Thursday, March 31, 2005

Evil and Entertaining

Whenever I find myself feeling a bit down, I turn the volume way the fuck up and go visit the evil kitten. Does the trick every time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Scouting and peas and carrots!

Not kiddie porn, mind you. Just porn. Many a young lad has peeped many a naked lass in the glossy pages of a magazine carefully snuck to camp in the folds of a sleeping bag. If you don't know this, then you don't know young boys. Except I'm forgetting the gay scouts aren't I? I assume they brought their own mags. So about a billion people, by which I mean four or five, sent me the recent story about the sick fuck former BSA official who got caught with child porn. You write one little play about sick fuck boy scouts and suddenly everybody thinks you're interested in sick fuck scouting types. Look at this sick fucker:

Could they have possibly picked a creepier looking photo of him? You can practically hear the sinister laughter, almost hear him saying "I have pictures of young boys doing ever-so-unscoutlike things on my computer, would you like to see them? I'll give you a merit badge!" Of course, I first saw this picture under the headline, "Ex-Boy Scout official faces child porn charges." I suppose if the headline had read, "Kindly old elf-man risks life to save school children from elephant stampede" we might read his expression a bit differently.

I myself was an Eagle Scout, a fact which I am quite proud of. In fact, if you look real closely in the pics from my last post, you can see my Eagle medal hanging on the wall. I enjoyed my time in the boy scouts. Had I not been in scouts, there's no way I would have gone camping as much as I did as a young'un, I wouldn't have learned all my nifty outdoor skills, I wouldn't have had any of the awesome experiences that I had during my summers working as a camp counsellor (the badassest job ever), and I wouldn't have met a lot of really cool people. What I'm saying is that it's an organization that does a lot of good for a lot of boys.

But then there's fuckers like this that muck the whole thing up. I'm willing to bet that this same boy-lusting bastard is of the same ilk that publicly states that homosexuals should not be allowed into the B.S.A. "to protect our youth and uphold the B.S.A.'s moral code." Hypocrisy runs deep with these types. Yes, I know I'm being judgemental, but I find little cause for merciful language when it comes to something as evil, yes, evil, as child pornography. I'm just glad that he was not in a position to be in direct contact with kids.

If I have a boy, I still don't know if I would want to put him in boy scouts. I hope I figure it out by the time he's old enough. More than that, I hope the scouts change a few things.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My wife rules

Check it out yo. This here is my office. Its walls are black.

Yeah, that's right: black. When we bought our house and I knew that I was going to have an office of my very own that was mine all mine to do absolutely whatever I wanted to with it, my first thought was that I wanted to paint the walls black. All black. Black Album black. And I did.

It had been a young girl's room before. The only evidence that remains of this fact is the multi-colored ceiling fan with glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the blades. I even tore down the soccer ball pattern lightswitch plate.

This is my room, see. My place where I go to write, read comic books, play my guitar, ponder, consider, muse, philosophise. It's also the place where I can hang up my posters, like the ones for all my plays. Or my autographed Public Enemy poster.

You have to look close to see Flava Flav's autograph, but I assure you it's there. I watched him sign it and I shook his hand. But that's another story.

I wrote my last play, I Am Alpha, in this room. Ashley thinks the black walls influenced how it came out. Considering the amount of fake blood and tortured kitty sound effects the production required, she could be right.

The thing is, I was all ready to give up this room. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I was willing. We have a baby on the way, a fact that has not stopped elating me every time I think about it, which is rather often throughout any given day. We were going to turn this room into the kid's room. So then we'd have our bedroom, the kid's room, and the guest room.

Then the other day, Ashley says to me, "We don't need a guest bedroom. You need your office." I wasn't sure what I was hearing, so I asked her to repeat. She said the same thing. She explained to me that she understood how important it was for me to have my own space where I can go and close the door and turn on my music and be creative and do my writing and just have my time. My friend Andy calls this kind of time, "cave time."

The thing is, she was totally right. I love this office, I love having my space, and she understood this so perfectly that she was able to explain it to me better than I could explain it to myself. And when someone does something like that for you, it can really make you feel loved. So now the guest room is going bye-bye and I get to keep my office. Now I know, sure, when we have another kid and when they get old enough to want their own rooms, then I'll have to give up my office, whatever color it may be at the time (the black is actually starting to get a bit old). But right now it's mine.

