Saturday, November 28, 2009

i'm alone on a friday night because...

- i'm socially awkward and don't know how to make new friends
- i have nothing practical to offer someone when they're considering doing something
- i abandoned almost all my friends from high school, severing all social connections i made for the majority of my life
- half of my friends have girlfriends and don't feel like going out
- i went to pima my first two years of college and i missed out on the prime socialization period of the 'college experience'
- i'm (perceived as) intellectually intimidating and cynical therefore people assume i'm incapable of having a good time
- i actually am a cynical asshole and therefore incapable of having a good time
- people can tell i am thinking too hard about what they're saying and they don't like it so they don't want to talk to me
- i'm secretly very picky about who i hang out with based on the odds of me meeting a girl and people know that so don't invite me out
- friends who i didn't abandon in high school have developed normally and i am lagging behind in some weird amorphous social stage
- people think i'm a stoner
- people think i'm a nerd
- friends want to have careless fun, and i have to add unnecessary weight to things and ruin it for everybody
- i'm nervous about doing new things so people would just rather leave me out rather than risking having to deal with my resistance
- even if i wasn't nervous, they'd suspect i wasn't truly enjoying myself anyway, and then ask me the following questions:
"are you having a good time?" "are you glad you came out?" "dave, what do you feel like doing?"
- all of the above are just over-analyses and people are simply bored of being around me, and tired of predicting when i'm going to say something sarcastic
- i post things like this.

Friday, October 2, 2009

BLOP

"Tourette's is associated with several comorbid conditions, or co-occurring diagnoses, which are often the major source of impairment for an affected child. Among patients whose symptoms are severe enough to warrant referral to specialty Tourette's clinics, only a small minority have no other conditions, and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often present. In children with Tourette's, ADHD is associated with functional impairment, disruptive behavior, and tic severity. Other comorbid conditions include self-injurious behaviors (SIB), anxiety, depression, personality disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorders."

"Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, or by combinations of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). The symptoms of this anxiety disorder range from repetitive hand-washing and extensive hoarding to preoccupation with sexual, religious, or aggressive impulses. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and economic loss. Although the acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and come across to others as psychotic, OCD sufferers often recognize their thoughts and subsequent actions as irrational, and they may become further distressed by this realization."

"Dermatillomania (also known as compulsive skin picking or CSP) is an impulse control disorder and form of self-injury characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused. Dermatillomania may be related to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). These disorders are a cross between mental disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and physical disorders such as stereotypic movement disorder because the person performs repetitive movements without being bothered by or completely aware of them."

"Guanfacine is seen to effect a number of cognitive factors, including working memory improvement, distractibility reduction, response inhibition improvement, and attention control. Performance increases in spatial working memory has also been observed in humans."

"Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic, approved by the FDA for the treatment of: schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. It has also been used for Tourette syndrome and stuttering. A common side-effect is acathisia, a syndrome characterized by unpleasant sensations of "inner" restlessness that manifests itself with an inability to sit still or remain motionless. Its most common cause is as a side effect of medications, mainly neuroleptic antipsychotics."

"Risperidone has also been used off-label for the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder; severe, treatment-resistant depression with or without psychotic features; Tourette syndrome; disruptive behavior disorders in children; and eating disorders, among others. In two small studies risperidone was reported to successfully treat the symptoms of phencyclidine psychosis due to acute intoxication and chronic use. Common side effects include severe anxiety, akathisia, sedation, dysphoria, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, low blood pressure, muscle stiffness, muscle pain, tremors, increased salivation, and stuffy nose."

"Sertraline hydrochloride is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It was introduced to the market by Pfizer in 1991. Sertraline is primarily used to treat major depression in adult outpatients as well as obsessive–compulsive, panic, and social anxiety disorders in both adults and children. A review mentions that sertraline can be used for the treatment of OCD co-morbid with Tourette syndrome; however, sertraline may cause exacerbation of tics in Tourette syndrome."

"Dextroamphetamine is a psychostimulant drug which is known to produce increased wakefulness and focus in association with decreased fatigue and decreased appetite. Drugs with similar psychoactive properties can be referred to or described as "amphetamine analogues", "amphetamine-like", or having "amphetaminergic" effects. Physical effects of dextroamphetamine can include anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushing, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, hypotension, fever, diaphoresis, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, aphasia, dizziness, twitches, insomnia, numbness, palpitations, arrhythmias, tremors, dry and/or itchy skin, acne, pallor, convulsions, coma, stroke, heart attack and death. Psychological effects of dextroamphetamine can include euphoria (via increased dopamine and serotonin), anxiety (via increased norepinephrine), altered libido, increased alertness, increased concentration, increased energy, increased self-esteem, increased self-confidence, increased excitation, increased orgasmic intensity, increased sociability, increased irritability, increased aggression, psychomotor agitation, hubris, excessive feelings of power and/or superiority, repetitive and/or obsessive behaviors, paranoia and amphetamine psychosis can occur. The long term effects of amphetamines use on the neural development of children has not been established."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Quick Note About Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Listen, the first record I ever bought was Bridge Over Troubled Waters, in some smelly record store in Bisbee on an 8th grade field trip. I had never actually heard the record, mind you, I just liked Simon and Garfunkel from what I had downloaded off Napster. Anyway, that record sat thumb-tacked on my wall for, like, four years (Visual proof, right next to the Abbey Road poster), and watched over what I'm sure were countless acts of youthful defiance and debauchery. So I was at my dad's house a few weeks ago tossing through some boxes of shit, and there it is, looking up at me, beneath some old books about constellations and types of rock formations and minerals or whatever from the '50s.

