Friday, December 07, 2007

So as not to see you see me react.

I wrote this to my improv teacher Jim, who is also my friend and whom I write everyday so that we can escape the tedium of our jobs.


You and I are alike in some ways, not alike in others. I've been attracted to bad elements, done bad things, destructive things and made some mistakes with some really terrible people. I would like to think that I've remained constant and good throughout whatever situations I was dealing with, but occasional lapses and weakness have probably made me a worse person than I'd like to think I am. It's certainly made me darker, a little bit more bitter - which would be great if I were, like, a chocolate, but I'm not. It's probably also made me a better writer, capable of drawing on a larger trove of human experience, but sometimes I wish that I could be the person who doesn't make jokes about, for instance, putting a puppy in a catapult.

I am also an intellectual snob, which makes it either ironic or telling that my apartment looks as scary as the Unabomber's. I've developed this habit around the bookstore and in my office of not tolerating fakery - even though I'm capable of it. A couple nights ago at the bookstore, our new security guard panicked because someone rang the back doorbell. I had to calm her down and tell her what happened. She asked me, startled, "There's a back door?" I had to tell her where it was - that it was in a room we'd actually been in together before. It was not her first night. She's the security guard. For some reason, it didn't provide me with much comfort when *I* had to tell her where one of the doors to the building was. Since then, I've had this opinion that she's stupid, and I can't shake it.

This year, because I've been trying to improve how I interact socially with friends and improve how I relax and cope with things, I've had to say goodbye to Scott, my on-again/off-again lover who could never commit and, in fact, would usually run from a discussion about commitment with me into the arms of some random Internet hookup, into the crotch of some skeevy guy from a bar or into some long road trip across state lines to experiment with some sort of fetish that he hadn't really indulged in before. I thought, at first, that it was because I was just too needy or that conversations with me just really annoyed him. It didn't occur to me that he was spectacularly ill-equipped to deal with the safety I was providing him, that I was - for once - the stable one in a relationship, until our waitress at the Steak 'n' Shake one night told me that any person who would run away from me and what I was providing was retarded. She said it in front of him. He was dumbstruck. It was one of the funniest moments of my life. I went back to the Steak 'n' Shake a couple months afterward to thank that waitress, but by then she was back in jail for - according to that night's staff at the Steak 'n' Shake - jumping the fence of a Halfway House to try and score some crystal meth. I don't think that invalidates her good advice, but I don't know.

I stopped hanging out with my friend Brad after I realized he would only come over to my apartment if he happened to have another appointment for "intimacy" near where I live. In March, an amputee in my neighborhood - whom he met through a website - canceled on him, and he told me that a trip to see me alone "wasn't worth the gas." On the phone, he said it in this sort of passive way, as though he were asking me to pass the salt. He couldn't figure out why I was laughing. And he didn't seem to notice for months that I was even upset. By then, I told him that I didn't like our friendship because I didn't like being "the back-up plan to an amputee hook-up." I asked him why my crippled legs weren't good enough to spend time with.

I also said goodbye to my best friend Vickye, who I actually don't think likes me very much. Even though she claims to love me, I never see her, and she's spectacularly unreliable. One time during our 20s, she got married, and she didn't introduce me to her husband for four years. She said she didn't think we'd get along. I finally met him at a skating rink during her niece's birthday party. They were divorced within a year. Vic lost her job earlier this year, then changed her phone number so that I didn't get to talk to her from August until the end of October - when she called up and said that she wanted to get back to "feeling like herself." We made plans to do something just recently, and she stood me up. And, actually, that's exactly the way that Vickye is herself.

The patterns lesson reinforced for me that, maybe, getting away from these folks - and unreliable folks like this - was the right move. Thank you for it.

Anyway, this e-mail is too long.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holliday party.

Sometimes, I wish that my life was a TV show. Because, in my life, I met Jennifer Holliday and had a really good exchange with her. But, in the TV show version of my life, Jennifer Holliday and I would become friends, and she would accompany me to the Christmas party that I have to attend on Saturday. And, during the singalong, Jennifer Holliday would perform all sorts of songs. And everyone at the party would love me because I brought Jennifer Holliday to a room full of gay men that I usually feel awkward around. And then the magic of Christmas would rain down upon all of us like glitter, and I would smile and fall in love with someone under mistletoe. And then we'd have a big gay wedding for May sweeps, and Jennifer Holliday would show up again and sing another song.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Get busy dying.

My friend James and I were having coffee and another argument last night at IHOP.

I was trying to help him cope with the fact that a girl he likes called off what was supposed to be their first date without much notice or explanation.

"It wasn't a date," he clarified at one point. "It was, like, a pre-date."

"What's the difference, actually?" I asked him. "I mean, if you ask someone to coffee to decide whether you want to ask them to dinner, it's still a date, right?"

"Not necessarily," James said.

"I disagree."

"Well, what constitutes a 'date' in Benjie-land?" he asked me.

I was basic. I said, "If you make plans to do something with someone and then go out together, that's a date."

James argued the definition.

He explained, "Well, you and I made plans and went somewhere together yesterday, and not just that ... we went to a movie. And, after that, what did we do?"

"We went to the drugstore, and you explained soft-bristled toothbrushes to me," I said.

"No, I'm talking about dinner," James said. "You and I went to dinner ... and a movie. But was that a date?"

"We only had ice cream yesterday," I said to him.

"Whatever, was it a date?" James asked.

"Yes," I said to my heterosexual co-worker friend.

"WHAT?" James asked incredulously.

"It was a date," I said. "By my definition, it was a date."

"Your definition describes an 'appointment,'" James said. "If that was a date, then you're a lousy date."

I was a little miffed. And I think someone eavesdropping at another table started to laugh at us.

"Excuse me?" I asked James.

"Well, I didn't get sex or anything," James said.

"Would you want that?"

"No, not from you," James said. "But I would want that on a date."

"Even a first date?"

"I think that's standard for people our age nowadays," he asked. "A good date usually ends in sex."

"Well, I'm sorry I'm not easy."

"You are so. Who are you kidding?"

* * *

James then went on to suggest that his issues with women would end if he just, of all things, became an indiscriminant womanizer.

"The womanizers I know don't have my issues with women," he said. "That'd be better."

"If you were a womanizer, then you'd just have different issues with women," I said. "Besides, I think you'd need a different, more damaged background to be a womanizer."

"I could totally be a womanizer," James said.

"Yeah, but what if you ever wanted something more serious?" I asked.

"I could stop being a womanizer if that happened."

"Yeah, but then you'd have that history and reputation," I said. "And I think smart women would avoid that. And you prefer smart women. We like smart women."

"We do?"

There was a pause, then I changed the subject again.

