Sunday, July 31, 2005

post 102. my forthcoming niece, complete with my sister's translation.

post 101. my new favorite artist.

DJ Z-Trip already had a few mixes out -- including one in the prestigious Future Primitive Soundsession series -- when his collaboration with DJ P, Uneasylistening, Vol. 1, showed up in 2001. The unorthodox mix made many music fans take notice, if only to puzzle over unlikely pairings like Del tha Funkee Homosapien with Phil Collins and Bruce Hornsby with Run-D.M.C.. A native of Queens, NY, Z-Trip (born Zach Sciacca) spends much of his time touring and traveling, but has roots in Phoenix, AZ, where he's part of the Bombshelter Crew with DJ Radar. Shifting Gears from 2005 marked Z-Trip's major label debut. Released on Hollywood Records, the album featured guest artists Murs, Aceyalone, Chester Bennington, and Soup from the Jurassic 5.

post 100. an evening with investigator grodzicki.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

post 99. out at the red wings' game with rebekah.

nothing like a summer evening out at the ballpark. nothing like feeling you're a true rochestarian as you sing the national anthem facing the stars and stripes, conveniently placed directly in front of the kodak building. the rochester philharmonic orchestra played after the game (the wings won, 3-0), and managed to include the imperial march and the main title theme from star wars before stepping aside to let the fireworks take off. you ever wonder if classically-trained, musical highbrows like philharmonicites ever get sick of having to pump out stuff like star wars to the general masses? good times. i had a pretzel, a coke, ice cream in a red wings' mini-helmet, fried dough, a newcastle after the game at keys piano bar, another one at monty's korner, and then two slices of sal's pizza on monroe right before bed. and that's what a summer evening is supposed to be like.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

post 98. out at mendon ponds.

post 97. the adventure of the blue-pawed mountain tomcats, part XXII.

the spread was enormous. the room was smallish, though, and books and paintings lined the walls, artwork of wicked lines and colours as if someone spilled drinks all over the canvases. food cramped all our plates and glasses and silverware to the edges of the table, and the ornate furniture which we and the food sat on was of the highest, most exceptional quality – antique, and very authentic, no doubt. i looked at the silverware and they were encrusted with diamonds. * annis, sitting close by at the round table, tried to act calm by smirking and looking as if she were going to take a fork. we gave a start as general taupe entered with a few guards who moved to the sides of the door in a mechanical, emotionless manner. * “hello,” he said, “please. sit. please.” he stopped at a chair across from us and gave us look as if he were our proud father. we stared at each other for a moment in silence. “i’m glad you could make it,” he finally said. and he sounded like he truly meant it. he looked at the table as he removed his gloves. “what do we have here…sarita? sarita, darling?” he called, and soon enough, a door opened behind us and a mexican woman, fat and glowing with a motherly disposition, stepped in. they had a small conversation in spanish, and she left again. “sarita,” general taupe explained. “she’s an absolute peach.” * he put his gloves in his coat and took the coat off, handing it to one of the guards. he pulled out the chair and sat down. he let out a happy sigh. “once again, she’s made entirely too much food. “johsnon, and…” he turned to look at the guard over his left shoulder and inspected the guard’s nametag. “ah. diggle. johnson and diggle. come eat.” * the guards looked at each other, taken aback, but taupe had turned again to face the table and said, “come on, come on, just sit down.” he looked to us. “you’re not going to try anything stupid here, are you? you’ll allow my guards to eat, won’t you?” * after a moment i let go of the steak knife i was holding under the table and lay it on my thigh. * “sure,” annis said. “why not? i can hold their guns for them while they eat.” * general taupe laughed. “please. relax. i’m sure you’re wondering about the food, it’s not poisoned. i’m sure you’re wondering about the building, it’s not a military base. i’m sure you’re wondering about the cubs, they’re all right.” there was a tinkle of silverware on the floor. general taupe looked at me and I could feel my face redden. “you better pick up that steak knife,” he said to me, “you’re going to need it for sarita’s pepper-crusted filet. she’s a brilliant cook but her steak…well…she just can’t see to master that…” * he was interrupted by sarita’s re-entrance, carrying a tray of glasses and fruit and a pitcher. she somehow found room on the table for this, and began pouring drinks. * “sarita’s sangria. boys,” he said, to the guards that had looked at each other once again as he said “sangria,” “oh, live a little, okay?” they each had a glass and soon enough we were all eating. * “so what’s going on,” annis asked. i suddenly noticed she wasn’t eating. “dinner,” general taupe said, smiling while he tried to cut a path through his filet. * “cut the bullshit,” she said, and the two guards stiffened and slowed their chewing. * “please,” he said. he motioned to annis and i with his knife, “the two of you have had a rough day. i’ve had a rough day. you’ve blown up three tanks, destroyed a pet store – let that be on your conscience forever – and i’ve had three of my tanks blown up and my kid’s favorite pet store destroyed. we’ll take a respite and resume hating each other after dessert. after coffee. i have dessert and then a little coffee. sarita makes the best cheese cake…” he was cut off by a deft move from annis who – in one motion – managed to chop the guard next to her out of his chair and onto the floor, coerce his weapon from his holster, and whip it around at the other guard, who looked rather pathetic mid-roll-buttering. * “oh, come on,” said general taupe, sitting back and looking a bit interrupted. “put that thing away.” * “listen,” annis said as i half-heartedly half-stood, still holding my fork with a piece of the black rock of filet, “we really appreciate the hospitality, but i think it’s time we were going. if you’ll just present us with the cubs…” * suddenly there was a clang of metal sangria pitcher-on-pate and splashes of sangria all over the place. annis dropped to the floor. standing over her was sarita, armed with a second sangria pitcher and looking a tad alarmed, as if she was surprised at how she reacted. she looked to general taupe and said something apologetic-sounding in spanish. * “that’s all right, sarita,” general taupe said as he looked at the fresh red wine stains on the carpet. “it’s not your fault. are you all right?” he asked the guard annis had chopped. the guard looked a little stunned as he made his way to his chair. “go have reynolds – you may continue to butter that roll, soldier – take a look at you. then come back if you want. there’s plenty to eat. as a matter of fact, bring reynolds.” * the guard picked up his weapon and looked at annis. “don’t worry about her,” taupe said. “she’ll be all right. off with yourself, then.” and the guard, a little unsurely footed, left. * “well,” he said to me, lifting his glass. “we should get to drinking this sangria. that way, all three of us will feel ill when we wake up tomorrow.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

