Thursday, January 28, 2010

Look what I found

I just rediscovered this video on YouTube - I forgot I had posted it there almost three years ago. I was just checking to see if I still had a YouTube account, and there it was. Weird.

This video was taken during an adventure Brittany, Kevin and I went on in April 2007. We drove down the Oregon coast to Oceanside for a fly-in. It was the second to last time I ever flew. I flew at a Chelan fly-in two weeks later, and that was the end of my hang gliding career. It still seems strange to me how abruptly I stopped flying. But then again, it still seems strange to me that I started hang gliding in the first place. I really don't know exactly what has driven me to jump off cliffs and out of airplanes. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Or times, I guess. Many, many times.

The title of this video is Kevin's fault, not mine. I have no idea what it's supposed to mean.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bigfoot revealed!

Evidence of the existence of Bigfoot will soon be on display in a new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum entitled, “Giants in the Mountains: The Search for Sasquatch.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Tomorrow will be the first Third Thursday of 2010: Artwalk. I have the whole day off, too, so I'll actually be participating this time around. I just published an article all about it. And, of course, the Definitive Guide is still mostly relevant.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Empire of the Owl 2.0

I finally earned my 5th credit on TriggerStreet earlier this afternoon, and I just finished uploading my first short story, The Empire of the Owl, to the site. I am quite anxious about it. I think I need another beer.

Free movie this Saturday at the Grand Cinema

The Grand is showing The Secret of Nimh this Saturday at 10:30am. Read about it here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

You're related to who?

Interested about learning more about your family history and getting better connected to your roots? The Main Branch of the Tacoma Public Library will host a free class this Tuesday that will help you get started. Learn more here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fitter, happier, more productive

This has been a very productive week for me. I've written and published two articles in the past two days. One is about an upcoming show this Saturday at the Showbox where DBS, a delta-blues/punk band Kevin's cousin plays in, will be performing. The other article is about 10th and Commerce's new EP and upcoming shows.

I discovered TriggerStreet the other day, and I have already become a contributing member. TriggerStreet is a website started in 2002 (yeah, it took me a while to stumble upon it) by Kevin Spacey and producer Dana Brunetti as an interactive mechanism to discover and showcase emerging filmmaking and writing talent. Fingers crossed.

As I am only marginally employed and have thus far not been able to successfully prostitute my own intellectual property, I have been doing a lot of digging for job prospects both on and off line. I have been writing up all sorts of proposals and letters and sending them out to various companies and organizations, hoping to find some sort of meaningful work. I am getting a lot more aggressive in my approach. I am more optimistic than ever that something good is about to happen to me career-wise. I'm hardly even nervous about interviews these days. Weird.

2010 is going to be my year. I have decided that in order to keep myself productive, and on some sort of track, collaboration is a necessity. Lately, I've been discussing all sorts of creative endeavors with friends old and new. It has actually helped me get back in touch with certain people I didn't even realize I had so much in common with. I've been talking to all sorts of people about job leads as well, and I feel like my prospects are becoming much brighter.

I just created a new avatar specifically for TriggerStreet. I think it's cool. Feel free to let me know if I am mistaken about this, though.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Empire of the owl (Part III)

My nose involuntarily wrinkles as a puff of acrid smoke wafts past it, and I momentarily crave a cigarette. I peer into the cafe through a large, single pane window speckled with the remnants of evaporated windblown rain drops. I'm looking to see if I recognize anyone. I don't. But I don't even care; I don't really feel like being around people anymore. I look to my left, checking for my friends, but I don't see anyone I recognize. I just see a gray haired woman sleeping under an old Batman sleeping bag and a few people lingering on the corner shouting at each other, arms flailing, hands gesturing; I can't tell if it's friendly or not. I'm tempted to just walk home.

“Hey,” says an unfamiliar voice. “You looking for something?”

I turn around to find a man standing before me smoking a cigarette. He's short, maybe five foot six at most, and stocky. He's wearing a big leather coat and a dark, strangely patterned Fedora.

“Uh,” I begin, trying to stifle a laugh, thinking he looks like a thuggish version of George Costanza. “No. I'm just waiting for some friends.”

“Huh,” he replies and takes a drag off his cigarette. “It's cool, man.”

I turn my head to avoid the smoke. I look back at Brandon, at his car parked in front of a fire hydrant and his new found Volkswagen enthusiast buddies. They're all still standing there, staring at the car, talking about something. Or nothing.

Ghetto Costanza's standing next to me still, bobbing back and forth, seeming uncomfortable, unable to stand still.

“Have you ever heard a screech owl kill a jackrabbit in a blackberry bush at 3 am?” he asks out of nowhere.

I look at him, cocking my head sideways, trying to comprehend the question.