"Ooh, I forgot to ask you something," I said.

"What is it?" James asked.

"Will you be a speaker at my funeral?" I asked.

He looked concerned.

"You planning on dying?" he asked.

"I don't really have a choice about that. It's gonna happen whether I want it to or not."

"But you don't have any immediate plans for it, right?" he asked. "Is there something you're trying to tell me?"

"No, but you're not the first person to ask me that," I said. "At my office, I asked my friend Angela if she would sing at my funeral, and she said that was morbid and started to worry."

"Well, it's a natural reaction, frankly," James said.

"No, I'm not suicidal," I said in an attempt to calm his nerves. "I just know that my mom is a control freak, so, if I want the service I want, I'm going to have to start planning now."

"Will your mother even be at your funeral?" he asked.

"Probably not, but I'm planning just in case," I said. "I mean, I told her that I wanted to be cremated, and she freaked out, saying that she'd NEED to see my body. I was, like, 'Why?' She said, 'Because I'd need to see that you were gone.'"

* * *

I'm not suicidal. I have been suicidal before. One time in high school, I wanted to nosedive off the balcony of a mall. If saying that makes anyone sad, I apologize, but, even when being harsh to myself in my head or in writing, I try to create an honest image of myself in everyone's head. The funeral idea, thus, is not a new one. I plan my funeral because, like my mother, I'm a control freak and image-conscious. I think that if I visualize and plan my perfect funeral, I can manipulate - even from beyond the grave - what everyone's opinions of me will be. I realize this is ridiculous and that talking about it makes me look vulnerable. But I can't control that. All I can do is talk about it.

Besides, my mom keeps the sheet music she wants used at her funeral in a compartment in her briefcase. Once, during a reflective period when she was revising her will, she let me and my brother Dan know where to find it. Ironically, one of the songs was "When the Saints Go Marching In."

So this tendency runs in our family.

* * *

Sitting in the IHOP, I explained to James how the funeral would go.

"Angela was really freaked out that I was talking about my funeral until I told her what song I wanted her to sing," I said. "Then she got all excited."

James asked me, "Which song was it?"

"It's this choir version of 'Let It Be' that I heard in a movie," I said. "I think all of my ideas for the funeral are stolen from movies. Anyway, Angela apparently loves 'Let It Be,' so now she really wants to perform it."

"You should hurry up and die, then," James snarked.

"Funny," I said. "Anyway, so that books you and Angela and Lupo for the funeral, contingent on you knowing me and us being on good terms when I die."

"Yeah, that's a good stipulation to add in there," James said. "Although I'd probably still come and talk shit about you at your funeral if you and I were on the outs when you died."

"If it's a good anecdote, use it," I said. "I just want a lot of people telling good stories, not too many people feeling sad. I want people to laugh. That's what I really want. I just want people to remember me and laugh. And I want people from all the different branches of my life to come together so that they can see how all the pieces come together and made my life."

"That sounds cool," James said.

"Yeah, I wish I could see it when it happens," I said. "Maybe we could have a run-through or something? I wonder if anyone aside from Tom Sawyer ever got to attend their own funeral."

"I think that's the main reason why people fake their deaths," James said. "People want to see what goes down at their funeral."

"People don't really fake their own deaths, outside of soap operas," I said. "Right?"

"Maybe," he said. "It'd be cool."

* * *

I explained that I thought the Relapse Theater - a former church and homeless shelter where I take improv classes - would probably be a good venue for the service.

"I don't want religion mentioned at the funeral, but I figured that it'd do my religious friends some small comfort if it were held at a building that at least looks like a church," I said. "There's even a sanctuary."

James asked, "Does it have pews?"

"Not anymore, I don't think. The last time I saw something there, I think they used folding chairs."

"I don't think it qualifies as a sanctuary unless it has pews," he said. "Without pews, it just doesn't have that church feel."

"It has a baptismal," I conceded.

"How would they use a baptismal at your funeral?"

"Maybe they could put ice in it to keep the drinks cold," I said. "I don't know. I haven't gotten it all planned yet."

"Well, you have time," James said. "But, to make sure things go according to plan, you may want to write it all down."

I looked at him and smiled. And we finished our coffee.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And I am telling you ... an epilogue.

I worked again at the bookstore tonight, and my manager told me that the movie that woman named Jennifer Holliday ordered had come in. So he'd called her that afternoon.

So, a couple hours into my shift, Jennifer Holliday walked back into the section, and I said hello and immediately grabbed her DVD order without making too much fuss over it. I rang her up at the registers, asked her how she was doing. I told her I was happy her order came in so quickly. It was all very formal.

And when I put the DVD in the bag, Jennifer Holliday passed me a CD of THE BEST OF JENNIFER HOLLIDAY. And I said thank you. And she left.

And, with that, she removed all doubt and gave my anecdote a really great ending.

Written across the front of the CD case in silver marker was:





And, reading that, I did the thing where I jumped up and down, fell on the floor, kicked my legs like crazy, squealed and, yes, I even called my mom this time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And I am telling you I am not Jennifer Holliday.

I totally met - maybe - Jennifer Holliday tonight in my bookstore.

Um, the stupid part was that I didn't immediately recognize her because, you know, she didn't weigh so much and have tremendous amounts of theatrical makeup on. So when she told me her name was Jennifer Holliday with a 212 area code while she was ordering a CD, I asked if she got the "Oh, like the woman from DREAMGIRLS ..." thing a lot. Then, I told her my name was Benji and that people always mention the movie dog to me.

Then I asked her if she'd ever seen the real Jennifer Holliday perform. And she said yes.

So I started talking about the original DREAMGIRLS soundtrack and the Jennifer Holliday performance of AND I AM TELLING YOU I'M NOT GOING on the Tonys from 1982 that I'd watched on YouTube. And Jennifer Holliday asked me if I knew how long ago that was. So I named off the original cast of DREAMGIRLS and said the whole thing was introduced by Tony Randall while reading a storybook. And, even though she said she wasn't that Jennifer Holliday, she looked impressed.

Then she changed her story, saying she actually has worked with Jennifer Holliday for 30 years (meaning that Jennifer Holliday employs a different Jennifer Holliday), when I told her that I was a big geek about Jennifer Holliday and LOVED the ALLY MCBEAL episodes that Jennifer Holliday was on, particularly the one where she performed SHORT PEOPLE. And she asked why that would make me a geek. (Keep in mind, she was pretending not to be the REAL Jennifer Holliday, just someone named Jennifer Holliday who knew and worked with the real Jennifer Holliday.)