Monday, March 28, 2005

To have a calling

Meant to be....what is this "meant to be" that you speak of? What is it that we humans are meant to do with this life? What exactly is this thing called a calling?

The answer, of course, is different for all of us. I read interviews with people who are things, who have accomplished various accomplishments, and sometimes they say things like, "I've known I wanted to be a ____ since I was just a wee one." Others seem to just stumble into something and find themselves there. There are indeed people out there who are finding exactly what it is that they are supposed to do and they are doing it.

But then there's this other experience, the one where you're of adult age and it seems to have taken you a really long time to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, but now you're starting to sort of figure it out, and the more you figure it out, the more you come to understand that what you are currently doing is not what you are intended for. You came into this life with certain gifts and proclivities, and there are people out there right now that are losing out because you're not using them as you were intended to do.

The weird thing is, this isn't just me. I've been having conversations lately, numerous conversations with people who seem to be riding this same wave with me. It's like we're all coming to similar understandings of ourselves at the same time and at a similar pace. It makes you stop. And think.

Which brings me back to this whole "meant to be" thing. I've been using phrases lately like "don't belong", "not meant for", "not supposed to be", followed by their positive counterparts, "should be doing", "truly meant for", "intended for." And while these are true in one sense, they're false in another. Just think about that phraselet, "meant to be." If all the people in all of the world always did only the things they were "meant for", where would our collective learning be? If your situation was always such that you were doing just what your gifts called you to do, what true appreciation would you really have for them? We are meant to do and be so much more than just what our preferences and leanings and gifts push us towards. To ponder the question of where we belong and what we want to do with our lives and to have the courage to do whatever it takes to do those things rather than stay in a place that, although it isn't quite the right fit, is still comfortable, well, we're meant to do those things too. This is part of how we learn and ultimately grow.

And now, I am meant to go to sleep.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005

I'm not playing with myself

I tend to walk around with a lot of crap in my pockets....keys, wallet, and most recently a cell phone. It was even worse when I smoked and had to deal with my cigs and a lighter. I don't keep my wallet in my back pocket anymore since I figured out that it was hurting my back sitting on it all day. So all that junk in my pocket tends to shift around and poke into my leg and generally make me uncomfortable, so I'm frequently reaching in there and shifting stuff around, which, I realize, may look to some as if I'm playing with myself in a semi-enthusiastic fashion. But I'm not. So if you see some guy walking around with his hand way down in his pocket, just remind yourself that he's most likely not playing with himself. He's adjusting the contents of his pocket.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Coming to terms with....

The moon is full outside and it's fucking beautiful. Fiona Apple is filling my home with music. My wife is carrying our much anticipated child. In short, life is good. Not perfect mind you. Who wants perfect. Perfect gets ruined and thus rendered imperfect, and we get upset that our precious speck of perfection is gone. Fuck perfect.

I've been getting to know my father a bit these last few months. Not personally. That's impossible since he killed himself before we could meet formally. We'd met before, of course, but I was an infant and don't remember a damn thing about him. So pictures and stories are what I have to rely on to find out about the man from whom I inherited, among other things, my not great but tolerable build, my chin, and from the stories I've heard, my appreciation for well placed sarcasm. Among other things.

And he was an imperfect human being, just like the rest of us. I wish I could say that he was an imperfect father, but he wasn't a father at all, of any kind, perfect, imperfect, overbearing, ineffectual, abusive, loud, obnoxious, apathetic, doting, embarrassing, religious. It has come to my attention as of late that all of the father figures in my plays are shits in one way or another. Even the majority of the adjectives I chose there are negative. So I have father issues. Fine. So what. Join the club. Here's your tee-shirt.

Except that I have a child of my own on the way. I will soon step into the shoes that my own father didn't pack when he took off. And I'm realizing that in spite of all the years that my father was absent from my life, all the time that passed that I didn't think about him, all the times I thought that he didn't matter and that I hadn't missed out on anything, in spite of the fact that it never once occurred to me to look him up, he has managed to affect me. And goddammit, now that he's dead and gone, I find that I have almost 30 years worth of shit I want to tell him, questions I want to ask him, things I want him to tell me. I want to hear his fucking voice.

