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A few words about “Words are Stupid” by John Cheese aka Mack Leighty

You probably know John Cheese from his weekly Cracked articles or as the inspiration for the character of John from ‘John Dies at the End’. That’s where I know him from. I like that David Wong and John Cheese are real people out there in Undisclosed/Illinois battling meat monsters or shadow people. I only hope that Molly is real too, because I want to pet the fuck out of that dog.

Sometimes I like to play this game with my friends where I ask them if I was a character in whatever film, which one is most like me? It’s an ego-centric game, where I’ve only lost the one time someone said I was a mix between Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange. When I asked who I am in ‘John Dies at the End’ the general consensus was that I’d be David Wong.

Where am I going with this?

Over the years having read a few of Mr. Cheese’ articles I can gauge that John and I had some similar shitty childhood experiences. For a very long time I would not talk openly about just how fucking shitty it was, that’s what happens when you can’t laugh about that shit yet. And it’s actually super helpful to see other people going through something similar and refusing to take it seriously enough to let it weigh them down. I admire that.

‘Words are Stupid’ is a short little book, put out on Smashwords for 99 cents (for ebook) or Lulu for 8.96$ (paperback)

I bought the ebook because I’m a sucker for immediate satisfaction and not paying a lot. Although I’d rather throw money at this guy than some Hollywood douchester any day/everyday.

There are not a lot of pages, I’m not going to count them. There are five sections (maybe John/Mack has gotten used to writing in five points from his Cracked writing), and the content is all funny quotes that work into the title of each of the sections.

These sections are: Life and Junk, Butts and Dongs, Entertainment, Foooood, and Wait, What? Then there is a small ‘about me’ at the end.

The whole thing is pretty funny. I read it in the early hours of the morning during a very-fucking-early wake n’ bake. I would have laughed anyway, though. I totally recommend this shit. Give it a go.


A Year

Consists of twelve months, 52 weeks, and 365 1/4 days. A year passes faster than you think. An assemblage of days, moments, memories. It’s been a year since I last posted. A year living in Portland, OR, a year that I would consider one of the most difficult in a stack of difficult years. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspective. Some incidents have occurred in my life recently that have brought on a bit of legal trouble, and I find myself in a very troubling situation. All of which is based on perspective. I see things one way, you see them differently. We disagree. And here we are, both equality wrong. 

What a world, what a life. 

the hour of worship

the hour of worship.

seeing Bill Maher live

So, a few weeks back I went to see Bill Maher live. I’d never been to a live taping of a show before and I really love Bill Maher, so it sounded like a lot of fun. We drove out to la, pulled into the parking lot, then headed over to the line that was forming in front of the studios for the show. After we got through the first line we were placed in a second line to go through security. Then we queued up on benches outside the studio doors. Bill Maher is shot in the same studio where they used to shoot The Price is Right. I would have got a picture, but they made us check our cell phones at security. When they let us in to be seated we picked seats to the right side, in the middle row. The guy in front of us snuck a joint in in his sock and at some point before things began—stepped outside and smoked said joint.

The writer or stage manager came out and told some jokes and gave us a rundown of things. You are not to make any other noise than clapping, even if the person talking is a republican douche. And yes, there was a ‘clap’ sign to the side of the stage.

When Bill comes out he’s full of jokes, but he never looks at the audience. We don’t exist. He never ever looks at the audience through the whole show. When you watch it later on tv it will look like he’s looking to the sides at the audience after each joke, but he’s really making eye contact with the side cameras. It’s pretty weird. Everything goes down just like you’re watching it on tv, but it’s live. It all feels weird, surreal, scripted.

To be honest I think it’s better from home.


the experience of experience…or, getting off your ass and doing/seeing/creating

We need art. We need experience. Everything in us needs to pull up from out the holes of our own existences and experience the collaborative goodness & beauty that is experience. And from experience comes art.

Just because you know the world is round doesn’t mean you should stop exploring it. Thoreau once said, ‘How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live?’ This is something I’ve always considered when I’m off living my life and not finding the time to write. As artists we need experience & adventures. I think we have an obligation to not withdraw into the shells of our selves and refuse or talk our selves out of doing.

Watch the sun rise a few times, lie in the grass once in a while, learn about the stars and so much that is bigger than you, swim in the ocean, hike, walk, find things and friends and see them. Discuss everything. Drink. Love. Break bones if you have to. This is art. We have to excavate the truth, or some form of the truth. There is a lot to explore and uncover about yourself and the world.


good-bye 2010

This year has been so much. A lot has happened. I turned thirty-five, which I have determined to be my mid-life. Statistically speaking, if I live to be seventy that will be a big fucking deal. So, here I am—middle aged and finally ready to find my own path. It took me so long to get here. You have no idea.

Sure, there’s been thirty-four years before this one. And they’ve all offered up different revelations and adventures, lessons and stories. All those years were necessary for this most recent year to exist. But this one, 2010, has been of full of things I love so much, and has been darker than a lot of my adult years, and also has been so goddamn important to me.

