writers, artists, and composers... They ate it up. I'd never gotten so much validation for anything in my life. Could it be that I was actually pretty at writing, that maybe I had some talent, a good ear for dialogue and a wonderful way of telling a story, as one woman, a best selling author, put it?
Eventually, though, the old mentality snuck back in and the writing tapered off. I began to look at everything I'd written and I'd find all kinds of flaws. I've heard people say that you should listen to your inner child. I think I do this, but my inner child says you can't, you won't, you shouldn't, you're not good enough, why bother? VCCA is an artifical environment, a cocoon where residents are shielded from reality. It reminds me of the tuberculosis sanitarium in the Swiss Alps depicted in The Magic Mountain. It's an escape from messy reality. There's actually a sign on the fence at the end of the driveway as you leave VCCA that says The Real World Starts Here. No joke. It's much easier to have confidence and peace of mind when you're in an environment specifically designed to remove you from the worries, aggravations and doubts you have to contend with in your real life. The colony was a place where I felt I could win. I felt comfortable with success there. My real day-to-day existence is so much harder. I'm wondering if I will ever be able to generate enough confidence and intellectual passion to return to the book? Can I do it in the midst of all the petty problems I face everyday, and will the book still seem relevant and interesting to me if I can? I'm not sure at this point, but even the losers get lucky sometimes. That's what Tom Petty tells me anyway...
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The days are becoming shorter and the sunsets are starting to get good. I saw some incredible colors in the sky last night, but I start to feel uneasy this time of year as darkness comes a little earlier everyday. People are dead wrong when they say LA doesn't have seasons. We have winter, it's just a different kind of winter. The wet weather depresses me. I wish I could hibernate through it... The purples and pinks and oranges last night gave me a hankering to hear John, The Wolf King of LA for the first time in a few years. The album feels like an old friend. I don't play it that often anymore because it conjures up a lot of intense emotions and makes me very aware of the passage of time. From a second story window, caught a glimpse of someone's life, and it was mine, and my face was dark and dirty, and I'd been crying. Papa John sings with such casual warmth. There's sympathy in his voice, and generosity, too. There's not many singers who can pull that off. I might be tempted to call it plainspoken singing, except that this somehow detracts from the wisdom it conveys. The only other guy I can think off hand who sings in the same way is Jerry Garcia.
The ugly things I've read about Papa John over the years have never detracted from my love for the Mamas and the Papas. They only had a handful of good songs, but so much of the enjoyment I get from their music comes through the atmosphere it creates. My dad had If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. He was a lot groovier than I ever gave him credit for back then. He straddled the pre and Post WWII generation in a very interesting way. He loves him his Frank Sinatra and Glen Miller, but he also loves the Beatles, Donovan and the Mamas and the Papas. ...I practically wore the grooves out of the Mamas and the Papas record when I was a kid. The sleeve is crazy, with all of them piled in the bathtub, next to the toilet. I used to fixate on that toilet. No shocker there. California Dreamin' in particular always made me feel so good, with its perfect harmonies, Denny's angusihed singing, and the hep cat flute solo. I can picture my dad listening to that song, wearing a red turtleneck sweater and sporting some groovy sideburns. It's amazing to think that I've been listening to the Mamas and the Papas for 35 years, especially since they're such an LA phenomenon, even if they were transplanted from Greenwhich Village. They totally bought into the California Dream. They were outsiders, but they made this place their own and became the ultimate insiders...
Wolf King is about five years after the heyday of the Mamas and the Papas and it evokes its time and place perfectly. I tried to write a novel about the Wolf King world for about six or seven years but eventually I got knocked off course. Any self confidence I've ever had has been extremely fragile. One minute I'm flying high and feeling in control of my creative powers, the next I'm assuming the fetal position in the bathtub. And then when I emerge from the dark corridors of depression and anxiety, I just feel blank. The novel I was writing became so big, with so many characters and so many lurches forwards and backwards time. I didn't feel up to the task. I was - and I am - afraid of failure. But I fail all the time elsewhere, so what's the big deal if there's one more? Failure is an option. Maybe I'll begin to post some excerpts from the novel here as a way of attempting to get some confidence back. I enjoyed writing it until doubt started to creep in. But there's no pressure at all. It's not like I would expect the novel to ever be published, so it's something I should be able to do simply because I love writing...
Wolf King has a lovely sedated vibe, with weepy pedal steel that makes you feel like you're a character in Brewster McCloud, or some other blurry movie from the period. I love the impressionistic imagery of Papa John's observations. And the wine he spilled stained her pillow red. Robbie Robertson once said of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush that the words made him feel like he was in the songs and that they applied to his life, even though he didn't really know what Neil was singing about. That's pretty much the best thing that can be said about a song, that it transcends it's literal meaning takes on a universality. That's exactly how I feel about Wolf King. I used to listen to it a lot when I was first exploring LA and the city was opening up to me. I fell hard for Emma, a woman from New Zealand. Here in the city's heat I'm weeping, keeping a night watch again. That period of my life seems like it was 100 years ago. Where did all the time go?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
JOSH HAMILTON, TEXAS RANGERS
PETER MOYLAN, ATLANTA BRAVES
KYLE FARNSWORTH, ATLANTA BRAVES
And the 2010 Night Train Lifetime Achievement Award goes to who else but...
