The death of a moon cowboy

I am a somewhat-youth with ideas and thoughts and too many dreams that sometimes overflow as these little dribblings from my fingertips. I guess you can try to collect and capture them.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brand new Brand New

I'm such a geek. Today--the day the brand new Brand New comes out--I'm wearing one of their shirts, the 2005 street-team only shirt. Yes, I'm that cool. The Devil and God are Raging Inside of Me. I'm pretty excited to leave work here soon and go get it. Too bad the only good place to get a newly-released cd on sale is Best Buy. I miss Dimple. Maybe I should go this week, when I'm in town.

Today I didn't have class at 7 or 8 am. So you'd think I'd be able to get to my 9 o'clock on time. Nope--got there about 22 minutes late. Ah, who cares--I knew it was pretty much a throwaway day.

When I got to work I checked out the inside of the car next to me. There was a nice book inside: Should We Stay Together?, by a guy with a Ph. D. That was fun. Then the car right in front of turns on. Yep, just starts right up, there in front of me. Some girl had remote-started it and was walking up to it. Remote-start. Ingenious.

--- ---

Okay so I had written all that on November 21st and then never posted it. So here's my follow-up.

I went to Best Buy that night, but they were completely out of that cd: every endcap, even the Brand New section. Yep--all gone. Guess they've ridden the college-scene hype-train. (I'm kind of an elitist prick, but I try to hide it with logic and understanding.) So I was quite pissed, but I was already late getting home and looking for any excuse to find another place to go so I could get the cd. Borders? Possibly the only other place I knew of, because Big Daddy never has anything new.

I go home anyway--didn't want to drive all the way over to Borders. Luckily, I forgot that I needed to go get a digital voice recorder before leaving to California--which was the next day. So around 8:30 I leave anyway to go back to Best Buy. And this time I took a nice little shortcut to Borders beforehand and got myself the cd I wanted a cool waterproof, tearproof map of San Francisco. Because I have to do some research, you know. (Note: I never did that research. Not on that last trip, at least. It'll have to wait until Christmas break.)

The digital voice recorder is awesome. I've got notes, ideas, songs or words from the kids, the musician stories I wanted (18 or so in total so far, I think), etc. Great stuff. Expensive though, but useful all the same.

Audio: The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me | Brand New
Video: The Fountain | [Danny Aronofsky|2006]
Text: Where Angels Fear To Tread | E.M. Forster

My word of the day:
mondegreen : the mishearing (usually accidental) of a phrase in such a way that it acquires a new meaning

A scene [3: with Grace and Harold]

The building was two stories high, entrance on the top floor--you walk right in and there's a rotating wire display holding vertical rows of postcards. Each one showed a different bleak desert photograph, with Dinosaurs Lived! printed in the lower right. There was a bin with some plastic figurines, and on top there were pamphlets describing the displays. The ground was covered in thin red carpeting, and the ceiling went high up overhead where lights hung suspended from little wires. The whole floor was small, and clung to the south wall. A brown, three-section railing went around the edge of the floor, and the rest of the building was open so you could see the rock wall with the fossils jutting out.

Except for Harold and his father, there didn't seem to be anyone else around. No scientists or other tourists, just displays set in a little maze around the floor, with color-coded graphs and pieces of Allosaur fossils. On the left, the wall was one big window, streaked with fingerprints and glass-cleaner residue. The desert outside was peppered with little grey shrubs. It must have been at least 100 out, stifling and choking because of the heat and the sand that swirled all over.

This place used to be a river--that's what the first graph showed, at least. The earth shifted over millions of years, and ended up a hot, barren wasteland, thrust upward at a sixty-degree angle.

"What a waste of time," Harold said.

"History is never a waste of time." His father had a receding hairline and wore wire-rimmed glasses that sat on the tip of his nose. He was studying one of the pamphlets. "Read everything. I know you'll love it." He gestured out the window. "Can you believe it used to be a river around here?"

"No." Harold strode down past the displays, hands outstretched, lightly tapping each Plexiglas enclosure. He looked at the bones, the reconstructed skulls. "I'm going downstairs to see the wall."