When the year began I was still living near Seattle. I flew back to California in January (it had been a year since I last set foot in California before this) and spent a week. It was lovely getting to see my friends; I even took my mom and step dad out to lunch. And it was a nice break from the cold. Two things occurred to me during this trip…I really missed my friends and I didn’t really want to live in Riverside. Yes, this is the town I grew up in, and yes I felt a certain longing for the familiarity of it. It’s like when I was a kid and I lived in an abusive home. Well, my aunt took me in. But it was uncomfortable. And one night I ran away. Back to my mom’s house, back to the place where I was being abused. Is it too drastic to compare Riverside to that? Eh. I don’t think I even understood it at the time. I think I get it now. Regardless, seeing my mom made me feel sorry, sad, obligated. But I needed to think about it more. So I headed home to think.

In March I headed to Colorado. One of my friends met up with me there from California, and we met up with another friend who lived in Denver. We drove up to Boulder, then past into the mountains for Frozen Dead Guy Days. We ate at some big German restaurant while we were there. Then we watched people get drunk and fall in the snow. The whole trip didn’t go exactly as planned. There’s no need to dwell on that. I did get a waffle at the Waffle House with mushrooms in it. Random.

Then, in June I headed back to California, back to Riverside. Except this time I drove with friends and with my doggie in tow. We stayed a night in Eugene, Oregon. Then, we stayed another night in some mid California city I cannot recall the name of. I was the only one who drove. Of course I’ve made this drive a bunch of times in my life, and I made the drive up when I moved as the only driver as well. Actually when I moved up I didn’t have my dog yet and we slept in the car when I got tired. The only reason we slept in hotels on the way back to California was the dog. Sleeping in a small car with four people and a dog sounded pretty crazy, even for me.

And then there I was, back home. And here I am. As much as I’ve complained, kicked, screamed, and whined about being here—I know I needed to come back. There were way too many loose ends. So much unfinished. And I spent two months after my head-first no time to feel how fucking cold the water is dive back into my mom’s house. I pretty much fucking lost it, and earlier than I expected. I have a hard time with chaos. I’m getting better. I’m guessing if anyone in the infinite internet void is reading this perhaps I should explain more. I grew up in a very messy/gross/dirty house after my mom got remarried. There were no rules. And my brother had this cat that would pee on this burner and our house would often smell, I mean reek—of burnt cat piss. If you weren’t there I probably wouldn’t discuss this with you. There was so much. My mom and step dad used to always say it was my brother and I that made the house messy. I know you’re thinking, why the fuck didn’t you just clean the goddamn house. But, but…I DID! It was impossible. And it never changed. I don’t know properly how to explain how defeating it was there. And so, here I was—now—again. No, it wasn’t the same as when I was a kid. But, these are the sort of people that have nothing organized. Like a screwdriver in with the silverware. But like everything is dirty. You can’t use the dishes without washing them first, any of them. There’s cigarette ash in the microwave, in the fridge. Sometimes there’s weirder things than that in the fridge. So, chaos. I didn’t have them move in with me in Washington because it seemed like moving two people with medical problems and their pets would be a much bigger deal. Yes, they said they would not smoke in the house once I got there, which never happened. I had bronchitis within weeks of arriving and was sick almost the whole time I lived there. The reality is that I failed. I should have not attempted to help when I was incapable. I should have thought things through. A lot of bad happened in those two months. A lot of mean. And also, a lot of understanding and self resolution. This was important. Without this experience I would never get to the place I am sitting right now as I type this. And being here, in this chair, right now, is pretty fucking important in the scheme of my life.

In August. Yes, it seems like there’s always big shifts in my life in August. So I moved into my own place downtown. It’s too small, but it’s not expensive & it’s really the first time Deirdre and I have lived entirely alone since three months in Buena Park a couple years back.

In November I headed to Louisiana. I’m not even going to write about New Orleans. At least not now. It was too amazing. Too good to share. I just want to keep it to myself a little longer.

So this year I also wrote a novel. Like a whole full length novel. Which I edited and edited and thought I finished. But them a big change came to me and I’m rearranging the whole thing, which I’m hoping to finish by the end of January (wish me luck).

I have to talk about music and books. And connecting. And what we mean to one another. Hold on. Let me share some of the amazing things I saw/did in 2010.

Before I left Seattle I saw Evelyn Evelyn, Jason Webley, Amanda Palmer & Sxip Shirey at the Showbox (at the market). We got there early, had some beers at the bar and got incredibly good seats. Like amazing in the first row seats. I fucking love Jason Webley. I’m telling you I would have his accordion playing babies. I would also have Amanda Palmer’s babies if that was at all humanly possible. Although I think the two of us could do without any babies, but you know what I mean. Awesomeness. These three together made for a fucking brilliant evening. Thank you universe. Seriously.