But this is what I'm having to come to terms with. I will never talk to my father. He and I will never be in the same room together. I'll never have the chance to tell him anything, ask him anything, yell and scream at him, hear what he has to say for himself, tell him to take his bullshit excuses and shove them up his ass. And if I ever really truly forgive him, I won't be able to tell him myself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I work with some gross people

I'm sure that most everybody has gross people at their know, that dude who's well known for high volume farts or that chick whose va-jayjay odor surrounds her cubicle, or the folks who just look and smell nasty in general and you don't want to get anywhere too near them. But it seems that my office has more than its fair share of gross people per capita. It's really not fair, to me or to you. You folks who don't have enough gross people at your work need to come get some of the ones in my office. We got the gas passers, the non hand washers, the stank cooch odor emanators, the toilet seat pissers, you take your pick. Really folks, you're missing out, and we got plenty to offer so come on down! Shit, I've even witnessed our CEO walk out of the bathroom without stopping to wash his hands.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Postal Age

Dude, what the fuck is up with people snapping and going on shooting sprees in their schools or places of employment? Just yesterday in Minnesota, some teenager took out nine people and wounded fifteen more before doing the world a favor and turning the gun on himself. Am I missing something or is this a relatively new phenomenon in the last 10 years or so? It's like these people are just getting fed up and thinking, hey, that one dude that shot up all those people at his school/office/factory had the right idea. I oughtta give that a shot and see how it works out for me. That'll show 'em!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Holmes Remembers the 90's: the rise and fall of rap-metal

So this probably qualifies for least intellectual blog posted anywhere on the internet this week, but whatever. Nothing quite gets me through my workday like putting on my headphones and setting iTunes to shuffle. I've got so much music on my work machine that it sometimes comes around to a song I didn't even know I had. Sometimes it comes across something I swear I've never heard before. Today it surprised me again when it spun its little wheel and landed on "Bring tha Noize", the collaborative version betwixt Public Enemy and Anthrax. So I love this song, right? I actually have it in two places in my CD collection, once on P.E.'s Apocalypse 91, and again on Anthrax's slightly less *ahem* memorable collection, Attack of the Killer B's. I kinda get a weird feeling when I listen to this song, kinda like seeing a car that's still driving around with a John Kerry, or better yet Howard Dean bumper sticker. For just a second, if you let yourself, you can remember a time when there was a tingly feeling of hope that something new and exciting and fresh was just around the corner, and you didn't know exactly what it was all about or what it was gonna do, but you knew that it was better than what you had at the moment, and when it arrived it was going to rock like all hell. Then you remember how it all went to shit.

I remember hearing "Bring tha Noize" for the first time when I was a kid, a teenager I guess, I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember this feeling of holy crap, yes, this is where it's going, this, this, yes, of course, OF COURSE! Of course rap and rock fucking belonged together. Both rebellious, both angry, both with heavy stomping beats, neither designed to be background music. My two favorite types of music at the time (and pretty much still today) brought together in a beautiful snarling marriage. Next thing you know, Rage Against the Machine comes out with their first album, bringing the whole thing ten steps forward. No longer did the two styles have to live in seperate camps and only get together on was a band that had taken the idea and made it into their own brand new sound. Next thing you know, the term rap-metal is getting tossed around all over the place and all these other bands are coming out doing the same kind of thing except that, well, um, gee guys, you all pretty much kind of suck. Some of you REALLY suck. (Fred, I'm talking to you). And the whole damn thing fizzled and pretty much became a great big self-parody. Except for Rage Against the Machine of course.