post 96. send money. hurry.

"On August 17 Nine Inch Nails fans will have an opportunity to score the ultimate collector's item — the ownership rights to Trent Reznor's groundbreaking debut, Pretty Hate Machine. Yes, kids — you could own tracks like "Down in It," "Something I Can Never Have" and, of course, "Head Like a Hole," but it's going to cost you millions. The disc is one of several TVT Records titles on the auction block, compliments of Prudential Securities Financial Services. Pretty Hate Machine and numerous other recordings from the likes of KMFDM, Sister Machine Gun and Gravity Kills were presented as collateral in 1999 against a $32 million loan the label was approved for. TVT managed to pay back $10 million of that amount, but Prudential took the label to court three years ago, claiming the current home of the Ying Yang Twins defaulted on the loan. Pretty Hate Machine is part of an overall biddable package that also includes the rights to the Television's Greatest Hits compilations and the "Mortal Kombat" movie soundtracks. In addition, the highest bidder will be able to collect a percentage on future sales of Nine Inch Nails' other TVT-related releases, including Broken, Fixed, The Downward Spiral and Further Down the Spiral."

post 95. from david lynch.

Do you feel 59?
I don’t think anybody does feel their age. The person we talk to inside is ageless, really. Let’s just say I’m a happy camper.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

post 94. hell's kitchen.

what? did you hear the shit that was coming out of jessica's mouth? she claims to be a hard worker and a fighter? who was making all the bread? who had their head in the game during dinner service? certainly not jessica. if there's one thing i can't stand, it's people who throw their arms up in the air while running around in circles as the ship sinks around them.

2-hour special next week? hot dog! my money's still on ralph, but i liked michael a little better this week...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

post 92. scene 2 of frank, crystal, prince da, and mr. superfantastic guy (draft 2).

TIME: Day.
SCENE: The curtains part to reveal MR. SUPERFANTASTIC GUY and FRANK’S underwater lair. There is a large, super-modern entertainment center S.L., all silver, and a large, ultra-modern, Europeany couch in front of it, white. S.R. finds a bank of video screens, with maps and crime-fighting stuff flickering throughout and a few computer keyboards and other various buttons and lights intermingling. A super-modern desk sits in front of it. The only thing on this desk is a red phone. The only thing sitting at the desk is MR. S. U.C. is a giant window that looks out into the ocean. A shark swims by as do a few other strange-looking fish. In front of this window, at both S.L. and S.R., are exotically filled, ultramega-modern fishtanks. There is a doorway U.L. to the lair’s entrance and exit and another U.R. to MR. S’s room, and the kitchen is D.R. FRANK’s room is D.L. Again, MR. S. sits solemnly at the desk, in his super suit, his hands on the desk and drumming his fingers, looking at the phone. From O.L. we hear the Star Trek-y sound of a door swooshing open and FRANK’s voice, mid-curse. He enters, dripping wet.

FRANK. Do you know why most super heroes and super villains don’t have their secret lair at the bottom of the ocean? [MR. S. briefly looks at FRANK, who waits for a response but doesn’t get one. He begins to storm towards his room.] I’m not fixing that fucking door anymore. I’m not even trying. You can fucking drown for all I care. [He exits to his room S.L. From off-stage.] Or call… "Lair Care" or something like that. [Pause.] You know? I never thought about that…[He reenters putting on a tee shirt.] What happens when the plumbing conks out or something down here? Like, if the toilet backs up, do we call Uncle Joe’s Country Plumbing and hope he doesn’t tell the bad guys how to get here? [MR. S. continues to look at the phone. FRANK goes back into his room.] I’m a chemist, not a god-damned mechanic. “Hello, Mr. Door? Can you fix our door? Oh, sure, it’s 1 Atlantic Ocean. Just make a left at the giant octopus.” [He reenters and moves towards the kitchen.] No calls tonight, Superman?