His father nodded. The stairs were at the back end of the floor, corrugated metal covered in black rubber. They led to more displays, underneath the top level, and another windowed wall where you could supposedly watch paleontologists work. But no one was there. And everything in this place looked rickety, like it was just clapped together.

There was a girl downstairs. Harold stopped and leaned up against an open-air Brachiosaur femur, the first object past the bottom of the stairway. It was taller than him and he had his arm way up on it, same level as his head.

The girl looked at him and smiled. She had on a white skirt, and a white cardigan over a pink shirt. She was a redhead, with maroon-lipsticked lips that made her freckles stand out on her nose. She was older than him, by a couple years at least.

She pointed at a sign above his head: Please do not touch. Harold pulled his arm away and stood straight.

"Fascinating, isn't it?" she said. "That they didn't discover this place until 1909. 1909! What was someone even doing out here anyway? Why did anyone ever discover it?" She was watching a video that showed mules pulling crates of whitewashed bones toward a train.

"Yeah--fascinating," Harold said. "I love this kind of thing."

"What's your name?" she asked.


"Nice to meet you, Harold."

"You too--"

"Grace. My name's Grace."

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Transcription of a chopsticks package that I received today at Edo Japan in Salt Lake City:

--- ---
Tuk under tnurnb and held firmly

Learn how to use your chopsticks

Add second chcostick
hold it as you hold a pencil

Hold tirst chopstick in originai position
move the second one up and down
Now you can pick up anything:

--- ---

That's verbatim. Brilliant isn't it? My favorite word is tnurnb.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A scene [2]

The sunlight is slowly disappearing, day by day. Sarah and I are driving down the emptiest stretch of Nevada highway to be found. It's somewhere around the middle of September--I'm getting worse at remembering specific dates anymore--and I suddenly take notice of the greying sky. Why is it getting dark? It's only seven--much too soon for this.

Sarah hands me one of my bottles of pills. They're all so identical--that same medicinal-orange, stuffy white typewritten label and stupid meaningless words strewn all over them--it was if I were taking the same thing over and over again. Well maybe I should.

"It's time," Sarah says. I nod and dump three of the half-yellow, half-white pills into my palm, studying them there for a second.

"Maybe I should be done with all this." I look over at her.

She looks back at me, unsurprised. "No. We've come way too far for this now. Cut that out and just take them." She looks back to the road. "What do you expect me to say?" She lifts her hands a little, frustrated, then slaps them back on the steering wheel.

"That you agree with me. That this is worthless and not getting us anywhere. Isn't that why we're going back to California anyway? So we're just conveniently visiting family, right? I'm not stupid." In the distance I can still see the uppermost peak of the sun, rounding its way behind those hills.

I start rolling down my window.

She sighs and looks at me as if I'm already dead. "Don't throw them out the window."
I slip my hand out and open it wide; they stick there for an instant until they're wrenched off by the wind. I picture them bouncing, breaking across the Nevada blacktop, crumbling into whitish dust under the tires of the next semi.

"You idiot. Why'd you do that? We're going to have to get more now, first thing when we arrive. You know your supply's running low. Now take three more. And don't even think about getting rid of these." Steering with one hand, she takes her eyes of the road and pours three more into her own hand. I open wide for her, and she shoves them into my mouth. I swallow them dry.

She sighs again. "Sorry George. It's just that this is so hard, you know, for all of us. You don't think this is easy for me do you? You remember Beth, after all those complications? I barely made it in to see her. I made it right before they locked the door--a split-second later would've been too much. See, some things just happen that way, even though we wish they wouldn't." She smiles uneasily. "Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?"

I don't care what she's saying. I'm watching the billboards as they stream pass. There are some great ones.

"Sure, Sarah. Sure."

I can't see the color of the pill bottles anymore. The sun is completely gone now, having just sunk behind those brown hills with little flourish.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Each day will still end with a settling sun

The full moon sky fills with fractured clouds,
and they ripple in streaks and wander about,
making empty ruts seem like welcoming soil
on a hot desert night spent protecting the oil
in the sands of a desperate foreign town:
the outskirts of Baghdad, a policed crowd,
where sounds that deafen and strike at the heart
invade the flesh, create camouflage art.