Then I asked her if the REAL Jennifer Holliday was nice, and she said yes (which is different from everything else I've heard about the real Jennifer Holliday, though the woman I met tonight was very nice). Then I asked her if, as someone who's worked with the star for 30 years, if she could sing herself. She said yes, even though she was still pretending not to be Jennifer Holliday. So I asked her if she was any good at it, and she said she certainly thought so.

It was very funny.

The whole thing ended with me telling Jennifer Holliday to pass a message on to the REAL Jennifer Holliday the next time she saw her. I told her that Jennifer Holliday's music makes me happy - even though I'm not a very happy person. I said that her music lifts me up. So the woman named Jennifer Holliday told me that she'd tell the REAL Jennifer Holliday that exact thing.

It was totally Jennifer Holliday.

It was all I could do not to squeal in delight and call my mom while it was happening. UPDATE: It continues here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Post #1,001: Who I am.

Recently, I wrote a bio for another website, explaining who I am and what I'm about. I'm including it here for new readers or those who just want to reacquaint themselves with the blog.

My name is Benjamin Carr, and I'm from the "lovely," formerly redneck and formerly small town of Buford, Georgia - now home to the gigantic Mall of Georgia. Born to two Yankee transplants from Ohio in 1976, I spent the better part of my formative years trying to avoid developing a Southern accent. This was made more difficult when my Yankee parents divorced and eventually married two Southerners. When I'm drunk or feeling otherwise lithe, I can do pretty spot-on impressions of my stepfather.

Also, I was born with a condition called cerebral palsy - which affects how my brain communicates with my muscles. My condition is very mild, leaving me with a bit of a limp and a perpetually bent arm on my left side. It was thought, at one point, that I'd be severely retarded or suffer from low brain activity. I didn't end up that way. When I was a kid, though, I developed this way of talking a lot and showing off so that people would notice my personality before they noticed the disability. I still talk too much. I still try too hard to impress.

Others with cerebral palsy use wheelchairs and are barely able to move. It's weird, but I don't feel lucky around able-bodied people because I don't like my limp. Still, when I'm around someone with severe cerebral palsy or meet the parents of a severely disabled child (as it has happened with customers in my bookstore), I get sorta ashamed of myself for not realizing just how bad my situation could be.

When a child who's barely able to speak, who cannot walk and can't move his arms without shaking, looks at me as though I'm a miracle or an example or a hero or something just because I'm able to move, I can't help but think that I'm some kind of punk who wasted God-given blessings, doesn't do enough with his life and complains too much.

Everybody feels like that sometimes, probably.

I've been a TV and movie buff since I was an adolescent, enjoying the escapism a movie can provide, and I'm always trying to broaden my tastes and try new cinema. (This weekend, I watched Ingmar Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS. Which was a really beautiful, well-acted Swedish movie about dysfunction, pain and death. I recommend it.)

There are a lot of classics I've managed to not catch yet, but I'm a good man to have on a bar trivia team.

I also read regularly, for working part-time at a bookstore for seven years can cause you to develop an addiction to book-shopping. My apartment looks like a really messy small library with stacks of stuff everywhere.

I call myself a writer. Prior to taking improv classes, I attended a writer's workshop at the Margaret Mitchell House for over a year. In college, I was a journalism major, and I've done news and arts coverage for THE RED & BLACK (which should tell you where I went to college), ATHENS BANNER-HERALD and AUGUSTA CHRONICLE. I also worked briefly (very briefly) for CNN. I've worked for a construction trade publication through McGraw-Hill for over seven years.

I blogged fairly regularly for about four years, but that hobby fell by the wayside when I rediscovered that attending the theater all the time is more fun and actually allows for face-to-face interaction with real people, which I enjoy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I am the bomb.

On my way to Wordsmiths in Decatur for their open mic night, my car ran out of gas on Clairmont. It was a sign. I wasn't supposed to attend that reading, for the essay I'd picked to read was not polished or terribly appealing for an audience. But I didn't know that at the time, even if I should've, so I persisted in my quest to get to the bookstore.

I left my Yaris hatchback (which I've named Bill, incidentally) in the turn lane where he stopped, hazard lights blinking. I dodged cars, got the gas can out of the back and walked a half-mile on the sidewalk. All in all, I was delayed about a half-hour.

But my car was only looking out for my best interests. When I got to Wordsmiths, the reading started out well enough but quickly fell flat. I eventually just paused, for I'd not practiced the piece (which was too episodic and didn't have enough dramatic tension to carry the listeners through it), then I quickly summarized the ending (which wasn't climactic enough). I rushed it. I got off the stage.

Lesson learned.

The reason I'd picked the wrong essay to read was because, well, I chickened out and didn't read the more polished, actually rehearsed essay which would've gone over much better with the audience. My justification for that was that, during the last open mic night, an 11-year-old girl was there singing songs she'd learned from the radio in front of her proud Christian parents, and I didn't want to follow that act with a story featuring inferences to, um, mishaps that can occur during hot, involved gay sex.

This time I didn't even have that essay with me. I should've, though. It would've gone over well with the crowd that had gathered, and li'l JonBenet wasn't even there.

As I said, lesson learned. It wasn't a complete disaster. I've been invited back, and I got some good laughs from the part of the essay that worked. But there's a right way to do this, and I know what it is.

I've got to hold my work and performances up to my own standards. Otherwise, I'm just Britney Spears at the VMAs.

Weird, this was apparently my 1,000th post.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What I did over the summer.

Earlier this month, I read the Waffle House story during open mic night at Wordsmiths Books, which is a store in Decatur owned by my friend/former co-worker Zach.

Also, I performed in BRAWL! at Dad's Garage this summer, appearing twice as disabled wrestler Walker Von Hart. In the final show, I had to appear as a zombie, and Steve Platinum managed to snap a couple shots of me backstage wearing zombie makeup.

(NOTE: In this photo, I'm also reading Y: THE LAST MAN, another activity that I did somewhat obsessively this summer.)

This is Trent, my improv classmate, applying my zombie makeup.

Last but not least, my sister-in-law gave birth to another boy in July, so I have a new nephew named Andrew.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I heart Internet celebrities.

OMG, the coolest fucking thing just happened! I checked my brand-new YouTube account to see if Chris and/or Nick from the BOYFRIENDING NICK YouTube series had posted anything new. (Chris is my favorite. He's really funny and - OK, fine, I'll admit it - supercute, and he manages to make lip-synching videos that are clever, rather than annoying.)

Anyway, when I logged into my account, I had a completely unsolicited e-mail note from the self-same Chris (!!!!!!!!!!!!!). He was asking me for my profile information, for I'm apparently his 400th subscriber.

I wrote him a note back describing myself and telling him that I signed up for a YouTube account because I wanted to subscribe to his videos, which is true.