MR. S. Mr. Superfantastic Guy. Superman doesn’t exist.

FRANK. You need a hobby. [He reemerges from the kitchen with a soda and goes to the couch. He grabs a remote and turns on the television. The news is on.]

TV REPORTER. …was successfully thwarted by Mr. Superfantastic Guy.

FRANK. Wow! “Thwarted” is my favorite word that I’ve heard ten thousand times. [Points.] Hey, that’s you! Can you autograph my television?

MR. S. That’s my favorite line of yours that you’ve said ten thousand times.

FRANK. Can you thwart the door of our underwater lair so I don’t get wet every time I come home? [Pause. FRANK flips the channel. Another news show.] Hey, someone threw a brick through the window of a Starbucks. Should we investigate?

MR. S. The local authorities…

FRANK. [Interrupting.] …can handle that. Yeah. I forgot we’re reserved for fender benders between planets. Why is that?

MR. S. Because we do what others cannot.

FRANK. [Turns.] Where’d you get that one? [Pause.] Look. Seriously. Look at us. You’re sitting by a red phone waiting for Commissioner Gordon to call, and I’m sleeping next to a window that gets tapped on by the ghosts of the Titanic. Don’t you think this is a little extreme?

MR. S. [Pause.] Ghosts tap on your window?

FRANK. [Exasperated.] No, I’m just saying…[Turns back to the television.] Nevermind. Just thought I’d ask why we can’t live in something a little closer to a donut shop. Or a Chinese restaurant.

MR. S. The same question you’ve asked ten thousand times. [Pause.] If you don’t like it, leave. Live in a house where people like the Banker can get you.

FRANK. You thwarted him today. With a bank toss. I saw it on the news.

MR. S. Don’t be an asshole. You know what I mean.

FRANK. So you’ll just let me move out? Quit the super hero life?

MR. S. I didn’t say that.

FRANK. Yeah. Right. Exactly.

MR. S. [Abruptly gets up.] It seems the city is safe for tonight. I’m turning in. [Gets up and turns to his door. With his back to FRANK.] What's your problem, Frank? You’ve been a jerk for the past month. More so than usual, I mean. Anything I should know about? [FRANK does not answer, but stews in the couch, watching the television. MR. S leaves. FRANK flips the channels mechanically as we hear the swoosh of the door opening O.L. Crystal enters, carrying a purse and a DVD.]

FRANK. Hey. [He looks at her.] You’re not wet.

CRYSTAL. [Tries a polite laugh.] Should I be?

FRANK. Never mind.

CRYSTAL. Here’s The Poseidon Adventure. Thought you’d like it.

FRANK. [Gets up.] Let’s go see a movie. You know, go out. If I have to spend another night looking out my window at octopuses...[smiles.] Let’s get a cheeseburger or something.

CRYSTAL. I can’t.

FRANK. He doesn’t even know you’re here yet.

CRYSTAL. Frank. I can’t. [FRANK sits on the couch.] I’m sorry. Soon.

FRANK. “Soon.” I’m getting tired of hearing that.

CRYSTAL. I know. I’m sorry. [Pause.] Just…I need to figure this out.

FRANK. Glad you’re including me.

CRYSTAL. Frank, please. [She puts down the on the coffee table. She stands and looks at FRANK, who returns to flipping channels. She moves U.R. to MR. S’s door.]

FRANK. Have fun.

CRYSTAL. [Pause.] I’m trying, Frank. I’m…[Pause.] You’re not helping things by acting this way. To either of us.

FRANK. [Turns.] So what am I supposed to do?

CRYSTAL. Leave. If you’re so unhappy with things, you can leave. [FRANK begins to open his mouth.] And that’s not meant to be any indication of…how I feel. Just…leave. For a while. [FRANK does not respond but turns the channels at a much stronger pace. There is a moment where CRYSTAL tightens her lip, but after a moment turns and exits U.R.]

FRANK. I can’t leave. [Blackout and curtain.]

Thursday, July 21, 2005

post 91. old school.

ahhhh, the memories of video games like this.

post 90. we're all fine are you?

post 89. another day at record archive.

ben helps clean out under the stage at record archive. cobwebs. ancient stereo equipment. weird, olde-world merchandising racks. christmas lights that half-work. a cordless weed eater without it's recharging cord. a broken sony television from 1982. rolling stone magazines from days of yore. to put it kindly, 30 years of accumulated shit. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

post 88. hell's kitchen.

with elsie gone, there's no one to root for. michael can rot, ralph's a dog's nut, and i really, really, really would get immense satisfaction from having someone knock jessica square in the pie hole with a frying pan.

but i suppose my money's on ralph now. he doesn't freak like jessica and michael is too...i dunno. not as strong.

thank you. you may continue with your regularly scheduled day.

post 87. scenes from new york city.