“Uh, no,” I eventually reply, shaking my head. “No, I don't think so.”

He takes a drag off his cigarette. “I have. Over seven hundred times this year,” he says, exhaling.

I stifle a laugh and look down at my feet for a moment, unable to make even insincere eye contact without losing it and laughing hysterically in his face; I actually want to see where this conversation is leading. I take a breath, and I notice his feet. I notice his shoes, rather, big, shiny leather boots. They're enormous. I wonder if they actually fit him..

“Oh,” I reply coolly, eying him skeptically. “Cool.”

“Do you know what it sounds like?” he questions, leaning in closer to me.


“The rabbit makes a sound like a woman screaming. It is the sound of absolute terror. EEEEEEE!” he imitates, his wide eyes surrounded by thick, black plastic frames.

“Huh,” I nod.

“If you understand what that all means, well,” he chuckles, “I guess you understand what it all means then, you know?” He pauses a moment. “I'm from the empire of the owl you know.” He takes another drag off his cigarette.

I cough. “Oh yeah?” I question, intrigued. “Where is that exactly?”

He scoffs and steps back looking offended. “Hey man, you know, I've got better things to do than–”

“No no no,” I cut in, “I'm serious. I really wanna know; it was a serious question,” I plead, making strong eye contact with him.

“Well, if you really want to know,” he says trailing off, pulling a phone out of his pocket, flipping it open and pushing a few buttons before putting it away and continuing. “I can tell you what it's all about. The meaning of meaning. I know this stuff. I've been around, man. I've never wasted my time with all that educational institutional reading and math bull shit. I work the streets. I make shit happen. You don't need school. What you need is other people, dig? You have to talk to people. You need a group of about thirty people. And they all have to have bank accounts. Real ones, though.”

I look over at Brandon, standing in the street behind his car, his shirt mostly unbuttoned. He's pulling it open wide enough to show off his new tattoo, his shaven chest obviously artificially tanned despite the early morning darkness. The shorter of his two greasy new friends puts his hands on his head, crouching low on the sidewalk, looking like his mind has just been blown, and he's about to crab walk. The other guy just stands there looking bored. Brandon sees me looking at him and smiles wide, starts buttoning his shirt back up.

“Hey,” Ghetto Costanza barks.

“Oh, huh?”

“What's your name, man?”

“Oh, uhh, Brandon.”

He scoffs. “You gotta change that, man. You look like that guy. What's his name?”

“Brandon?” I suggest.

“No,” he retorts, sounding annoyed, looking next to me, squinting through his thick glasses.

I turn to look at whatever he's looking at just as Brandon steps up beside me.

“Whaddya need, man?” he asks Brandon. “I got it.”

Brandon chuckles. “Hey guys, what's up?”

“You guys gotta keep your minds sharp if you're gonna succeed in this life,” Ghetto Costanza explains. “You gotta speed things up to stay on top,” he says and taps his temple with his right hand then snaps his fingers twice. “Crack.” He nods.

Brandon laughs. “You're buying crack, Andrew?”

“Who the fuck is Andrew?” He flicks his cigarette butt onto the sidewalk. “You're like that skateboard prick. What's his name? Randy. Randy Hawkins.”

I look at Brandon, shrug my shoulders, shake my head.

“Holy Jesus, there's a chicken in there,” the shorter of the two greasy guys exclaims excitedly.

I sigh and look down at my feet.

“Crank, coke, speed, E?” Ghetto Costanza continues.

I'm staring down at the cracked, gum speckled sidewalk strewn with cigarette butts and other urban detritus. I watch a tattered page of some local, independent newspaper blow down the sidewalk and get stuck under a newspaper vending machine. I'm distracted by call girl ads and paid clinical trial offers fluttering about in the early morning breeze, spattered with what I can only hope to be ketchup.

“You guys like H? Speedballs?”

I look down the street to finally see a procession of more familiar delinquents making its way down the sidewalk. I take a deep breath, turn and look back at Ghetto Costanza.

“Weren't you about to tell me the meaning of life, or something?” I question.

Brandon laughs.

“That's all you're after?” the crack dealer replies.

“I dunno, I'll take a business card or something if you've got one,” Brandon retorts.

Costanza sighs. “You wanna know what it all means, huh?”

“Yeah,” I reply.

“The meaning of life. The meaning of meaning.” He exhales sharply. “All right, well, it's pretty simple. All you really need to know is–” he trails off as a black Infinity SUV with tinted windows pulls up to the curb behind Brandon's car. The passenger window rolls down part way, enough to reveal a vaguely Asian-looking woman with big hair. He walks over to the car without saying anything to us.

I look at Brandon. He just shrugs, smirking.