But I guess it sort of had to happen. Now that some time has gone by and the hype has passed, the two genres seem to flow together much more seamlessly. And "Bring tha Noize" is still a classic.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

More Dopey Advice

So I ran across another piece of advice in my pregnancy for fathers book that, though it stems from good intentions, upon closer examination is found to be, shall we say, flawed. The advice had to do with being assertive at the doctor's office and not being afraid to ask questions, even if you're afraid they might seem silly. The book's recommendation for overcoming this trepidation was to picture the doctor in their pajamas. Now like I said, the intention here is clearly a good one. Doctors are (hopefully) rather knowledgeable people, and this can cause some people, including myself, to second-guess whether or not I want to question what they have to say. Thus, this advice is intended to help people remember that doctors are just fallible human blobs of goo like the rest of us. The problem comes in with the pajamas. First off, doctors, particularly OB's, are known for showing up in scrubs, which are damn close to pajamas. So right off the bat, your little imagnings don't really take you on a very long journey. So then you're sitting there wondering what in the hell you can imagine about this doctor that will give you the strength to just open your yap and ask what you gotta ask. And then you remember that other piece of advice that you heard one character give another character on any number of episodes of any given T.V. show where the one character had to give a speech and was really nervous about it, and the other character told them to just picture the audience naked. Naked, yes, you think to yourself, perhaps this could work, that could really...except that, wait, no, no, that won't work, that won't work at all, that's, that simply won't do, that's...and you shudder as you realize just how totally fucked up it is to go imagining other women naked while you sit there in your wife's ob/gyn office.

I'm really glad that I worked that scenario out mentally before I had to experience it for real in the doctor's office. My advice for not being afraid to ask the doctor your questions is simply not to be afraid of them. They're just people, shit, ask what you gotta ask. And if you really need some sort of mental exercise to get you in the mood to ask your questions, then just picture your money floating out of your wallet and into the doctor's. You shouldn't have any problems after that.

An Exercise in Whatever

Please combine the two sentences below into a single sentence by placing the word "but" between them. Please place them in the order that seems most appropriate to you, depending on your world view, personal philosophy, and/or mood at this minute, which of course is subject to change the next minute.

"Cooperation is the key to achieving significant goals."

"Conflict is exciting and sexy."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Your debate is in my way

This evening in the dairy section of HEB, there were three rotund individuals discussing their preferred routes through the grocery store, what end they preferred to start and end their shopping journeys, and the direction by which they preferred to traverse the aisles. Their voices were those of the slow, dimwitted, and most likely inbred. Due to their girth, they were very much in my way. And for a moment, just a moment, I hated them.

Forgot you were pregnant?

So I've been reading this book called The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash. It's basically a month-by-month pregnancy book written for the non-baby carrying partner involved in a pregnancy to help them understand what's going on with their pregnant partner and how best they can be of assistance rather than act like a bumbling idiot. Which is great. It's a great book, full of insight and great advice, and I would highly recommend it to any pregnant couple. Though there's this one sentence in a chapter near the beginning where it's talking about connecting with the pregnancy, and how the pregnant mother will typically connect sooner with the pregnancy than her partner, for obvious reasons. The author goes on to talk about how this was the case with his first child, and even goes so far as to say that he forgot that they were pregnant for days at a time. Forgot. For days at a time. Dude, you and your lady must have been living in separate states or something because I would no more be able to forget that my wife is pregnant than I'd be able to forget to take my ass with me when I leave the house. Between the frequent bouts of nausea, the fatigue, the simultaneous craving and revulsion of food, it would be a really neat trick to go forgetting that my wife is knocked up.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Don't Rush Shit

So my most recent play, I Am Alpha, closed last month after a two weekend run. Overall I was pretty happy with it. I would've liked it to run a bit longer, and I would have liked more people to see it, but as far as the play itself, I was very pleased. Years ago, after I'd gotten the idea that I wanted to be a playwright, but before I'd ever actually gotten any of my stuff onto a stage, I had all these ideals about how the playwright's vision was the most important thing and that the play should strive for that vision. Then later on I softened up a bit and thought, well, maybe only on the first production of a play should the playwright's vision be followed so stringently, and after that the world could do with the text whatever they wanted. I don't think either one of those things anymore. The fact is, a playwright's vision isn't worth shit if he can't effectively communicate it in the script. The way I see it, a playwright's job is essentially to take the story that they have in their head and make it into the blueprints for a theatrical event. If the vision doesn't get in there, then forget it. When I hand over a script and call it finished, my hope is that I have made clear the entirety of my vision within those pages. My other hope is that I have created something that inspires rather than dictates. I don't want the people involved with staging one of my scripts to feel hampered because the text says every little thing has to be a certain way. When I first started writing plays, damn near every line had a direction for how the line should be said. Sarcastically. Timidly. Hopelessly. Lustily. Fuck!