So I'm listening to it right now. And it plays great. And it's great. That's all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Adventures of Billy the Incredibly Average Boy

PART I

Billy picked at the last little piece of gum stuck in the crack of his shoe. I wonder if there's a toothpick around here somewhere, he thought, but I don't know why there would be. But maybe there is.

PART II

Billy bought another notebook so he could start journaling again, wrote on the first two pages and then it sat in his backpack for the next two and a half years.

PART III
Billy set the alarm on his cell phone. "Whoops," he said, and changed it from 7PM to 7AM, "that would have sucked."

PART IV
Billy double clicked his new favorite song on iTunes but it didn't play. Hmm, he thought, and turned up the volume on his laptop. Oh, he laughed, it's muted, and then played it.

PART V
Hmm, Billy thought as he read the expiration date. Hmm, Billy thought as he opened the cap and smelled the inside of the carton. Hmm, Billy thought as he poured the milk into the glass, then brought it to his nose and smelled it. Hmm, Billy thought as he took a sip.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Free Write

I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading.

Okay, with that out of the way. When's the last time I really sat down and just wrote about nothing? Those were always the best. I stumbled upon an old writing from high school of me talking about different brands of Girl Scout cookies. That was brilliant. It was everything but self-indulgent. I think I got it all wrong when I started writing for people other than myself, even if it (sometimes) got me girls' attention, and even if it (rarely) got me any action. But eeevery once in a while they would say I am brilliant, which was good enough for my ego at least. Because then I could be even more disappointed the next time around and write something even BETTER, which would feed my ego and set me up for being disappointed the next time around, and writing something even BETTER, which would... wait, what was that I was saying about being self-indulgent?

Now that I think about it, there were things that mattered to me as a young adolescent that I could write about for pages that I wouldn't even think twice about saying or writing today. For example, bowls. Bowls are something that have always confused me because there alway seemed to be an obvious and universal preference to deep, cereal-friendly bowls. But more than half the time I went into my kitchen - or to my friends' houses' kitchen - the only bowls I ever seemed to find were the really shallow ones. And the ones that have the little deck-like extension around the top of the rim. Maybe, now that I think about it, the reason I always only found those bowls was because all the good ones were dirty. Either way, I always went back into the room with my cereal, or whatever, and my friend would be like
"Dude, why'd you grab that bowl?" and I'd say "They were the only ones you had," and he'd say "Which cupboard did you check?" and I'd say "I dunno, the one with the coffee mugs in it," and he'd say "Oh, dude, you checked the wrong one," "Oh, lame" I'd say, and he'd continue, "It's the one next to the microwave," and I'd say "I checked that one but there were none in there," and he'd say "Oh, okay... Shit, I thought there were some in there." Then, maybe 10 minutes later, he'd go get a bowl of ceral and come back with a nice, deep bowl. And the first thing he'd say after reading my expression is "Dude, I don't know what you're talking about. There were, like, three of them in there." At this point I would usually feel stupid and hate myself for a second, and then give up entirely because now I have a new set of problems: The goddamn deck around the top of my shitty shallow bowl has been collecting Lucky Charms, and they are impossible to get with the spoon. Not just that, but they are quickly approaching the point of being too soggy to care. Not too dissimilar from this semi-imaginary story, now that I think about it.

Cereal shenanigans aside, the reason I wrote about these things is because I was convinced that I must've been the only person in the world who could possibly relate. I thought I was the first person in the world to not just think these brilliant things about bowls (or whatever), but the first person to ever write them down. I don't think it was until my senior year of high school that I realized that not only has it all been thought, but it's all been written, and it's all been written better. I guess when you put down the bong everything that's magical and funny about staying at your friend's house and ransacking the cupboard for the alpha cereal bowl becomes mundane. Maybe that's why I started writing about myself. And maybe that's why, no matter who the writer/artist/musician is, it always seems to spring back to the only thing we know we know more than anything else, which is ourselves. .. Or maybe it really is all about just getting some action.

Why is it every time I write down something I think is funny it reads as a hyper-cynical forced observation?

... . . . . . God damnit, Ms. Monroe. God damnit, Mom and Dad. God damnit, Ms. Wahl. God damnit, Scott Lacy. God damnit, Miss Crawford.
Why did you all plant these things in my head as a kid? Why did you tell me I was smart and going to grow up and be successful and famous? Why did you tell me I was a great writer, and a talented this-and-that-or-whatever? My ego became so inflated, I had no choice but to become self-deprecating. How else was I supposed to like myself? Why couldn't you emotionally maroon me and tell me I was worthless or something? I could have been smart and grown up to be successful and famous! I could have become a great writer, and a talented this-and-that-or-whatever. I could have become an egomaniac!
... not to say that writing all that isn't egomaniacal...

There seems to be a recurring theme here.