His story's great. Check him out.

I hope he doesn't mind me appropriating his photo.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Notes from the Moleskine.

OK, so the reason for all the blog posts is because I'm transcribing notes I've written in a journal or on a legal pad. I'm doing this because it feels productive.

- 4/25 Customer described a CD as "too Starbuck-ish."

- 4/9 from Dear Abby:

"The greatest gift people can give one another is the gift of their time, their affection and their interest. No tangible item compares to the gift of love."

- Notes/outline from project:

Random attempt at a beginning -

I'd made a mistake. That part became clear when I woke up alone. Next to the office copier. In a bridesmaid's dress. On a Sunday.

My shoes were in Brad's cubicle, the place where we'd found ourselves "carried away" the night before.

I've had too many mornings like this.


Random lines to potentially use:

"You can have him back in a minute to do whatever you want with him. But he and I have been sleeping together for months, so right now I outrank you."

"You smell like fabric softener."



1) Wake up on the Non's floor. Alone.
2) Break up with the Non because what's the damn point anyway ...
3) Meet up with friends.
4) Explain everything to them.
5) Get a new look.
6) Get another new look.
7) Think about doing an overwhelmingly "chick" thing and go shopping for new shoes.
8) Read "chick" lit to show you that making such ridiculous mistakes in your personal life aren't just sad and pathetic, they're the gateway to both inspired comedy and soul-searching.
9) Help your pregnant friend get an ultrasound because her own man is a jackass, too...
10) Do something to get your mind off yourself.
11) Realize "I am a puppet of God, subject to His whim and His sick sense of humor."
12) Quit your job.
13) While at the job, quit the Non again because he works there.
14) Dance with yourself.
15) Be OK without a man.
16) Be more than OK.
17) Learn for yourself that there's a difference between "want" and "need."
18) Embrace positivity and positive thinking without resorting to that book, THE SECRET.
19) Say yes.
20) Learn that you'll survive making mistakes.
21) Learn that you'll survive making a LOT of mistakes.
22) Learn from your mistakes.
23) Accept and learn that you may never learn enough.

Anyway, that's what my notebook had in it.

Moment from my unfinished play.

OK, so I've been working somewhat on this romantic comedy idea I had a long time ago, thinking that maybe I could mix some of my old self-indulgent blog entries about my personal life with my newfound experiences in actual comedy theat-AH.

The only thing I feel really comfortable sharing at this point - to show some people that I do have something from this project - is the sort of break-up speech I wish I could've actually delivered to someone.

But, for anyone who has difficulty imagining me as a romantic hero, I set the scene below with someone else in mind. For someone who doesn't think I can be romantic, well, you're mistaken.

Anyway, to set the scene, first picture a young woman seeing for the first time that dream man she's always wanted. Picture their years of sitcom-like flirting, avoiding their attraction. (Actually, picture everything about this as sitcom-like, for that's part of the idea.) Picture their fights. Picture their banter. Picture her at the moment where she finally hooks up with him, the great season-cliffhanger moment.

Now, see her at this moment shortly afterward where she realizes that he'll never be the man she needs him to be and dares to say so.

"Don't make me feel guilty for wanting something more than this. That doesn't make me too crazy or too intense or too ... anything. I'm just hoping for a future where we're both less foolish or scared and actually get to enjoy one another.

I don't just want a night with you. Sex, for me, was not the big payoff of all this flirting. The payoff for me was that you'd finally consider me. That was what I wanted from you.

I don't want to fight or see other people or wait until we're 50 before you suddenly fucking realize that I'm the one you want. That's not good enough for me.

I love you. And you know me enough to know what sort of love I deserve.

I offered you that. And you told me that you'd rather waste more time, that you'd rather fool around, that you'd rather keep our relationship ... vague ... while you explored the possibilities with someone else, someone less intense, someone too flaky to actually admit that they wanted something.

I offered you me.

I offered you me, but you would rather waste more time."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Something I wrote out by hand.

Written conversation I had with myself on a legal pad this morning.

I haven't seen Scotty in quite some time, at this point, so why is it that many of my thoughts throughout the day return to him? I know he's massively flawed, and I know that any attempt at contact with him would lead to another heartbroken experience.

Don't ask questions. You know what you find appealing. The level of comfort. The emotional closeness. The virtual guarantee of a good time in the moment.

Mostly, I think the thing that draws my brain to thoughts of Scott nowadays is fear. I fear that the incomplete, flawed, occasionally close, occasionally romantic and sometimes caring experience he offered me is the best I'll manage. When we're feeling vulnerable or needy, he and I have both turned to each other, despite knowing that it'll lead to another messy predicament, because it provided nice, real comfort. It was more comfort than we'd found with anyone else in recent years.

Is it too much to hope for the big, grand love experience no matter how old you are? The "comfortable" has become less of a comfort as I consider what ideal experiences and dreams I don't want to let go of yet. Scotty wanted perfect love, too. But we never saw that possibility within each other. We liked each other well enough. There were really great moments. But, all in all, there was no commitment ceremony in our future. (Hell, Scotty couldn't even manage a minor commitment. Eventually, seeking a label for whatever was going on between the two of us, I started calling him my "non-boyfriend" or "half-boyfriend" to denote - even in my head - that I hadn't wasted several months of the last year on "nothing in particular.")

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fan mail.

Maria Dahvana Headley wrote this memoir called THE YEAR OF YES. It made me happy, so I wrote her an e-mail note thanking her, which I'm posting below. She wrote me back.

Read her book. It's good.


Ms. Headley,

I'm afraid this might sound unoriginal or saccharine to you, but your book - which I just finished reading after taking it episode by episode for over a month - tapped into some part of my brain and my heart, which I keep guarded, and deposited hope within both. Hope is a lovely, dangerous thing for me, but I'm very happy to find it where and when I can. It's nice when someone encourages you to open up parts of yourself that you'd shut down. It's good to be reminded, after years of hurt and some typical and atypical bad experiences, that your only real chance at happiness is to throw yourself arms-open into what life offers you.

I'm writing you this while crying slightly. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a total pussy, for I'm happy about reading your book, but I'm crying because the memoir just reinforced for me what the life I want looks like. Right now, it doesn't look like the life I have. But my life changes for the better everyday, and your book was one of the things that makes me actively try new things and occasionally lovely risks.

I've written you before. I'm the bookstore worker who has the same birthday as you, even though I'm a year older than you are. You wrote me about that when I signed on to the Memoirist Collective.

I'm tempted to give you my list of labels, the things that shut me down and keep me from hoping about love. But I imagine you hear that sort of thing a lot - particularly after writing a memoir like yours. Much as I'd like to think my walls are unique and want to own my pain, everyone has something they can fix.

