Monday, March 31, 2003

Something very profoundly and indelibly creeped me out to-day, so badly I don't think I'm even gonna say what it was. I almost feel ashamed of myself for feeling like I do about it. It was seriously one of those things that made me question the validity of my continued existence, and made feel afraid of living a life stuck in a train I cannot escape from.

I hope I'm not stuck in some ugly tar pit of human helplessness. I hope the things that I've believed have been making me feel fulfilled have actually been fulfilling, and that I haven't been elaborately deluding myself.


Sunday, March 30, 2003

I finished reading The Brothers Karamazov a few nights ago. The book I began reading on the trolley on the way to the Comicon last August . . . and I've only just now finished it.

It was a really great book. Enthusiastically written with very complex, thought provoking characters. Very real characters, at the same time that each one of the brothers personified a specific quest on Dostoevsky's mind.

I read that book for so long that it's gonna feel strange not to see Alyosha or Dmitry or Grushenka again . . . I think Grushenka was my favourite character. She was the kind of girl I'd probably really go for. Or maybe Dmitry was my favourite character, I'm not sure. I think I identified more with Ivan than anyone else.

Ugh, I'm so tired right now. I've been feeling weirdly extra tired lately.

But I did manage to get myself to do a page of Doll Merchant.

And I've been working on my novel a lot too . . . I think I'm going to enjoy writing part 8 in many of the same ways I enjoyed writing parts 2, 3, and 4. Well, I dinna really enjoy writing part 4. Part 4 made me feel like I was losing my mind.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Spent nearly the entire day reading The Brothers Karamazov. I also worked for quite a while on an illustration for my novel--mostly I thought about what I should do with it. Probably did more work in thinking about it than actually drawing it. And even now I'm thinking of majorly changing it before colouring it.

I went to Tim's for a while and played Morrowind a bit, then drove to a Save-On well out of my way to buy some Sobes before coming home.

And it looks like I'm finally getting back into my regular swing of things--no more days, I hope, like the past several where I just felt like sleeping for all time.

And I did a new page of Doll Merchant.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I've been encountering a lot of things this morning that've made me giggle. Which is good, I think. I don't feel too crass.

Saw The Hours last night, the best part of which was its Philip Glass soundtrack, with the acting coming in at a strong second. But an all around tolerably good film about ennui. Made me wanna read some Virginia Woolf, which I've never done.

I wonder if Wolf Blitzer's real name is Wolf? Wouldn't it be funny if he found one day that he was in fact a descendant of Virginia Woolf and that he was legally obligated to change his name to Wolf Woolf?

Friday, March 21, 2003

I've been sleepy all day but now that it comes to it . . . now that it's go time, and I'm looking at my bed . . . I can't do it. I just can't.

I couldn't eat dinner either--this, I believe, is because I got six breadsticks for lunch when I only ordered four. Those Pat & Oscars breadsticks are quite filling.

Makes me think of the scene in the Chinese movie To Live where they make the doctor gobble down all the rolls and then drink a bunch of water, so his stomach accidently swells enough to kill him.

I was just thinking, too, about a number of Chinese movies I'd like to get on DVD. There was a time, a few years back, where I rather compulsively sought out Chinese cinema at the video store.

Right now, though, I'm watching a Japanese movie called Ran and I'm thinking about Laurence Kasdan. And A & W Rootbeer. The rootbeer's giving me a stomach ache, I'm pretty sure.

It's looking like the U.S. is prolly gonna win this war thing. I couldn't really bear to watch the news to-day. The people on CNN were kinna struggling most of the time for something to report, it seems . . . I was at Tim's house, and I was trying to get him to finish watching Ride with the Devil, which we'd started watching a few days ago. But he just couldn't take his eyes of the War, and I'm ashamed to say it put a rather gleeful smile on his face. I think that's when my stomach ache started.

Republicans scare me. Republicans like Tim, like George W. Bush, and, yes, Republicans like Joe Lieberman. Especially Republicans like Joe Lieberman.

The name Joe scares me.

I think I'll start doing some concept sketches for some of the characters in part 8 of my novel to-morrow . . . For now, I think I'll read some more. Or finish watching Ran.