If I were at the Ranch and said all that, my therapist (whose voice is consistently echoing in the back of my head) probably would have said

"Well, David, why is it you feel entitled to a deep bowl?"

And I would probably go on a long explanation of how I was just trying to talk about something simple and avoid self-deprecation and ego and all that young-adult junk that everybody gets tired of reading and hearing about anyway. My therapist would probably say, after all that,

"It isn't your house in the first place. What would you say if I suggested that maybe you be grateful you even get a bowl in the first place?"

I would probably not say anything to this (in my mind) accusation, and think in my head how my therapist was right and that not only should I be grateful for the bowl, but be grateful for the cereal, and that my friend lives in a house, the company that manufactured the bowls, and that I even have a friend in the first place. And my therapist would be able to tell that I was thinking about all there is to be grateful for. What my therapist wouldn't be able to tell is that I could tell that he could tell that I was thinking about all there is to be grateful for, and because of that made me feel self-deprecating and egotistical.

Anyway. We all get the idea. I used to write like this for hours. Literally. Yeah - I would LITERALLY write. Isn't that crazy? No, I meant for hours. The literal part I mean.

Hmm. Now I think I remember why I stopped.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tonight

Tonight I sat in Coffee Exchange and read the rest of Steppenwolf. I looked at the four girls sitting in the corner. I thought that maybe one of them was smiling at me. I smirked to myself about the one in the front right corner who was reading a comic book and had a pink thing in her hair. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and intricacy of Hesse's words and wanted to yell in passion to myself "O Rosa! O departed youth! O Goeth! O Mozart!"

Tonight I sat in Coffee Exchange and drank a chocolate milk. Before finishing Steppenwolf, I decided to ride my bike home. I rather impulsively and out-of-character decided to take a side street home and listen to music and bask in the city I was born in. The moon reflected on to the clouds and, for a moment, I was more happy than I had been in weeks. A Mercury hatchback pulled up to the side of me and in a second's mistake I was shot and left to die on the corner of Blacklidge and Cherry.

Tonight I sat in Coffee Exchange and didn't know why I had ended up there. I sat awkwardly in the corner and couldn't muster the attention to read the rest of Steppenwolf. In a submerged burst of guilt I got in my car and drove away. I cried and cried and cried. There is something wrong with me, I told myself. I began to feel the pressure of the culture pushing against me from all directions. I thought about talking to my mom earlier that day and it all began to come back to me. I remembered how easily I’d forgotten how robbed I’ve felt from a childhood. How I'd forgotten that I spent the better part of my adolescence sitting in front of a monitor chatting on IRC, gaining imaginary positions of imaginary power. I had forgotten why I cried when I first listened to "Rhapsody in Blue" in full at the Ranch. The simply beauty of being alone and watching the colors change in the sky had become so far diluted in my complacency of today that I felt I’d forgotten everything I loved about being human. I told my mom how much I envied her younger self for being able to find refuge in school and art and music. I thought about how everything makes me sad. How I get sad on the computer. How I hate the life the thing sucks out of me. How I want to leave this town so bad and find a new. How I want to say hi to people on the street, want to go to the beach on a weekend. I want to make a mixtape for someone I’ve never met. I began to cry, and cry, and cry and I thought about how Kyle is dead, and it’s just not fair. And Danny is dead, and it’s just not fair. I thought about Matt and how beautiful and intricate of a writer he was and how he struggled to form a coherent sentence only a year later. I woke up in my car driving to find that I had once again been looking at my life, however intently, through a magnifying glass and again missed the big picture. My rent and my car and my degree. I got on the computer that day hoping that girl from middle school had written me back, while I sickeningly thought about sex and death wondered why I was sitting in that awful room. I told myself I shouldn’t have had coffee that day, I told myself I shouldn’t have turned on the computer, I told myself I should have gone for that run, I told myself I should have talked to that girl in the coffee shop who I thought was smiling at me. I told myself to be grateful because my childhood is dead or dying and I've had it so much better than the rest. I got home and sat in the garage for a few minutes. I walked though the living room and told Alex I was fine and tired and had a long day and that I was going to bed, Goodnight.

Tonight I sat in Coffee Exchange and was only a few pages away from finishing Steppenwolf when I ran into Kelly, a girl from middle school who I had written to on Facebook but had never written me back. She told me how she never cared too much for online messaging, which I admired and envied. She told her friends she'd catch up with them in a few and we talked about life since our adolescence. We laughed at the time we were both too drunk to take her home, and I had to call my friend Lloyd to sneak out the back of my house and drive my car to take her home. How embarrassing for her, that we left her at her doorstep. We laughed and I no longer held my year-older superiority over her head. We liked the same music and I rather impulsively and out-of-character asked if she wanted to go to a park I knew about in a neighborhood near Blacklidge and Cherry. As we walked we took a side street and talked about old friends and basked in the city we were born in. She asked me about Kyle, who was dead, I told her it wasn't fair and she agreed. Turns out she also knew Matt, but never of how beautiful and intricate of a writer he was. We got to the park and, at least in my mind, somewhat ironically sat on the curb surrounding it. I met Matt at the Ranch, I said, and I told her a short conversation we had on a camping trip outside of Douglas, which I for some reason remember very vividly:
"I want to visit all those stars," Matt said to me, "and go a google miles per hour," and paused, "in the Millenium Falcon."
I laughed at the reference and said "Yeah, but... you'd probably explode, or get liquefied by a supernova or something."
"That's science! Screw science," he said to me, "science is the only thing keeping us from reaching those stars."