In the improv class that I'm currently taking, they've been teaching us that skits have more places to go when you say yes to the offers you've been given. This lesson I'm still learning, as it contradicts my usual sarcasm and bitter, supposedly clever retorts. Your book reinforced that lesson nicely.

I want to improve my skits. And I want to improve my life. And I want real romance with a nice guy who loves me the way I love him. I want the love I deserve. I enjoy thinking of myself as someone who deserves love and is worthy of it.

Your book is great, funny, nice, romantic and resonant. It took me a while to read it because there was much in it that I wanted to absorb into my personality. I liked the attitude. I liked how brazen many of the situations became.

But my favorite part was the hope.

Thank you,

Benjamin Carr


Hi there!

That made my day! (Week!) (Year!)

You don't sound like a total pussy, or like a pussy at all. Hell, I'm a believer full on in that love is all there is, and that includes loving yourself, loving the people around you, and yeah, throwing yourself at life as hard as you can. I'm so happy that you felt my book. I can tell you really read it, as opposed to just the surface skim, and that means a lot to me.

And I'm happy you're going forth into your life with more hope than you'd had. I got lucky, really, I was born an optimist. Even though I've been caustic at times, and definitely sometimes too sarcastic and judgmental for my own good, I do have a belief in the idea that if I put positive energy out into the world, it will come back. It's been true, even though there've been plenty of hard things along the way. I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's, though, and I think ultimately, being at that place draws the kind of people I like into my life. I bet that's true for you too.

And you're a June 21st baby too, so I bet you share some traits with me!

Big love at you - and I know you'll find someone who you love, and who loves you. The world is too full of wonderful people, and you are one yourself. There is someone out there. Probably lots of someones.

And yes - I love Michael Chabon. Big time. Anytime you want to push my book on the man, I'm grateful!

Joy to you!

Thanks for writing.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tonight, the oft-mentioned Daniel the Violin Guy, who treated me to Italian at Il Bacio across the street from my apartment yesterday as my official "birthday dinner," had a spare ticket to see rock violinist Bobby Yang perform at Eddie's Attic. I'd not seen Yang before, though Daniel had played me one of his CDs, and I love spending time with Daniel. So when Daniel invited me to sit at his front-row table to enjoy the band, I made my way to Decatur.

Before the show, Daniel stood outside in the lobby to greet me and introduced me to Bobby Yang. Yang's birthday was that night. I told him that my birthday is Thursday, and we discussed the whole Gemini-Cancer cusp phenomenon. He was very nice. I probably sounded like a dork.

Yang and his band play rock covers, though the covers are filled with passion and infused with energy. Yang and his band are so talented, but the whole thing carried this excellent jam-session vibe. I got to sit at the edge of the damn stage, which ruled. Everyone onstage during the show was having a fantastic time, and it made for a truly amazing night. The music was great. The show was excellent, more than I was expecting and maybe one of the best concerts I've ever seen.

Yang even covered one of my favorite songs, Stevie Wonder's "I Believe," and he issued a special thanks to Daniel from the stage for being "the best luthier in the business." Then, he name-checked the company Daniel works for. And Daniel just beamed.

I tried a little bit to watch how Daniel experienced the music, for he knows the instruments and understands them moreso than any person I've ever met. Mostly, he was just held in thrall by the great stuff that Yang was able to do with rock music. The big moments. The layering of sounds, often piling hints of songs on top of one another. The unbridled, infectious joy that he was able to communicate to his bandmates.

Daniel loves music. He feels it in his fingertips when he hears someone else play. He knows how the sounds are made, knows the wood and the hollows of the machine. In his element, he is one of the most remarkable people I've ever seen.

It was really good to share this with him.

Bobby Yang, meanwhile, said he and his band will be performing in Athens this week. And they're due back at Eddie's Attic on August 3. I highly recommend seeing them play.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Take notice.

The last time that I took a week off of work, it was April 2004, when I went to London. Yes, that long ago. The fact that I never took any vacation time actually became a running joke around my office amongst my office full of co-workers, only two of whom I would consider even remotely a friend. The reason I never took any vacation time until now was because I was always in trouble at work and in fear that I was going to lose my job. Last year, I was pulled into several disciplinary meetings. These co-workers who aren't my friends all treat me like I'm a freak alien. Last year, one of them yelled at me in front of a supervisor that I never do any work, which was not true.

In April of this year, I won an award from my boss and supervisor for "Most Improved Performance 2006," which I'm actually proud of. But I also realize that the award symbolizes bad things in addition to good ones. Yes, I have a better reputation now amongst my co-workers. But I've also spent the last year refocusing on how to do a job I fucking despise.

I stopped blogging to become a responsible adult who took his job seriously. It was necessary. I was a bad employee. Now, I'm not. But, Jesus Christ, my job fucking sucks. Most of the people in that goddamn cubicle farm are horrid. And I'm still going to stand apart from them and be considered a weirdo held to a different standard from other workers because I'm not a God-fearing black female over 35 with two children and a mortgage payment.

No, I'm a man with bad legs who works 60 hours a week at two jobs and rarely sees his own apartment. I see too many movies. I don't have a spouse, a boyfriend, kids or any other sorts of dependents. I turn 31 on Thursday.

God, I want another life. But this is my life. And it's mostly a fine life. I'm happy, even though I feel trapped and in a rut for much of it.

I'm listening to Queen's "I Want to Break Free" right now. Surely, that's influencing my theme.

I figured I'd blog again since the blog posts I wrote during my last vacation are among my best. But I'm not going anywhere for my vacation this time. I don't really have the funds. I'm staying home. I'm celebrating a birthday. I thought I might try and write something. My legs hurt. I'm exhausted. The ad valorem tax on my Yaris made the price of my car tag renewal so high that I winced when I paid it. (I was thinking about finding sex this week. Instead, I feel like got fucked by the county tax office. I guess that's progress.)

Adulthood sucks. Change would be good. Time to make change would be a luxury. It's my first week off in years, and I don't know which would be a more worthwhile way to spend time. Should I relax for once, or should I try to write a story and find a new job?

I let myself get like this. I feel like crying.

I've gotten in the habit of reading comic books. It started when I bought the first issue of the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER "Season Eight" comics. Oxford Comics, the best comic store in the state, is right around the corner from my apartment. I discovered that the price of individual comics versus the entertainment value they provide me on a lunch break made the purchase more than worthwhile.

Call me a geek if you want. Michael Chabon likes comics, and, if it's good enough for an author like him, it's good enough for me.