Was reading Peter Straub's The Buffalo Hunter a few minutes ago. Just read the scene where Bunting goes on a blind date and I thought . . . this scene was so exquisite. Peter Straub's a plain genius.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I was feeling really low for the past coupla days . . . about the war and about how futile it was trying to make myself heard in class, where even if the only voices you hear are people speaking well of a certain story, the story can still be voted out of the magazine by all the fucking cowards who won't speak up.

But. To-day I'm feeling just slightly good and bouncy and etc. It's kind of a manic-good, because a part of me underneath is still stuck on how sinister the Existence is lately. But it's a good nonetheless and I think coffee'll help it along.

I did a new page for Doll Merchant last night. I think the Merchant and Eyeball Pale might even leave the pub soon!

Monday, March 17, 2003

Here's a tip:

Don't buy a cordless mouse.

Last night I was in the middle of playing Morrowind when the mouse stopped working. Why? Well, because it ran out of batteries, of course. AAA batteries, the likes of which were not located elsewhere in this building. I wasn't even able to exit Morrowind.

So, because I quite needed a mouse, I had to get dressed, go out into the pouring rain, drive to Food 4 Less, and purchase some batteries.

I think it can be safely said that the disadvantages of a cordless mouse greatly outweigh advantages such as . . . such as . . . oh, wait. There Are NO ADVANTAGES.

Anyway. There's a new page of Doll Merchant.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Shortly after my last entry, at around 6am on Wednesday, I left for Jury Duty.

I set out on foot, deciding to take the trolley rather search Downtown San Diego fruitlessly for a parking space, and then paying for the ten or so hours I'd be away from it.

It was cold and misty and invigorating and stuff. It was morning. True morning, I thing I see on only very rare occasions. On the trolley ride to Downtown, I first encountered the main difficulty that was to hound me throughout the day; if I sat still for too long, my head would begin bobbing strangely about as my mind drifted into sleeplund for a few seconds. It basically happened whenever my mind wandered, as it is frequently wont to do. On Wednesday, my body took "mind wandering" as being an excuse to start dreaming.

Fortunately, I was able to stay mostly awake for the journey--at one point I took out my notebook and did some strange doodles in it:

Here's one

This seemed to help quite a bit. But once off the trolley, my body was quickly given cause to generate plenty of very useful adrenaline as I realised that it was now already 7:30am and I had to be at the Juror's Lounge at 7:45am.

The place's address was 330 W. Broadway, so I started walking down Broadway, assuming I'd come across it eventually. On the way, I was approached by two separate individuals asking for spare change (one of them specifically needed quarters), which I automatically gave to them, in spite of the fact that I was pretty low on cash at the time. But I'm a helluva pushover at times. Further down Broadway, at the Greyhound station, a guy asked me for six hundred dollars. I rather wished I had six hundred dollars I could randomly hand out to strangers.

I was reading the addresses on each of the buildings, and found that I had gotten to 220, and that 200 was across the street. Somehow, I guessed, I'd passed the 330. So I backed up.

The only place between 300 and where the 400s began was an abandoned building with construction scaffolding. So I took out the lousy little map that'd come with my summons, and began walking up and down each street intersecting Broadway, not daring to look at the time.

Finally, an old man on a crutch hollered out to me, "Where ya tryin' to go?!"

"Er, I'm looking for 330 West Broadway,"

"Oh, the Court House! Well, that's on Broadway!"

"Oh . . . well, I walked all the way--"

"Just go down that way and turn right [onto Broadway]!"

"All right . . ."

I started off again down Broadway, thinking perhaps the 300s began after the 100s. Which doesn't make much sense, but turned out nonetheless to be true. I passed the Greyhound station again and in my anxiety at being late, I hardly registered the guy who'd earlier asked me for 600 dollars asking if I'd at least give him 95. I really must look incredibly rich somehow.