I knew Kelly wasn't affected by the the story the way I was, but she chuckled all the same. We walked back to Coffee Exchange. I offered to drive her to her friends but she declined, but we exchanged phone numbers and I went home feeling sad and accomplished.

Tonight I sat in Coffee Exchange and turned on my computer but it wouldn't connect to the WiFi. I laughed at myself and my pathetic modernness, and in an attempt to justify my trip bought a chocolate milk. I sat and read the ending of Steppenwolf. As I shut the book to the table, Kyle walked in spastically as he always did, our eyes caught and he sat down at my table. He asked me how I was. I told him fine, except that I got a flat tire at the corner of Blacklidge and Cherry and had to walk myself here. He was as kindhearted and well-mannered as he'd always been. I confessed to him the beauty and intricacy of Hesse and Matt's writing. I told him how I was sorry that after the Ranch I had never talked to him as a friend again, and that I still felt some slivers of guilt for not attempting to save him before he died. He forgave me, and smirked and told me the girl in the corner was smiling at me. He said how he's since had the chance to find refuge in school and art and music and thinks I should do the same. Alex texted me, concerned, asking where I was and I told him I was fine but tired and would soon be going to bed, Goodnight. Kyle and I laughed about my adolescent obsession with "Rhapsody in Blue," and I told how he was one of only three friends of mine who was there the one time I played it in full. Before he left I told him I wanted to share something he reminded me of because we'd both grown up in the same city. It was the very end of a poem I wrote in my journal from the Ranch on a camping trip outside of Douglas. I told him it wasn't the best but one of the more honest things I felt I'd written to myself. I said to him:
tucson, arizona and orange twilight
stars and coronas in the muggy desert night
this is the place i dream and dread: home
land of the gleams of sad and dead tones

I knew Kyle wasn't affected by the the poem the way I was, but he chuckled all the same. I told him I was sorry about everything, walked my bike home, and basked in the city I was born in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rejection of Technology

Why do I have dreams about throwing my computer into the street and smashing it with the back of my heel?

Right before his last schizophrenic breakdown, Neil told me he was sitting online on his Macbook. He got up to get a drink of milk, and when he looked back over at his computer the Apple logo was shining through the Meat Puppets sticker he put on the back of it. This sent him into a frenzy, and he took his computer outside and smashed it on the sidewalk then threw it into the dumpster. When Neil asked me again if he thought I was crazy I could only say that that may have been the most sane thing I've ever heard, and that was the truth.

I am beginning to hate this glowing little rectangle that dominates my life. I hate that I go to work and stare at it. And I come home to stare at it. I come back to it like some sort of amphetamine, sitting through hours of mindless idle flickering for the few minutes I have a comment or message or link. I browse friends' pages like some sort of overly curious stalker type who goes through peoples drawers and reads peoples journals while they're taking a shower. Its like any other drug, where I sit back and think to the early days when I found something of entertainment or something of substance but now only find myself asking why I keep refreshing my Facebook to read the status of people I don't even talk to anymore.

Why do people become fans of being barefoot?

I feel like being barefoot symbolizes everything that becoming a fan of it on Facebook isn't about. Does that make any sense?

Is it ironic that I'm posting this on an online blog?

Lately I have thought that perhaps culturally we are not accustomed to this overload of convenience of technology. My constistently shallowing social life, my growing contempt for mindless YouTubian comedy clips and my widening appreciation of physical, tangible art is starting to concern me. I can't tell if I'm becoming some art fuck who sits in Plush reading a book or if I am just following that half-witted rebellion thats been sitting in me since I was old enough to know how to provoke my parents. I think that the technology pendulum has hit its apex in our culture and we will soon be learning to reject it. Maybe we haven't figured out how to use it in moderation. Or maybe I just haven't learned how to use it in moderation.

It sickens me the amount of time I could have spent writing. Or reading. Or writing songs. Or doing all the things I did before this little world that exists on this little screen overtook the time between getting out of school and going to work.

Well, I'm not wasting my time anymore. Maybe it's adolescent. I don't care. I am human. I hate this fucking thing. And I'm not coming back.

Until I check to see if I have any comments on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer Shit Show List

I will now make a to-do list I can refer to anytime when feeling bored, lonely and/or depressed, which will inevitably happen over and over again this summer. When I don't feel like doing something from this list, I pledge to expand the list by at least one number.


Number 1: Dice
I will buy a pair of six-sided dice. On the first di, I will put the letters N, E, S, and W. The other will be a regular di. I will then roll the first di, and that will determine the direction I drive in. The number on the second di will determine the number of miles I drive in that direction. I will roll three times. When I get there, I will take pictures of it. Then I will drive home. If the first di lands on a blank spot, it will function as a skip.

This will be an ever-growing list.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Patterns?

Hmm.

Okay, maybe it's just coincidence. Or maybe I just have enough arguments in my head that the odds of it popping up are high.

The first time:
There was a show at Dry River. No one I knew was going to be there, for sure. But I decided to go anyway. That may not seem big to you, but I don't usually take my chances socially like that. It was on the back of a truck on Speedway right before I turned onto Main Street.