i went down to perform in the sam french playwriting with my newest, bestest peeps rebekah, liam, and leigh. good times. funny, though: you think you've planned to bring enough money to keep you in swatches and tips for the entire stay, but all it takes is one stop at roxy's in times square and your personal economy is suddenly at half-strength. stuff you won't understand but will hopefully stay ingrained in my brain for evuh-evuh, for evuh-evuh: "get in here, you funny sons-a-bitches," not getting sleep for about 24 hours, the story of the sasquatch who came from the hills, a million calls from frank to check in, the insidiously addictive laguna beach, moscow pennsylvania, "it's curtains for us," the rival pt cruiser on the way home, seeing everyone with harry potter and the half-blood prince, walking for a zillion miles only to be turned away at the hippest of hipster joints, not defending rebekah enough from the drunken rednecks of new york's outer rim, the hand dryer at the coffee shop in union square, "all i could think of was gettysburg." it's nice to get thrown into a situation with people you don't know too well and find out that they're all terribly cool.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

post 85. the amended ending for scene 1 of frank, crystal, prince da, and mr. superfantastic guy (draft 3).

i thought this new end part would be better than just having another scene...

FRANK. [Suddenly taking a step towards the exiting crowd.] I better go make sure our buddy doesn’t need any help spelling, or something. Later. [He turns and goes after the crowd. CRYSTAL watches him leave with a frustrated look on her face. She is alone on stage as the lights fade and the curtains close. Along with the curtains, we hear the ominous clak clak clak of wooden pegs walking along the wooden stage. After the curtains have closed for a moment, they draw back and we see nothing but ominous shapes lit by a cigarette which is being held by a tall figure C.S. Then the stage is lit by a single light bulb hanging from a solitary cord dropped from above. The backdrop are the cold stone walls of a basement far below the city. Directly below the light is a simple wooden table with various plans strewn across it and an ashtray. Behind it, holding the cigarette is PRINCE DA, a tall, thin man with long, black hair that covers his entire face. He holds the cigarette on an outstretched, awkward-looking arm. He wears a long Japanese robe that is white save for a single vertical red line that draws down the front of the evil mastermind. Around him on the stage twenty-nine henchmen, all wearing the same Japanese robes.]

PRINCE DA. [While he talks he does not move.] Mr. Superfantastic Guy has dispatched the Banker.

HENCHMEN. [Together.] Yes, Prince Da.

PRINCE DA. The Banker was foolish, and unfocused.

HENCHMEN. [Together.] Yes, Prince Da.

PRINCE DA. All the criminals in this city are foolish and unfocused. Cartoon animals and Saturday Matinee evil-doers. [The Henchmen laugh.] It will soon be time to reveal ourselves to the world, and destroy Mr. Superfantastic Guy.

HENCHMEN. [Together.] Yes, Prince Da. [The THIRTIETH HENCHMAN enters clak-claking S.L.]

THIRTIETH HENCHMAN. Prince Da, we have finished the weapon.

PRINCE DA. [A nice, big, fat, dramatic pause.] It is now time to reveal ourselves to the world, and destroy Mr. Superfantastic Guy. [The Henchman all turn and exit S.L. and S.R. while the curtain begins to close.] But first we must test our new weapon…[Blackout and curtain.]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

post 84. the tain.


"'I never was a metal head,' remarked Colin Meloy in an Earlash interview last July. 'It's something in my later years I've come to regret a little bit just because everybody has their stories of when they were a metal head. And it wasn't until recently that I started listening to Black Sabbath and started appreciating it.'

Two albums and a six-song Five Songs EP into their career, The Decemberists' are beginning to seriously define their sound; a sudden plunge into, say, heavy metal, seems unlikely. Yet the first movement of The Tain EP, the band's new 18-minute composition based loosely on the 8th-century Celtic Ulster cycle's central poem "Tain Bo Cuailinge", finds Meloy and the others most immediately concerned with-- am I about to say this?-- serious Ur-metal riffage. Granted, Decemberist metal is not going to weigh down the Dominique Leones of the world, but make no mistake: Never has this band sung a flag so black, a maiden so iron.

The opening of The Tain is indeed jarring, though there's always more than meets the ear with this band, and the disc's dark acoustic guitar opening is not without foil: Pay attention to how Colin overdramatizes the dark line with his heavy plucks, disarming its sense of foreboding. When the rest of the band joins him in unison, what should be enough of a killer riff for friendly genocide is undermined by the organ's funny whir and Rachel Blumberg's gentle cymbal taps. In short, the sound is off-kilter, though not without ample deception, and only hints at the level of sophistication to come in the remaining movements.

The Decemberists have consistently proven that they understand the tensions that can be exploited in song: Morbid verses are set to straightforward, "fun" pop instrumentals ("July July"; "Chimbley Sweep"), narration is often not Colin's own, but another's ("Leslie Anne Levine"), inconsequential banalities are granted cosmic musical significance ("Song for Myla Goldberg"), sincerity is performatively lampooned ("I Was Meant for the Stage"). The Tain is no different: In fact, it's easily The Decemberists' most carefully considered and sophisticated effort yet-- to a limited degree, some of Colin's subtle musical humor even depends on cursory knowledge of its bizarre Celtic cycle namesake. In short: the cycle's most celebrated tale is how Queen Medb's army attacks the town of Ulster with the intention of carrying off their great sacred bull, and only CuChulainn, the story's hero, is able to resist the invasion and defend the town. To call a queen, as Colin does, a "salty little pisser," is a brilliant conceit, matched only by his decision to set her raid for a bull (her "shiny prize") to bombastic hard rock hooks.