There was a news crew set up in front of the Court House's big, predictable Greek column façade--I resisted the urge to stop and stare at the correspondent, whose TV-perfect hair and makeup and clothes seemed kind of silly in the light of day. Instead I hurried inside, deposited all my metal things in a tray, walked through the metal detector, set the thing off anyway (as always), had my ankles frisked, gathered my metallic possessions, and finally entered the Juror's Lounge. In this big room, a man was making a very boring orientation speech. Apparently he'd been a Special Guest or something, because he didn't give us any useful information. All the useful stuff came from the next guy, who would alternate between giving us utterly pointless, boring information, and giving us deadly pertinent information. And he wasn't very articulate. That's one thing I continually noticed about these employees of Law, from the last time I had Jury Duty to this one, all of these people were surprisingly inarticulate.

Once this fellow was finished--an acutely agonising 20 minutes later--we were all excused to the bathroom. It was on my way out of the bathroom that I spotted a girl in the women's restroom line carrying a hardback copy of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

I sat down again, but after a few moments, I concluded the chairs were terribly uncomfortable, and that there was no reason why I should not sit on the far more comfortable floor. So I did.

I'd brought with me my notebook and my paperback The Brothers Karamazov. It's testament for what a very good book that is that I was able to read any of it at all, as I found reading gave me a similar problem to what I'd experienced on the trolley. Literature can be a bit too much like dreams on such occasions.

I also had to listen very carefully in case my name was called on the PA. I was very fervently hoping and wishing and willing that it would not be. But of course it was.

I was to go to department 52 on the fourth floor . . . instructions I'd barely caught off the PA and which were annoyingly not repeated. So I got up and hurried after the potential Jurors heading off for that department. It was up three escalators, across a bridge suspended above one of the city's streets, and then up another floor on an elevator.

I was surprised to see that the girl with American Gods was in my group, and I now noticed that she was really very cute. We were all waiting outside the courtroom for a few minutes, and I was considering going over to her and mentioning that American Gods is a fantastic book and that Neil Gaiman is my favourite contemporary author . . . but I was too shy to do so before the woman came out of the court room and began checking our attendance.

I decided that if the gods presented me with some kind of sign, then I'd go talk to the girl later on. Very cowardly bit of reasoning, I know.

So we all went in and sat down. 'Twas a little courtroom with lawyers and books and a judge and computers . . .

After we sat down, our names were read off in a certain order, and we were to sit in certain seats in that order.

I was number 9 and, for a moment, this put me right next to the girl with American Gods. This seemed like it could very well be a sign from the gods, and this did annoy me slightly. It's so much easier to be shy when you know for certain that it was just "never meant to be".

The girl was moved, though, when number 10 was called and put in her place, a bald middle aged man who, from the questions he answered from the judge and the attorneys, turns out to have a very naughty and unruly daughter who's probably breaking parole as we spoke.

We were all asked questions individually. When I was asked if I'd ever served on Jury Duty before, I told him I'd been called a few years ago, but the whole jury had been excused for some reason. When I was asked whether it had been a civil or a criminal case, I was forced to reply, "Er, to be honest, I wasn't really paying attention at the time . . ."

Which made a number of people in the room laugh, especially the defendant, and was probably the reason I later wound up being excused. It was a little disquieting that when I said that about not paying attention, the judge replied to me by saying, "Yeah, I have those days too,"

It turned out that only I and one middle aged woman who'd served on Jury Duty every three years for the past twelve years or so were excused. Maybe it was what she and I had in common that had been cause for our being excused:

When the defence attorney asked the entire group if we thought that we would be more likely to take a policeman's word as a witness than the word of a civilian, I was the only one who raised my hand. I told the attorney that the fact that a fellow's a police officer implies at the very least that he's had education and training, while "civilian", a very broad term, could mean just about anybody.

The middle aged woman who ended up being excused also raised her hand then to agree with me.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the American Gods girl had also been excused much earlier on for having a job that would not pay her for the period she would need to be retained.

She wasn't in the Jury Lounge when I got back, maybe because it was during the two hour lunch break, during which the orientation guy had encouraged us to explore the wonders of Downtown San Diego. I decided I would rather chill in the lounge than be forced to go through the metal detector again.

I tried reading awhile, and I was able to for at least ten minutes, but I simply couldn't carry on longer than that. Then I brought out my notebook and decided I'd try writing, figuring as this would be a more actively engaging exercise, it'd have a better chance of keeping me somewhat lucid.