The second time:
I decided to go to Flagstaff, once again, and stay with my friend Gary. I also was visiting Jessi, which was probably a bad decision. But I wanted to see what NAU University life was like, kind of. And I had to get the hell out of my apartment. But there it was, facing me dead on, stuck on the truck I parked next to the second I arrived in Flagstaff.

The third time (tonight):
I sat in my apartment looking at Monty Python videos on YouTube and realized I wasn't going to get any of my math homework done. No, I'm not going to fail math again. Not a fourth time. But it's already 9:30. Maybe if I ride my bike to the U of A library I can get it done there. If I ride my bike I can get some exercise and be stuck there and HAVE to do it. But no, I'd have to ride back at least by 2:30am. That can't be safe, not in this town. People get hurt. But I can't fail. And fuck that, no, I refuse to live in fear. This is my city, too. I have to force myself to do it. It's the right thing to do. And I really can't fail. But I woke up so early this morning. I'll be too exhausted to take the test tomorrow. But... That's it, I'm doing it.

And when I got to the library, I sat down, and there it was again, sitting right in front of me, glaring, on the back of some dude's laptop:


THE STICKER.

It follows me.

I must be crazy.
There must be a pattern. No.
It's definitely chance. But if it's chance I should probably stop thinking about it.
But two of the three times they were on trucks.
And two of the three times they were at universities.
Two of the three times they had to do with my social life.
Two of the three times they had to do with my academic life.
But three of the three times have all been after I have answered myself this question: Well, should I fucking do it, or what?

I don't know why, but at that moment I decided to text as many people as I could think of and ask what they were thinking at that moment. Responses:

"I love this video. I'm so happy."
"Grandpas are mean."
"I wonder why Martha Stewart never gets asked much about prison by talk show hosts."
"I'm sort of dating this guy. I'm thinking about him."
"Thinkin about talkin to this girl."
"Photography."
"What jewelry to wear to my wedding."
"I was thinking about setting Twitter up on my phone."
"Pizza."
"My grandpa was a drunk but I love him."

Does that have anything to do with anything?
Probably not.
But... I don't know.
I'm going to sleep.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Small Discovery

The summer after I got out of the Ranch I made the only mistake I still regret. A video camera case full of old video tapes, tapes taken from 5th grade to my Junior year of high school, were stolen from the closet at my dad's house. I regret not protecting those tapes like my dear life depended on it. Growing up, I was always the kid with the video camera capturing every moment of my upbringing - from my first movies with action figures, to the first time Tony and I got caught smoking pot, to me running around my backyard on mushrooms - I tried to capture everything.

While I was at the Ranch, in order to graduate, we had to progress through a series of four different levels. To make it to the next level, we had to give a presentation reflecting the progression of our recovery. For my Level 4 presentation, I decided to edit together a movie of a typical high school night for me. From the old camera bag, I stumbled upon a tape of one single Friday night, recorded mostly from my perspective, though I do appear for a few seconds here and there...

Well, I was browsing through an old hard drive of mine tonight and came across that very video. It is the only existing footage from that bag of tapes. I was stunned in a way. I had forgotten how different things had been. I mean, there are friends of mine who are already dead in it. Gosh, it didn't even seem that long ago. The video starts off with my good friend Keegan and I, sitting in the room Robby and I shared at my dad's house. Robby and Jessica are playing Mario Kart. We leave to go to Gray's. Then Mike's. Robby gives me money to buy him liquor. Back to Gray's. We steal Robby's alcohol. Back to my house. Back to Gray's...

I think the most amazing part of the video is it shows the natural deterioration of the night. It starts off kind of fun, aside me being depressed about Jessica... but then everybody gets so fucked up they start yelling at each other. It's kind of sad, really. The whole video ends with my friend Scott giving a monologue, which he used to do a lot, and shows the backward-ass justification of why we all did what we did...

Anyway. I was kind of blown away. I thought I would share it with you. That's what blogs are for, after all, right? Anyway. Here you go:

Two More Toons

Gosh, I love Pima.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day From Weeks Ago

I was bored again tonight.

I called Corey. Nothing was going on. He said he'd call me back if he found something.

And I was depressed because I didn't do anything last night except sit alone in my apartment and record music.

I sometimes feel guilty for not calling my friends because I more-or-less base the decision of what I do on the odds of me meeting a girl.

I decided to go on a bike ride, which is becoming more and more common for me. I just can't sit around sometimes. I think it has to do with this crazy feeling that if I don't do new things I am not progressing. Why progressing is so important, though, I don't know.

I decided to go to Bookmans but it could have been anywhere. I just needed a destination.

I had a dream last night. It was me and Kyle, who I haven't dreamt about since the funeral. I can't remember what it was about. I just remember waking up at seven am. Seven am is the worst, because the sunlight was pours through the lines between my shades and makes my whole room loud and golden. I don't know if I'd mentioned it before, but as close as I've come, I still haven't cried about Kyle.