When the song reaches its third movement, Colin switches the focus of his narrative to how CuChulainn, originally named Setanta, became "CuChulainn", or literally, "Hound of Cullan." As a mournful bassline sways, accompanied by occasional strums of heavily distorted guitar, Colin assumes different points of view with each passing line, and the band swells to an ironic degree of celebration upon the words, "Here come loose the hound/ To blow me down," the moment at which Setanta is attacked by King Cullan's guard dog.

This is not to say that one cannot at all appreciate The Tain without knowledge of Celtic mythology-- though, for me, personally, the interaction between the instrumentation and Colin's lyrics has always been The Decemberists' most fascinating trait. Take The Tain's ghostly fourth movement, by far the entire composition's most poignant melody. Rachel assumes vocals akin to her orphanry on "Chimbley Sweep", this time accompanied by light piano and bowed cello. The accordion finally makes its somewhat tongue-in-cheek appearance at the bridge, fighting with found sounds and music box bells. Meloy reassumes vocals for the fifth movement, which restates The Tain's original theme-- though not before he beautifully overextends himself in lines like, "Darling dear, what have you done?/ Your hands and face are smeared with blood," subjects that last word to a strange guttural contortion.

With each release, The Decemberists grow more sophisticated in their songcraft and subtler in their wit. The result, naturally, is that their releases are increasingly more demanding on the listener. Meeting a record on its own terms, though, is to a large extent a forgotten responsibility. Especially given its disorienting opener, The Tain EP is dense musically and lyrically, a bona fide grower, but certainly worth the effort to unravel it.

-Nick Sylvester, March 5th, 2004"

Monday, July 11, 2005

post 83. everyone gets old, part 2.

i was watching hell's kitchen tonight -- everyone needs a reality show of their choice, and i apparently have a fascination with high-pressure fancy cooking -- when i heard faith no more's cover of the commodore's easy as background music for a levi's commercial. on the one hand, it's another strange benchmark in their odd history, but on the other hand, faith no more's cover of easy was the background music for a levi's commercial.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

post 82. scene 1 of frank, crystal, prince da, and mr. superfantastic guy (draft 2).

TIME: Present.

SCENE: As the lights rise, we see only the curtain at the front of the stage. There is a large crash far behind the curtain, and the stomping of stumbly feet, quickly accompanied by angry vocal reimbursements of the inconvenience. The cursing continues as a pair of hands begin looking for the way out from behind the curtain; soon enough, FRANK emerges, looking hassled and unhappy to be here, and frees himself of the curtain, standing D.C. He is a handsome, lanky, poorly-dressed scientist--type in his mid-twenties. An ancillary crash is heard backstage and he tightens his lips. After a moment, he begins.

FRANK. Hello. So nice to see you all here. Look. It’s no big secret, and I don’t know what you’re expecting. This is like a story you hear at a party about something you already knew about, or a story where the ending doesn’t give you a big payoff. You know, you listen to a guy for fifteen minutes tell you a story and then he ends it, and you’re looking for a punchline, or a lesson, or something, but it doesn’t come. [Looks as the audience.] Fuck it. Whatever. I was a chemistry major in college. Senior. That was two years ago. I had a roommate. He was the biggest, dumbest, stupidest, most retarded fuck fuck I’ve ever met. He was an all-star, like, super almost-pro football player. His dad’s a senator, he had lots of money, his side of the dorm room was stacked with weights and shitty cologne, he couldn’t have cared less about grades, and, in case you missed my point, I hated him. All semester long I had to do the work of two people: he and him. Under penalty of roughing the roommate I was sanctioned to do his two plus twos while he pounded sorority girls and drank his weight in tequila and stole street signs with his white baseball-capped frat brothers. Again: I hated him. Then comes my final semester and my final project. I had worked on it for two years previous, working out calculations and dreaming up formulas, and in my last semester I put it all together. To add a little drama, Wonderboy destroyed his knee something fierce – something I couldn’t help but smirk at – so he was sitting in our dorm room all through the final semester, feeling sorry for himself and getting drunk. I tell you, Einstein probably never had to work while being force-fed The Dave Matthews Band for twenty hours a day. I finished my project, I put it in the refrigerator to keep over night – I finished it with one day to spare for my presentation – and the next morning I wake up…and that…that dim-witted, drunk, detestable dipshit had eaten it. Eaten it. He ate my science project. And that’s how we arrive here… [FRANK turns his back to us as the curtains part to reveal a stunning city backdrop. The sounds of city life livens the stage, and standing on a riser C.S. is MR SUPERFANTASTIC GUY, Frank’s old roommate, dressed in a yellow outfit with a red cape that billows in the wind. He is in a spectacularly heroic pose, hands on his hips, looking O.R. with a front-page smile. Around him is a gaggle of citizens, all cheering him on and taking flash pictures. After a few moments, from the sky S.L., comes THE BANKER, a notorious villain dressed in an expensive-looking suit complete with an ascot. He has a pencil-thin moustache and a jetpack, and floats in the air S.L.]