So now that this play is over, I'm looking for the next one. I go through this every time I finish writing something, the "what next" phase where I examine everything and everyone around me for dramatic possibilities, and none of it holds my interest for even a second, and then I wonder if maybe that's it, I've had my last original idea ever and I'm all through, then I remind myself that I go through this every time I finish writing something, then I feel better, then I forget, etc. etc. I guess if there's an upside to not being a professional playwright, it's that I don't have to force a script out before I'm ready to. I try to write when I'm in one of these funks and the work is just...yeah, it's the stuff you do so that you keep writing, but little if any of it ever sees the light of day. I've gotten to where I can recognize it in other people's when you listen to a band's second or third album and it's okay but it doesn't have the elusively brilliant quality that made you fall in love with them at first...or an author's latest novel that's just sort of "eh." I mean really, why sit down to take the crap if you don't have a really good one ready to drop? Is it really worth it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

You try not to stereotype people....

This morning I heard a story on NPR about a guy in the National Guard who lives in a trailer in Mississippi with his wife and their six children, and he's upset that he can't seem to get his ass deployed to Iraq. No, he isn't attempting to escape from his P.W.T. hell into death's icy embrace as you might suspect. The poor bastard just wants to double what he was making as a civilian...I believe the story cited his former job title as "handyman." I say former because he got canned when he initially received orders to ship out, in spite of the federal law that forbids employers from doing such a thing. In addition to the fat salary increase he could have received, he wanted to get full-blown Army healthcare for him and his wife and their SIX children, which you can guarantee he wasn't getting from any employer that skirts federal law. Losing his job would have been okay, except that the Army later decided that he wasn't fit to ship out after all, due to depression and motherfucking GUM DISEASE. He lives in a trailer park AND he has bad teeth, but somehow his name isn't Cletus? On top of that, oh Christ, the dude's wife quit her job at McDonald's to undergo fucking cancer treatment. Even NPR seemed to be taking subtle potshots at the guy, showing a picture on their website of him and his wife standing in front of Wal-Mart where they spent their honeymoon (no really I'm serious), and pointing out the fact that his trailer where he lives with his six, holy god, SIX kids is decorated with pictures of NASCAR drivers. This fool just can't catch a break! So in short, this gum bleeding Wal-Mart fantasizing six-kid spawning NASCAR decorating Mississippi trailer park resident has found himself in such a position that his best option is to go off to fight in a war where he could get maimed or fucking killed. He's got six kids, a wife with cancer, and no job: politics simply doesn't enter into the equation for him. And to top it all off, it's fucking me up because it's causing me to have about a hundred and seventeen different reactions, all of which conflict with each other. I hate to judge people, but I hate to sound like a liberal snob; I hate to come across like a bleeding heart, but I hate that people keep on fucking breeding when they can barely take care of themselves; I hate making asshole trailer park jokes, but then I keep reading stories about people like this who live in trailer parks! This guy may personify a lot of the things about America that make me cringe, and yeah, maybe I think he should be sterilized before Cletus # 7 appears, but damn if I don't feel just a bit sorry for him! I want to beat the crap out of this guy and give him a hug all at the same time.

Maybe I'll write a play about him. I've been looking for a topic.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Today I saw my child's heart beat in black and white and I just about floated through the roof. I would have had pictures to put in here, but the scanner I was planning on using decided to suck. I was relieved, like free-clinic-test-results-came-back-negative-use-a-condom-next-time type of relief, except better, when the doctor focused in and I could see its little heart beating away. The heart is outside of its body at this stage of development, which strikes me as having some sort of profound cosmic metaphorical significance, except I can't think what it might be.