Mike called me today. None of you know Mike. It's just a name to you. But Mike is still like a brother to me, even if he is half-way dead. Mike introduced me to family crisis, to drugs, to heartache, to struggle, to a number 4 at Carls. Jr, to real companionship, to loyalty, to class differences, to being there for somebody, and to so many other things I can only explain in blips and phrases. He called me today, as he does occasionally, and he wanted to sell me a Dell computer gift card. He got it for free with his computer, which I know only because I helped him order it. But he must've forgotten that. He must've known he wasn't fooling me, that he wanted the money for heroin, and that he knows I know he is slowly killing himself, the way Kyle did, but in a much more seclusionary way. I told him I didn't know anyone who'd want to buy it. He called back twice: Once to ask if I was absolutely sure, and the third time he hung up before I had a chance to answer. I thought to myself, death is a very subjective term.

Note to self: There's nothing you can do.


Neil came into Beaver's today, and he punched his dad in the face today but he wouldn't tell me why. He helped customers even though he doesn't work there anymore. He talked about how he cried when D.L. died even though he was pretty sure D.L. hated him. He said how he wished he'd stayed in Flagstaff, and that he needs heart medication, and that the blue album by Weezer is the Pet Sounds of today, and continued to measure his life by albums, and I told him about my dream with Kyle, and on ... and on... and on...


And I was riding my bike to Bookmans. I was riding through the U of A mall, and "Narcolepsy," by Ben Folds Five, came on my iPod, and all the little links started to melt together, and they connected all at once... Neil and Flagstaff, and Flagstaff and Jessi, and Jessi and myself, Mike and me, and me and Kyle, and Kyle and the funeral, and the dream I had, and the recurring dreams Neil has, and Mike punching his dad in the face, and me standing there not knowing what to do, and Neil punching his dad in the face, and the mental hospital, and Rage Against the Machine, and Ben Folds Five, and Neil, and Flagstaff, and Jessi...

At that moment, I finally almost cried.

The trees just passed. I stared up. I thought to myself, god damn, the trees seem so far away until you see the sky.

When I got to Bookman's I bought three vinyl singles from artists I've never heard before. I was feeling impulsive, which seems to happen a lot these days.


Corey called and said he found something to do.

So I ride my bike back the way I came. Down Second avenue. To University. Stop by Jimmy Johns to see if Keegan is working... nope. Back onto Unversity. God, I'm a riding cliche.

But there I was again. Dead center, in the middle of the U of A mall and something hits me. From nowhere. Really. Jesus Christ, I am alive. I mean, I am ALIVE. Words are so limiting. How far have I come? You don't know. No, I'm serious. You really don't know. I'm trying to sum it up. I texted Jessi, who, depressingly, is still one of the only people who really gets me:

I just wanted to tell you...
I'm riding my bike through the u of a mall right NOW.
And I've Never been happier that I'm ME.


She called and said, "I've never seen you happier, Baby Joel!" A reference to Eternal Sunshine, which will always be our movie. "I wake up every day and tell myself that today is the day I'm going to fall in love again, " she told me a few weeks ago. Tonight, I asked her:

"Did you fall in love today?"

"No, did you?"

"Maybe for a second."

"With who?"

"Nobody."

"Oh! With what, then? Life?"

"Well, I don't want to sound that trite."


I got to the house Corey was at.

There were three girls, two dudes, me, Corey, and a beer pong table.

While the girls were racking their cups, I turned to Corey.

"Corey," I said, "I think I had an epiphany tonight."

"What?"

"I said, I was riding my bike, and listening to my music, and I don't know what it was, man, but I think I had an epiphany."

"Yeah," Corey said, and dipped his ball in the water cup, "I have lots of epiphanys when I'm bored."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Robby

I was at work the other day and I turned to Kaitlin and said, "Kaitlin, what are the odds that we know each other?" She probably thought I was trying to be funny, and did this sort of half-laugh chuckle thing, and said "I don't know." So I said, "Kaitlin, you're from Pennsylvania. If one thing - just one little thing - had gone differently, we may not have ever even met! I may have not ended up here at all, and I was fucking born here." To this she said, "I don't know, Dave."


Robert Perry Cole was born on September 22, 1987, less than a week and a half after my own birth, in the same hospital as me. He grew up in 49er's Country Club in Tucson, Arizona at the end of the culdesac on Custer Place. The first time I went there was in third grade. He was friends with my best friend, Alex, who also lived down the street from me. I remember staying up and calling Public Access shows on Saturdays, and going out to the arcade at Foothills mall for his 12th birthday. We went to buy the Eminem CD, but they wouldn't let us because of the Parental Advisory. There was a Dixie Chicks stand-up display in the store. I don't remember anything about the arcade, so I don't know why this memory is so vivid.

Robby's first girlfriend was Hilary, who was the prettiest girl in the 4th grade class, and was also my first crush. I remember going to Skate Country, which I almost never did, and sitting in awe of the boys who had girls for the couples skate. In 4th grade, on the night of the Halloween Carnival, Robby kissed Hilary in the parking lot, and the story became one of our class' minor legends. Hilary, also, was my first kiss, too, and hickey, and handjob, and blowjob, which I remember distinctly took place in the summer between 5th and 6th grade in the early hours of the morning on the 4th of July. Music videos on MTV that night: Lit - My Own Worst Enemy, Smash Mouth - All Star, Blink 182 - What's My Age Again. One again, I don't remember anything about the actual night with Hilary, so I don't know why this memory is so vivid.