BANKER. Mr. Superfantastic Guy!

MR. S. [He comes out of his trance and looks at the crowd with an endearing smile.] Yes? [The crowd suddenly gasps and shrieks in horror, pointing at the scoundrel.]

BANKER. Up here, you idiot!

MR. S. The Banker! Didn’t I put you in jail?

BANKER. I escaped!

MR. S. You escaped? How?

FRANK. [Turns to audience.] Idiots. It’s like they all study comic books to find the worst, most inane dialog. The bigger their superpowers or…super…villainy, or whatever, the lower their standards in English as a language. [He turns back to the action.]

BANKER. [Draws out a small remote control device and holds it behind him as if he’s going to throw it.] I was wondering, Mr. Superfantastic Boob, if you’d like to make…a deposit! [He cackles and throws his arm towards MR. S while pushing a button on the remote control. The crowd around MR. S looks up and begins to scream and drop to the ground, and MR. S looks up as a bank – uprooted from its home elsewhere – comes dropping out of the sky. MR. S catches it without so much as a grunt.]

MR. S. Don’t worry, citizens. [FRANK looks over his shoulder at the audience while throwing up his arms. MR. S calls out to FRANK.] Looks like we’re in another mess, old chum…what should I do now?

FRANK. Throw it back at him.

MR. S. [Laughs.] Excellent choice, old chum! Just what I was planning on doing! [He shoves the bank back into the sky and the BANKER follows it with his eyes, his cackle turning to a worried squeal as he works the remote control frustratingly. He flies O.L. in his jet pack.]

BANKER. Curses! [Exits. From O.L.] Oh, no! Ah! No no noooooo! Ow! [The crowd gets up and cheers as MR. S throws them a thumbs up. He is once again besieged by cameras as he steps down from the riser.]

FRANK. [Turning towards the audience.] That’s how it always happens now. He’s so fucking stupid that he can’t do anything without asking me. The only problem was that back at the beginning of all this, he knew he was stupid, so he decided it’d be best to keep me around. And what am I gonna do? All that “roughing the roommate” stuff. You don’t say no to a guy that bench-presses Jupiter. [MR. S begins to walk S.R. with the crowd following behind him, and they begin to file off the stage into the audience for an exit. FRANK watches them go.]

REPORTER. Mr. Superfantastic Guy, how’d you do it?

MR. S. I defeated him with…me. [As they exit the police enter S.L. with a disheveled and spacey-looking BANKER in custody. They follow the crowd. Just behind them enters CRYSTAL from S.L., a pretty, smart-looking mid-twenties girl in a flower-print dress.]

CRYSTAL. Hello, Frank.

FRANK. [Turns.] Hey.

CRYSTAL. You all right?

FRANK. What, the Banker? [Turns again to look at the crowd exit.] Please. Just another wayward soul. [He turns back to CRYSTAL. There is a pause as they look at each other from about five feet away from each other.]

CRYSTAL. You going to be home tonight?

FRANK. Probably.

CRYSTAL. [She takes a step towards him.] I thought I’d come over.

FRANK. Great.

CRYSTAL. [Pause. She takes a step back.] I’ll bring that movie back to you.

FRANK. Great.

CRYSTAL. Do you need anything…

FRANK. [Suddenly taking a step towards the exiting crowd.] I better go make sure our buddy doesn’t need any help spelling, or something. Later. [He turns and goes after the crowd. CRYSTAL watches him leave with a frustrated look on her face. She is alone on stage as the lights fade.]

post 81. doodle number 2.

prince da, the nemesis of my new play. Posted by Picasa

post 80. early this morning, out my kitchen window.

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post 79. while sitting on my fire escape reading, i could hear def leppard playing at frontier field.

literally, from across town. pour some sugar on me. Posted by Picasa

post 78. everyone gets old.

remember when jeff gordon was called "the kid?" Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 09, 2005

post 77. unedited.

here's the aftermath of one of my morning writing sessions where i just type away for ten or fifteen minutes at a time without stopping to worry about spelling or fingers running amuck on the keyboard. (an amalgam of natalie goldberg's writing exercise and an improvisational dadist monologue) i like this one so much...i just might turn it into a play. that is, if i can find the patience to sort it out.