I've found a lot of fun stuff. Alan Moore's WATCHMEN is my favorite so far. Soon I'm going to retry Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN, which I tried to read years ago. I've also jumped into Frank Miller's ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER, but not much has happened in the seven issues that've been released of that so far. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, in comparison, was much better. BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, recommended by a friend who saw me reading WATCHMEN, was also a good read. Tonight, I picked up EX MACHINA and Y: THE LAST MAN, for author Maria Dahvana Headley recommended the work of Brian K. Vaughan.

And I guess I've been watching SMALLVILLE on DVD.

Taking advantage of a sale at the bookstore, I bought the following DVDs: TOTAL RECALL, TERMINATOR 2, THE BOURNE IDENTITY and THE BOURNE SUPREMACY. I don't know what came over me, but this actionfest strikes me as one of the better purchases I've ever made.

Marlan, a manager at the bookstore, saw my shopping bag.

"Man, that's a great movie night," Marlan said. And he usually looks at me like I'm a weirdo from Mars.

Dude, speaking of Mars, TOTAL RECALL is a fucking great movie. Midget prostitutes with machine guns, a three-breasted hooker, bugged-out eyes, blue sky on Mars, a guy with a Chucky-lookalike Martian mutant bursting out of his stomach, countless Schwarzenegger one-liners and the great, great Sharon Stone.

SPIDER-MAN 3 was a bad movie. WAITRESS was good. CRAZY LOVE was great. ONCE was pretty damn good for what it was. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END was mostly all right. SHREK THE THIRD was pointless and kinda tired. KNOCKED UP fucking ruled, and I hope those of you who enjoyed it go buy FREAKS AND GEEKS on DVD.

I still take improv classes at Dad's Garage. Every one of my skits is a little bit creepy. I'm trying to work on that. The classes are fun, though.

And I was in a show called BRAWL a couple weeks ago. I played a character named Walker. Walker used a walker. In my first scene, I was onstage with a mostly naked man. We were both wrapped in toilet paper "bandages." At the end of the show, my spine was ripped out during a pro wrestling match, and I fell over dead. A group of my friends were in the front row. It was interesting.

Next time I'm onstage, I'll know not to carry a walker with me. And I won't restrict my peripheral vision by wrapping my head in toilet paper. And I'll know how to better secure my detachable spine.

No, I don't have any photos of that. I wish I did.

* * * * * * * * * *

OK, that's enough for now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vonnegut's dead.

Why have I not read any Kurt Vonnegut? I own some.

This American Life.

I've developed a crush on Ira Glass, even though I realize I'm a latecomer to this specific party, but I'm now a subscriber to the THIS AMERICAN LIFE podcast on iTunes. The only time that I'd regularly listened to NPR prior to this was every other week in the waiting room of my therapist's office.

But, reading about the new television show on Showtime, I got this collection of THIS AMERICAN LIFE hits on CD, and I've very quickly fallen in love with Ira Glass and the format of his show, devoted to storytelling and the reading of essays. (Of course I would fall in love with such a show.)

I wish I could write like those people do, and I want to perform the way that they do.

I'm taking a week off in June - the week of my birthday, actually - to work on some projects that I've been batting around my head for a bit now. Last time I took a week off for vacation, I wrote a lot. (Granted, I went to London and had new inspiration everyday.)

But, with this vacation, I'm staying in town. And, hopefully, I'll be just as inspired to work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An Atkins dieter's dream.

Hey everyone!!! There's a reason why I'm using more exclamation points than a teenage girl signing a high school yearbook!!!

Dad's Garage, the Atlanta non-profit improv theater where I take classes and see shows every week, is having its annual fundraiser on Saturday, beginning at 2 but available to visit all afternoon, and I am inviting - wait, begging - my friends to all show up at the Elizabeth Street-North Highland location to partake in the festivities. The benefit's been called BaconFest, and it's apparently a gigantic, loving tribute to the renowned art of eating bacon and drinking beer. And there are bands. And a silent auction. And a big, big improv show that night.

If you've never been to Dad's, it seems like a lovely way to introduce yourself to the great group of people there. If you enjoy and appreciate Dad's, it seems like a fun way to pay your respects. If you like me, come see what I've been doing with my available free time. If you like comedy or like improv and have never heard of Dad's Garage before, by all means, you must show up. If you just want a lot of bacon, apparently, they've got the hook-up.

Come on, one and all, and meet several stars from your favorite Georgia Lottery commercials! Meet people who've done some voiceover work for the Cartoon Network! Meet several people from puppet shows I talked about years ago on my blog! The stars of MURDER, SHE IMPROVISED! Meet people who are teaching me how to be more random and wacky! See the comedy! Enjoy the pork!

I'm off Saturday and intend to celebrate. Give me a call if you want to meet up there or something.

You guys, this would really, really help my favorite theater. (I'm there all the time. Seriously. Ask them.) It's a really good cause. These people do good work.

To buy tickets or donate money to the fundraiser, click here.


Here's the official Dad's Garage notice:

BaconFest is back and it's shaping up to be more bacon-ee than ever before! So, if you like the sound of a sizzlin' skillet, and the feel of a frosty mug in your hand (because you can't have bacon without beer) - then join us on Saturday, March 31st from 2-10pm.

BaconFest is our annual fundraiser (yep, Dad's Garage is a Non-Profit company), but there won't be any black ties or ball gowns here, just a whole bunch of bacon and fun! In fact, we'll be cooking up a whole bunch of festivities - including bodacious bands, greasy games, porky prizes, a succulent silent auction, and of course - an awesome improv show. So, come on out, and help Dad's Garage bring home the bacon while you eat it!

Bands: The Attractive Eighties Women, Pistolero, Three Dog Stevens, and Flyght Rysk!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Jacob's ladder.

So, thanks to my old friend Syd at the Center for Puppetry Arts, I was able to see the preview of their latest "big idea" show for adults, THE VERTIGO OF SHEEP.

For those of you who don't recall, it was my attendance at THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY, an ill-conceived "big idea" existentialist puppet show about depression, a couple years ago that inadvertantly led me to meet Syd in the first place. And my review of that show is probably one of the great moments in my blog's history. But anyway ...

THE VERTIGO OF SHEEP is a beautiful, inventive show about a man trying to better understand the messages of the Old Testament by reimagining and staging some of the parables himself, using the everyday objects he keeps around in the set's shelves and cabinets as puppets. The use of the everyday objects is what gives the show its charm and momentum. As a viewer, I was always curious to see what the man would pull out of his cabinets.

My favorite part was the fall of Sodom and Gommorah, illustrated with slices of angel food cake and a pile of forks. Also good was the story of Abraham and Isaac, parts of which were told with a butter knife, a rock and a cup of water. The creation of the world was told using coat hangers and a wine rack.