The passenger side door opens and the crack-dealing philosopher climbs in awkwardly, too small for the big SUV.

“What's up Andrew?” asks my least favorite person from the party. I can't think of his name. We're not friends.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Empire of the owl (Part II)

This is part II of a random chapter of my upcoming book, F U. It took me a little longer to post this than I had anticipated, but, after re-reading the first part I posted, I decided to take a little more time proof-reading my work.

Please note that certain details will make more sense in my novel as this is all out of context. Please also note that I am well aware that certain details, including certain character names, are extremely stupid.

I have chosen this particular section of my novel to share first because it is going to be used as part of a collaborative project I'm working on with a few friends. We'll see what comes of it (I am very optimistic).

With all that said, enjoy:

Part II

Tires squeal as Brandon takes an oblique right onto North Forest Street. I brace myself against the sub box, subconsciously cursing Brandon and his godforsaken chicken. I start thinking about how I'd been warned previously by Elroy and Marigold, and those other hippy weirdos at that house I still can't find, about the dangers of astral attacks and negative thought forms and then try to make myself think about something more positive, but then I think, I still don't have any idea what any of that means. I shrug it all off feeling angrier than before.

Brandon's words from the conversation we had earlier on the deck, while I was in front of the barbecue flipping burgers, and he was just standing there beside me, rambling animatedly on and on about his crazy post-high school life, run through my head, swirling around, mixing with old memories and judgments of events past and present.

He's completely lost it, I think to myself. And I'm losing it by association.

Smack. I hit my head on the side widow as the car hits a pothole; there's absolutely no give whatsoever to what's left of the hacked up suspension.

“Aah!,” I exclaim, rubbing the left side of my head. “Damn it.”

I don't blame her for killing his unborn child, I think to myself. I don't blame her at all, I repeat in my head, remembering how he told me he broke up with her after her dog killed his dog, and she, never telling him she was pregnant, got an abortion. I don't blame her at all, I think; I'd have killed it too. That must've been after she got out of jail, I ponder and shake my head, marveling at how things can go so terribly wrong so quickly.

The car screeches to a halt at a red light. I stare out the window still rubbing my aching head with one hand, bracing myself against the sub box with the other. A homeless man stares inquisitively back at me from a bench inside the fenced off playground of a YMCA daycare facility, and I think, at least I'm doing better than that guy.

Brandon guns the accelerator again, but I don't hit my head this time around. He puts the car sideways through the next intersection, taking a left onto Holly street. I'm crouching in the very center of the back of the car, my arms stretched out at my sides, one sweaty hand on each side window, my fingers spread apart wide leaving greasy streaks on the tinted glass. An ancient pizza box slides into my left foot, leaving grease on the white toe of my Converse. Some sort of old automotive filter, blackened with greasy filth and rolled in crumbs and pine needles, rolls between my legs and hits the sub box with a silent thud.

The car straightens out and flies down the road, leaving a twisted patch of black rubber behind. I exhale loudly with relief realizing that if Brandon actually knows where he's going, he isn't going to have to make any more turns. I tell myself that after the car's safely parked, I will never, ever get into another car with Brandon again. Never. No matter what.

We cross North State Street, and I look out the window trying to spot the rest of my unfortunate group of friends. But I can't make out anything; we're going way too fast. My head is still spinning, and I can't even pinpoint the reason why at this point; it could be because of any number of causes. Looking through the windshield, I can see the bright lights of the Horseshoe Cafe and the mandatory rough-looking mob on the corner outside the old, decrepit building, a few of them standing in the street.

The car flies right past the cafe, and I start yelling at Brandon to stop, not that he can hear me or anything. Tires squeal, brakes lock and the car goes into a slide, skidding at an awkward angle right into the next intersection at the end of the block. I'm in the fetal position at this point, curled up, cowering amid the trash and random objects littering the vehicle. I feel the vehicle shift into reverse, backing up down a one-way street. I don't get up; I don't look at anything. I just wait for it all to stop. My head is pounding. I wish I were in bed.

The car finally stops. The engine sputters, idling low for a moment before being revved up high again a couple times for no good reason, probably. Maybe he thinks he's showing off for someone, I think, still curled up on the filthy floor pan. The engine dies, and the car shakes to a rough a rough halt.

I take a deep breath and try to convince myself to sit up.

“Not bad for a freebie, huh?” Brandon asks. That's what I hear, at least. I have no idea what he's talking about. He continues on about something, but I don't even try to comprehend. I really don't care what he has to say.

My ears are ringing. I can barely hear the irrelevant words spewing forth from his grinning mouth; I can see him smirking at me in the rear-view mirror.

Gradually, I sit up and just stare back at him silently, dumbfounded.