adsmiral cornwall called me into his office, which, surprisingly enough, was hidden from the sunligh5 by extre,e;ly well-done shades and curtains that looke as if they had cost the crown. Ah, he said, captan biggles. Ca[ptain, sir? I asked. Yes, biggles, you’fvre the finest officer in the frleet, boiy,m and I’ve decided that I’m giving you a ship. im giving you a ship and you’re about to go on the most perilious jourmey any british officer has ever undergone. yes soir. I ti thank yo, I stammered,tryng to keep my composure. I had nbo idea that…more time for the thanks agfter you’re finished wity your mission. of course, sir. what is it o’m to do? he unroilled a giat map acreoss his oak desk,. and began pointing at the area around the blackened isles. the isles to the north of Englkand, you’re fa,iliar, I suppose, with the vlack isles? of course sitr., ii smiled, knowing that my promotion might have been nothing more than fidning someone expendable enoughto engage the enemy,,..whoever thatmight be. the black isles are nknothe n=mosts notorioys trade routes we have, deliviering food to the north, but racked with piracy, underhandedness, and more strange anolmonlies than the broitsih gobvernmtne can answer to. our top scientists haven’t a cliue about some of the disappesrances that have besiueged the area. yes, wel;ll, that’s your charge. he said. I want you to take to the black isles and bring me Edward Teach. I tried to remain focuse, but couldn’t help but blink. Edward Teasch, sir? Yes. He’s the worst of the lot, and has sunk enough of our shops to make the queen worry about her entire emipuiry. we cannot let on that this scum an villainy can iset the british na,vy. of cuyrse not, sir. GFood. GHe looked at me square in the eye for a good thirty seconds, then rolled up the map and handed it to me. This is the best map you’ll ghave of the area, and caucus jhas more of them on your new shoip. Caucus, sir? Yes. Your first mate. He’s at your new ship. Very goods sir, I appreaciate the opppotrtunity to serve her majesty. I shan’t let you down.I began to take my leave of the room. Bifggles, report to 25 SDownington street on one hour. there you’ll meet caucus, and head down to your dhip. Ah. Bery good sir. YThe shiop, sir? May I ask. My mind imagined the Intrepid, although Captain Ferry would no doubt have something to say about it…and seeing as how I was on a dangerous mission, I actually expected far worse. He stepped to a window and began to drawa a shade. The Nautilus, XCaptian. He looked at me again in the eye. You’re taking the Nautilus. I took my leave and headed out the door. Be carefuil, biggley, said Millivcent. Ah, fret notr, darling, I dsaid, as I kissed her hand, I’ll be bnack in time for tea. I went home and felt ill. The Nautilus. I had no idea of such a ship. It WAS far worse than I had imagined, and I was receving, no doubt, some slip-shod second rate vessel to go after a notorious criminal in the worst part of the sea. I packed as best I could in the time al;lloted and headed out to 254 Downington Street. It was a small, ill-kept bar/. I arrived in time to see a man stumble out in a pile of the filthiest clothes I had ever taken to see on a man. He fell to my feet ands looked up at me. Mo’nin, gov’nuh, you’re looking fancy. I stepped over him and he grabbed for my leg at which I kicked. Sudden;y in one motion the man had swept up, taken my leg and thrown me to the ground with sucvh spoeed that I was barely capable of thinking. I spun on the ground and tried to kick at him, but he vblocked the shot and then pulled me off the ground with a deep laugh and so unassumingly threw me into the pub that I thought I might be in for a little more than I was mentally prepared. I grabbed at a chair and flung it at him but he put up his arm, and withouth the slightest wince, the chair broke. You’re going to have to do better than that, Captain. I tried a mauever I picked up whjile on leave in Japan, dropping to the floor and spinnig a kick towards his legs; success! As he fell from this more sophisticated dueling move. I stood and regained my sensees and took in mny surroundingfs. He stood as well, and I cleared some room between us. Nie, Captain. Again – Captain. How did he know? Liucky guess? Spy? There was a clamoring around us, and the bar’s complement stood from their chairs and formed a circle around us. Filthy, smelling of lkager, sweat, and ill-rapor. Then I heard the unsheathing of metal. The clicking of pistols. I admit to a small amount of sweating. I’m here on official business of of the crown. I know, the man said, and he put his hand out. I’m Caucus. What? I’m Causus. I’m the first mate of the Nautilus. Your new ship. Sorry about the rough stuff, but, well…we like to make sure our cap’n is of the right…mettle. There was a gurgle of laughter in the bar, and the crowd took a step in. That was quite the nice move there…kung-fu? I spied him and then the rest of the bar suspiciuously. The crew odf the Nautiolus has been lots of places, Cap’n, and we’ve all poicked up a little something. For example. Pickwick there – he motioned to a dark and discgusting-looking man wearing a red tunic and a bandolier of metal throwing stars – has learned all of the best maneuvers of the orient. Most of them in the bedroom, Pickwick said, and the complement laughed. We’ve al;l mastered the art of gunpowder, and, well…he motioned to his arm…that’s where I picked up this, wasn’t it, Cage? Sure thing, Caucus. He rolled up his sleeve to reveal an arm covered in metal. Engraved in such a design as I had never seen before. A steel sheath? No, cap’n, a while arm. and they all laughed. Ah, he said, looking at my expression, boys, he said, addressing the crowd, we have a full-on captain now, someone official. What’s going on here? Who are you? Are you of the brostish Navy? More laughing. All right, answers. I said.Answers you will have then. Please. Sit, Captain. Can I get you a dirnk? No, thank you. A whicxkey, bartender, Caucus said, and one was presentd to him and he put it down in front of me. If you’re my first mate, Caucus, you’ll know when to obey a captain’s order. I’m youre first mate, Captain Bifggleds, and I’ll obey your orders when I know they’re what’s best for you. He sat across from me and pulled out a piece of paper. This, Captain, is a picture of Edward Teach. Blackbeard the Pirate. It was the most stunning thing I had ever seen before in my life. There in the piece of paper was the most life-like drawing I had ever seen. A portrait, Captain, done by our operatives using a new system of portraiture we call a camera obscura. This is your man. We have been together as a crew for twenty years now, under the helm of Captain Nemo He paused, and looked me dead in the eye. Capatin Nemo as the greatest seaman to ever sail tht eseas or walk the earth. He was at hoime in the sea, and it was his mind from which the Nautilus came. It was from his mind that the camera obscura came. he’s made advancements in all the world’s sciences. And he was a great man. A pearl in this terrible world. Blackbeard killed him. almost destroyed the nautilus, and stole her from us. He took some of her workings, but…we managed to escape before he stoile too much. Stoole the workings, I asked. How do you think that Blackbeard has evaded capture of the british fleet, the mighty british fllet? He knows the inlets and cbays of his surrounding,s, and runs a low boat, I said. Caucus smiled, and sat back. The Nautilus is no oordinary ship, captain Biggles. It is a monument. A marvel. a machine of such power that none have been able to copy it. Yet it works fort the britsish government? For now, yes, he said, and looked at his shipmates. We agreed to be captained in return for one thing – Blackbeard. Blackbeard himself. And, I suppose, his treasure, I said, and the crew took a discernible step towads me in an ugly manner., You take us for piorates, for scum, fo villainy, do you, Captain Biggles? We are men of the sea, and men without our captain, without our father, without Captain Nemo. We want nothing but justice, the treasures oif Balckbeard – both real and imagined – be damned. We will have revenge. And we need your government to help us. Besides. Captain Nemo left us instructions. He was a man of considerable connections, and we were told that…in his passing…to seek out help from the British. I’ve never heard of this Nautilus. Well, then, he said, it looks as if we’ve don e our job quite well then!!! And the men laughed. Shall we go take a look at the Nautilus? He said, and stood. I paused a moment, looking Caucus in the etye. This was madness I was sure, but I had orders, and my interest was piqued. I stood and Caucus stuck his hand out. I shook it. We’re happy to have you aboard, Captain biggles. Your father and Captain Nemo were old friends. My jaw dropped. What did you say? Come, please,. Caucus said, in a fatherly tonme. Let’s get to the ship and begin our journey. Are we clear, bartender? yes, he said, and pulled out a bottle that was attached to a wire, and sudden;y a massive wall of stone at the back of the bar was opened and a staircase lit by firelight was presented. To the bottom of the well, men…we have a new Captain! And the men cheered in a low, thundering, ominous way, one that wasn’t the sort of ceremony I had hoped to receive upon my first command.