But the whole thing flows kinda brilliantly, thanks to the talents and enthusiasm of the two cast members, and it's always fun and never, ever preachy.

The whole show was developed, built and performed by Andrew Kim and Kathy Bradley, and Kim's work as the central character and primary puppeteer is engaging.

Bradley, meanwhile, steals the show by creating a fully-realized, expressive character who, meanwhile, provides all of the incidental music, sings three solos and even injects humor and attitude into just changing the title cards. She was terrific. I want her to follow me around with a ukelele and provide theme music for my whole life.

The whole show was really good, managing to explore its big ideas while not getting too overwhelmed by them and remembering always to entertain the audience.

It plays through March 25.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Steak n' Shake incident.

Even though the Steak 'n' Shake near but not too close to Scotty's apartment is a truly terrible restaurant, I still find my way there when it's late some nights. I go there when I'm a distinct mix of lonely, hungry for junk food, eager to see some weird people and/or want to read a book. Last year, Scotty and I used to meet up there on nights when we couldn't sleep alone, didn't want to merely talk dirty on the phone and didn't feel like just going directly to his apartment for the generally remarkable, supposedly meaningless sex. Lately, I've been going there by myself, for, even though Scotty and I ended the relationship we were never officially in back in December, I've not found an eatery near my apartment where I feel as comfortable reading a book after midnight. The Waffle House across the street smells like homeless drunks, and I can't find an all-hours place in Buckhead that's not too kitschy, too crowded on weekends or just too expensive.

I'm a late-night diner dweller, and I have the waistline and bags under my eyes to prove it. Before this Steak 'n' Shake, I frequented one in Duluth because I went to high school with Nancy the waitress, who was actually too brilliant and funny to be working there but nice enough to memorize my orders. (Beyond that, Nancy was incredibly cool both during the time I brought a date in there who'd just jacked me off while he drove 80 down the interstate AND the night I had her send a dessert to a cute guy I sorta knew. I loved Nancy and tipped her often and well until she got fired.) Before that Steak 'n' Shake, there were Waffle Houses and Huddle Houses that I've written in and written about in the hours after midnight.

Scotty and I were at the Steak 'n' Shake near his apartment often enough to develop repoire with some of the waitstaff.

The large kid who used to sing to himself would often forget our orders, and we secretly hated him. Thankfully, he was replaced by Alicia, a skinny, 22-year-old girl with thick red hair, glasses, pale skin, freckles, a warm smile and lots of Southern-fried secrets to confess.

She would dote upon us and remember our orders and be completely oblivious to our entwined legs and wandering hands underneath the table. Thus, we loved her so much that we'd request specifically to sit in her section. Upon sight of me, she'd fill a Diet Coke and bring it to the table. Scotty'd order his usual array of too much food with too much ketchup, and I'd usually tell him that he'd get an upset stomach later. And he'd ignore my criticisms and get his food (and, later, his stomachache). He'd always tell me that the chili was too watery. But we wouldn't tell Alicia.

We'd wait for her to come by and refill drinks, and we'd talk to her about her life. She'd mention about how she was working to get her kids back. About how, in her hometown, she only ever dated self-proclaimed rednecks before, to her shock, finding the love of her life in, gasp, "a Mexican" who apparently badgered her into going out with him.

The last time I saw Alicia was in January, after the second attempt at a breakup between me and Scotty. We met at our usual restaurant just to talk, to see if we could in fact go back to being the friends we used to be before the Fourth of July kissing. Sitting in that booth, though, our legs rubbed together in the same accidentally-on-purpose way. And he told me that I looked really good that night. Still, we talked about other dates we'd been on, and I started to talk to Scotty about how I was confusing intimacy and friendship with another friend of mine.

Alicia caught the vibe I was giving off, and she asked the two of us what was wrong.

"I'm just having problems with someone I'm dating," I said. "Or not dating. I can't tell."

"Well, what's wrong with her?" Alicia asked. (Scotty and I both flinched at the pronoun. I mean, how on Earth could our favorite waitress not know that, when we were there together, we were together?)

"He gets this way," Scotty explained to Alicia. "Everything has to be defined for him."

"Huh?" Alicia asked.

"Well, she says we're just friends, but I think we might be dating," I explained.

"They are just friends," Scotty said matter-of-factly. "They're not dating."

Alicia said that seemed easy enough to understand.

"Yeah," I said, "Except when we make out for a couple hours or hook up or something, then I get confused."

(Somewhere, Scotty and I both started talking about our own relationship to Alicia, rather than my thing with my other friend.)

"Look, you can just be friends and hook up with someone," Scotty said.

"How does that work?" Alicia finally blurted in her delicate Southern drawl. "Seems to me, if she's sleeping with him and kissing on him, then they're a hell of a lot more than just friends."

"It's not like that," Scotty said.

"Why would you want to be with this girl?" Alicia asked me. "I mean, is she retarded or just dumb?"

I smiled big and agreed, "That's what I'm saying."

Scotty just glared at Alicia as I got up to go to the bathroom, glancing at my ex while victoriously pumping my fist in the air like an ARSENIO audience member.

As I walked away, Scotty looked at Alicia, no longer his favorite waitress.

"You've just undone all of my teachings," he spat.

And when I got back to the table, Scotty told me that Alicia's opinion didn't count because, in defining relationships, "it's different for gay men."

All I knew was that, if Scotty and I weren't labeling our relationship because we didn't want things to be that complicated, it didn't work. Relationships, whether you label them or not, are complicated.

I felt like I'd won that night's battle, but Scotty deserved to know that I do understand his side of our relationship, which I explained to Alicia while we were paying the tab.

The video feed for the security cameras at that Steak 'n' Shake lies directly above the register. While I'm paying, I always look at the bald spot on the crown of my head to see how much it has grown. At the point where I last saw Alicia, the bald spot seemed to spiral out from my cowlick like an expanding galaxy, what once were natural parts in my hairdo now seem to me like canyons.

I adopted a reasonable tone of voice, telling Alicia what I understand about my relationship with Scotty. Of course, so as not to confuse her, I still called him "she."

"She's been going through a lot lately," I said. "She just got out of a relationship, and she's not sure what she wants."

"Oh," Alicia said.

Then I added, "And she just doesn't want to want me."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Internal monologue. (Plagued by doubt)

Pathetically, I know one of the reasons I've never written anything long-form. It isn't just that I think I'm going to fail. It isn't just that I don't have the time. It isn't, unfortunately, simply that I don't want to do the work.

I can't sit still. I don't like being alone. And my mind is so frantic and in such need of attention or conversation that I can't stay alone in a room for very long. When I think about the work - like the big, big project I've had in my head for a couple years now, I think I can't do it. I always picture scenes, rather than words on a page. I see the characters living and moving. I just wish that I could describe them. Maybe a screenplay, although I doubt my ability to do that, too.