He starts to laugh.

I'm silent. My whole body is shaking. I have no idea what he's laughing about. I open my mouth wide, and my ears pop.

“Open the hatch,” I tell him.

He unbuckles his harness and turns back to face me, smirking arrogantly.

He's enjoying this, I think. I stare at him for a moment, rage building within me. My whole body is shaking. Two scruffy looking guys draw my attention in front of the car. The shorter one crouches down a few feet in front of the hood, stretches his arms out in front of his face, squints and frames the car with his hands. I see his mouth move, but I can't hear a word.

I turn my attention back to Brandon, watch him feed what looks like a pizza crust to the chicken still sitting on the passenger seat.

“Brandon,” I begin, trying to sound serious, like I'm not messing around. I try to convey that I'm not at all amused by any of his insane antics. “Let me out of the car.”

He grins at me a minute not saying a word. He pats the chicken on the head, tosses it another pizza crust and then turns to open the door.

I'm staring at the chicken as Brandon walks around the car. It's sitting there on the seat, clucking quietly, pecking at the crust, it's feathers even more unkempt than before. Feathers are strewn all over the floor in front of the seat. I'm looking at a couple greasy splotches on the dash, next to where the glove box is supposed to be, when I realize, there's no way that chicken could have stayed sitting on that seat the whole time.

The rear hatch opens. Shaky and angry, I climb out and then slam the hatch shut.

“Careful, man,” Brandon says, “It's an old car.”

I stare coldly back at him, my thoughts shifting from wondering whether or not helmets for chickens exist to whether or not anyone would miss Brandon if he never came home from his trip up to Bellingham. I'm most concerned about whether or not I'd be considered a suspect in his tragic disappearance.

He laughs.

“Whoa, man,” says the greasy, shaggy black haired guy in dirty plaid pants who had been framing the front of the car with his hands. He approaches the back of the car where I'm standing, staring daggers at Brandon, wishing him unspecific harm.

I take a step back. Then another as he starts waving his hands wildly, excited about something.

“Whoa,” the guy says again, crouching down framing the back of the car. “Man. What is this thing?” he asks.

“'67 Volkswagen Squareback,” Brandon replies proudly.

“Whoa,” the greasy man exclaims once more. “You could live in there,” he says. “You could paint it flat black.”

“It is flat black,” I mumble to no one, staring at me feet.

“It is flat black,” Brandon tells the guy.

I turn and look down the street, hoping to see the rest of my friends coming. No such luck. I kick a pebble at the curb. It ricochets off, striking the rear quarter panel of the car.

I look at Brandon, trying to look fearless, intimidating.

He says nothing.

I stare at my feet all smudged and greasy from being immersed in filth in the car. I shake my head and wipe the pizza box grease off the toe of my converse on the back of my opposite pant leg, rubbing the back of my non-existent calf.

“Whoa,” the greasy wierdo says again. “These wheels. These wheels are so shiny. They're like, like–” he trails off. “Whoa, man.”

I turn to see the guy down on his hands and knees, one leg in the gutter, one up on the sidewalk, his face just inches from one of the Squareback's rims. He strokes one spoke of an Empi rim from top to bottom with the back of his index finger. I shake my head, turn to look at the greasy guy's taller companion standing on the sidewalk a few steps back from his friends, hands in the side pockets of a tattered black trench-coat. A skinny black cigar hangs out of the corner of his mouth, ready to drop to the ground at any moment.

“He's tripping,” he tells me, shrugging his shoulders and pulling the cigar from his mouth. He blows a cloud of smoke my way.

I take another step back and turn my head to avoid the smoke. I look back at Brandon who looks fascinated by the greasy guy admiring his car.

I kick another pebble, look for my friends again. They're no where in sight. What's taking so long, I wonder.

I turn to look towards the Horseshoe Cafe. I stare up at the old, yellowed mural depicting cowboys and prospectors above the windows facing the street. I read all the signs on the outside of the building. Open 24 hours. No smoking within 25 feet of this doorway. No loitering. I sigh.

“Sorry we're not better company,” the guy in the trench-coat tells me, cigar in hand. “But who did you expect to meet here at four in the morning?”

I shrug my shoulders and walk towards the cafe staring down at the pavement.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: Weekend (1/52)

Happy first weekend of 2010. Just published an article about what's going on in downtown Tacoma.

The New Frontier is hosting Greg Merrell's birthday party tonight. I'll be in attendance. I mean, I'm working all night tonight anyway, but I'd go even if I were not. Anyway, should be fun. The Wheelies, Xylophones and Piko Panda will be there. Honestly, I've never heard any of these bands, but I'm looking forward to hearing them. I think Greg booked them, and he seems to
have pretty decent taste.