This is Evelyn Evelyn from that night, just to give you an idea:

Here’s Sxip Shirey from that night. This man is all kinds of amazing:

Then I saw Jason Webley again in New Orleans at the Allways Lounge (seriously amazing place ran by seriously amazing people). Amanda Palmer was there with Neil Gaiman. And I was exposed to two new (to me) musicians. Lonesome Leash opened. This guy is fucking amazing. It’s the singer from Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship. He plays the accordion. Well, he’s someone to be seen. I also saw Hera, who sang this song that evening:

She’s lovely.

Then a night later we saw The Dresden Dolls play at Tipitina’s. Jason Webley & Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship were the openers.

This is Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship:

This is Jason Webley covering Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over The Sea’ at Tipitina’s that night in New Orleans:

& this is The Dresden Dolls doing Coin Operated Boy from that night:

Another thing I did this year (that I’m oh so fucking amazed by and glad for) is on Halloween I went and saw a reading of Mark Z Danielewski’s The Fifty Year Sword. Oh man. You can see the first part here, and youtube the rest. This was amazing and I was right up front.

Oh. And I was able to see The Legendary Pink Dots play in Newport Beach, which was pretty brilliant. Oddly, I’ve never seen Mr. Ka-spell live before so this was really a treat.

Then on December 19th I caught Monsters of Accordion at the Troubadour. This was a fucking incredible show as well.

Oddest 2010 moment: Going to church with Nathan, Manuel and Bizz. Especially when Nathan says ‘I’m not standing during this part…’

I think I’m tired of writing about my year now. Off the top of my head I think my favorite two movies of the year were Inception and Black Swan.

And I think I only read one book last year that actually came out last year. Cheers! Here’s too 2011 & (hopefully) a lot less dark days & a lot more life!



The Inclusion and Exclusion of Others (life’s travel companions)

Over the past year the value of relationships in relation to the limited amount of time we have on this planet has been a re-occurring theme. There are always people that don’t make the cut. In the great adventure that is life, you know who the people are that you would in no way want to be stuck on an island with. They’re lazy, never laugh, have no survival skills, are mean drunks, will bully you out of your pineapples, whine, or just generally annoy the fuck out of you. These people are not your travel companions. You know this because you’ve made this mistake in the past. You prepared, you dreamed, you imagined the way things would work traveling with these people. But the reality was far from the vision. And sometimes when you traveled with them you saw yourself picking up on some of their less favorable traits, or you saw yourself sad, frustrated or annoyed more than you intended to be.

Maybe for some reason you’ve sworn loyalty to these people because of some immeasurable common memory/experience or maybe they did something for you and you’ve turned that debt into loyalty. For that reason you want to keep them around. You don’t want to judge others and you certainly don’t want to judge your friends.

That’s where I’ve always been. I don’t give a fuck what you do. I’m open-minded. You can live this life any goddamn way you so choose. It’s all yours.

But before we make any plans…we should both consider. We may be shitty travel companions.

I don’t like the desert or temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. I like to be near water. I have a dog. I’ll allergic to cats. I don’t eat meat. I drink. I’m terrible with money. I laugh too much. Still, I will share my pineapples with you. But I won’t be coerced, bullied or manipulated out of them.

I’m sure I have other worse characteristics that I’m forgetting/ignoring/omitting. It makes no difference. I know there are things we may dislike about one another sometimes. And I’m okay with that. And I’m okay with you making mistakes. Even big ones. We’re all learning as we go, feeling our ways through this life.

Everyone has different ideas about the people they want to travel/spend their time with.

I love the people who laugh with me. And the people who love ridiculously. And artsy folks I can work on projects with.  I’m drawn to people who are not afraid to think/feel/live differently than the preassembled cookie cutter life. I think there’s always something to learn from others. I don’t want to always box myself in with people that are like me.

But I’m thinking about this. And I’m seeing it differently. There are people I would love to travel with, but they can never get their shit together. I tell them where I want to go. They tell me they want to come. They don’t pack. They don’t prepare. When the day comes for our journey they’re bewildered, ‘where did all the time go?’—they ask me and themselves. I’m ready to leave. They’re not. Did they really want to come? Did I push them into it? And sometimes I believe that they do—indeed—really want to. And sometimes I try to make all their preparations for them. But I can’t really. It’s their life. If they don’t want to head to Bermuda with me I should just let it go. I need to just go alone. It’s not always their fault. They have a lot of other obligations. Yeah, in a perfect world they really did WANT to go, it’s just not possible.

And it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see these people or that I don’t want them around. It means I need a different approach. I know that more than anything I hate that sinking feeling of disappointment when I realize someone didn’t live up to my expectations.

I recently learned that I can’t impose that on others. I have to accept people the way they are. And I think about it now. And I try.

My life is a boat. I’m sailing. There is a limited amount of space. I already tossed my mom, my step parents, and all my past lovers over the side. There is plenty of room for you. But I won’t pack your bags. I won’t pick you up at your door. I won’t dress you, hold your hand, or force you to come. I’m leaving at 6pm. I know that if you really want to come you’ll be here. I’ll be slicing up pineapples in the dark.