Downtown the merchants are setting up shop
and a lineup of victims is met, shot by shot,
with their backs against brick, by a firing squad,
left to be loved by a nameless god--
be it Allah or Vishnu, Jehovah or Jah,
they all fall the same: face frozen in awe.
And the leaders keep laughing, keep lapping along
with their mouths open wide. Their great thirsty tongues
form the pipeline, the drills in their desert holes.
Petroleum's taste seduces the soul,
like a boy in a sweetshop, what does he do?--
if the money runs out, just pocket a few
and you have all you want by the end of the day;
it's just politics, the American way.

Some march in a uniform, some in a robe;
the color of skin marks a friend or a foe.
The roads are plowed by the tank as it treads,
aims and then focuses, cross colored red:
It rests on a boy, guns strapped to his chest--
he knows he is right, he soon will be blessed.
The tank-gunner knows that the boy is corrupt;
his hand's on the trigger, the sanddunes erupt
and the boy-threat is gone--his guns are no more.
'Didn't know who he was--oh, the fortunes of war!
Eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth.
It's not playing sides, it's a matter of truth!
The tank-gunner knows that his side will win,
and the young boy's friends will swear their revenge
and know that their cause is for life and for love--
all anyone wants is a mansion above.

So which way is right? Which way is wrong?
Just follow your leaders, just play along.
Because US or Sunni or Shiite or none,
each day will still end with a settling sun.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I landed hard

Yesterday morning I was riding my bike home from school, and I was trying to do a front-wheelie: an endo, a stoppie--where you hit the front brakes really hard and pop up on a wheelie on your front tire--but when I tried it again (after one mildly successful attempt), I flew end over end (hence the name), landing on my back on the ground in the church parking lot right next to my house, with my backpack trapped by the bike's handlebars. It didn't really hurt at the time, but now I have these small, symmetrically-round, hard lumps on either forearm, and I don't know why--from where I hit the handlebars or the asphalt or something, with equal force on both sides. And my shoulder is sore because I did this really cool roll to get out of it; I wish someone had videoed it--I'd love to see that in action. But no one saw. And the music just kept right on playing.

Before driving to Salt Lake last nite for class, I went to a gas station, like I usually do. I didn't feel like junk food--I'm getting a little better at that--and so I looked around for fruit. The only fruit was in a box of .69 Chiquita bananas on the front counter. I bought one. Let me now just say that it was the single worst banana I've ever eaten. It turned into liquid mush in my mouth. The center was black but the rest looked normal. It tasted like bitter soil. I ate most of it anyway, only because I figured it couldn't really hurt me.

Also last nite, after class, I offically started National Novel Writing Month. I got through a little over 1000 words. Not bad, but I have to keep a better pace than that if I'm going to get anywhere with it. I did stay up until 2:00 though, but the writing's not even really that good. Because right now I'm shooting for quantity only; I can always add the quality later (or can I?).

I am rewriting the story/novel I started long ago, over a year ago. You may it as Highways, Highway Veins, The Circus, and so on--or you may not know it at all. The name I like most right now, that I think I'm sticking with, is Highway Veins. It's the one that won me a prize. But I was lucky. Because the writing is so florid and full of modifiers it's unbelievable. My new version actually looks *too* simple when I compare them. So I'll have to work on adding some description later--that won't be too hard, hopefully.

We saw this show last nite about Pete Seeger. He's great. He's in his eighties, lives in New York, and he's a folk singer. He plays for children, and plays for fun. He's got this long-necked custom banjo that is his signature. He wrote Turn, Turn, Turn. He is a political and environmental activist. He started a foundaation called Clearwater that focuses on cleaning up the Hudson, and he takes kids out on this beautiful old schooner replica he had built. They make strawberry shortcake and hot biscuits. He's a genius. I want to be a genius.

Look up Pete Seeger. You'll fall in love.


Audio: We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes|Death Cab For Cutie
Video: Some show about Pete Seeger last nite; the guy is fascinating--I really admire him
Text: The Moonstone|Wilkie Collins

My word of the day:
[why: I read it in The Moonstone.]
1 obsolete : the kitchen servants of a household
2 a : a rude or unscrupulous person b : a person who uses foul or abusive language