I'd finished part 5 of my novel several days earlier, and in the few days afterwards, my daily writings had been to work upon the sort stories I'm submitting for the Acorn Review or to editing some of the last few chapters of part five. So it was there, in the jury lounge, without any sleep for the past twenty four hours, that I was to begin part 6. I suppose I could've picked a better time to pen such a crucial part of my novel.

I didn't get far anyway. It was only a couple of paragraphs before I noticed that my pen had stopped making discernable words and letters and had begun making a squiggling alien scrawl, and that I was rapidly forgetting words coming from my brain before I could put them on paper. Still, after the long digression of part 5, it was nice to get back to Nesuko . . .

I wasn't sure what to do after that. I stood up several times, paced, got an orange juice and a bag of chips from the vending machines, changed seats, sat on the floor, went back to one of the seats . . .

I wanted to try taking a nap, but I really couldn't do this as I needed to be alert enough hear if mine name was called. So I finally resorted to watching the television--and I somehow managed to prop my consciousness up well enough with episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live.

I came dangerously close to completely falling asleep at one point . . . but then I heard something through the fog . . . some dim familiar stimulus of noise that for a moment I thought was even calling to me personally . . . as I forced myself into full fledged consciousness, I realised what it was.

It was "I'm Deranged" by David Bowie.

Amazingly the makers of One Life to Live had decided to use this song in their episode, and it came to me like a life raft tossed into the needy ocean of slumber in which I was floundering.

It was the Lost Highway edit of the song, and I wondered if the TV show's writers even knew about the Outside album.

I got up to use the restroom and saw the American Gods girl was back and that she was talking on her cell phone. When I returned from the bathroom, she was relaxing in a seat, feet propped up on the chair in front of her, American Gods open on her lap.

I, cowardly, walked past her, back to my seat. It occurred to me that making conversation with someone would probably be the best way of keeping awake and that I had ample full for one with the girl, knowing, as I do, so many useless facts about Neil Gaiman. In my head I ran through things I could have possibly said to her; "Did you notice Delirium and Barnabas's cameo?", "Are you gonna go see Neil Gaiman when he's here for the Comicon?" and so forth.

I think what mainly kept me awake from then on was just the exercise of wrestling with myself, half of me trying to drag me over to her, the other half coming up with lame excuses like, "Oh, but it'd be so rude to interrupt her reading . . ."

I think I was just about to try talking to her when the voice on the PA excused everyone. I watched her go into the bathroom before leaving, and then I decided that I should use the bathroom before I left, so I did. She wasn't out yet when I got out . . . I couldn't wait for her. That would be too weird.

I left the room, and as I was going out the door I saw her behind me. I saw her behind me as I exited the courthouse, and as I walked a ways down Broadway, and then I saw her turn north on one street and that, as they say, was the last I saw of her.

Oh. Well.

We had actually been released early, at around 2:30, and I decided to go to Horton Plaza. I do so love that mall. I hung around there, drinking a Chai Latte, and having absolutely no trouble staying awake while reading The Brothers Karamazov. Maybe it was because of the very good feeling of freedom.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Oif. Well oif. That's just about alls I can say right now people . . . well . . . maybe I could say a few other things too. But oif is almost adequate on its own.

Have to stay up all night because of fucking jury duty. Fucking jury duty is at 7:45am, and since there is no way in any hell I could have possibly awakened at that time, the only logical course is to stay awake to that time.

Thank the gods for Morrowind and my Farscape DVDs.

Also for Amélie which I watched a bit of earlier. Possibly the key bright spot of an otherwise generally depressing day. I only watched part of it though. I walked away from it to go to Trisa's house to pick up a print out of an illustration I did for the short story I plan to submit to Acorn Review . . . only she couldn't print it because something was wrong with her disk drive. She did, however, give me copies of Sleater Kinney CDs and one of Hope Sandoval, which is quite good. But by then I was feeling soaringly irrationally frustrated 'cause I'd spent all day typing like a beserker or something. For some reason it left me angry at the world for not moving faster and more efficiently. I went to buy sodas and tomales at the mall, and couldn't help walking really fast as though I were in a great hurry, even though I wasn't.