post 76. google earth.

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post 75. lost in the doorway.

my best friend's blog, here. Posted by Picasa

post 74. on the topic of christian artists.

first off, i'm not terribly religious. but after working at a record store for five years, i thought i would try and tackle the problem of "alternative" christian artists. i think the reason contemporary christian artists can't get any street cred (in the way that u2 does) is this: sunglasses and bowling shirts do not make you look hip. neither does dredlocks. and try a little subtext, at least for a little while: there isn't a title in u2's canon that -- to the uninitiated or casual listener -- would have turned away those who like to keep their rock here and their church there until they were far enough into the popular culture that it didn't really matter.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

post 73. more war of the worlds.

the thing i keep coming back to is this. wouldn't an alien invasion be the ultimate test of your feelings for someone? if you're single, and the martians start chewing up the scenery, you might think of saving your pet. or your family. and that's cool. but if you're trying to fathom feelings for that prospective "special someone," ask yourself this: "if my hometown was attacked by martians, is (enter prospective significant other's name here) the first person i would think to try and save?" if the answer is yes, then go forth! claim your true love. if not, well, spend the money you would've wasted on fancy dates and movies on some dog food, or a new squeezy toy.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

post 69. music by which to plan a heist.

i've been working with sir forrest monacle of so it goes and we're close to finishing the sequencing and mixing on music by which to plan a heist. in monacle's words, "it's a collection of small, abstract-y musical pieces. in a way, these are things we've had lying in the back parts of the studio." it only clocks in at thirty minutes, but i think it's good enough and have been encouraging them to give the songs a chance to see the light. we've still got bugs to work out, copyrights and stuff, so more news will come as events warrant. the tracklisting, as it stands now:

1) friday nights, 9pm est 8pm cst
2) finding details in the blueprints
3) wrestling in the playground
4) there's a problem with the car
5) bikini
6) deep down
7) like clockwork
8) the invasion of copa cabana
9) suddenly, disaster struck
10) the hidden fortress
11) ripped off again

post 68. hiking in perinton with kirsten.

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post 67. frank kuhn's acting school.

i've been rehearsing a play out at brockport lately, and i've learned quite a lot about technical acting stuff that, if i've ever encountered it before, wasn't presented in any way that made me pay attention. a few of frank's pearls of wisdom:

1) action / obstacle / motivation
2) transitional phrases
3) self-involved vs. other-involved

Friday, July 01, 2005

post 66. bikinis and bubbles.

ever wondered what it'd be like to have a mannequin falling through an endless atmosphere of bubbles? it's a nice way to spend an hour or two at the record store on a slow friday night. if she gets stuck, you can use your cursor to help her along. link.

post 65. at the regal henrietta.

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