I only recently came in contact with my own father for the first time since I was about two years old. Unfortunately, it was at his funeral. I never knew the man and he only knew me for a short time. We'd been living only a short drive from each other for a number of years but never knew it. I didn't anyway. I can't say that I have totally forgiven him for never being around, for playing no greater role in my life than that of sperm donor. I find the timing of all these events interesting to say the least. I don't put much stock in all that, "God caused this special miracle to happen to you at just the right time" jibber-jabber...maybe because I heard too much of it in Baptist school as a lad. All the same, it's an undeniable fact that the universe has an interesting sense of timing.

Monday, March 14, 2005

In the beginning...

...there was blog and the word was with blog and the word was blog...okay so I'm starting the first entry of my first blog on my first very own personal website with a lame book of Genesis joke, but whatever. Who reads the first entry in a blog anyway?

So I won't treat this quite as an introduction, you can find that in the About Holmes section if you're interested. Let me use this more as a record of my place in the world of the right now. Right now...oh crap, I was about to say something like "Right now, {insert observation about the world here}" and then I was gonna follow it with "Right now, {insert another such observation here}." And then I realized that I was accidentaly about to reference a corny Van Halen song, and not even the song really, but the video. You remember it, the song appropriately titled "Right Now" and they kept showing images of stuff happening and words would flash on the screen saying profound things like "Right now, a kitten needs a home" and "Right now, someone's grandmother is faking an orgasm." Sammy Hagar sang it? David Lee Roth didn't? There was some sort of rivalry between them? Remember? No? Good, me neither, we got more important shit to worry about, and anyway, I caught myself and I'm not gonna make the aforementioned reference. Or did I do it and then realize what I'd done and go back and edit?

ANYWAY, back to the here and now. It's 2005. I'm almost 30. And in spite of the ugly place that the world is in and the ugly places that it seems to be going, I sit here and type and I feel a weird kind of optimism that I haven't felt in a while. It's that feeling of possibility, that realization, or rather in my case now, that remembrance of the fact that there are possibilities out there. I think I had allowed myself to forget the fact that my life was my own and that I could, you know, DO stuff with it. Perhaps that's part of what this little site here is about, a little corner of the web where I can just, yeah, do stuff. Whatever. Whenever. What prompted this personal little renaissance is a combination of events and occurances and cross-breezes and encounters too complex to go into detail about at the moment, but I'll just out and say that one major factor is the fact that I will soon be a father. Soon being in about 7 months. My wife and I have our first visit to the doctor tomorrow. I've always kind of suspected that I wanted to be a dad. I never had a father of my own, which contributed to making me want to be a really good one myself. Thing is, now that it's actually happening, now that my wife actually has the tiny beginnings of a human life forming inside of her, only now do I realize just how much I want it. Funny, you spend your college years and early twenties scared to death of knocking a chick up...then you decide to commence with the up-knockin' and you realize that it ain't always as easy as they'd have you think. Suddenly those movies where some chick has sex with a guy one time and oops she's pregnant seem really stupid. My favorite variation on that theme is where the hero and the heroine get together through insurmountable odds, have sex once, then he dies but she's carrying his baby. What-the-fuck-EVER. But Hollywood aside, what I'm saying is that I want this. I want to be a father. I want it as badly as I've ever wanted anything ever ever. As bad as I wanted a Millenium Falcon. As bad as I wanted an electric guitar. As bad as I ever wanted any girl I might have ever had a crush on to like me.

And before you get bored with my gushing over fatherhood and say "fuck this" and go back to looking for a new job or new porn or a free iPod let me just say...well actually, go ahead and do whatever you want, I'm gonna write it anyway...but what I'm saying is that with this fresh hint of optimism, I feel like the most welcome pressure has descended upon me. Not pressure in the sense of "oh shit I have to get this project done or I'm going to get fired and then how will I afford to live the lavish lifestyle that I have grown so accustomed to." No, I'm talking about the feeling that comes with realizing that you are not stuck. You're not trapped. If there's something in your life that is not making you happy, you can change it. And the pressure comes from the fact that I realize that since I can do something, I must do something. And I will. I am. Funny, I think I spent a lot of years dreading parenthood as some kind of trap, but now that it's on its way, I feel freer than ever. We'll see what happens