I got to thinking about whether I even really should try including an illustration with my story--I'd been beset by so many obstacles to getting it printed that I was beginning to wonder if the gods were trying to tell me something--I mean, first I couldn't print it on this computer because--even though it's a black and white image, the fact that the colour cartridge is bad fucks it up by turning the greys into greens. Tim can't print it for me because he's missing a printer cable and Trisa--well, as I said.

So I was driving back from the mall and it suddenly occured to me, in the midst of my deciding whether to go with the illustration, that there're a lot of things that I used to know that I pretty much don't anymore. Something about humility and seeing that a lot about life just ain't roses and I'm better off not looking at it that way. It felt like one of those moments of revelation that shall define my actions for a while to come yadda yadda.

Before going back to Amélie, I decided it'd be best to get directions to where I'm supposed to go for the jury thing and as I did so, I turned on WinAmp and Tom Traubert's Blues by Tom Waits came on and went over me like a blanket and made me wanna just sit around and listen to Tom Waits for hours. I dinna feel like watching Amélie at all anymore, but I nonetheless did for a few minutes.

I wonder if they'll let me sleep at the place? I hope so.

Monday, March 10, 2003

On the top of my list of things I enjoy far more than I ought . . . is orange juice.

There's just never enough orange juice in the refrigerator. Currently, there are two gallons. I know this shall not be sufficient for my thirst.

One of the things I really like about Anne Rice is that in her book Tale of the Body Theif, when Lestat is, for a brief time, transplanted into the body of a human, one of his most vivid, enjoyable experiences is a glass of orange juice.

Amen to that, I say. Amen . . . to orange juice.

My problem is that ever since I was little, I've had this thing where if I have too much citric acid, I tend to get these rather ugly sores on my lips. So I have to watch my orange juice intake. Although sometimes the threat of sores isn't enough to make me care.

I did a new page of Doll Merchant last night. I'm surprised I even did that much, I was feeling so extremely dreadfully zombily tired for some reason. I was too tired even to watch a movie, although I did. I watched Jean Cocteau's Blood of the Poet with my aunt. I'd watched it already a few days earlier but . . . I watched it again because it was good and thoroughly weird. My aunt said she thought Cocteau was being obscure on purpose, which I think is a rather simple-minded way of looking at it. Just because you can't understand something doesn't mean it's trying to confuse you.

In the end, I think she got the idea anyway. How couldn't you really? That movie's more succinct than the human mind is ready to comprehend.

I also foolish spent five dollars of what very little money I have left on Wild At Heart, a David Lynch movie being showed for one day only, one showtime only, at the Madstone cinema. I've not seen that movie in so very long as it's not yet been released on DVD and is out of print on VHS, and it was my first time seeing it in widescreen, not to mention on a movie screen. So the movie was very fresh for me in a lot of ways, which was great. I'd never before quite realised how good the sound is on that movie. When Sailor started beating up that guy at the beginning, the sounds of the hitting, of the electric guitar, and Lula screaming, all come together so startlingly well. One of the things David Lynch seems to do really well, if in frequently, is film really violent scenes of wish-fulfilment vengeance, as seen in Lost Highway's tailgating scene. How often I've wanted to do that to some asshole who's tailgating me. And how satisfying it was to see Sailor Ripley beat the shit out of that guy who was insulting Lula.

Originally, Trisa was supposed to accompany me to see Wild At Heart, but for some foolish reason, she preferred to stay home and study. So for much of the film, I was noticing this or that thing that I knew would have particularly pleased Trisa.

She and I went to see Adaptation on Friday, which was extremely good and, like Wild At Heart, starred Nicolas Cage. All in all, the past several days have left me with a rather positive impression of Nicolas Cage. Which I guess would be different if I'd watched Con Air and Face/Off instead.

Trisa and I rented The Good Girl on DVD starring Jennifer Aniston. The movie involved mostly two-dimensional, unrealistic and occasionally annoying and unintentionally amusing characters played by very good actors, caught up in a generally unoriginal plot that was oddly relaxing. The high point was seeing Jennifer Aniston's tits.