When I've spoken with authors, they always talk about rising before dawn and/or locking themselves in a room. Oh my God, I think I would go fucking insane damn doing that.

I keep thinking that eventually my drive will return, that the story will just take over and compel me to write it.

Still fucking waiting.

(Yes, my friend Lupo would inform me that this is a passive, rather than active, approach to one's own goals and one's own life. I'm aware but apathetic.)

I just thought - rather dumbly - that it was just supposed to happen.

(I'm not dumb. I know exactly how bad or sad or unmotivated or dumb I sound. I'm trying reverse psychology on myself.)

My story's about identity. I want to write it. I am tired of writing about writing about it.

There's no time like now. Except now, it's 1 a.m., and I have to be at work at 9.

I write. I can write. I can fucking write. Seriously I can motherfucking write. I can motherfucking write like a goddamn motherfucker.

(God, this reverse psychology thing is hard.)

At work, in fact everywhere, one of my problems is focus. Another is that I overanalyze everything. I don't take an unexamined step, and I stress way way way too much.

I can't just ask the guy to dinner. (I stammer.) I can't just write. (I take the class and fill the free time.) I can't just quit the job. (I go on a seven-year-long job hunt that's more passive reaction to "Hey, they're interviewing ... Maybe you'd like it ..." than active search.) I can't just relax around new people. (I'm the awkward apologizer who's nice enough yet clearly trying too hard to make an impression.)

I keep thinking it's a phase that I'll break out of.

Maybe I will. Maybe I should just retire "Benjamin" and become someone more motivated.

Would I enjoy being a writer if I actually worked at it?

How much could I have written while I was writing this?

To end on a positive note, the scenes from the story that are in my head are generally original and decently good. It isn't until I try to write them down that I doubt that I have the first idea what I'm doing.

What good is it to be afraid of fear? Someone once asked me that.

At the time, I didn't understand what he meant.

I know what I have to do. I think I might maybe do it eventually.

Don't judge too harshly. It's late.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

By the way ...

To those of you who actually missed this blog thing, thank you for your compliments. They did mean a lot to me.

So thanks, both of you.

The night they drove old Dixie down.

Tonight, because the person I was supposed to have dinner with got sick, I ended up traveling around to five, I think five, stores to see what Prince CDs they had in stock. I ended up buying the new John Mayer at a used store, a copy of The Band's Greatest Hits and Prince's Hits Vol. 1 and 2. Right now, I'm not listening to any of those. I'm listening to Elton John sing "Someone Saved My Life Tonight."

I was looking over my blog entries circa March-April 2004. Good stuff. Toward the end of my blogging days last year, I was mostly writing shit that didn't actually seem to examine anything. The blog worked best when I was really in therapy and wrote an actual journal with an actual narrative drive. I don't write like that anymore. I don't really think that way anymore.

For example, this week, a date stood me up. This week, I ran into an ex. I've seen three improv shows this week. On Valentine's Day, I bought a heart-shaped cake with a sculpted mass of delicious chocolate mousse on top of it, and I shared it with mostly strangers. Someone's interviewing me next week for a job in California, and I'm leaning toward not taking it because I don't think I can afford to move and am currently curious about all the wonderful, new possibilities that have opened up around me in the past couple weeks. I find myself a little unsure around all these new people, but, when I become reasonable, I realize that they like me because I've not yet given them any cause or reason to think they shouldn't like me. And I'm showing them something in me positive, something that they like. I'm learning to be OK with being OK. I still wish I was who I was in London, until I realize that I am who I was.

I told someone this week - I forget who - that I can't imagine being constantly on display, a one-man-show everywhere I go.

He said, "Depends on how interesting you are. And what you have to say."

This narrative is unfocused, but I bring you out of the narrative by stating that in the middle of the narrative itself.

There are reasons to go to California. There are reasons to stay here. This may not be the best opportunity and time for me to go. I keep changing my mind about whether to stay or go.

I'm not sure if I should post this blog. There are people I don't want to know me or know about me that might invariably read it.

My grandpa has been sick in the hospital for about a month now. My sister-in-law found out this week that she's having another boy in July, and I want to be here to meet him. But I don't have to be.

I haven't tried writing fiction in a while. I wonder if I'd be able to do it better now that I've been performing onstage with more regularity.

I'm in improv class, so my thoughts have been all over the place. It's time for thought. Lots and lots of thought.

Now I'm listening to TLC's "Creep." I wonder if I'm funny onstage. I wonder if what I'm doing with all this improv is study of a craft or just some new obsessive fanboy hobby.

The Oscars are this week. I'm scheduled to work at the bookstore during them. Oh well. I still haven't seen LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. I've not been in the mood. Improv puts me around people.

I'm there too much, arguably, but it puts me around people. I like being around people lately.

I'm going to post this. I'm not thinking straight. But I'll read this years from now and find it interesting.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Top Ten Films of 2006. And more.


1. Pan's Labyrinth
2. Little Children
3. Children of Men
4. Borat
5. The Departed
6. Notes on a Scandal
7. Volver
8. The Descent
9. Half Nelson
10. Casino Royale

MY FAVORITE MOVIES EVER: The Philadelphia Story, Cleo from 5 to 7, The Silence of the Lambs, This is Spinal Tap, Nashville, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Singin' In the Rain, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Last Picture Show, Say Anything, The Iron Giant, Star Wars, Fanny and Alexander, Y Tu Mama Tambien, All About My Mother, Citizen Kane, Being John Malkovich, Rebecca, Beauty and the Beast, Eve's Bayou, Chinatown, Donnie Darko, Manhattan, Sunset Boulevard, Annie Hall, The Ref, The Lion in Winter, Out of Sight, The Empire Strikes Back, Grey Gardens, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, A Room With a View, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Election, Clueless, Breathless, Roman Holiday, Some Like It Hot, Waiting for Guffman, The Lady Eve, Dog Day Afternoon, Pulp Fiction, Wonder Boys, Vertigo, Junebug, You Can Count on Me, Capturing the Friedmans, Run Lola Run, Psycho, Gone With the Wind, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Rushmore, Oldboy, Toy Story, Witness for the Prosecution, Suddenly, Last Summer, The Princess and the Warrior, Wings of Desire, Rear Window, All About Eve, Edward Scissorhands, Prick Up Your Ears, Written on the Wind, Aliens, The Player, Scream, Wages of Fear, Dangerous Liaisons, Ghost World, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Boogie Nights, Seven, Double Indemnity, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz

The above section is linked for your pleasure.