JASON GIAMBI, COLORADO ROCKIES
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
I had a few hours to kill in West L.A. the other night, a gap of time between an appointment with my psychopharmocologist and my regular shrink. How fitting! I suppose it was my sorrowful mood that compelled me to snap photos of dingbats. I didn't decide in advance that I wanted to take these pictures. It happened spontaneously. The light was perfect and my mood was right. It was an ideal confluence of the external and the internal. ...I'm not a photographer. This much is obvious from these pictures. But the wonder of the LA lightshow is that you don't have to be a good at it. You just have to have a camera and the light. That light. So I just went for it. It makes sense to me now because the dingbats, the ones that haven't been razed yet, are a faded architectural artifact of L.A.'s mid-century optimism, and nowadays they seem like gravestones, modest monuments to something that keeps slipping further and further away. They speak to me.
It's funny how cultural revisionism asserts itself like an iron law of history. It was not that long ago that dingbats were still viewed as the perfect expression of everything wrong with Los Angeles: The absolute primacy of the automobile. The surface with no depth. The cheapness and ephemerality. The dominance of mass production. The acceptance of mechanized alienation as a way of life... And then at some point, as the dingbates have gone more deeply into decay, with many of them disappearing altogether, a nostalgia for them has begun to set in. There's now a lot of great material on the internet dedicated to the appreciation and even preservation of the dingbat as an important civic and historical relic. This is just one example. And you just know there must be at least a dozen dissertations that have been written on digbats in the last few years at UCLA's School of Urban Planning, where pomo perversity is a religion. So the dingbat is finally having its time in the sun. It's about time, I say.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I’m a believer in the sum of the parts being greater than the individual. Look at the downfall of the Yankees from the championship years through 2009; they never had any player who led the league in homers or RBI; they were a team; then Steinbrenner started collecting as many glossy names as he could, they weren’t a unit and they played like it at crunch time. For the Mets to be a contender in 2011, they have to bolster the pitching staff from top to bottom; not necessarily with a Cliff Lee, but with a Bronson Arroyo-type. And they need some reliable bullpen arms. The offense should be there if Bay and Beltran are anywhere close to what they need and they get a second baseman who’s not an automatic out.
Torre’s not coming back to the Mets----he doesn’t need the aggravation and they won’t want to pay him.
They’ll be able to get rid of Castillo for a similar contract or attached to another player they want to trade who’s more in demand. Perez is going nowhere in a trade; they're going to have to eat the money to get him out of here. Presumably, they could find a taker for Beltran, but they might want to keep him and hope he stay healthy and hits in his walk year.
The bullpen has been mostly down this season. Hisanori Takahashi has been a revelation. Much of the struggles could be due to the haphazard use by manager Manuel; they need more organization out there and a couple of reliable arms who can get strikeouts. Grant Balfour is a free agent; Scot Shields will be available and there are always valuable finds in the bargain bin.
I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen with K-Rod; they’re trying to un-guarantee the contract and it’s unheard of, but given the latest transgression of contacting his girlfriend, the Mets have a case. I’m iffy on whether K-Rod will be closing for them.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I don't let this gal see me looking at her at the gym. I think I mentioned that already. I act indifferent. Yet I know she knows that I'm thinking about screwing her with the stereo on. You might be wondering why I don't approach her and strike up a conversation, you know, like a normal guy might do. After you've thought about eating a gal's pussy and making her come, it's kind of hard to avoid stumbling over your words. Some guys can do it. Some guys can't. I'm one of those guys who can't. There's also a fear of getting shot down. I'll do anything to avoid getting shot down. Again, some guys get shot down and then they just dust themselves off, strap on their helmets a little tighter, and try to find someone else who'll be more receptive to their advances. When I get shot down, it takes me about two years to recover whatever thimble full of confidence I had. Rejection, and especially rejection from women, confirms every feeling I have about myself. It underscores for me that the only thing more powerful than my seething misanthropy is my seething self loathing. It confirms for me that I'm better off typing the keywords into the porn search engine. Nothing cures romantic longing better than masturbation. When I clean out my balls, I clean out my head as well and see the world as it really is, not as it appears to be when I'm longing for someone or something I can't have.
This has turned into quite a rant, eh? I'm thinking that maybe I should try a breaching experiment. I studied a sociologist named Harold Garfinkel when I was in graduate school. He invented these types of experiments where an ethnographer will purposely breach the norms of a given everyday circumstance in order to observe how people deal with and reconstitute those norms on the fly. The idea is to see how the normative status quo is restored and perpetuated in the course of everyday interactions. So maybe I should try a breaching experiment at the gym, with this gal. I could approach her and tell her that I would really like for her to sit on my face so I can make her come... OK, so that might not be such a great idea. I might get kicked out of the gym if I did that, and then I'd have no place to
work out, no place to keep myself lean and chiseled in the event that I'm ever in a position again to have a woman sit on my face. Maybe a less severe breaching experiment would be a better idea... I really like the way you work out on that there stair master. No wonder you look so fit... Maybe I should keep the part about being fit out of it, because any intelligent lady will be able to translate that into what it really means: I would really like to eat your pussy and make you come. ...I need to think more about this breaching experiment. I've got nothing to lose. I'm like a ball club that's 10 games out of first place with five games left to play.