Trisa ran panicked from the house before she came in danger of seeing Friday's very wonderful episode of Farscape, one of the series' final three episodes. What a wonderful show that is. I think I'm falling in love with the female Scarran commander, who reminds me of the Duchess from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The beginning of the episode featured a delicious somewhat S&M moment between her and Scorpius. Both characters are always dressed for such occasions.

By the way, if anyone ever wonders what I look like, here I am:

(created using South Park Studios' Create a Character)

Friday, March 07, 2003

I feel like I did just about everything on Thursday. It was a damned cluttered busy, multimedia day.

I finished the short story I was writing for the Acorn Review. I read it aloud to Tim and he seemed to respond well to it. So that's good.

Also purchased twenty dollars worth of The Dreaming, slept with a cat, purchased Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow for less than ten dollars, and ate at Del Taco.

Of course, I simply had to watch Sleepy Hollow all the way to 4am . . . sigh. And my sleeping schedule was starting to improve!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Bad writers are natural sadists. At least the ones in my city are.

I spent some time earlier to-day going through student submissions for my school's Acorn Review. I only got through about half of them before I finally had to stop, having begun to feel as though these people were shoving a dirty sock down my throat while trying to explain to me how necessary it was. And alls I could say was "Hmmmrmrrrrph!!"

Didn't do a whole lot of moving to-day. Did not, in fact, leave the house. At all. Pretty rare when that happens.

I lagged anyway on internet correspondences, choosing instead to spend most of my time on reading, writing, watching television and, oh yes, those miserable Acorn Review submissions.

Morrissey's right; “The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores”.

I think that's my favourite song at the moment. Whenever I hear it, I can feel the deepest reaches of my soul weeping, crying, "Yes! Oh, it's . . . true! Horribly true!"

Most people I meet in life are boring. Aggressively boring. Even some people who in the past I really respected. Some of these people have now grown up and are listening to Shania Twain and/or Kid Rock. Or are listening to Sheryl Crow and thinking they're being "outside the norm" by doing so.

Ack. It's past 2am, and I'm only just now starting to feel motivated . . .

And I only just now finished my morning cup of coffee. The incredible thing is, when I poured it, it was Tuesday morning.

Monday, March 03, 2003

I felt like I had a lot to do to-day, but suddenly, with a gap of an hour and a half between now and class, I've got options. I'll probably go to school early and read for a while . . .

Just made a pot of coffee, and poured most of its contents into the thermos my aunt gave me this morning. It's a weird, metal thing with a lid that took me a few minutes to figure how to drink from. It's like a cup on the top with a white disk in the centre that I need to push to open, or push to close. When open, coffee seeps out from all sides, filling the little cup area.

An interesting, even experimental way to drink. Fun!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Whoa. What I had typed as an e with an accent mark above it, turned into ¨¦ in the published blog. I don't even know how to make that character. And, perhaps less surprisingly, it turned the mysterious kanji character into iD.

Ah, that must be it. The blog's Id has bypassed the blog's Ego and SuperEgo and is causintg mischief.

Hmmm . . . Lemme experiment . . . é . . . í . . .
Every once in a while, something happens to me or at me that reminds me that life is in many ways a super great awesome thing of splendour in a billion trillion kinds of ways, or at least in one way.

Such happenings as what's happening now . . .

I am currently drinking rice milk from a Vanilla Coke bottle.

Take that people. Oh yes. Take it.

Hm. I wonder why part of my name on this screen has turned into a kanji character? I wonder if it's like that in the published blog? I wonder what this character means? Whatever it is, I guess it's created by a combination of "¨¦", space, and "S". Producing "îD". Very inneresting . . . must dig out my kanji dictionary . . .

Gotten some writing done to-day. As I've done every day for the past week I'm happy to say.

To-day I worked on a short story I'm writing for my school's Acorn Review. I've decided to use a couple of characters that I created for a comic I never finished from a long time ago. The same two characters that I wrote in an illustrated story that I haven't finished the illustrations for yet (it seems to take me a lot longer to do illustrations than it takes me to do writings, I've noticed). Let's hope that this time, these two characters shall be read. And I'll be able to get feedback on them . . .

Personally, I think they're cute.