I never considered how that night may have affected Robby. I wouldn't know until years later, but it would all come back to me with Jessica.

The first time Robby smoked pot was around the side of my dad's house out of a ginger ale can with holes poked in the side. He was thirteen years old. I remember explaining what inhaling meant. I lit it for him. We snuck back through my window, trying not to ruffle the bushes, and ate my parents' food, watched TV, and laughed.

It was Robby's mom, Roseanne, who discovered him on the website I designed, the one that aliented me from my entire world. The one that parents thought I was a psychopath for. The site that would change my outlook on parents and society and everything forever. I wouldn't know, though, that it was Robby's mom who started the whole debacle until she was my stepmom four years later. We were eating dinner when Robby brought it up and laughed about it. We were eating Boston Market. Robby to my right, my brother and Roseanne opposite, and my father at the head. I don't remember the details of the conversation, so I don't know why this memory is so vivid.

I was on AIM one night with Robby. My dad left for a date, which was good because it meant I could get stoned. I got on AIM soon after and Robby said this: dude your dad just walked in the door

So after our parents got married, Robby lived on a green cot in my dad's house living room. Soon enough he merged into my own room, cot included. We would stay up late and get stoned and watch movies. Robby would always get so, so high. We were dynamic and destructive, especially to our family. Sometimes I wonder if that's what our parents had in common. I'll never forget standing across from Robby in St. Paul's United Methodist, our parents exchanging rings between us, just looking at each other.

Jessica bought a beautiful dark purple dress for the wedding, I remember. She was Robby's girlfriend at the time, a fact I didn't know quite yet. She was also my first real love. Her and I went out, more or less, from 8th grade to the beginning of sophomore year - the year Robby moved in with me. Jessica and Robby got drunk the night before Christmas Eve sophomore year and lost their virginities to each other at Robby's sister's house.

I found this out at 4:00 in the morning months later fucked up on Adderall and Robby stoned out of his mind, after a long, investigative conversation. We shared the master bedroom by this point, our beds each in their respective corners. I began writing a poem in the shower, and finished, Robby fast asleep, at 5:47am:

i dont regret the petty favors that you used to take
but i never should have given you this heart that beats to break
i dont know what possessed me to think things will ever change
so again i'll say 'i'm sorry' and again it will sound strange
i'm sorry 'cause the pains not you, the pain is solely me
but i can't keep letting me knock down myself with jealousy
i remember times as young and dumb, the way it was before
but those days are done and distant and are to be seen no more
still i don't regret a thing except the way i feel today
and all of the things i feel but cannot find the words to say
but thats the way it happens when it comes down to the end
of when i loved you as a lover but you loved me as a friend

The following year, Robby's mom made the decision to send him to "The Ranch", an intensive inpatient rehabilitation center. It's a hard thing to do, and I was surprised because I knew my parents would never have the guts to do something like that to me. Devastated Jessica and I finally got to spend time together, got drunk, popped amphetamine, smoked weed, and stayed up watching MTV. This time, though, I can't remember any of the music videos.

It wasn't long before I, too, was sent to the Ranch, and once again shared living quarters with Robby. We were three miles away from the nearest roadway living in a miniature western town doing at least two varied therapeutic exercises per day and countless other crazy things I can't begin to explain. The goal was the same for both of us: Create a better life.

Robby relapsed.
I stayed sober, and our lives began to unravel.
I abandoned my old friends and started hanging with a new crowd. Chris, one of my new friends, worked at Rockin' Pizza, which was right next to Beaver's Band Box. Chris told me they were hiring seasonally, and I was the last person hired.

I wouldn't know until years later that it was Roseanne, Robby's mom, who was the main instigator behind sending me to the Ranch. It wouldn't be years later until Robby's mom knew I lit the can for him. It wouldn't be years later until Jessica realized she had a problem and called me for help. It wouldn't be years later until Hilary got her degree in Journalism in California, after a failed first marriage, and I would joke to her that print is dead. It wouldn't be years later that I realized that maybe if I hadn't handed Robby that ginger ale can and told him to inhale I never would have met Kaitlin, or maybe even you. It wouldn't be years later until I looked back and knew, but hoped, that I wasn't the only person who made these kind of realizations.


"It's just so weird," I said to Kaitlin, "Don't you think?"

"I guess so, Dave."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Three Cartoons

Drawn specifically for Pima Community College's newspaper, the Aztec Press.
They are esoteric.
Click to see the full toon.

Issue 1


Issue 2


Issue 3

Happy Birthday,

Kyle.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some Songs?

http://www.myspace.com/beefylogsbitch

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Visit to Palo Verde Mental Hospital

I was kind of nervous, I guess. I had been to that kind of place before, anyhow, when my grandma got Alzheimers and couldn't remember who I was, but for some reason could remember how to play Scott Joplin perfectly on the piano. I didn't feel like I was in a strange place until I sat down and looked at everyone else who was there for visiting hour. There was a middle-aged couple, the woman was crying and the man was trying to comfort her, sitting at the table in the cafeteria. There was a family with two teenagers sitting at the table next to mine, the dude was wearing an Interpol shirt and stole a chair from my table, and said "Well now I don't feel bad for being late," when he sat down.

I don't think I've ever been friends with a true schizophrenic before. Besides Fernando at the Ranch, I guess, who was so brainfried I couldn't tell whether he was psychotic or if the holes in his brain had finally taken their toll. Oversized and awkward, stupid and harmless, and unaware that being twenty-two years old he was legally allowed to leave the Ranch at any time. I remember him pacing in circles in the room, repeating to himself, "The devil is chasing me, Dave... the devil... the devil..." as I wrote letters to friends I'd never send. It was frightening at the time, but it was Fernando, and it was controlled craziness, and that's just the way Fernando always was to me.

I visited Neil yesterday, who had always been crazy - crazy like me - and who I had always loved for it. He wasn't crazy crazy, I mean. He was eccentric. We'd hung out a few times. He worked the same schedule as me at Oracle, and we talked on the phone every day to keep ourselves entertained. It's not that Neil and I have ever been good friends or anything, but there was some strange way we connected. We understood each other. Maybe that's why I decided to visit him, because I knew I would want him to visit me. I'm still not exactly sure why I went, and maybe that's why the last thing he said to me keeps reverberating in my mind. The converstaion started off with me, and I talked about Jessi, and how I had just gotten off the phone with her, again...

"i'm so stupid, neil. i dont know... i guess it's better than being alone."

"dave - dave! dave. listen: i had a girl like that up in flag."

"yeah?"

"yep. her name... was kayla. and the night before i came home, dave - the night before i came home - she left my house and the door just went WSHHHH," and he imitated falling back into his seat.

I laughed, "what, so you, like, realized you liked her or something?"

"no, dave! i had liked her the whole time!"

"oh."

"it is just like the battle of los angeles, do you know what I'm talking about?"

"um."

"the battle of los angeles came out ten years ago, dave, and i have had no idea what to do with my life ever since."

I laughed again. It was a funny way to measure the length of life: Rage Against the Machine albums. It was funny because it made sense to me.

"dave," he said demandingly, "rage: evil empire."

"yes: i get you. rage against the machine."

The crying woman in the dining room, I noticed, had composed herself...

"no, dave. you don't. rage: evil empire. i have been listening to it here. and you know what? it's AMAZING. i had heard it before, but i hadn't absorbed it, do you know what i mean?"

"yeah," I chuckled, "i think so."

"i have listened to the battle of los angeles so many times, dave, so many times! and thats when Y2K came, and i think something snapped. something snapped, dave, in my brain. you know, i tried to put a key in the wall socket to try and start my living
room? like it was a car."

Next to me, the teenager family's grandma finally came out, and I saw their faces go from cynical to sad in a heartbeat as the nurse helped sit her down.

"that's pretty crazy, neil," i said.

"i know! but i have been listening to evil empire, dave, and that's their middle album. and the battle of los angeles was nearly their last. and when i was up in flag... i was listening to self-titled - nineteen ninety-two, their first album, self-titled - the whole time. for like two months straight, dave. i had never heard it before. and when she closed the door and i went WSHHHHH," and he fell back again, "that's when i realized she had LOVED me the entire time."

I laughed again, "and the door was like..." and I imitated a door descending down a hallway with my hands.

Neil laughed, "exactly, dave! you see, that's why you're here! you GET me, dave, like no one else does!"

I sat there, and I hadn't realized it until then, but I was trying to decipher who was the Neil I knew and the Neil who hadn't taken his medication, and somehow ended up here after tearing up Nate's mail and placing it in patterns on the porch and calling the police on himself. It wasn't like Fernando, because there was no other Fernando to me besides the one who would stare blankly into nowhere. I wondered what Fernando was like as a kid, suddenly, if he had ever had written a story in school, and what he was like before the holes in his brain had...

"dave," he said seriously. "i had never listened to evil empire. did you know that? evil empire, dave! it came out between self-titled and battle of los angeles."

"so?"

"SO! we both start at the end, dave, go back to the beggining, and have to..."

"connect the pieces in the middle?" I felt guilty for not knowing whether I finished his sentence out of empathy or obviousness.

"yes! connect the pieces in the middle! that's why you get me, dave. it was the door slamming, and me going 'WSHHH' and the door," he imitated me, "floating down the hallway, when i realized she had loved me, LOVED ME, dave, for the six months i had been there. she left for colorado. and now here i am.."

"here we both are."

"exactly! here we both are, peicing together everything in the middle, at last."

"you're crazy, neil."

"yes! yes, i am. but you are, too. i just started listening to evil empire, dave. i mean, really listening. absorbing. and it is AMAZING."

We sat for a second, and the visiting hour ended. I made my way with Neil, talking about Rage, to leave with the crying couple and teenage family, and all the other sad, confused faces sitting in the dining room..

"dave, thank you so much for coming."

"of course, neil."

He looked at me strangely, "you know why you came."

"because you're my friend?"

"no, dave - you know why you came."

I stopped to absorb the thought.

"why's that, neil?"

"you know why, dave."

And walked away. That's the last thing he said to me. I'm not sure if he was being crazy or being Neil, but the more I have thought about it, the less I knew why I did go and visit him. Maybe it's because I'm a "good guy," as Neil told me, and as Jessi told me only minutes before that. Maybe I'm a little crazy, too. But it just keeps reverberating... I wonder what Neil thought.